Evangelization: Our Primary Mission

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

The above headline is not my invention. It was birthed as a result of Vatican II, which was summoned by Pope John XXIII and ran from 1962 to 1965. Pope Paul VI then defined evangelization as the church’s most important task. “The Church exists to evangelize,” he wrote in Evangelii Nuntiandi. Pope John Paul II, in Redemptoris Missio, realizing the importance of evangelization as the church’s primary mission, beckoned the faithful into a “New Springtime Of Evangelization.”

During his pontificate, Benedict XVI consistently pointed to “New Evangelization” as the essential job of the faithful. His successor, Francis I, has made it a hallmark of his ministry. (See Evangelii Gaudium on right)

You see, for too long Catholics thought of evangelization as “the clergy’s job.” That ended with Vatican II changing the model of the church to ”community of believers” rather than an “institution.“ In short, it means all Catholics, laity and clergy alike, must share in this most important work. Jesus said, “the harvest is great but the workers are few.” Surely, if it was the exclusive job of clergy, with all of its varied responsibilities, the workers were few.

Now it’s our job, yours and mine. Let us get acquainted with our task and make friends with it.

Our mission statement embraces the definition of Evangelization by both the papacy and our bishops. It means “brining the Good News (evangelization means good news) of Jesus Christ into every segment of humanity (where we live) and…resulting in the transformation of society from within by the divine power of the gospel itself.”

The Holy Spirit is the principal agent in evangelization, but he requires our cooperation to make it successful. And it can be accurately said that “everything we do in our church is evangelization.” But there’s a more distinct task for our mission at St. Francis Xavier Church. We become “bearers of the Good news,” either in oral or written form. We bring several venues so that its audience, whether in either form, become “hearers” and “readers” of the word.

Because Jesus has called us to ongoing evangelization, we’re involved in helping or planning and arranging speakers for events like our parish mission, Forty Hours, The Best Three Nights Of Summer and the music of Jon Stemkoski”s Celebrant Singers, the latter scheduled for Thursday, June 27, at Xavier Center. However, none of this happens without leadership from our Pastor.

On the written side, we have started a collection of personal testimonies from parishioners about extraordinary circumstance prompted by God’s grace which accomplished major events in their lives. These testimonies will be made available to anyone who wants them.

Besides myself, our mission team consists of Pat Gannon, who coordinates the home visitation program with her able helper, Steve Barnes, Connie Canute who’s teaching a Catholic Bible Study at Adams County Prison along with parishioner Terri Gelles, and John Newbold, who has introduced a program of CD’s produced by Lighthouse Catholic Media and features a wide variety of teachings and testimonies.

But the harvest field continues to be great and the laborers too few. So I encourage you, if you have a yen to see how the gospel works in the process of conversion, by all means call the Church Office, at 334-3919, let them know and I’ll be sure to contact you.

God bless you for all you may do for Jesus Christ and His Holy Church.

Ed Luckenbaugh

Evangelization Chairman

edluck@embarqmail.com

Evangelii Gaudium


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"Evangelization does not consist in proselytizing, but in attracting by our witness those who are far off, in humbly drawing near to those who feel distant from God and the Church, those who are fearful or indifferent, and saying to them: 'The Lord, with great respect and love, is also calling you to be a part of his people." (Evangelii Gaudium, 113)

"How beautiful it would be if all could admire how much we care for one another, how we encourage and help each other. Giving of ourselves establishes an interpersonal relationship; we do not give “things” but our very selves. In any act of giving, we give ourselves. “Giving of oneself” means letting all the power of that love which is God’s Holy Spirit take root in our lives, opening our hearts to his creative power.

When we give of ourselves, we discover our true identity as children of God in the image of the Father and, like him, givers of life; we discover that we are brothers and sisters of Jesus, to whom we bear witness. This is what it means to evangelize; this is the new revolution – for our faith is always revolutionary – this is our deepest and most enduring cry." -- Pope Francis




The Francis Effect

Living the Joy of the Gospel

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