TRAINING IN THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FOR PARISH LEADERS

VATICAN II AND EVANGELIZATION

"Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the church, her deepest identity" (Evangelization in the Modern World, n. 14).

A. Owning The Mission

The Second Vatican Council issued a strong call to the laity to own the mission of the Church: evangelization, which is rightfully theirs by reason of their baptism.

Principle One: To exercise their apostolate, the laity must work at the evangelization of all men and women.

"The laity are made to share in the priestly, prophetical and kingly office of Christ; they have therefore, in the Church and in the world, their own assignment in the mission of the whole People of God. In the concrete, their apostolate is exercised when they work at the evangelization and sanctification of men" (Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People, n. 2).

Principle Two: The true apostle finds opportunities to proclaim Jesus Christ by word.

"...witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate: the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers to draw them towards the faith, or to the faithful to instruct them, strengthen them, invite them to a more fervent life; 'for Christ's love urges us on' (2 Cor. 5:14), and in the hearts of all should the apostle's words find echo: 'Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel'" (1 Cor. 9:16; Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People, n. 6).

B. Need For Training

Pope Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council stressed the need for evangelizers to be prepared for their mission of evangelization.

Principle Three: Each person must be prepared to share his or her faith.

"Many men (and women) cannot hear the Gospel and come to acknowledge Christ except through the laymen they associate with" (Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People, n. 13).

Principle Four: Different types of apostolate require their own appropriate method of training.

"The apostolate of evangelization and sanctification: the laity are to be specially trained for engaging in dialogue with others, believers or non-believers, their aim being to set the message before the eyes of all" (Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People, n. 31a).

Principle Five: All evangelizers must be prepared.

"A serious preparation is needed for all workers for evangelization" (Evangelization in the Modern World, n. 73).

Principle Six: Evangelization must be carried out under the action of the Holy Spirit.

"Techniques of evangelization are good, but even the most advanced ones could not replace the gentle action of the Spirit. The most perfect preparation of the evangelizer has no effect without the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit the most convincing dialectic has no power over the heart of man" (Evangelization in the Modern World, n. 75)

C. Content Of Evangelization

In the message which the Church proclaims, there is the essential content that cannot be modified or ignored without seriously diluting the nature of evangelization.

Principle Seven: The essential content is:

-a witness given to the Father's love, that in his Son Jesus Christ God has loved the world (Evangelization in the Modern World, n. 26);

-a clear proclamation that in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, who died and rose from the dead, salvation is offered to all men and women, as a gift of God's grace and mercy (Evangelization in the Modern World, n. 27);

-a prophetic proclamation of the hereafter (On Evangelization in the Modern World, n. 28) which includes: the preaching of hope in God's promises; the preaching of God's love for us and of our love for God; the preaching of brotherly love for all men and women; the preaching of the mystery of evil and of the active search for good; the preaching of the search for God himself through prayer which is principally that of adoration and thanksgiving; a message of liberation (Evangelization in the Modern World, n. 30); centered on the kingdom of God (Evangelization in the Modern World, 34); involving a necessary conversion (Evangelization in the Modern World, n. 36).

D. The Response

An evangelization training process:

ACTS II: Conversion, Proclamation, Community.

ACTS II results not only in a formation process for the laity but in the formation of the parish into an evangelizing community (should a parish decide to bring ACTS II into the parish).

by Sister Angeline Bukowiecki, S.N.C

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