Bishops Vote on 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, Encountering the Mercy of Christ and Accompanying His People with Joy, at General Assembly

November 15, 2016 By Public Affairs Office

BALTIMORE—TheU.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have approved their 2017-2020 strategicplan, during their annual Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, November 15.

Thebishops approved the four year plan with 199 votes in favor, 4 against, and 2abstaining.

Underthe theme, Encountering the Mercy of Christ and Accompanying His People withJoy, the strategic plan is a shared framework that brings together the diversework of the USCCB, approved by the bishops, with the goal of offering asustained and compelling witness to the power of Christ's love in the world."Through this work, we will encounter our brothers and sisters wherever theymay be along life's journey, offer them love and support, and in turn, meetJesus himself who will fortify each one of us for our own journey," reads thereport.

Thestrategic plan includes the collective work of 16 standing committees, 18subcommittees and one ad-hoc committee; and it lays the groundwork for morethan 740 individual projects of the USCCB for the next planning cycle. Activitiesinclude social media and awareness projects, the 2017 National Convocation ofCatholic Leaders in Florida, and the 2018 V Encuentro on Hispanic LatinoMinistry.

Theplan is centered on five strategic priorities approved by the full body ofbishops a year ago, and are aimed at encountering those in need, bringing themhope, and nurturing them spiritually and physically. These priorities are:

  • Evangelization: Open wide the doors to Christthrough missionary discipleship and personal encounter.
  • Family and marriage: Encourage and healfamilies; inspire Catholics to embrace the sacrament of matrimony.
  • Human life and dignity: Uphold the sanctityof human life from conception to natural death with special concern for thepoor and vulnerable.
  • Vocations and ongoing formation: Encouragevocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, and provide meaningfulongoing formation to clergy, religious and lay ministers.
  • Religious freedom: Promote and defend thefreedom to serve, witness and worship, in the U.S. and abroad.

Theidentified priorities are also an invitation to diocesan and parish leaders intothe collective work of the bishops at the national level. "Where there areopportunities at all levels of the Church to work together, the strategic planwill truly find its deepest meaning," reads the report. "So too, the identifiedpriorities are an invitation to the broader people of God, whose generosity andprayer give lifeblood to the apostolic life of the Conference and the Church."

The2017-2020 strategic plan will go into effect January 2017.


Keywords:USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, November meeting,General Assembly, Baltimore, strategic plan, strategic priorities,evangelization, family, marriage, human life, dignity, vocations, religious freedom,Encountering the Mercy of Christ and Accompanying His People with Joy

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NormaMontenegro Flynn