The Bishop's Vision for the Diocese
18th September 2017
Bishop Philip writes...
This Sunday 24th September is the fifth anniversary of my episcopal ordination. Much has happened these last years, much to thank God for. But as I’ve got to know the Diocese better, its clergy and people, its parishes and schools, I have gradually through prayer and reflection begun to develop a vision of where I believe the Lord wants to lead us over the next decade or so. The Pastoral Letter this Sunday will develop things further, but here is a preview of the main points.
I believe we have four priorities:
1. Mission to all
That we enable immeasurably more people to hear the Gospel afresh and to come to know, serve and love Jesus Christ in the saving communion of His Catholic Church so that, persevering in faith, hope and charity, they may one day reach the happiness of Heaven.
2. Conversion of Catholics
That we assist all Catholics, especially those who are not yet practising, to reach a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, to be more intentional disciples and, discerning their charisms, to become more actively engaged in the Church's mission.
3. Dependence on the Holy Spirit
That shifting from maintenance to mission, we trust more completely in God through prayer, imploring the Holy Spirit to inspire our clergy and our laity with constant joy and creativity to develop and realise new, innovative ministries and ways of Christian living.
4. Outward-looking service
That we help our parish and school communities to become outward-facing service-centres, brighter beacons of mission, dialogue and service to people around, especially to the poor, the homeless, those in need.
These four priorities lead to three specific focuses or areas of attention:
5. Focus on youth
That we do all we can to teach and hand on the gift of Faith through the Church’s Scripture and Tradition to young men and women, young couples and young families, converting, forming and equipping them as joyful missionary-disciples of Christ.
6. Promoting vocations
That we earnestly pray for, foster and support vocations to all states of life and ministry in the Church, including new movements and new communities, but especially to the sacred priesthood.
7. Prioritising our resources
That managing wisely our property and our resources, we use our God-given patrimony more flexibly and more determinately in the service of mission and the new evangelisation.
The most basic need is that Portsmouth Catholics become holy:
8. Holiness through communion in diversity
That we seek holiness of life in imitation of Jesus, obedient (ob-audire) to God and legitimate authority, loving and respecting one another, and filled with the Holy Spirit, that we foster a joyful, positive, 'can-do' attitude.
This Vision Statement underpins the Four Diocesan Priorities:
that each person, each parish community, each Pastoral Area and Deanery, each school and every ministry within the Diocese is called:
♦ to seek out and draw in the un-churched and the unbelieving;
♦ to [help Catholics] develop life-long discipleship, spiritual growth and a living relationship with Jesus Christ, above all, in the Holy Eucharist;
♦ to discern the gifts, charisms and vocations God has given;
♦ to form and support existing and new ‘creative apostolates’.
Bringing people closer to Jesus Christ through His Church.