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In the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage (NPIM) the U.S. Catholic bishops call attention to the meaning and value of married life for the Church and for society.
Bringing Catholic belief into dialogue with contemporary needs, the bishops urge the Catholic Church to become a community of hope and help for marriages and to join others in building a culture of marriage.
The Initiative weaves together the Catholic faith tradition and its pastoral practice, the data of social science, and the experience of married couples to offer guidance and resources, including a pastoral letter, in order to promote, strengthen, sustain and restore marriages.
In the Catholic community:
PHASE ONE: Development and Consultation (2005 -- 2007)
This phase includes research and consultative activities designed for two purposes: (a) to propose what topics and issues are most important to include in a pastoral letter, what audiences should be addressed, and what are ways of communicating the message faithfully and creatively; (b) to produce information and ideas that, even if they cannot be incorporated fully into a pastoral letter, can be shared with various audiences, e.g., diocesan and parish staffs, as resources for them to use in promoting and sustaining marriage and enhancing their pastoral ministries
PHASE TWO: Preparation of Pastoral Letter (2007 -- 2008)
This phase includes processes for selecting themes, integrating data gathered in the consultative phase, creating an outline, writing drafts and getting feedback on them. The activities are sequenced according to the usual USCCB protocol for bringing a document to the vote of the full body of bishops. The phase concludes with the publication and initial dissemination of the pastoral letter.
PHASE THREE: Implementation of Pastoral Letter and Continuing Work (2008 -- )
This phase is directed toward the further development and application of the themes and messages contained in the pastoral letter. A broad range of implementation projects will be encouraged. Existing mechanisms can be employed for the follow-up and implementation activities and new ones might need to be created for this purpose.
Talk by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, then-chairman of the USCCB Committee on Marriage and Family,
"The National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage: Six Next Steps" (2006)
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