Recent Pontiffs have imparted to the Church a high and deep vision of evangelization for the 3rd Millennium. The following excerpts capture some of this vision and inspiration for priestly formation.
John Paul II
, Ecclesia in America, 41
“Moreover, this kind of renewed parish needs as its leader a pastor who has a deep experience of the living Christ, a missionary spirit, a father’s heart, who is capable of fostering spiritual life, preaching the Gospel and promoting cooperation. A renewed parish needs the collaboration of lay people and therefore a director of pastoral activity and a pastor who is able to work with others.”
“In a special way, I invite Catholic families to be “domestic Churches”, in which the Christian faith is lived and passed on to the young as a treasure, and where all pray together. If they live up to the ideal which God places before them, Catholic homes will be true centers of evangelization.”
Benedict XVI, Sacramentum caritatis, 84
“The Eucharist is thus the source and summit not only of the Church’s life, but also of her mission: “an authentically eucharistic Church is a missionary Church.” We too must be able to tell our brothers and sisters with conviction: “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us” (1 Jn 1:3). Truly, nothing is more beautiful than to know Christ and to make him known to others. The institution of the Eucharist, for that matter, anticipates the very heart of Jesus’ mission: he is the one sent by the Father for the redemption of the world.”
Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 264, 266
“The best incentive for sharing the Gospel comes from contemplating it with love, lingering over its pages and reading it with the heart. If we approach it in this way, its beauty will amaze and constantly excite us….
“But this conviction has to be sustained by our own constantly renewed experience of savouring Christ’s friendship and his message. It is impossible to persevere in a fervent evangelization unless we are convinced from personal experience that it is not the same thing to have known Jesus as not to have known him, not the same thing to walk with him as to walk blindly, not the same thing to hear his word as not to know it, and not the same thing to contemplate him, to worship him, to find our peace in him, as not to. It is not the same thing to try to build the world with his Gospel as to try to do so by our own lights. We know well that with Jesus life becomes richer and that with him it is easier to find meaning in everything. This is why we evangelize. A true missionary, who never ceases to be a disciple, knows that Jesus walks with him, speaks to him, breathes with him, works with him. He senses Jesus alive with him in the midst of the missionary enterprise. Unless we see him present at the heart of our missionary commitment, our enthusiasm soon wanes and we are no longer sure of what it is that we are handing on; we lack vigour and passion. A person who is not convinced, enthusiastic, certain and in love, will convince nobody.”
Evangelizing at SCK!
In recent years one of the most powerful missionary experiences lived out by the seminarians in the High School and the College levels is the experience of authentic Christian community life in which each learns how to go out to encounter the other with faith and love. Evangelization must begin at home!