“A Christian is never bored or sad. Rather, the one who loves Christ is full of joy and radiates joy.”
Pope Francis shared those thoughts via Twitter on June 30, 2013. Now, a new website from a recently-created office of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is inviting people to a deeper love and appreciation for their Catholic faith.
“Radiate LA” is the website launched through the Office of New Evangelization, established in 2013 by Archbishop José Gomez. Led by Father Ed Benioff, the office coordinates archdiocesan initiatives to spread the Gospel, to increase Catholics’ knowledge and love of their faith, and inspire them to works of prayer and mercy.
The website features information on Scripture, prayer, Church teaching and Office of New Evangelization events that offer opportunities to learn more about (and train others in) evangelization.
The website (www.radiate.la) was introduced to the public at the April 26 Prayer Vigil at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, celebrating the canonization of St. John Paul II who as pope popularized the term “new evangelization.”
In his 1990 encyclical Redemptoris Missio (On the Permanent Validity of the Church’s Missionary Mandate), John Paul stated, “I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to the mission. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.”
Archbishop Gomez followed up on that theme in his 2012 pastoral letter, “Witness to the New World of Faith” (n. 15):
“Our world will return to God — but not by way of words and programs, no matter how eloquent or well-conceived. Our world will return to God only by way of witnesses — by way of men and women who testify by the example of their lives that Jesus Christ is real and that his Gospel is the path to true happiness. Jesus is calling us to be those witnesses, my brothers and sisters.”
“Radiate LA,” said Father Benioff, offers Catholics the opportunity “to radiate the love of Jesus so much so that everyone around us will be attracted to the light. We want people to ask us, ‘What is the secret to your joy?’ We want people to want to radiate with us.”
Father Benioff stressed that the evangelization process is much more complex.
“When people ask, we can use words to tell them about Jesus, and about what he has done for us, in his life and in his death on the cross,” he said. “But the only way that people will be convinced by our words is if they are matched in our actions. When our lives are beautiful, others will be inspired to live like us.”
Ordained a priest in 2007, Father Benioff said his own journey to the priesthood — after being a teacher and coach, and immersing himself in his local parish, “overcome with tremendous joy from serving others in the name of Jesus” — offered him a way to serve Christ and the Church.
“Radiate LA,” he says on the website, “is here to give you the tools to cultivate the goodness you have within you. The goodness we were all made to radiate.”
The Spanish version of the site will launch this summer.
‘Radiate LA’: Evangelization events
“How to Radiate,” parish evangelization training mini-retreats, are being offered by the Office of New Evangelization, led by Father Ed Benioff, that will address all aspects of spiritual and practical evangelism. Members of the hosting parish and surrounding community are encouraged to attend.
The events are offered in English except where noted:
—May 15, 7 p.m. at San Buenaventura Mission 211 E. Main St., Ventura.
—May 29, 7 p.m. at American Martyrs Church 624 15th St., Manhattan Beach
—June 3, 7 p.m. at Holy Cross Catholic Church 1740 Cliff Dr., Santa Barbara.
—June 4, 7 p.m. at Holy Cross Catholic Church 1740 Cliff Dr., Santa Barbara (Spanish).