Friday November 15, 2019
3:36 am

Evangelization can be as simple as encouraging another to grow in the faith of the Church

by Debbie Bosak

Northwest Indiana Catholic

 

      I don’t make a practice of using this column for self-promotion (of a sort), but today I am going to make an exception, as well as a shameless, plea and offer it to you as something to reflect upon as we start Lent this week.

      Sometime soon, (if not already) parishioners will find an envelope in their packets for the annual Northwest Indiana Catholic subscription drive. Today I’m asking you to think twice before just doing what you usually do, that is writing out your check and slipping it into the collection basket, or, (gasp!), just ignoring it altogether.

      Why should I subscribe to a Catholic paper, you might be asking yourself. There’s nothing I want to read!

      In that case, I would challenge you: Why wouldn’t you want to learn more about your Catholic faith and the work of the Church locally, nationally and internationally?

      When I’m out and about, often people will stop me, saying how much they love Pope Francis, but I’m always tempted to ask, “Why?” Do you really understanding what the pope is trying to say? What he is trying to model and teach? What are his thoughts on current events in our world?

      Get what I’m saying?

      The same is true for our own bishop – Bishop Donald J. Hying. Week after week there is a treasure to be opened via his column as he reflects on the beauty of our faith and his love for the faithful of Gary.

      “Hey, Bosak,” you might be thinking, “If I’m reading this, I’m obviously already getting the paper, duh! What’s your point?”

      Yes you are, and we offer our heartfelt gratitude

      But, allow me to switch gears for a moment. Through our Synod 2017 process, the need for greater evangelization – one of the eight ecclesial areas, as defined by Bishop Hying - clearly became a priority for our diocese. So much so, our bishop has asked each parish to make evangelization one of their three priorities when crafting their parish synod implementation plans.

      What does evangelization mean, you ask? It’s a fancy word, but what does it have to do with me?

      Here’s what the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has to say about the concept:

      “The simplest way to say what evangelization means is to follow Pope Paul VI, whose message “Evangelii Nuntiandi”(On Evangelization in the Modern World) has inspired so much recent thought and activity in the Church. We can rephrase his words to say that evangelizing means bringing the Good News of Jesus into every human situation and seeking to convert individuals and society by the divine power of the Gospel itself. At its essence are the proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ and the response of a person in faith, which are both works of the Spirit of God.”

      ...Bringing the Good News of Jesus into every human situation. Those are powerful words that speak to our responsibility as Catholics at any age. Yes, any age.

      How, you ask? What can I possible do?

      We start by making sure that Jesus is there in all facets of our lives. We do as much as we can to make sure Jesus is present and accessible to all those to whom we come in contact. Jesus doesn’t hang around church all week waiting for us to come by on Sunday. Jesus, as witnessed by his ministry, wants to be out and about with us, with his people. Jesus wants us to help him bring his Good News to all people.

      So, let’s try to tie this whole column together.

      The average newspaper has 2.5 readers per issue. That means, on any given week, the Northwest Indiana Catholic reaches over 21,000 Catholics. That means the bishop’s newspaper reaches more people at any one time each week than any other single ministry.

      Can you imagine the impact of putting a weekly Catholic publication into the hands of even more of our people? Family, friends, co-workers, fallen away Catholics (Everyone knows one, right?), the homebound, an elderly neighbor or someone in a nursing home. Learning more about our faith and the work of our Church, and encouraging others to do so can’t be bad. It’s evangelization at a most basic level.

      What I dare to suggest is that when you renew your own subscription - if you can afford to do so - consider buying a gift subscription for a family member, a neighbor, friend, co-worker, a newly-wedded couple. Or, contact your parish office and offer to pay for a fellow-parishioner who might not be able to afford it, someone in a nursing home, or an inmate in one of our jails or prisons. Get the idea?

      It’s a powerful way to start evangelizing, to be a part of the mission of Jesus to spread the Good News.  It’s a beautiful random act of kindness, and I guarantee you won’t be sorry.

     Debbie Bosak is the editor and general manager of Northwest Indiana Catholic Publications and a member of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Merrillville. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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