LA archbishop thinks best ways to reach youth are often old ones
By Matthew A. Rarey
Archbishop Jose Gomez speaks with CNA on Oct. 18, 2012 outside the Pope Paul VI Hall. Credit: Matthew Rarey-CNA.
Archbishop Jose Gomez speaks with CNA on Oct. 18, 2012 outside the Pope Paul VI Hall. Credit: Matthew Rarey-CNA.

.- The New Evangelization needs to reach out to young people using every means available, new and old, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles says.

“It is our mission to ask God for the grace to discover new means to reach out to young people,” Archbishop Gomez said. “We need to use all the new means of communication so that they can understand what we are talking about.”

The New Evangelization must present timeless truths in new ways, he told CNA on Oct. 18 during a break of the synod on the New Evangelization.

“Beautiful traditions, like the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and the time of contemplation and meditation, are very popular among young people,” he noted. “So we have to go back to that, so that they can feel, too, how important … the Catholic faith is for them.”

Young people are a major focus of the New Evangelization – which is aimed at reintroducing the faith to formerly Christian countries.

Archbishop Gomez believes the Church can accomplish this by taking action rooted in prayer.

“The first thing we need to do is to pray for them,” he said. “And then we have to come up with new, better ways to reach out to them.”

In the Los Angeles, for example, “we have specific congresses in every region of the archdiocese, and some of them try to target young people, so that they can come and participate and see how beautiful it is to know Jesus Christ. We pray for them, and entrust their needs (to God) and see that they get excited about the Catholic faith.”

That excitement is rooted not in feelings but the realization that “the Catholic faith has all the answers to all the challenges of this society,” he said. In turn, this recognition should foster “a new enthusiasm in the way that we know and practice our faith.”

Bishops at the synod say that Church-approved catechists will be instrumental in bringing people to Christ and making the New Evangelization a success.

Archbishop Gomez was excited to report that last week he presided at a Mass welcoming 3,000 new Church-certified catechists. Many of them are Spanish speakers who can minister to LA-area Latinos who may be devout and practice popular pieties but need instruction in the faith.

Before hurrying off to a late lunch, Archbishop Gomez referenced a point he made at his Oct. 9 synod address: “the teachings of the Catholic Church have not changed, society has changed.”

At that address, he said, “We need to find the ‘language’ that best presents the traditional means of sanctification – the sacraments, prayer, works of charity – in a way that is attractive and accessible to people living in the reality of a globalized, secular, urban society.

“With our rich treasury of Catholic spiritualities … and with our good news of God's ‘family plan’ for history, we possess powerful resources for our evangelization of culture in the context of globalization and the increasing secularization in our societies.”

Tags: New Evangelization, Synod of Bishops

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