Patrick McPartland/Staff Photographer - Newly appointed Bishop of Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone introduces himself to Jessie Medley as Bishop Malone tours St. Joseph's Cathedral.
Evangelization is a top priority for Bishop Richard J. Malone. He serves on the evangelization committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
His former Diocese of Portland, Maine, holds a New Evangelization Week which offers the opportunity for participants to focus on their faith, focus on their relationship with the Lord, and to share that with others.
The Catholic Church has called for a renewed emphasis on evangelization. Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have called for a new evangelization to help Catholics deepen their faith and take the Gospel message to others.
Church leaders believe a new evangelization is needed more today because of a methodical secularization advancing against faith in general. Pope Benedict has gone so far as to call this influence of secularism a “crisis.”
“This current crisis brings with it traces of the exclusion of God from people’s lives, from a generalized indifference toward the Christian faith to an attempt to marginalize it from public life,” Pope Benedict said in May 2011.
You don’t have to look beyond the front page of a newspaper or watch the evening news to realize the truth of the pope’s words. There are still people, Catholics among them, who don’t realize the Health and Human Services mandate is a direct assault on freedom of religion, not a question of contraception. The mandate would have the Catholic Church go against fundamental teachings regarding the use of abortion inducing drugs.
The bishops of the United States called for a new evangelization even before the HHS mandate was issued. They believe a new evangelization will help Catholics realize they are called to be Christ’s witnesses.
Part of the problem with evangelization is that it is often thought of as taking God’s Word to a foreign land or speaking before thousands of people.
The new evangelization looks to remind people of their relationship with Jesus Christ and to engage today’s culture to draw inspiration from the Gospels.
The new evangelization isn’t so much about speaking to thousands as reaching out to a parishioner who might not have been seen at Mass recently. The new evangelization is sharing Church teaching with family or friends when a news story is being discussed. The new evangelization is a parish that fosters a welcoming environment for youth, families, the developmentally disabled and those who may have fallen away from their faith.
Pope Benedict said that the new evangelization is inseparable from the family. He said the decline of the family is directly related to the eclipse of God and the strong influence of a secularized society. He said a family is one of the fundamental places where children can be evangelized and educated to love.
The new evangelization is seeking to confront the cultural crisis which has seen a change from a culture which has accepted the Gospels for centuries to the influence of secularism.
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