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'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Living Faith

Andrew M. Greenwell: St. Bonaventure and the Fear of the Lord Watch

Image of You want God's mercy?  Here is St. Bonaventure's advice: avoid sin and develop a healthy fear of the Lord.- Andrew Greenwell

By Andrew M. Greenwell

The Church teaches that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given us as part of sanctifying or habitual grace.  If we are in a state of grace, these gifts are present.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit are similar to supernaturally-infused virtues in that they ... continue reading


The forgotten plight of Native Americans

Image of

By Tony Magliano

When it comes to the harsh difficulties many Native Americans face every day, the saying "out of sight, out mind" hits home. Many people have only a vague sense of the serious past and present injustices suffered by Native Americans.From the very beginning, starting ... continue reading


Mustard Seed Faith and Living as a Christian in the Real World Watch

Image of The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches. The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened. (Matt. 13: 31 - 33)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

All the images Jesus uses in these parables concern the spreading of the kingdom or reign of God. They are meant to bring home the new reality that comes when we choose to live our call to discipleship and truly begin to cooperate with grace in our daily lives. ... continue reading


VATICAN HELPS THE HOMELESS, plans to provide free showers, haircuts and shaves near St. Peter's Square Watch

Image of Rome's homeless can receive free haircuts, shaves and showers beginning February 16.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican will begin providing homeless people in Rome a place to not only shower, but to also receive haircuts and shaves starting next month, according to Pope Francis' charity office. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St Peter's Square will open with the ... continue reading


Play with your children, Pope Francis commands fathers Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While some of his comments have provoked controversy, Pope Francis in a private audience this week said something that very few people would argue with. The Pope commanded that all fathers take time to play with their children - and not be so absorbed with work ... continue reading


Archbishop reprimands Catholic lawmaker, says no true Catholic can dissent from church teaching on abortion Watch

Image of Archbishop Cordileone said in a written statement, that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in a press conference on January 22 at the Capitol, was asked twice whether an unborn child 20 weeks into pregnancy is a human being. Pelosi finally replied that a woman has "the right" to abort her child. Archbishop ... continue reading


Religious persecution uniting Christians worldwide in 'Ecumenism of blood,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"In this moment of prayer for unity, I would also like to remember our martyrs, the martyrs of today," Pope Francis said as he was speaking to members of a number of Christian Churches. Gathered in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls this past weekend, ... continue reading


Andrew M. Greenwell: Jesus is the Heart and the Marvel of the Gospel Watch

Image of Since the incarnation of the Word, the

By Andrew M. Greenwell

If pursued, and pursued rightly (that is, without moral or intellectual prejudice), metaphysics leads us to a threshold, a threshold we might call the limina fidei, the threshold of faith.  Reason takes us to a place where we know God--that He is.  But ... continue reading


Who Are My Mother and Brothers? We are the Family of Jesus Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Through our Baptism, we are invited into the very family of God. When we choose to respond to grace and live in obedience to the will and the Word of God; we enter into an eternal relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We actually become a part of ... continue reading


St Francis DeSales Challenges Us to Live a Life of True Devotion Watch

Image of Today in our Liturgical calendar in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we remember St Francis DeSales (1567-1610). The Saints are all given as examples to emulate. They are our companions on the journey, men and women like us who responded to God's invitation to become like Jesus. They pray for us because we are joined with them in the eternal communion of love. They also put legs on the Gospel, showing us what holiness looks like.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I say that devotion must be practiced in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman. But even this distinction is not sufficient; for the practice of ... 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, Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
1 Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope ... Read More

Psalm, Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
69 and he has established for us a saving power in ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:35-41
35 With the coming of evening that same day, he said ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 31st, 2015 Image

St. John Bosco
January 31: What do dreams have to with prayer? Aren't they just random ... 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