Evangelization: A Challenge for the Catholic Church
Our Mission is Evangelization
“We must organize for justice. We must labour for peace. We must lobby for life. We must reach out and serve all those in need – the hungry, the lonely, the alienated, the sick, the imprisoned, the abandoned, the despairing, the addicted. The list is long. But… one ministry stands first, head and shoulders above the rest: evangelization.” (Fr. Bob Bedard, Constitutions & Rules - Identity)
“Our essential mission is to evangelize in the many apostolic works that we do…” (Fr. Bob Bedard, Constitutions & Rules – A Word from Our Founder)
As Catholics, we have wonderful documents on evangelization but we don’t often do it. The official teaching on evangelization hasn’t been received by the wider Church. The churches that evangelize are growing (e.g. Latin America and Africa). The mainline churches that do not evangelize are in decline.
“Where Jesus is lifted up and proclaimed with confidence and joy in the power of the Holy Spirit many are attracted to him and the Church grows … where the message is not clear, where there is doctrinal and moral confusion, where Jesus is not at the center, where the Holy Spirit is not free to move, hardly anyone comes and many who are already there leave for practical paganism or other Churches.” (Ralph Martin, The Catholic Church at the End of an Age, p. 135)
“When the Church is psychologically healthy, when She’s sound in her soul, when She knows who She is, She’s moving forward and spontaneously proclaiming the Gospel. That’s the dynamism that the Holy Spirit is bringing back into the life of the Church again: that every believer is in movement, in a state of mission.” (Peter Herbeck)
“As lay Catholics who have been baptized and confirmed, your identity is fundamentally that of apostles, “sent ones,” who have been anointed by Jesus Christ for his mission. You are more than recipients of the clergy’s ministry…You are more than volunteers in the parish; You are apostles. Importantly, however, you are not clerics; your apostleship is not hierarchical in nature. Your leadership, your charisms, your apostleship focuses primarily upon the secular, not the Christian community. You are the first and primary evangelizers of the people and structures of this world.” (Fr. Michael Sweeney, O.P., Sherry Anne Weddell, The Parish: Mission or Maintenance?, p. 10, 1st person replaced by 2nd person for clarity)
Do you know that you are called? So many Catholics don’t know this, haven’t heard this.
Turn to someone and say, “You are called to be an Apostle!”