It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” Mark 4: 31-32
In Evangelii Nuntiandi (1975), Pope Paul VI famously said: “The Church exists in order to evangelise” (EN 14).
The term ‘evangelise’ comes from Greek and means, ‘to announce Good News’. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that evangelisation is “The proclamation of Christ by word and testimony of life” (CCC 905). The witness of a holy life is not in itself enough; “The Good News proclaimed by the witness of life sooner or later has to be proclaimed by the word of life” (EN 22).
Pope St John Paul II coined the expression ‘New Evangelisation’. He said that it needs to be new in its ardour, its methods, and in its expression. New Evangelisation is needed:
- in those situations, contexts and cultures in which many are baptised but few practise,
- where people have drifted and lapsed, or
- have no real, personal and dynamic relationship with Christ and his Church
In 2000 Pope Benedict XVI – then Cardinal Ratzinger – said: “Everyone needs the Gospel; the Gospel is destined to all and not only to a specific circle and this is why we are obliged to look for new ways of bringing the Gospel to all”.
“Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus. And if a person has welcomed this love that gives the meaning to his life, he cannot contain the desire to communicate it to others. This is the source of the work of evangelization………In all of the baptized – from the first to the last – the Holy Spirit is acting, spurring people to evangelization…. All of us need to grow in Christ.” (Pope Francis, 2014)
For information on programmes to support evangelisation and the New Evangelisation being organised by the Evangelisation Group of St Anne’s parish, or to get involved with the work of the Group, contact: