January 22, 2010

Catholic Education Outreach / Peg McEvoy

How can you share the Good News of our faith?

“Evangelization …[is] sharing the Good News of Jesus and seeking to convert individuals and society by the divine power of the Gospel itself”
- “Go and Make Disciples,” #10

Sharing the Good News—evangelization—is happening in our parishes every day. Look at the work being done at and through your parish.

Every time the Mass is celebrated, the Good News of Jesus Christ is communicated clearly in both word and sacrament.

When your parish supports individuals and families in need with material gifts in Jesus’ name, that also is sharing the Good News.

When your parish invites, welcomes and works with Catholics who have stopped practicing the faith, that is sharing the Good News.

When your parish reaches out to those who want to become Catholic, embraces them and nurtures their love of Jesus Christ, that is sharing the Good News.

For every parish evangelization opportunity listed, there are parishioners and staff who make it happen. Thank you!

Yet we know there is much more work to be done. Most of us know someone who has stopped practicing their Catholic faith.

Maybe you have shied away from opportunities to share what you really believe and why you believe it. Is it time to step up and become active in spreading the Good News? Could you join and support the efforts of your parish evangelization team?

Or maybe you need to ask your pastor’s guidance on how to start one. Is it time to step up and encourage people you encounter in other areas of your life to follow Christ?

With cell phones, tweets, texts and Facebook pages, it has never been easier or faster to share news, especially good news.

Do we really believe the message of our faith is not just good news, but the Good News? Do we act like we believe it? And, knowing that Jesus brought us the best news of all time, how do we share this message to help evoke positive change in individuals and the world, all through the grace of God?

This column is titled “Catholic Evangelization Outreach.” Every other month, it will focus on spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. Its purpose is to offer reflections and ideas on how we can share the Good News of our faith and to help each of us answer the question “What can I do?”

The days of leaving evangelization to the “professionals” and letting ourselves “off the hook” are gone—if they ever really existed at all. Remember, though, the Holy Spirit will do the real work. We just need to be truly open to how the Spirit is asking us to help.

I encourage each of you to take one step: Consider regularly praying this prayer, written by Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, titled “A Prayer to Make a Difference” because prayer really will make a difference.

“O Lord, help me know your will for me. Let your light shine in the depth of my heart that I may know what you want me to do with my life. Help me believe that you have a special plan for me. Lord, I know I pass through this life only once; help me decide how you want me to make a difference. Like your Blessed Mother, give me the wisdom to hear your voice and the courage to answer your call. Above all, give me peace of mind and heart. I offer this prayer in your name. Amen.”

(Peg McEvoy is the archdiocesan associate director for Evangelization and Family Catechesis. For questions and/or help starting a parish evangelization team, contact her at pmcevoy@archindy.org.)

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