Fr. Robert Barron, the new rector of the Mundelein Seminary located next door to our offices, has a great article on the New Evangelization and Seminaries. As the founder of Word on Fire and the creator of the popular Catholicism series seen on PBS, Fr. Barron has a good perspective on what is needed to be an evangelizer of the culture. Here are his thoughts for seminarians:
1) You must have fervor. Something like the “palpable excitement” one finds on the pages of the Gospels, Epistles and Book of Revelation
2) You must be rooted in the Bible and the theological tradition of the Catholic Church: history, art, spiritual masters, Councils, etc.
3) You must know the culture. Aristotle said, “Whatever is received is received according to the mode of the recipient.” A Protestant theologian once said that evangelists should carry a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.
4) You must be conversant with the New Media: Facebook, YouTube, podcasting, etc.
What does this have to do with the Olympics? Vatican Radio reports that daily mass attendance at the Olympic Village is high. Three masses are offered every day. At the same time, young Catholics from around the world are attending Joshua Camp, held in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium. There the young men and women attended daily catechesis, prayer vigils, Eucharistic Adoration and Mass. Today, they pack up their tents and mingle with the crowds, both the athletes and the poor who live in the area.
Says James Parker, Catholic Executive Coordinator for the 2012 London Games, “The Joshua Camp is about going to the poor and needy on the periphery of the Games and saying ‘come and see what its all about’ and not only but also ‘come and take part of this great banquet that God’s got prepared for us’”.
This strikes me as the New Evangelization truly in action. God bless all the Catholics who are making the Olympics an opportunity to draw close to the Lord.