Pope Francis is leading the world to deeper faith, and the U.S. bishops look forward to sharing his words in their dioceses, said the chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, welcomed the release of Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), the pope’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation to 2012’s Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.
“I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day,” Pope Francis wrote in the opening of the document. The pope presented the exhortation over the weekend in Rome, at events commemorating the end of the Year of Faith, which began October 11, 2012.
It is the pope’s official response to the discussions held as part of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization, which occurred October 7-28, 2012, in the Vatican. Bishops from around the world gathered to discuss how the Catholic Church can renew the energy of Catholics, strengthen their faith and better share the Gospel with the rest of the world.
“Pope Francis is a living model of the New Evangelization,” said Bishop Ricken. “He is showing us how to live the Gospels and reach out to the world with what every person needs, a relationship with God. He is leading the world to deeper faith, and the bishops of the United States happily receive this exhortation with faith and look forward to sharing it in our dioceses.”
The Vatican has posted the exhortation online:www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium_en.html. . .
USCCB has also made the exhortation available for order online:www.usccbpublishing.org/
The Synod of Bishops is an international gathering of Catholic bishops, convened every few years for discussion and to advise the pope on specific concerns related to the Church and the world. It was first convened by Pope Paul VI in 1967 and has subsequently met to discuss Scripture, the Eucharist, priesthood, the laity, pastoral circumstances in different regions of the world and other topics. Pope Francis has announced an Extraordinary Synod on Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization, to be held in October 2014, followed by an Ordinary Synod on the same topic in 2015.