Extending God's Kingdom
One way that we extend the Kingdom of God in this world is through charitable works. This includes showing compassion to the poor and vulnerable, protecting all human life from conception to natural death, and helping to build a just society. At Our Lady of the Lake, we take this mission seriously out of love for our Lord and our neighbors.
After prayerful consideration during our strategic planning processes, Our Lady of the Lake and St. Francis de Sales parishes both decided that our joint Social Justice Board was no longer the best method for fulfilling our charitable responsibilities. In the next year, Our Lady of the Lake plans to increase the resources we allocate to mission activities, creating a new Mission Department led by a full-time Director of Mission.
The Corporal Works of Mercy
Our Lady of the Lake will follow our Lord's commandment to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and prisoners, and give alms to the poor. As a parish, we will renew our commitment to the Holland branch of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a joint ministry with St. Francis de Sales Parish. This includes chartering a new board for the St. Vincent Center and providing significant funding to improve and expand the services offered there. Our Lady of the Lake will also work with other Christian social service organizations in Holland, providing funding, staff, and volunteer support to care for anyone who is in need.
Hispanic Ministries and Migrant Services
The Hispanic community is growing in West Michigan and throughout the United States. As a result, Bishop David Walkowiak has highlighted Hispanic ministry as a priority for the Diocese of Grand Rapids, and the diocese is creating a pastoral plan for serving this community. Our Lady of the Lake will answer the call by continuing our commitment to migrant services and doing a better job of including Hispanic individuals and families in the life of our parish.
Catholic education is another important part of the Church's mission and another priority for our bishop and diocese. Catholic schools integrate faith and learning in a highly effective and evangelical form of outreach. Simply put, they change children's lives for the better. Together with St. Francis de Sales Parish, Our Lady of the Lake owns Corpus Christi Catholic School in Holland. Going forward, we will invest more time, resources, and effort in collaborating with the school and integrating our programs.
Education, Encounter, and Engagement
We must be attentive to the words of Christ and the Church's rich tradition of social teaching in order to live out our mission. One of the roles of Lakeshore Academy for the New Evangelization (LANE), a new parish initiative for adult catechesis, will be to educate the parish on the social teaching of the Church through classes and seminars.
In order to love our neighbors, we must first encounter them. One way that Our Lady of the Lake will continue to foster such encounters is our ongoing partnership with our sister parish in Haiti.
Our Lady of the Lake will also create more meaningful opportunities for parishioners to participate in mission activities. This includes speaking on and mobilizing around social issues under the leadership of our pastor and guided by the priorities of our bishop.