There appears to be the hand (wing?) of the Spirit in Pope Francis’ announcement of the New Evangelization announced early in his Papacy. What is important is that he never defined the terms when announced. Some have attempted to define it? Others, conditioned to wait…did. Is it because he wants to tickle our imaginations? To think for ourselves? To treat us as grown-ups? Hmmm.
Perhaps we are just too distracted by all the societal disruptions where old assumptions are being challenged, new conversations emerge, power is being held accountable, new alternatives are being experimented.
Never to be defeated, Pope Francis strategically offers the recipe for the new evangelization but names the ingredients one at a time giving us all the opportunity to digest the teaching. Who could have predicted having a Peoples Pope, the Catholic disrupter! The Church is being called to a new level of consciousness; no longer a Church of restraints but a Church of opportunity.
The New Evangelization:
We are called to engage in the following
- Adopting the construct of journeying together; we become aware that we are not alone. We belong to families, and faith communities where enduring relationships help us as we embark on the journey of life.
- The science and art of listening is not a passive experience; listening is an active engagement of listening and learning about the other. We too often attempt to determine what we anticipate saying next rather than focusing on the speaker.
- Engaging the voices of many in order for all to be respectfully heard and included demonstrates an openness to others on the journey.
- As Catholic Christians, joy and celebration are part of who we are. We are most connected when we are joyful together in community.
- Our faith brings us together to participate in a common mission where we care for one another pastorally by witnessing faith in action. We are called to have an informed conscience, to respect the dignity of every person and work for a just society.
- Engaging in dialogue is a critical ingredient of our faith. People of faith deserve to engage in dialogue with a wider audience to learn and build relationships across the society we share.
- Synodality is soon to become the methodology of the times because it is a participatory process based in co-responsibility by setting co-developed goals and processes for our interaction.
- As varying opinions are offered, we are to engage in discernment grounded in consensus flowing from the common influence of the Spirit.
The challenge is how to make synodality a common practice not simply in faith-based organization but had value in every venue.