Tag Archives: evangelization

Charles J. Chaput to Campus Ministers: enable students to hear God

Speaking to Catholic campus ministers on January 10, 2013 in Florida, Capuchin Archbishop Charles J. Chaput addresses the urgent need to give good, authentic formation to college students in the ways of God. As he says, the status quo is not good enough. Chessy programs are not satisfying.

The frequent question is how do we evangelize and give good formation to our college students today? I think we know what needs to be done. SO, let’s get to work; let’s teach, lead and pray. Campus ministry has an objective: seek the face of God; to enable one to hear the voice of God in the still small whisper. Of course, the issues of formation are not germane only to the college aged.

An excerpt: Campus ministry needs to lead young adults not just to good religious activities that keep them busy, but also to the beauty of interior silence that enables a person to hear the will of God and entrust his or her life to Jesus Christ.

The whole text: Charles J. Chaput on Catholic Campus Ministry Association 2013.pdf

Pope Benedict speaks to Roman Curia, reviews 2012, gives Christmas greetings

B16 blesses Curia 21 Dec 2012.jpgIt’s custom for the Holy Father to speak to the members of his Curia in way that reviews the past year, assessing the “situation” faced in the Apostolic ministry, and to give some idea of what will be worked on in the coming year. The address is ALWAYS worth the time to read, to study, and to reflect on in a serious manner. The Pope is a masterful thinker and writer; he really sets the bar pretty high but with clarity. One is clear to me is that the Pope is calling the laity to a new engagement in faith formation, worship of God, and cultural and political activities (not activism, there’s a difference). You might say that the goal of the Pope in his address is to help us to rediscover the gift and beauty of Catholic faith. As he notes, God comes to us in the circumstances of life. Some people will latch on the sensational parts of the talk, especially with some of the more heated topics discussed in society today but the raising of issues and talking about them intelligently isn’t a sign of trouble or weakness in the communion of the Church, but a way to seriously look at what is before us and to rely on God for help. We do, as you will agree, have a nostalgia for the Infinite which shows that we are limited human beings in need for a deeper conversion to the Good News. What the Pope reminds us here is that our Salvation doesn’t come from within us but is given by Someone outside, that is, by the Most Holy Trinity.
The foci:

A. pastoral visits: Mexcico, Cuba, Milan, Lebanon 

B. post-synodal exhortation to Eastern Churches
C. synod of bishops: on the New Evangelization
D. matters of concern: the family, marriage, justice, peace, interreligious dialogue, sexuality, evangelization, the person, community life, self-giving, conversion

The papal address

It is with great joy that I meet you today, dear Members of the College of Cardinals, Representatives of the Roman Curia and the Governorate, for this traditional event in the days leading up to the feast of Christmas. I greet each one of you cordially, beginning with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, whom I thank for his kind words and for the warm good wishes that he extended to me on behalf of all present. The Dean of the College of Cardinals reminded us of an expression that appears frequently during these days in the Latin liturgy: Prope est iam Dominus, venite, adoremus! The Lord is already near, come, let us adore him! We too, as one family, prepare ourselves to adore the Child in the stable at Bethlehem who is God himself and has come so close as to become a man like us. I willingly reciprocate your good wishes and I thank all of you from my heart, including the Papal Representatives all over the world, for the generous and competent assistance that each of you offers me in my ministry.

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Chaput says Catholic life needs to be reignited; American culture is a new kind of mission territory

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.

Significant remarks from the Evangelization Synod: a catechist’s view

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:

1) an increase in the formation of priests, not only in spiritual but also cultural terms. Too often I see priests who have lost their role as masters of culture which had made them important for the whole of society. Today if we want to be credible and useful, we must return to having good cultural tools;

2) the rediscovery of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in its conciliar sense: in particular the first part of each session where the documents of the Council enlighten the traditional themes. The Catechism has, indeed, the wisdom of making the premise to the explanation of the Creed an inspired part of the Dei Verbum, in which the personalistic vision of revelation is explained, the Sacrosantum Concilium prior to the Sacraments, and the Lumen Gentium, which shows man created in God’s image, before the Commandments. The first part of each section of the catechism is fundamental to enable today’s man to feel faith as something that relates to him closely, and to be able to give an answer to his most profound questions;

3) Finally the liturgy: too often it is neglected and desacralized. It must be restored with dignity to the center of both the parochial and the territorial community.

Significant remarks from the Evangelization Synod: the Good News ensured by small groups of survivors

Olivier Michel Marie SchmitthaeuslerThe 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!

Some meaningful points for a first proclamation of Jesus Christ and which may be extended also to a reflection about new evangelization. Two fundamentals: 1. The true encounter with Jesus Christ opens the heart to charity and to the experience of forgiveness to lead to the discovery of the gift of life. 2. The laity are apostles in this world (Apostolicam actuositatem).

How can the Church be the sacrament of Christ in the world for a new evangelization in actions and in truth? 1. A Church that touches the heart. 2. A simple Church. 3. A welcoming Church. 4. A Church in prayer. 5. A joyful Church.

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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