Disciples Of The Lord: Overview
A Pastoral Letter on The New Evangelization to the Clergy, Religious and Laity of the Archdiocese of Washington by Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington
All of us know someone - a friend, family member, colleague or neighbor - who used to be a practicing Catholic, but isn’t any more. For some who initially heard the incredible proclamation of Christ alive in the Church, the message has become stale. The promises seem empty or unconnected to their busy lives today. So, what is our response?
A pastoral letter by Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, Disciples of the Lord: Sharing the Vision, invites Catholics to renew and reinvigorate their own faith and then to invite others whose faith has grown stale to reconnect and rediscover Christ. Pope Benedict XVI calls this invitation a “reproposing” of our faith and the “New Evangelization.”
The New Evangelization is not a program. It is an outlook on life and a personal invitation to rediscover Christ and his message. In his pastoral letter, Archbishop Wuerl asks that Catholics reflect together on how we can renew the Gospel message and Christ’s love, first in our own hearts and then, having grown in our faith, by inviting others to hear once again, maybe all over again for the first time, the exciting invitation of Jesus: “Come, follow me.”
This can start with something as simple as participating more in the sacraments, a direct conversation about Catholicism, offering to pray for someone or inviting a friend to Bible study or Mass. For parishes, it means looking at all that they do through a new lens, a self assessment of the parish’s vitality in the areas of worship, education, service, community and administration. For the archdiocese, it means reaching out in new ways, such as a redesigned website to better engage people with the Church, a new email system to reach parishioners directly, and consideration of every program through the lens of the New Evangelization.
This is a fresh moment for the Church because it is a new moment in our world. In an increasingly secular and materialistic society, what gives true and lasting meaning and joy is Christ and his message. From the renewal of faith by individual Catholics to their invitation to others to share in the joy and excitement of Christ and his Church comes the possibility of a world transformed.
The pastoral letter begins with observations on the evangelizing mission of the Church; explores how we can understand the New Evangelization as an invitation to repropose the Gospel of Christ and an encounter with him; considers what it will actually mean for us here in the Church of Washington; and what our involvement in it means for our personal renewal, vitality of our parish family and regeneration of our society.
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