New Evangelization, says Blessed Pope John Paul II, in his address to the Episcopal Conferences of Latin America, March 9, 1983 in Haiti, is “one that is new in its ardor, new in its methods, and new in its expression”. As we start this year the nine-year preparation for the 5th Centennial Anniversary of our being the only Catholic country in Southeast Asia, we reflect again and again on renewing our ardor, methods and expressions in professing, celebrating, living and praying our faith in Jesus Christ.
We may start by making a thorough review of the doctrines of our Catholic faith synthesized to us systematically and organically by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The very first step is to grab a copy of it and start a calm but persevering reading of its pages, in which, according to Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI, “we find that what is presented here is no theory, but an encounter with a Person who lives within the Church” (Porta fidei, no. 11) – Jesus Christ.
Getting involved in the Catechetical activities of our respective parishes, organizing group studies and discussions on social issues today in the light of the Catholic doctrines and coming up with reflections and resolutions for effective actions could be some of the concrete things every Catholic may undertake. The point is: we cannot just sit back and wait for things to happen. We must contribute even the littlest of what we can do. Christ is passing by in this Year of Faith. We might miss Him!
In Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Obrero, we have already begun a detailed study and discussion of the Catechism. What moves us to come every Saturday evening is our thirst for understanding the faith that the Apostles had transmitted to us. Our motto is the Augustinian “Fides quaerens intellectum” (Faith seeking understanding): we believe first what the Church teaches; then, we try to understand in the measure God allows us to.
How can we reach out to more people, not only to those who attend daily masses, but most especially, to those who don’t even care that the response to the greeting “The Lord be with you” has already been changed to “And with your spirit”? This is our greatest challenge today, Catholics of the 21st century! And in order to meet this challenge, the Blessed Pope John Paul II, the Great suggested that we would take on new ardor, new methods and new expressions in this daunting task of new evangelization.
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Is it possible to employ jokes and funny stories to transmit good ideas and thought-provoking concepts? If YES, then, why not start there? But choose the jokes that contain not only a clean sense of humor but also a heart-moving moral lesson. Let us try this one:
A signage placed at the exit of a church for people who would leave during the final hymn reads: Judas left early too.