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Community Building: A Central Need of the New Evangelization
‘To evangelize or to be evangelized, that is the question.’ Pope Benedict XVI communicates to us in his Apostolic Letter on the Year of Faith that ‘people are able to evangelize only when they have been evangelized.’ Further we hear from Blessed John Paul II in Christifideles Laici (CL), his Apostolic Exhortation on the Laity, that the lay faithful are ‘personally called by the Lord from whom they receive a mission on behalf of the Church and the world.’ As lay faithful during this Year of Faith, each one of us is given a mission. It is the mission of the Church: to evangelize. Before we can evangelize, however, we first must be evangelized ourselves. At our reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Bishop in attendance laid his hands on us and said, ‘Let us pray to our Father that he will pour out the Holy Spirit to strengthen his sons and daughters with his gifts and anoint them to be more like Christ the Son of God.’ We were given specific gifts that are to be used on our mission. We are not merely laborers who work in the vineyard but we ourselves are a part of the vineyard (CL, 8). A vineyard is comprised of nothing more than a vine with its branches. If Jesus is the vine and we the branches, then who we specifically are as people is the vineyard. We must take a look at the vineyard this Year of Faith to see how much fruit is being born within it.