A Parish Mission Statement should be a clear, concise statement of the parish’s purpose and reason for existence. It helps the parish to identify itself and gives direction and meaning to its activities.

 A Parish Mission Statement should include:

  • Who we are – unique features of our identity and history
  • Why we exist as a parish – our basic purpose and reason for being here.
  • What we most seek to become and do in the future – core values to which we are committed and basic services we want to provide.

When working with a Parish Pastoral Council to help draft a Mission Statement, I give them homework.  I ask them to write-out their answers the following questions and come prepared to share them at the meeting:

(1)   What are some of the unique features of the identity and history of this parish?

(2)   What is the basic purpose of this parish?  Why does this parish exist?

(3)   What do we most seek to become and do in the future?

     a.      What are some core values we are committed to as a parish?

     b.      What are some basic services that we seek to provide?

     c.       What type of presence do we seek to become in the community?

It is ideal if there has been some feedback from the broader parish prior to this task, perhaps on these very questions via town hall meeting or some other method.  But the process can start with the PPC and move to the larger parish.  The key element is obtaining input from the larger parish on a draft of the Mission Statement prior to finalizing it.

At the PPC meeting, I record the responses of the members to each question on a flipchart and let the group look for similarities, differences and compelling images.  I want them to identify language that speaks to them (and presumably others). Eventually, I and/or a team of parishioners take a first crack at a statement and then bring it back to the group for modification. Usually it is a two meeting process. Once a draft has been approaved by the PPC, we test it with the parish at large.

Below is a Mission Statement from a parish I recently worked with.  It addresses many of the above questions:

SACRED HEART OF JESUS PARISH
South Euclid, OH

-MISSION-

Established through the merger of St. Margaret Mary and St. Gregory the Great in 2010, Sacred Heart of Jesus is new parish committed to welcoming, embracing and serving an increasingly diverse population in the Heights/Hillcrest area.

Centered in the Eucharist and building on the legacy of its predecessors, Sacred Heart of Jesus holds a place of prominence in the Heights/Hillcrest area as a vibrant center of Catholic worship, education, faith formation, service, evangelization and community life.  Through these ministries, the parish seeks to help people establish and nurture a relationship with Jesus Christ and carry forth His mission in the world.

-CORE VALUES-

Active Worship:
Because the Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives as Catholics, Sacred Heart of Jesus strives to lead all members to full, conscious, and active participation in the Church’s sacramental life.

Faith-Based Education:
As a growing, respected presence in the community, Sacred Heart of Jesus Academy prepares students both spiritually and academically for the future.

Faithful Formation:
Grounded in the teachings and traditions of the Church, Sacred Heart of Jesus provides those seeking to grow in their faith with a solid spiritual foundation.

Compassionate Service:
Grounded in a vision of Catholic Social Teaching designed to achieve social and personal change in addition to meeting basic needs, Sacred Heart of Jesus responds to people in need within the parish and beyond. 

Broad Evangelization:
Sacred Heart of Jesus invites each active member as well as those inactive, alienated and unchurched, into a relationship with Jesus Christ so that —as disciples—they may go forth into the community to spread the “Good News” through word and deed.

The Heart of Community Life
Through its special liturgies, service organizations, festivals, school, athletics, drama productions, and other programs sponsored by the parish or located on the site, Sacred Heart of Jesus strives to be a dynamic center of community life for the people of the Heights/Hillcrest area. 

Any thoughts?

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