Sign up for price alert. Be the first to review this product. Gowns Keepsakes. Christmas Lent - Easter. Bibles Books. Vestments Annual Publications. Did you know that poor preaching is one of the top three reasons people leave the Church? Researchers have long since recognized, however, that the hand and the eye of the researcher affect the study of the subject being observed, and so whether they seek to or not, reporters bring an angle — a stance to what they report.
Why not bring a heart in love with Christ and with His Church as the angle — the stance? The trust of the faithful is precious; so when you report the news and provide lively commentaries with accuracy and transparency but always with love for the ways of Christ and the teachings of the Church, you fulfill that trust. I must add that we cannot afford you to either stray from or sugarcoat the truth but even bad news needs to be reported with love — as one in communion. When I am required to tell some hard truth to someone within the Archdiocese, I try to picture how I would tell my brother, whom I loved so much, what he needed to hear for his own good.
Thanks for writing lovingly even when bad news is the topic. This stance of accuracy and transparency done with love is so needed today. Thirdly, and for me the most challenging of all in calling forth your creative juices and energy, I believe that the Catholic press will be called over the next decade to influence the new digital frontier by carving out a place for dialogue.
This may well be your greatest challenge and deepest contribution to the new evangelization. Diatribe means to rub through or, in my words, to wear out … to weary. I will admit that I have entered the digital frontier. With 9, followers, I regularly tweet, and the tweets are linked to another 4, on Facebook.
I have a blog that gets multiplied through these conduits. For me, it is part of my effort to communicate effectively and closely with people; this effort at digital communication is a start and an energizing one. Not that I do not want to. I welcome dialogue. But too often these purported opportunities for interactive dialogue become the scene of bitter, ugly comments that only tear down the faith rather than build it up.
A Man Approved
This kind of communication does not further the new evangelization. In contrast, I have had great outcomes with listening sessions or focus groups of all sorts over the past five years. We have used these groups in Louisville for everything from preparation for the Synods the one in and the one for this October , our annual reports on accountability, our initiatives to promote vocations, and our development efforts.
In short, the small group focus sessions have been enriching, and I would say have been the source of genuine and productive dialogue. This year, I began participating in a reading group circle of theologians and bishop and after three sessions, can report the same positive efforts. However, I have not seen this approach to dialogue progress in the digital frontier, and we need it desperately. Moving from diatribe to dialogue will require creativity but also a sense of calm and serenity.
Earlier I summed up the World Day of Communication message as giving two pieces of advice. The new evangelization is about a calm and serene manner that is not pushy or preachy but creative. We must avoid the stance of five year old Johnny, whom his mother discovered in the bathroom with their new kitten. Though the door was closed, Mom could hear the little kitten screaming:. We are attracted not to the pushy and brash, sorry Johnny, but to the imaginative and creative. Over four centuries ago, your patron St.
Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. Cardinal Dolan of New York addressed this well in a talk on communication that he gave in Rome in April. Quoting from Rabbi Norman Lamm, he explains the meaning of the Hebrew word, anivut. You and I need to cultivate that humility and call others to join us there. This serene calm is so necessary as we seek to move away from diatribe and as we strive to bridge the growing interpersonal space between those who interact in the spheres of new media.
The interpersonal distance is so ironic. We are within reach of each other like never before but more and more alone. Recently I viewed a video that received the Kerygma Award. It was called Dis-connect, and in three minutes or so, the viewer eavesdrops on a conversation in a bar between a man and a woman who are discussing their relationship and the distance between them. As the woman speaks, the man half listens as he texts someone else. All this will serve as the framework for the synod's work of treating the topic of the new evangelization.
During the years spanning the previously mentioned occurrences, other essential documentation deserves consideration not only at this time of preparation but also during the Synod itself. Besides a direct and explicit reference to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, no discussion on evangelization can take place today, without considering what was expressed on the subject by Pope Paul VI in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi , and Pope John Paul II in both his Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio , and Apostolic Letter Novo millennium ineunte.
All these texts have been cited in a number of responses as a point of reference and comparison. Many responses stressed the urgency for all of us to consider how the Church today is responding to her fundamental call to evangelize and to assess her resources in meeting today's challenges and avoid any danger of a dispersion of energy or fragmented efforts.
Many particular Churches dioceses, eparchies, Churches sui juris and various episcopal conferences and synods of the Eastern Churches have for the past several years evaluated their programmes in proclaiming and witnessing to the faith. The responses provided an impressive list of initiatives undertaken by various ecclesial realities. Over the last ten years, a number of particular Churches have documented and planned pastoral projects on evangelization and its renewal.
Programmes on the diocesan, national and continental levels have been designed to raise awareness and offer support. Training centres were also created for Christians called to engage in these projects. Given the considerable number of initiatives and their reported positive and negative aspects — since not all the initiatives undertaken have produced the desired results — the convocation of the Synod is seen as a timely opportunity for the entire Catholic Church to listen, discern and, above all, give a unified response to what we are called to do. Hopefully, the upcoming synodal assembly will be an event to energize Christian communities and, at the same time, provide concrete answers to the many questions facing the Church today and the resources available in her evangelizing activity.
The Synod is expected to be not only a source of encouragement but also the place to compare experiences and share observations on situations and approaches for action. The Topic of the Synodal Assembly. Following up on the initiative of his predecessor, Blessed Pope John Paul II, who saw in the Jubilee of the Year , celebrated thirty-five years after the Second Vatican Council, as an occasion to undertake the Church's evangelizing mission with renewed enthusiasm, Pope Benedict XVI gives further emphasis to this mission and stresses its new character.
The evangelizing mission received from the Apostles, — to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and forming them as witnesses cf. Mt and the mission which the Church has carried out and to which she has remained true over the centuries — is today facing social and cultural changes that are profoundly affecting a person's perception of self and the world, and consequently, a person's way of believing in God. All these changes are contributing to a widespread disorientation which leads to forms of distrust of all that has been passed down about the meaning of life and to an unwillingness to adhere in a total, unconditional manner to what has been revealed as the profound truth of our being.
This detachment from the faith is increasingly being witnessed in societies and cultures which for centuries appeared instilled with the Gospel. Increasingly considered an intimate and individual matter, faith has become a presupposition, even for many Christians, who continue to be justly concerned about the social, cultural and political implications in preaching the Gospel, but have not been sufficiently trained to keep alive their faith and their community, a faith which, like an invisible flame with its charity, nourishes and gives life to all the other actions of life.
The Sacred Conversation: The Art of Catholic Preaching and the New Evangelization | St. Paul Center
This situation, running the risk of weakening the faith, and consequently, the ability to bear witness to the Gospel, has unfortunately become a reality in most of the countries where, for centuries, the Christian faith has contributed to the upbuilding of culture and society. From the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI has insisted that this situation needs to be addressed. At that time he said: "The Church as a whole and all her Pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life, and life in abundance.
The convocation of the Synod on the new evangelization and the transmission of the Faith is part of a determined effort to give new fervour to the faith and to the testimony of Christians and their communities. The decision to focus the synod's deliberations on this topic is, in fact, one element in a unified plan, the most recent occurrences of which have been the establishment of a dicastery for the promotion of the new evangelization as well as the proclamation of The Year of Faith.
Consequently, the celebration of the Synod is expected to enliven and energize the Church in undertaking a new evangelization, which will lead to a rediscovery of the joy of believing and a rekindling of enthusiasm in communicating the faith. The question is not simply devising something new or undertaking unprecedented initiatives in spreading the Gospel, but living the faith in the spirit of it being a divine proclamation: "Mission [Y] renews the Church, revitalizes faith and the Christian identity, and offers fresh enthusiasm and new incentive.
Faith is strengthened when it is given to others!
Blessings from the Battlefield
The idea of renewing the Church's evangelizing activity, expressed most recently in the previously mentioned decisions of Pope Benedict XVI, has a long history. In fact, the origin of the idea can be traced to the Second Vatican Council and its desire to respond to a sense of disorientation experienced by Christians facing powerful changes and divisions which the world was experiencing at that time. The Church's response was not characterized by pessimism or resignation,  but the regenerating power of the universal call to salvation,  desired by God for each individual.
In this way, evangelization became one of the central topics of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. In Christ, the Light of the Nations,  all humanity regains its original and true identity,  which sin has obscured, and the Church, whose countenance reflects this Light, has the task of continuing and making present and real, everywhere in today's world, the evangelizing mission of Jesus Christ. Bishops  and priests  as ordained ministers, have the strict duty to evangelize.
However, this fundamental mission of the Church is also the duty of all baptized Christians. Seen in this way, evangelization is not simply one activity among many, but, in the dynamic of the Church, evangelization is the energy which permits the Church to realize her goal, namely, to respond to the universal call to holiness. In the wake of the Council, Pope Paul VI perceptively observed that the duty of evangelization needed to be proposed again with greater force and urgency, because of the de-Christianization of many ordinary people who, despite being baptized, live a life not in keeping with their Christian faith or express some kind of faith but have an imperfect knowledge of its basic tenets.
An increasing number of people are sensing a need to know Jesus Christ in a different way from what they were taught as children. Later, Pope John Paul II made the duty to evangelize one of the key points in his vast magisterium, summarizing in the concept of the new evangelization what he systematically developed in many discourses, namely, that this is the task facing the Church today, especially in countries with a Christian tradition.
This programme directly affects the Church's relation to the outside world, but presupposes, first of all, an ongoing internal renewal, a continuous passing, so to speak, from being evangelized to evangelizing. The Pope explains: "Whole countries and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and capable of fostering a viable and working community of faith, are now put to a hard test, and in some cases, are even undergoing a radical transformation, as a result of a constant spreading of religious indifference, secularism and atheism.
This particularly concerns countries and nations of the so-called First World, in which economic well-being and consumerism, even if coexistent with a tragic situation of poverty and misery, inspires and sustains a life lived 'as if God did not exist' [ Only a re-evangelization can ensure the growth of a clear and deep faith, and serve to make these traditions a force for authentic freedom. Without doubt, a mending of the Christian fabric of society is urgently needed in all parts of the world. But for this to come about, what is needed is to first remake the Christian fabric of the ecclesial community itself present in these countries and nations.
In , in his Christmas greetings to the members of the Roman Curia — coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council — he said, a "hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture", must be counteracted by a "'hermeneutic of reform', of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us.
She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God. Peter: 'if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church'. The Format of the Instrumentum laboris. Synodal discussion is expected to result in a developed and heightened treatment of the work that has taken place in the Church in recent decades.
The considerable number of initiatives and documents already produced on evangelization and its renewal indicates that many particular Churches were not so much awaiting word on what to do, as seeking a place to hear about all that has been done so far. More than one response reported that simply the announcement of the topic and that work had begun on the Lineamenta caused Christian communities to feel stronger and more committed to the urgent character today of the imperative of the new evangelization, and, as a further benefit, to enjoy a sense of communion which allowed them to approach everyday challenges with a different spirit.
Many responses do not overlook the problem the Church is facing in the challenge of the new evangelization, namely, that the changes previously discussed not only affect the world and culture, but also herself in the first person, that is, her communities, her activities and her conception of herself. This situation, therefore, calls for a process of discernment, which can also serve as a way of responding to the current situation with greater courage and responsibility. In keeping with this idea, the Instrumentum laboris was drafted in four chapters which are useful in providing the basic content and means for fostering this reflection and discernment.
The first chapter is dedicated to a rediscovery of the heart of evangelization, namely, the experience of Christian faith: the encounter with Jesus Christ, God the Father's Gospel to humanity, which transforms us, gathers us together and introduces us, through the gift of the Spirit, to a new life, already experienced by us in the present, precisely in our feeling gathered as the Church. At the same time, this new life is the cause of our joy which compels us, as witnesses and joyful heralds of the gift received, to travel the streets of the world, awaiting the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.
The second chapter seeks to focus attention on discerning the changes which affect how we live our faith and which influence our Christian communities. The reasons for spreading the idea of the new evangelization are then evaluated as well as the different ways the many particular Churches can feel involved. The third chapter treats the basic places, means, persons and activities in the transmission of the Christian faith — the liturgy, catechesis and works of charity — and how, in the process of transmission, the faith needs to be professed, celebrated, lived and prayed.
Finally, in similar fashion, the fourth and final chapter discusses areas of pastoral activity, specifically those dedicated to the proclamation of the Gospel and the transmission of faith. The classic areas are then discussed, with greater development given to the most recent ones which have arisen in response to the impact and concerns arising from a reflection on the new evangelization in Christian communities and the manner in which they live their faith. The Christian faith is not simply teachings, wise sayings, a code of morality or a tradition.
The Christian faith is a true encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ. Transmitting the faith means to create in every place and time the conditions which lead to this encounter between the person and Jesus Christ. The goal of all evangelization is to create the possibility for this encounter, which is, at one and the same time, intimate, personal, public and communal.
Pope Benedict XVI stated: "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. The Church is formed precisely through the grace of this relationship.
This encounter with Jesus, through his Spirit, is the Father's great gift to humanity. 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. After this encounter, everything is different as a result of metanoia , that is, the state of conversion strongly urged by Jesus himself cf.
Mk 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 ff; Ez This first chapter gives particular attention to this fundamental aspect of evangelization, because the responses to the Lineamenta reported a need to restate the core of the Christian faith which is unknown by many Christians.
Consequently, the theological foundation of the new evangelization should not be overlooked, but forcefully and authentically stated, so as to give energy and a proper framework to the Church's evangelizing activity. The new evangelization must initially be seen as an opportunity to gauge the faithfulness of Christians to the mandate received from Jesus Christ.
The new evangelization is also an auspicious occasion cf. Indeed, before becoming action, evangelization and testimony are two states-of-mind which, as fruits of a faith in a continual state of purification and conversion, result in our lives from an encounter with Jesus Christ, the Good News of God to humanity. Jesus Christ, the Evangelizer Mark the Evangelist begins his account by connecting "the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" Mk to a corresponding verse from the Scriptures: "As it is written in the prophet Isaiah" Mk In the Gospel of St.
Luke, Jesus reveals himself in the synagogue at Nazareth through the reading of Scripture, as one who is able to bring the Scripture to fulfilment by his very presence, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" Lk The Gospel according to St. Matthew has a true and proper series of quotes of fulfilled prophecies, intended to reflect the deeper reality of Jesus, based on what was spoken through the prophets cf. Mt ; ,17, 23; ; ; ; ; At the time of his arrest, Jesus sums up all things in his Person: "All this has taken place, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.
In the Gospel of John, the disciples themselves attest to this connection. After their first encounter, St.
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Philip states: "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote. During his ministry, Jesus repeatedly refers to his relation to Sacred Scripture and the testimony associated with it: "You search the Scriptures, thinking they have in them eternal life: it is they that give testimony of me" Jn ; "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me" Jn The concurring testimony of the Evangelists affirms that the Gospel of Jesus is the radical summation, continuation and total fulfillment of the Scriptures.
Precisely because of this continuity, the newness of Jesus appears both clearly and understandably. Indeed, his evangelizing activity continues a history which was begun earlier. His gestures and words are to be read in light of the Scriptures. In the last apparition recounted by St.
Luke, the Risen Lord summarizes this understanding by saying: "These are the words which I spoke to you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled" Lk His supreme gift to his disciples will indeed "open their minds to understand the Scriptures" Lk Considering the depth of the Jewish people's relation to the Scriptures, Jesus reveals himself to be the new evangelizer who brings newness and fullness to the Law, Prophets and Wisdom of Israel.
For Jesus, the purpose of evangelization is drawing people into his intimate relationship with the Father and the Spirit. This is the primary reason for his preaching and miracles: to proclaim a salvation which, even though manifested through concrete acts of healing, is not meant to indicate a desire for social or cultural change but a profound experience, accessible to each person, of being loved by God and learning to recognize him in the face of a loving and merciful Father cf.
The revelation contained in his words and actions are linked to the words of the prophets. In this regard, the account of the signs performed by Jesus in the presence of the messengers of John the Baptist are emblematic, namely, signs which reveal the identity of Jesus as properly aligned with the great prophetic utterances. Luke the Evangelist recounts: "In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many that were blind he bestowed sight.
And he answered them, 'Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them'" Lk , The words of Jesus show the full meaning of his actions in relation to the signs contained in countless biblical prophecies cf. The way Jesus treated people is to be considered an essential element of Jesus' method of evangelizing. He was able to welcome everyone, without distinction, and never exclude anyone: first, the poor, then the rich like Zacchaeus and Joseph of Arimathea; outsiders like the centurion and the Syro-Phoenician woman; the righteous, like Nathanael; and prostitutes and public sinners with whom he also sat at table.
