Archbishop Wuerl Invites Catholics to Renew the Faith and Return to the Church through “The New Evangelization”

September 09, 2010

Recognizing that all of us know someone – a friend, family member, colleague or neighbor – who used to be a practicing Catholic, but isn’t any more, Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl has issued a new pastoral letter inviting Catholics to renew and rediscover the Catholic Church.

Disciples of the Lord: Sharing the Vision invites Catholics who participate in church to reinvigorate their own faith and then to invite others whose faith has grown stale to reconnect and rediscover Christ. Pope Benedict XVI calls this a “reproposing” of our faith and the “New Evangelization.” The pope announced this past June 29 that he was establishing a pontifical council for the new evangelization.

The new evangelization is not a program, but rather is an outlook on life and a personal invitation to rediscover Christ and his message. This can start with something as simple as participating more in Mass and the sacraments, a direct conversation with a friend about Catholicism, offering to pray for someone or inviting a friend to Bible study or Mass. Parishes are encouraged to look at all that they do through a new lens called the Indicators of Vitality, a self assessment of the parish’s strength in the areas of worship, education, service, community and administration. For the archdiocese, it means reaching out in new ways, such as a redesigned website to be launched later this year that will better engage people with the Church, a new email contact system to reach parishioners directly, and the review and implementation of every program through the lens of the new evangelization.

Archbishop Wuerl said, “This is a fresh moment for the Church because it is a new moment in our world. In an increasingly secular and materialistic society, what gives true and lasting meaning and joy is Christ and his message. From the renewal of faith by individual Catholics to their invitation to others to share in the joy and excitement of Christ and his Church comes the possibility of a world transformed.”

The full text is online in English and Spanish. The pastoral letter begins with observations on the evangelizing mission of the Church; explores how we can understand the new evangelization as an invitation to repropose the Gospel of Christ and an encounter with him; considers what it will actually mean for us here in the Church of Washington; and what our involvement in it means for our personal renewal, vitality of our parish family and regeneration of our society.

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