Deb Bauer continues her reflections on her experience at the Intellectual Task of the New Evangelization conference in Washington, DC. The event is sponsored jointly by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Doctrine and the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis.
Another insightful day.
This conference is renewing my faith and zeal for the Church. The Holy Spirit got my attention.
So did seeing the presence of Cardinal George celebrating Mass, hearing the humility of my colleagues as they seek ways through their work and teaching to bring the New Evangelization alive in their classrooms and college campuses.
I’m saturated with fresh optimism and enthusiasm seeing junior faculty in our nation’s Catholic colleges so interested in remaining faithful to the Catholic Church while being engaged in the vigorous thought in their specific areas of interest…theologians having candid conversations regarding how to work hand in hand with the Magisterium while not “losing face” in their departments.
I am struck by the academics that spent blood, sweat, and tears in becoming experts in one realm of theology trying to find ways to make their courses tangible for their students by offering the basic Gospel message to often many uncatechized unevangelized young adults in their classrooms. Catholicism 101 involves a new flavor, and these junior theologians have to spend more time with the basic doctrines of the faith, in a manner that witnesses and bring the Catholic faith alive to difficult audience. What a mission, but what an art!
One new bishop to me was Bishop Daniel Flores, of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas. He offered a fresh evaluation of our Church today in his talk entitled “Catechesis/Theology: The Bishop and the Theologian.” With frank realism and unabashed hope, lucidity and simplicity, he shared how attractive the faith is, and how we show that attractiveness of our faith by how we treat our students, and how we behave in and outside the classroom. God is raising up a healthy army with initiatives like this conference.
Another talk that jumped out and spoke to my heart was given by Mary Healy, professor of Theology at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. She spoke about how the task of the New Evangelization requires a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit based on the Scriptural model of Luke 24:49, where Jesus addresses his disciples: “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
We are called to wait, until the fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit is given. Catholics need this strength given by God so as to offer a bold enthusiasm to proclaim the message of the Gospel.
During her talk, I thought of the parallel reality we are experiencing in Regnum Christi, particularly in my life as the consecrated women prepare for the second review of their statues and their territorial assembly to be held in October in New York; followed by our general assembly and God willing, the approvals of our statutes or way of living consecrated life in Regnum Christi. It is imperative, now more than ever for the consecrated women to step up in their prayer so that we can receive that fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit to guides these last revisions of our way of life to serve the Church in our consecration to Christ.
Regnum Christi is part of the New Evangelization. The Church needs apostolic movements like ours — the fresh dynamism, passion, that fidelity to the Magesterium, that joy and that charity that we seek to bring to the Church to engage and launch disciples in this task to meet culture and society.
May we continue to find ways to live that message that Christ and our dear Pope Francis proclaims, go out and give the Gospel, engage, and invite that encounter the person of Christ. That is the essence of the New Evangelization.
One correction from my last blog: The Bishop from “Worchester, Mass.” is Bishop Robert J. McManus, Worcester, MA, not “Joseph.”