The New Evangelization inspires a renewal of faith that leads to a desire for evangelization. More and more people are heeding the call of Pope Paul VI’s Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi to make a “clear and unequivocal proclamation of the Lord Jesus” (no. 22).The pontificates of Blessed John Paul II and our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI have reaffirmed and expounded upon Evangelii Nuntiandi.
In 1983, at the Opening Address of the 6th General Assembly of CELAM, Blessed John Paul II called for a New Evangelization: “The commemoration of the millennium of evangelization will achieve its full meaning if it is a commitment… not to re-evangelization, but to a new Evangelization. New in its ardor, its methods and its expressions.” This renewed vision of evangelization includes, as Pope Benedict stated at the homily of First Vespers on the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, a “re-proposing” of the Good News to all, including the Christian faithful actively participating in their faith and those who have drifted from the faith.
The influences of secularization and materialism have lead many people to question their faith and no longer consider Christ and the Church as relevant to their lives. The New Evangelization challenges catechists to discover new and creative ways to re-propose the truth of Christ to a society that has grown indifferent or antagonistic to the Gospel message.
Evangelii Nuntiandi states that “the Church is an evangelizer, but she begins by being evangelized herself” (no. 15). The New Evangelization involves a renewal of faith and deepening of sacramental worship so the sharing of the Good News of Christ with family, friends and neighbors will be effective. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Go and Make Disciples: A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States and the newly-developed Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis web resource, Disciples Called to Witness: the New Evangelization offer a variety of suggestions for dioceses and parishes to create, enhance and renew their evangelization efforts.