December 3, 2021

Pastoral Ministries / Sean Hussey

Church reminds us we are each called to evangelize

Sean HusseyEvangelization has always been at the heart of the Church’s identity and mission.

St. Pope Paul VI, in his apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Nuntiandi” issued on Dec. 8, 1975, emphasized this by stating that evangelization “constitutes the essential mission of the Church.” He goes on to say in the document that “evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize.”

In other words, evangelization isn’t just one thing among many that the Church does. Rather, evangelization is the very reason she exists. It is also important to note here that evangelization is not a “gift” given only to some, but the universal call of every Christian. Evangelization is the grace and vocation proper to every baptized Christian.

If you’re a Christian, you exist in order to evangelize. You share in the Church’s essential mission of evangelization. You don’t have to wait until you have certain qualifications or certain training to live out the mission of evangelization. The Holy Spirit already dwells in you, empowering you to live a life of discipleship to mission by word and deed.

If you break the word evangelization apart, the first half (evangel) comes from a Greek word meaning Gospel, or good news. The suffix (-ization) means the act or process or result of doing or making something. Evangelization simply means the act or process of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. It’s “good news-ization!” We are all called to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others!

God loves us and created us to be in perfect union with him. However, due to sin, we chose to separate ourselves from God. But the good news is that even though we were faithless, God always remained faithful.

Even while we were sinners, God sent his son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life, died and rose for our sins, so that we could receive forgiveness of sin and be reconciled back to the Father. By placing our trust in Jesus, we can experience life in him.

As St. Paul says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23). The beautiful thing about the Gospel is that it isn’t just a story or a piece of news. It is always new and always demands a response from each and every one of us, because Jesus is alive!

The Gospel is an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ, who gives our life direction and decisive meaning. It is not enough to only know the basic facts of the Gospel message. Evangelization requires that we know how the Gospel of Jesus has changed our lives. It is important to remember what Jesus has done for you and me personally so that we can share him with others.

An effective way to do this is by crafting and sharing your personal testimony. Sharing it is a great way each of us can remember what God has done for us and share it with someone else in our everyday lives.

Each time we tell our story (testimony), we give glory to God. No matter how spectacular or ordinary your story may seem to you, your story is an eyewitness account of how God rescued you from sin and death through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and brought you to new life. Whether you are spending time with friends or family who have fallen way from the Church, sitting next to someone on an airplane, riding in an Uber, or standing in front of a room full of people at your church, sharing your testimony with others is an ordinary but powerful way to live out the mission of evangelization.

I encourage you to take time praying with chapter 26 of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. In this chapter, St. Paul shares his own testimony. Prayerfully read through the chapter, and as you do, consider how you would tell your own story of walking with Christ to help you remember with a heart of gratitude what he has done for you and joyfully share that with others!

As St. Peter says, “in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pt 3:15).

(Sean Hussey is the associate director of Young Adult and College Campus Ministry within the archdiocesan Secretariat for Pastoral Ministries. He can be reached at For more information on the Office of Young Adult and College Campus Ministry, visit

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