Resources from the Vatican
Pope Francis on Evangelization
The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Thus begins the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, by which Pope Francis develops the theme of the proclamation of the Gospel in the contemporary world, drawn from, among other sources, the contribution of the work of the Synod held in the Vatican, from 7 to 28 October 2012, on the theme The new evangelization for the transmission of the faith. 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.
Lumen fidei – The Light of Faith (LF) is the first Encyclical signed by Pope Francis. Divided into four chapters, plus an introduction and a conclusion, the Pontiff explains that the Letter supplements Benedict XVI’s Encyclicals on charity and hope, and takes up the “fine work” carried out by the Pope Emeritus, who had already “almost completed” the Encyclical on faith. Lumen Fidei shows how faith should be the foundation of our society.
Church as Mission
On May 9, 2014, Pope Francis addressed the participants in the Meeting of the Pontifical Mission Societies, in which he reflected on Mission in light of Evangelii gaudium, his Apostolic Exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel.
Everyone is an "active" agent of Evangelization
On March 17, 2014, Pope Francis addressed the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of East Timor during their "Ad Limina" visit. During this address, the Holy Father spoke about "the freedom to proclaim the Gospel in an integral way, even when it goes against the current, by defending the values she has received and to which she must remain ever faithful" and reflected on Evangelii nuntiandi as it works today.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Evangelization
On 16 October 2011, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI announced the celebration of the Year of Faith from October 11, 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, to November 24, 2013, the Solemnity of Christ the King. On the same day as the announcement of the Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI signed Porta Fidei, therein indicting the Year of Faith. The Pope Emeritus said in the letter "It seemed to me that timing the launch of the Year of Faith to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council would provide a good opportunity to help people understand that the texts bequeathed by the Council Fathers, in the words of Blessed John Paul II, "have lost nothing of their value or brilliance. They need to be read correctly, to be widely known and taken to heart as important and normative texts of the Magisterium, within the Church's Tradition."
Ubicumque et Semper
Ubicumque et Semper (literally "Everywhere and Always") is a motu proprio from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, in which he established a new office (dicastery) in the Roman Curia: “Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization.” The short letter begins with a reflection on evangelization, remembering that "It is the duty of the Church to proclaim always and everywhere the Gospel of Jesus Christ." The Pope Emeritus draws from his own Petrine writings and those of Bl. Paul VI and St. John Paul II to help promote Evangelization in the light of the Second Vatican Council, and ends his letter by formalizing the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization.
The New Evangelization: Building a Civilization of Love
An Address in the year 2000 by then - Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to Catechists in which he reflects on evangelization as being what he calls "to teach the art of living": "This is why we are in need of a new evangelization—if the art of living remains an unknown, nothing else works. But this art is not the object of a science—this art can only be communicated by [one] who has life—he who is the Gospel personified."
2012 Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith
Lineamenta for: The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith
This organizational document for the 2012 Synod of Bishops: "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith" was sent to all bishops of the world to help them to prepare themselves and their dioceses for the Synod on the New Evangelization. The document outlines the necessity for the Synod, defines "New Evangelization," explores the necessity of the New Evangelization, breaks apart the Missioning of the Apostles, and asks the world's Pastors to analyze their methods of evangelization. A document which is extremely helpful for personal reflection for Missionary Disciples, it preceded the Intrumentum Laboris for the same Synod.
Instrumentum Laboris for: The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith
Based on responses from the Lineamenta of the 2012 Synod of Bishops: “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”, these brief reflections on faith in the Gospels can help illustrate the topic. The importance given to the faith is further emphasized by the decision of the Holy Father, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to celebrate a Year of Faith, beginning on October 11, 2012, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of The Catechism of the Catholic Church. The goal of evangelization today is, as always, the transmission of the Christian faith. This task primarily concerns communities of Jesus’ disciples which are organized into particular Churches, diocesan and eparchial, whose worshippers gather regularly for liturgical celebrations, hear the Word of God, celebrate the sacraments — especially the Eucharist — and look to pass on the treasure of faith to the members of their families, communities and parishes. They accomplish this task by proclaiming and bearing witness to the Christian life through the catechumenate, catechesis and works of charity. (Taken from the Preface, Instrumentum Laboris for: The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith)
Address to the International Conference on the New Evangelization
In 2011, during the International Conference on the New Evangelization, organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, Pope Benedict met with Church Leaders who are involved in the New Evangelization. The Holy Father reflected on the Word of God as growing and spreading, in the form of the Evangelist Luke in the Acts of the Apostles.
Homily at Holy Mass for the International Conference on the New Evangelization
In 2011, the day after addressing the International Conference on the New Evangelization, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI celebrated a Holy Mass for the New Evangelization with the attendees of the Conference. He reflected on the Second Book of Isaiah, Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians, the twenty-second chapter of Matthew's Gospel, and St. Augustine's Confessions, using them as theological basis for Evangelization.
