We are one family, each with a part to play
A conversation with Bishop Michael O. Jackels
On the Feast of Corpus Christi we launched the parish phase of the TOGETHER vision. During this next 18 months, I will travel to every parish in our Diocese – in fact, I have already visited with parishes in Iola and Yates Center – to talk about each member of our Diocese as brothers and sisters in the family of God.
You could say that these parish visits are a key part of the TOGETHER vision because of the first two goals: to strengthen the sense of family or oneness in our Diocese and to deepen our practice of stewardship as a way of life.
For me, as the bishop, to be physically present at every Mass, in every parish, to say to every parishioner in the Diocese of Wichita: We are a family. It’s more than about me. It’s more than about my parish. It’s about us.
It’s like growing up at the Jackels home. Somebody had to set the table and clear the table. Another had to wash; another had to dry and put things away. Everyone had a part to play. I think that when we live this way, it’s certainly a lot more healthy and holy for each individual. And it makes the whole family much more healthy and holy.
The Diocese of Wichita is a family. We share in each other’s lives, and we share life with each other. And like in a family, everyone bears a share for the responsibility of the mission of the Church. Like in a family, the participation of each member of the family is modified to some extent by their circumstances, by their age or ability. My little brother couldn’t have done anything to set the table, but he entertained us while we were doing it until he got old enough to pitch in himself.
Everybody takes a part. Maybe that’s not the way it is in every family, but it certainly is in the family of God – the Church.
This call to take responsibility for the mission of the Church is a call to each individual, not just to some. All of us – myself and the newest infant baptized in our parishes – we all need to grow in this sense of family, in this sense of mission to do our part to help carry out the work at hand.
I’m looking forward to visiting each parish. And I’m confident that people will see the importance of these goals. I’m also confident that God, who began this good work, will bring it to a happy completion.
Goals of the TOGETHER vision
• Strengthen the oneness between parish and diocese.
• Deepen our practice of stewardship as a way of life, sharing responsibility for the mission of the Church.
• Invite everyone to help fund seminarian education, Catholic formation programs and a renovation of the Cathedral campus.