Episode 1 - What Is the New Evangelization?
If you're Catholic, you need to be an evangelist. It's not optional. The Church is insistently calling all of us to take up a New Evangelization. We hear the call from the pope and the bishops. I hope you're hearing it in your parish, too. But what does it mean in our everyday life? For you and me, it needs to be more than a buzzword. It's our calling from God, and we'll be judged on how well we carry it out ...
Episode 2 - Post-Vatican II: A Time of Confusion and Turmoil
The old joke goes that if you can remember the 1960s, you weren't really there. In some ways, it's doubly true for Catholics. Our religion classes and even our worship were often marked and marred by confusion and improvisation. Our creeds and traditions went into mothballs as many of our teachers chased after trends and followed their whims. How did this affect the Church's mission to evangelize the world?
Episode 3 - Pope Paul VI: Evangelii Nuntiandi (1975)
The Church's life, like yours and mine, goes through phases. Catholics began the decade of the 1960s with a smiling pope, a much-heralded council, and a rush of new ideas. It was a time of tremendous enthusiasm. Yet in ten years the excitement had dissipated. The new ideas got old fast. And many Catholics fell from enthusiasm to apathy. Sometimes it seemed that only one man had his eye on the goal. That man was Pope Paul VI, and in 1975 he issued an urgent call for Catholics to get back to work — the work of evangelization. The Church exists in order to evangelize, he said, and that means that you and I can't be fulfilled if we're not spreading the Gospel.
Episode 4 - Pope John Paul II: Call to a New Evangelization
Just when many observers thought the Church should beat a hasty retreat, Pope John Paul II arrived on the scene to lead a charge. He didn't abandon the people who were abandoning the Church. Instead, he summoned faithful Catholics to a "New Evangelization." He related his project to the 500th anniversary of the evangelization of the New World in 1492, and he foresaw a program that would be no less historic and no less important than Columbus's voyage.
Episode 5 - The Redeemer's Mission, The Pope's Plan
Pope John Paul the Second made it a point to call the whole Church to MISSION. He did it repeatedly. He did it emphatically. In fact, he published the most authoritative document on the subject since Vatican II -- his encyclical titled "Mission of the Redeemer." In that letter, he addressed many of the misconceptions that keep people from evangelizing effectively. Are they holding you and me back even today?
Episode 6 - Redemptoris Missio: A Missionary Spirituality
For years, many Catholics looked at evangelization as somebody else's job. Mission was the work of missionaries, and they lived far away in exotic lands. Ordinary Catholics shared the work only insofar as they gave donations to missionary societies and adopted pagan babies … Pope John Paul II put a decisive end to that vision. He said that mission was the work of the whole Church, and it wasn't just one task among many. It involved every waking moment of every Catholic on God's earth. Evangelization, he said, should be our way of life.
Episode 7 - The Papal Call for a New Pentecost
Few scenes in the Bible are as filled with excitement as the account of the first Christian Pentecost. The Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles — and then what happened? They rushed into the streets and evangelized. They told the Good News. … So what does it mean that all the popes of the last fifty years have called for a New Pentecost? What happens to you and me when God answers their repeated prayer? When do we get to experience the kind of excitement we read about in the Acts of the Apostles?
Episode 8 - The Gifts of Christian Initiation
What if you gave a costly gift to someone you love, and they never bothered to open it? What would it say about you — about your love — and about the person you love? … Well, what if God gave you a gift, a grace, a charism, and you left it unused and hidden away? … God does indeed give us great gifts when we receive the sacraments of Christian initiation. With baptism, confirmation, and the Mass, God gives us the power to change the world. To evangelize and evangelize anew. How can you activate that power?
Episode 9 - The Mission of the Laity
Everybody's called to be a missionary. YOU'RE called to be a missionary. But you and I, as lay Catholics, must go about the job of evangelizing in a way far different from our parish priest. You and I will reach places the pastor and pope could never reach. We'll bring a word that they could not say with the same credibility. You and I are the only ones who can evangelize our particular workplaces, our particular homes, our particular neighborhoods. Vatican II laid out a plan for the mission of the laity, and it's compelling.
Episode 10 - Evangelical and Catholic
Many Catholics have an aversion to evangelizing. They associate it with fundamentalist methods of Bible-thumping and buttonholing. They don't want to become like those proselytizing anti-Catholic co-workers who won't leave us alone in the lunchroom … And that's OK, because there's a distinctively Catholic way to evangelize, and we can learn it. But we should also learn a bit of humility and find what's good in the witness of our non-Catholic brethren.
Episode 11 - The Eucharist: Source and Summit
When the ancient emperors wanted to announce their good news, it was a very simple message: "I came, I saw, I conquered." Jesus did all that, and his message is similar, but it has a postscript. He came, he saw, he conquered, and he remained. Jesus is God with us — with us forever in the Holy Eucharist. God hasn't left us alone and retreated to heaven. He continues to give himself to us as entirely as he did when he died for us. He gives himself to us in the Holy Mass. It's the Mass that gives power to our witness. And the Mass is the end of our witness. We want the world to share the Holy Communion we know and love in Jesus Christ.
Episode 12 - Models of Evangelization
There's a big problem with sharing our faith. People don't get it. They don't want to hear it. They wish we would go away. If that's been your experience, don't give up. Look to the lives of the saints. If you've known nothing but rejection and discouragement and opposition, take heart. That's the beginning of every success story in the Church's history. It's the story of St. Paul, St. Patrick, St. Francis, St. Dominic, and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. God wants our stories to end the way theirs did, with a new saint in heaven, leading many other souls as well.
Episode 13 - New Models for New Times
In the Catholic Church we love the Mass, but we've never gone in for mass-production. We don't do things in a lockstep, uniform way. Catholic means "universal," and that means "here comes everybody" — all the personality types that God can dream up, all doing the work of evangelization in different ways. History shows that Catholic evangelization has always been a riot of creativity — and so it continues to be. In the last half-century we've witnessed the emergence of new movements, new orders, new methods, and new forms of witness. In every age God gives us exactly what we need to meet the new challenges we face.