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A Vision Statement for St. James Cathedral

We are the Cathedral
for the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle
and its Archbishop, the Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain.
We are also a parish church
for a vibrant faith community
with a long history that reaches back
to Seattle’s early days.
We are an inner-city parish
with an outreach to many
who live on the edge of poverty and loneliness.
We are a diverse community
that welcomes, accepts, and celebrates
the differences we all bring.
We exist in the heart of the city,
yet sometimes our parishioners
come from considerable distances to worship here.
St. James Cathedral is a crossroads
where ideas and challenges both old and new
are explored in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our Cathedral is also the center
for many cultural and ecumenical events
which both reflect and help to shape
a vital metropolitan community.
Above all,
St. James Cathedral is a community of prayer.

Prayer in community
is at the heart of our Christian identity.
Our celebration of the Eucharist,
Sunday after Sunday,
informs everything we do.
It offers consolation and meaning,
but also challenges us and sends us forth.
Prayer transcends the individual.
It breaks down our isolation
and carries us from I to we.
When we gather for prayer,
we let down our defenses and encounter God’s grace.
In prayer we find Christ,
dwelling in our hearts,
and act on that discovery.

Questions for reflection

  • How important is the Sunday Eucharist to me?  Does it truly inform my life outside of the Cathedral?  In what specific ways does the Sunday Eucharist shape my life and ministry?
  • How does the Sunday Eucharist console and challenge me?
  • What are the gifts I experience from being part of a worshiping community?  What are the challenges?

Faith is a gift from God:
a grace, freely given, that brings us
into communion with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We come to know Christ not only with our hearts,
but with our minds.
As we learn the rich heritage of our Catholic faith,
we become more deeply rooted in Christ’s love.
Teaching the faith is the responsibility
of the entire community;
everything we do as a parish
is an opportunity to grow in faith.
As members of the body of Christ,
we form the faith of those
whose lives intersect with ours,
whether we realize it or not,
and we are also formed by our encounters with others.
We are called to a lifetime
of learning and conversion.

Questions for reflection

  • What is an example from my life when I realized my own words and actions could have an impact on the faith of others?
  • Can I think of an unexpected encounter or experience that has increased my faith? One that has tested it?
  • Do I see myself as a teacher, a witness to our Catholic faith?  How in the past year have I enriched my faith and understanding of our tradition?  How might I do so in the coming year?

Our compassion flows from the Eucharist.
We do not choose between prayer and action:
we are called to both.
In the spirit of the Beatitudes,
we reach out to the poor,
as well as to the poor in spirit.
We offer not only food and shelter,
but the gift of being present to one another.
We inform ourselves
about pressing moral and social issues
so we can stand with those in need
and help them find their voice.
Through our service we bear witness to Christ,
and we encounter him in new ways.
Both those who minister,
and those who are ministered to,
receive a gift.
We recognize the immensity of the need
but we are not discouraged by it,
knowing that God
is able to accomplish far more
than all we ask or imagine.

Questions for reflection

  • Is service of others part of the rhythm of my faith?  How do contemplation and action intersect in my own life/ministry?
  • Is my service of others influenced by my life of prayer?  In what way?
  • How do I use my voice and presence on behalf of the poor?

We are aware that as the Cathedral church,
we are a model for the diocese,
in prayer and worship, and in all our ministries.
We are also a beacon of hope within the city.
We treasure our art and history,
but we are not a museum:
we are an organic, living community
which responds to the needs of the times.
Like cathedrals throughout the world
and throughout history,
we embrace our unique opportunity
to evangelize the culture,
and to be a crossroads for the exchange of ideas.

Questions for reflection

  • Where do I experience the tension between the Church and the culture in which we live?
  • What does the Cathedral have to contribute to our culture?  To our city?  In what ways am I a part of that?


Why a new Vision Statement?
The Pastoral Vision Council offers this Vision Statement in the hopes that it will be a useful instrument in living out our vocation as a Cathedral and as a parish.  We invite you not just to read it, but to use it!
To each member of the parish community, the Spirit has been given for a unique purpose.  This Vision will come to life in our parish to the extent that each one of us finds ways to put the gifts God has given us at the service of the parish.
Parishioners are invited to use it to reflect on how their own service enriches and strengthens the community as a whole, or as a tool to discern how God might be calling them to use their gifts in service.
Visitors and seekers of all kinds are invited to use it to meditate on how God might be calling them, and how this parish community might be a companion on their journey.
Cathedral staff and leadership groups will use this Vision in their program planning in the coming years.
We pray that the Spirit, who is able to accomplish infinitely more than we ask or imagine, will guide our parish community in the coming years.  May we continue to seek ever new ways to meet, know, love, and serve Christ, who is in our midst.
The Pastoral Vision Council  Laura Arcuino • Angela Arralde • John Eshelman • Luisa Gass • Glenn Lux • Maria Laughlin • GiGi Nguyen • Susan Patella • Patricia Repikoff • Julia Richardt • Father Michael G. Ryan • Mark Schoen • Nathan Standifer, facilitator • David Unger


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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303