Friday, June 15, 2012

New Evangelization, Part 1

The USCCB published a document called "Disciples Called to Witness, The New Evangelization" this year to help bring about a new and refreshed attitude towards passing on the faith of the Roman Catholic Church.  In the opening page they quote scripture from the first chapter of  the Acts of the Apostles, it says:

"But you shall received power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth." When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.  While they were gazing at the sky as he was going, suddenly, two men stood by them in white robes, and said "Men of Galilee, why to you stand looking at the sky?"

My first thought of this verse and why the Bishops used it for the opening was to point out that at the receiving and the purpose of us receiving the Holy Spirit is to give us the knowledge and courage to pass on the teachings of Christ.  When does the Holy Spirit come upon us?  What sacrament is the main focus of this happening?  Confirmation. When we are baptized, we are brought into the Church and the Christian family cleansed of original sin and given the graces of Christ's mercy.  At confirmation, we are grown and supposedly learned in the faith and ready to complete what our parents and Godparents have initialed in our lives in baptism.  Receiving the Holy Spirit in confirmation as with all the other seven sacraments of the Catholic Church requires an openness and understanding of the sacrament, its graces and purpose.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists five effects of Confirmation:
  • it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation [as sons of God] which makes us cry, "Abba! Father!";

  • it unites us more firmly to Christ;

  • it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;  which are:
Fear of the Lord

  • it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;

  • it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross.

Those who are called to evangelize should be fully knowledgeable of their own faith and have a passion for Christ and His bride the Church.

My question then is this:  If we are called to the new evangelization, then shouldn't those who are in charge of the catechesis both parents and parishes be qualified to teach?  Should parents just trust that they are providing their children with the best possible religious education and should parishes make sure that those they choose to teach be properly qualified?

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