Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

10/21/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The message at the core of the New Evangelization is that - before all of this - people need an encounter with the Risen Jesus Christ

One of the things that's new about the New Evangelization is who it's directed to: our fellow Catholics. Another thing that's new about the New Evangelization is who does it: not just missionary orders, but every single Baptized Catholic is really called to say "yes" to their call to evangelization

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/21/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: New Evangelization, missionary, Evangelism, Ralph Martin, conversion, Synod, Year of Faith, renewal, Deacon Keith Fournier


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Blessed John Paul II coined the phrase "New Evangelization" Among the many writings and speeches throughout his pontificate wherein he used it was his 1990 Encyclical Letter entitled "Mission of the Redeemer."

He wrote, "God is opening before the Church the horizons of a humanity more fully prepared for the sowing of the Gospel. I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church's energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples".

Pope Benedict XVI continually calls us to this "New Evangelization". It is a central pillar of his pontificate and a hermeneutic through which we can understand his teaching Magisterium. He erected a Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization tasked with evangelizing countries where the Gospel was announced centuries ago, but where its presence in peoples' daily life seems to be all but lost.

The New Evangelization calls for an authentic renewal of the Church so that she can undertake a new missionary outreach to the world. Only a Church fully alive in the Lord and filled with His Spirit can carry out such an evangelical mission. We are the "living stones" (1 Peter 2:5) of the Church. We are members of Christ's Body. (1 Cor. 12:27) Catholics, all Catholics, need to personally encounter the Risen Christ.

On October 11, 2011 Pope Benedict released a letter entitled "The Door of Faith". (Porta Fidei)  In this letter he wrote "The 'door of faith' (Acts14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church."

The opening day for the Year of Faith, October 11, 2012, was chosen to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the official release of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

As with everything this Pope does, the choice of the Image of a Door and the reference to the Acts of the Apostles, the New Testament account of the missionary activity of the Church of the First Centuries, was packed with meaning. It gives us a key to understanding what he believes is most necessary in our day.

As with every door, the door of faith must be opened. We must open it. Then, we must walk through it and enter into its fullness. Jesus is the door through which we enter to find Life. (John 10:9) The Christian Faith is about encountering a Divine Person, a Savior.

The chapter in the Acts of the Apostles from which the Holy Father quotes in his letter details the spread of the Christian faith into the world of the First Millennium. It speaks of the heroic missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles.

Upon their return they give this testimony o the Christians of the Church of Antioch. "They called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith..."(Acts 14:27). The Pope is leading all of us to and through the Door of Faith, into a new encounter with the Risen Christ in the heart of the Church. This is so we can be missionaries in this new missionary age.

In his beautiful encyclical letter, God is Love (Deus Caritas Est) he wrote: "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction." This emphasis on the necessity of encountering Christ is central to Pope Benedict's message, mission and apostolic ministry. It is also the heart of the New Evangelization.

We need to meet the Lord in order to be converted. We need to be re-catechized - and experience afresh the grace that comes from the Sacraments in order to grow into His likeness. Then, equipped to participate in the mission of the Church, we need to go nto the Third Millennium like Paul and Barnabus went into the First Millennium.

The Year of Faith is an invitation to encounter anew the Risen Lord Jesus, find our home in the heart of His Church and say "yes" to His invitation into the Mission of the Third Millennium of Christianity as loyal sons and daughters of that Church. We can  witness the same kind of miraculous results that Paul and Barnabas did in the First Millennium.

In the summer of 2011 Pope Benedict XVI addressed these words to the faithful, "Today we live in an epoch of new evangelization. Vast horizons open up to the Gospel, while regions of ancient Christian tradition are called to rediscover the beauty of the faith. The protagonists of this mission are the men and women who, like St. Paul, can say: "For me to live is Christ" -- persons, families, communities, who decide to work in the vineyard of the Lord, according to the image of this Sunday's Gospel (cf. Matthew 20:1-16)."

The Catholic Church needs conversion at every level. This will necessitate solid catechesis, instruction in the Catholic Christian faith. Many Catholic Christians do not know what their Church actually teaches. They have embraced what some have called a "cafeteria Catholicism"- choosing what parts of the faith they will follow.

In some cases, a practical atheism is spreading, demonstrated by those who claim the title Christian and profess the ancient Christian Creed at Mass but fail to live it during the rest of the week. The message at the core of the New Evangelization is that - before all of this - people need an encounter with the Risen Jesus Christ.

One of the greatest messengers of this call to such an encounter with the Risen Lord is Dr. Ralph Martin. When I was a young man, in my early association with the Franciscan University of Steubenville, I had the privilege of walking and working with Ralph Martin on some projects. His love for the Lord and ability to communicate that love to others was infectious.

As the years passed, our paths crossed less and less. However, Ralph has continued to pour his life out to do all that he could to bring as many people into the experience of that encounter. I was thrilled to see Ralph pursue further theological training, rooted in his own love for the Lord. I did the same. When I read of his appointment as an expert, a consultor for the Synod on the New Evangelization I was not surprised. In fact, I was elated.

My favorite definition of a theologian is from an early church monk named Evagrius of Pontus. He wrote that a theologian is one who "rests his head on the chest of Christ." The image calls to mind the beloved disciple, John, depicted as doing just that in early Christian art. It also speaks of the indispensable prerequisite for any fruitful study of the Bible, a relationship with the Lord in the intimacy of prayer. Ralph Martin is just such a person.

