Saturday, 03 May 2014 11:45

New Evangelisation and the Parish Community

Here is a summary of the relevant main point of the Bulletin listing the propositions agreed to at the Synod of Bishops on New Evangelisation held from the 7th to 28th October 2012.

The source of the new evangelization is God. The Church as manifested in the parish continues the mission of God’s love in our world.

Sunday Mass and Evangelization

Sunday Mass is the centre of parish life. It is in and through the Mass that parishioners are invited to participate in the very life of the Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit. Evangelization is an activity of both word and sacrament. The grace of the Holy Spirit empowers the parishioners to evangelize and to give witness to Christ with enthusiasm and courage.

New Evangelization and Inculturation

The New Evangelization calls for particular attention to the culture of the parish and the various ethic cultures in the parish. It is only through the inculturation of the faith in the parish that the Gospel can be transmitted to the whole parish community. That is those who come to Mass on a regular basis, those who participate only on occasion and those for whom regular worship is no longer part of their life. In the context of a parish the relationship with culture is a two way street. The first task is to affirm what is positive in the parish culture and in the various ethic cultures that represented in the parish. The second task it to purify the parish culture from elements that are contrary to the full realization of the gospel.

The New Evangelization requires discerning the signs of the times in the different parishes with a view to the meeting the particular ministerial needs of each parish.
The New Evangelization calls the whole parish community to reach out to those who are far from God and the Christian community to invite them to once again hear the Word of God so that they may encounter the Lord Jesus in a new and profound way.

Proclamation of the Gospel

Each and every activity undertaken in a parish is grounded in the proclamation of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ and in the paschal mystery of his passion, death, resurrection and glorification.

Witnessing in a Secularized World

As a local manifestation of “the little flock” (Lk 12:32) of Jesus Christ the parish is called to bear witness to the Gospel message of salvation. The parish community is called to be salt and light of a new world. (cf. Mt 5:13-16) Through lovingly embracing the wounds of the Church and of the world the parish is challenged to be a witness of the new world to all those who dwell and work within its geographical boundaries.

New Evangelization and Initial Proclamation

It is an inalienable right for each person, whatever one’s religion or lack of religion, to be able to know Jesus Christ and the Gospel. In Australia the parish is the principal instrument of proclaiming the gospel. The whole parish community including the parish school, has the responsibility proclaiming the message of salvation of the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ in such a manner that there are many opportunities for repentance of sin, conversion of hearts and a decision of faith.

New Evangelization and the Prayerful Reading of Sacred Scripture

For the New Evangelization and for the spiritual growth of the faithful Lectio Divina, should be made available in parishes. Serious study of the Bible is most appropriately undertaken at a diocesan and/or regional level.

Challenges of Our Time

Everyone need friends and everyone could benefit from a ‘safe space’ to explore the big personal questions in their life. Questions of meaning and purpose, questions related to relationships and work, questions of God and prayer. Parish communities have the responsibility of reaching out to those who are lonely and/or suffer from a lack of meaning in their lives. Amongst this group are

  1. Catholics estranged from the Church,
  2. those who do not follow Christ,
  3. those caught up in sects
  4. those experimenting with different kinds of spiritualities.

Preambles of Faith and Theology of Credibility

All parishes are invited to take up the challenge of presenting a new apologetics of Christian thought to both regular parishioners and to those less active in the Church. In many  Australian parishes there are parishioners who have undergone some theologically training and with the assistance of appropriate audio visual and other resources these people should be invited to promote adult faith formation in the parish.

New Evangelization and the Means of Social Communication

The most effective form of this communication of the faith remains the sharing of the testimony of life, without which none of the “media” efforts will result in an effective transmission of the Gospel. Education in the wise and constructive use of social media is an important means to be utilized in the New Evangelization.
Proposition 18

New Evangelization and Human Development

It is not possible to think of the New Evangelization without the proclamation of full freedom from everything that oppresses the human person, i.e. sin and its consequences. There is a close link between evangelization and the development and freedom of both the person and society.
Proposition 19

The New Evangelization and the Way of Beauty

In the New Evangelization, there should be a particular attention paid to the way of beauty.   It is important for the New Evangelization that the Church be present in all fields of art, so as to support with her spiritual and pastoral presence the artists in their search for creativity and
to foster a living and true spiritual experience of salvation that becomes present in their work. Proposition 20

Migrants

Immigrants are not only recipients, but also protagonists of the proclamation of the Gospel in the modern world. The Church’s pastoral plan for migrants should not only welcome  migrants and promote their human dignity, but should above all help them be integrated into the life of the Church, respecting their own ritual tradition; this plan should also help them avoid becoming lost to the Catholic Church. Proposition 21

Conversion

The New Evangelization requires personal and communal conversion, new methods of evangelization and renewal of the pastoral structures, to be able to move from a pastoral strategy of maintenance to a pastoral position that is truly missionary.
Proposition 22

Holiness and the New Evangelizers

A constitutive element of the New Evangelization is the universal call to holiness. The New Evangelization sees the Saints as effective models of the variety and forms in which the vocation to holiness can be realized. Holiness is a significant part of every evangelizing commitment for the one who evangelizes and for the good of those evangelized.  Proposition 23

The Social Teaching of The Church

In order to advance a New Evangelization in society, greater attention should be given to the Church’s social doctrine, understanding that it is a proclamation and witness of faith, an irreplaceable means of education in the faith.
Proposition 24

Urban Scenarios of the New Evangelization

The proclamation of the Gospel can be the basis to restore the dignity of human life in urban contexts. Cities and the culture they express, as well as the transformations that take place in them, are a privileged place of the New Evangelization.
Proposition 25

Parishes and Other Ecclesial Realities

The parish continues to be the primary presence of the Church in neighbourhoods. The parish is the place and instrument of Christian life as it is able to offer opportunities for dialogue among people, for listening to and announcing the Word of God, for organic catechesis, for training in charity, for prayer, adoration and joyous Eucharistic celebrations. Parishes are encouraged to find ways to orient themselves to a greater emphasis on evangelization which could include parish missions, parish renewal programs and parish retreats. Parishes and their small communities are called to be living cells, places to promote the personal and communitarian encounter with Christ, experience the richness of liturgy, to give initial and permanent Christian formation, and to educate all the faithful in fraternity and charity especially towards the poor. Parishes as well as traditional and new ecclesial realities are called to make visible together the communion of the particular Church united around the Bishop.
Proposition 26

Education

Education is a constitutive dimension of evangelization. To proclaim the Risen Jesus Christ is to accompany all human beings in their personal story, in their development and in their spiritual vocation. Education needs, at the same time, to promote everything that is true, good and beautiful that is a part of the human person, that is to say, to educate the mind and the emotions to appreciate reality. Schools should assist families in introducing children into the beauty of the faith. Schools offer a great opportunity to transmit the faith or at least to make it known. Particular Churches, religious families, and all those who have responsibility in the educational institutions are urged to facilitate the co-responsibility of lay people, offering adequate formation and accompaniment for this.
Proposition 27

Adult Catechesis

The catechesis of adults is important to the New Evangelization. The catechumenate provides a model of how biblically, catechetically, spiritually and liturgically a person’s history and faith-journey can be understood as a vocation through a relationship with God.
Proposition 28

Catechesis, Catechists and the Catechism

Good Catechesis is essential for the New Evangelization. All catechists need to be well prepared with strong ecclesial formation, that is spiritual, biblical, doctrinal and pedagogical. Personal witness to the faith is itself a powerful form of catechesis. The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” and its Compendium are, above all, a resource for teaching the faith and supporting adults in the Church in their evangelizing and catechizing mission.
Proposition 29

Theology

Priests, teachers and catechists must be formed in institutions of higher education. Scientific theology has its own proper place in the university where it must carry out dialogue between faith and the other disciplines and the secular world. Theologians are called to think and feel with the Church. The Synod proposes that a department of New Evangelization studies be established in Catholic Universities.
Proposition 30

New Evangelization and the Option for the Poor

The poor both are recipients and actors in the New Evangelization. The preferential option  for the poor leads us to seek out the poor and to work on their behalf so that they may feel at home in the Church. The new faces of poverty are the hungry, the homeless, the sick and abandoned, drug addicts, migrants and the marginalized, political and environmental refugees, the indigenous peoples. Among the poorest in contemporary society are the victims of grievous loss of respect for the inviolable dignity of innocent human life..
Proposition 31

The Sick

In the sick, the suffering, persons with disabilities and those with special needs, Christ’s suffering is present and has a missionary force. Through the sick, Christ enlightens His Church, so that everyone who enters into contact with them will find reflected the light of Christ. New hospitals need a consoling and supportive environment and a place for prayer. Proposition 32

The Sacrament of Penance and the New Evangelization

In the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation the penitent encounters Jesus, and at the  same time she experiences a deeper appreciation of herself. In every diocese, at least one  place should be especially dedicated in a permanent way for the celebration of this sacrament. The sacrament should be especially available, even on a daily basis, at places of pilgrimage and specially designated churches.
Proposition 33

Sundays and Feast Days

Sunday with its sacred and special character together with Sunday Mass should be the centre of Catholic life. The Eucharist must be the source and summit of the New Evangelization. Full, active and conscious participation in the liturgy on the part of the whole community is the goal. The liturgical year with its feasts should be followed by a true program of evangelization, especially at Christmas and Easter.
Proposition 34

Liturgy

The worthy celebration of the Sacred Liturgy is the primary and most powerful expression of the new evangelization. The liturgy is not just a human action but an encounter with God which leads to contemplation and deepening friendship with God. In this sense, the liturgy of the Church is the best school of the faith.
Proposition 35

Spiritual Dimension of the New Evangelization

The principal agent of evangelization is the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit one may encounter Jesus. The encounter with Jesus introduces one into the life of the Trinity. The contemplative dimension of the New Evangelization is marked by a spirit of adoration, supplication and of praise. New Evangelization is nourished through prayer, beginning with the liturgy, especially the Eucharist. Prayer is to be encouraged and taught from infancy. Proposition 36

The Sacrament of Confirmation in the New Evangelization

Through Confirmation, all the baptized receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit, his charisms, and the power to give witness to the Gospel openly and with courage. It is important that mystagogical catechesis accompany the grace of filial adoption received at Baptism, underlining the importance of the gift of the Holy Spirit which enables one to fully participate in the Eucharistic witness of the Church and its influence in all the spheres of life and human activity. Hence proper and systematic catechesis prior to the reception of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharistic is of prime importance.
Proposition 37 :

Christian Initiation and the New Evangelization

The Synod wishes to state that Christian initiation is a crucial element in the New

Evangelization Christian initiation needs to be seen in a catechumenal prospective, giving more relevance to permanent mystagogy, and thus becoming true initiation to Christian life through the sacraments. In terms of the order in which the three sacraments of initiation are celebrated “Concretely, it needs to be seen which practice better enables the faithful to put the sacrament of the Eucharist at the centre, as the goal of the whole process of initiation” (Sacramentum caritatis, 18).
Proposition 38

Popular Piety and the New Evangelization

Popular piety is a true place to encounter Christ, and also express the faith of the Christian people in the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints. It is important that a pastoral plan be developed that properly welcomes the pilgrims and, in response to the deep desire of the pilgrims, opportunities be offered so that the time of the pilgrimage can be lived as a true moment of grace.
Proposition 39

The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization

The Synod requests that consideration be given in each Episcopal conference to the establishment of a commission in order to promote the study and diffusion of the pontifical Magisterium relative to the themes that are a part of the New Evangelization.
Proposition 40

New Evangelization and the Particular Church

The particular church is the subject of the New Evangelization. This is so because in each place, the particular church is the concrete manifestation of the Church of Christ and as such initiates, coordinates and accomplishes the pastoral actions through which the New Evangelization is carried out. It would be desirable if each particular church, whatever difficulties occur, developed a sense of mission among her faithful by cooperating with other particular churches.
Proposition 41

Integrated Pastoral Activity

Each particular Church is the primary community of the Church’s mission. It must animate and lead a renewed pastoral activity able to integrate the variety of charisms, ministries, states life and resources. Such an endeavour must arise from the dialogue and cooperation of all diocesan components, including: parishes, small Christian communities, educational communities, communities of consecrated life, associations, movements and individual faithful.
Proposition 42

Hierarchical and Charismatic Gifts

The hierarchical gifts and the charismatic gifts, flowing from the one Spirit of God, are not in competition but rather co-essential to the life of the Church and to the effectiveness of her missionary action (cf. John Paul II, Message to Participants at the World Congress of Ecclesial movements, May 27, 1998). The consecrated life occupies a special place in the charismatic dimension of the Church (cf. Mutuae relationes, 34, Rispartire da Cristo, 32. Studies should be undertaken at both diocesan and interdiocesan levels to see how both the charismatic and hierarchical gifts are able to cooperate in the pastoral action and in the spiritual life of the Church. The Synod recognizes the new ecclesial movements and new communities and encourages them to utilise their charisms in close collaboration with the dioceses and the parish communities, who in turn, will benefit from their missionary spirit. Proposition 43

New Evangelization in the Parish

The parish remains the usual environment for the spiritual life of the parishioners. The Synod therefore encourages parish visits to families as a way of parish renewal. Along the same line, “pastoral agents” in hospitals, youth centres, factories, prisons, etc., have to bear in mind that the New Evangelization should find a home in these places since Christ showed his  preference for the persons found there.
Proposition 44

The Role of the Lay Faithful in the New Evangelization

The Second Vatican Council identifies four main aspects of the mission of the baptized: the witness of their lives, works of charity and mercy, renewing the temporal order and direct evangelization The laity cooperate in the Church’s work of evangelization, as witnesses and  at the same time as living instruments they share in her saving mission. The Church should provide adequate encouragement and training to foster their apostolic zeal in the transmission of the faith.
Proposition 45

Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church

The Church appreciates the equal dignity of women and men in society as made in the image of God, and in the Church based on their common vocation as baptized into Christ.
The Synod acknowledges that today, women (lay and religious) together with men contribute to theological reflection at all levels and share pastoral responsibilities in new ways, thus carrying forward the New Evangelization for the transmission of the faith.
Proposition 46

Formation for Evangelizers

This Synod considers that it is necessary to establish formation centres for the New Evangelization, where lay people learn how to speak of the person of Christ in a persuasive manner adapted to our time and to specific groups of people (young people, agnostics, the elderly and so forth).
All teaching and resources are to be evaluated in the light of Trinitarian Christocentricity. Proposition 47

The Christian Family

The Christian family as the domestic Church is the locus and first agent in the giving of life and love, the transmission of faith and the formation of the human person according to the values of the gospel.

The New Evangelization should strive to address significant pastoral problems around marriage, the case of divorced and remarried, the situation of their children, the fate of abandoned spouses, the couples who live together without marriage and the trend in society to redefine marriage. Every pastoral plan of evangelization should also include a respectful invitation to all those who live alone, to experience God in the family of the Church.

It is necessary to educate people in how to live human sexuality according to Christian anthropology, both before marriage as well as in marriage itself.
Proposition 48

Pastoral Dimension of the Ordained Ministry

So that priests will be adequately prepared for the work of the New Evangelization, the Synod wishes that in their formation, care is taken to form them in a deep spirituality, solid doctrine, the capacity to communicate in catechesis and an awareness of modern cultural phenomena.

Seminaries should take as their focus the New Evangelization so that it becomes the recurring and unifying theme in programs of human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation. Ongoing formation programs within the diocese should also be available for deacons. Proposition 49

Consecrated Life

The witness of a life which manifests the primacy of God and which, by means of the common life, expresses the humanizing force of the Gospel is a powerful proclamation of the Reign of God. Consecrated contemplative life continues to be a powerful source of grace in the life and mission of the Church. The Synod hopes that the New Evangelization will move many more faithful to embrace this form of life.
Proposition 50

Youth and the New Evangelization

Youth are in the stage of searching for truth and meaning in life that Jesus who is the Truth and their Friend can provide.
It is necessary that evangelizers meet the young and spend time with them; propose to them and accompany them in following Jesus, guide them to discover their vocation in life and in the Church.

Through catechesis and youth ministry the Church strives to enable and equip young people to discern between good and evil, to choose Gospel values over worldly values, and to form firm faith convictions.The World Youth Day celebrations and YOUCAT are special instruments of the New Evangelization.
Proposition 51

Ecumenical Dialogue

While upholding Catholic identity and communion, the New Evangelization promotes ecumenical collaboration, which demonstrates how much the faith given in Baptism unites   us. The Synod Fathers express their desire that the Church continues her efforts in this path of unity and charity
Proposition 52

Interreligious Dialogue

The Church invites Christians to persevere and to intensify their relations with Muslims according to the teaching of the Declaration Nostra aetate. Faithful to the teaching of Vatican II, the Church respects the other religions and their adherents and is happy to collaborate with them in the defense and promotion of the inviolable dignity of every person.
Proposition 53

The Dialogue Between Science and Faith.

On the one hand the dialogue between science and faith requires the openness of reason to the mystery which transcends it and an awareness of the fundamental limits of scientific knowledge. On the other hand, it also requires a faith that is open to reason and to the results of scientific research.
Proposition 54

Courtyard of the Gentiles

The ecclesial communities open a kind of Courtyard of the Gentiles where believers and non- believers can dialogue about fundamental themes: the great values of ethics, art and science, and the search for the transcendent. This dialogue is directed in particular to “those to whom religion is something foreign, to whom God is unknown and who nevertheless do not want to be left merely Godless, but rather to draw near to him, albeit as the Unknown” (Benedict  XVI, Address to the Members of the Roman Curia, 21 December 2009). In a particular way, Catholic educational institutions could promote such a dialogue which is never separated  from the “initial proclamation”.
Proposition 55

Stewardship of Creation

The Stewardship of creation demonstrates a sense of solidarity with all those who depend for their life and sustenance on the goods of creation. It shows inter-generational solidarity with those who come after us, and is a clear witness to the responsible and equitable use of the goods of the earth, our common home.
Proposition 56

The Transmission of the Christian Faith

The task of the New Evangelization, following in this apostolic tradition, is the transmission
 
of the faith. This task is a complex process which involves the faith and life of every Christian. The New Evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith calls all believers to renew their faith and their personal encounter with Jesus in the Church, to deepen their appreciation of the truth of the faith and joyfully to share it.
Proposition 57

Mary, the Star of the New Evangelization

Pope Paul VI declared her the “Star of Evangelization.” Today Mary is the “Missionary” who will aid us in the difficulties of our time and with her nearness open the hearts of men and women to the faith.. Mary is the Mother of the Church. Through her presence, may the  Church become a home for many and Mother of all peoples.
Proposition 58

End FAQ

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Summary prepared by John Francis Collins, Projects Manager, National Office for Evangelisation. December 2012

Read 5177 times Last modified on Thursday, 20 November 2014 09:01

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