The first of seven objectives for goal number three, spreading Gospel values throughout the nation, reads as follows:
To involve parishes and local service groups in the needs of their neighborhood
Six possible strategies are listed, including “raising of awareness of Catholics of the needs of the poor and marginal.” Many parishes already do a commendable job of this. Every parish in which I’ve served has a small core of active people who serve the needy, but also raise awareness in the parish. Do parishioners pay attention? That’s the key question.
The parish group also is key for the furthering of other possible strategies listed, which include prioritizing justice and charity (you do know the difference, right?)–what can be reasonably attempted and what should be postponed for later expansion (itself fifth listed of the six given). In any event, identifiable limits and goals should be set. That seems reasonable and organized.
Is it reasonable to expect “almost every Catholic” be involved in the tasks of charity and justice? The bishops think not.
Other Christian believers are our partners in these endeavors.
What does any or all of this have to do with evangelization? The Church teaches:
(C)ircumstances are sometimes such that, for the time being, there is no possibility of expounding the Gospel directly and forthwith. Then, of course, missionaries can and must at least bear witness to Christ by charity and by works of mercy, with all patience, prudence and great confidence. Thus they will prepare the way for the Lord and make Him somehow present. (Ad Gentes 6)
The presence of Christ? Yes, that’s basic Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46.
- setting of specific targets for parish or diocesan involvement in works of service to meet immediate human needs.