Jesus knew how to plumb the depths of a person and elicit faith in the God who first loved us cf. In this manner, he sets down how the Church is to evangelize, demonstrating for her the heart of the Christian faith, namely, to believe in Love and in the face and voice of this Love, namely, Jesus Christ. Jesus' evangelizing actions leads a person quite naturally to a conversion-experience. Every person is called to conversion and to faith in God's merciful love.
The kingdom will grow in the manner in which each person learns to turn, in the intimacy of prayer, to God as Father cf. Lk ; Mt and, following the example of Jesus Christ, to recognize, in a totally free manner, that the goal of life is fulfilling God's will cf. Evangelization and the call to holiness and conversion are intricately bound together, a matter which needs to be proposed to people here and now, if they are to experience the Kingdom of God in Jesus, and, in turn, become the children of God.
The Synod is expected to consider to what extent evangelization and the call to holiness and conversion are present in our communities today and how, through their interaction, they nourish the lives of our communities and produce fruit. The Church, Evangelized and Evangelizing Those who truly accept the Gospel, precisely as a gift and for the fruits it produces in them, come together in the name of Jesus so as to preserve and nourish the faith which is received and shared, and to continue and grow in this lived-experience.
The Gospels recount cf. Mk 3, that after the disciples had been with Jesus, after they had lived with him, after they had been introduced by him into a new life-experience and after they had been partakers of his divine life, they were, in turn, sent out to continue this work of evangelization: "He called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. After Christ's death and resurrection, the missionary mandate given to the disciples by the Lord cf. Mk makes an explicit reference to proclaiming the Gospel to everyone, teaching them to observe everything he commanded cf.
Mt Paul presents himself as "called to be an Apostle [ The Church's task is thus to bring about a traditio Evangelii , a proclamation and transmission of the Gospel, which is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith" Rm and which ultimately is identified with Jesus Christ cf.
We know now that when it comes to proclaiming the Gospel, we must think of a living, effective Word, which brings about what is stated cf. As in the earthly life of Jesus, the Church's evangelizing mission is properly the work of God and the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Spirit at Pentecost makes the Apostles witnesses and prophets, confirming them in all they shared with Jesus and learned from him cf. Acts ; , instilling in them a serene courage which impels them to pass on to others their experience of Jesus and the hope that inspires them. The Spirit gives them the ability to witness to Jesus with parresia cf.
Acts , extending their activity from Jerusalem to all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. What the Church has lived from the very beginning, she continues to live today. By re-proposing these truths, Pope Paul VI recalled their contemporary character: "The command to the Twelve to go out and proclaim the Good News is also valid for all Christians, though in a different way [ She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ's sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of his death and glorious resurrection.
Every action performed by the Church is never closed in upon itself but is always an act of evangelization, and, as such, an action that manifests the triune face of our God. The Acts of the Apostles records those actions most intimately involved in the Church's life: prayer, listening to the Word and the Apostles' teaching, a "lived" fraternal charity and the breaking of the bread cf.
Acts All acquire their full meaning when they become an act of witness, a source of attraction and conversion, and a preaching and proclamation of the Gospel, by the whole Church and each baptized person. The Gospel of God's love for us, the call to take part in the life of the Father, through Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, is a gift meant for everyone. We proclaim Jesus himself, who calls everyone to conversion for the Kingdom of God.
To emphasize this fact, Jesus drew especially near to those on the margins of society, giving them special favour, when he proclaimed the Gospel. At the beginning of his ministry, he proclaimed that he was sent to preach the good news to the poor cf. To those despised and dejected, Jesus declares: "Blessed are you poor" Lk and, by standing with them, enables these individuals already to experience a sense of freedom cf. Lk ; He eats with them, treats them as brothers and sisters and as friends cf. Lk and helps them to feel loved by God, thus revealing his great compassion for sinners and those in need.
The freedom and salvation brought by the Kingdom of God touch every human person both physically and spiritually. Two actions are attached to Jesus' work of evangelization: healing and forgiving. Multiple miracles of healing clearly demonstrate his great compassion in the face of human misery. They also indicate that, in the Kingdom, there will no longer be sickness and suffering and that, from the outset, his mission is aimed at freeing people from sickness and suffering cf.
Rev Jesus' miracles of healing are also a sign of the salvation of the spirit, namely liberation from sin. In performing acts of healing, he invites people to faith, conversion and a desire for forgiveness cf. Received in faith, healing leads to salvation cf. Deliverance from demonic possession, the ultimate evil and symbol of sin and rebellion against God, is a sign that "the Kingdom of God has come upon you" Mt and that the Gospel, a gift of salvation meant for every person, initiates us into a process of transformation and participation in the life of God, who renews us in the present moment.
Peter the Apostle, the Church also continues faithfully to proclaim the Gospel for the good of each person. To the cripple who asks him for something on which to live, St.
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Peter responds by offering the gift of the Gospel which heals him, thus opening the way to salvation. In this way, in the course of time, in virtue of her work of evangelization, the Church gives flesh and visibility to the prophecy in Revelation: "Behold I make all things new. Evangelization consists in proposing the Gospel which transforms the human individual, his world and his personal story.
The Church evangelizes when, in virtue of the power of the Gospel proclaimed cf. Rm , she takes every human experience and gives it rebirth through the death and resurrection of Jesus cf. Rm , immersing each one in the newness of Baptism and life according to the Gospel and in the Son's relationship to his Father, so as to feel the power of the Spirit. The transmission of the faith is the goal of evangelization which, according to the divine plan, is to bring all people through Christ to the Father in the Spirit cf.
Eph This experience of the newness of the Gospel transforms every person. Today, we can hold to this conviction with greater surety, because history has left us extraordinary examples of courage, dedication, boldness, intuition and reason in the Church's work of bringing the Gospel to every person, acts of holiness which are displayed in a variety of notable and significant ways on every continent.
Every particular Church can boast of persons of outstanding holiness, who have been able to give renewed power and energy to the work of evangelization through their activities and, primarily, through their witness. Their example of holiness also provides prophetic and clear indications in devising new ways to live out the task of evangelization. They have repeatedly left us accounts in their writings, prayers, models and methods of teaching, spiritual journeys, journeys of initiation into the faith, works and educational institutions.
While strongly referring to the power of these examples of holiness, some responses also mention the difficulties in making these experiences contemporary and transmissible. Sometimes, it seems that these historical works not only belong to a past age, but are almost confined there, because they lack the ability to communicate the evangelical character of their witness in the present-day. The Synod is asked to discuss these difficulties and attempt to discover the underlying reasons why the activities and witness of various Church institutions lack credibility when they speak as bearers of the Gospel of God.
The Duty to Evangelize Every person has the right to hear the Gospel of God to humanity, which is Jesus Christ. Like the Samaritan woman at the well, humanity today needs to hear the words of Jesus: "If you knew the gift of God" Jn , because these words elicit the deep desire for salvation which lies in everyone: "Lord, give me this water, that I may not thirst" Jn This right of every person to hear the Gospel is clearly stated by St. Tireless in his preaching, he looks upon his work of proclaiming the Gospel as a duty, because he understood its universal significance: "For if I preach the Gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting.
For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I preach not the Gospel" 1 Cor Every man and woman should be able to say, like him, that "Christ loved us and gave himself up for us" Eph Furthermore, every man and women should be able to feel drawn into an intimate and transforming relationship which the proclamation of the Gospel creates between us and Christ: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" Gal And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?
And how are they to hear without a preacher? We can therefore understand how every one of the Church's actions has an essential evangelizing character and must never be separated from the duty to help others encounter Christ in faith, the primary goal of evangelization. If as a Church, "we bring people only knowledge, ability or technical skill and tools, we bring them too little.
The one desire of genuine evangelizers is to give freely what they have freely received: "From the very origins of the Church the disciples of Christ strove to convert men to faith in Christ as the Lord; not, however, by the use of coercion or of devices unworthy of the Gospel, but by the power, above all, of the word of God. The mission of the Apostles and its continuation in the primitive Church remain the basic model for evangelization at all times as a mission often marked by martyrdom, which is witnessed not only at the beginning of the history of Christianity but also in the last century, and even in our own times.
Martyrdom gives credibility to those who bear witness; they do not seek power or gain, but give their very lives for Christ. They show the world the defenceless yet powerful love for humanity, which is given to those who follow Christ to the point of totally surrendering their lives, as Jesus proclaimed: "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you" Jn However, erroneous beliefs unfortunately exist which limit the duty to proclaim the Good News. In fact, "there is today a growing confusion which leads many to leave the missionary command of the Lord unheard and ineffective cf.