The Church has one mission, one purpose, and one plan entrusted to her by the Lord Jesus. The Church is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to the whole world, to celebrate the Sacraments that make his saving mysteries available to all people until he comes again in glory, and to serve the needs of an ailing humanity in a spirit of mercy and compassion. That is her perennial mission.
In every age and in every place, the Church must link this mission to the particular circumstances of people living in a given period. That is why we have formulated a strategic pastoral plan, not to change what the Lord has given us but to remain faithful to what he has entrusted to us.
Over the next several years, we will be paying special attention to the New Evangelization, looking for ways to draw those who have been baptized in the Catholic Church into a more conscious and deliberate commitment to live out their faith. We will be making a special effort to reach out to our teens and the young people in their early stage of adulthood.
During this time, we will emphasize the importance of Christian formation. We will find the best ways to prepare disciples of Jesus to be salt, light, and leaven in the world and make a special effort to reach out to families, especially to parents of those who are receiving the Sacraments for the first time. We will also evaluate the vitality and financial stability of our parish communities, so that we can conserve the legacy of past generations and prepare resources for the generations to come.
As your bishop and as a fellow disciple, I urge you to read this strategic pastoral plan and ask how you can play a role in its implementation. I would be grateful if you would discuss it with your families and friends and offer suggestions about the best ways to appropriate its themes in your particular situation. Working together, we can serve the Lord's purposes in our time and circumstances. May Mary, Mother of the Lord and Mother of the Church, inspire us to receive God's word and put it into action.
You and those you love are in my daily prayers; please keep me in yours.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Chicago