The Church, for many centuries, has evangelized peoples all across the globe. However, in a society that had been already evangelized those efforts naturally would diminish. If everyone is Christian, some might ask "why evangelize?" The reality is that evangelization should never stop as it constitutes the proclaiming of the essential message of Jesus Christ; that he is God and he died for our sins.
St. John Paul II called the Church to a "New Evangelization" some years ago. Unfortunately this effort was either not taken up or it became confused with catechesis. Catechesis (handing on the essential teachings of the faith) has a different objective from evangelization. However, evangelization needs to happen prior to catechesis, otherwise the content received through catechesis has very little meaning. In short, if people don't "know" Jesus, teaching them "about" Jesus becomes a merely intellectual exercise and is deprived of its most important element; a relationship with Christ.
We all know what is happening in Western Civilization. We are becoming more and more secularized and, therefore, less Christian. While it remains true that we all could learn more about Jesus, what our culture needs most of all is to know Jesus.
From the content of the homilies I preach, to the type of music we have and the selection of music; my pastoral approach is evangelization.
This can create some tension between people already here because sometimes there can be a sentiment of "what about us?" It's just like the parable of the Prodigal Son. The older son is us. Why would the father be so lavish about his wayward son returning? It can lead to jealousy and envy on the part of people who already "get it."
However, let us reflect on the activity of Jesus. He was mostly focused on the wayward and the lost. The "found" were already ok, they didn't need his attention as much.
Every single one of us have family members and loved ones who no longer attend Church or have fallen into inconsistent practice of their faith. My goal is to create a place where it is easy and welcoming for new people; especially young families and young people to feel connected. We all want them back. I'm asking all of us to pull together for this vision. It does mean some growing pains and readjustment, however, I don't want to stand idly by as our culture continues to disintegrate. So we are going to do something about it and provide a place for people to come to know Jesus Christ.