The Catholic University of America

Jan. 18, 2013

Cardinal Wuerl Speaks on New Evangelization

  Cardinal Wuerl

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington and chancellor of Catholic University, calls on students, faculty, and staff to actively participate in the New Evangelization.

“This is a new moment in the life of the Church, a new Pentecost,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington and chancellor of Catholic University, as he called on students, faculty, and staff to actively participate in the New Evangelization as part of the Church’s Year of Faith.

The cardinal’s talk on Jan. 16, “Implications of the New Evangelization Today,” at the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, was sponsored by the School of Theology and Religious Studies.

He began with two stories about chance meetings with fellow travelers as he journeyed by airplane. These travelers, upon seeing his Roman collar, engaged him in conversation. One, a non-Catholic, wanted to know why “this Church thing was so important” to him, and another described himself as “a Catholic who is no longer into the faith.”

During the Synod on the New Evangelization held in Rome last October, those conversations came flooding back, he said.

Cardinal Wuerls New Evangelization lecture  
An audience member asks a question following Cardinal Wuerl's talk on the New Evangelization.  

“In one way or another they represented different manifestations of why we need a New Evangelization.”

The New Evangelization is not one specific action or activity, he said, “but rather a way of seeing the whole range of activities carried out by the Church to spread the good news.

It begins with a personal renewal of our own faith, which brings with it fresh confidence and, therefore, a willingness to share it with others, re-proposing Christ and his Church in a comprehensible and convincing way.”

This involves “continuity with the ongoing catechesis of every believer, ongoing outreach to those who have never genuinely heard of Jesus, and re-evangelization to those who have simply fallen away from the Church and the practice of faith.”

Cardinal Wuerl encouraged those in the audience, especially the students, to share their faith, and noted the personal qualities needed for such an undertaking.

“The New Evangelization requires an enthusiastic willingness to share the faith with a society greatly in need of it.” The qualities of an evangelizer, he said, include boldness or courage, connectedness to the Church, a sense of urgency, and joy.

“We all recognize that it is now our turn to share the great gift we have been given, the gift of our Catholic faith,” he concluded. “It is precisely in this faith anchored to Peter that we take on the challenge to renew the face of the earth.”

Very Rev. Mark Morozowich, dean of theology and religious studies, said, “The New Evangelization calls each of us to renew our own faith lives and to share them with others. I am so thankful to Cardinal Wuerl for his encouraging talk and his focus upon theology — now we are called to help others understand the riches of our theological tradition. I hope that our school and University can help to stimulate a creative, dynamic, and spirit-filled presentation of theology that helps others to explore the mystery of God in the Catholic theological tradition.”



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