Canadian Catholic News
To mark the Synod on New Evangelization taking place in Rome Oct. 7-28 and the beginning of the Year of Faith, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) has released a leaflet urging families to spread the Good News.
In “The Gospel of Everyday Life: an Adventure Worth Sharing,” COLF explains the role of the family as a domestic church as well as that of lay faithful in evangelizing in light of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and Scripture.
For decades, Catholic Church leaders have been calling for the new evangelization—“new in its ardour, new in its methods and means of expression” because “too many of the baptized live as if God does not exist,” COLF says. “Their way of life, their opinions, their choices are aligned with an atheistic or relativistic vision of life.”
Not only baptized Catholics need to hear “Christ spoken of seriously” but so do those “with whom we rub shoulders at work, school or university, in the shopping mall, the subway or bus, in our leisure and volunteer activities.
Woven throughout with quotes from Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, the leaflet urges people to collaborate with Christ in introducing Him to family members, friends and others.
The leaflet suggests a gentle, humble approach rather than aggressive proselytizing or imposing one’s faith on others. COLF invites Catholics to deepen their personal relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer, study of the faith and more frequent participation in the Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation.
COLF focuses on Jesus the Son of God, laying out the Gospel message in a way that makes it easy to share with others. Invite Catholics who have fallen away to come back to church, and invite others to “come and see” and be prepared for when a friend might ask, “What must I do?” to know Christ.
Evangelization is not just for priests, bishops and those in religious life, COLF insists, but is part of the call of all the baptized. It’s also the call of families as domestic churches, the leaflet says. “God is counting on us, as parents, to make our children apostles of the new evangelization,” it says. “Whoever speaks of evangelization is obviously speaking about relationships, because we must enter into relationship with another person to be able to share with him or her the secret of our happiness.”
“By nature, we are relational beings, because we are created in the image of God---Father, Son and Holy Spirit, eternally in relationship,” COLF says.
Evangelization, especially in the family, is not composed of “great speeches or theoretical lessons,” COLF says, “but through everyday love, simplicity and daily witness.”
The leaflet has a section entitled “Riddle time!” that has a question and answer format that would be easy to share with children. It also includes a page with discussion questions for adults that would be appropriate for small group discussion.
Questions include: “Who is Jesus for me? Do I really know him? Do I take him seriously? Does that show in my daily life”; “How can I help my children to meet Jesus---to think, to love and to act like him—and to understand that knowing Him is a plus for their lives;” and “What can I do to make my parish more attractive, more inviting, more missionary—remembering that charity is expressed in works of brotherhood, outreach and assistance to those in need (material and spiritual.”)
The document is downloadable from the www.colf.ca website and a workshop guide is also available.