One reason why the development of Vision and Mission statement is important is that all organisations and cultures need symbols, myths and rituals that express what is important to the group and inculcate people into the group. Vision and Mission statements are symbols, conveying both meaning and emotion. Ideally the statements will “direct the reader to think about, imagine, make contact with or move towards another more profound and often mysterious reality”. (Arbuckle, 2013, p. 13)
Vatican II encouraged Catholic to craft their identities based on the Gospel and the church’s Tradition. Individually this is difficult, but together as colleagues sharing a commitment to education, to health care or another ministry, they can through their Vision and Mission Statements express their Catholic identity. Culturally this is an empowering experience and harnesses considerable energy for the individuals and the organisation in their quest to bring about the reign of God. It is a way to affirm that the work they do individually and collectively is worthwhile and effective.
Before developing the Vision and Mission statements, most organisations or schools need to recover and express their myths. Myths are symbols in story form. They “are storehouses of memory, linking people to the past and providing them with identities and impetus to face an unknown future”.(Arbuckle, 2013, p. 14) As such it is opportune to begin the process of developing Vision and Mission Statements with storytelling, reflection on the life of founder/s, contemplation on the Scriptures, engagement with inspiring material from the Tradition of the Church, such as extracts from a papal encyclical.
In Towards a Vision and Mission I am sharing with you examples of processes or worksheets to guide groups in the development of Vision and Mission Statements. If you are unsure of how it all fits together, call me and I’ll support you in adapting or applying these to your context.
Another helpful resource for you may be the recently published book “Will Our Schools Be Catholic in 2030?” (Kavanagh & Pallisier, 2015) by Br Aengus Kavanagh and Sr Leone Pallisier. In fact the extract that I use for reflecting on the story of Jesus is also included in their book, so I guess I picked up this idea from Leone in the past. Thank you both for this resource. (Email Leone to order a copy).
Arbuckle, G. A. (2013). Catholic identity or identities? : refounding ministries in chaotic times. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press.
Kavanagh, A., & Pallisier, L. (2015). Will Catholic Schools be Catholic in 2030? Sydney: Province of the Patrician Brothers.