Oklahoma City, Okla., Oct 17, 2013 / 04:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In an Oct. 7 pastoral letter entitled “Go Make Disciples,” Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City offered to the members of his archdiocese a multi-year vision of holiness and mission.
“The whole language of discipleship is not something that perhaps has been well understood or very much emphasized, but I think it’s something that we really have to latch onto,” the archbishop told CNA Oct. 15 in a discussion of the pastoral letter.
“’Go make disciples’, that’s a vision for the Church that is perennial, and is not so much time-bound, but it is my intention to really, over the course of the next five years, focus our attention in that direction.”
Archbishop Coakley’s pastoral letter identifies three priorities in relation to discipleship, with specific goals in those areas to be worked towards in the next few years.
The pastoral letter explains that it is a fruit of the Year of Faith, an event which prompted the archbishop to prayerfully discern a vision for the archdiocese shared with his flock. The Church of Oklahoma City held a series of “listening sessions” which allowed people to share their needs and challenges, as well as dreams for the archdiocese.
“We gained a lot from that,” he said, and the archdiocese was able to “see what the Spirit was prompting, through all of this.” They also examined demographic data to anticipate the needs of the local Church.
Archbishop Coakley wrote that sanctification is “the principle and foundation of the Christian life, of all pastoral planning and pastoral work … God creates us for holiness. God calls us to become saints.”
He said that the universal call to holiness is “really the heart of the (Second Vatican) Council, the heart of Lumen gentium for sure, so I’ve hit upon that for many years, even before coming here, trying to inculcate that call to holiness, that call to be saints. That’s what it means to be Christian.”
He had written, “holiness is not the prerogative of an elite few. It is the fundamental vocation that every Christian receives in baptism,” and reflected that holiness is not privatized or individualistic, though its expression is unique to each person.
“I’m trying to speak to the distorted understanding of what holiness means,” Archbishop Coakley explained. People often “equate sanctity with piety, and certainly, saints are pious people, but I think genuine holiness is much (Read More)