There is a lot of talk about the New Evangelization, and it seems to have as many definitions and methods as there are parishes and apostolates. That can be a good thing — let a hundred flowers bloom. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has launched a “Contagiously Catholic” program to help further “the NE,” and I hope it is successful. Yet I can’t help but think that evangelization, i.e., the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is best done soul to soul, from one soul to another. That what truly attracts people to Christ and His Church is the holiness of her members. Or even just one member. Think of the sublime moments in your life. They often were inspired by the singular Christian witness of a holy man or woman, were they not? I’ve been enjoying the late and colorful Msgr. A.N. Gilbey’s excellent “We Believe” catechism lately. During a dinner with philosopher Roger Scruton in 1985, at the height of the Catholic silly season, he reportedly said, “We are not asked to undo the work of creation or to rectify the Fall. The duty of a Christian is not to leave this world a better place. His duty is to leave this world a better man.” Scruton observed that an “intense personal relation to the Redeemer rescued Monsignor Gilbey from worldliness.” Perhaps I’m not ambitious enough, but that sounds like my kind of program.
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