Archbishop: New evangelization 'must begin in your hearts and in mine'
October 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM
LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- The Catholic Church's mission to evangelize 'is ever ancient and ever new,' and every member of the church has a duty to carry out this mission, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said in a pastoral issued to coincide with the start of the Year of Faith. 'Witness to the New World of Faith' is the archbishop's first pastoral letter since he became head of the Los Angeles Archdiocese in early 2011. It offers five pastoral priorities that, he said, 'can serve as a useful framework for focusing our efforts at renewal.'
He issued the pastoral Oct. 2, five days before the opening of the three-week-long world Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization. Archbishop Gomez is one of more than 260 synod members gathered at the Vatican. Subtitled 'A Pastoral Letter to the Family of God in Los Angeles on the New Evangelization and Our Missionary Call,' the 4,700-word document is a call to all Catholics to follow Jesus --- to 'go and make disciples.' Archbishop Gomez said in the opening portion of his letter: 'The church exists to evangelize. The church's mission is ever ancient and ever new. And all of us in the church -- bishops, priests and deacons; religious and consecrated men and women; seminarians and laypeople in every walk of life -- we all have responsibility for this mission.'
He urges Catholics to 'reclaim our missionary history' that, in California, can be traced to Blessed Junipero Serra. 'Los Angeles -- like all of California and the Americas -- is built on a Christian foundation,' he said. 'And today we are called to build on that missionary foundation to make a new evangelization of the Americas.' The archbishop encourages local Catholics to embrace the Year of Faith 'as a time of interior renewal and spiritual preparation for a new Christian witness to our city and our continent.'