As Catholics, we are called to look at, and understand with a new depth, the mission entrusted to each of us from the moment we emerge from the waters of baptism. We are called to embrace the mission that is our heritage. We are called to join that great cloud of witness, that communion of saints who preceded us, and remain present with us as we are faithful to announcing the good news, which is Jesus Christ, and going forth to “make disciples of all nations.”
“We … should never think that the new evangelization does not concern us personally. In these days voices among the bishops were raised to recall that the church must first of all heed the word before she can evangelize the world. The invitation to evangelize becomes a call to conversion.
“We firmly believe that we must convert ourselves first to the power of Christ who alone can make all things new, above all our poor existence. … We are certainly aware — we bishops first of all — that we could never really be equal to the Lord’s calling and mandate to proclaim his Gospel to the nations. We know that we must humbly recognize our vulnerability to the wounds of history, and we do not hesitate to recognize our personal sins.
“We are, however, also convinced that the Lord’s Spirit is capable of renewing his church, and rendering her garment resplendent if we let him mold us… If this renewal were up to us, there would be serious reasons to doubt. But conversion in the church, just like evangelization, does not come about primarily through us poor mortals, but rather through the Spirit of the Lord.
“Here we find our strength and our certainty that evil will never have the last word, whether in the church or in history. ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid (Jn 14:27),’ Jesus said to his disciples.
“The work of the new evangelization rests on this serene certainty. We are confident in the inspiration and strength of the Spirit, who will teach us what we are to say, and what we are to do even in the most difficult moments. It is our duty, therefore, to conquer fear through faith, discouragement through hope, indifference through love.”
- From the 2012 message to the people of God from the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
On Being Church
Every parish in the Diocese of Greensburg will actively work to strengthen its community to become a place that:
- Consistently invites people to a relationship with Jesus Christ and the church
- Welcomes people into the life of the parish to provide them with access to all that is needed for growth in a life of faith
This effort to strengthen our community must include a consistent effort to extend this invitation and welcome those who are:
- Regularly involved in the parish community, to strengthen their bond with Christ and the church
- Currently, minimally associated with us
The goal is to “feed our people” through:
- Formational and catechetical opportunities
- Experiences of worship and prayer
- Opportunities for service and community building
The aim of these activities is to promote healthy faith lives, assist the members of our parishes to welcome back those who have left the practice of the faith, and draw in those who are not affiliated with any faith community. This is intentional work directed at strengthening the foundations of our parish communities.
The work of evangelization is extending an invitation to a relationship with Jesus Christ, and welcoming others to connect to the life of the church, and parish communities. It is a natural activity based on the development of relationships. In other words, evangelization is an invitation and welcome that grows out of conversations based on the authentic presentation of the Gospel message.
Any attempt to bring others to the faith through means of coercion is not true Catholic evangelization because such means violate the God given gift of free will and are counter to the teaching of the church.
This vision is to be accomplished by employing concrete strategies that are adaptable to the needs of each parish keeping in mind their size, their unique character and the resources available to them.