Intentional Discipleship and the New Evangelization

As part of a four-week faith formation series on the new evangelization, I gave a talk yesterday at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic church in Minneapolis on the theme of Intentional Discipleship and the New Evangelization.

In his Apostolic exhortation Christifideles Laici, Pope John Paul II wrote that the entire mission of the Church is concentrated and manifested in evangelization. The question fo rus is ow do we evangelize in the world in which we live today?

I began my talk by discussing some of the challenges we face in evangelizing today’s world, such as the secular society in which we live, the reality that religious identity s not static, and that most American Catholics are (in the words of Sherry Weddell in her book Forming Intentional Disciples, which I referred to a number of times in my talk) are “still at an early, essentially passive stage of spiritual development.” I then talked about the fact that active, personal discipleship in Christ is not optional or reserved for the few, but something we are all called to.

For us to be able to help others to be conscious, intentional disciples of Christ, we ourselves must encounter Christ in a direct way. I talked a little about how we encounter Christ and what difference that makes in our life. Finally, I shared several suggestions for helping others to do the same. Following my talk, we had a lively discussion about how all of this plays out in the lives (and parishes) in which the participants are involved.

You can access a recording of my talk here or stream it from the icon below. The podcast, which does not include the dialogue that followed my talk, runs for 30:17.