"We can count on the same Spirit who was poured
out at Pentecost and who impels us still today to start out anew."
Pope John Paul II,para.58, Novo Millennio Ineunte.
Pause for thought:
Which category or categories do you fall into? How do you feel you might
be able to respond to the evangelising mission of the Church?
Personnel: Who are the front-liners?
The simple answer to that is everyone.
Every single member of the Church is called to be engaged in missionary
activity. The whole Church has been commissioned to do this work - that's,
us here at CASE, you, your family, your parish, school, organisation and
so on. There's no get out clause I'm afraid. But don't worry, it's a wonderful
thing to get involved with, and it's a real joy when you see someone opening
up to God in a new way.
As an agency, CASE is here to help and equip you in your evangelising in
every way that we can.
- The Pope. He has a special role in the evangelising mission of the Church. He has a ministry of teaching the revealed truth. The Pope has been conferred with a special power from Christ to preach the Good News.
- Bishops and Priests. The Bishops, with the Pope, teach the faith. Priests
in turn assist in this ministry of preaching and teaching. In a unique
way they proclaim the Gospel of Christ.
Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool.
- The Essential role of parishes. Although we are a universal Church, the body of Christ takes form in a local context in parish life. Both the universal and local Church are involved in the evangelisation process. However, the more attached a parish is to the world-wide Church the more it will be disposed to sharing the richness of the faith.
- Lay people. Central to the vocation of a lay person is their witness to Christ in the world. Their very lives are to point others to the existence of God.
- The family. The family is the domestic church. Families evangelise each other through their common life and in turn witness to their neighbours, Christian values and the Gospel.
- Young people. They too have a responsibility to evangelise those around them. They are apostles to the future itself.
- Religious. Their lives of self-sacrifice and fraternal charity challenge the world to live in and for Christ. They serve God with an undivided heart and are totally free to proclaim the Good News.
- Not alone. You are never alone when you evangelise. Your efforts are ecclesial, that means whether you act individually or as part of a community you are in union with the whole Church. You are part of a universal community which can not be limited. There's a much bigger picture than we might at first think.
- You're not in the hot seat. No individual evangeliser or evangelising community is the master of their actions. The Church is responsible for the task of spreading the Gospel. The buck stops with it.
- Adaptation. The "Evangelisation Personnel" have to take into account their environment and consider ways they can share the Good News which meets the non-Churched where they are at. This doesn't mean "dumming down", but seeking relevant ways of presenting the message. Academics call this contextualisation. Whatever our state in life, there are many diverse ways through which we can serve the evangelising mission of the Church.
- Constant content. Via the Pope and Bishops (the Magisterium of the Church) the deposit or content of the faith is preserved. No evangeliser or evangelising community can alter this deposit. However, each of us is free to use our imaginations in seeking new ways of sharing the Good News. This demands of us an on-going formation in the riches the Church has to offer.