Seven Signs of Vitality
The following is taken from Cardinal Blase Cupich's column, "Renew My Church - Dreaming Big About the Archdiocese of Chicago."
Every parish has its strengths and weaknesses in fulfilling the mission of Christ. While measuring parish vitality is complex, if I were asked to describe a parish of my dreams, it would be a parish that adopts and pursues these seven priorities:
1. We bring people closer to Christ: The parish strives to evangelize its members to live more fully as intentional disciples. In turn, the parish's intentional disciples are continuously evangelizing others by making known the presence of the Church and Christ's mercy in the midst of the community.
2. We support each other in knowing Christ more deeply: The parish enables a lifelong process of formation for deepening one's faith and relationship with Christ by passing on the church's teaching and tradition to parishioners of all ages.
3. We encounter Christ and receive nourishment through prayer and worship: The parish is intentional in developing a culture and tradition of prayer, devotion, and well-prepared liturgy, with the Eucharist as the "Source and the Summit."
4. We build bonds among each other to sustain our life in Christ: The parish represents a genuine Catholic community that is conscious of its solidarity in Christ with the entire church of Chicago and the Universal Church. It is inclusive and harmonious, respecting and appreciating diversity in all its forms as an asset in worship and community life.
5. We transform the lives of others through service as Christ's missionary disciples: The parish prepares and sends parishioners as missionary disciples into the world to transform society with the joy and truth of the Gospel. The parish is a beacon of faith and an advocate for justice and peace, reaching out in love to all who are in need, on the margin of society, or who live in fear and loneliness.
6. We respond to the call to holiness by journeying together with Christ: The parish accompanies the baptized on life's journey to become more Christ-centered, resistant to sin, merciful, continually attentive to building a mature, well-integrated adult spirituality, and committed to charity, peace, prayer, and virtue.
7. We take responsibility for administration and leadership of the parish as good stewards of the gifts Christ has entrusted to us: The parish thrives under the visionary leadership of the pastor, who works in collaboration with his associates, staff, and the laity to ensure that the parish's mission can fully flourish as a result of proper administration. The parish fosters a culture of stewardship and a spirituality of gratitude that inspires parishioners to generously share the gifts Christ has entrusted to them in support of the mission of the church through the parish, the archdiocese, and in the world.