The Church speaks a lot of “vocations,” but way too often misses the mark with limiting this to priesthood, religious life, or even marriage.
Another sacrament, a foundational sacrament, forms the core of the Christian vocation. Baptism.
It’s everyone’s task to evangelize–everyone baptized, that is. The bishops recognize that this is not only not widely practiced, but not really widely known. They hope “To equip and empower our active Catholic members to exercise their baptismal call to evangelize” (GMD 109) through these strategies:
- renewal days;
- witness training;
- training of Catholics for one-to-one evangelization;
- use of baptismal and sacramental preparation to expand understandings of discipleship;
- modeling and witness from those involved in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults;
- evangelization components in religious education materials;
- parish missions; and
- preparation of specially designated people as full-time evangelizers.
Nearly every American pastor is ill-equipped to perform these strategies, let alone is aware of the need to locate persons who can, and who fit the eighth bullet point above.
As for the others, this is a lot for a parish to bite off. But if a parish is fruitful in any of these, the influx of new members would surely pay off in a parish of any size.
The focus of campus ministry at my parish, aside from small faith-sharing groups, is in strategies two, three, and four. It’s demanding work, expecting this of young adults who, at best, come to us already engaged by school and youth ministry methods that don’t always promote personal responsibility for this. Parents delegate high schools and youth ministers to “take care of” their teens. Teens know it. How do you get people to move? Strategies one and seven had better be darned good.