The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. …I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization. (Evangelii Gaudium 1)
In every age, the Holy Spirit inspires the hearts of men and women to respond to the Lord’s command to “preach the Gospel to all nations” (Matthew 28:16). Seized by Truth, which is in essence the person of Jesus Christ, the believer cannot help but share with all the “good news” of salvation. In our own age, through St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, the Holy Spirit is calling for a “new evangelization,” a renewed proclamation of the Gospel and catechesis in the Person of Jesus Christ.
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news” (Romans 10:15-17). Again and again, the Church has confirmed that the apostolate of teaching plays a crucial role in the work of evangelization. Catechesis is an “essential moment” in the process of evangelization. It is the “moment in which conversion to Jesus Christ is formalized” (General Directory for Catechesis 63.)
Since our foundation in 1860, the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia have been faithful to the Church’s mission of evangelization and catechesis. Through our apostolate of Catholic education we have responded to the Holy Spirit’s call for a new evangelization in a full and rich way. Our schools and missions are engaged in a systematic program of preaching the Gospel to those who have not yet heard it; teaching the doctrine of the Faith to those not yet fully mature in it; and immersing all believers more deeply in the mystery of Christ (Catechesi Tradendae 5).
As consecrated religious women we bring to the apostolate of teaching a personal witness to the truth and love of Jesus Christ and in so doing we remain at the heart of the Church’s mission to “make disciples of all nations.”
The following pages summarizing some of our recent work in the field of the new evangelization which includes outreach to families, service to the Hispanic community, and our Virtues in Practice program.
Jesus’ prayer can be realized because he has consecrated us. “For their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth”. The spiritual life of an evangelizer is born of this profound truth, which should not be confused with a few comforting religious exercises. Jesus consecrates us so that we can encounter him personally. And this encounter leads us in turn to encounter others, to become involved with our world and to develop a passion for evangelization (Evangelii Gaudium 78).