Parish Mission Statements

I stumbled on an interesting blog called The Lair of the Catholic Cavemen where some tough talk is going on. It’s refreshing. The entry that caught my eye concerned parish "mission statements" which I have always found pretentious and silly, for a parish at least. I am ready to be convinced otherwise. Good luck with that.

In any event, here some excerpts from that blog … then I have a mission for you (below).

What general feeling/impression did you get as you read some of their well thought through comments?


Immaculate Conception, Wilmington, NC We live Jesus Christ by proclaiming the Gospel, by celebrating the Eucharist, by nourishing our faith and by loving and serving all God’s people.

St. Mary’s, East Islip, LINY Centered in the Word of God and the gift of Jesus in our midst… a welcoming community which proclaims through word and action the dignity of every person.

St. Charles Borromeo, San Diego, CA Our mission is to provide a place of welcome and refreshment to all who cross our threshold, a sense of family belonging for those who remain, and the challenge of discipleship to all who believe in the saving power of Christ.

OK, you’ve all had a chance to read an example of their pearls of wisdom. Here’s the impression I got.
1. I’m not sure who gets top billing…. God, or the "community’.
2. They’re big on "luv". Hmmm… interesting title for an encyclical ~ Deus Luv Est.
3. I’m confused. When God is mentioned, is He God our Lord and Master, or God My Big Buddy in the Sky?
4. Shouldn’t the Salvation of Souls be mentioned someplace?

I equate this "mission statement" drivel to the outlandish homosexual drag queens that come out of the woodwork every so often. They’re so over the top in their garishness, no thinking individual could ever confuse their antics with anything even remotely resembling real femininity.

And "faith communities" like the above mentioned are so over the top in their being neck-deep in sickening sweet sentimentality, no thinking Catholic could ever take their saccharine-laced faux-theology serious. If anyone ever went to Mass there, they’d be diabetic before you could say "culturally aware".

Okay, folks. I would say this was a "No" vote from this guy on mission statements. At least that sort of mission statement.

With all this in mind, can you find some interesting mission statements out there and then come up with a good and super brief parish mission statement of your own?

How about this:

This parish exists…


… to provide the sacraments when called upon through dignified observance of the law while preaching the full doctrine of the Catholic Church expressed with common sense and concrete action in such as way as to help you and your neighbor live your vocation and then enjoy the glorious reward of the Beatific Vision and avoid the anguished torments of everlasting hell.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Tim Ferguson says:

    A pastor out in the San Francisco area – I believe he was in Santa Clara – retired some years ago. In an interview, he was asked what his parish mission statement was. He looked at the reporter and said, “what do we need a mission statement for? My job as pastor is simply to help people avoid sin and help as many of them get to heaven as possible.” Though not quite a mission statement, that seems to me to sum up what it’s all about pretty succinctly.

  2. Stephen says:

    Hi Father!

    I believe that mission statement you listed is too straight forward. The point of the mission statement is to trivialize the momentous and complicate the obvious.

    My parish moves at the speed of the USCCB, we first heard inklings of this mission statement drivel early last year, when they announced all parishes needed to have “pastoral councils” made up of laymen. It has increased slowly to the point where they have had several notes in the bulletin but still haven’t been able to expalin what the purpose of the mission statement or the pastoral council is.

    Being the helpful fellow I am, I informed my priest I would serve, but have not heard back yet. When they do get this up and running, I will let you know what I learn. I will offer your mission statement to them, but won’t tell them it was written by a priest, I am curious to see how it goes over.


  3. RBrown says:

    St. Charles Borromeo, San Diego, CA Our mission is to provide a place of welcome and refreshment to all who cross our threshold, a sense of family belonging for those who remain, and the challenge of discipleship to all who believe in the saving power of Christ.

    It’s hard to read the above without remembering that the Esalen Institute was in California.

  4. A few years ago, one of my professors used a phrase that I find appropriate to some of these mission statements: “Kidianity and the Daddyhood of God the Father.”

    How about this:
    “Our parish, in communion with the Roman Catholic Church and faithful to Pope Benedict XVI, strives to be an authentic witness to the fullness of truth expressed in the Catholic faith, providing for the salvation and nurture of souls through the Sacraments and proclaliming the doctrines of the Church in word and action.

  5. Scripture. Tradition. Magisterium.

  6. Jim McMurrry says:

    Try this old mission statement (7th Century, as I understand it):
    Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

  7. Why bother to answer a question that has no good reason for being asked? Is there any good reason for a parish to have a published mission statement? If not, don’t ask, don’t tell!

  8. Try this one on for size…

    “Be a Catholic, or go to hell”

  9. Brian Murphy says:

    How about this:

    As a Catholic parish we will be CATHOLIC!

  10. The Creed works for me.

  11. Walt says:

    A few years ago our parish formed a committee to hash out a mission statement. The diocese even sent us a facilitator. I will not bore you with the “kidianity” results. I will tell you that I was locked in an epic battle with the facilltator to get the word “Catholic” into the statement. The statement now hangs on a wall somewhere collecting dust.