St. John Paul II on Evangelization
Novo Millennio Inuente
Novo Millennio Inuente (literally: At the beginning of the new millennium) is an apostolic letter from St. John Paul II, written at the close of the Great Jubilee of 2000. This letter outlines the priorities for the Church for the third millennium and beyond particularly: holiness and "a training in the art of prayer." Throughout the document, the Saintly Pope exclaims "Duc in Altum!", calling on the Universal Church to heed the advice of Jesus to Simon and to "put out into the deep," (Luke 5:4) to "go forward in hope."
Ecclesia in America
Ecclesia in America, St. John Paul II's post-synodal apostolic exhortation on "the Encounter with the Living Christ: the way to Conversion, Communion and Solidarity in America," was published in January of 1999 following the Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops in 1997, a meeting proposed by the Holy Father after speaking to Latin American Bishops in October 1992, celebrating the five hundredth anniversary of the first evangelization of America. The focus of the exhortation is on the Church in the Americas, concluding with words of gratitude and hope so that the Church in America might be ready to cross the threshold of the Third Millennium with serene trust in the Lord of History and convinced of the primary service that she must provide in testimony to her fidelity to God and to the men and women of the continent. Confident in the power of intercession, the Holy Father proposes a prayer for the families, the communities and ecclesial groups "where two or more are gathered in the name of the Lord" so that all may unite themselves with the supplication of the Successor of Peter, invoking Jesus Christ, the Way to conversion, communion and solidarity in America.
Tertio Millennio Adveniente
Tertio Millennia Adveniente (literally: On the coming of the Third Millennium) is a 1994 letter from the Holy Father to assist the Universal Church in preparation for the Great Jubilee of 2000 and the beginning of the Third Millennium. St. John Paul II uses this letter to reflect on the passage of time in the Christian sense and the fundamental importance of time in the Christian life in addition to the duty to sanctify time which comes from God's relationship with time. In addition, the Saintly Pope explains the custom of Jubilees which began in the Old Testament and assists the Christian People in their preparation for the Great Jubilee of 2000 while taking a spiritual look at the 20th Century.
Redemptoris Missio (literally: The Mission of the Redeemer) is a 1990 encyclical by St. John Paul II which holds the subtitle: " the permanent validity of the Church's missionary mandate." It is devoted to the subject of "the urgency of missionary activity" and in it the Saintly Pope wishes "to invite the Church to renew her missionary commitment" with the assistance of the Holy Spirit.
Christifideles laici (literally: on the Christian faithful) is a 1988 post-synodal apostolic exhortation stemming from the 1987 synod of bishops entitled "The Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World." The goal of the exhortation is to highlight the role of lay participation in the Church, St. John Paul II himself writing in the document "this Exhortation intends to stir and promote a deeper awareness among all the faithful of the gift and responsibility they share, both as a group and as individuals, in the communion and mission of the Church."
Catechesi Tradendae (literally: on Catechesis in our Time) is a 1979 post-synodal apostolic exhortation, which concluded the 1977 synod of bishops with the theme "Catechesis in our Time." In the document, St. John Paul II reflects on Bl. Paul VI and his teaching on Catechesis (particularly his Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi) and on the brief pontificate of Pope John Paul I "whose zeal and gifts as a catechist amazed us all." The focus of the exhortation is Christocentricity in catechesis and the teachings of the Apostles as Catechesis.
Pope St. Paul VI on Evangelization
Evangelii Nuntiandi (literally: Evangelization in the Modern World) is a 1975 post-synodal apostolic exhortation written following the 1974 synod of bishops which was convened by Pope Paul VI with a theme of the same name as the exhortation. The document articulates evangelization as the Church's primary service and the connection between Christ the evangelizer and his Church which imitates his example, while defining evangelization, its content, its methods, and the workers of evangelization in contrast to all of the other possible conceptions of the term. The Catholic Apostolate Center's Webinar "Evangelii Nuntiandi: A Living Document for Evangelization in the Digital Age" is a great resource for understanding the exhortation.
Second Vatican Council
Ad Gentes (literally: To the Nations) is the Second Vatican Council's Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church which was promulgated by Bl. Paul VI in 1965. The Decree focuses on mission work, calling for the continued development of missionary acculturation and encouraging missionaries to live with the people they are attempting to convert, to absorb their ways and culture.
Lumen Gentium (literally: Light of the Nations) is the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church which was promulgated by Bl. Paul VI in 1964. The purpose of the document is "to unfold more fully to the faithful of the Church and to the whole world her own inner nature and universal mission” (LG, 1). It does this by using chapters which focus on: The Mystery of the Church, the People of God, the Hierarchical Structure of the Church, The Laity, The Universal Call to Holiness in the Church, the Pilgrim Church, Men and Women Religious, and the Blessed Virgin Mary.