Ann Schneible recently interviewed Ralph in Rome. The full interview can be read here. Ralph shared with her his thoughts on the New Evangelization. Here is an excerpt:

"ZENIT: We've been hearing this term "New Evangelization" for decades now. However, as Catholics we have always been called to evangelization. What characterizes this New Evangelization as "new"?

Ralph Martin:
"I think John Paul II really gives a very clear definition in Redemptoris Missio, section 33, where he makes a threefold distinction:

"Primary evangelization is preaching the Gospel to people who have never heard it before, like un-evangelized tribes or peoples or cultures, and that has traditionally been the mission work of the Church, what we have understood as evangelization.

"We also have something called "pastoral care" that's addressed to people who are already living in some relationship with Christ.

"But now, we're facing a new situation which is becoming increasingly widespread that we need to respond to, where people who have some Catholic background or they're baptized perhaps, or they're Irish Catholic or German Catholic or Hispanic Catholic, but they're not living as disciples of Christ. These people need to be told the Gospel again, or maybe even for the first time."

"One of the things that's "new" about the New Evangelization is who it's directed to: our fellow Catholics. Another thing that's new about the New Evangelization is who does it: not just missionary orders, but every single Baptized Catholic is really called to say "yes" to their call to evangelization."

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More Living Faith

Former atheist shares with the world his unbelievable journey finding Jesus Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Journalist and Pastor Lee Strobel led a "narcissistic and profane" life before his conversion to Christianity in 1981. The former atheist spent two years interviewing experts and exploring theology, when he became overwhelmed by the evidence for Jesus Christ's ... continue reading


Catholic-raised beef. Yep, that's a thing! Watch

Image of A nun's life is filled with unexpected joys and happiness. For the Benedictine nuns of the Abbey of St. Walburnga, ranching and prayer fit perfectly.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When many Americans think of monks and nuns, they imagine brown or black-clad cloistered people who do nothing but pray all day in perfect isolation from the rest of the world. It's a common misconception and perhaps it dissuades many from a life that is actually ... continue reading


Beating swords into plowshares

Image of

By Tony Magliano

"In the days to come, the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills," writes the prophet Isaiah. "Many peoples shall come and say: Come, let us go up to the Lord's mountain . that he may instruct us in his ... continue reading


Insight from Pope Francis: 'Minimum skills minuimum wages' --What's wrong with that? ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING Watch

Image of Ask yourself, am I judging or am I helping?

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

"Don't like it? Go home then," Pope Francis remarked on the throwaway culture of our world and how it impacts the lives of millions at the margins. His words are a wake-up call for all of us. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - How many times have we considered the low ... continue reading


ISIS is not the first to persecute Christians, a look at the Roman persecutions of the early Church (PART ONE) Watch

Image of St. James the Greater, one of the first Christian martyrs.

By Robert Mullen (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is a sad and disheartening fact that many Christians suffer from constant-and often brutal-persecution today, most visibly in places like the Middle East where the Islamic State rules, or in Asian nations like India or China where Christianity is a ... continue reading


God is Green! Come celebrate all of God's creations during March Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters," Genesis 1:1-2. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - God created the earth we ... continue reading


What Does the Lord Jesus Mean When He Calls us to Be Perfect? Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The character of Jesus Christ is being formed in each one of us as we say yes - and choose to cooperate with the Lord who is making us new, every day.  Perhaps our problem is rooted in understanding - and responding - to this call to be perfect. Perhaps it is ... continue reading


Making a Lenten Retreat with Pope Francis: Learning from Elijah Watch

Image of There is a mystery here, deep and profound, yet as simple as the broom tree encounter of our teacher Elijah. God is searching for men and women who will surrender their lives in love to Him in this hour. Often, it takes the depletion of all of our own efforts and resources before we are willing to give up - and give in - to Him. When we do, the life of true faith begins. It is there we learn to hear the God of surrendered love in the whisper of the wind. It is there that we learn the Faith of Elijah, under the broom tree.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In many respects, our life on this earth is a classroom of love and a continual invitation to holiness. As we age, we are given the opportunities we need to receive the graces we need to empty ourselves of all that clutters up our life - so that we can be free to ... continue reading


Vatican deeply apologizes for Pope Francis' Argentina 'Mexicanization' comment Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis did not mean any offense - but in a private email about his native land Argentina's drug trafficking issues, the pope expressed concern over Argentina's "Mexicanization." The Vatican is now trying to clarify and apologize to any parties that may ... continue reading


UPDATE: Two years after resignation Pope Emeritus Benedict said to be doing well Watch

Image of Pope Emeritus Benedict is said to be in better health since his resignation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With Pope Francis in the spotlight, many wonder what is happening with Pope Emeritus Benedict, who is keeping true to his pledge to remain out of the public eye. For the curious, we have good news, Pope Emeritus Benedict is doing well, if not even better than before. ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 18:18-20
18 'Come on,' they said, 'let us concoct a plot ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 31:5-6, 14, 15-16
5 to your hands I commit my spirit, by you have I ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:17-28
17 Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the road ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 4th, 2015 Image

St. Casimir
March 4: Casimir grew up in a world where his life was not his own. As a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter