Evangelization & Formation: November 2012 Archives

Philadelphia archbishop and Capuchin friar Charles J. Chaput writes well about the sobering reality of evangelization in his weekly column for this week. (Get in the habit of reading the Archbishop's weekly essay.) The content of His Excellency's essay "The new communities and the 'New Evangelization'" has "three simple things today: first, I'll share some observations on the general state of the Church; second, I'll talk about the role of new communities and charisms like the Sodalitium in the new evangelization; and third, I'll offer some thoughts to this group as a brother in consecrated life, based on my own experience as a Capuchin and a bishop.  I have a fourth point to mention as well; but it's really more of a story.  I'll come back to it at the end of my remarks."

Among the remarks of the archbishop's are those he talks about the new communities, sometimes called the ecclesial communities. Each group has it's own gift to give to the life of the Church. Each community answers a need and helps a person to be faithful to the Gospel in a new, vital way: a manner of really living the Good News and recognizing the grace of God right now.

Real Christian discipleship rejects and resists the kind of radical personal license and acquisitiveness that animates a consumerist society.  So when the Catholic Church teaches about the dignity of the unborn child, the purpose of human sexuality, economic and immigration justice, the rights of religious communities and believers, and the nature of marriage and the family - she's not just "unpopular."  She's hated as the enemy of individual privacy and personal freedom.  And that theme shapes the way the Church is treated in the mass media.

For Catholics in my country to recover their vocation as a Church, they need to be awakened; they need a reason to be zealous again about their faith.  They need to hear the witness of people like yourselves who live the Catholic faith with confidence and joy.  They need to see their Church growing and fruitful, and young again, instead of constantly retreating and in decline.

This is the value of the new ecclesial communities and movements.  They're alive in Jesus Christ, and their new life and energy spill out into the whole Church.    

For those of us who follow/live within the ambit of an ecclesial community whose founder is dead, what we compromise on? What will sacrifice to fit into the culture at large? Will we lose touch with the reasons that was the impulse of the founding of our community? Answer: may be; but I hope not.

Read the essay --it won't take you long.

Our Lady, Star of the New Evangelization, pray for us.
Pope with iPad.jpgThe Pope will tweet. Is this a mortal sin or a gospel value?

In today's L'Osservatore Romano edition Mario Ponzi writes of Pope Benedict's latest venture into tweeting. The Pope is not going to give up his love of books, old fashion research and handwriting his talks, but he's diving into more deeply in the digital world. He'll have to keep his message to 140 characters. Can he do it? I am sure the clarity of the Pope can be limited to a mere 140 characters. It's ancient history now in cyberworld but it was June 2011 that the Holy Father touched his own iPad launching the Vatican's News.va portal; tweeting in five languages is a polymath way of  communicating at the Vatican.

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, 71, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications since 2007, last week delivered his keynote address at the 100th anniversary of Our Sunday Visitor. Celli has been hardworking in moving the Holy See into the 21st century with an acceptance of social media and its benefits for communicating the gospel effectively today.

Enhanced by Zemanta
In recent years, we have seen a significant interest in teaching the faith more authentically, but also we've become more attentive to answering the real questions believers and unbelievers have. With the Year of Faith fully engaged now, I think we need to attend to three unavoidable questions whether we are teaching teens, adults, or expanding the horizons of our faith and understanding of the cosmos we live in.

There are no easy answers in proposing the Christian faith to others, especially to teens. Do you want pablum when considering real questions?
TSpinelli.jpgTommaso Spinelli, 23, a catechist of young catechumens who works at the Catechetical Office of the Diocese of Rome, has some good things to say:

The new evangelization needs substance: it needs catechesis of a certain depth that is able to say something serious to our lives, but also and above all it needs lives of substance that demonstrate through actions the solidity of the Christian. It is even more important today, now that families are disunited and often abdicate their educative role, that priests demonstrate to the young their faithfulness to a vocation and the possibility of choosing an alternative way of living, better than that proposed by society.

