New Evangelization Council Gearing up for Synod

Dicastery to Present Initiatives to the Pope

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ROME, OCT. 13, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Though there is a new pontifical council for promoting the new evangelization, and next year a synod will be held on the theme, the “new evangelization” itself is already under way. An event this weekend aims to present the Pope and the faithful with some of the leaders of this cause.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization is hosting an event at the Vatican called “New Evangelizers for the New Evangelization: The Word of God Grows and Spreads.”

The goal of the meeting is to “visibly present the Church with the new evangelizers because in this way we make the Word of God known and we can increase the [number of the] disciples of the Lord,” said the council president, Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, to Vatican Radio.

The council will aim to “present to Pope Benedict the representatives of the various Church realities who … have been carrying out the new evangelization,” he explained. “Many bishops will see that new evangelization activities have already been going on for some time.”

On Saturday evening some of these “new evangelizers” will go out onto the streets of Rome to put into practice their methods of spreading the Gospel.

“Many of these ecclesial groups already have experience of this,” the archbishop said. “They will give the City of Rome a visible sign of a new evangelization. And we hope that their efforts will bear fruit.”

Papal presence

Benedict XVI is due to join and address the meeting participants that same evening. And during the day, there will be a series of presentations from various guest speakers, followed by a short concert by tenor Andrea Bocelli.

Archbishop Fisichella said the meeting will hopefully “quash” any illusions that “everything was alright in the past,” or that “everything will be fine in the future” thanks to the invention of a “new formula.”

He said that, though the mission of the Church has always been evangelization, and that it has been going on now for more than 2,000 years, the Church needs to find “a new language, a new lifestyle, one that is respectful but has a deeply rooted identity,” with evangelizers “who have a profound sense of belonging to the Church and the Christian community, but at the same time who are open to others.”

“And also a good dose of joy and enthusiasm, which is never a bad thing!” he quipped.

Immigrant evangelizers

The meeting will take place in the context of preparations for the 2012 synod of bishops on the new evangelization. Participants will reflect on the synod “Lineamenta,” or guidelines, and particular attention will be paid to the role of the family. Other areas of focus will include the liturgy, political action, culture, mass media and social communications, and a special spotlight on the issue of immigration.

“[Immigration] is certainly a factor to be taken seriously, because we have millions of Christians on the move in different countries, bringing with them not only the richness of their Christian experience, but who also come to meet the challenges that Europe in particular, but also the United States present, with regards to secularization,” the archbishop noted.

The council president observed that the new evangelization has been supported for decades from the Throne of Peter.

“For 27 years Blessed John Paul II ‘provoked’ the Church in every possible way into recognizing the urgent need for new evangelization,” Archbishop Fisichella stated. 

He added that the present Pontiff was prophetic in instituting the pontifical council: “[Benedict XVI] wanted the different realities — those that already exist and those that will arise in the future — to find a common point of reference, in short, a concrete expression of the service of the Pope for the Church in favor of the new evangelization. 

“So, I would say that the synod will witness already extremely positive experiences. Just think that thousands of these [new evangelizers] are young people, so there is also the enthusiasm of the many young people who are already living this experience!”

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