Evangelization, New? [Part 3]

New Evangelization: Where are we?

Bishop Christopher Coyne (Archdiocese of Indianapolis) continues his conversation with Philadelphians Mr Rocco Palmo (Whispers in the Loggia, Philadelphia) and Fr Mark Hunt (Holy Family University, Philadelphia). This is the final of three podcasts exploring ‘Where are we with the New Evangelization?’ Bishop Coyne opens the conversation by asking, “Where are we with digital media?” The discussion recognizes some of the good inroads that have have been paved while noting that there is still more to be done. The conversation includes questions of creativity, audience, effective means of evangelizing and the shift to more mobile platforms of engaging the Internet. With all of the means of ‘being connected’ these days, how do we evangelize in ways that are less passive and more active?

As presented on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “The New Evangelization calls each of us to deepen our faith, believe in the Gospel message and go forth to proclaim the Gospel. The focus of the New Evangelization calls all Catholics to be evangelized and then go forth to evangelize. In a special way, the New Evangelization is focused on ‘re-proposing’ the Gospel to those who have experienced a crisis of faith. Pope Benedict XVI called for the re-proposing of the Gospel “to those regions awaiting the first evangelization and to those regions where the roots of Christianity are deep but who have experienced a serious crisis of faith due to secularization.” The New Evangelization invites each Catholic to renew their relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church.”

“It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” Mark 4: 31-32

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Harold M. Frost, III, Ph.D.
March 20, 2015 10:04 am

The first line of the transcript for this podcast contains the word “conversion.” Perhaps what was meant was the word “conversation” appearing in the second line, but the first word is still apt in the context of the New Evangelization. That is, if one has not experienced by grace an interior, even invisible conversion to accompany the external conversion visible to all, how can that one be an authentic disciple of the New Evangelization? In turn, what is true conversion if not that which happens in a true ‘encounter with Jesus, through his Spirit, as the Father’s great gift to humanity’? This line is paraphrased from the first sentence in Sec. 19 of the Instrumentum Laboris, “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith,” of the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, 2012. It continues with: “We are prepared for this encounter through the action of grace in us. In such an encounter, we feel an attraction which leads to our transformation, causing us to see new dimensions to who we are and making us partakers of divine life (cf. 2 Pt 1:4). After this encounter, everything is different as a result of metanoia, that is, the state of conversion strongly urged by Jesus himself (cf. Mk 1:15). In a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, faith takes the form of a relationship with him and in remembrance of him, especially in the Eucharist and the Word of God, and creates in us the mind of Christ, through the Spirit, a mentality which makes us recognize our brothers and sisters, gathered by the Spirit in his Church, and, in turn, see ourselves as witnesses and heralds of this Gospel. This encounter equips us to do new things and witness to the transformation of our lives in the works of conversion as announced by the prophets (cf. Jer 3:6 ff; Ez 36:24-36).”

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