Monday, September 10, 2012

The Year of Faith: New Evangelization

"When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?" A  strange question abruptly asked by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke (18:8). In today's world the question is no longer as strange as it once was. Pope Benedict brings up the subject of faith in the life of the Church with his Apostolic Letter of Oct. 11, 2011, Porta Fidei (Door of Faith), which proclaimed that a "Year of Faith" would begin on Oct. 11, 2012 and end on Nov. 24, 2013. 

In conjunction with the Pope's announcement, the 13th Synod of Bishops will meet in Rome, Oct. 7, preceding the opening of the Year of Faith, and conclude Oct. 27. About 300 bishops from around the world will discuss the need for a new approach to spreading the faith, guided by the theme: "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith." During the deliberations, the Year of Faith will be formally proclaimed, commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth  anniversary of the publication of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church." The Korean Church is responding to the event enthusiastically; hopefully the words and ideas exchanged and debated will not be relegated to our personal archives, and forgotten. The working document for the Bishops Synod has been published by the Vatican and can be accessed by typing Instrumentum Laboris in a search engine.

The president of the Bishops Committee on Evangelization held a press conference recently to provide details on the Year of Faith and the Bishops Synod.  A journalist for the Catholic Times, commenting on the Bishop's press conference, said  the term "New Evangelization" is not well understood by most Catholics. New ramifications have surfaced, broadening the meaning of the term and requiring a change of perspective on how best to spread the Gospel message. How this change will translate to the current situation in Korea is too early to tell, the columnist says.

Successful implementation of the evangelization process, according to Blessed Pope John Paul, will depend on how well we can bring to our work new passion, new methods, and new aspirations of what can be accomplished, and how mindful we are that changing a culture requires a change in the methods used.  The bishop in the press conference speaking from the  heart wonders if the change, first of all, has to begin with  himself. We need to experience God.  What our society needs is not more teachers, but men and women who witness to what they believe. 

The need for discussion has been felt for sometime for the countries that have been traditionally the bastions of Catholicism are no longer so, and the hope is to change the present reality.  The effort will have to begin with each one of us  examining  our faith life, face the results, and  begin to evangelize ourselves with a new vocabulary and practices.

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