Ecclesia in America International Congress

Vatican City, 4 December 2012 (VIS) - A press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office this morning to present the International Congress "Ecclesia in America" on the Church in the American continent, which will take place in Vatican City from 9 to 12 December. The Congress is promoted by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Knights of Columbus in collaboration with the Institute for Guadalupan Studies. Participating in the conference were Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Professor Guzman Carriquiry, secretary of the same Commission, and Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus.

Cardinal Ouellet began by recalling the Synodal Assembly that took place in November and December 1997, convoked by Blessed John Paul II, which was dedicated to the American continent and addressed the theme of the "Encounter with the living Jesus Christ: The way to conversion, communion and solidarity in America". This theme will inspire the Congress as it works towards its aim of "re-examining the prophetic intuition of Blessed John Paul II and the basic content of the exhortation 'Ecclesia in America', as well as intensifying the communion and co-operation of the Churches in Canada and the United States with the Churches of Latin America in order to address common problems and challenges faced by the mission of the Church in the American continent".  Read the entire article here.

What is the Kingdom of God?

"Jesus came to reveal and bring a new kingship, that of God; He came to bear witness to the truth of a God Who is love, Who wants to establish a kingdom of justice, love and peace. Whoever is open to love hears this testimony and accepts it with faith, to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus clearly had no political ambitions. After the multiplication of the loaves, the people, enthralled by the miracle, wanted to take Him away and make Him their king, in order to overthrow the power of Rome and thus establish a new political kingdom which would be considered the long-awaited kingdom of God. But Jesus knows that God’s kingdom is of a completely different kind; it is not built on arms and violence. The multiplication of the loaves itself becomes both the sign that He is the Messiah and a watershed in His activity: henceforth the path to the Cross becomes ever clearer; there, in the supreme act of love, the promised kingdom, the kingdom of God, will shine forth. … Jesus … does not wish to be defended by arms, but ... to establish His kingdom not by armed conflict, but by the apparent weakness of life-giving love. The kingdom of God is a kingdom utterly different from earthly kingdoms." Benedict XVI

Link to the Talk

A Positive Look at the "Nones" in the Year of Faith

A Positive Look at the "Nones" in the Year of Faith

The Good Earth: Reflections on Evangelization

Blessed  James Alberione,
First Apostle of the
New Evangelization
An E-book from the Pontifical Missionary Union: by Vito Del Prete edited by Emilia Paola Pacel

Excerpt The new era of humanityPlanetary changes and humanity’s new absolutes: technocracy, mass media, globalisation,the universalistic pretension of culture The Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, in number 37c, significantly used the expression «modern equivalents of the Areopagus» to indicate the places, situations, milieu and particular human groups to which the Church’s evangelizing activity ought to be directed. «After preaching in a number of places, St. Paul arrived in Athens, where he went to the Areopagus and proclaimed the Gospel in language appropriate to and understandable in those surroundings (cf. Acts 17:22-31). At that time the Areopagus represented the cultural centre of the learned people of Athens, and today it can be taken as a symbol of the new sectors in which the Gospel must be proclaimed».The Encyclical does not claim to give an exhaustive list of the fields of missionary commitment, but clearly it indicates the new emergencies and urgencies that are arising from the present historical march of humanity.This is the fruit of sensitivity to a reading and interpretation of the history (signs of the times) of humanity, which must reach its fullness through the sowing and growth of the Kingdom of God within it. Every generation and every age from time to time has situations that need to be redeemed, because they are blatantly harmful to human dignity and to human justice and solidarity. Likewise the inflexible and inhuman logic of discriminatory personal, community and international relations, of economic, political and religious systems is creating new phenomena of slavery, subservience, oppression and conditioning. In order to understand where the Church’s evangelizing efforts ought to be primarily directed it is necessary to analyse the causes, identify the predominant thought, cultures and interests that lie behind and produce this phenomena. In fact this mission of the Church is and remains specific to the extent in which she addresses the proclamation of the Kingdom to those sectors of humanity that have not yet been touched by the Gospel, or are in sharp contrast with human dignity and with the Word of God. «For the Church, evangelizing means bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new» (Evangelii Nuntiandi [EN] 18).

New Evangelization, New Media, New Technology

During synod discussions, several bishops spoke about the importance of the church learning the particular language and culture of social media and new technology to share the Gospel with people who increasingly spend their time online.
In the propositions, they said Catholics should be trained "to transmit faithfully the content of the faith and of Christian morality" through the media, but they insisted that no technical talent or online presence could take the place of "the testimony of life" lived in accordance with the Gospel.
Synod members described young Catholics not primarily as objects of evangelization, but as evangelizers, especially of their peers.
"As the media greatly influence the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being of the youth," they said, "the church through catechesis and youth ministry strives to enable and equip them to discern between good and evil, to choose Gospel values over worldly values, and to form firm faith convictions." Full Article   

