Arnthree-day workshop aims to help Catholics answer Pope St. John Paul II’s callrnto the New Evangelization
The word ‘evangelization’ may conjure up thernstereotypical image of a Bible thumper, loudly coercing a person into acceptingrnJesus into their lives. These proselytizers manipulate in order to boast of arnnew convert — and their deception is disrespectful to the dignity of the humanrnperson, says Michael Dopp, STL, founder of the New Evangelization Summit andrnMission of the Redeemer Ministries.
This disservice to the work of evangelizationrnmay leave members of the faithful wary of talking about their faith.
But, Dopp says, “we don’t want to go the other way and say,rn‘Well, I guess I can never talk to my friends about anything related to God.’”
“I thinkrnthat’s to betray them in a different way, which is to not reveal the glory ofrnGod to them in whatever way the Lord opens the door,” he added.
On April 13, Dopprnwill be at St. Charles Borromeo in North Hollywood for the start of a three-dayrnworkshop titled “LA relit Evangelization Training Live” to address an especially pressingrnsituation: today, 80 percent of Catholics in North America don’t go to Mass onrnSundays, while in Europe the number is closer to 90 percent.
The newrnevangelization is the re-evangelization of the baptized, explains Dopp. Thernterm comes from Pope St. John Paul II, who wrote that while there are those whornhave never heard of Christ and those who have found Christ, there is an intermediaternsituation of baptized Catholics who have yet to experience an initialrnconversion.
“The Churchrntraditionally thinks of mission work as the Church going out to the nations ofrnthe peoples, and St. John Paul II is reminding us that while we need to dornthat, there are always Catholics who have to have a primary and initialrnconversion — that’s the new evangelization.”
This workshoprnaims to teach those who are already strong in their faith to share theirrntestimony and faith with others, instead of backing out of the conversation duernto fear. Dopp says fear is the number one stumbling block for potentialrnevangelizers, and he proposes confronting that fear in a safe way. “Don’t takerna huge risk,” he says. “Take a small risk.”
The bestrnantidote to fear, besides God’s grace, is a concrete act of courage. “Thatrnmeans choosing to do courageous things even when we feel afraid,” he explains, referencingrnAristotle, that “the feelings follow the virtue, not vice versa. We have to actrncourageously and then we begin to feel courageous.”
But thisrndoesn’t demand huge acts of courage, he says; instead he recommends small stepsrnin the beginning, such as being a little more open about your faith with a goodrnfriend or inviting a friend to a “non-frightening” talk at your parish. (Herngives the example of a talk on parenting.)
“As we beginrnto do these small courageous things, we become a courageous person and thatrnfear begins to disappear.”
Dopp addsrnthat sharing the faith has to be done “with the Lord’s prompting. When we sensernthat this is an opportunity to share, say or do something with the otherrnperson.”
Anrninternational demand for the Relit program has sent Dopp back and forth acrossrnNorth America and the UK on more than 50 occasions.
“The beautyrnof being able to spend time with them is being able to move them from beingrnintentional disciples to being missionary disciples, so that evangelizationrnbecomes part of their Christian life,” says Dopp of the Catholics he’s trained.
For morerninformation about Relit, you can visit www.parishevangelizationleaders.org.