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Archdiocese of Cincinnati
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Center for the New Evangelization, Communications
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Release Date: Oct. 1, 2020
A Renewed Emphasis on Evangelization: Center for the New Evangelization
The effort to evangelize local Catholics, by sharing Christ’s message of salvation, and inviting people into a relationship with Jesus, has been extremely important to Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr. In light of this priority, the Office for the New Evangelization at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati was founded in 2013. In addition to the New Evangelization Office, several other offices at the Pastoral Center have been working towards the evangelization of specific groups. These offices included the Youth Office, Young Adult Office, Marriage and Family Life Office, Campus Ministry Office and Evangelization and Discipleship Office.
As more offices were created it became apparent that all of the offices that work in the field of evangelization would benefit from a leadership structure that allowed more collaboration and the sharing of resources. This recognition resulted in the creation of the Center for the New Evangelization which was launched earlier this summer.
All previous offices of the Pastoral Center that worked in the field of evangelization have now merged into the Center for the New Evangelization. The directors of previous offices now form a leadership team, under the direction of Sean Ater. The leadership team structure receives its inspiration from the Amazing Parish model introduced at the Amazing Parish Conference hosted by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 2019.
The Center for the New Evangelization consists of around 20 people. They are spread throughout the geographic boundaries of the archdiocese. Retreats, conferences, workshops and events that will be put on by the Center are expected to reach all parishes and families in the archdiocese. The team is tasked with assisting pastors and pastoral staff in new opportunities for evangelization as well as directly evangelizing individuals.
What is ahead for the Center:
- Oversee the longest Marian Pilgrimage in the United States, a 33-day pilgrimage leading up to the Bicentennial Celebration for the archdiocese in June of 2021.
- Annual “Radiate Christ” evangelization conference that aims to train parish leaders in evangelization (the first of which was held Aug. 29)
- Assist in the reception of Radiate Christ, Archbishop Schnurr’s Pastoral Letter released in May 2020.
- Direct efforts concerning evangelization and outreach to the local Hispanic community.
- Hosting retreats, workshops on evangelization, and days of reflection for the pastoral staff of parishes.
- Expanded evangelization efforts for young adults including candlelight Masses, adoration and social events.
- New emphasis on youth evangelization that focuses on a holistic approach to ministering to young people from baptism through high school.
- Increased number of marriage preparation retreats, Genesis, to allow for fewer participants and a more intimate experience.
- Growing the anti-pornography initiative that began in the archdiocese in 2019.
Fr. Jan Schmidt, who leads the Department for Pastoral Vitality and Evangelization of which the Center for the New Evangelization is a part has emphasized the critical need for a closer look at how we “do” evangelization. “My experience of pastoring for twenty-one years put me very closely in touch with the concept and ministry of evangelization. It seems that most people understand evangelization as a singular subject matter, when in reality it is the whole of what we are called to do: calling others into a life in relationship with Jesus.”
“The parish is ‘ground zero’ for all of our evangelization efforts,” says Sean Ater. “It is the pastor and his team that have the potential to radiate Christ to every family in their territory and beyond. We want to evangelize the family because we know that the faith is most practically lived out and passed on in the family. In the end, we are convinced that it is the community of disciples formed in the local parish that will reach each and every family in our archdiocese with the Gospel.”
For more information about the Center for the New Evangelization, visit its website, www.centerforthenewevangelization.org.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati is the 44th largest Catholic diocese in the country, with more than 450,000 Catholics, and has the fifth largest Catholic school system in terms of enrollment with more than 40,000 students. The 19-county territory includes 211 parishes and 111 Catholic primary and secondary schools.