General Mission Goals of the USCCB
The Gospel of Christ and the teachings of his Church guide the work of the USCCB. The work of the Conference is rooted in three general mission goals and organized into three key areas of responsibility.
- To act collaboratively and consistently on vital issues confronting the Church and society
- To foster communion with the Church in other nations, within the Church universal, under the leadership of its supreme pastor, the Roman Pontiff
- To offer appropriate assistance to each bishop in fulfilling his particular ministry in the local Church
2013-2016 Conference-wide Priority Initiatives
In addition to these long-term mission goals, the bishops choose four to five priority goals for each planning cycle. The proposed priority goals for the 2008-2011 planning cycle are as follows:
- Strengthening Marriage and Family Life
- Faith formation and Sacramental practice
- Affirming the Life and Dignity of the human person
- Supporting Religious Liberty
2013-2016 USCCB Strategic Plan: Suggested Parish/Diocesan Roadmap
A Four Year Journey with Christ: Faith – Worship - Witness.
2013-2014: Focus on Faith
Beginning with the opening of the Year of Faith (October 2012 – November 2013) and continuing during the next few years, diocesan and parish planning can focus on:
- Helping Catholics deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and increase their knowledge of the teaching of the Church;
- Strengthening the education and formation of priests, religious and lay ministers,increasing the invitation to young people to discern their vocation in life, and strengthening formation programs;
- Working with local clergy to implement the USCCB statement on preaching through training and education so that preaching is inspiring, motivating and catechetical;
- Educating Catholics so they are adequately formed in their faith as relates to Catholic teaching on the life and dignity of the human person, including issues of migration and pastoral care for refugees, respect for all life, concern for the poor and marginalized;
- Continuing diocesan efforts to educate and advocate for the religious liberty of all people both nationally and internationally;
- Continuing diocesan and parish efforts to develop special outreach to married couples and families and advocate for the institution of marriage;
- Strengthening the understanding of forgiveness and reconciliation as foundational to the new evangelization leading to greater participation in the sacrament of penance.
2014-2015: Focus on Worship and Parish Life
During the years 2014 through 2015 in particular diocesan and parish planning can focus on:
- Strengthening parish life and worship and creating evangelizing and welcoming parishes;
- Strengthening participation in sacramental practice, especially inviting people to rediscover the sacrament of penance and strengthening participation in and understanding of the sacrament of the Eucharist;
- Creating parishes as welcoming communities including specific outreach to youth and young adults, parents, and people on the move;
- Continuing the formation of clergy to effectively respond to the challenges of the New Evangelization. [PPF and National Directory revisions; establish annual themes for the ongoing formation of priests and deacons];
- Strengthening marriage and family life, and increasing the number of people participating in the Sacrament of Marriage;
- Increasing understanding of the Mass and attendance at Mass.
2015-2016: Focus on Witness
Diocesan and parish efforts during 2015 and 2016 can have a special focus on initiatives that seek to increase Christian witness and the support the bishops priority on the Life and Dignity of the Human Person:
- Communicating and engaging diocesan and parish leaders on effective communication messages to actively engage Catholics in the Church's promotion of the life and dignity of the human person;
- Participating in the national convening in 2016 to engage and motivate a broad cross section of Catholics to become active in promoting and supporting the Life and dignity of the Human Person;
- Strengthening and encouraging Catholic laity in their role as witnesses in the public square.
- Forming and training laity to understand and become engaged as evangelizers and witnesses to Christian faith;
- Strengthening the local relationship and communion between religious and the local ordinary through by increasing the number of bishops who meet annually with religious;
- Increasing the encouragement youth and young adults receive from youth, campus and young adult ministers to consider a vocation to priesthood or religious life.
Suggested Best Practices to Implement the New Evangelization
- To assist the church to engage culturally diverse communities the Committee on Cultural Diversity has developed Intercultural Competency Guidelines that reflect best practices for the multicultural Church today.
- To guide committees and staff to be more effective communicators the Committee on Communications is focusing on developing best practices for effective communications and creating training opportunities to communicate more effectively.
- For the strategy which focuses on calling and forming leaders, especially priests and those in consecrated life, there are major projects from various USCCB committees to assist diocesan and parish leaders, including resources from Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, Child and Youth Protection, Evangelization & Catechesis, Divine Worship, and Catholic Education.
- The final best practice reflects the value of continuing to strengthen strategies of developing collaborative relationships.