Evangelization is the fundamental mission of the Church. It describes all the ways the Church—including clergy, religious, and all the baptized faithful—teaches, celebrates, and witnesses to the gospel message with the aim of conforming hearts and minds to Jesus Christ. Evangelization includes an introduction to the gospel message through word and deed with a focus on receiving the gift of faith.
The process outlined in the Archbishop's Pastoral Letter "Unleash The Gospel" offers this path to evangelization.
An encounter with Jesus is a moment in our lives that has such impact it causes us to change how we live. Once we have encountered Christ, from that point forward we are either all in or all out. Jesus says, “Whoever desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mk 8:34). We are faced with a decision to either walk away sad like the rich young man, or to surrender our whole life to him and live from that moment on as his disciple. Parishes need to constantly foster opportunities for people to encounter Jesus.
To follow Jesus is to be in a constant process of growth, like the seed that fell on rich soil. We seek to be more like Jesus, to treat others as he did, to pray as he prayed, to love as he loved, and to honor God in every area of our lives, including marriage, family life, finances, work, and leisure activities. Growing as his disciple demands a daily surrender to the one who loved us and gave his life for us: “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). Parishes need to help parishioners to grow continually in discipleship and deepen their relationship with Christ.
Many Catholics tend to think our goal is essentially to be good and make it to heaven. In fact, our goal is to extend the kingdom of God on earth by making the world a place where Christ is known and loved, so that as many people as possible are brought with us to eternal life. To live fully as a disciple is to make disciples. All we need is this conviction: “Knowing Jesus is the best gift that any person can receive; that we have encountered him is the best thing that has happened in our lives, and making him known by our word and deeds is our joy.” Parishes need to help every parishioner become a witness to God’s everlasting mercy and thereby unleash the Gospel to everyone they meet.