New goals designed to encourage culture of evangelization

Encouraging personal prayer and spiritual engagement is part of the new goals of the archdiocese’s mutually shared vision.

by Joe Bollig
joe.bollig@theleaven.org

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas will advance to this October’s convocation with revised goals for the three key initiatives of the mutually shared vision.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann informed archdiocesan priests and deacons about the new goals in a letter sent to them on Feb. 14.

“Our various ministry offices and parishes have been hard at work accomplishing their assigned goals,” wrote the archbishop. “I, along with our 12-member Envisioning Team — consisting of priests, religious and laity — have been monitoring their progress.

“I am happy to share that we have successfully completed some of the time-bound goals, resulting in the need to update our key initiative goals for 2019 and 2020.”

The archdiocesan pastoral plan, called the mutually shared vision, was formulated by Archbishop Naumann and his Envisioning Team and put into effect in August 2015. The goals under the three key initiatives were last revised in December 2017. 

Much of the mutually shared vision has not changed, including the statement of vision, the five overall pastoral priorities and the three key initiatives.

Those initiatives are: to build a culture of evangelization across the archdiocese; to strengthen the vocation of marriage and family life; and to cultivate relationships by engaging in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

The goals under the second and third key initiatives have been updated, but the goals under the first are new.

The new goals of the evangelization initiatives are to:

• equip the local church to evangelize by inviting individuals, groups and parishes in multiple pastoral regions to participate in the discipleship training experience “The Movement of the Holy Family” by Easter 2020

• accelerate our cultural shift to individual missionary discipleship by focusing on scriptural engagement, personal prayer and intentional accompaniment in our parishes at the 2019 archdiocesan convocation with delegations from every parish

•  enliven our parishes to be centers of hope, harbors for the broken and wellsprings of grace by animating the parish evangelization benchmarks, supporting strong parish leadership teams and encouraging parishes in Gospel saturation through the 2020 Enflame Our Hearts, Homes and Communities initiative.

“The goals that are most inspiring to me are the ones that will really impact our folks in the pews,” said Deacon Dana Nearmyer, director of the archdiocesan office of evangelization. 

“In Lent 2020, we are launching an initiative called Enflame Our Hearts, Homes and Communities,” he continued, “and we’re doing vast preparatory work right now in training and equipping about 1,500 key leaders that will help bring this same equipping and inspiration into the parishes to pass on the Gospel message.”

 Those key leaders will attend the archdiocesan convocation Oct. 3-5, “Enflame Our Hearts: Be Disciples, Make Disciples.” This fall’s convocation is the catalyst that will send them back to their parishes to launch the Lent 2020 initiative.

“They will be a part of our strategy to accelerate a cultural shift to where each Catholic has an identity as a missionary disciple,” said Deacon Nearmyer.

Father Andrew Strobl, pastor of St. John Paul II Parish in Olathe and a member of the Envisioning Team, helped formulate the new goals for the evangelization initiatives.

“Building a culture of evangelization is not something that just happens with one part of the church or just from the top down,” said Father Strobl. “It’s something that happens in every heart that encounters Jesus Christ and wants to follow him.

“What the three goals reflect is that desire to encounter Jesus Christ and follow him, and no one is left out. This is something for all of us.”

Much of the groundwork for what parishes will be doing for 2020 and beyond is happening now, so this is a “big” year. Next year, however, will be even bigger.

“Evangelization is not a passing fad,” said Father Strobl. “It’s the mission of the church. When it comes to better living that mission, it will take a combination of the parish leadership — but also everybody — recommitting to the Great Commission Jesus gives us to make disciples of all nations.”

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