Time has been described as that which measures change. We change as we grow. The present time and place is one of intense change, and the Church in this Archdiocese is not immune. Changes to society in general and how the Catholic faith is lived here have led to a new planning effort in the Archdiocese.

Cardinal Justin Rigali announced the effort this week as “Call to Conversion and Holiness.” The pastoral letter examines five areas that will be the studied by bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful in coming months and years. It examines what will be studied, not precisely how they will change.{{more}}

For instance, how will a group of parishes in a given area serve its faithful best? How can Catholic education be offered most effectively in the area? How many priests are available for the pastoral needs of the area, considering all the needs in the Archdiocese? How can the archdiocesan administration most efficiently serve the needs of the faithful in parishes? How will all these needs be met financially?

Those answers remain unknown at this time. But the reasons we seek them are to achieve three overarching, “super” priorities: deeper devotion to the holy Eucharist, more frequent confession and more fervent prayer for priestly vocations. Upon this spiritual bedrock begins the challenge of our time, the result of which is renewal of Church life.

Strengthening the Church will take collaboration and hard work. Catholics here are well accustomed to both.

The archdiocesan capital campaign, whose progress is charted in this issue, posed the challenge of strengthening the Archdiocese’s ability to meet the needs of the future and the demands of the present. The goal of raising at least $200 million for the Church’s needs, which exceed even that amount, has been met. The work continues as people fulfill their pledges through their generous and sacrificial gifts.

Underlying that effort to strengthen the Church and this new initiative is the spiritual fire in the hearts of the faithful. It will need to be expressed by all because we all have a role to play in “Call to Conversion and Holiness.”

Its mission is ultimately one of evangelization. Each of us bears the baptismal call to invite family and friends to grow together in holiness and share the joy of love and life in Jesus, through His Church. That love and the Church that proclaims it never changes.