Re-Thinking Evangelization - Angelica “Vivi” Iglesias, Associate Director of Hispanic Ministry, Diocese of St. Petersburg
What talents and gifts should be used as we bring Christ to others? How do we learn from each other’s experiences and offer an effective evangelization that invites others to the table? We must re-think evangelization and get outside our comfort zones. In Evangelii Gadium, Pope Frances invites everyone to “be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities.” (33)
The call to evangelization must offer more than just programs; we must find new and unconventional ways to offer services that connect faith and life and offer an opportunity to put in actionthe mission of the church.
Such an opportunity came recently with JornadaComunitaria, a community day organized by a local newspaper and Catholic Charities offering advice in the area of immigration. The project had already been previously successful, but it was obvious that the Holy Spirit was calling us to expand!
By using stewardship concepts, and striving to bring forth the mission of evangelization, we were able to bring many organizations to a day in which Christ is at the beginning, at the center, and at the end of it all! By shifting from the traditional ideas of ministry Jornada offers our local church a presence in the community, and the opportunity to meet needs that without partnerships would not be possible. Typically the day hosted by a church brings together services, guidance and outreach. Among the many partners participating are the Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Catholic Charities, Ministries of Mercy, Project Rachel, Pregnancy Centers, local universities, consulates, health care organizations, workforce agencies, even the DMV mobile unit.
We gathered at our church to share what God has bestowed upon us, and with Christ at our center we are sentforward to evangelize others. That is what JornadaComunitaria does.We must think outside the box and ask ourselves: Are there other opportunities of evangelization available? How do we bring the church’s presence to community events that serve those in the periphery? How can we share the call to innovatively inspire others? How might this community event be an entry point to a relationship with Jesus Christ? Isn’t this evangelization at work?!