JP2: Patron of New Evangelization
John Paul II said the Church should commit all its energies to evangelization . . .
St. John Paul the Great left the Catholic Church — and the world — a legacy that will last until the end of time. His 26-year pontificate revolutionized the papacy and launched a new wave of fervent Catholicism that is still growing.
Volumes have been written about his work and gifts to the Church — everything from the Theology of the Body to launching World Youth Day to his involvement with the Soviet Union’s demise. He promoted Divine Mercy, published the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and gave us five new mysteries of the rosary.
But perhaps his greatest gift was when he called for a New Evangelization in his 1990 encyclical Redemptoris Missio: “I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes (to the nations).” Rather than changing the content, this “New Evangelization” was to be new in ardor, methods and expression.
When a pope says that the Church should commit all of the Church’s energies to something, people take notice. And they have. In fact, when he called for the New Evangelization, John Paul had already started a new wave of evangelization with his world travel, his vibrant way of presenting the Gospel and teachings of the Church, and his outreach to the marginalized.
Many apostolates caught this wave long before Redemptoris Missio, including Legatus. When Tom Monaghan first met the Holy Father in 1987, he sensed the Holy Spirit calling him to launch a ministry to Catholic business leaders with a mission to “learn, live and spread the Catholic faith.”
Monaghan recognized the need to form Catholic CEOs and presidents in the faith in order to help change the culture for Christ. Through the 1960s and ’70s — because of poor catechesis, rapid cultural change and a host of other factors — several generations of Catholics were of the mind that once they were confirmed, they had all the faith education they needed.
The New Evangelization exists to change all that — to reevangelize the baptized, primarily in West, who have heard the Gospel but have not made it part of their lives and lack a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That means catechesis, daily prayer, frequent Mass and Confession, and a true conversion of heart from the things of this world to the things of heaven.
John Paul bolstered the Legatus mission in 1988 by calling members to be “genuine witnesses to Christian ethics in the field of business and … to fulfill this role publicly with courage and perseverance.” That calling is true now, more than ever!
PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.