Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

3/17/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

New Evangelization requires an authentic renewal of the Church so that she can undertake such a new missionary outreach to the world.

We need to learn from this great missionary for our work in a Pre-Christian West. Patrick saw what was good in the culture and "baptized" what could be redeemed. He respected the civil order, but never compromised the true faith. He won the next generation, preaching the Gospel without compromise and letting the Holy Spirit work. As a result, all of Ireland became Christian! From its beautiful shores western civilization, rooted in the Christian faith and the Catholic Church, advanced to change the world. Now, the work must begin again and we must become the new missionaries to an age desperately in need of the Saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

St. Patrick is a Model for this new missionary age

St. Patrick is a Model for this new missionary age

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/17/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: St. Patrick, St Patricks Day, Ireland, erin go bragh, Irish, New Evangelization, missionary, preaching, lay faithful, Pope Benedict XVI, Year of Faith, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) -  On St. Patrick's Day, everyone is Irish. The celebration is an example of the presence of a Christian memory in the West. However, as we tumble toward the abyss in what many call a post-Christian culture, the real heritage of the Apostle to Ireland might be lost if we do not stop and examine his message and mission.

I think I stand with the Apostle to Ireland in rejecting the term, "post-Christian". Instead, I choose to call ours a Pre-Christian Culture. Without apology, I proclaim that the greatest thing which could happen to Western culture is a rebirth of Christianity and Christian influence.

Keep the Saint in St. Patrick's Day! Shop these remarkable Catholic products.

Throughout the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II he called for a "New Evangelization." Pope Benedict XVI has made this a central pillar of his pontificate. 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.

In a Motu Propio directive  (which means issued on his own authority) Pope Benedict established this new dicastery (Vatican Office) and underscored the seriousness with which he views this mission of the New Evangelization.

The Pope summoned a global Synod of Bishops to be held in Rome on October 7-28, 2012. It's theme, The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. He released for all of the faithful a study guide which can be read and downloaded here. It would serve well as a working document for the Church throughout the entire world.

Cultures formerly infused with a Christian culture are now regularly called post-Christian and understandably so. In April 2009 John Meachem, then of Newsweek magazine, wrote a widely circulated article entitled "The End of Christian America."  There is little doubt that Europe, the United States, Canada and Latin America are all "post Christian."

Yes, there are many good and genuine Christians living within these Nations. However, the scourge of legal abortion, the attacks on true marriage and the family and society founded upon it, and the growing hostility toward people of faith, speak of the decline of Christian influence in these Nations. However, as a proponent of the New Evangelization I propose we refer to them as "Pre-Christian."  As a Catholic, I suggest Mr. Meachem has a surprise coming.

When Blessed John Paul visited the Americas he wrote a letter entitled "To the Church in America" in which we find these words: "The New Evangelization calls for a clearly conceived, serious, and well organized effort to evangelize culture. The Son of God, by taking upon Himself our human nature, became incarnate within a particular people, even though His redemptive death brought redemption to all people, of every culture, race and condition. The gift of His Spirit and His love are meant for each and every people and culture, in order to bring them all into unity after the perfect unity existing in the Triune God." (Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia in America, 70)

This call to a New Evangelization invites each of us to live our baptismal vocation, no matter what our state in life, completely given over to the work of the Lord. We do that when we choose to live at the heart of the Church for the sake of the world. Since the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church we have been constantly reminded that the Church is by nature missionary and that every baptized Christian participates in her missionary activity.

The New Evangelization means taking this truth to heart and living differently. The New Evangelization requires an authentic renewal of the Church so that she can undertake such a new missionary outreach to the world. These two aspects of the one call are intricately connected. Only a Church fully alive in the Lord and filled with His Spirit can carry out such an evangelical mission.

I believe that we are at the beginning of a great resurgence in the Catholic Church precisely for this mission. Just when her opponents are ready to count the Catholic Church out, the sleeping giant is rising. The Church is Christ's plan for the entire world. The early Fathers called her the "world reconciled." There is no "plan B" through which He will save this world. She is a universal sign, sacrament and seed of the kingdom of God. The early Christians would have never understood the notion in some contemporary Christian circles that anyone could follow Jesus and not "need" the Church.

Saint Cyprian (A.D. 258) wrote, "He who has turned his back on the Church of Christ shall not come to the rewards of Christ; he is an alien, a worldling, an enemy. You cannot have God for your Father if you have not the Church for your mother. Our Lord warns us when He says: `he that is not with Me is against Me, and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth.' Whosoever breaks the peace and harmony of Christ acts against Christ; whoever gathers elsewhere than in the Church scatters the Church of Christ." (On The Unity of the Catholic Church)

We are called to love the Church with the affection of sons and daughters; she is our "mother." We were reborn in the fount of Baptism as through a second womb. We live our Christian life now always as a part of the Church. To belong to the Head means to be a member of His Body. The Church is not some-thing, but Some-One, in whom we now live and breathe and have our being. As members of the Church we are passing through a time of purification and preparation. Hopefully, it is bringing us to our knees. It is only there we will find what we need. The Church has undergone similar purifications and reform many times over two thousand years. Her hull may be battered but she is still the Ark of Salvation.

Church history demonstrates that such seasons of purification are followed by times of great restoration and revival for the Church. So it will be in our day. This Church called Catholic is not a mere human institution. If it were, it would have shipwrecked long ago. The contemporary culture has lost its way, throwing off almost every remnant of Christian influence. It has embraced a new paganism. What Pope Benedict calls the "Dictatorship of Relativism" is the bad fruit of a rejection of truth.

The West has embraced a practical atheism. It is Eden's error written large in an age which has rejected God and His plan. Like Cain, western culture wanders aimlessly in a land of Nod, East of Eden. America consistently polls as one of the most "religious" of the Nations of the West but has little evidence of the influence of religious faith in its daily life. Alasdair MacIntyre once exclaimed, "The creed of the English is that there is no God but it is wise to pray to him from time to time." This is the "creed" of the West. Religion is acceptable in America as long as it is kept "private."

However Christianity can never be kept "private."  It must be given away in love. The Church exists to evangelize. The Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ is profoundly public. Only a holy, faith filled Catholic Church can bring the current culture of death, use and darkness to a conversion and transformation. This is the task of the "New Evangelization." Given the current state of moral decline we need to view the entirety of the American continent as missionary territory, ripe for the New Evangelization. We also need to view the once Christian Nations of the European continent as mission territory.  Most importantly, we need to view ourselves as missionaries in a new missionary age.

The Lord of the harvest is calling workers to the New Evangelization of His Church. Then, as loyal sons and daughters of that Church, He is calling us into the fields of contemporary culture which are ripe and ready for harvest. St. Patrick stands as a model of just how we must pursue this mission. Like so many, I paid my tribute to him this year with my article entitled A New Springtime for the Church of Ireland: Who is this Saint Named Patrick and Why Does it Matter?

We need to learn from the Apostle to Ireland. When Patrick landed in Ireland in 432, tasked by the Holy Spirit with evangelizing a pagan people, he drew from a deep, living, dynamic faith. He understood well the challenge he faced. He had been held captive as a prisoner in that land. He knew the culture, the Druids who ruled it, and the realities he faced in a hostile culture. But, more importantly, he knew the Lord whom he served and he was unafraid. History records that Patrick had a missionary strategy, and it bore extraordinary fruit. We need to follow his example as we set about the missionary task entrusted to us in this hour.

When he entered into a district, he would first preach the Gospel to the Chieftains and, following their custom, offer them a gift to honor them. Only a few were converted, but Patrick knew exactly what he was doing. He would ask for two favors, for a plot of land upon which to build a church and permission to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ - as fully revealed in the Catholic Church - to the people. Both would be granted.

Historic accounts revealed that he would then go to the sons and daughter of the rulers. He wrote in his Confession " Wherefore, then in Ireland, they who never had the knowledge of God, but until now only worshipped idols and abominations - now there has lately been prepared a people of the Lord, and they are called children of God. The sons and daughters of the Irish chieftains are seen to become monks and virgins of Christ."

We have a similar task in the West. We need to learn a lesson from this great missionary. He saw what was good in the culture and "baptized" what could be redeemed. He respected the civil order, but never compromised the faith. Then, he won the next generation by preaching the Gospel without compromise and letting the Holy Spirit work.

As a result, all of Ireland became Christian! From its beautiful shores western civilization, rooted in the Christian faith and the Catholic Church, advanced to change the whole world. The Gospel took root in the Celtic culture, transforming it from within as leaven in a loaf. Ireland came to be known as the "island of saints and scholars". Even now, in the midst of its travail and the purification underway in the Church in Patrick's homeland, it can - and it will - rise once again in Christ!

