Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize. (St. Paul VI, Evangelii nuntiandi)
In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis reminds us… “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew … I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.”
With hearts full of the joy of the Gospel, the Archdiocese of San Antonio is an evangelizing community that is continuously:
United as Church
Sent by the Spirit
This vision celebrates who we are and places before us the question put to Peter in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost, “What must we do?” (Acts 2:37) As we are called into discipleship through the encounter with Christ, we cannot be passive. Illumined by the guiding principles and spirit of Evangelii Gaudium, we recognize that our following of the Lord calls us to build a welcoming Culture of Encounter as disciples and missionaries:
Seeking to live in sacramental communion with one another,
the Archdiocese of San Antonio exists to make disciples and missionaries
of Jesus Christ to prepare for the promise of Eternal Life.
Led by the Holy Spirit, we prioritize the New Evangelization in all our efforts. Through our shared encounters with Christ, we proclaim the Good News with joy, zeal, and renewed spirit!
The Mission of Evangelization
With willing and open hearts, we are changed by the power of Christ’s Word, Sacraments, and the witness of his people, the Church. The Spirit that we have received through our encounter with Christ leads us to make heed of his great commissioning:
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (MT 28:19-20)
We thus recognize the essential role we have in sharing that faith we have received through our daily lives as believers. Evangelization is THE essential mission of the Church. Evangelization addresses those who have not heard the Gospel or who, having heard it, have stopped practicing their faith, and those who seek the fullness of faith.
Millions of Catholics no longer practice their faith. Although many may say they are Catholic, they no longer worship with the community and are thereby deprive of the gifts of word and sacrament. Some were never formed in the faith after their childhood. Some have drifted away because of one or another issue. Others have not heard the first proclamation or kerygma, which announces to all:
Jesus Christ loves you; He gave his life to save you; and now He is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you. (Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium 164)
As a community of faith, we want to welcome all people to become alive in the Good News of Jesus, and to let Christ touch, heal, and reconcile them through the Holy Spirit. We want to let our brothers and sisters living on the margins know that they always have a place in the Church. We want to show our regret for any misunderstandings or mistreatment. And we want to help them see that, however they feel about the Church, we want to talk with them, share with them, and accept them as brothers and sisters.
We encourage every person in the pews, every Catholic in our communities to be a minister of welcome, reconciliation, and understanding to those who have stopped practicing the faith.
Objectives of the Mission of Evangelization
Evangelization calls for our continued transformation in Christ, our ongoing conversion. This nurtures us, makes us grow, and renews us in hope and holiness. Pope St. John Paul II, summed up the three objectives of the mission of evangelization:
• To proclaim the Gospel to all people
• To help bring about the reconversion of those who have received the Gospel but live it only nominally
• To deepen the Gospel in the lives of believers
Adapted from Go and Make Disciples: A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States, USCCB, 2002
Contact your neighborhood parish to learn more about evangelization ministries.
If you are a parish leader (volunteer or staff) and need assistance in strengthening or starting an evangelization ministry in your parish, contact contact the Department for Pastoral Ministries at 210-734-1952 or by email.
Resources for Evangelization
Local Evangelization Retreats
Spreads the Gospel of Jesus Christ among Catholic communities by promoting, consulting in, facilitating and coordinating ACTS retreats.
Catholic Center for Charismatic Renewal
Serves the church in its primary mission of evangelization in the power of the Holy Spirit and fosters a personal experience of Pentecost through the basic kerygmatic teaching of the church.
Cursillos of Christianity
Cursillo (short course) is a 3-day weekend with talks presented by laity and the clergy. It provides the tools for living what is fundamental to living a Christian life and a means for preserving what is learned on the weekend. Weekends are available in English or Spanish. De Colores!
Questions or Comments?
Department for Pastoral Ministries