Discerning the Joy of the Gospel in America
Over July 1-4, 2017, the Center for Ministry Development participated in the important and historic USCCB Convocation for Catholic Leaders in Orlando, FL. It was a gathering of over 3,500 delegates representing parishes, dioceses, religious orders, movements, and national organizations. Over these moving few days together, we explored the implications of Evangelii Gaudium (Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel) for the American Church today.
The event was modeled after the three principle movements of See Judge Act in the pastoral circle. We explored the landscape of the American church today (see), made theological reflections on this landscape (judge), and named ways to present and share the joy of the Gospel in these peripheries. The peripheries we explored were at times geographic but more often societal and spiritual. We still have much to pray and explore in this "evangelical discernment."
Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the "peripheries" in need of the light of the Gospel.Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 20
I have personally had a renewed recognition of the vibrant and diverse presence of the Holy Spirit in the American church today. There are so many wonderful and graceful things happening at local and national levels throughout the country that are addressing the various needs of many people living on a periphery. I pray what we've done so far serve as seeds for further evangelization.