MOSAIC Spring 2015 - Page 27

MY PARISH, YOUR PARISH Living the Gospel in the Local Church 7 Habits of the New Evangelizer Part 2: Ways to engage the parish with the New Evangelization. Fr. Charles Canoy A t a local chapter of Legatus, an organization of Catholic business leaders, I recently spoke on the New Evangelization. After giving the basics, I then recommended cultivating the “7 Habits of New Evangelizers” in their lives. Here is a very brief synopsis of what I shared. The New Evangelizer . . . 1. Pursues Holiness. People are attracted to saints, and each of us is called to be one. Pope Paul VI said, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” 2. Gives Reasons for Hope. St. Peter said to be “always prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Pt 3:15). We have so many “chance” meetings in our life. Do you have a three-minute testimony of how the Lord has changed your life’s destiny and how you draw strength and wisdom from a living relationship with him? 3. Prays Daily. It is difficult to give authentic testimony about someone you do not know very well. Just as a married person would check in daily with his or her spouse, so should we check in with our beloved Lord. Our regular communion with God in prayer should include taking advantage of the sacraments by which God shares his very life with us. As the saying goes, you cannot give what you do not have. 4. Values Small-group Friendships. The Lord is clear: “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (Jn 15:20). Because we are inherently relational, just as God is within himself, it is more difficult to be bold for the Lord if we think we will not have any friends as a result. Having strong friends in Christ gives us the support network we need to urge us on in our God-given mission and vocation in the world. 5. Exhibits Holy Indifference. Holy indifference is a joyful detachment from the things of this world. If we are beholden to the things of this world and susceptible to worldly temptations, our hearts will feel divided, and something will give. If our hearts, however, are beholden only to the Lord, then we experience true freedom. We become masters of our passions and possessions, rather than those very things enslaving us. 6. Uses Charisms. God has given each of us spiritual gifts by which we are to help build up God’s kingdom and his people. Do we use them? Remember the parable of the talents and that God is interested in fruitfulness. He wants our hearts first and foremost, but then he calls us to be laborers in his vineyard. 7. Practices Spiritual Accompaniment. Pope Francis mentions how every Christian needs to be initiated into this “art of accompaniment.” In essence, it is accompanying the people God has placed in our lives on their spiritual journey, being a Christ-like presence for them, getting a sense of where they are spiritually, and helping them to meet their deepest desires by inviting them to opportunities through which they can encounter Jesus for themselves. I highly recommend reading Pope Francis’s section on spiritual accompaniment in his exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel (nos. 169-173). Fr. Charles Canoy is pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Jackson, Michigan. 25