The Vocation of the Parish and the Vocation of the Baptized, from the Lineamenta
81. The new evangelization is a call to the Church to rediscover her missionary origins. According to many responses, the new evangelization can devote work in this area to leading Christian communities to be less concentrated on themselves inwardly in the midst of the changes already taking place and more engaged in proclaiming the faith to others. In this regard, much is expected from parishes that are seen as an entryway, open to everyone in every place on the globe, to the Christian faith and an experience of the Church. In addition to their being the place for ordinary pastoral life, liturgical celebrations, the dispensation of the sacraments, catechesis and the catechumenate, parishes have the responsibility to become real centres for propagating and bearing witness to the Christian experience and places for attentively listening to people and ascertaining their needs. Parishes are places where a person receives instruction on searching for the truth, where faith is nourished and strengthened and where the Christian message and God's plan for humanity and the world is communicated. They are the prime communities for experiencing the joy that comes from being not only gathered together by the Spirit but prepared to live one's proper vocation as a missionary.
82. In this regard, the Church has many resources at her service. The responses agree that the first resource is the great number of baptized lay people who are engaged in and decisively continue their voluntary service of building up the parish community.
86. Consequently, these texts indicate the geographic area for the new evangelization, though not exclusively, as primarily the Christian West and identify the persons to whom it is directed, namely, the baptized in our communities who are experiencing a new existential and cultural situation, which, in fact, has imperilled their faith and their witness. The new evangelization consists in viewing real-life situations, areas of living and pastoral activity in such a way as to allow these people to leave the "interior desert", an image used by Pope Benedict XVI to represent the current human condition which is caught in a world that has virtually eliminated from view any question of God. The specific task of the new evangelization is having the courage to raise again the question of God in these places and situations and to restore a high quality and motivation to the faith in many of our Churches of ancient origins.
87. This definition, however, serves as an example and is not intended to be exclusive. In other words, the West is one of many places of the new evangelization and is not the only place for its activity.
88. The new evangelization is also the name given to a spiritual reawakening and the reanimation of a process of conversion which the Church asks of herself, all her communities and all the baptized. Consequently, this reality is not the concern of well-defined regions only, but the means to explain everywhere the teaching of the Apostles and put those teachings into practice in our day. Through the new evangelization, the Church seeks to insert the very original and specific character of her teachings into today's world and everyday discussion. She wants to be the place where God can be experienced even now, and where, under the guidance of the Spirit of the Risen Christ, we allow ourselves to be transformed by the gift of faith. The Gospel is always a new proclamation of salvation, accomplished by Jesus Christ, to make every human life share in the mystery of God and his life of love, thereby opening human life to a future of hope, which is inspiring and trustworthy. Emphasizing the Church's call to undertake a new evangelization at this moment in history means intensifying the Church's missionary activity so as to respond fully to the Lord's mandate.
89. No area in the Church is outside the parameters of this programme; nor should anyone feel exempt. The Churches of a long Christian tradition, above all, have to deal with the practical problem that many have abandoned the faith. To a lesser extent, the same problem also exists in younger Churches, especially in large cities and some heavily influenced areas of society and cultures. The great social and cultural challenges presently being created by rapidly expanding urban centres, especially in developing countries, are certainly fertile ground for the new evangelization. Consequently, the new evangelization also concerns the younger Churches. Their work of inculturation demands continual examination so that the Gospel, which purifies and elevates culture, can be introduced into cultural settings and, in a particular way, open them to its newness. Generally speaking, all Christian communities need a new evangelization simply by being engaged in a pastoral ministry which seems increasingly difficult to exercise and which is in danger of becoming a routine matter, and thus little able to communicate its original intent.
107. As previously stated, the proclamation of the Gospel and the transmission of faith can become a positive impetus in facing the changes which are being closely monitored by parish communities. The responses ask that a central position in the new evangelization be given to the parish, community of communities, not simply as a place for religious services to be celebrated but as a gathering place for families, Bible groups and renewed lay involvement, where a true sense of the Church is experienced through a most authentically lived celebration of the sacraments and their meaning. The synod fathers should examine the vocation of the parish as a point of reference and coordination for a wide range of Church realities and pastoral initiatives.
108. In addition to the irreplaceable role of the Christian community as a whole, the task of transmitting the faith and teaching persons how to live the Christian life involves a variety of Christians. The responses primarily make an appeal to catechists. They acknowledge the gift of faith received by many Christians who, freely and beginning with their own faith, have made a unique and irreplaceable contribution in the proclamation of the Gospel and the transmission of the faith, especially in Churches which have been evangelized in the last centuries. According to some responses, the new evangelization calls for a greater involvement of catechists and, likewise, a greater commitment by the Church on their behalf. Catechists are immediate witnesses and irreplaceable evangelizers, who represent the basic strength of Christian communities.
118. Present-day situations demand that the task of proclaiming and handing on the faith, incumbent on every Christian, be rendered more visible and operative. Several responses state that the Church's most compelling responsibility today is to re-awaken in all the baptized their baptismal identity so that each can be a true witness of the Gospel and render an account for one's faith. All the faithful, in virtue of their participation in the common priesthood57 and the prophetic office of Christ,58 have an important role in this task of the Church. The lay faithful, in particular, are called upon to show how the Christian faith is a valid response to the pressing problems of life in every age and culture, problems which necessarily affect every person, even the agnostic and unbeliever. This will be possible only by overcoming the separation of the Gospel from life and reconstructing, in the everyday activities of the home, work and society, the unity of a life which finds its inspiration in the Gospel and, in the same Gospel, the strength to realize it fully.59
119. Every Christian needs to feel the call to engage in this task, which comes from one's baptismal identity. Every Christian must seek to be guided by the Holy Spirit, who provides the strength and means to respond to it, each according to one's proper vocation.
Many responses call for the re-motivation of all those who are baptized so that each can respond with greater dedication to the specific task of evangelizing, through applying the social doctrine of the Church and living the faith in the world by seeking the true good of everyone, by respecting and promoting the dignity of every person, even to the point ( especially in the case of the lay faithful ) of becoming actively involved in society and civic life. In the new evangelization, the love shown to those in spiritual and material need, which is expressed in works of fellowship, solidarity and assistance, speaks louder than words.
The Vocation of the Parish and the Vocation of the Baptized, from the Lineamenta