I have always found it interesting how well we Catholics do Lent as a season. We certainly have a sense of the expansiveness and gravity of Lent…that it is a serious journey, a ponderous pilgrimage. And well we should, of course. This penitential season is so core to the process of Paschal Mystery that we commemorate and that we live.
Evangelization and Catechesis Hand in Hand - Ken Ogorek, Archdiocese of Indianapolis (Candidate for NCCL President)
The New Evangelization encourages us to forego a one-size-fits-all approach to proclaiming the Good News of salvation from sin and death by the suffering, death and Resurrection of Jesus. We are encouraged to consider three separate but related audiences: the unchurched, the alienated (i.e. Catholics who aren't practicing for one reason or another) and the faithful or practicing Catholics. In considering the role of evangelization in our National Conference for Catechetical Leadership I tend to focus on three areas: 1) discipleship; 2) catechesis as a moment in the process of evangelization, and; 3) collaboration.
Evangelization and Catechesis: Are We Just Dating or Ready for Marriage - Lorraine DeLuca, Diocese of Beaumont (Candidate for NCCL President)
Evangelization has always been important for the Church, based on Jesus’ missionary mandate given to the disciples which is found in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go, therefore,- and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Since the conception of the Church all followers of Jesus were called to adopt this mandate as their own, and today the call remains the same.
Pastoral Care and Evangelization: Leading Gently and Generously in the Pasture of the Lord - Tom Quinlan, Diocese of Joliet
Pope Francis has a way of putting things.
Back in 2013, he called on his priests to be “shepherds living with the smell of sheep." He said, "A church that limits itself to just carrying out administrative duties, caring for its tiny flock, is a church that in the long run will get sick. The pastor who isolates himself is not a true pastor of sheep, but a 'hairdresser' for sheep who spends his time putting curlers on them instead of going to look for others."
Setting the Stage for Evangelizing Parents - Patrice Spirou, Office of Formation & Discipleship, Archdiocese of Atlanta
Every parent encounter is an opportunity for evangelization! If you are planning a parent session at your parish, you may find the following suggestions helpful.
Isn’t the world ready for a little more joy?
It has been a year since Pope Francis shared his vision for Christian discipleship in The Joy of the Gospel. Wouldn’t it be great if this text continued to set the course for conversations about evangelization and catechesis throughout the year?
The Church exists to evangelize. I remember when, in 1975, Paul VI, in On Evangelization in the Modern World, taught that “the task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church” (par. 14), I was taken by surprise. I had never thought of myself as an evangelizer. I had thought of myself as a teacher. Therefore, as a teacher, I gave much thought to what Paul VI said later in the document: “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses” (par. 41). So, I began to realize that if I wanted to be an effective teacher of the Gospel, I would have to become an effective witness, too.
"What do you wish more of your friends, relatives and neighbors knew about the Catholic faith?" - Ken Ogorek, Archdiocese of Indianapolis
Recently I gave a talk for the Diocese of Springfield about an evangelizing resource produced in my Archdiocese - Indianapolis - not too long ago. The resource is known as 10 Things We Want You to Know About the Catholic Faith and can be viewed here: http://www.archindy.org/yearoffaith/10things.html
Nothing characterizes the coming of the Kingdom of God more than healing. Jesus’ ministry builds upon a foundation of bringing healing to the sick, and, through exorcisms, peace to those afflicted in mind. Even John’s Gospel, which gives an entirely different approach to the story of Jesus, has the cure of the man-born-blind as one of its highlights.
Christmas season presents us with new opportunities to bring "the Good News of Jesus into every human situation" (Go and Make Disciples, section. 10). Here are ten simple ways to evangelize during the holidays.
We’ve all seen it. “Susie, will you read the first paragraph on page 45?” Next, the catechist asks questions. One or two students respond. The rest look bored. It’s the standard classroom-model lesson plan provided by most textbook publishers and it continues to be inadequate in communicating the living reality of faith.
Two things are generally underused in catechetical programs for children and youth: the uniqueness of the catechist and the uniqueness of the parish community.
One challenge faced by many evangelization teams is how do they invite those who are away from the faith to a program or process designed to reunite them with their Catholic faith? How do we reach those who are not in the pews? How do we inspire the parish community to personally invite those we love who are away?