The Holy Spirit and Evangelization

One of the primary works of the Holy Spirit is to bring all people into a meaningful encounter with the Risen Christ. Guided by His Spirit, we can truly discover Jesus Christ and develop a genuine relationship with Him if we generously respond with utter submission. Soon enough, Christ’s love becomes the center of our lives, saturating us with joy and peace. Hence, when we have had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ by the Spirit’s power, our greatest desire is that our loved ones may also enjoy a similar experience. Nevertheless, we’re often unsuccessful when attempting to evangelize to those closest to us. Consequently, we sometimes feel impatient or discouraged, confused or frustrated, saddened or hopeless.

The Holy Spirit pours within us the zeal to give witness to Christ and to evangelize to our loved ones. Moreover, it is only this same Spirit that can empower us to do so effectively. However, we must become cognizant of those sins and obstacles in our lives that impede the Spirit from guiding us freely. Once we perceive what they are, we ought to seek out the Lord’s forgiveness in Confession, collaborate with the Spirit in removing these barriers from our lives, while permitting Him to empower us to bear witness to Christ regardless of the circumstances and consequences we endure in His name.

Christ commissions His followers to evangelize and give witness. While this ought to occur instinctively as a result of our new life in Him, it is beneficial to consider how the Sacred Scriptures offer a number of passages on giving witness to God and evangelizing through our manner of living. In particular, Paul the Apostle shares with us some foundational instructions for witnessing and evangelizing:

“Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil. . . No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. [And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.” (Eph 4:25-27, 29-32)

This scriptural passage identifies five suggestions for evangelizing effectively and giving witness to Christ:

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            Recently, a lay minister reflected upon an experience she underwent at her parish. They had assembled an Evangelization ministry to begin offering Bible and Faith Formation classes to adults. One Sunday, she was requested by the celebrant to briefly speak about this formational opportunity to the parishioners before the final blessing and inquire who would be interested. When she asked the congregation of about 150 people, less than five individuals raised their hand expressing a desire to participate. She was certainly disappointed.

            The lack of interest some Catholics have in deepening their understanding and appreciation of the Catholic Faith is a cause for concern. If Catholics do not know why the Church teaches what it teaches, then it becomes increasingly difficult to comprehend, explain, and defend the Faith. Consequently, it increases the likelihood that they will gradually become less dedicated to the Catholic Church and her teachings.

            As pastoral ministers, we ought to examine why this has been occurring in our parishes, determine what should be done about it, and respond prudently to this crucial issue. We must begin by looking at what the history of our parish is when it comes to evangelization. How have we attempted to motivate our parishioners in the past and how can we effectively encourage them today? How have we endeavored to engage them in the parish’s various catechetical and faith forming programs and services? How do the faithful presently understand and celebrate the sacraments? What instructions and teachings have they heard and received on Catholicism? How have we used the opportunities that have arisen to form our parishioners in the Catholic Faith? These are some of the questions that an Evangelization ministry may need to discuss not only to better examine the cause of the disinterest or lack of enthusiasm some of our churchgoers have in faith formation but to also formulate the necessary pastoral approach to Evangelization that their particular parish needs. 

Do you want to proclaim the Good News convincingly and to transform lives for Christ?

Then, the following six things are essential for an effective Evangelization program and ministry: 

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