Parish Evangelizing Center

“The parish, as an evangelizing center must take up its role as community of communities, where Christians live and learn to become disciples and missionaries of Christ. The parishes are living cells of the Church and a privileged place in which the majority of the faithful have a concrete experience of Christ, which then leads them to reach out in helping their brethren.” Thus, the renewal of the parishes “calls for restructuring, so that they can become a network of communities and that their members may truly realize that they must become disciples and missionaries of Christ, together with the rest of today's world.” For the Bishops at this difficult time, “the parish is the one that must form men and women with dedication and determination, capable of transforming society and living out values for a more just and more united society.”In his homily at the opening Mass for the Assembly, Archbishop Domingo Diaz Martinez of Tulancingo, affirmed that “a parish is valuable, because of the virtues that are lived there; it is alive because the Eucharist is celebrated; it is great thanks to the dignity of its members; it is free because of the truth that is sought there; it is committed, for the defense of rights that takes place there; it is always missionary, because it is obedient to the Lord's command and is rich because of the exchange of goods that occurs there.”

Mexico City (Agenzia Fides) - “The 87th Plenary Assembly

22,308 baptized at Easter in the 90 dioceses of mainland China,

ASIA/CHINA - fruit of the intense evangelization effort promoted by the Year of St. Paul
Beijing (Agenzia Fides) – According to statistics sent to Agenzia Fides from “Faith” - a Catholic newsletter on mainland China – there were 22,308 people baptized from the 90 dioceses on mainland China this Easter (2009). The great number has been in part thanks to the initiatives that have arisen in honor of the Year of St. Paul declared by the Holy Father Benedict XVI. Last year, at Easter time, Faith published statistics from 80 diocese, which had baptized a collective total of 13,608 people. This year, the statistics were taken from all of the 90 dioceses, in close collaboration with the local Church. The 22,308 new faithful are almost all fruits of the intensification of the mission of evangelization which has occurred in this Year of St. Paul.In the Dioceses of Beijing, Tian Jin, Shang Hai, and Chong Qing, four municipalities under government control, there were 2,465 baptisms. There were 400 in Beijing, with a large number of scholars and young people; 154 in Tian Jin, 311 in Shang Hai, nearly 1,400 in Chong Qing. In the Diocese of Beijing, there were over 2,000 baptisms in 2008.In the northeastern regions of mainland China, there were 1,300 baptisms; 1,580 in the northwest; 6,761 in the north; 1,776 in the central area; 3,488 in the east; 2,015 in the southwest; and 2,326 in the southeast.It is worth noting that the province of Si Chuan, heavily affected by the earthquake on May 12, 2008 in which over 80,000 died, is located in the southwestern area. There, over 2,000 baptisms were recorded. According to the local priest, “the earthquake destroyed our churches, but not our missionary spirit, nor our faith and hope. In fact, it has served to reinforce and reawaken the religious sensibilities of the people.” The Catholic Chinese stronghold of the province of He Bei has brought joy to the Church with over 3,700 baptisms. In the tiny Diocese of Fen Yang, in the predominantly Chinese Catholic province of Shan Xi, with a little over 20,000 faithful, celebrates the rite of the “missionary sending” of 100 catechists every week. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides 22/4/2009)

Paul and revelation of the risen Christ

"Who are you, Lord?" Paul to Jesus

St. Paul the Apostle, Zealous Missionary
by Fr. Kenneth Boyack, CSP

Reading about the dynamic missionary activity of St. Paul in the Bible almost takes one’s breath away. He began to preach the gospel after his conversion experience, around 33-35 AD, and continued witnessing to Christ until around 65-67 AD, when he was martyred in Rome. Paul served as an ardent herald of the gospel for more than 30 years. During this time he took four missionary journeys, travelled more than 10,000 miles, and wrote inspired letters to the communities of faith that he founded, such as those in Corinth and Philippi.

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To "be hope" is to Evangelize

"We cannot live without hope, but we must be careful. In times such as these, given the cultural and social context in which we live, there is a risk of reducing Christian hope to an ideology, to group slogans, to exterior cladding. Nothing could be more opposite to Jesus' message! He does not want His disciples 'to recite' a role, even a role of hope. He wants them 'to be' hope, and they can be so only if they remain united to Him".

"If the words of Christ remain within us, then we will be able to propagate the flame of love that He lit upon the earth; we will be able to hold high the torch of faith and hope. ...

150,000 in U.S. entering the Church

AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Thousands entering the Catholic Church this Easter, from all across the country
Washington (Agenzia Fides) – According to statistics provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, during 2009, nearly 150,000 people will be entering the Catholic Church. This number includes both the catechumens, who will receive the Sacraments of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist) and Christians who will enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. The majority of them will do so during the Easter Vigil celebrated on April 11 in parishes throughout the country. The various parishes are preparing for the Easter Liturgy which is filled with symbolism and that will welcome the neophites (“newly baptized”) and those entering into full communion, to their new community of faith and the entire Church, from darkness into light.In several cases, the numbers show growth and vitality in the Catholic Church in areas in which it had previously been a minority. For example, the Archdiocese of Atlanta estimates that 513 catechumens and 2,195 candidates will join the ranks of the Archdiocese in 2009. About 1,800 of them will do so at Easter. These numbers do not include infant baptisms, which are recorded separately. Catechumens are people who have never been baptized. Candidates are those who have received baptism in another Christian community and are seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. "The Archdiocese of Atlanta is in a part of the country with a large non-Catholic population, and has been blessed with an authentic dynamism during recent years, which is perhaps best expressed in our annual Eucharistic Congress, which draws some 30,000 participants. One of the many blessings that we have received from the Lord is the large number of individuals entering the Church," said Father Theodore Book, director of the Office of Divine Worship for the Atlanta Archdiocese.On the opposite side of the country the Archdiocese of Seattle will welcome 736 catechumens and 506 candidates for a total of 1,242 new members; and the Diocese of San Diego will baptize 305 new members and welcome 920 other baptized Christians adding a total of 1,225 to its ranks. Cincinnati will welcome a total of 1,130 new members. The Diocese of Birmingham, in a mainly rural area, will welcome a total of 445.Heidi Sierras, of California, will be representing the people of North America at the Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, and will be baptized by Pope Benedict XVI. Nationwide, the 2008 Official Catholic Directory lists 49,415 adult baptisms and 87,363 people coming into full communion in 2007. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 1/4/2009)