.- The Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization unveiled a new project today to re-evangelize some of Europe’s major cities.
“The goal is simple: to give a sign of unity among the diverse dioceses present in the largest European cities that have been particularly affected by secularization,” wrote Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the council’s president, in the July 12 edition of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
Archbishop Fisichella chaired a summit of bishops from a range of European cities who met at the Vatican July 11 to discuss the proposed project.
The bishops came from Barcelona, Budapest, Brussels, Cologne, Dublin, Lisbon, Liverpool, Paris, Turin, Warsaw and Vienna. The scheme is being described as a “metropolitan project.”
“At the moment, the initiative is limited to some of the larger European dioceses in order to more concretely test its effectiveness,” said Archbishop Fisichella, suggesting that it could be rolled out in other cities around the globe if it is found to be successful.
The initiative will take place in Lent 2012 and will be based at each city’s cathedral, which will host a range of activities.
Events planned thus far are: a continual reading of the Gospel, the local bishop teaching young people, families and those converting to Catholicism, the promotion of confession, and a charitable initiative of some form. Archbishop Fisichella also mentioned an event that will be both spiritual and cultural in character, such as reading from the Confessions of St. Augustine.
“These initiatives will begin in the cathedral because of its important symbolic significance, but the intention is to extend them to the parishes of the dioceses for a more direct impact in the territory,” he said.
According to Archbishop Fisichella, the metropolitan missions will be aimed at those who live the faith but often do so in a way that “lacks an awareness of how this can infuse their lifestyle.” The missions also hope to engage those who are far from the faith, but are “nonetheless attracted by the person of Jesus Christ.”
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization was established in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. He said he wanted it to “promote a renewed evangelization” in traditionally Christian countries which are living through a “progressive secularization of society and a sort of ‘eclipse of the sense of God.’”