As a council we reach out in different ways with different programs, and we need your help to assist us in accomplishing what God is asking us to do. Please contact Jan Marrah at 765-865-6684 if you would like to become involved.
What is Evangelization?
Catholic evangelization is more than individuals going door-to-door, or standing on street corners handing out flyers. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Go and Make Disciples: A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization (GMD) define evangelization as bringing the Good News into every human situation, with the goal of converting individuals and society through the power of Christ’s Word. “At its essence are the proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ and the response of a person in faith, which are both works of the Spirit of God.” (10)
Evangelization moves in two directions. First, inwardly as the faithful continue receiving the Gospel, continue to nurture it, and grow in holiness in ongoing conversion. And second, evangelization is an outward movement in addressing those who have not heard the Gospel, have heard it but stopped practicing their faith, and those who seek full communion among Christians. (GMD 23)
Conversion means change. Change in our lives brought about by the Holy Spirit as we reject sin, and move to become more faithful disciples by “putting on the mind of Christ.” (GMD 12). For some, the change is sudden, rapid and dramatic; still others may have a gradual growth over many years. The change occurs in those who were born into the faith as well as those entering through Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. There is no one-size-fits-all aspect of conversion; only the fact that conversion continues throughout our lives.
This is crucial: we must be converted–and we must continue to be converted! We must let the Holy Spirit change our lives! We must respond to Jesus Christ. And we must be open to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit who will continue to convert us as we follow Christ. If our faith is alive, it will be aroused again and again as we mature as disciples. (GMD 14)
Within the scope of parish life at Saint Joan of Arc, we have organized our community into categories as:
1. Active—Attends Mass on weekends, holy days, while on business and pleasure trips, attends missions or possibly parish sponsored retreats. Family life includes sending children to parochial elementary and high schools, Sunday religious education and sacramental preparation classes. He or she volunteers in one or more ministries.
2. Sometimes—Goes to Mass once in a while–maybe during the Christmas and Easter seasons. He or she may send children to parochial elementary and high schools, religious education and sacramental preparation classes.
3. Inactive—Does not go to Mass and is not involved in any church activities, and sometimes does not identify him or herself as Catholic. The family life does not support or encourage children to attend any religious education classes.
4. Other—Is a member of another faith community, not a member of any faith community, or may have never been a part of a faith community, but know of the Gospel. And this group includes someone who may never have heard the Gospel.
As pointed out by the United States Bishops, each group is different and therefore the manner in which the Good News comes to them is diverse. In our parish, there are programs or ministries already in place to reach some of these groups.
Active—Fan the Flame: Inspiration through Religious Enrichment (F.I.R.E) classes; Ecclesial Lay Ministry certification; Family Initiative; Donuts and Doctrine; Dad’s Workshop retreat; Christ Renews His Parish; Parish Missions; Religious Education for Elementary School Children and High School Youth; Dead Theologians Society; Going Deeper; Youth Ministry; The Call Youth Retreat; Middle School Youth Ministry; Moms Ministry; Sunshine Club; Liturgical Ministries; Greeters; Sts. Joan of Arc and Patrick School; Vacation Bible School.
Sometimes—Donuts and Doctrine; Christ Renews His Parish; Parish Missions; Greeters; Sts. Joan of Arc and Patrick School; Vacation Bible School.
Inactive—Inquiry; Christ Renews His Parish.
Other—Inquiry, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
In order for those persons who would come under the headings of “Sometimes, Inactive and Other” to become engaged in the listed activities, our parishioners will have to be proactive in identifying and interacting with them in such a way that they will come to St. Joan of Arc and take advantage of all of our opportunities to mature as disciples of Jesus Christ.
John Paul II points out in his message to the churches in the Americas, Ecclesia in America (EA), that the New Evangelization places importance on catechesis and evangelizing centers of education so that Catholic universities are both universities and Catholic. The New Evangelization calls for primary and secondary schools to strengthen their Catholic identity and calls for support in providing Catholic education to the poor and marginalized (EA71). Additionally, it calls for the use of modern means of social communication – the mass media.
“Using the media correctly and competently can lead to a genuine enculturation of the Gospel. At the same time, the media also help to shape the culture and mentality of people today, which is why there must be special pastoral activity aimed at those who work in the media.” (EA 72)
The United States Bishops emphasize that sharing the Good News yields a changed world.
The fruits of evangelization are changed lives and a changed world—holiness and justice, spirituality and peace. The validity of our having accepted the Gospel does not only come from what we feel or what we know; it comes also from the way we serve others, especially the poorest, the most marginal, the most hurting, the most defenseless, and the least loved. An evangelization that stays inside ourselves is not an evangelization into the Good News of Jesus Christ. (GMD18)
Evangelization is much more than “knocking on doors.” It has inward and outward directions, implications, personal continuous conversion and outreach to others. It is the mission of the Catholic Church and incumbent on all of us to evangelize ourselves and others.
Succinctly stated, we acknowledge that evangelization begins with each of us. We are a parish of inward and outward, continual evangelization.
Please contact Jan Marrah at 765-865-6684 if you would like to become involved.
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