Bishops’ Strategic Plan Embraces New Evangelization
EWTN News – June 19, 2012
Marriage, life, religious liberty and faith formation will be among the priorities for the U.S. bishops in coming years, united under the ongoing call to spread the Gospel of Christ.
The conference’s focus on the New Evangelization “can be an invitation from the bishops to Catholics across the country to join us in a journey of faith between 2013 and 2016,” said Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., of Youngstown, Ohio.
Bishop Murry, secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke at the group’s spring general assembly, which was held in Atlanta, Ga. on June 13-15.
He updated his fellow bishops on the development of the conference’s 2013-2016 strategic plan, which will incorporate important elements of diversity, communication, leadership and cooperation.
The U.S. bishops’ conference addresses its long-term priorities through a number of standing programmatic committees on topics which include among other topics, doctrine, international justice and peace, Catholic education and pro-life activities.
In addition, the conference determines short-term initiatives that the bishops adopt as priorities for given periods of time.
At their November meeting, the bishops discussed pressing topics and submitted ideas for new priorities.
The body of bishops overwhelmingly supported the addition of religious liberty and the New Evangelization as priorities.
They also expressed a desire to continue working on the priorities chosen for the 2009 to 2011 planning cycle, which include faith formation and sacramental practice, strengthening marriage, human life and dignity, increasing priestly and religious vocations and cultural diversity in the Church.
Bishop Murry presented a “thematic framework” that is suggested by the group’s Committee on Priorities and Plans to bring together the conference’s priorities into a comprehensive and effective strategy that will serve as a “road map” for the conference.
“The environment of our world today challenges us to be even more focused, tactical, deliberate and measured in choosing future strategic directions,” he explained.
By operating within a carefully planned framework, Bishop Murry said, the bishops can “better focus and integrate the mission and work” of the conference.
The framework proposes an “overarching” theme of “New Evangelization – Faith, Worship, Witness.”
It calls on each standing committee to “identify a limited number of key priorities” that will need to be addressed in the coming four years, based on the committee’s specific mission.
It also emphasizes the need for joint committee work in addressing the conference-wide priorities of faith formation and sacramental practice; supporting and defining marriage and family life; defending the life and dignity of the human person; and promoting religious liberty.