VATICAN - The Pope opens the Synod on the new evangelization: "Even in our times, the Holy Spirit has nurtured in the Church a new effort to announce the Good News"

Monday, 8 October 2012

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – On Sunday, October 7, the Holy Father Benedict XVI presided over the Eucharistic celebration for the opening of the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme: "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian faith " and proclaimed St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen "Doctors of the Church". In his homily the Holy Father spoke about the meaning of the "new evangelization", and its relation to ordinary evangelization and the mission ad gentes. These are his words: "The Church exists to evangelize. Faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ’s command, his disciples went out to the world to announce the Good News, spreading Christian communities everywhere. With time, these became well-organized churches with many faithful. At various times in history, divine Providence has given birth to a renewed dynamism of the Church's evangelizing activity. We need only to think of the evangelization of the Anglo-Saxon peoples or the Slavs, or the transmission of the faith on the continent of America, or the missionary undertakings among the peoples of Africa, Asia and Oceania. It is against this dynamic background that I like to look at two radiant figures that I have just proclaimed Doctors of the Church: St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen. Even in our times, the Holy Spirit has nurtured in the Church a new effort to announce the Good News, a pastoral and spiritual dynamism which found a more universal expression and its most authoritative impulse in the Second Vatican Council. Such renewed evangelical dynamism produces a beneficent influence on the two specific "branches" developed by it, that is,, on the one hand, the Missio ad Gentes or the announcement of the Gospel to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ and his message of salvation, and, on the other hand, the new evangelization, directed principally at those who, though baptized, have drifted away from the Church and live without reference to the Christian life. The Synodal Assembly which opens today is dedicated to this new evangelization, to help these people encounter the Lord, who alone who fills our existence with deep meaning and peace; and to favor the rediscovery of faith, that source of grace which brings joy and hope to personal, family and social life. Obviously, such a special focus must not diminish either missionary efforts in the strict sense or the ordinary activity of evangelization in our Christian communities. In fact, the three aspects of the one reality of evangelization complement and enrich each other." (SL) (Agenzia Fides 08/10/2012)