"Be an Evangelizer"

The quote that follows is by Fr. Richard Erikson from his article in the January 15, 2010 edition of the Archdiocese of Boston Newspaper The Pilot. This article was titled, Heeding the Call to Faith Formation and Evangelization.

In September, Pope Benedict XVI reminded Catholics of the heart of our mission saying, “the Church works not to extend her power or assert her dominion, but to lead all people to Christ, the salvation of the world.” In leading all people to Christ, each Catholic must strengthen his or her own faith and embrace the call of the Holy Father to be an evangelizer -- someone who shares the good news of God’s saving love in word and in deed. The greatest works of faith formation and evangelization take place at the parish level, where Catholics are inspired by beautiful liturgies, nurtured by compelling homilies, renewed by great spiritual leadership and strengthened by compassionate pastoral care.

The Archdiocese of Boston launched "ARISE Together in Christ" in 2007 to bring individuals closer to their faith and to Christ and to enable them to evangelize others. About 30,000 have participated with good results. The archdiocese is also sponsoring progams to bring Catholics back to the sacrament of reconciliation in Lent and to welcome Catholics back to their church in Advent.

If evangelization is going to happen it will happen at the parish and individual level. The parish will become welcoming and find a way to engage the marginal and and not involved in meaningful ministry, small groups, and relevant formation opportunities. The parishioners will become active and invite those on the edge to become involved and be confident that those invited will find a welcoming and spiritually appealing home in the parish. Diocese will become effective at providing assistance to parishes in this endeavor.

In this way the declining number of Catholics documented by the Pew Foundations and others will begin to reverse.

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