By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
The Holy Father calls each Catholic to be stewards of the new evangelization.
In his apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis invites “everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities.”
Sal Della Bella, director of evangelization for the Archdiocese of Louisville, has created several suggestions to help people of the archdiocese answer Pope Francis’ call.
Della Bella sends out these suggestions to pastors, parish administrators and others parish leaders quarterly. Each season, different suggestions are highlighted.
“This season I tried to take a look at what’s happening nationally and locally and look for ways to implement” the suggestions, he said in an interview last week.
The first suggestion is for parishes to hold “The Blessing of Long Life” during liturgies on Sunday, Sept. 28.
This same blessing will be offered in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. It is a blessing intended for senior citizens and comes a few weeks after National Grandparents’ Day in the U.S., Della Bella said.
The second suggestion looks at evangelization strategies for teachers. Della Bella said pastors are encouraged to pass these on to teachers and school administrators.
Teachers could set up a prayer space in each classroom; they could involve families in religion curriculum or explain to non-Catholic parents the meaning of the liturgical year, Della Bella’s suggestion says.
Another suggestion to promote the new evangelization in parishes centers on college-bound young adults. Della Bella said parish leaders can identify young adults who have recently left home for college and send them a “care package” with spiritual support.
The student’s information could also be collected, Della Bella said, and encouraging texts, emails and mail could be sent to them during midterms, finals and birthdays. A parishioner could also use this information to reach out to the student by inviting him or her to attend Mass during holiday breaks.
A final suggestion for the fall season is for parishes to designate a “Come and See” Sunday for anyone who would like to observe and experience a Catholic liturgy.
Parishioners would seek out Catholics who have left the church and invite them to “come and see” the church once again. Parishes could also advertise around their neighborhoods using fliers, invitations, posters or door hangers, the suggestion says.
Della Bella said the goal of the programming suggestions is to provide parishes with support and resources to promote the new evangelization efforts.
“I think what people are hungry for is Jesus Christ. Evangelization is encountering Jesus Christ,” he said. “Anyway we, as parishes, can provide that encounter, we want to take advantage of that.”
For more information about the new evangelization efforts in the archdiocese, visit www.archlou.org/evangelization.