Some 850 pastors, parish leaders and Catholic school staff members attended two kick-off events Nov. 15-16 at St. Peter in Mendota to learn more about a new archdiocesan-wide pre-evangelization, evangelization and catechesis initiative set to roll out in Advent.
The multi-faceted initiative titled “Rediscover” will assist Catholics in reaching out and inviting fellow Catholics to rediscover a personal relationship with Jesus and re-engage in the full life of the Church.
The effort coincides with Pope Benedict XVI’s proclamation of a Year of Faith and the need for a “new evangelization” to deepen Catholics’ personal faith and equip them to share it with others through word and witness. It also complements Archbishop John Nienstedt’s recent pastoral letter on the new evangelization in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as well as outreach and formation events already taking place through parishes, Catholic schools and ministry organizations throughout the archdiocese.
Speaking to attendees at the Nov. 15 meeting, the archbishop said he had just returned from the U.S. bishops’ meeting in Baltimore, where much of the focus was on the new evangelization.
“Everyone there agreed that the ‘new’ in that expression is precisely the new historical situation that we find ourselves in — that is, a society that is thoroughly secular with no reference to God or eternity, a society that is likewise materialistic and individualistic in its decision-making and its attitudes,” Archbishop Nienstedt said.
“Yet, my brothers and sisters, it is precisely in this context that you and I are called to teach and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ — a message that is Good News because it offers light and truth, guidance and hope to many who have lost their way in their quest for happiness,” said the archbishop, who noted that parishes will be the focal point of Rediscover’s outreach efforts.
Rediscover will begin with a free distribution in parishes of the book “Rediscover Catholicism” by well-known Catholic author Matthew Kelly. It will include a speakers series, website, smartphone app, and a multitude of other outreach and formation opportunities in parishes and throughout the archdiocese. An archdiocesan-wide event to celebrate the Catholic faith is planned for Oct. 12, 2013 at St. Paul RiverCentre.
Kelly, who addressed attendees at both the Nov. 15 and 16 meetings, said he is “inspired” by the Rediscover initiative and its goals.
“It is the most inspiring thing I have seen in the Church at a diocesan level in the 20 years I have been speaking and writing,” Kelly said in an interview with The Catholic Spirit.
“Most of all, I am looking forward to [how Rediscover] will ignite people’s faith [in ways] that we have not even imagined,” he added. “We are working toward some intended outcomes, but the Holy Spirit will take this work and use it for so much more.”
Kelly will be writing a special Rediscover column for The Catholic Spirit throughout 2013 and is making a variety of resources available for the initiative from the Dynamic Catholic website (DynamicCatholic.com).
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