New Evangelisation in Parishes
In his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi, Pope Paul VI stated that the Church “exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of his death and glorious Resurrection.” (no. 14) St. John Paul II, in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council and Pope Paul VI, invited all Christian faithful a new to take upon themselves the task of evangelization: “no believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ." (Redemptoris Missio, no. 3). He called for "a commitment, not to re-evangelize but to a New Evangelization, new in its ardor, methods and expression" (Instrumentum Laboris, no. 35).
The Parish is at the heart of this new evangelisation. The Pastoral Conversion of the Parish Community, an instruction from
the Congregation for the Clergy, states that the Parish is "a response to a precise pastoral need, namely that of bringing the Gospel to the People through the proclamation of the faith and celebration of the sacraments. The etymology of the word makes clear the meaning of the institution: the Parish is a house among houses and is a response to the logic of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, alive and active among the community" (No. 7). The same document proposes that the Parish also "must confront a peculiar characteristic of our contemporary world, whereby increased mobility and digital culture have expanded the confines of existence; [creating] 'a global and pluralist village'... The Parish is called to read upon the signs of times, while adapting both to the needs of the faithful and to historical changes. A renewed vitality is required that favours the rediscovery of the vocation of the baptised as a disciple of Jesus Christ and a missionary of the Gospel... and the Parish as a suitable environment for hearing God's word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration" (nos. 11 & 27).
Let us recover and deepen our enthusiasm, that “delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, even when it is in tears that we must sow… And may the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervour, who have first received the joy of Christ." - St Paul VI
"The lack in a common sharing, cultural climate and the general state of fatigue in many Christian communities in our local Churches is endangering the proclamation of the faith, [and] its transmission to others... therefore, the local Churches are called to make renewed efforts and again put their trust in the Spirit who guides them, so that [they] might once again undertake joyously and vigorously, the fundamental mission which Jesus entrusts to his disciples" (Lineamenta, nos. 15 &16).
Now more than ever all disciples of the Lord, individually and collectively, are invited to find the courage to forge new paths
in responding to the changing circumstances and conditions facing the Church in her call to proclaim and live the Gospel today.