Monday, June 25, 2012

The New Evangelization, Part 2: Historical Context

Justin Stroh's second part of his 6-part series of mini podcasts talks about the three popes who saw and initiated the New Evangelization.

Pope Paul VI:  Ten years after the close of the Second Vatican Council, in 1975 he issued Evangelii Nuntiandi in which the pope stated that the Church "exists in order to evangelize, that is to say in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ's sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of his death and glorious Resurrection."  Pope Paul VI explained the process of evangelizing and that there were two groups that needed to be focused on, those of whom haven't have never heard the Gospel (ad gentes) and those faithful who have left or are no longer practicing the faith.

Bl. Pope John Paul II:   "No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples."  Blessed John Paul made evangelization the focus of his pontificate saying,

"Evangelization occurs most effectively when the Church engages the culture of those she evangelizes."  He wrote an encyclical Redemptoris Missio, in which he provided the three circumstances in evangelization:  (1) preaching to those who have never heard the Gospel (ad gentes), (2) preaching to those Christian communities where the Church is present and who have fevor in their faith, and (3) preaching to those Christian communities who have ancient roots but who "have lost a living sense of the faith, or even no longer consider htemselves members of hte Church and live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel......"

For Bl. John Paul II, One's vocation to holiness is strengthened through the gifts of the Church, namely the grace of hte sacraments, prayer, Scripture, and the Church's teachings and traditions.

Pope Benedict XVI and the future of the New Evangelization:
Secularization has caused a serious crisis for the faithful, not to mention how much harder it will be to evangelize those still waiting to learn of the Gospel.  In 2010, the pontiff established the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization to help promote the unchanged mission of the Church against the cultural secularization confronting man and the Church.  The pope noted that the Church is being challenged by "an abandonment of the faith -- a phenomenon progressively more manifest in societies and cultures which for centuries seemed to be permeated by the Gospel.  The New Evangelization is not a single formula meant for all circumstances; first and foremost, it is a personal "profound experience of God."

Friday, June 22, 2012

The New Evangelization, part 1

Justin Stroh, is an amazing Catholic speaker and podcaster that I listen to on one of my favorite podcasts, Catholic Vitamins.  His ministry is focusing on "The New Evangelization" of the Catholic Church.  Right now he is discussing the recently released document from the USCCB called, "Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization"  In this document, which is only 26 pages, the bishops cover the condition of the Catholic Church today and what we need to do to get her back up to where she should be with her believers.

For starters, in our current situation only 23% of Catholics attend Mass each week, below are the many reasons why the other 77% didn't.  Surprisingly, it's not due to current controversial issues.

One of the most important thing we need to be doing as Catholic parents is spending time with our families, especially and most importantly on Sundays!  You can listen to Justin's mini podcast, part 1/6 here

Friday, June 1, 2012

The New Evangelization Inside the family

A few years ago I was listening to some program or reading a book about evangelizing within the Church and I discovered that it had never occurred to me to tell my kids why I'm Catholic!  Recently, at our usual coffee clutch, I brought this up to the other moms and found that they also didn't realize this and had not shared with their own children their story. 

As parents, it is our responsibility to pass on the faith to our children.  We can send them to Catholic schools, make sure they get to their CCD classes and youth programs,  so they can hear all about the faith, all about Jesus, all about the sacraments, but if we don't live the faith at home these efforts are just base. If they don't understand why their own parents are Catholic, we risk losing them to their peers and outside world. In sharing with them about our own faith journeys parents can help their children better understand their own faith. 

Whether you are a homeschooling family or not, there are programs available to Catholic families that are orthodox, clear, and completely user friendly for any family to follow as a supplements to their other school activities and studies. I hate to use the word supplement here since we are deemed the primary educators of our children by God Himself, but in our society this is just not the way we are conditioned, so supplemental activities for the family to live out their faith is how it works nowadays.  But that's ok, however we can bring home the Catholic Church to our families and children that's how we can evangelize without our domestic churches.

During the next few weeks, I'm going to ask Allison to help me bring resources for the families to use for their internal evangelization for the summer.  I am hoping you will find these resources helpful and fruitful.