My concern however is that these figures of substance are becoming a minority. The priest has lost trust in the importance of his ministry, he has lost charisma and culture. I see priests who adapt to the dominant thought. The same is true of the liturgy, which in the attempt to become original becomes meaningless. Priests, I ask you to find the courage to be yourselves. Do not fear because where you are truly priests, there you propose the truth of the faith without fear, we the young will follow. Indeed, the words of Peter are also ours: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life". And we are infinitely hungry for something eternal and true.

I therefore propose:
Olivier Michel Marie Schmitthaeusler.jpg

The Cambodian Catholic experience is not something that rolls off our lips at cocktail parties or lunch dates in the USA. But the Asian perspective is needed: how does the Good News get rooted. Notice his points at the end of the post.

The rather young bishop, The Most Reverend Olivier Michel Marie Schmitthaeusler, MEP, 42, vicar apostolic of Phnom Penh, Cambodia since 2010 told the Pope and the Synod:

The Khmer Rouge genocide killed bishops, priests, religious persons and the majority of Christians. For twenty years now, we are living a new time of the Acts of the Apostles with a first announcement of the Good News ensured by the small group of survivors, supported by the massive arrival of missionaries. Today we have about 200 adult baptisms each year... The small Church of Cambodia is in some ways a laboratory for evangelization in a Buddhist world, fully entered into a process of secularization driven by globalization a bit like the Asian dragons. The Ad Extra Mission is intimately tied to the Ad Intra Mission. Ad Extra and Ad Intra are mutually enriched by stimulating each other with the same and unique Mission of Evangelization!

Berislav Grgic.jpgAt the Synod of Bishops men and women from all parts of the world gathered in Rome in October to speak on matters pertaining to evangelization. We in the USA, need perspective: the lower Europe and North America is not the only place where the Christian faith is incarnated. The bishop of Tromso since 2009, Norway, Berislav Grgić, 52, said to the Synod Fathers:

The Catholic Church in the Northern Lands - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - is a very small minority and therefore has neither the advantages nor the disadvantages that the Catholic Church often comes across in traditional and prevalently Catholic regions. Despite its limited relevance, numeric as well as social, our Church is nonetheless a growing Church. New churches are built or bought, new parishes are instituted, non-Latin rites are added, there is a relatively high number of adult conversions and baptisms, there are vocations to priesthood and to religious life, the number of baptisms is much higher than the number of deaths and number of those who abandon the Church, and attendance at Sunday Mass is relatively high.
We need to keep a close eye on what happened at the Evangelization Synod just finished in Rome. A judgment, that is, an assessment of meaning, needs to be made so that we can derive a deeper call to conversion and New Life offered by Christ. Far from being a matter of strategy, the work done at the Synod by the bishops and experts and in time by the Pope, will prove, I think, to be historic.

Among the people appointed to the Synod was Father Julián Carrón, President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation. He addressed a letter to CL in which he said, in part: 

Hearing the call to conversion that came from the synod hall, I could not help but remember the call that Fr. Giussani issued many years ago in Viterbo, inviting us to "recover the truth of our vocation and our commitment." Because we, too, he told us, run the risk of "reducing our commitment too a kind of theorization of a socio-pedagogical method, reducing it to a kind of activism that follows upon this theorization, and then a commitment to the political defense of it. Instead, our task is to reaffirm and to propose to man, our brother, a fact of life.

The text of the letter: Father Julian Carron on Synod.pdf
Jean Louis Tauran detail.JPGIn the time following the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization I think we need to review what was said. So often we move on so fast when an event is finished. A judgment, that is, an assessment, is required to understand with clarity and charity. 

Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, challenged a trend in the work of interreligious dialogue at the recent Synod of Bishops:

Christians often ignorant of the content of their own faith and incapable because of this of living of and for it, are not capable of interreligious dialogue that always begins with the assertion of one's own convictions: there is no room for syncretism or relativism! Faced with adepts from other religions with a strong religious identity, it is necessary to present motivated and doctrinally equipped Christians. This makes the new evangelization a priority to form coherent Christians, capable of demonstrating their faith, with simple words and without fear.
Enhanced by Zemanta

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.



Humanities Blog Directory

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Evangelization & Formation category from November 2012.

Evangelization & Formation: October 2012 is the previous archive.

Evangelization & Formation: December 2012 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.