Wednesday, April 9, 2014


The word "evangelization has always scared me. 

I think it’s because most of the time I’ve only seen really awful examples of it.


And when there was really good examples of it . . . I didn’t even really realize it was evangelization.


So now we have the NEW evangelization. 



I don’t do catchy.
Further, it is like saying, “the NEW seafood platter.”
I didn’t like the old seafood platter and in fact do not like seafood altogether.  So sticking “new” on the front of it is not all that enticing.
Tomorrow we’ll focus on making evangelization more appetizing.  Today we’ll focus on the
“new” aspect. 

Dr. Peter Kreeft gave a lecture at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Cleveland this past week and he spoke on the five points that make the new evangelization “new”.  This is a VERY brief overview of what he said:
There are five points that make this current call to evangelization new.


1.      NEW AUDIENCE:  We no longer need to go to the most remote parts of Africa to find “pagans” in order to convert them.  In fact, Africa now is one of the most Christian continents on the planet.  The “new Africa” is now Western Catholics.  After losing (he said one, I’ll say two) generations of Catholics, we have lost the foundation of what it is to be a Catholic.  So we have many people who have been sacramentalized, but they have not been catechized.  Who is Jesus?  What is our relationship with him?  What does he teach us?  We need to evangelize those on the inside.
2.      NEW AGENTS:  “Here comes everybody” besides the title of a popular business book is also a description of the Catholic Church.  The job of evangelization is not the job of priests or nuns or brothers or deacons.  If we leave it to them very little will get done.  There are 39,000 priests in the United States and 314,000,000 people.  Not a good ratio for getting things like evangelization done.  There are 78.2 people however that claim to be Catholic.  With an army like that, we can start doing something.
3.      NEW METHOD:  This is the part that scares me and most people who are scared.  This is where I envision young men with black ties on going door to door or a guy on a downtown corner handing out tracks and telling people that they are going to hell.  But the new evangelization is about personal relationships.  It is about loving people.  It is about inviting, not condemning.  It’s about patience. 
4.      NEW END:  It is no longer about finding pagan babies and baptizing them.  It is about finding the wandering baptized and getting them to encounter Christ who is the foundation of their sacraments.  “The building has lost contact with its foundation.”  We are to connect them.
5.      NEW HOPE:  As bad as things are, they provide hope for the future.  The first millennium showed great unity within the Church.  The second millennium was about division as the Church fractured into so called “denominations.”  There is hope for the new unity that is even greater in the third millennium.  The first unity was great but it was a unity based on the fact that there was nothing else.  The new unity, if and when it occurs, will be even greater because it will be a chosen unity. 


Stephen said...

Thank you Father. You blog dampens my fear and anger, increases my hope and patience. I needed that.

Pat said...

Dr. Scott Hahn and Ralph Martin (EWTN program entitled "The New Evangelization") said that every parish organization should be contributing to the New Evangelization.

How do we do that?

Mary W. said...

Gosh, you took good notes at that lecture!

The thing I liked the most about Peter Kreeft's message on Sunday was his hope in the face of what can so easily be characterized as the darkness of the current age. He is so very confident about the irrepressibility and irresistibility of the Goodness, Beauty, and Truth that is to be found in Christ, most accessibly in our Catholic Church.