“Evangelizing," said Pope Paul VI, "means bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity” (Evangelii Nuntiandi 18). This mission extends not just to individuals, but to institutions and to cultures—and “not in a purely decorative way, as it were, by applying a thin veneer, but in a vital way, in depth and right to their very roots” (EN 20). This is, he said, not merely one thing among many that the Church does, but is "the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize” (EN 14).
The US Bishops, in their 1982 pastoral plan on evangelization, "Go and Make Disciples," outlined three goals. First, to stir up in Catholic such an enthusiasm for their faith that they freely share it with others; second, that we invite all to join us in the Catholic Church; third, to transform society with the values of the Gospel.
As campus ministers, evangelization is the essence of our ministry: "bringing the message of Christ to the academic world" (Empowered by the Spirit, 1). This is partly a matter of bringing students and faculty into an encounter with Jesus Christ, and helping them to nurture their relationship with him. It includes reaching out to those who are alienated from the Church, and those who hunger for the truth of the Gospel. But taking our lead from Paul VI, we see that we must go to the “very roots” of the university. We “must not remain on the margins of the academic community but must accept the call to bring the light of the Gospel to the very center of that world” (ES 28).
• Catholic Christian Outreach. Based in Canada, primarily in Saskatchewan and Ontario.
• FOCUS. The Fellowship of Catholic University Students is operated in partnership with a diocese.
• Saint Paul's Outreach. Saint Paul's Outreach actively invites college students to a life of Christian discipleship. With Saint Paul as our example, we create vibrant, faith-filled environments that challenge students to deepen their relationships with Christ in the fullness of the Catholic Church. Our ministry has produced thousands of alumni who are passionate followers of Christ and who continue to shine His light in the world long after they have graduated. They are renewing the Church and evangelizing the culture.
• The Veritas Forum. An ecumenical program developed at Harvard University and since carried to dozens of campuses, Veritas involves creating a partnership of Catholic, Evangelical, and mainline Protestant campus ministries, faculty, and students to sponsor an interdisciplinary series of lectures, musical or theater performances, and workshops demonstrating how Christian faith engages in dialogue to answer questions posed in academia.
• History of the Veritas Forum.
Other Evangelization Programs and Organizations
• OnceCatholic.org: "A Catholic Site for Seekers." Website developed by St. Anthony Messenger.
• Knights of Columbus, Catholic Information Service.
Resources and Documents
Resources from the USCCB
Pope Paul VI
• Evangelii Nuntiandi. December 8, 1975. The seminal document of contemporary Catholic evangelization.
• Novo Millennio Ineunte. January 6, 2001. On the need of ongoing evangelization in the new millennium.
• Ecclesia in America. January 22, 1999. On the unique issues facing the Church in America (North and South, seen as a whole).
• Ut Unum Sint. May 25, 1995. Ecumenism as rooted in evangelization.
• Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), March 25, 1995.
• Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth), August 6, 1993.
• Redemptoris Missio (The Mission of the Redeemer), December 7, 1990.
• Christifideles Laici (On the Role of the Lay Christian Faithful), December 30, 1988.
• Reconciliatio et Paenitentia (Reconciliation and Penance), December 2, 1984.
• Familiaris Consortio (On Christian families), November 22, 1981.
• Catechesi Tradendae (On teaching the Christian faith), October 16, 1979.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.