MOSAIC Fall 2015 - Page 27

ADVANCING THE NEW EVANGELIZATION Winning the World for the Sacred Heart of Jesus What Is the New Evangelization? Dr. Ralph Martin S ince the New Evangelization has become a major focus for both Sacred Heart Major Seminary and the Archdiocese of Detroit, it might be well to review a bit where this emphasis came from and why it is important. Starting in 1983, St. John Paul II began to refer frequently to a “new evangelization.” He made it clear that he wasn’t calling for a new gospel. Instead, he was calling for a new effort, characterized by new “ardor, methods, and expression” and directed in a new way, not only to those who have never heard the gospel before—the traditional “mission territories”—but now also to the lukewarm and de-Christianized traditionally Christian Western nations. He distinguished between “primary evangelization,” directed towards those who have never heard the gospel before; “pastoral care,” directed towards those who were living as believers; and the “new evangelization or re-evangelization,” directed towards those from traditionally Christian cultures or backgrounds. Within this last category, “entire groups of the baptized have lost a living sense of the faith, or even no longer consider themselves members of the Church, and live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel” (Mission of the Redeemer, no. 33). Cardinal Adam Maida, archbishop of Detroit from 1990 to 2009, determined that a more serious institutional response needed to be made to this call of St. John Paul II. He gave Sacred Heart a new motto, “Preparing Heralds for the New Evangelization,” and the continuing reality of Pentecost. directed the seminary to build this focus As St. John Paul II put it in Mission of the on evangelization into its degree programs, Redeemer, his 1990 encyclical on evangewhich we have done. Archbishop Allen lization, “I sense that the moment has come Vigneron, Cardinal Maida’s successor, has to commit all of the Church’s energies to continued the emphasis and expanded it to a new evangelization and to the mission the entire Archdiocese of Detroit. ad gentes [“to the nations”]. No believer St. John Paul II published his “vision or in Christ, no institution of the Church can mission statement” for the Catholic Church avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ as it entered the new millennium, the apto all peoples” (no. 3). The message here is ostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (At that the call to evangethe Beginning of a New lization is addressed to Millennium). He cited the “Entire groups of each Christian and can’t collapse of Christian sothe baptized have be delegated to “specialciety as a primary reason ists” or committees. Nor for the need for a new lost a living sense is it adequate to occasionevangelization. of the faith.” ally have special evange“To nourish ourselves lization events, as useful as they may be. with the word in order to be ‘servants of the What is being called for—and what is Word’ in the work of evangelization: this is necessary—is that evangelization become surely a priority for the Church at the dawn part of the baptized Catholic’s fundamental of the new m [[