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The New Evangelization in Parishes
The Holy See Press Office has published a list of 58 propositions about the New Evangelization — what it is, who should do it, and its place in the Church. Parish churches around the world, the bishops conclude, should play a strong role in evangelizing others and re-evangelizing Catholics.
Complied by bishops from around the world at an October meeting called by Pope Benedict XVI, the list was presented to the Pope as a the possible basis of a future papal document.
The official list is written in Latin and, according to protocol, will not be available to the public until after it is reviewed in Rome and approved by the Pope. However, with the permission of the pontiff, the provisional (unofficial) English version of the list has been released to the public. It is available online through ZENIT, a non-profit, international Catholic news agency, and other sources.
The provisional document asserts that the New Evangelization called for by Bl. Pope John Paul II and reaffirmed by the current pope should take place in parishes, the proper place for faith formation (Proposition 44). However, the bishops acknowledge that in many areas of the world, parishes are not the centers for Catholic life that they are meant to be, but are often “seen as only a place for important events or even as a tourist center.” While renewing parish life is an important part of the New Evangelization, the bishops recognize that ministries to prisons, hospitals, and other non-parish organizations should also be important “since Christ showed his preference for the persons found there.”
The Synod for the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith also proposed that the New Evangelization be made a permanent missionary dimension of the Church (Proposition 7) because a secularized world they describe as not very different from that of ancient Rome brings new challenges to evangelization.
The bishops recommend that efforts for the New Evangelization concentrate on the Good News of salvation, sacred Scripture, and the documents of Vatican II (Proclamations 9-11), and that communications address secularization, globalization, peace, and human dignity. The Synod also recommends looking into establishing a commission to address attacks on religious liberty around the world (Proposition 16).
New media and social media are especially important to this mission, the bishops say (Proposition 18). “In this field, especially in the world of electronic communications, it is necessary that convinced Christians be formed, prepared and made capable to transmit faithfully the content of the faith and of Christian morality.” Without formation in theology and communication, they say, such efforts will not be effective.
Although ordained men and religious brothers and sisters have an important role in the New Evangelization, the Synod says it “is necessary to establish formation centers for the New Evangelization, where lay people learn how to speak of the person of Christ in a persuasive manner adapted to our time and to specific groups of people (young people, agnostics, the elderly and so forth)” (Proposition 47).
The Synod also stresses that youth “are not only the future but also the present (and gift) in the Church. They are not only the recipients but also agents of evangelization, especially with their peers” (Proposition 51). It is important for the future of the Church to “meet the young and spend time with them; propose to them and accompany them in following Jesus, guide them to discover their vocation in life and in the Church” especially considering the influence of the media. To this end they recommend World Youth Day celebrations and YOUCAT as “special instruments of the New Evangelization.”
Finally, the bishops suggest that Mary, called the “Star of Evangelization” by Pope Paul VI, be considered the “Star of the New Evangelization” as well, and that all engaged in the New Evangelization “fix their gaze on Mary… the Mother of the Church.”
To read the entire text online, or download it to your computer, click here.
The “Year of Faith” began Oct. 11. Click here or on our blogroll to see the official Vatican web site, which includes materials, essays, photos, and more related to the New Evangelization.
Click here for the USCCB page of Year of Faith resources.
The Athenaeum of Ohio’s Year of Faith speaker series focused on the New Evangelization; click here for the schedule.
Click here for our coverage of Archbishop Di Noia’s presentation on the New Evangelization, which opened the Athenenauem’s speaker series.
Click here for the video of Archbishop Di Noia’s presentation.
Click here for our coverage of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s A.C.E. Project.
Photo by Jim Larranaga for Stock.xchng