A vision for evangelization for 2021 and beyond
BY DR. JEFF ANDRINI, OFFICE OF EVANGELIZATION AND DISCIPLESHIP
What comes to mind when you hear the words: Encounter, Accompany, Community and Send? At best, you may see these four movements as the underpinnings of Living as Missionary Disciples, which has been the four-year focus of our diocese. At worst, they may vaguely remind you of an effort of the diocese that you thought was over a long time ago.
The document by the U.S. Catholic Bishops, titled “Living as Missionary Disciples,” picks up on this theme that started with Pope Francis in 2013 with his apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel.” Here he says that “we are all called to be missionary disciples.” Our mission is the mission of Jesus and we are called to be transformed from within through our relationship with him.
All the priests of our diocese and those who serve on a parish staff have participated in four annual events to be renewed personally and to catch a vision of parish renewal and growth for the future. Here is the Vision Statement for the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship in our Diocese:
“In response to God’s love for us, every person within the Diocese of Owensboro will come to know Jesus in a personal way, grow in maturity as a disciple, and be sent forth to joyfully employ our gifts to make present the reign of God.”
What words in this statement excite or challenge you?
In response to God’s love, a God who gives us life and walks with us through everything we go through, we are filled with gratitude. God is not far off and aloof, but rather God is closer to us than the air we breathe. We are God’s beloved; however, many Catholics are unsure of how close Jesus is to us and that we need to meet him personally and choose to follow him. This encounter with the Divine One transforms us and helps us mature as disciples. Then we are sent forth to share our gifts and make present the reign of God to all those in need.
This is a powerful vision that Pope Francis and the bishops of our country are calling us to embrace. Our parishes are the outposts of God’s kingdom in our local community and need to be places where people encounter the life-fulfilling love of Jesus and are transformed into a people that reflect God’s kingdom.
You have a bigger role in this than you may know.
As a baptized follower of Jesus, you are called to be a leader in your local parish. Renewal starts in the heart of each disciple and together we are invited to make present God’s kingdom in our midst. The Office of Evangelization and Discipleship is here to help you and your parish be renewed. What do you, or, in your opinion, what does your parish need to take a step forward in living the vision of missionary discipleship? Please email me to share your thoughts.
Peace in Christ,
Dr. Jeff Andrini is the director of the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship. Please send comments to [email protected].
Originally printed in the January 2021 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.