Bishops vote on 2017-2020 strategic plan

Tue, Nov 15th 2016 12:00 pm

BALTIMORE—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have approved their 2017-2020 strategic plan, during their annual Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, November 15.

The bishops approved the four year plan with 199 votes in favor, 4 against, and 2 abstaining.

Under the theme, Encountering the Mercy of Christ and Accompanying His People with Joy, the strategic plan is a shared framework that brings together the diverse work of the USCCB, approved by the bishops, with the goal of offering a sustained and compelling witness to the power of Christ's love in the world. "Through this work, we will encounter our brothers and sisters wherever they may be along life's journey, offer them love and support, and in turn, meet Jesus himself who will fortify each one of us for our own journey," reads the report.

The strategic plan includes the collective work of 16 standing committees, 18 subcommittees and one ad-hoc committee; and it lays the groundwork for more than 740 individual projects of the USCCB for the next planning cycle. Activities include social media and awareness projects, the 2017 National Convocation of Catholic Leaders in Florida, and the 2018 V Encuentro on Hispanic Latino Ministry.

The plan is centered on five strategic priorities approved by the full body of bishops a year ago, and are aimed at encountering those in need, bringing them hope, and nurturing them spiritually and physically. These priorities are:

  • Evangelization: Open wide the doors to Christ through missionary discipleship and personal encounter.
  • Family and marriage: Encourage and heal families; inspire Catholics to embrace the sacrament of matrimony.
  • Human life and dignity: Uphold the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death with special concern for the poor and vulnerable.
  • Vocations and ongoing formation: Encourage vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, and provide meaningful ongoing formation to clergy, religious and lay ministers.
  • Religious freedom: Promote and defend the freedom to serve, witness and worship, in the U.S. and abroad.

The identified priorities are also an invitation to diocesan and parish leaders into the collective work of the bishops at the national level. "Where there are opportunities at all levels of the Church to work together, the strategic plan will truly find its deepest meaning," reads the report. "So too, the identified priorities are an invitation to the broader people of God, whose generosity and prayer give lifeblood to the apostolic life of the Conference and the Church."

The 2017-2020 strategic plan will go into effect January 2017.
 

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