We need the Saint Patrick's of our age to rise to the hour in this new missionary age. After all, the same God whom Patrick served is still at work, pouring out His Spirit and calling men and women to be fishers of men in this Third Christian Millennium.

---


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


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More U.S.

Acknowledging Unknown Soldier over known soldiers: Over 1.2 million veterans lack health insurance Watch

Image of As a culture, many of us feel more comfortable honoring the tomb of the Unknown Soldier --

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As many leave laurels at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the United States refuses to acknowledge the health and benefits of known soldiers. While most people assume that veterans automatically receive health care coverage through the Veterans Health ... continue reading


Ferguson in flames as policeman who shot, killed teenager found not guilty Watch

Image of Police claimed they came under heavy automatic weapon fire. Some buildings were left to burn because of the danger.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People have responded to violence - with violence. After Police Officer Darren Wilson was been cleared of all charges in the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown in August. His surrounding community of Ferguson, Missouri has responded with widespread ... continue reading


Priest in Ferguson reports deep mistrust between groups fueling tension Watch

Image of Police in Ferguson move detain a protester.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Catholic priest assigned to Ferguson, MO, spoke with Vatican Radio about the "festering" mistrust between the populace and police. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Vatican Radio shared an interview with Fr. Arthur Cavitt, a parish priest who was asked about the ... continue reading


Guliani/ Dyson Debate: Racism is Sin. Legitimate Social Analysis and Questions are Not Watch

Image of Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Georgetown Sociology Professor and media commentator Dr. Michael Eric Dyson

By Keith A. Fournier

I do not believe that the comments of the former Mayor of New York revealed racism or what the Professor of Sociology called "white supremacy". Rather, he raised matters concerning sociological statistics which need to be considered as we all seek to further the ... continue reading


Binge drinking: Only 10 percent of those who 'drink too much' are alcoholic Watch

Image of Women who have eight or more drinks per week and men who have 15 or more are considered heavy drinkers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The information would appear to encourage even more irresponsible behavior over the holidays . but a recent study says that only a small percentage of adults who "drink too much" are clinically alcoholic. The other 90 percent just, well, drink too much. LOS ... continue reading


Walmart, priding itself in war against hunger, has employees dependent on food banks Watch

Image of A day of protests against Walmart have been planned for the upcoming Black Friday.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Having a job in the United States is a guarantee of food on the table - unless of course, you are a Walmart employee. Cashiers at the world's biggest retailer earn $8.48 an hour, which is above the minimum wage - but not enough to feed the average family. LOS ... continue reading


Another example of Imperialism! Why Obama fired Hagel Watch

Image of Secretary of Defense Chuch Hagel, often voiced frustration with Obama's administration and foreign policies and was never really admitted into the president's inner circle.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama has announced that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has resigned from his cabinet post, partially in response to the growing number of military conflicts and global crisis. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hagel, the only Republican on ... continue reading


In the fight against liberal revisionism, Texas strikes major blow Watch

Image of The Texas Board of Education has voted to approve textbooks which they claim will fight back against a growing liberal school system.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Texas has approved controversial new history textbooks which have been criticized by academics as more full of politics than true history. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - More than 5 million public school students will use the new textbooks in fall of 2015, after ... continue reading


OUTRAGE - Middle school principal suspended over active shooter drill Watch

Image of Active shooter drills are becoming more common on school campuses, but they're also controversial.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A school district in Florida has acted responsibly in suspending a middle school principal who staged an "active shooter drill" on her school campus which terrified children into believing that their lives were in danger. Similar drills have come into vogue across the ... continue reading


The Marriage Meme of Francis: What Did the Pope Just Say about Marriage and Family? Watch

Image of Pope Francis presiding at a marriage Liturgy at St Peters.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Pope Francis embraces the unchangeable truth about marriage as solely between one man and one woman, intended for life, open to life and formative of family as the sole Meme - using the word properly.  That is why you will not read much about the crystal ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 14:14-19
14 Now in my vision I saw a white cloud and, sitting ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:10, 11-12, 13
10 Say among the nations, 'Yahweh is king.' The world ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:5-11
5 When some were talking about the Temple, remarking ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 25th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine of Alexandria
November 25: St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr whose feast day ... 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