“To invite all people in the United States, whatever their social or cultural background, to hear the message of salvation in Jesus Christ so they may come to join us in the fullness of the Catholic faith.”
This goal means that we are to invite effectively every person to come to know the Good News of Jesus proclaimed by the Catholic Church. This goal goes along with the first one for, as that goal is sought, Catholics will develop an inviting attitude as a general part of our everyday spirituality. This goal means not only that people are invited but also that an essential welcoming spirit is presented in Catholic homes and in all our Catholic institutions: parishes, organization, hospitals, schools, chanceries, and centers of neighborhood service. This goal also has ecumenical implications.
The strategy behind this goal is to create a more welcoming attitude toward others in our parishes so that people feel at home; next to create an attitude of sharing faith and to develop greater skills to do this; then, to undertake activities to invite others to know the Catholic people better.
To make every Catholic institution, especially our parishes, more welcoming.
- review of the hospitality of our institutions;
- use of parochial schools and religious education programs for outreach and welcome for the whole family;
- greeting and welcoming workshops;
- retraining of ushers, receptionists, and other personnel; and
- study of the access and availability of our institutions to people (e.g., times, lighting, signs and posters, etc.), particularly with regard to welcoming the disabled (e.g., ramps into churches, adequate sound systems, signing for the hearing impaired, etc.).
- To help every Catholic feel comfortable about sharing his or her faith and inviting people to discover Christ in our Catholic family of believers.
- faith-sharing groups;
- training to discern religious experience and articulate it;
- development of a greater ability to listen and empathize; and
- encouraging converts to share their stories of faith.
To develop within families and households the capacity to share the Gospel.
- programs to support parents as the primary sharers of faith with their children;
- family outreach to other families to experience the Good News of Jesus;
- training programs so that families, individually or in support groups, can learn more effective methods of sharing the Gospel; and
- fostering regular family prayer and share time.
To equip and empower our active Catholic members to exercise their baptismal call to evangelize.
- renewal days;
- witness training;
- training of Catholics for one-to-one evangelization;
- use of baptismal and sacramental preparation to expand understands of discipleship;
- modeling and witness from those involved in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults;
- evangelization components in religious education materials;
- parish missions; and
- preparing specially designated people as full-time evangelizers.
To use special times in parish and family life to invite people to faith.
- inviting young families to share about forming their young children in faith;
- special ministry to young adults in parishes and college campuses;
- emphasizing the evangelizing dimension of youth ministry for middle school and high school students; and
- involving youth and families in ministries of faith and service to others.
To cultivate an active core of the baptized to serve as ministers of evangelization in their parishes, dioceses, neighborhoods, workplaces, and homes.
- formation of diocesan evangelization committees and offices;
- formation of evangelization teams in parishes;
- formation and support of national and regional schools of evangelization; and
- workshops and support groups for those involved in evangelization in a more explicit way.
To invite effectively people to our Church.
Possible strategies on the national level:
- careful input into the images that are projected about the Church through the media;
- the recruitment of Catholics skilled in media to assist in this new imaging;
- care for the evangelizing dimension of every official church pronouncement; and
- the development of national media campaigns describing the Catholic Church.
On a more local level:
- mailings, home visits, consistent invitation to people newly moving into parish areas;
- neighborhood publicity through newspapers and posters;
- periodic taking of a census;
- involvement in and service to the neighborhood;
- development of neighborhood, parish, and local events to which people would be specially invited, by they open houses, open forums for airing questions and issues, events for friends or extended families, or other programs of welcoming; and
- greater sensitivity to the needs of the seeker.
To design programs of outreach for those who have ceased being active in the Church.
- development of programs to help people experience reconciliation;
- renewed celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation;
- programs for the divorced, separated, and those who feel alienated from the Church;
- professional surveys of inactive Catholics;
- development of ministries that emphasize the mercy and compassion of God; and
- parish missions.
To design programs that reach out in particular ways to those who do not participate in a church community or who seek the fullness of faith.
- formation of new, innovative methods of inquiry in the period before the catechumenate;
- special programs of hospitality and welcome, whether at the local church or in homes;
- exploration of new forms of Catholic presence in cities, suburban malls, store fronts, and other places of congregation;
- personal visits; and
- regional mailings.
To foster cultural diversity within the unity of the Church.
- serious review of diocesan policies about parish organization, leadership, and empowerment to ensure that newcomers to our land have a place in the Church;
- training of clergy and ministers in needed foreign languages;
- programs to advance greater understanding of cultural diversity;
- while ensuring the unity of the Church, efforts to help newcomers to our land to develop their own social and church structure; and
- joint celebrations of the many cultures represented in our parishes, especially on great feast days, to reflect the Catholic scope of our lives.
To deepen ecumenical involvement.
- careful collaboration with local and state ecumenical agencies;
- joint study of Roman Catholic and other Christian dialogues, touching on evangelization, mission, and proselytism;
- study of Roman Catholic understandings of and approaches to Judaism;
- developing sensitivities to interreligious relationship and Roman Catholic teaching on dialogue and proclamation;
- mutual dialogue and sharing;
- joint scriptural study and social justice projects;
- shared discussion groups and socials; and where appropriate, joint services of prayer and devotion.