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Society and Culture: Transformed by the New Evangelization

 

What Is the New Evangelization?

Christ came to bring hope, peace, and salvation to the world. As baptized Catholics, we are all called to share Christ in our daily life. The New Evangelization is realized through announcing the Good News to those who have never heard of Christ (called missio ad gentes, the mission to the nations), engaging in ongoing catechesis, and “re-proposing” the Gospel to those who, although baptized, have drifted away from the Church.
Volunteers serving a meal to a needy person.

By deepening our relationship with Christ and experiencing his love, we renew our faith as disciples in a community of believers, grow in confidence in the truth of the Gospel, and then share our faith in Jesus Christ joyfully with others. The New Evangelization invites all Catholics to see the world as an opportunity to bring people to Christ and to grow closer to Christ themselves.

Living the everyday moments of our lives with faith, hope, and love is the most effective way to share our faith with others. This witness is what is needed for reaching our families, friends, neighbors, and colleagues in order to transform culture.

The Community and the New Evangelization

Did you know that Christ told us to be his witnesses to “the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8)? He didn’t tell us to just witness to our family and friends, but to “the ends of the earth!” Through our Baptism, we are called to witness to the larger Church community and society.

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We are called to evangelize the world by entering into dialogue with modern culture and confronting the influences of secularism, materialism, and individualism. Modern culture, though often positive, leads to isolation and weariness when taken to the extreme. For example, secularism has led to a diminishing recognition of Sunday as the Lord’s Day, a day of prayer and rest.

Young people planting a garden together.The New Evangelization, however, offers hope. Our hope is in the person of Jesus Christ, who offers salvation to all people. As Catholics, we offer hope to our community and culture by publically witnessing through our words and actions to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

What Can You Do in Your Community to Foster the New Evangelization?

Every baptized person is called to be a disciple of Christ and proclaim the Gospel. While this task may seem daunting, the Church—through the sacraments—provides us with the grace and resources necessary to be evangelizers in our local communities. And remember, an evangelizer is a disciple who shares the faith!

Here are some concrete practices that anyone can use to foster the New Evangelization in society:A grandmother and grandaughter share a moment together.

  • Pray daily and read Scripture.
  • Regularly celebrate the sacraments, especially in Sunday Mass each week.
  • Trust in the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit will give you the grace needed to share your faith, so do not be afraid to discuss your faith in public.
  • Love your neighbor as yourself (Mt 22:39).
  • Transform our culture through advocacy, direct service opportunities, and social justice ministries.
  • Study the faith through the Catechism of the Catholic Church and faith formation programs.
  • Personally invite your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to Sunday Mass.
  • Be willing to listen to other peoples’ stories and questions about the Church without judgment.
  • Remember the words of Peter: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” (1 Pt 3:15).

For more information on the New Evangelization, see Disciples Called to Witness.

The document Society and Culture: Transformerd by the New Evangelization was developed as a resource by the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). It was reviewed by the committee chairman, Bishop David L. Ricken, and has been authorized for publication by the undersigned.

Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins, JCD
General Secretary, USCCB

Scripture excerpts used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, rev. ed. © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

ISBN 978-1-60137-397-7
First printing, [month] 2013

Copyright © 2013, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright holder.



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