Saints of the New Evangelization
By: Joe Difato
Many of our monthly themes focus on our individual relationship with Jesus. Month after month, we explore different aspects of our call to draw closer to Jesus and to live in the world but not be “of the world.”
This issue is different. This month, we want to look at how we can take up the New Evangelization. The first two articles focus on our individual call to evangelize. We even list four simple steps that all of us can take to improve our ability to share the gospel. So far it sounds like many other issues we have written, doesn’t it? But it’s the third article that sets this month apart, and this is the article that I urge you to read carefully. This one focuses on parish life and our call to become communities of the New Evangelization.
Parishes are meant to be like families—a place where we are built up, fed, protected, and formed. And surely, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the sacraments, all the prayer, and the various ministries, that happens. But at the same time, every parish is meant to be a herald as well, a place where we as a family fulfill Jesus’ command to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). And that’s what this third article talks about: taking the time to pray together, growing closer to the Lord together, and establishing a long-term vision that will help your parish become a welcoming, evangelizing community of faith.
At the heart of our Church, we are a community—or should I say a large community made up of smaller parish communities. Together, as a family, our efforts to evangelize will bear more fruit than what we do individually, especially when our efforts are grounded in our prayers of intercession to God and in our love for each other.
All Things to All People. I also want to draw your attention to the article on the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci by Fr. John O’Malley. After reading Ricci’s story, all I could say was, “Wow!” I already knew about how people like Francis Xavier, Charles Borromeo, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Jane de Chantal, Philip Neri, and others responded to God’s call and ushered in a spiritual revival that affected millions of people around that time. But I didn’t know much about how Ricci and his companions took the gospel to China. I didn’t know how methodical and careful they were. I didn’t know how deeply they became part of the culture they were trying to evangelize. And I certainly didn’t know how effective they were. What a model for us as we try to tell other people about the Lord!
If all the saints I just mentioned above were with us right now, I am sure they would ask all of us to try to make a difference in our own day. They would encourage us to embrace the gospel and give it away to as many people as we can in whatever way we can.
May God bless you this month. And may we all become saints of the New Evangelization.
Joe Difato, Publisher | Email the Publisher at [email protected]