CCCB Forum with National Associations Studies the New Evangelization

Monday, May 17 1999

(CCCB — Ottawa) — The CCCB’s Episcopal Commission for Relations with Associations of the Clergy, Consecrated Life and Laity recently hosted a forum with 16 national associations on The New Evangelization in the Context of the Synod for America and in Light of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

The more than 30 participants, from such organizations as the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, the Canadian Religious Conference, the Catholic Health Association of Canada, and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, met at the CCCB offices in Ottawa May 7-8, 1999.

The Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America (The Church in America) was the main document used in the discussions. It was the papal response to the Synod for America held in Rome at the end of 1997 to discuss the future of the Church in the American hemisphere.

Leah Daly, student president from Canadian Catholic Students Association and also representing Canadian Catholic Campus Ministry, said if the laity are to take a leadership role in the new evangelization, then the laity must prepare for that role.

“As lay people we are going into the world as evangelizers, as messengers,” she said. “We need a foundation and education if we are to think in terms of the new evangelization as a vocation in the broader sense of the word.”

Françoise Allard of the Ascending Life (La Vie Montante), a seniors’ spirituality movement, said if we are to make the new evangelization happen then “we are going to have to go out and reach people instead of expecting them to come to us.” And that, she says “is a sign of hope.”

Bishop François Lapierre of St-Hyacinthe, who also attended the Synod, said the apostolic exhortation calls “not for a re-evangelisation but a new evangelization, and that means a new way of doing things.”

Two main recommendations came out of the meeting: for the CCCB to publish a leaflet that outlines the major thrusts of Ecclesia in America; and for the CCCB to publish a booklet that would be a guide for small group study of the papal document.

The Forum, the fourth annual one held by the CCCB, allows for the Bishops and the associations to exchange information, views and concerns as well as to look for ways to help the Church in Canada.