Parish workshops present new vision for evengelization

WILLIAMSTOWN — In his 1975 apostolic exhortation on evangelization, Evangelii Nuntiandi, Pope Paul VI said, “The task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the church. Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize.”

These words, describing the mission of all of Jesus’ disciples, were at the forefront of the “New Vision for Evangelization” workshop that took place here at Our Lady of Peace Parish on Monday, May 10.

Sponsored by the Diocese of Camden’s Office of Lifelong Faith Formation — Evangelization, the evening brought together parish leaders from around the Diocese of Camden interested in more effectively bringing God’s message to others. Two other sessions were held at St. Rose of Lima Church in Haddon Heights and Our Lady of Sorrows in Linwood. In all, 142 individuals from 46 parishes attended one of the three workshops.

“How can we present Jesus in a more attractive way?” asked Andres Arango, director of evangelization, to the more than 40 people in attendance.

“The reason that I am here, is because I have a passion for Jesus Christ. I want to share his passion with everyone,” he said. “That’s the reason we’re all here tonight.”

Arango repeated the words of Bishop Joseph Galante, who in September 2009 said that “Evangelization is not a program. It is to bring people into a relationship with Jesus.”

In a Powerpoint presentation, Arango described the cycle of evangelization, beginning with a personal encounter (discovering Jesus), to discipleship (following Jesus), and finally becoming a witness (sharing Jesus), in turn allowing someone else to have a personal encounter.

Dr. Frank Blee, coordinator of evangelization, gave tips to attendees on how to form dynamic evangelization teams, such as forming a core team, with representation for young adults, ethnic groups and seniors; finding team members experienced in media and web site development; planning for a kerygmatic (“Good News”) event such as a dinner, concert or play; and networking with other parish groups.

“To carry the personal message of Jesus Christ, there is nothing more important that we can do,” Blee urged. “We need people to light the fire.”

He told those gathered to have confidence in their work as evangelizers. “If we do our part, the Holy Spirit will do the rest.”

Russell Davis, director of Stewardship for the diocese, stated that he was “very pleased” with the event.

Calling the message presented “strong, positive,” Davis remarked that “It’s an exciting new start to a much-needed effort, to live out our vision.”

For more information, contact Andres Arango at 856-583-2878, or Andres.Arango@camdendiocese.org

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