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A Living Witness
The Catholic Common Ground Initiative Strategic Plan

Preamble to the Catholic Common Ground Initiative Strategic Plan

Building upon our foundational document, “Called to Be Catholic: A Church in a Time of Peril”, our 10th Anniversary statement: “Reflecting on the Past, Looking to the Future”, and our first twelve years of experience of service to the Catholic Church in the United States, the Catholic Common Ground Initiative has embarked on a strategic planning process to help us re-imagine how to best serve the Catholic Church in the 21st Century.
            The world, and thus the context in which we serve, continues to change. We have welcomed new immigrants and shared our lives with them as they have contributed their gifts and diversity of cultures to life in this country. In some regions of our country the Church struggles to adapt to the new and growing communities of Catholics, while in other regions dioceses wrestle with the reorganization of parishes and the declining availability of the sacraments. Change often brings stress, diversity of opinion, various perspectives and viewpoints. If not managed well, change can de-energize communities and bring a new divisiveness. Respectful dialogue in the context of prayer engages people with different views to have conversations and exchanges that can lead to greater communion.
            “The Catholic Common Ground Initiative continues to build on the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) by embracing its call for dialogue:

“In virtue of its mission to enlighten the whole world with the message of the Gospel and to gather together in one spirit all women and men of every nation, race, and culture, the church shows itself as a sign of that amity which renders possible sincere dialogue and strengthens it.
Such a mission requires us first of all to create in the church itself mutual esteem, reverence, and harmony, and to acknowledge all legitimate diversity; in this way all who constitute the one people of God will be able to engage in ever more fruitful dialogue, whether they are pastors or other members of the faithful. For the ties which unite the faithful together are stronger than those which separate them: let there be unity in what is necessary, freedom in what is doubtful, and charity in everything.” (Gaudium et Spes, §92)
 
The Catholic Common Ground Initiative remains attentive to the changing context within our Church today. The Initiative, through this planning process, is renewing its mission, values, vision and goals in ways that will be fruitful to the communion of the Catholic Church. The initiative also recognizes that “our ultimate contribution to the life of the Church in the United States will be in the form of an invitation to a way of ecclesial life, rather than in offering programs or methods.”
            In order to enhance participation in the Catholic Common Ground Initiative’s planning process, many individuals and groups have shared their wisdom, hopes and concerns. We are grateful to all these individuals and groups for their helpful contributions. These individuals and groups include:
  • The Catholic Common Ground Initiative Committee
  • The Catholic Common Ground Initiative Futuring Team
  • Staff from the National Pastoral Life Center
  • A representative group of Catholic Bishops in the United States who agreed to individual interviews and/or provided feedback to the 1st Public Draft CCGI Plan.
  • A representative group of priest, Religious and lay leaders who agreed to individual interviews and/or provided feedback to the 1st Public Draft CCGI Plan.
  • Representatives of the National Pastoral Life Center Boar
  • Supporters of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative

            The approved final plan that follows reflects the best thinking of the CCGI Committee. Implementation of this new CCGI plan will be for a 5 year period.

Building upon our foundational document, “Called to Be Catholic: A Church in a Time of Peril”, our 10th Anniversary statement: “Reflecting on the Past, Looking to the Future”, and our first twelve years of experience of service to the Catholic Church in the United States, the Catholic Common Ground Initiative has embarked on a strategic planning process to help us re-imagine how to best serve the Catholic Church in the 21st Century.
The world, and thus the context in which we serve, continues to change. We have welcomed new immigrants and shared our lives with them as they have contributed their gifts and diversity of cultures to life in this country. In some regions of our country the Church struggles to adapt to the new and growing communities of Catholics, while in other regions dioceses wrestle with the reorganization of parishes and the declining availability of the sacraments. Change often brings stress, diversity of opinion, various perspectives and viewpoints. If not managed well, change can de-energize communities and bring a new divisiveness. Respectful dialogue in the context of prayer engages people with different views to have conversations and exchanges that can lead to greater communion.
“The Catholic Common Ground Initiative continues to build on the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Church in the Modern World by embracing its call for dialogue:
“In virtue of its mission to enlighten the whole world with the message of the Gospel and to gather together in one spirit all women and men of every nation, race, and culture, the church shows itself as a sign of that amity which renders possible sincere dialogue and strengthens it.
Such a mission requires us first of all to create in the church itself mutual esteem, reverence, and harmony, and to acknowledge all legitimate diversity; in this way all who constitute the one people of God will be able to engage in ever more fruitful dialogue, whether they are pastors or other members of the faithful. For the ties which unite the faithful together are stronger than those which separate them: let there be unity in what is necessary, freedom in what is doubtful, and charity in everything.” GS 92
The Catholic Common Ground Initiative remains attentive to the changing context within our Church today. The Initiative, through this planning process, is renewing its mission, values, vision and goals in ways that will be fruitful to the communion of the Catholic Church. The initiative also recognizes that “our ultimate contribution to the life of the Church in the United States will be in the form of an invitation to a way of ecclesial life, rather than in offering programs or methods.”
In order to enhance participation in the Catholic Common Ground Initiative’s planning process, many individuals and groups have shared their wisdom, hopes and concerns. We are grateful to all these individuals and groups for their helpful contributions. These individuals and groups include:
 The Catholic Common Ground Initiative Committee
 The Catholic Common Ground Initiative Futuring Team
 Staff from the National Pastoral Life Center
 A representative group of Catholic Bishops in the United States who agreed to individual interviews and/or provided feedback to the 1st Public Draft CCGI Plan.
 A representative group of priest, Religious and lay leaders who agreed to individual interviews and/or provided feedback to the 1st Public Draft CCGI Plan.
 Representatives of the National Pastoral Life Center Board
 Supporters of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative
The approved final plan that follows reflects the best thinking of the CCGI Committee. Implementation of this new CCGI plan will be for a 5 year period.

A Living Witness:  The Catholic Common Ground Initiative Strategic Plan

Approved June 27, 2009

I.    MISSION STATEMENT
The Catholic Common Ground Initiative, inspired by the call to be one in Christ, invites Catholics with differing views about critical issues in the church to engage in prayerful dialogue for the sake of building up the communion of the church.

II.   VALUE STATEMENTS
The Catholic Common Ground Initiative values . . .

  • Fidelity to the church’s tradition
  • Respect for the dignity of each person
  • Respect for the dignity of each person
  • Courage to enter into respectful dialogue
  • Appreciation for legitimate diversity
  • Commitment to the mission of Christ in the church and in the world

III.  VISION STATEMENT
The Catholic Common Ground Initiative is a living witness to the Gospel call for unity. Grounded in love for Christ and his Church, and sustained by prayer, it creates environments where divisions can be overcome, so that “all may be one.”
            Across the country, the Initiative fosters community and understanding among Catholics with diverse opinions and cultural traditions. Its commitment to prayerful dialogue, born of a deep desire for communion, is a source of renewal at all levels of the Church and serves as a model for all persons of good will.
            In all it does, the Initiative confidently proclaims with St. Paul that in Christ there is “neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free.”

IV.   GOAL AND OBJECTIVE STATEMENTS

  1. THE CATHOLIC COMMON GROUND INITIATIVE CONVENES CATHOLICS FROM DIVERSE COMMUNITIES FOR PRAYERFUL DIALOGUES ON CRITICAL ISSUES
    • Identify critical issues for CCGI conversations
    • Provide gatherings for prayerful dialogue
    • Engage new participants in the prayerful dialogues, with greater diversity in targeted audiences (racial, geographic, ideological, etc.)
    • Develop and publish pre- and post-meeting materials and follow up information
  2. THE CATHOLIC COMMON GROUND INITIATIVE PROVIDES RESOURCES FOR NATIONAL, DIOCESAN, PARISH AND ACADEMIC USES
    • Develop resources to enable dialogue to happen at all levels
    • Develop and implement projects to assist dioceses and parishes
    • Develop Common Ground curriculum for ministry formation programs
    • Provide Common Ground consulting services
  3. THE CATHOLIC COMMON GROUND INITIATIVE ENGAGES YOUNGER GENERATIONS IN ITS WORK
    • Convene groups of young adults for consultation to determine their needs and priorities related to the Initiative
    • Develop and implement strategies to reach and engage young adults in CCGI activities and programs
    • Collaborate with designated partners to develop internships and scholarships to further the principles of CCGI
    • Expand CCGI Committee membership to include young adults from diverse cultural and demographic groups, with a variety of skill sets and experiences
    • Collaborate with colleges, universities, dioceses and others who work with young adults to provide training sessions on dialogue
  4. THE CATHOLIC COMMON GROUND INITIATIVE COLLABORATES WITH OTHERS IN ADVANCING SHARED PURPOSES
    • Identify and collaborate with religious organizations with similar values
    • Identify and collaborate with secular organizations that share our values and have an expertise in dialogue
    • Explore mutually beneficial efforts with Catholic Bishops
    • Establish collaborative working relationships with affiliates from colleges and universities, ministry formation programs and diocesan offices
    • Offer consulting services and programs to centers/universities/seminaries that offer advanced religious/pastoral ministry study opportunities
  5. THE CATHOLIC COMMON GROUND INITIATIVE ADAPTS ITS STRUCTURE,TO CLARIFY ITS RESPONSIBILITIES AND RELATIONSHIPS
    • Clarify the Initiative’s civil and canonical status
    • Review and if necessary redefine CCGI internal roles and responsibilities for staff, Committee members, Committee chairs, sub-committees, etc.
    • Review and if necessary redefine CCGI external relationships
    • Establish sub-committees that involve new people on short-term CCGI projects
    • Create and implement a public relations plan for CCGI
  6. THE CATHOLIC COMMON GROUND INITIATIVE IS FINANCIALLY VIABLE AND SUSTAINABLE
    • Create a development plan for the next five years of the Initiative
    • Establish a sustaining donors group committed to yearly donations
    • Build a network of foundation support for CCGI based on the new direction and programs
    • Develop and sell CCGI publications
    • Develop an annual program plan consistent with financial resources

[This statement was prepared by the Catholic Common Ground Initiative Advisory Committee, Most Rev. Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Chair, and edited by the Catholic Common Ground Initiative Staff on August 25, 2017.]