  12. RBrown says:

    How about: Extra ecclesiam non est salus?

  13. David S says:

    If someone thinks a mission statement is needed, you can’t go wrong with this:
    Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
    Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe
    all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway,
    even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28: 19-20)

  14. Brian Day says:

    My parish developed a mission statement several years ago. I have been told that it took the parish pastoral council two years to develop it.
    The mission of Saint Columban Parish is to be a sacramental, multicultural church, unified through prayer, faith-sharing and action.
    We respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ by using our gifts of time, talent, and treasure.
    We strive to become one in our love and service to God by meeting the needs of the parish and the neighboring community, with special sensitivity to the poor.


  15. Ben D. says:

    Tim Ferguson, could your retired pastor from Santa Clara possibly be Msgr. John Sweeny? His parish offered perpetual adoration (in the church, not a side chapel), confessions before, during, and after every mass (of which there were three scheduled daily, and at least five or six actually offered), and mass in Latin once a week. It was the only parish in the diocese where the indult mass was offered. Actually, all of what I just said should be in the present tense, because under the sensible pastorship of the IVE (an Argentinian order), the parish continues to thrive. The church building is big, but every Sunday mass is standing-room only. The parking lot is huge, but if you want to attend Easter or Christmas mass there, you’d better arrive at least a half-hour early, unless you enjoy hiking.

    I’m pretty sure they still don’t have a mission statement.

  16. Guy Power says:

    Ben D.

    All you say about Our Lady of Peace Shrine is still true today! Latin NO every Saturday and Traditional Latin Mass (courtesy FSSP) on First Saturdays. We still have kneelers, communion rail, bells, incense, patens, and communion on the tongue (or standing).

    And, we have a great view from the parking lot of the Great America fireworks display during the summers.

    Oh …. not to mention the 60′ stainless steel BVM statute that anyone can see from Highway 101.

  17. Guy Power says:

    I couldn’t find a Mission Statement for Our Lady of Peace Church & Shring in Santa Clara, CA …. but I did find one for the Diocese of San Jose (California):

    Mission Statement of the Diocese of San Jose

    The mission of the Diocese of San Jose, the Catholic Community of Santa Clara County, is to be a local Church that will inspire the people of this Valley to live the values taught by Jesus Christ, inspiring them to integrity and action.

  18. John says:

    Regarding pastoral councils, they are governed by Canon 536.

    As to “mission statements,” I am quite fond of the brevity and clarity of the “Purpose” (N.B. that it is *not* a “mission statement”) of the Order of Malta as found in its constitution:

    “The purpose of the Order is the promotion of the glory of God through the sanctification of its members, service to the faith and to the Holy Father, and assistance to one’s neighbour, in accordance with its ancient traditions.”

  19. Guy Power says:

    The Most Venerable Order of St. John has the following Mission Statement:

    The mission of The Priory in the United States of America of The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem is:
    To encourage the spiritual and moral strengthening of mankind in accordance with the first great principle fo the Order, Pro Fide;

    To promote the relief of sickness and suffering without distinction of gender, race, class or creed in accordance with the second great principle fo the Order, Pro Utilitate Hominum; and

    To cooperate with other organizations having similar objectives.

    In fulfilling this mission, the primary beneficiary of the Priory is the St. John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem.
    The Venerable Order of St. John is the [ecumenical] British “great-grandson” of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, with which it is today aligned.

  20. Ray from MN says:

    St. Joan of Arc is a joyful Christian community
    which celebrates the loving Word of God
    in worship and in action.

    We transcend traditional boundaries and draw those
    who seek spiritual growth and social justice.

    We welcome diverse ideas and encourage reflection
    on the message of the Gospel.

    We are committed to the equality
    of all our members and strive to ensure
    their full participation
    through liturgy, education, and service.

    By these means we seek to empower all
    who come to grow in wisdom and bring to reality
    the promise of Christ.

  21. Fr. Joseph Bittle says:

    On my parish’s website, we give the following, unofficial mission statement on our front page:

    Welcome to the website of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Little Rock, Arkansas, a parish of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. It is our desire that all people will come to know, love, and serve the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the one God in three Persons revealed to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. Together we seek to glorify God through right worship, whole-hearted discipleship, genuine community, and loving service.

    We would love to have you join us for divine worship this weekend! Come discover for yourself the joys and challenges found in the fullness of Orthodox Christian faith and life! Dive deep into the riches of our worship! Journey with us along the less traveled path of the great saints and theological giants of the ancient Church! In the words of the psalmist, “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”

  22. Fr. Bittle: Good one! “Together we seek to glorify God through right worship, whole-hearted discipleship, genuine community, and loving service.” Excellent. I also like the point of the invitation. People should never underestimate the power of an invitation.

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