5 Things To Know About the New Evangelization
1. The New Evangelization is about re-proposing the Gospel in new ways.
Millions of Catholics in secularized countries are suffering a crisis of faith. The Gospel needs to be proclaimed again, as St. John Paul II stated, to "entire groups of the baptized [who] have lost a living sense of the faith, or even no longer consider themselves members of the Church, and live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel." St. John Paul II also emphasized the need for an evangelization "new in its ardor, method and expression." The New Evangelization is therefore an opportunity to re-discover the joy of believing in Jesus Christ and to bear witness to our encounter with Him.
2. The New Evangelization is first and foremost the work of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the animating force of the New Evangelization. It is the Holy Spirit who invites and equips us to continue the mission of the Redeemer entrusted to the Church for the salvation of souls. Like Pentecost, the New Evangelization is nothing less than a manifestation of the Holy Spirit: "As we look to the challenges of the future, let us implore from God the grace of a new Pentecost for the Church in America. May tongues of fire, combining burning love of God and neighbor with zeal for the spread of Christ’s Kingdom, descend on all" (Pope Benedict XVI).
3. At the heart of the New Evangelization is a rediscovery of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
"To contemplate the face of Christ, and to contemplate it with Mary, is the “program” which I have set before the Church at the dawn of the third millennium, summoning her to put out into the deep on the sea of history with the enthusiasm of the new evangelization. To contemplate Christ involves being able to recognize him wherever he manifests himself, in his many forms of presence, but above all in the living sacrament of his body and his blood. The Church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist; by him she is fed and by him she is enlightened" (St. John Paul II)
4. Laypeople and priests are called to be partners of prayer and sacrifice in advancing the New Evangelization.
"A new redemption will come, not by my human passion, but by my passion in crucified souls and a new Pentecost by the living and ardent impulse of the Holy Spirit... But to save souls, to set souls on fire, to bring souls to perfection, we have to begin by the root, which is the Church in my priests, as a powerful help for the saving work that is going to come, which is at the gates." - Jesus to Ven. Concepción Cabrera de Armida
5. Prayer is an essential activity of the New Evangelization.
Prayer is the pathway to union with God. Prayer opens the door for the Holy Spirit to descend upon us and transform our hearts and souls. Prayer prepares us for mission. As Pope Francis expresses it in Evangelii Gaudium, intercessory prayer has missionary power: "When evangelizers rise from prayer, their hearts are more open; freed of self-absorption, they are desirous of doing good and sharing their lives with others." Through prayer we are transformed, and through intercessory prayer we obtain graces for our priests, our partners in the New Evangelization.