Evangelization & Formation: October 2011 Archives

From the point of view of truth, Ed Stannard's article in today's New Haven Register, "New Haven Church to Fill Spiritual Void" is a bit misleading when he fails to distinguish between the Church --meaning the Catholic Church-- and the various ecclesial communities such as the Protestant types. He reduces the truth of being one, holy, catholic and apostolic, i.e., being authentically Catholic-- to being opportunistic. No doubt there are opportunities for evangelization that the Catholics are unable to engage in now, but the presence of the Catholic remains solidly in New Haven and can never be replaced by a denomination, which the Catholics are not.

One should note, there is no one-to-one correspondence. One church community is not as good as another. They do not believe the same things (dogma and doctrine, the nature of the priesthood, Eucharist and apostolic authority) even though there are some superficial things that are the same (some liturgical practices). Hence, Catholicism is not on par --theologically or liturgically or justice-wise-- with the Episcopal Church. And, the Rev. Robert Hendrickson knows this theology and ecclesiology well. What he is doing is poaching Catholics from the truth in a period when the Archdiocese of Hartford has been unable to assign young, vibrant priests and pastoral ministers to the area and frame their work as a call and mission from God and the Church.

While it is true that the Archdiocese of Hartford has not responded as best as it could to the religious needs of the people in the Hill section of town, the Catholic Church is still very present in this area of the city with the fact of Saint Anthony's Church and the Catholic Worker House and with the people present.

Clearly, the new evangelization proposed by Benedict XVI needs to be enacted today.
How often do you think mainline Christians take the personal piety of others? How frequently do we take someone who says "I am spiritual but not religious"? "Not very often" is the best answer to offer. Saying that one is spiritual and not religious lacks a certain seriousness of belief and unbelief. Catholics in the USA number circa 65-70 million and in the world Catholics number just over a billion this notion of being spiritual and not religious gaining currency. Why? Because a personal relationship with Jesus is lacking. There is no encounter with the living Messiah, Jesus is an abstraction.

Last week someone asked me what I thought of being spiritual but not religious. I simply said, to hold that belief is to lack a certain convergence of faith and reality; while understandable from the point of view that many professed Christians lack a true conviction of faith in Jesus Christ both from the point of doctrine but also in practice.

David Briggs has an article that is to be read: "Religious but not spiritual: The high costs of ignoring personal piety."

Instead of jumping to a negative conclusion, why not ask the question of what you are doing to work on your own education in the Faith and its practice? Adherence to Christ is a life of love, but it is also an ongoing work.

On October 14, 2011 Pope Benedict XVI received Father Julián Carrón, President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, in audience in the Apostolic Palace, the day before the Vatican meeting on "New Evangelizers for a New Evangelization," a two day event that will culminate in the Mass with the Pope on Sunday at 9:30 in Saint Peter's Square. What follows is an interview with Vatican Radio's Alessandro Gisotti (emphasis mine).


Alessandro Gisotti interviewed Fr. Carrón about tomorrow's meeting and the challenge of the new evangelization.

Father Julián Carrón: The first thing I would like to express is how grateful and moved I am at this opportunity the Holy Father has given me to be with him in this audience, because it enabled me to tell him how, in this moment of travail due to the social, cultural, and economic situation, we are seeing that when people verify the faith in their own life circumstances, they flower into a type of person that leaves us speechless. Being able to share with him living the faith, as he testifies it to us, was a true consolation.

How important is this meeting? How important is the Pope's challenge for a new evangelization?

Since the found of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization with Archbishop Rino Fisichella as its president, all eyes looked to today's event in the Pope Paul VI Auditorium with nearly eight thousand people from every continent gathered in Rome to experience what it means to share the Faith of Jesus Christ with others through word and music. Pope Benedict attended part of the gathering and said, "The world today needs people who proclaim and witness that Christ is the one who teaches us the art of living, the way of true happiness, because He himself is the way of life."

Archbishop Fisichella invited Mother Veronica Berzosa, founder of Iesu Communio, a religious community of women dedicated to the evangelization of the youth, Italian writer Vittorio Messori who spoke about the reasons to believe, and the Italian scientist Marco Bersanelli who spoke on about the dialogue between science and faith. Colombian bishop Fabio Suescun, spoke to those assembled on experiences of the New Evangelization in Latin America.

For many, it was beautiful to hear Andrea Bocelli who said: 

"I think I owe my faith to an internal search, the rejection of the idea of feeling like I was the product of coincidence. I followed my road, I hope to do so consistently, even when certain episodes of life make us tremble and feel weak before our convictions."

This coming year Pope Benedict is going to spend time teaching matters of Justice. In fact, he's called for a new emphasis on Justice several times in the past year. St John's University is a college operated by the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians), the religious order founded by the great Saint Vincent de Paul who had a special love for the poor and marginalized but also taught that one can't effectively serve the poor without an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. For Saint Vincent de Paul, in order to walk with the poor one had to first first walk with the Lord. To that end, the Vincentian Fathers, Brothers and laity organized the Vincentian Center for Church and Society.

Next week, there is the 7th Biennial Vincentian Chair of Social Justice at St. John's University (Queens, NY Campus) on "Poverty Eradication and Intergenerational Justice: Stewardship, Solidarity and Subsidiarity" to take place on October 22, 2011. 

More information can be found here: Poverty Eradication and Intergenerational Justice.pdf


How does one evangelize? Why does one evangelize? Or not? Tomorrow in Rome, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization,  will host a meeting entitled "New Evangelizers for the New Evangelization : The Word of God Grows and Spreads." In a recent interview, Fisichella said: 

"For new evangelization, this [the issue of immigration] is certainly a factor to be taken seriously, because we have millions of Christians on the move in different countries, bringing with them not only the richness of their Christian experience, but who also come to meet the challenges which Europe in particular but also the United States present, with regards to secularization".

"... we want to reinforce that evangelisation is the very mission of the Church and it has been going on for over two thousand years, but it needs to find a new language, a new lifestyle one that is respectful but has a deeply rooted identity", evangelisers "who have a profound sense of belonging to the Church and the Christian community but at the same time who are open to others. And also a good dose of joy and enthusiasm, which is never a bad thing!"

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.



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This page is a archive of entries in the Evangelization & Formation category from October 2011.

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