Vision of Archbishop Donald Reece

Archbishop of Kingston

installed as Archbishop on 12 April 2008

 

Y o u r    K i n g d o m    C o m e !
 

A VISION FOR THE ARCHDIOCESE OF KINGSTON

 
Dear fellow saints of God, Easter peace and joy to you!

At the Thanksgiving Mass at the Holy Trinity Cathedral on Saturday, April 11, I underscored the good work done by my predecessors – and on that particular occasion, reference being
made to the outgoing ordinary, Most Rev. Lawrence Burke – and the need to build on it for the good of the Church and the ever-coming Kingdom of God.

The song that acts as a prelude to my vision for the Archdiocese of Kingston is No Man (one) is an Islan
d. No matter the vision, unless we all buy into it, it is bound to fail. Therefore, the collaboration of every single member of the body of Christ is crucial.

This Church of ours is, indeed, the body of Christ, with each member being a vital part with his or her particular gifts given by God for a purpose. It is within that framework that I invite my brothers and sisters to join hands and heart with me in the furtherance of my motto: ‘Your kingdom come!’

Vision Statement

The faithful of the Archdiocese of Kingston (clergy, religious and laity), called by the Father and empowered by the Holy Spirit, will aim at continuing to build together the Church, the body of Christ, that is more vibrant, visible and vocal.

 

OBJECTIVES

A VIBRANT CHURCH:

Catholic Christians can only be vibrant if we are obedient to the Word of God in all aspect of life. To do this, all the faithful (clergy, religious and laity) must live out their general, common, baptismal promise and to be faithful to their specific vocations in order to become lovers of the Christ whom we portray. Scriptural texts that encourage and challenge us are the following: “All those who have been baptised in Christ have put on Christ” (Gal 3:27). Again, “The one that is Christ is a new creature” (2 Cor 5:17). Therefore, we must be spirit filled and Spirit-led (cf Gal 5: 13 – 18). The early Church had that vibrancy which we want to recapture in order to live fully our Christian life in today’s world (cf Acts 2: 42 – 44). That vibrancy could be encapsulated in the words: ‘Look, how they love one another!’ Such vibrancy, rooted in intimacy with the Word –made-flesh, should lead to a Church that is also missionary by nature: “Go, make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28: 19). Therefore, in the scheme of things, the Church communities in the rural areas must be cared for and developed, and the many persons who have no church affiliation cannot be ignored. Vibrancy born of the Spirit must be missionary.

A VISIBLE CHURCH:

Catholic Christians, who are filled with God’s Spirit, must be different in the society- even without being preachy or appearing to be ‘holier – than – you’. We must be proud of who we are: “a holy people, a priestly people, a consecrated people set apart to sing the praises of God” (II Pet 2:9). Various currents in terms of the Church’s values and principles, especially life issues (regarding abortion and capital punishment) and other issues of morality. Being light, salt and yeast, we ought not to be timid to stand alone for what is in conformity with God’s will. Rather, we must heed the words of St. Paul, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your minds.” (Rom 12:2).

The good works that we do, which are nothing but expressions of faith in Christ Jesus, must somehow be made known, for often we hide the lamp under the bushel basket: schools; clinics; HIV/AIDS assistance; the various Mustard Seed caring communities; the work of the Missionaries of the Poor; the work of St. Vincent de Paul Society; Food for the Poor Projects – all of these, and more, make visible in a very concrete way the compassionate face of Jesus reflected in the Church which He founded to be the sacrament of His Presence among humankind: “Behold, I will be with you always until the end of this world.” (Matt. 28:20).

A VOCAL CHURCH:

Catholic Christians, who have a long history – with many sinners, yes, but many more illustrious and outstanding saints – have something to say in every age and to every generation. Humbly, we share our wealth with others, but we must first of all know who we are and what we have as a Church. The mysteries we hold dear, the Word we proclaim and the sacraments we celebrate must have some connection with life and the quality of life. For instance, the mystery of the Holy Trinity challenges us to a more communitarian, simple way of life, whereby we become our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, and avoid becoming victims of greed.

PROMOTING CHRISTIAN VALUES

The Word challenges us to be genuine in our discipleship, and the sacraments are nothing less than expressions of our union with Christ, who is God’s loving sign among us. The Catholic faith lived fully should promote these values: the unity of all, the holiness and sanctity of life, and the common good. Too often, because we live in a post- Christian environment, we fail to be prophetic in our pronouncements and our actions on issues pertaining to these basic values. If we are not careful, our silence will unwittingly give consent to common greed, individualism, relativism and minimalism, all of which lead to a breakdown of civil society and the weakening of the Church.

Having set our vision for the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Kingston – vibrant, visible and vocal Church – does that mean that we isolate ourselves from the rest of the society, and from our ecumenical brethren or from people of other faiths? Indeed not! That would be tantamount to establishing a religious ghetto or a ‘religious garrison’.

ANCHORED IN GOD’S WORD

Rather, we as Catholic Christians firmly believe that ‘out of many, we are one people’ and, especially so, since we are all made in the image and likeness of God. We bring to the common table of humanity our rich deposit of Christian values which are anchored in the Word of God and elucidated throughout the ages as the Church through its official teachings; we constantly attempt apply Christian faith to life, and avoid unhealthy compartmentalization of faith and morals. We can do no less!

As we make visible our faith in action, we must heed the Lord’s high-priestly prayer, ‘That all be one!’ (John 17:21) and make every effort to pray and work with others of goodwill for the kingdom values: ‘justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’ (Rom 14: 17). In so doing, we are oriented towards that unity that we seek, along with our other Christian brothers and sisters. Together, we ought to uphold with passion the sanctity of life, common decency and pursuit of the common good for the Church and for the welfare of Jamaica, land we love. Only in that way will we work assiduously for the approximation of that part of the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Your Kingdom come!’

In undertaking the ideals of this vision, we must not only say, to borrow a well-known saying, “Yes, we can!”, rather, empowered and urged on by God’s Holy Spirit to build up His Church, we dare to say, Yes, we must!

God bless!

DONALD J. REECE, DD
ARCHBISHOP OF KINGSTON
 

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