As Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Louis consider the importance of evangelization amid the All Things New strategic pastoral planning process, a message from Pope Paul VI serves as a guiding text:
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: “Now I am making the whole of creation new.” But there is no new humanity if there are not first of all new persons renewed by Baptism and by lives lived according to the Gospel. —“Evangelii nuntiandi,” No. 18
That passage is from “Evangelii nuntiandi” (“On Evangelization in the Modern World”), an apostolic exhortation (a significant papal document) written by Pope Paul VI in 1975, to address world-wide evangelization efforts.
The All Things New process includes an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Church in St. Louis in proclaiming the Gospel. Catholics will also seek to identify opportunities for improvement and renewal within all parishes, schools, curia offices and agencies.
Pope Paul VI’s message about the importance of evangelization is just as important today as it was 47 years ago. In his exhortation, he proclaimed Jesus as a model and prime example of what evangelization should look like.
Catholics are called to bring the Good News into every area of our lives. But in order to be effective, we must be evangelized ourselves first, the Holy Father said, through our authentic witness, and not simple as teachers of the faith.
“The purpose of evangelization is therefore precisely this interior change, and if it had to be expressed in one sentence the best way of stating it would be to say that the Church evangelizes when she seeks to convert, solely through the divine power of the message she proclaims, both the personal and collective consciences of people, the activities in which they engage, and the lives and concrete milieu which are theirs,” he wrote.
He also noted that we need a reliance on the Holy Spirit to effectively evangelize others.
“Techniques of evangelization are good, but even the most advanced ones could not replace the gentle action of the Spirit,” he wrote. “The most perfect preparation of the evangelizer has no effect without the Holy Spirit. … It is He who impels each individual to proclaim the Gospel, and it is He who in the depths of consciences causes the word of salvation to be accepted and understood.”
To read the entire text of “Evangelii nuntiandi,” see https://stlreview.com/3ONr5Ue.