Women bow their heads in prayer during the Living a Eucharistic Life as Missionary Disciples event on Oct. 10, 2022 at the Owensboro Convention Center. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC
What’s new in the New Evangelization?
BY DR. JEFF ANDRINI, SPECIAL TO THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
Was the old evangelization broken or deficient in some way? Is the New Evangelization a “new and improved” type? And what does this strange Greek word mean anyway?
The word “evangelize” in Latin, “evanelizare,” means to “spread or preach the Gospel” and this comes from the Greek root “euangelizesthai,” meaning to “bring good news.” Evangelization is literally the core mission of the Catholic Church, to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world.
At the end of Jesus’s life on earth, before his Ascension, he commissioned the disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations, teaching all I have commanded.” This great commission is given to you and me today.
Since the Second Vatican Council, there has been a renewed call and understanding of the mission of the Church. In 1983, Pope John Paul II declared that the fifth centenary of the first evangelization of the Americas (1492-1992) should mark the beginning of a new era of evangelization; “new in its ardor, methods, and expression.” He added that “The time has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization.”
Today, as we continue this mission to the world, the New Evangelization has taken a turn to focus more directly on those who are already Catholic.
The United States Catholic Bishops’ website says this: “The New Evangelization calls each of us to deepen our faith, believe in the Gospel message and go forth to proclaim the Gospel. The focus of the New Evangelization calls all Catholics to be evangelized and then go forth to evangelize. In a special way, the New Evangelization is focused on ‘re-proposing’ the Gospel to those who have experienced a crisis of faith.”
This call to deepen our faith is not just about understanding the teachings of our Church but is more focused on a living relationship with Jesus: a daily encounter with our living God through the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to be more formed by the teachings of Jesus and led by God’s Spirit instead of overwhelmed by the chaos of our day, the sins of our Church leaders or our own desire for comfort and security.
The Gospel, the Good News is that God is with us and wants us to experience abundant life in communion with the Trinity. How many of us Catholics know this type of abundance and are willing to follow in the footsteps of Jesus?
The New Evangelization starts in our own hearts and in our relationship with Jesus. As you may know, the National Eucharistic Revival is currently happening in our country, and we launched the Year of Parish Revival this past Corpus Christi Sunday. As we enter into this special year, may the parishes of our diocese and every Catholic encounter anew the love, care, presence, and power of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and in each of us as we carry his presence into the world.
Follow along with the Acts 2:42 Small Groups taking place in our diocese by reading this column each month. We will highlight evangelization and how the monthly topic challenges us to live the Eucharistic Revival.
Peace in Christ,
Dr. Jeff Andrini is the director of the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship and can be reached at [email protected].
Originally printed in the August 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.