"'...the task of evangelizing all people constitutes
the essential mission of the Church.' It is a task and mission which the vast and profound changes of present-day society make all the more
urgent. Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in
order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the
Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious resurrection."
These words from Pope Paul VI call us to return to the very roots of our Catholic parish life. Evangelization is the basic perspective or lens
through which all that we are, have, and do must be focused. It is never a question of whether or not any part of parish life should be deeply rooted
in evangelization, but rather how we will cultivate our evangelizing efforts.
The key to becoming a successful evangelizing parish is to move beyond passing and temporary efforts to create a style and structure of parish
that is always carrying out the work of evangelization. We believe that this call to evangelization can best be fostered through small Christian
communities, and we are not alone. According to Pope John Paul II, “[Small Christian] communities are a sign of vitality within the
Church, an instrument of formation and evangelization, and a solid starting point for a new society based on a civilization of love…Within
them, the individual Christian experiences community and therefore senses that he or she is playing an active role and is encouraged to share in the
common task. Thus, these communities become a means of evangelization and the initial proclamation of the Gospel, and a source of new
A guiding vision of the parish as an evangelizing community of small Christian communities can help achieve this. “If evangelization is
indispensable to the church, then small Christian communities are indispensable to evangelization.”
Recall that beautiful Pentecost moment in our Church when the disciples were gathered as a small community, frightened and confused. The Holy Spirit came upon themin power
and mysteryand gave them the authority to go out into the whole world to proclaim the message of Jesus. That moment is happening again
today. We are called by Jesus Christ to be transformed and changed. We, too, are called to go forth, as Christians supported and inspired by
other Christians, to the whole world to proclaim the Good News that Jesus is alive; he is risen; he is here!
 Pope Paul VI, On Evangelization in the Modern World (Evangelii nuntiandi), 14
 Pope John Paul II, Mission of the Redeemer (Redemptoris missio), 51.
 Archbishop Dennis Hurley, “Address to the International RENEW Convocation,” 1989.