With roots in the archdiocesan Synod initiatives and responding to pontifical calls for a renewal of Christian faith among baptized believers, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is establishing a new and permanent Office of the New Evangelization, tasked with implementing five priorities recently announced by Archbishop José Gomez. The new office will incorporate and succeed the current Office of Synod Implementation, established after the 2003 Synod.In his first pastoral letter, “Witness to the New World of Faith,” published last October to mark the start of the Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Gomez outlined the five priorities, selected to serve as a kind of spiritual “program” to guide individuals, parishes and archdiocesan ministries in the coming months and years.These priorities, explained in detail at http://archla.org/newworld, are:—Education in the faith.—Promoting vocations to the priesthood and to religious and consecrated life.—Fostering our universal “catholic” identity and diversity as the family of God.—Proclaiming the Gospel of life.—Strengthening marriage and family.“I want to stress that these priorities are not only ‘mine,’” wrote Archbishop Gomez in a letter to archdiocesan pastors Jan. 4. “They grow out of the excellent guidance I have received from the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council and from our common prayer and reflection on the initiatives of the Archdiocesan Synod of 2003.” Final reports on the six Synod Initiatives (evangelization, participation and accountability, education and formation, ministry and leadership, Eucharist and sacramental, and social justice) are published in detail at http://www.la-archdiocese.org/org/synod/Pages/initiatives/index.aspx. “We’re still actively implementing the Synod’s initiatives, but we’re in a process of transition as the Office of Synod Implementation and Stewardship becomes the Office of the New Evangelization,” said Deacon David Estrada, who retired as executive director of the archdiocesan Office of Synod Implementation/Stewardship on Jan. 2. “The Synod initiatives will continue to serve as the seedwork upon which, through the lens of the New Evangelization, we will now begin to focus on the five priorities that Archbishop Gomez has identified,” said Estrada. “All the work we’ve done is continuing with an emphasis on the five priorities. It’s an exciting time as we begin to move beyond Synod implementation and expand our priorities. They’re all related.”Over the past decade, Estrada has overseen implementation of many structures recommended by the Synod, including the establishment of regional pastoral councils followed by the creation of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council made up of three representatives from each of the five pastoral regions as well as two each of priests, nuns and deacons.“The Synod emphasized each person’s baptismal call and the importance for everyone to step up,” noted Estrada. “The Synod was good in awakening that. It’s evident that the laity is now taking on more meaningful roles.”He said he is certain that “we are at a point where there is a golden opportunity to take the energy we have been able to develop, including structures in place that we didn’t have before, and move forward through the lens of evangelization to harness all we have been able to develop and make parishes even more alive. People have begun to recognize that they are gifted by God in so many ways.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0118/evangelization/{/gallery}