Category Archives: New Evangelization

60th Annual Red Mass for the US Supreme Court

Cardinal Wuerl can be seen on stage at the Red Mass brunch, sponsored by the John Carroll Society, congratulating this year’s recipients of various justice themed awards.

On the eve of the new Supreme Court session, Cardinal Wuerl warmly hosted 1,500 guests at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, including six of the nine Supreme Court Justices. Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Breyer, and Obama appointee Justice Elena Kagan who all voted in favor of the health care ruling were among the congregation. Other guests included many Ambassadors, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, and Military Archdiocese Archbishop Timothy Broglio who delivered the homily.

The theme centered on our responsibility to seek justice. In the homily, Archbishop Broglio very eloquently warned that the undoing of morality and institutions which support society is dangerous,

“I am reminded of my first year as a seminarian in Rome. An important 19th Century Justice Department building was closed because it was unsafe. It seemed to be sinking into the ground. Yet the Colosseum, Pantheon, and the ruins of the Roman Forum were all still standing and could be visited. It was a good reminder that not everything contemporary is good and that stable foundations are essential. Our society must also rest on stable, clear foundations. Otherwise, we run the risk of sinking into the mire of one popular sound byte after another!”

After Mass, Cardinal Wuerl and Monsignor Vaghi(Chaplain of the John Caroll Society) spoke to the guests about the mission of the New Evangelization. “It is a simple formula”, said Cardinal Wuerl. First it begins with our own internal conversion, then truly coming to the conviction that our beliefs are true, and finally sharing it with others. Wuerl shared a short story about a local college chaplain who evangelized by dramatically telling his young congregation, “I am appointing you all Apostles! Go home today and next Sunday your assignment is to bring someone back with you.” Slowly, it worked. And the congregation has grown from less than 50 students to over 300. This formula is simple, but sharing the faith is the profound responsibility of each Christian. The Good News is too good to be kept a secret.

A.M.D.G.

 

Defeating the Idea that Religion Obstructs World Peace

“Next time you hear someone say that religion is the cause of war, challenge it and ask he or she to consider how religion can be the cause of peace.”

If you were to take a survey of 10 random strangers on the street and ask them the following questions, what do you think the answers would be?

  1. Do religions cause war or end wars?
  2. Do religions contribute to peace or to destruction?
  3. Does organized religion promote the advancement of society or hinder it?

The truth is that the answers are not so clear-cut. Yes, many men have used religion to justify wars against outsiders. Yes, in times of economic disparity and the greater scarcity of resources, religious identities often provide easy targets for discrimination especially when all of those sharing in the suffering are of the same ethnic background.

But have you ever considered how organized religions have contributed to peace and to the advancement of society. Jesus repeated “peace be with you” over and over to His early Church after the Resurrection. How are we promoting that message?

Catholic NGO leaders from five continents meet to discuss economic issues in Geneva with the Apostolic Nuncio.

This is one of the great joys of the Catholic Church, particularly since Blessed John Paul II’s long reign as Pope. Just as the United States is the largest donor country of humanitarian aid in the world, the Catholic Church is the largest humanitarian charity. The Catholic Church is in every country of the world(and even Antarctica), driven by its nearly 1.2 billion members, and partners in faith.

Advancing and Building:

The Catholic Church’s theology, especially in its teachings concerning the human body, human dignity, and pastoral care, all center on Jesus’ teachings and natural law. The philosophy of natural law focuses on human rights and living as we were designed to live by God. One does not need to be Catholic to understand its desire for charity. For example: Catholic Relief Services helps farmers in underdeveloped regions  learn new techniques, educate the illiterate, and trains  the unemployed in less stable regions to become skilled workers. They work in nearly 100 countries, including the region of Palestine, and do not discriminate against anyone.

When we break that cycle of poverty, we are working to create stability. It is as if we are saying “peace be with you” just as Jesus said to us in the Gospels.

Other faiths do this too! Charity is not unique to the Catholic Church. When churches have resources, they often use those resources to build capacity and stability. Islam, Buddhism, Protestant Christians, Jewish, and many other congregations all have resources that they devote to building up those who do not have.

Mediating and Breaking Cynicism:

Pope John Paul II did not single-handedly defeat Communism as some have said; however, his promotion of nonviolence, his charismatic connection with common people, and stature as a religious world leader triggered the beginning of dialogue and change. He appealed to the people by encouraging them to think outside the box of communism. In fact, when he was shot, the Polish people erupted into a chaos the government could not control. His message was one of solidarity, and when it seemed as if the world would lose him too soon, many felt lost. John Paul II mobilized the Church to promote freedom. This is just one example of how a religious leader can promote change and freedom. There are many other examples. The Imam and the Pastor in Nigeria and Pray the Devil Back to Hell in Liberia are other great examples.  Continue reading

“What is a New Evangelization?”

The joy of the Risen Christ is too great to keep to ourselves. In an earlier post, Bishop Jenky was quoted reassuring us that the Apostles were indeed shocked to find out Jesus actually rose from the dead. If Christ had not risen, the Apostle’s mission would have been over and the early Church would have died out quicker than it started.

The New Evangelization is a movement by the Catholic Church first and foremost for practicing Catholics to grow and to reignite that flame of love and truth in Catholics who have fallen away from regular practice. Second, like the early Church, we must be the Apostles of 2012 and share the Good News with those who have not heard it.

I was pleased to see the following in our parish bulletin this Sunday at Holy Rosary in Washington, DC:

“For many Catholics, the word “evangelization” conjures images of fundamentalist Christians knocking on doors and asking if we are “saved.” But when Pope Benedict XVI uses the phrase “New Evangelization,” he means something very different: The New Evangelization is, first of all, an invitation to Catholics to renew their own faith. It starts inside each one of us. Only when that renewal happens are we ready to share our faith with others in a way that is neither threatening nor intrusive, but inviting.”

Father then offered several ideas:

  • Set aside time to strengthen your relationship with God.
  • Take advantage of adult education classes in your parish.
  • Find out what your parish evangelization team is planning, if you parish doesn’t have one, find out how you can start one.
  • Talk about the ideas or insights that came to you during Mass.
  • Share with others how God has helped you through times good and bad. Invite people who are away from the Church to come to a parish event with you.
  • Let people know why you cherish your Catholic faith.

I would like to add one suggestion to that: blog, blog, blog(or Facebook). Take your faith and share that joy on the internet. Don’t be intrusive or abrasive about it, our faith is warm and welcoming. Make sure that what you are posting is true and genuine. All of the posts on this blog end with “A.M.D.G.” which is the Latin abbreviation for “All for the greater honor and glory of God”. Let everything you do be A.M.D.G. even if it is silently in your heart.

A.M.D.G.