Looking to the next project, my plan is to devote the next months to the topic of evangelization. More than ever, the Catholic church faces an opportunity to address parallel crises in hope, faith, belief, and the basic question for all of us believers: what are we doing to align ourselves with the basic mandatum our Lord gave us at the Ascension?
Within a few days, you’ll begin to see some text and commentary from Pope John Paul II’s 1990 encyclical Redemptoris Missio.
This will be a new adventure for me, as I’m not familiar with anything more than the title and topic of the sainted pope’s document. I do know he was devoted to the mission of spreading and preaching the Gospel, as perhaps no other pope has ever been.
Bishops in the US struggled with this issue from the mid-seventies onward. In 1992, they produced a more action-oriented effort, Go and Make Disciples, to address the challenges they saw in a threefold challenge: enlivening the faith of committed Catholics, reaching out to those who are less active in the faith, and addressing the basic mandatum of Jesus: preaching to non-believers. You can find the whole of the USCCB document on their website here.
I have long had their study guide sitting on my shelf. Part of the handbook is discolored, as you might detect, from being on the end and in the sun. I hope to shed some light on the positive developments the bishops detected, advocated, and moved upon.
For other studies on evangelization here, just check the sidebar under categories. Under Vatican II Decrees and Declarations, Ad Gentes comes in at the top of the page. Wow, that latter one was more than thirteen years ago. It seems an age. Probably what Jesus thinks when his mandate in Matthew 28:19-20 was nearly two millennia ago and we are still in process.