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The New Evangelization Summit 2015

“I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities.” Pope Francis

I was privileged to attend the New Evangelization Summit on April 24-25 in Ottawa, hosted by the Ottawa Catholic Archdiocese and broadcast to 20 satellite sites across Canada and the United States. It was the first summit of its kind and tickets were sold out in Ottawa - 800 attendees...

 

(takeaways from each speaker linked below)

The keynote speakers all had a consistent message to inspire Catholics to re-evangelize, to reach out to those who have been baptized but are not converted or have lost their faith and to lead them back to Christianity.
I was pleased to hear the strong statements of the speakers confirming that as Christians we all have a common mission to reach the non-believer and those who have lost their faith. That it is the identity of the church. One speaker stated that there is more common good among Catholics and other Christians than there are differences. I strongly believe this and it is so encouraging to see all the things God is doing to bring the Christian community on the same page.

 

During the Summit it was reinforced that the mission of the Catholic Church to evangelize is not new or changed rather what has changed is the culture and the method of evangelizing. And, the urgency that Christians share the Gospel message of salvation in these difficult times was emphasized. That reminded me of the talk given by Ravi Zacharias at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier the same week when he spoke passionately of the current uncertain times globally and especially how troubled the youth are of today. He said that the youth need to know God loves them and they are made in His image. What better way than to share the story of Jesus and salvation to give them hope!
Culture and society in North America, which was founded on Christian values, is steadily moving farther and farther away from true moral values and many see the church as irrelevant and are lukewarm at best to believing in God and salvation through Jesus. Could God be bringing “the church” together as one force to combat the evil in the world?

 

There were words of encouragement and practical methods presented for Catholic parishes to focus on enlivening their congregations to evangelize, to do more towards discipleship and less on maintaining their churches. DVDs of all the talks will be available in September.

 

I left the Summit with the feeling that I need to do more in the area of evangelization. As a starting point I plan to share what I learned at the Summit with my own parish and encourage implementation of change where needed to ensure there is a focus on discipleship.

Keynote speakers included:
Michael Dopp, Mission of the Redeemer & Founder of the Summit, Ottawa ON
Dr. Scott Hahn, best-selling author, speaker, Professor of Biblical Theology, Steubenville OH
Ken Yasinski, Face to Face Ministries, Saskatoon, SK
JoEllen Gregus, Light of the World Evangelization Ministries, Crystal Lake IL
Dr. Ralph Martin, Renewal Minstries, Ann Arbor MI
Fr. Michael Gaitley, Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception & author, Stockbridge MA
Fr. James Mallon, Pastor, Saint-Benedit Parish, Halifax N.S.
Patrik Coffin, Immaculata Pictures & Host of Catholic Answers Live Radio Show

 

Highlights that I took away from the Summit on each of the talks can be found here (download PDF)......

 

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