CHARLESTON – Bishop Robert J. Baker made the following statement:
Eight years ago this month (February 1996), a document titled “Enthusiasm for the Faith” was promulgated by my predecessor, Bishop David B. Thompson, as the official plan for guiding the implementation of the Synod of Charleston. Bishop Thompson directed “that it should become the guide for all of our communities of faith within the diocese and that it be a priority for all.”
Within this document was a pastoral vision statement for the church of Charleston. The purpose of this vision statement was to clearly identify a common vision based on the areas of pastoral activity and associated goals defined in the synod.
Vision statements are written to inspire us to achieve a specific outcome. The vast fruits of this vision statement are in clear evidence all around our diocese.
At my request, the diocesan Pastoral Council and the priests of this diocese reviewed this statement with me and offered their input to update it by including current goals. We added a few phrases and made a few changes to reflect our goals. Diocesan offices will be working on the goals which fall under their purview.
The diocesan Pastoral Council and parish pastoral planning councils can refer to this statement as they engage in pastoral planning endeavors. Each and every Catholic can look to it as a guide for their discipleship as they participate in the renewal of their families and faith community.
I ask that every Catholic in the diocese embrace this vision statement with renewed fervor so that we can continue the work of the Lord, building up the kingdom of God, in our efforts to “renew the face of the earth” in the Diocese of Charleston.
A pastoral vision for the Diocese of Charleston
The meaning of our whole Christian life, the meaning of all our collective ministerial efforts, all come down to a simple attempt to be faithful disciples of Jesus, whom we recognize as the Christ.
As the faithful of the Diocese of Charleston, as disciples of Jesus Christ, and as members of the Catholic Church in communion with the See of Rome, we commit ourselves to: be a eucharistic people who seek a deeper relationship with God by prayerfully meditating on his Word and devoutly celebrating the sacraments according to established norms, leading each of us to holiness of life; spread the Gospel, by word and example, calling ourselves and others to conversion by explicit invitation and by the witness of our Christian lives, utilizing the time, talent, and treasure God has given us; pass on the faith (that comes to us from Scripture and tradition) transmitted via the magisterium, to all of our members at every stage of life by our efforts at Christian Formation; offer humble service, as did Jesus, particularly mindful of the poor, the needy, and the marginalized, transforming even the very structures of society as we help to usher in the reign of God, as ambassadors of justice, charity, and peace; promote, support, and nurture Christian community at every level, including ethnic communities in our midst, that we might share in the holy communion of love which is the Blessed Trinity itself; strive to be agents of reconciliation within our own church community and with other ecclesial and faith communities.