Tag Archives: New Evangelization

The new evangelization depends largely on the family

Generally once a year the Pope calls together all those involved in the work of each of the Pontifical councils for a plenary session, usually addressing some key item. Today was the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family

I am pleased to welcome you on the occasion of the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, on the occasion of a double XXX anniversary: that of the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, published November 22, 1981 by Blessed John Paul II and the Congregation itself, which he established on May 9 with the Motu Proprio Familia a Deo instituta, as a sign of the importance to be attributed to family ministry in the world and at the same time, as an effective tool to help promote it at every level (cf. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 73). I cordially greet Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, thanking him for the words with which he introduced our meeting, as well as the Bishop Secretary, other employees and all of you gathered here.

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The new evangelization depends largely on the domestic Church (cf. ibid., 65). In our time, as in times past, the eclipse of God, the spread of ideologies contrary to the family and the degradation of sexual ethics are intertwined. And just as the eclipse of God and the crisis of the family are linked, so the new evangelization is inseparable from the Christian family. The family is indeed the way of the Church because it is the “human space” of our encounter with Christ. Spouses, ” not only receive the love of Christ and become a saved community, but they are also called upon to communicate Christ’s love to their brethren, thus becoming a saving community ” (ibid., 49). The family founded on the Sacrament of Matrimony is a particular realization of the Church, saved and saving, evangelized and evangelizing community. Just like the Church, it is called to welcome, radiate and show the world the love and the presence of Christ. The reception and transmission of divine love are realized in the mutual commitment of spouses, generous and responsible procreation, in the care and education of children, work and social relationships, with attention to the needy, in participation in church activities, in commitment to civil society. The Christian Family to the extent it succeeds in living love as communion and service as a reciprocal gift open to all, through a process of ongoing conversion supported by the grace of God, reflects the splendor of Christ in the world and the beauty of the divine Trinity. Saint Augustine has a famous quote: “immo vero vides Trinitatem, si caritatem vides “, “If you see charity, yes indeed you see the Trinity ” (De Trinitate, VIII, 8). And the family is one of the fundamental places where you live and are educated to love and charity.

In the wake of my predecessors, I too have repeatedly urged Christians spouses to evangelize both with the witness of life and with involvement in the pastoral activities. I did so recently at Ancona, at the end of the Italian National Eucharistic Congress. There I wanted to meet with couples and priests. In fact, the two sacraments, “at the service of communion” (CCC, n. 1534), Holy Orders and Matrimony, are traced to the sole source of the Eucharist. ” both these states of life share the same root in the love of Christ who gives himself for humanity’s salvation. They are called to a common mission: to witness to and make present this love at the service of the community in order to build up the People of God. This perspective makes it possible to overcome a reductive vision of the family, which sees it merely as the object of pastoral action. […] The family is a source of wealth for married couples, an irreplaceable good for children, an indispensable foundation of society and a vital community for the journey of the Church“. (Homily at Ancona, September 11, 2011). By virtue of this ” family is the privileged place of human and Christian education and remains, for this end, as the closest ally of the priestly ministry. […] No vocation is a private matter, and even less so is the vocation to marriage”(ibid.).

There are some areas where the prominence of Christian families in collaboration with priests, and under the guidance of Bishops is particularly urgent: the education of children, adolescents and young people to love, understood as self-giving and communion, and the preparation of engaged couples to married life with a journey of faith, and the formation of married couples, especially young couples, the experiences associated with charitable purposes, education and civic engagement, and the pastoral care of families for families, towards life-long commitment, giving due value to time dedicated to work and that of rest.

Dear friends, we are preparing for the VII World Meeting of Families to be held in Milan from May 30 to June 3, 2012. It will be a great joy for me and for us all to come together, to pray and to celebrate with families who come from around the world, accompanied by their pastors. I thank the Ambrosian Church for the great efforts made thus far and for those of the coming months. I invite the families of Milan and Lombardy to open the doors of their houses to accommodate the pilgrims who come from all over the world. In hospitality we experience joy and enthusiasm: it’s nice to make acquaintances and friendships, recounting the experience of family life and the faith experience associated with it. In my letter convoking the Meeting in Milan I asked for “an adequate process of ecclesial and cultural preparation“, so the event will be successful and able to actively involve the Christian communities around the world. I thank those who have already taken steps in that direction and call on those who have not yet done so to take advantage of the next few months. Your Council has already provided valuable help in drawing up a catechism with the theme “The Family: Work and Rest“; it has also proposed a “family week” for the parishes, associations and movements, and other laudable initiatives.

Pope speaks to New York Bishops: we ourselves are the first to need re-evangelization,

As you know, the Pope is meeting for next several months with all the bishops of the United States. Two weeks ago I noted the Ad Limina Apostolorum of the New England bishops; this week the Pope meets with the New York bishops and next week he’ll be meeting with the New Jersey and Pennsylvania bishops. His reflections and leadership on key areas are crucial for all of us to pay attention to right now for the good of the Church. The text of his address to the bishops of these three regions is given below.

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I greet you all with affection in the Lord and, through you, the Bishops from the United States who in the course of the coming year will make their visits ad limina Apostolorum.

Our meetings are the first since my 2008 Pastoral Visit to your country, which was intended to encourage the Catholics of America in the wake of the scandal and disorientation caused by the sexual abuse crisis of recent decades. I wished to acknowledge personally the suffering inflicted on the victims and the honest efforts made both to ensure the safety of our children and to deal appropriately and transparently with allegations as they arise. It is my hope that the Church’s conscientious efforts to confront this reality will help the broader community to recognize the causes, true extent and devastating consequences of sexual abuse, and to respond effectively to this scourge which affects every level of society. By the same token, just as the Church is rightly held to exacting standards in this regard, all other institutions, without exception, should be held to the same standards.

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Claim the Truth of Christ, says Archbishop Dolan in USCCB address November 14, 2011

You can read Archbishop Dolan’s presidential address in its entirety elsewhere; here I offer a few points from the address to reflect upon:

our most
pressing pastoral challenge today
is to reclaim that truth, to restore the
luster, the credibility, the beauty of the Church “ever ancient, ever new,”
renewing her as the face of Jesus, just as He is the face of God. Maybe our
most urgent pastoral priority is to lead our people to see, meet, hear and embrace
anew Jesus in and through His Church.

Because, as the chilling statistics we
cannot ignore tell us, fewer and fewer of our beloved people — to say nothing
about those outside the household of the faith — are convinced that Jesus and
His Church are one. As Father Ronald Rolheiser wonders, we may be living in a
post-ecclesial era, as people seem to prefer

a King but not
the kingdom,

a shepherd with
no flock,

to believe
without belonging,

a spiritual
family with God as my father, as long as I’m

the only child,
without religion

faith without
the faithful

Christ without
His Church.

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CATHOLICSM: The New York Premier

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You are invited to a screening of CATHOLICISM with ArchbishopTimothy Dolan’s introduction and a presentation by project’s creator
Father Robert Barron, and Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete.

A reception and book signing following the event.

Presented by Crossroads
Cultural Center
and Word on Fire

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
The Times Center
242 West 41st Street
New York, NY  map

Click here to

Dolan.jpgArchbishop Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York

President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops 

Albacete.jpgMonsignor Lorenzo Albacete

Author, theologian, columnist

Barron.jpgFather Robert Barron

Author, speaker, theologian Founder of Word On Fire.


This event is open to the public and
free of charge, but seating is limited.

Tickets must be obtained online
through www.catholicism.eventbrite.com

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Protestant faith community unable to replace Catholic truth

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.

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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