Saturday, May 04, 2013
The New Evangelisation and the Year of Faith
This morning I was at Amigo Hall just by St George's Cathedral to give a talk at the Family Life International Conference. It was great so see a lot of old friends there including parishioners from Balham and a great group of young people most of whom I'd met before at World Youth Days or Youth 2000 retreats.
I had been asked to talk on Evangelisation and the Year of Faith. I began explaining what we mean by Evangelisation and then spoke a little bit about the relationship between Evangelisation and Catechesis before speaking about the New Evangelisation and the qualities of an evangelist. Above all I was trying to emphasise the fact that we all have not just the right but the duty to evangelise. It was interesting, therefore, that in questions and comments afterwards a lot of people asked (or complained) about what priests and parishes are or are not doing. In my replies I kept coming back to the fact that it is the individual who must pass on the faith: "always evangelising - evangelising all ways". I found it interesting, therefore, to have a bite of lunch with some of the young people present. For them the questions revolved not around what other people are doing but what they themselves can do to pass on the faith. This is a generation that will resonate with Pope Francis and his invitation to roll up our shirtsleeves and 'take on the smell of the sheep'.
One person asked why I hadn't recommended any specific organisations that are evangelising. I think it is a fair point to make that we can be greatly encouraged in our efforts if we have the support of a group or movement that has the need to evangelise written into its DNA. I wasn't sure, however, that it was appropriate for me to mention any specific groups - I would certainly have omitted some excellent ones which wouldn't be fair. Instead I suggested that there are certain characteristics that we should look for in a group or movement: docility to the Magisterium, devotion to the Eucharist, and emphasis on Confession and devotion to Our Lady. You can't go far wrong when those four things are present!
As we headed back to the Cathedral after lunch we noticed a lot of police activity and wondered what was going on. Pretty soon we were met by the sight above: the Rosary procession from St George's Cathedral to Camberwell.