Pastoral Letter: New Evangelisation Commission and Institute

The Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, is a dicastery of the Roman Curia whose creation was announced by Pope Benedict XVI at vespers on June 28, 2010, eve of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

Jan 12, 2018

1 January 2018

Dear Fathers, Deacons, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

SETTING UP OF THE NEW EVANGELISATION COMMISSION IN THE ARCH /DIOCESE AND INSTITUTE OF NEW EVANGELISATION

The Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, is a dicastery of the Roman Curia whose creation was announced by Pope Benedict XVI at vespers on June 28, 2010, eve of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. The Pope said that “the process of secularisation has produced a serious crisis of the sense of the Christian faith and role of the Church,” and the new pontifical council would “promote a renewed evangelisation” in countries where the Church has long existed “but which are living a progressive secularisation of society and a sort of ‘eclipse of the sense of God.’” We are aware that this progressive secularisation of society also affects us in Asia.

The 10th (X) Federation of Asian Bishop Conferences (FABC) Plenary Assembly 2010 reminds us that through the guidance of the Spirit, “we read the signs of the times, the social mega-trends in Asia and our own ecclesial realities, and analysed the unfolding challenges and opportunities so that we might respond to them from the depths of our faith. The assembly also urges people of Asia to “have the daunting mission of proclaiming Jesus as the Lord and Saviour (by word and action) amid rapid changes in Asia, thus “to be a more Christ-experiencing and Christ-witnessing community.” It also says, “At the core of the New Evangelisation initiated by Blessed Pope John Paul, and reiterated by Pope Benedict XVI, is the clarion call to be authentic and credible witnesses of Jesus the Lord and Saviour.”

In the keynote address for the Asian Mission Congress given by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle in October 2006, he states, “The Church in Asia, in a very special way, tells her experience of Jesus ‘which is more effective if it springs from the experience of the storyteller.’ The story of Jesus ‘manifests the identity of the Church among the poor, culture and religions of Asia.’ This way, she keeps not only the memory of Jesus dynamically alive, but also provides meaning to the Church’s symbols of faith. In fact, the story of Jesus generates the Church in forming community.”

In view of this thrust of the Church, Archbishop Simon Poh of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, who heads the Episcopal Commission of Evangelisation, has empowered the Peninsular Malaysia Bishops to lead and set up the institute for New Evangelisation in Peninsular Malaysia. Thus, the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, the Bishop of Penang and the Bishop of Malacca Johore have approved of a team of clergy, religious and laity to organise and prepare a standard programme of evangelisation for the Institute. This Institute aims to train leaders for evangelisation who will assist in their respective dioceses in forming missionary disciples. It will also help to instill the dimension of witnessing and evangelising in all church life, ministries and services. This is essential for all church leaders including clergy, religious and lay leaders. Further to this, each Arch/diocese is encouraged to set up the commission for new evangelisation in their respective Arch/diocese.

We would like to concur with the message of the FABC assembly in stating that “the same Spirit who animated Vatican II now summons us to become renewed evangelisers for a New Evangelisation.” It is the Spirit who can re-create and spur this newness in our Church and in each one of us. Pope Francis reminds us that we are called to be missionary disciples. Therefore, the spirituality of New Evangelisation as stated in the message of the 10th (X) FABC assembly, must be lived and practised by each one of us and in all our ministries and services. The fundamental dimensions suggested by the FABC assembly are relevant to all leaders:

1. Personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
2. Passion for mission.
3. Focus on the Kingdom of God.
4. Commitment to communion as mission (PMPC IV - creativity, inclusivity; Bridge-building)
5. Dialogue, a mode of life and mission. (PMPC IV- dialogue, discern and deeds)
6. Humble presence.
7. Prophetic witnessing.
8. Solidarity with victims.
9. Care of creation.
10. Boldness of faith and self-sacrifice.

May Mary, the Mother of Jesus, accompany us as we walk the roads and “tell the story of Jesus.”

Most Rev Julian Leow
Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur

Rt Rev Sebastian Francis
Diocese of Penang

Rt Rev Bernard Paul
Diocese of Malacca Johore

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