- Saturday, 21 April 2012 07:48
The April 21, 2012 issue of L’Osservatore Romano ran this editorial on the work of the evangelization in the United States. We are getting noticed for our zeal for the Gospel. Perhaps we colonialists do have something to contribute to the life of the Church universal.
“Join us in a journey to re-discover the faith or answer questions about reconnecting with the Catholic Church”. This is the call of the document by the Bishops of the United States which intends renew with great strength the mission of spreading and proclaiming the Gospel. The episcopate’s initiative, written for the modern man and for the benefit of the whole community, is centred on references to the Pontifical Magisterium and to other interventions of the episcopate.
Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization is the title chosen for the document that “focuses on reaching out to Catholics, practicing or not, who have lost a sense of the faith in an effort to re-energize them”, as described in a note by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
It was chairman of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, Bishop David Laurin Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, to point out this new duty, stating: “Every Catholic has a role in the Church, and every Catholic is called to spread the Gospel”. But he adds “in order to evangelize, a person must first be evangelized. This is really the heart of the New Evangelization”. The document especially highlights the call of Pope Benedict XVI to pursue the New Evangelization with renewed vigor and joy.
At his address to the Bishops of the United States on their visit ad limina Apostolorum, on 19 January, the Pope, among other things, underlined “the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism”. He also added that “the preparation of committed lay leaders and the presentation of a convincing articulation of the Christian vision of man and society (must) remain a primary task of the Church in your country; as essential components of the new evangelization, these concerns must shape the vision and goals of catechetical programs at every level”.
The initiative provides resources to all dioceses, eparchies and parishes in aiding the faithful in renewing their faith and sharing it with others. “The New Evangelization” the document states, “is a call to each person to deepen his or her own faith, have confidence in the Gospel, and possess a willingness to share the Gospel”. “It is a personal encounter with the person of Jesus, which brings peace and joy. The New Evangelization provides the lens through which people experience the Church and the world around them”.