The other day, I characterized Archbishop Schnurr’s episcopate as “one step forward, two steps back.” Here at least is a decision that falls in the former category.

Sean Ater has been tapped to run the newly created Office of the New Evangelization starting July 1. What this means for the responsibilities of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, where he has most recently served, is unclear. I first met Sean when he was with Immaculate Heart of Mary parish on the far East side. He is young, energetic, hardworking, and orthodox, and I’m sure he’ll give the AOC’s evangelization efforts a boost. Congrats, Sean!

“Through trainings, resources, and initiatives, this Director will help promote a culture of evangelization that should permeate throughout our Department, our central offices, and into the parishes and ministries that we serve.”

The term “new evangelization” was popularized by Blessed John Paul II. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI made it a central focus of his Pontificate, creating a Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization and calling for a Synod on the New Evangelization in 2012. Pope Francis has continued the focus on the new evangelization calling the College of Cardinals to “search for new ways to evangelize” in his first meeting with them after his election.

“Evangelization has always been the central mission of the Church,” Ater said. “The Church exists to evangelize. “The ‘new’ in the New Evangelization calls the entire Church to confidently and with a new ardor seek out new expressions and new methods for proclaiming the Gospel. I am excited and grateful for this opportunity to work with others in this central task of the Church.”

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