Final Message of Evangelization Synod

Vatican City, 26 October 2012 (VIS)  An English-language summary of the text issued by the Synod:
"At the beginning of the document, the bishops recalled the evangelical passage from John which tells about the encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well: this is the image of contemporary man with an empty vessel, who is thirsting and is nostalgic for God, and to whom the Church must turn to make the Lord present to him. And just like the Samaritan woman, who encounters Jesus, he can but become a witness of the proclamation of salvation and hope of the Gospel. Looking specifically at the context of new evangelization, the Synod therefore reminds of the necessity to revive faith, which risks being made obscure in the context of today's cultures, also faced with the weakening of the faith by many baptized persons. The encounter with the Lord, which reveals God as love, can only come about in the Church, as the form of receptive community and experience of communion; from this, then, Christians become its witnesses also in other places. However, the Church reasserts that to evangelize one must be evangelized first of all, and sends out a plea - starting with herself - for conversion, because the weaknesses of Jesus' disciples weigh upon the credibility of the mission. Conscious of the fact that the Lord is the guide of history, and therefore that evil will not have the last word, the bishops invite Christians to overcome fear with faith and to look at the world with serene courage because, while full of contradictions and challenges, this is still the world God loves. Therefore no pessimism: globalization, secularization and the new scenarios of society, migration, even with the difficulties and suffering they entail, must be seen as opportunities for evangelization, Because this is not a question of finding new strategies as if the Gospel was to be spread like a market product, but rediscovering the ways in which individuals come close to Jesus. The Message looks at the family as the natural place for evangelization and reasserts that it should be supported by the Church, by politics and by society. Within the family, the special role of women is underlined and there is a reminder about the painful situation of divorced and remarried persons: while reconfirming the discipline which regards access to the Sacraments, it is reasserted that they are in no way abandoned by the Lord, and that the Church is the welcoming house for all. The Message also mentions consecrated life, witness of the ultra-earthly sense of human existence, and parishes as centers for evangelization  it recalls the importance of permanent formation for priests and religious men and women and invites the laity (movements and new ecclesial realities) to evangelize, remaining in communion with the Church. New evangelization finds welcome cooperation with other Churches and ecclesial communities, they too moved by the same spirit of proclamation of the Gospel. Special attention is focused on young persons in a perspective of listening and dialogue, to redeem and not mortify their enthusiasm.
"The Message then looks at dialogue, seen in many ways: with culture, which needs a new alliance between faith and reason; with education; with science which, when it does not close man in materialism, becomes an ally for the humanization of life; with art; with the word of economy and work; with the ill and suffering; with politics, where an uninterested and transparent involvement towards the common good is asked for; with other religions. In particular, the Synod emphasizes that inter-religious dialogue contributes to peace, refutes fundamentalism and denounces any violence against believers. The Message recalls the possibilities offered by the Year of Faith, by the memory of Vatican Council II and by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Finally, it indicates two expressions of a life of faith, which are especially meaningful for new evangelization  contemplation, where silence allows for the better reception of the Word of God, and service to the poor, in the view of recognizing Christ in their faces. In the last part, the Message looks at the Church in the various regions of the world and addresses a word of encouragement for the proclamation of the Gospel to each of them: to the Eastern Churches wishing to be able to practice faith in conditions of peace and religious freedom; to the African Church asking to develop evangelization in the encounter of ancient and new cultures, calling then upon governments to cease conflicts and violence. The Christians of North America, who live in a culture with many expressions distant from the Gospel, must look towards conversion, to being open to welcoming immigrants and refugees. Latin America is invited to live the permanent mission to face today's challenges such as poverty, violence, even the new conditions of religious pluralism. The Church in Asia, even while being a small minority, often placed at the edges of society and persecuted, is encouraged and exhorted to the steadfastness of faith. Europe, marked by an even aggressive secularization and wounded by past regimes, has nevertheless created a humanistic culture capable of giving a face to the dignity of man and to the building of the common good; today's difficulties therefore must not dishearten European Christians, but must be perceived as a challenge. Oceania is asked to feel once again the involvement of preaching the Gospel. Finally, the Message closes with trust in Mary, the Star of New Evangelization".

Evangelization: You Can't Opt Out

by Owen Phelps, Ph.D., Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute


Certainly not all of us are called to preach from pulpits, street corners, TV studios or on internet blogs. But all of us shape people's perceptions about Christ, Christianity and Catholicism in everything we do -- or fail to do.
In this Year of Faith, that's something to contemplate as we strive to be Jesus-like leaders at home, at work and in our communities.   
There are a few things in life where we really don't have any choice.

One is communications. We cannot choose to "not communicate" and think that's the end of our interaction with someone. When we shut up, people ascribe meaning to our silence. As my wife told me once, "You're giving me the silent treatment." And yes, I guess I was.

Another is leadership. It's not a task that we can pick up or put down when we choose. Intentional leadership occurs whenever anyone influences anyone else. But unintentional leadership occurs all the time too -- and sometimes it is more powerful than our conscious attempts to lead. Some examples:

Click here for the rest of the article from The Weekly Catholic Leader

10 Ways to Live the Year of Faith

To honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a Year of Faith, starting October 11 and ending November 24, 2013. In this article, Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, offers “10 Ways Catholics Can Live the Year of Faith":

Participate in Mass
Participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Learn about the lives of the saints
Read the Bible daily
Read the documents of Vatican II
Study the Catechism
Help those in need
Invite a friend to Mass
Incorporate the Beatitudes into daily life

Pope says: Evangelization is not for Specialists

Evangelization is not for Specialists: The Year of Faith marks the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican Council II and the Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod o...

