Bishop Ricken unveils mission/vision statements

By Patricia Kasten | The Compass | August 10, 2016

New diocesan mission and vision statements will guide diocese, parishes into future

ALLOUEZ — Bishop David Ricken announced the new mission and vision statements for the Diocese of Green Bay on Aug. 2. Both statements, which will guide the diocese in the coming years, were revealed to the diocesan curia and to parishes around the diocese via a livestream feed on the diocesan website.

Bishop Ricken noted that earlier mission and vision statements had served the diocese well, “but, with all the changes that are happening in our world and our church, it’s time to seize the moment to recapture our vision and mission for the challenges that face us today.”

Bishop Ricken unveils a poster on Aug. 2 showing his hopes for the Green Bay Diocese under the new diocesan mission and vision statements. The giant arrow, made up of smaller arrows, envisions the bishop’s hope: “Can you imagine if, large and small, all the arrows pointed in the same direction, a direction outward instead of worried about ourselves and our own self-preservation.” (Rachel Koepke | The Compass)
Bishop Ricken unveils a poster on Aug. 2 showing his hopes for the Green Bay Diocese under the new diocesan mission and vision statements. The giant arrow, made up of smaller arrows, envisions the bishop’s hope: “Can you imagine if, large and small, all the arrows pointed in the same direction, a direction outward instead of worried about ourselves and our own self-preservation.” (Rachel Koepke | The Compass)

Vision statements summarize and state the values of an organization, while mission statements serve as road maps to give defined directions as a group moves forward.

New diocesan vision statement:

“We are missionary disciples striving to lead all people to the Kingdom of God.”

The one-sentence statement, as the bishop noted, is “actually pretty simple: that we reach out from where we are to whomever God sends us to present the Gospel of love and peace and joy, and real, genuine and authentic concern for the love of others.”

The vision statement also builds on the diocese’s six-year plan for the new evangelization, “Disciples on the Way,” which the bishop initiated in 2014.

The new mission statement “is a little fuller” than the vision statement, as Bishop Ricken said, “because this is actually what do we do to live out that mission.”

New mission statement

The new mission statement reads: “As friends and followers of Jesus, we are devoted to fostering households and communities of discipleship through the mission and ministry of the Catholic Church.”

Disciples follow the Lord, and being friends of Jesus requires a relationship with the Lord, the bishop stressed.

“All of us need to refresh that friendship constantly,” he said. “That’s what prayer is all about. … That’s why we spent two years concentrating on prayer in Disciples on the Way.”

Nurturing households of faith means fostering prayer in the family and care for each other, Bishop Ricken said.

“Can you imagine if every household in the Diocese of Green Bay became a true community of disciples with Christ and the Holy Family?” he asked.

Finally, the bishop said, implementing the mission and visions statements means we need to be in line with the teaching of the church.

“We are Catholic and we’re proud to be Catholic,” Bishop Ricken said. “It doesn’t make us better, but it sure helps us an awful lot. (We have) 2,000 years of history, teaching and spiritual practice of charitable giving and practicing social justice; we have a thing or two we can share with our brothers and sisters, whether they are believers in Jesus or not.”

The bishop explained that the new vision and mission statements are the fruit of many planning and listening sessions that began in the fall of 2015. Various groups — the diocesan presbyteral council and the pastoral council, the Bishop’s Advisory Council, the regional vicars — all offered input, suggestions and feedback. Bishop Ricken presented them with three key questions:

  • What is it that we need to start doing?
  • What can we stop doing?
  • What should we continue to do?

The final perceptions led to a complete circle that surfaced the overall question: “Where we can begin to streamline and simplify our offices, our approaches, so that we are of even better service to the mission of the church and to better serve our brothers and sisters throughout the diocese,” the bishop said.

“Today,” he said, “I get to shepherd and say, ‘Here’s where we’re going. I’ve listened to you, I understand your needs. Here where we need to go.’”

How the new statements will guide the work of the diocese and its parishes in the future is still unfolding.

“Do I know what all this is going to mean?” Bishop Ricken asked. “I have no idea. But I promise you that … we’re going to listen to the Holy Spirit; we’re going to depend on the Holy Spirit (and) ask him to use us for what he wants to accomplish.”

The two statements will appear on posters around the diocesan offices and on the diocesan website. Parishes will be asked to incorporate the new mission and vision statements into their already existing parish and school mission and vision statements. Bishop Ricken said that the diocesan staff will assist parishes with this.

Priorities

As the vision and mission statements are fleshed out in ministry, Bishop Ricken has set nine priorities for future direction:

  • Prayer and worship;
  • Marriage and families;
  • Attendance and participation in the Mass;
  • Modern day communication;
  • Catholic schools and religious education programs;
  • Priesthood and religious life;
  • Life and dignity of all;
  • God’s gifts in service;
  • Shrine of our Lady of Good Help.

He also gave examples of how he sees each priority playing out:

  • To live sacraments and spiritual lives through prayer and worship;
  • To support marriage and families as homes of discipleship;
  • To stand with our parishes as communities of disciples, to build abundant attendance and a participation in the Mass;
  • To use all means of modern day communication to promote the mission of Christ and the church;
  • To ensure Catholic schools and religious education programs foster discipleship and excellence;
  • To advance the call to priesthood and religious life, so needed today;
  • To serve the life and dignity of all, especially the most vulnerable;
  • To share generously God’s gifts in service to Christ, the church and others;
  • To embrace the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help as a welcoming sanctuary of peace, mercy and healing.

“What could happen if we really start thinking this way?” the bishop concluded. “(If we) start thinking with a common mission and vision? Maybe we can get all of the arrows of our ministry pointed in the same direction that (then) creates a phenomenal energy.”

The bishop thanked the diocesan curia for all “the long hours” they often put in to fulfill the mission and vision of the diocese. He said that, during the next months, as diocesan leaders, he expects the curia to join him in “bringing (the statements) into concrete reality.”

“Sometimes we will be venturing into new areas, but most often we’ll be trying to enliven what we already do. … in a new light, with a new vision with a new energy, so we can reach out beyond what we are comfortable with and touch those people who need to hear the Word.”

To view the video of Bishop Ricken’s announcement of the new diocesan vision and mission statements, go to www.gbdioc.org/mission.

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