On September 8, 1975, in his encyclical letter Evangelii Nuntiandi, read here, Pope Paul VI issued the first call for a “new period of evangelization.” In 1978 Pope Blessed John Paul II took up that call and made it the foundation of his 27-year pontificate. In his encyclical letter, Redemptoris Mission, read here, he wrote: “I sense that the moment has come to commit all the Church’s energies to a New Evangelization. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church, can avoid the supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.” He called for an evangelization that is “new in ardor, methods, and expression.”
His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, took powerful and practical steps to make the New Evangelization a roadmap for the whole Church. He paved the road for that mission with a “Year of Faith” in 2012-2013. Learn more. It was a time in which we joined our hands and hearts with those of Catholics throughout the world to rethink what it means to be a “Church Evangelizing.”
And now Pope Francis is taking his turn, urging us to become “a Church that evangelizes,” a point he makes in so many of his inspiring talks. By word and deed he is leading us in the “New Evangelization.” Read more about evangelizing. Get the Pope App
Inspired by our Popes, we bishops throughout the world are acting on this inspiration. In dioceses, seminaries, universities and parishes, we have begun to pave the pathways for the “New Evangelization.” With so much cooperation and with God’s grace, we might expect that the world would be more quickly converted to Christ. I pray that it will be. But in the meantime I cannot sit idly by waiting for it to happen.
To evangelize is the work of the whole Church, not just for our current pope, not just for your bishop or for our priests, deacons and religious. This task belongs to all women and men of The Church Alive! It is our work together as the Body of Christ. Read the Patoral Letter.
Whether married or single, clergy or religious, laywoman or layman, we have a vocation from God. We are called to holiness. Our vocation is built upon the grace we received in baptism—the very life of Christ himself. Jesus is reflected in each of our vocations, no matter how different they are from each other. Read more.
Remember what a vocation is – a gift from God; a call from God intended to be our ticket into heaven. All four vocations in the Church – the married life, the single life, the consecrated life of sisters and brothers and the ordained life of deacons, priests and bishops – reflect how we respond to the call to become more like Christ. We may live our vocations in different ways, but each vocation is a call from Jesus “who is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
All of this—the stuff of what it means to be Church, the stuff of what it means for us to be the Body of Christ today—begins with God’s desire that we become more like Him in and through our vocation.