What exactly is the purpose of a parish mission statement?
Well, if you ask an expert (i.e., any member of your local parish council) it’s meant to provide a concise expression of a parish’s purpose for existence.
If you ask me, however, I think the only thing most parish mission statements actually manage to accomplish is to arouse feelings of self-satisfaction in those who draft these miserable things.
I spent some time this morning poking around the internet reading parish mission statements at random (my hair shirt is at the dry cleaners) and by all indications there must be an unwritten, non-negotiable minimum requirement concerning the use of certain buzz words like community, welcoming, inclusive, diverse, active…
Just as I was about to write off every single one of them as entirely useless, I came across an exception on the website of Most Holy Redeemer Parish in San Francisco which reads in part:
The parish offers a spiritual home to all: senior citizens and youth; single people and families; the healthy and the sick, particularly persons with HIV disease; regardless of their background, gender, race, social status, gender identity or sexual orientation.
That’s what I call a useful parish mission statement: Now I know where not to go to Mass next time I visit the bay area.