The Office for Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship serves parishes in their mission to bring people to and lead people in deepening encounters with Christ. It includes what was once considered the Office for Evangelization and the Office of Biblical Formation and still covers matters related to those offices — simply in a streamlined manner designed to meet parishes’ needs.
So, you may ask, what’s in a name, and how does it relate to our mission?
Evangelization happens in the way the faithful live God’s love everyday through support for one another, and is, essentially, the key moment of welcoming and sharing who Christ is. To evangelize also means to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to every human situation.
In terms of missionary discipleship, we look to Scripture and the Joy of the Gospel. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gives the mandate: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” And Jesus sends out the 72 in Luke 10:17. This “going forth” is what Pope Francis refers to in The Joy of the Gospel, when he states: “The Church which ‘goes forth’ is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice.” (par. 24).
As Christians, we encounter Jesus and transform the lives of others through service and sharing the faith. The office and its sectors focus on the ministry of renewal and inspiring missionary disciples who will help to support, build bonds and transform their parishes and broader communities as they encounter and deepen their own relationships with Christ.
The combination of these two phrases makes the Office of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship an important office for the Archdiocese, and we take our role seriously as we support you in your efforts to bring the word of God to our local communities.
To fulfill its mission within the Department of Parish Vitality & Mission, the Office for Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship provides direction, resources, and opportunities for evangelization and missionary discipleship in parish communities and to the many ministries within the Archdiocese of Chicago. The office collaborates with teams across the department and Archdiocese to provide an evangelization lens through which we can widen the view of our ministry to the people of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
What is in a word? Sometimes the language we use needs to be translated to be understood. And sometimes we need to find a new language or different words to express our deepest meaning.
Every organization, group and even family has its own language and its own shared memories — words, acronyms, stories flow easily among people with a common grounding and understanding. When there is someone new to the family or to the organization, we explain what we mean or share our stories so new members can be a part of the experience and feel a sense of belonging.
The same is true with the words we use in the Catholic Tradition. To follow are some “curious words” to which we offer new language to help translate their meaning.
The diocese of an Archbishop; typically has a larger population than a diocese.
A geographic territory where a bishop is responsible for the people in that area. The world is divided into territories, and every area of the world has a bishop assigned to its care.
A person who actively follows Jesus.
An experience of meeting the living Christ through an event, a person, a prayer or another circumstance. Through this experience, a person comes to know that Christ is actively present in his or her life. God is no longer abstract, but instead a real person in one’s life.
Literally, to share the Good News of Jesus — who He was, what He did for us, and who He is in our lives today. We share our faith in Christ through our words by telling His story and by the way in which we live our lives. When someone encounters Christ through us, through our kindness, our compassion, our patience, our understanding, and our generosity, we have been a part of sharing the Good News of who Christ is in our world.
An ancient Greek word that meant “preaching.” In today’s Catholic Church, this word refers to the basic teaching of Christianity: that we are saved through Jesus Christ, that He is the son of God, that He lived to show us how to live, that He suffered and died for us, and that He rose again so that we can have eternal life.
The mission of the Church is to share the Good News that through Jesus Christ, we are saved from our sins, and we can have eternal life with God.
A person who actively follows Jesus and takes Jesus into the world in which he or she lives.
New Evangelization: When we think of evangelizing, we first think of going out and sharing the story of Jesus with those who have never heard of Him. In fact, the New Evangelization is a call for all Catholics to be open to an encounter with Christ, and to allow ourselves to be evangelized for the first time or once again so we can go forth and share the Good News of who Jesus is to others. We are called to renew our relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. At the same time, we are also to go out and share who Christ is with those who have never met him.
Most people think the parish is the church where they worship. A parish, however, is a territorial division of the diocese — a geographical area. The people within the parish are cared for by the pastor assigned to this community by the Bishop or Archbishop. Because it is about geography, people of all parishes are made up of Catholics and non-Catholics. Within a parish, there is a Catholic Church that cares for the spiritual needs of the people in that area.
This is a division of a diocese or archdiocese. In the Archdiocese of Chicago, we have six vicariates. We also have six auxiliary bishops who help provide guidance and care of these vicariates. Each vicariate has approximately 50 – 65 parishes within it.