Pope Benedict XVI opened the 13th OGA with the celebration of the Eucharist at St. Peter’s Square, Rome. 07 October 2012. The Holy Father also proclaimed St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen as Doctors of the Church.
During the homily he reflected on the nature of new evangelization, and the call of Christ to his disciples to announce the Gospel around the whole world. “The Church, he said, exists to evangelize.”
“…renewed evangelical dynamism produces a beneficent influence on the two specific “branches” developed by it”, namely, “Missio ad Gentes – to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ and his message of salvation”, and the New Evangelization, “primarily to baptized Catholics, who “have drifted away from the Catholic Church.”
The first reading and Gospel of October 07 mentioned unity and indissolubility of marriage. “Marriage”, he said, “is a Gospel in itself.” “The crisis of faith is inherently linked to the crisis of marriage in today’s society.”
A call to holiness. Pope Benedict XVI presented St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen, “As examples of the call of all Christians to announce the Good News. New Evangelization demanded a sincere desire for conversion.”
- Pope addressed Synod of Bishops, 08 October
He stressed, two key themes: the passion for announcing Christ to the world and the knowledge that God acts in the Church.
For fruitful assembly these are needed: (1) awareness of the presence of God’s Spirit; (2) confession, “bearing witness even in dangerous situation; and (3) Charity, “the most powerful force.”
- Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C. and Relator General.
Points discussed by Card. Wuerl:
1) What or who it is we proclaim. – the Word of God, Focused on Jesus, his Gospel and his way.
2) Recent resources to help us in our task, Paul VI initiated the focus. Blessed John Paul II urged a deeper awareness of its need, and Benedict XVI has made the task of the Church a constant theme in his teaching and preaching.
3) Particular circumstances of our day that render the Synod necessary: progressive secularization of society and a sort of ‘eclipse of the sense of God’ Culture characterized by secularism, materialism and individualism.
4) Elements of the new evangelization. Evangelization is not a program, it is a mode of thinking, seeing and acting. Three stages: (1) renewal or deepening of our faith; (2) new confidence in the truth of our message; and (3) the willingness and desire to share the faith.
5) Some theological principles:
a) Anthropological foundation of evangelization
b) Christological foundation of the new evangelization
c) Ecclesiological foundation n of the New evangelization
d) Soteriological foundation of the New Evangelization
6) Qualities of the new evangelizers. Four stand out: boldness or courage, connectedness to the Church, a sense of urgency, and joy.
7) Charisms of the Church today to assist in the task of the New Evangelization – Social justice issues – New communities/Ecclesial movements.
Conclusion: Four-fold Mission
- Reaffirm the essential nature of evangelization
- Note the theological foundations of the New Evangelization
- Encourage the many manifestations of the New Evangelization
- Suggest practical ways in which the New Evangelization can be encouraged, structured and implemented.
Vatican, October 10 (zenith.org) Interventions
- Archbishop S. Fisichella, Titular Archbishop, Voghenza, President, Pontifical Council, Promotion of New Evangelization.
“Individualistic mentality, absence of God in one’s life, ignorance of faith, Church lost credibility.”
- Archbishop L.A. Tagle, Archbishop of Manila. We need humility, respect for persons and silence to effectively reveal Jesus’ face to the world.
- Archbishop Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles.
Challenge and opportunities of globalization. Starting as an economic system globalization has now become a cultural phenomenon. We can use globalization to present the Church as a universal family and a universal call to holiness.
- Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York. He stressed the importance of the sacrament of reconciliation which “evangelizes the evangelizer” as it brings us sacramentally into contact with Jesus, who calls us to a conversion of heart and inspires us to answer his invitation to repentance.