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Evangelization – What Is It?

Our Evangelization Team met this week for an extended session to help learn about what they have done in the past and what they would like to do in the future.  It was also a chance for me to share with them some thoughts about what evangelization means to me and what evangelization ministries I have been involved with in the past.  So, I thought I would share some thoughts with you about what evangelization is.

Often, the word evangelization may lead to think about people who stand on the corner with signs like “John 3:16” or people who door to door to share their faith.  While that is part of evangelization it is not the whole picture.

If you check the glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church you will find the following definition of evangelization, “The proclamation of Christ and his Gospel (Greek: evangelion) by word and the testimony of life, in fulfillment of Christ’s command.”

Evangelization is to share the gospel.  It is not something we just do with those who don’t come to church.  It begins with people who already come to church, whether they come to church just at Christmas or Easter or every week or every day.  We all need to be evangelized in that we all need to work to deepen our relationship with Jesus. 

When evangelization works well, it is contagious.  When we deepen our own relationship with Jesus, we will want to talk about our faith with other people.  We will live our faith and that might motivate others to ask us about our faith. 

One of my primary responsibilities as pastor according to Canon Law is to see to the catechesis of all parishioners, done in large part in the homily.  I hope the homilies I offer do help you learn about and live our faith but I encourage you to put in more effort yourselves.  We tend to think catechesis (religious education) is something we do as children.  It really is something we must do for our entire lives.  While in this world, we will never know all there is to know about our faith.  You might spend time reading the Bible, spiritual books, or coming to parish activities for adults to learn more about our faith.

The last one isn’t something that gets done well in a lot of parishes but we are working on it and creating new opportunities.  What would work well for you?  CD’s to listen to in the car?  DVD’s to watch at home?  Guest speakers on topics of faith (what topics)? Or maybe just a night to be able to ask questions?

We’re looking for new opportunities to offer.  Let me know what you think might work.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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