Vision Statement

Statement of Most Reverend Joseph Galante, Bishop of Camden
Camden Diocesan Center, January 6, 2006

 

I am pleased to announce today a new vision for the Church of Camden. Last April, I gathered together a diverse group of clergy, religious and lay people to reflect on the future of our diocese and our church in preparation for setting out a guiding vision. The result of that day of reflection and ongoing consultation throughout the summer and fall is the

“Vision for the Future of Our Church,” which sets out to briefly, yet concisely, convey who we are as a Church and what we aspire to be. As the Book of Proverbs states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Prov. 29:18).

It will be proclaimed throughout the diocese—in 125 parishes in all six counties of the diocese from Camden to the Jersey shore—this weekend. It will be proclaimed in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Creole, and Polish. This is will not just be a document, or a one-time event, but an ongoing and living out of our baptismal responsibilities. The proclamation of the vision this weekend will be followed by a comprehensive program of outreach to our parishes and institutions and to our people to ensure that the Vision is known, internalized and put into practice.

The Vision is meant to help our church, our diocesan offices, our parishes, and our people (clergy, religious and laity alike) to clarify our priorities, to help us better focus our energies and to plan more effectively for the future. It is forward-looking, yet sets priorities that aren’t just wishful thinking, but are meant to be achieved, and even measured, over the next five to ten years. At a time when the Church faces challenges of every kind, I am hopeful, I am enthusiastic, and I am confident about our future.

But this future will not be attained by doing what we’ve always done. This pouring of new wine into old wineskins, so to speak, will no longer work. This future vision will only be accomplished through a proper understanding of Church. As I have been saying when I have been visiting our parishes during the Speak Up Sessions, the people are the Church. The people, through baptism, have been given rights and responsibilities in the Church. This kind of image of the pyramid, with clergy, religious and laity at the bottom has no place in our Church. Rather, clergy, religious and lay people share a radical equality in the Church.

As I have reminded parishioners everywhere I have gone,
“I am not more Catholic than you are.”

The Vision statement reminds us that “We are the Church,” that all the people have been empowered to do the work of the Church. As such, I am inviting all the people of the Diocese to join me so that we can together chart a dynamic future full of hope.