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Mission: To Belong

Franciscan University of Steubenville has a mission statement. It has 123 words and is three paragraphs long. The mission is set out on page 241 of the 1997-99 catalog. It is "a statement of purpose, commitment and policy highlighting the distinguishing marks of the university." A mission statement is essential for planning, and it helps those in an organization to test decisions and evaluate daily routine. Above all, it gives a sense of identity: "This is who we are. This is what we are about." Franciscan University is about higher education, moral, spiritual and religious values, and the example of St. Francis of Assisi.

Many organizations have mission statements. Sometimes they are short enough to fit on the back of a business card. The shorter the mission statement, the more likely people are to keep it in mind when making choices.

Do you have a mission statement? Have you put into words what you are about? Do you make your choices in the light of clear plans for your life?

This column is one of a series on "preparation for life". You will be better prepared if you create a personal vision of what you want your life to be about. This is an invitation to write your own mission statement, or to improve what you already have. A good statement answers basic questions: Who? What? Why? How? In other words, it touches on identity (Who are you?), priorities (What matters to you?), motivation (Why will you keep at it?), method (How will you go about it?). An example may help in learning how to write a statement and how to live it. Here is a worked example, which states lifetime goals in 25 words:

                  To belong to Jesus Christ;

                  To exist for the praise of God's glory;

                  To discover God in all of life;

                  To serve Christ in others.

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