The challenge of the New Evangelization

Two poets for the Synod by Father Robert Imbelli in L'Osservatore Romano

On October 7th the XIIIth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will open in Rome. It is dedicated to the crucial topic of “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of Christian Faith.”

The challenge before the Synod is treated at length by the “Instrumentum Laboris” that has been prepared as background to the deliberations and discussions of those attending. Here is a particularly pointed expression of that challenge

“In these times, people are yearning for a principle in life that inspires hope, a hope which will permit them to look to the future with eyes filled with faith and not the tears of despair. As a Church, we have this principle and source of hope — Jesus Christ, who was crucified and is risen, living among us through his Spirit, who allows us to experience God. Nevertheless, we oftentimes seem to be unable to make this hope concrete, or “make it our own”, or make it a life-giving word for ourselves and the people we encounter today, or make it the basis for life in the Church and our pastoral activity” (#166).

The challenge to make our hope concrete, to appropriate it more deeply, to find evocative words that will bring it to life for ourselves and others lies at the heart of the Church’s mission. It is the challenge faced not only by bishops, or preachers, or missionaries, but by the whole people of God.
Certainly, the need for ongoing personal conversion is paramount: a daily turning again to the Lord to be nourished by his Word and Sacrament. Such conversion is the indispensable condition for making the faith our own. We must continue to grow in our appreciation and understanding of the marvelous works of the Lord, of the height and breadth, and length, and depth of the love of Christ.

But the “Instrumentum Laboris” outlines a further challenge, when it suggests the need for forging a new language to communicate the Gospel to the world of today. This difficult task is intrinsic to the notion of a “new” evangelization: not a new content, but a new way of expressing the Good News of Christ within a new social and cultural context.

Read the entire article here: Challenge of the New Evangelization: Two Poets for the Synod

Islamic-Catholic Liaison Meeting in Rome

Vatican City, 11 July 2012 (VIS) - The Islamic-Catholic Liaison Committee held an extraordinary meeting in Rome on 10 July 2012, corresponding to Shaban 20, 1433. The meeting was presided over for the Catholic side by His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and for the Muslim side by H.E. Prof. Dr. Hamid bin Ahmad Al-Rifaie, president of the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue.The participants exchanged views about the relations between Christians and Muslim in the current situation of the world. In order to continue their deliberations and in the continuity of the dialogue existing since 1995, the two parties agreed to hold the next meeting of the Committee in Rome, in the first week of July 2013, corresponding to the first week of Shaban 1434, for two full working days. Eight participants from each side will participate in the meeting, which will have the theme "Believers in front of Materialism and Secularism"

Aleteia - Seekers of the Truth! is under the patronages of both: the Pontifical Council for Social Communication and the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization. See the following examples of how your partnership with Aleteia can help your organization:
  • Serve as a partner of the Church in its efforts for New Evangelization.
  • Share your organization's mission and products with a worldwide, multilingual audience.
  • Regularly share in new faith initiatives and tools that are in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church.
  • Help quench the thirst of those seeking truth by providing exceptional information and guidance about the Faith. 
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No Laws Against Immigrants

The Latin American Catholic Bishops and the United States of America, after the meeting on migration and human mobility celebrated in Santo Domingo (see  24/05/2012 and 31/05/2012) have condemned the law defined "unfair" against immigration, proposals in the states of Arizona and Alabama in the United States, which lead to xenophobia and undermine the Church's right to serve migrants. Participants in the document drawn up after the regional meeting, talk about the "terrible suffering" suffered by people trying to enter the United States from Central America through Mexican territory. "In Central America and throughout Mexico, migrants become prey for organized criminals, in particular suffering the crime of kidnapping to extort money from their families," said the Bishops and participants in the meeting, recalling the recent killings of illegal immigrants that occurred in Mexican cities near the border with the United States. They also complained that human trafficking and sexual slavery and labor, especially children and women is increasing in this area. "We are concerned about the situation of unaccompanied children, separated from their families, subject to this journey with many risks, and the dramatic increase of deportations from the United States and Mexico, which led to an even greater separation of families" they denounce . Critics have also been expressed to the Government of the United States for the application of immigration laws, "that lead to the abuse of fundamental rights and the unjust proposed state laws, such as Arizona and Alabama, result of the fear due to the presence of migrants." The document concludes by reiterating the desire to continue efforts to achieve comprehensive immigration reform in the United States that respects the rights of migrants, avoiding the separation of families and reducing deportations. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 01/06/2012)

Catholic Ministry for Evangelization

Evangelize includes the word "angel" meaning messenger and "evangel" meaning gospel.  An evangelizer is a messenger of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This June I am joining other Daughters of St Paul for an encounter on Evangelization. We are all called to be evangelizers through our baptism into Christ. Pope John Paul II and Benedict the XVI have called for a "New Evangelization." Here is one web site that explains what the New Evangelization is: