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Why We Are Issuing the Plan Now - Go and Make Disciples

 

Why We Are Issuing the Plan Now (¶61-64) 

61. Since the turn of the century, the Holy Spirit has inspired great events to further evangelization in the Church. A new appreciation of the Scriptures and the mystery of our sharing in the Body of Christ, the Church, flowered into the Second Vatican Council, which was called so that the face of Jesus might radiate more fully upon all.36 This Council brought a renewed sense of faith and worship, a commitment to ecumenical unity, an affirmation of the call to holiness that each one has, and a new emphasis on evangelization. This Council has changed the way we live our Catholic faith. Following the Council in 1974, bishops from all over the world met in Rome to reflect on evangelization; their reflections were expressed by Pope Paul VI in his apostolic exhortation On Evangelization in the Modern World.

62. Pope John Paul II has developed further the awareness of evangelization. Recognizing the need from his global travels, he called for a "new evangelization" in 1983 and called for lay people to become involved in evangelization.37 In 1991, the pope published his eighth encyclical, Redemptoris Missio (On the Permanent Validity of the Church's Missionary Mandate). The Holy Father's powerful words call us to a renewed commitment to mission and evangelization as we come to the final decade of this millennium: "I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church's energies to a new evangelization."38

63. We bishops have dealt with the importance of evangelization in our statements. A wide consultation among Hispanic Catholics resulted in the publication of the National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry39 to address issues relevant to the many Hispanic peoples entering and enriching our nation. Likewise, our African American brothers and sisters have worked on a pastoral plan entitled Here I Am, Send Me: A Conference Response to the Evangelization of African Americans and "The National Black Catholic Pastoral Plan"40 that speaks from their cultural uniqueness and is a gift to all of us. In our own recent pastoral statement Heritage and Hope: Evangelization in the United States,41 we explored the meaning of the five-hundredth anniversary (1492-1992) of Christopher Columbus's voyage to the New World. While all Christians deeply regret the disease, death, exploitation, and cultural devastation that European settlement brought, we rejoice that missionaries carried the light of Christ and were the first to raise their voices against oppression. That first evangelization planted the faith that we now seek to nurture.

64. All this movement and all these documents call us to reexamine our hearts and recommit our wills to the pursuit of evangelization; they motivate us to issue this plan to make evangelization a natural and normal part of Catholic life and to give evangelizers the tools and support they need to carry out this ministry today.

Notes

  1. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), no. 1
  2. On the Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World (Christifideles Laici), nos. 17 and 34
  3. On the Permanent Validity of the Church's Missionary Mandate, no. 3
  4. National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1988)
  5. Here I Am, Send Me: A Conference Response to the Evangelization of African Americans and "The National Black Catholic Pastoral Plan" (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1988)
  6. Heritage and Hope: Evangelization in the United States (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1991)



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