One of the new bishops meeting the Holy Father today happens to be my new pastor (I hope he brings me back a tee shirt…)
“Every believer is called to the challenge of the new evangelization” Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday morning, and bishops must “boldly invite the people from every walk of life to an encounter with Christ and to render more solid the faith”. The Holy Father was addressing a group of bishops whom he appointed during the course of the past year at the end of a conference organized for them this week here at the Vatican by the Congregation for Bishops.
From his remarks:
Your primary concern must be to promote and support “a more determined commitment of the Church in favor of the new evangelization in order to rediscover the joy in believing and find the enthusiasm to communicate the faith” (Apostolic Letter. Porta fidei, 7). Here too you are called to encourage and foster communion and collaboration between all the realities of your dioceses. Evangelization, in fact, is not the work of some specialists, but of the entire People of God, under the guidance of the Pastors. Each believer, in and with the ecclesial community should feel responsible for announcing and witnessing to the Gospel. Blessed John XXIII, opening the great assembly of Vatican II envisaged “a leap forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciences,” and for this reason – he added – “it is necessary that this certain and unchangeable doctrine, which must be faithfully respected, be both deepened and presented in a way that meets the needs of our time “(Address at the Opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, October 11, 1962). We could say that the new evangelization began precisely with the Council, which Blessed John XXIII saw as a new Pentecost that would see the Church flourish through its inner wealth and maternally extend to all fields of human activity (cf. Address The closing session of the Council, December 8, 1962). The effects of the new Pentecost, despite the difficulties of the times, spread to reach the life of the Church in all its forms: from the institutional to the spiritual, from the participation of the lay faithful in the Church to the charismatic flowering and holiness. In this regard, we can not but think of both Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II, as well as the many figures of bishops, priests, religious and lay people who have rendered the face of the Church beautiful in our time.
This legacy was also entrusted to your pastoral care. Draw from this wealth of doctrine, of spirituality and of holiness to form the faith of your people, so that their testimony is more credible. At the same time, your Episcopal service demands you “give reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet 3:15) to those who are in search of faith or the ultimate meaning of life,” in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way.