The man responsible for leading Pope Benedict's mission to re-evangelize traditionally Christian countries is predicting that October 2012 will be the most important month to date for the Church’s New Evangelization.
In October of next year, bishops around the world will convene in Rome to discuss the New Evangelization at a synod—just as Pope Benedict launches his “Year of Faith.”
“I think next year’s launch of the Year of Faith will be a really great event for the promotion of new evangelization,” Archbishop Salvatore (Rino) Fisichella told CNA on Nov. 22.
“One whole year reflecting on faith, reflecting on our engagement in faith, of our choice of faith and also, I’d say, in our knowledge of the content of our faith.”
Archbishop Fisichella is the head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, a Vatican department created only last year by Pope Benedict.
“The mission of the new evangelization,” Archbishop Fisichella said, “is to announce that Jesus Christ is the true answer to all the questions that men and woman have today trying to make sense of our lives.”
Over the past year, Archbishop Fisichella has firmly established the new department within the Roman curia while reaching out to dioceses around the world. He says it’s also been a year of discerning what the “beautiful expression” of the term “new evangelization” actually means.
Last month, the pontifical council brought 8000 people involved in various forms of evangelization to Rome to discuss the topic during a two-day conference.
“That was our most important meeting of the year when we introduced the Holy Father to all the people representing the New Evangelization,” the archbishop said, “it was very deep and also very enthusiastic.”
One of the next significant events for the council is their 2012 Lenten “Metropolitan Mission” where they will use 12 European cathedrals as a base to re-evangelize each city. The initiative will “show the man of today,” Archbishop Fisichella said, “that there is a resurgence of God underway.”
Some of the pontifical council’s tasks for 2012-13 are already set out in the Pope’s Apostolic Letter titled “Porta Fidei,” which was issued in October and announced the Year of Faith.
“It is written in Porta Fidei that each bishop along with priests and laity should find a special solemn moment in which to profess in public their faith,” the archbishop explained, “but we hope in Rome, here at the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul, that we can organize several events to also publically profess that our faith is a sign for the world of today—a sign of hope and faith and love.”
Meanwhile the Synod of Bishops, which will chart much of the future course for the pontifical council, will meet next Oct. 7-28 under the title, “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”