New communities

Between valorization and evangelization: the challenges and paths of the new communities

Prefect Farrell's address during the Course for the Bishops of Brazil


The new communities are "a resource and a great potential" because they "can offer their members paths for evangelization and catechesis, of first proclamation, of Christian initiation, of formation in the faith, of accompaniment in spiritual growth, which is greatly needed today." These are the words of the Dicastery’s Prefect, Card. Kevin Farrell, in his February 24 talk on "Challenges and Pathways: a Perspective of the Dicastery Responsible for New Communities" within the Course for the Bishops of Brazil on "New Communities and Evangelization Today," underway in Rio de Janeiro until Jan. 27.

Work together in the mission of evangelization

"They - he continued, referring to the new communities - have the ability to get people involved and gather them together periodically and frequently, and do not offer them scholastic lectures, rather lively and kerygmatic catechesis, a gradual introduction to the Church's sacramental life and to a life of prayer, joyful liturgical celebrations, existential understanding of the Word of God, moments of interaction and dialogue, experiences of fraternity, experiences of service and of charity, missionary experiences”. The task of pastors, therefore, is to "validate them as true 'schools of education in the faith' and to be able to establish with them a relationship of full trust and collaboration in order to work together in the mission of evangelization that the Lord entrusts to the Church as His task to each new generation".

Regarding the "movement of evangelization" that stemmed from St. Paul's conversion, in his homily delivered on Jan. 26, the Prefect said, "The conversion that challenges us and brings us back to humbleness is not limited only to the first encounter we had with the light of Christ. It is an ongoing spiritual process," and "we priests and bishops, too, - he explained - need constant vigilance and continuous conversion in order to know how to unmask the subtle pitfalls of the devil who reappears at every stage of life with new deceptions, with deviations, compromises, spiritual and moral regression that are often more difficult to recognize than those of the “first conversion”. Again, insisting on the link between conversion, apostolate and evangelization, the Prefect emphasized that "our continuous conversion to Christ impels us to become apostles and preachers of the truth we have encountered, of the light that has enlightened us, of the love that has forgiven us."

A conversion of structures to make them more mission-oriented

Finally, he quoted the Holy Father Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium, where he speaks of “a ‘pastoral and missionary conversion’ that he expects from the entire Church (EG 25), ‘which cannot leave things as they presently are’ which involves a conversion of structures ‘to make them more mission-oriented’ (EG 27)”. The "holy zeal" of evangelizing and bringing Jesus Christ to all, he concluded, "has been at the heart of St. Paul’s entire life as well as all the saints in the history of the Church. Let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that this also be the most vivid desire that animates our ministry."

27 January 2023