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Heeding 'call to discipleship' seen as key to efforts to build up church


Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori celebrates Mass Feb. 17 during the Mid-Atlantic Congress in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Olivia Obineme, Catholic Review)

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BALTIMORE (CNS) -- Will pastoral leaders simply parrot Pope Francis as they explore new ways to build up the church, or truly "deny" themselves and follow the example of Christ, regardless of the consequences?

That was the challenge described by Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori Feb. 17 during a late-afternoon Mass on day two of the sixth annual Mid-Atlantic Congress.

He began his homily with a comparison of his parents, typical do-it-yourself members of the Greatest Generation, and the builders of the Tower of Babel.

Whereas the former built and remodeled a house in southern Indiana that was founded "on faith, on discipleship and self-giving love," the ancient builders "sought to build independently of God and even in defiance of God," he said.

How does that contrast relate to the reorganizations being undertaken by archdioceses and dioceses around the nation, such as the Archdiocese of Baltimore's pastorate planning process?

"As we go about the work of pastoral planning, whether at the diocesan or parish level, we can fall into the trap of thinking about this project solely in terms of managing finances, personnel and buildings," the archbishop said. "We can sometimes adopt the language of the business world without pausing to 'baptize' it sufficiently -- giving the process only a patina of evangelization.

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