We are called by the Gospel to share our faith with others but our witness must be authentic. The rediscovery of our own faith is the precondition for making Christ known, because faith alive is the only witness that will be heard in a society which has not understood the Christian story, or has not yet heard it." New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, Faith Alive, 1999
Evangelising means bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to others, and through its effects, transforming and renewing society. In its broadest sense evangelization encompasses any activity which helps deepen the faith of others even if they are already members of the Church.
Evangelisation proposes the Good News to others; it does not impose. Evangelisation is first of all about the kind of person we are and how we live our lives as followers of Jesus Christ.
Above all the Gospel must be proclaimed by witness. Take a Christian or a handful of Christians who, in the midst of their own community, show their capacity for understanding and acceptance, their sharing of life and destiny with other people, their solidarity with the efforts of all for whatever is noble and good. Let us suppose that, in addition, they radiate in an altogether simple and unaffected way their faith in values that go beyond current values, and their hope in something that is not seen and that one would not dare to imagine. Through this wordless witness these Christians stir up irresistible questions in the hearts of those who see how they live: Why are they like this? Why do they live in this way? What or who is it that inspires them? Why are they in our midst? Such a witness is already a silent proclamation of the Good News and a very powerful and effective one. Here we have an initial act of evangelization
Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, n.21
There are moments in people’s lives when they experience a feeling that there may be more to life than they have realised. This may be a sense that there are bigger questions needing attention than those posed by daily routine, or it may be a moment in which the transcendent dimension of life is glimpsed in some event or experience. These moments are openings to God, and often lead people to search further. Individual Catholics, parishes and the various parts of the Church need to be accessible and available to those who are searching.
People who are searching may have no religious background; but they may also be Catholics who have given up the practice of their faith. The Catholic Enquiry Centre has for fifty years been responding to the questions of those who are searching for God, whatever their background. The Centre is located in Wellington but receives most of its queries by telephone, email or post from around New Zealand. Those who are searching or inquiring receive a non-coercive and confidential response which respects their privacy and their situation. Catholics are encouraged to support the Centre in its work, as it has a proven record of effective support to those who want to know more about the Catholic faith or are seeking to return to the Church. The Centre also supports parishes which are running programmes encouraging non-practising Catholics to “come home”.
Catholic Enquiry Centre
PO Box 6343
Level 1 72 Abel Smith St
MISSIONZ is the New Zealand branch of the Pontifical Mission Societies and assists the Church in its mission of evangelisation by supporting dioceses in the developing world. The contributions from the worldwide Pontifical Mission Societies are vital in helping these dioceses carry out the pastoral care of their people.
PO Box 43226
Lower Hutt 5048
Phone: (04) 472 2210