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The working document for 
October synod on new evangelisation released

VATICAN (SE): “The Synod fathers will reflect on the transmission of Christian faith, one of the great challenges facing the Church in the context of the new evangelisation,” Archbishop Nikola Eterovic and Bishop Fortunato Frezza, the secretary general and under secretary of the synod, said at a press conference at the Vatican to present the working document on June 19.

The 13th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will be held at the Vatican from October 7 to 28 under the theme, The new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith.

The media were told that the synod will be enriched by its association with the Year of Faith, which will begin on October 11.

The working document, or Instrumentum Laboris, says that feedback from bishops’ conferences around the world highlights “the need for new tools and new forms of expression to make the word of God more understandable in the life of modern man.”

It adds, “The synod will hopefully be an opportunity to discuss and compare points of view and practical experiences, to be shared in order to provide encouragement to pastors and particular Churches.”

The first chapter is entitled, Jesus Christ the Good News of God to Humanity.

Archbishop Nikola Eterovic said, “It reiterates the central nucleus of Christian faith, of which many people are unaware, and presents the gospel of Jesus Christ as the good news for modern man.”

He added, “New evangelisation is an expression of the internal dynamism of Christianity, which wishes to make men and women of good will know the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of the mystery of God revealed in Jesus Christ; it is not a weary response to the crisis of faith and the challenges facing the Church in the modern world.”

The document then goes on to identify challenges being faced and describes what new evangelisation is. It says that the Church is called to identify scenarios that could be turned into opportunities to proclaim the gospel or to create new or different experiences of Church for people.

It is described as being the renewal of what may be considered ordinary in terms of Church pastoral work and outreach. “This requires a measure of evangelical creativity and boldness,” the archbishop pointed out.

He added that almost every response to the questionnaires sent out to each bishops’ conference mentions vocation to the priesthood and religious life. “This requires, among other things, strong pastoral care of vocations,” he said.

However, he added that the guts of the document come under the heading, Transmitting the faith. “That is the purpose of the new evangelisation,” he pointed out.

“The Church transmits the faith from which she herself lives and all Christians are called to make their contribution... The obstacles to the faith can be within the Church,” he said.

He described internal hurdles as faith lived passively or privately, refusal to be educated in the faith, separation between life and faith.

He added that hurdles that appear outside of the Church include secularisation, nihilism consumerism and hedonism.

“The Year of Faith is a pressing appeal to conversion so that, transformed by grace, each individual Christian and each community may produce abundant fruit. This may include ecumenical commitment, the search for truth and interreligious dialogue, or the courage to denounce infidelity and scandals within the Christian community,” the archbishop continued.

Revivifying Pastoral Activity focusses on the transmission of faith by again emphasising the practices in the Church that have been developed through Church tradition.

Archbishop Eterovic said that this particularly includes Christian initiation and education.

He said that the new evangelisation seeks to adapt them to current cultural and social circumstances.

“From a theological point of view, we must better understand the sequence of the sacraments of Christian initiation, which culminate in the Eucharist, and reflect on models to be translated into deeply meaningful pastoral practices,” he explained.

Put in a nutshell, he said, “The new evangelisation means giving the reason for our faith, communicating the Logos of hope to a world which seeks salvation.”

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