|11/9/2012 11:42:00 AM|
Excited by New Evangelization
Catholic News Service
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the closing Mass of the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Oct. 28.
The church's New Evangelization, a topic of the recently closed synod, has the potential to transform the world for the better. This should excite us all.
The idea became a central message for Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict has embraced the movement, which he helped create decades ago.
New Evangelization does not mean new content of faith, but does mean revived energy and a revised approach. It re-proposes the faith to an educated, media-saturated world hungry for answers to life's big questions.
The St. John Society, which serves Newman Centers at Oregon State University and Portland State University, is a good example of a community carrying out the New Evangelization. The young community of priests and sisters do not quite "meet people where they are," but rather compassionately persuade students that there is a better way to fulfill life's deepest longings — it's Jesus and his gospel.
For already-practicing Catholics, the New Evangelization begins with personal conversion and then spreads outward. It may touch someone who comes to Mass every Sunday, an inactive Catholic or someone for whom religion is not part of life.
For any of these groups, New Evangelization is about a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, whether that means finding faith for the first time or having the energy to spread the Good News. For Catholics, conversion is not a once-and-done event, but an ongoing process, hopefully with an upward trend.
The New Evangelization counters secular culture. Pope Benedict has highlighted the lives of saints to embolden people to live holy lives against the flow.
And now, during this Year of Faith, the New Evangelization has a chance to create a new channel for the big river of society. Those who take this new direction will be glad. For more about the new evangelization, go to www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization.