A Catholic dictionary for pastoral planning

As we enter into a more public phase of the archdiocese’s pastoral planning process, I want to review some language. This may seem elementary, but it is important that when we hear and use certain words, we operate with common definitions.

Mission: The Church has one mission, the great commission given the apostles by Jesus Christ after his resurrection to go into the world and proclaim the Gospel (Mark 16:15). The proclamation of the Gospel is essential to the mission of the Church. This proclamation is accomplished not just by words, but by our example of life — by our witness.

Disciple: The most important aspect of being a disciple is encountering and being in relationship with Jesus. Beyond the Twelve Apostles, many people encountered Jesus during his public ministry, and came to know the love, compassion, mercy and healing he offered, and their lives were never the same. A disciple is one who follows Jesus and brings others to Jesus. A disciple allows Jesus to direct every aspect of her life. A disciple is a witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. A disciple actively practices her faith, regularly receives the sacraments, strives to live the teachings of Jesus and the Church, and lives her life as Jesus, who came not to be served, but to serve. A disciple prayerfully discerns how the Holy Spirit is active in her life and seeks to allow the Lord to be continually at work in her. A disciple is conscious of the unconditional love and mercy she has received from Jesus and freely shares this experience with others, inviting them to come to know and follow Jesus. A disciple is one Jesus sends in his name to continue his mission.

Evangelization: Evangelization means proclaiming to others what we ourselves have experienced and received, namely, the immeasurable richness of coming to know and follow the person of Jesus. Thus, St. Paul could say, “I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). Paul’s encounter with Jesus led to his famous conversion and made him one of the most effective evangelizers the world has ever known. His authentic and powerful proclamation of and witness to the person of Jesus established much of the early Church.

As your pastor, I invite you to renew your relationship with Jesus. Jesus is our all. The Church, in her members, is the Body of Christ. Please pray that we will become a more credible witness to Jesus Christ in Western Washington. Pray that we may know how to evangelize, how to be disciples, how to fulfill the mission of Jesus in the world today.

We are not developing a pastoral plan to implement the latest programs. Nor are we writing a beautiful document that sits on a shelf and is soon forgotten. We are looking to light a fire in every human heart, the Easter fire of the Risen Jesus.

Northwest Catholic - September 2020

Archbishop Paul D. Etienne

Archbishop Paul D. Etienne was named Archbishop of Seattle on September 3, 2019 by Pope Francis. Read his blog at https://www.archbishopetienne.com/.

El Arzobispo Paul D. Etienne fue nombrado Arzobispo de Seattle el 3 de septiembre de 2019 por el Papa Francisco. Lea su blog en: https://www.archbishopetienne.com/.