Pope Benedict XVI on Evangelization


Evangelization is the Mission of the Church


"We cannot keep to ourselves the words of eternal life given to us in our encounter with Jesus Christ: they are meant for everyone, for every man and woman. ... It is our responsibility to pass on what, by God's grace, we ourselves have received."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, 2010

October 2009 Prayer Intention--Mission: "That the entire People of God, to whom Christ entrusted the mandate to go and preach the Gospel to every creature, may eagerly assume their own missionary responsibility and consider it the highest service they can offer humanity."
- Pope Benedict XVI, October 2009 prayer intentions.

"The Holy Spirit gives us joy. And he is joy. Joy is the gift in which all the other gifts are included. It is the expression of happiness, of being in harmony with ourselves, that which can only come from being in harmony with God and with his creation. It belongs to the nature of joy to be radiant; it must communicate itself. The missionary spirit of the Church is none other than the impulse to communicate the joy which has been given."
-Pope Benedict XVI, Christmas Address to the Roman Curia, 2008

"Mission is a duty about which one must say ‘Woe to me if I do not evangelize’ (1 Corinthians 9:16)...redemption and mission are acts of love [because] those who proclaim the Gospel participate in the charity of Christ.”
- Pope Benedict XVI states that evangelization Is "Urgent and Necessary," Vatican City, May 18, 2008

"Help each other to live and to grow in the Christian faith so as to be valiant witnesses of the Lord. Be united, but not closed. Be humble, but not fearful. Be simple, but not naive. Be thoughtful, but not complicated. Enter into dialogue with others, but be yourselves."  
- Pope Benedict XVI, Genoa, Italy, May 18, 2008

- Pope Benedict speaks on Evangelization and Jesus in Yankees Stadium, New York, April 20, 2008

"You have before you the task of seeking new ways to announce Christ in situations of rapid and often profound transformation, and of emphasizing the missionary character of all pastoral activity."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Find New Ways to Announce Christ, Vatican City, February 8, 2008

"One of the promising indications of a renewal in the Church's missionary consciousness in recent decades, has been the growing desire of many lay men and women [...] to cooperate generously in the 'missio ad gentes.' As Vatican Council II stressed, the work of evangelization is a fundamental duty incumbent upon the whole People of God.”
- Pope Benedict VXI, Vatican City, November 16, 2007

"The proclamation of the Gospel remains the primary service that the Church owes to humanity, to offer the salvation of Christ to the man of our time, who is in many ways humiliated and oppressed, and to orientate in a Christian way cultural, social, and ethical transformations that are unfolding in the world."
- Pope Benedict XVI Links Evangelization and True Peace, Vatican City, October 7, 2007

"The one and only Gospel waits to be proclaimed by everyone together, in love and reciprocal esteem."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican City, October 2, 2007

"...The baptized in their sense of mission, through prayer, the witness of life and Christian commitment in all its forms, so that all the faithful may become missionaries in the places where they live and that vocations will come forth to proclaim the Gospel to men who do not yet know it."
- Pope Benedict XVI Supports Lisieux's Mission Year, Vatican City, October 1, 2007

“Our faith is well founded; but it is necessary that this faith become part of our lives. A great effort must therefore be made in order for all Christians to transform themselves into 'witnesses,' ready and able to shoulder the commitment of testifying - always and to everyone - to the hope that animates them.”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Address to 4th Italian Ecclesial Conference, Verona, Italy October 19, 2006

"The Church is missionary by nature and her principal task is evangelization, which aims to proclaim and to witness to Christ and to promote his Gospel of peace and love in every environment and culture.”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Address at Congress of Military Ordinariates, Vatican City, November 13, 2006

"The rediscovery of the value of one's baptism is the basis of the missionary commitment of every Christian, because we see in the Gospel that he who lets himself be fascinated by Christ cannot do without witnessing the joy of following in his footsteps… we understand even more that, in virtue of baptism, we have an inherent missionary vocation.”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus October 29, 2006

"To the extent that we nourish ourselves on Christ and are in love with him, we feel within us the incentive to bring others to him: Indeed, we cannot keep the joy of the faith to ourselves; we must pass it on.”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Papal Address to Rome Diocesan Congress, June 23, 2006

"[Evangelization] is not something optional, but the very vocation of the People of God, a duty that corresponds to it by the command of the Lord Jesus Christ himself”
- Pope Benedict XVI, 40th Anniversary of Vatican II’s “Ad Gentes,” March 13, 2006

“The proclamation and witness of the Gospel are the first service that Christians can offer every person and the whole human race, as they are called to communicate to all the love of God, who manifested himself fully in the only Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ."
- Pope Benedict XVI, 40th Anniversary of Vatican II’s “Ad Gentes,” March 13, 2006

“The primary contribution that the Church offers to the development of mankind and peoples does not consist merely in material means or technical solutions. Rather, it involves the proclamation of the truth of Christ.”
- Pope Benedict XVI, February 1, 2006


Evangelization is Rooted in a Personal Encounter with Jesus Christ


"Christianity is not a new philosophy or new morality. We are Christians only if we encounter Christ... Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we really become Christians... Therefore, let us pray to the Lord to enlighten us, so that, in our world, he will grant us the encounter with his presence, and thus give us a lively faith, an open heart, and great charity for all, capable of renewing the world."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican City, Sept. 3, 2008

"The Church is not an association that wishes to promote a certain cause. It is not about a cause. It is about the person of Jesus Christ."
- Pope Benedict XVI, July 1, 2008

"Many people perceive Christianity as something institutional -- rather than as an encounter with Christ -- which explains why they don't see it as a source of joy."
-Pope Benedict XVI, May 2004

"The essence of Christianity...is an ever-new encounter with... the God who speaks to us, who approaches us and who befriends us!"
- Pope Benedict XVI

"The evangelization of the person and of human communities depends totally on this encounter with Jesus Christ."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican City, November 13, 2007

"One doesn't begin to be a Christian because of an ethical decision or a great idea, but rather because of an encounter with an event, with a Person, who gives new horizons to life, and with that, a decisive orientation.”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican City, November 13, 2007

Our knowledge of Jesus is in need above all of a living experience: Another person's testimony is certainly important, as in general the whole of our Christian life begins with the proclamation that comes to us from one or several witnesses. But we ourselves must be personally involved in an intimate and profound relationship with Jesus." - Pope Benedict XVI, October 4, 2006 Rome

"Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est (1) 2006

"For each one of you, as for the apostles, the encounter with the divine Teacher who calls you friends may be the beginning of an extraordinary venture: that of becoming apostles among your contemporaries to lead them to live their own experience of friendship with God, made Man, with God who has made himself my friend."
- Pope Benedict XVI, UNIV Congress, April 10, 2006

“Our knowledge of Jesus is in need above all of a living experience: Another person's testimony is certainly important, as in general the whole of our Christian life begins with the proclamation that comes to us from one or several witnesses. But we ourselves must be personally involved in an intimate and profound relationship with Jesus.”
Pope Benedict XVI, Rome, October 4, 2006

"The experience of [the African] bishops is that evangelization itself should be foremost, that the God of Jesus Christ must be known, believed in and loved, and that hearts must be converted if progress is to be made on social issues and reconciliation is to begin, and if -- for example -- AIDS is to be combated by realistically facing its deeper causes and the sick are to be given the loving care they need. Social issues and the Gospel are inseparable.”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Munich, Germany, September 10, 2006

"The fundamental task of the evangelization of culture is the challenge to make God visible in the human face of Jesus.”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Bishops of Ontario, Castel Gondolfo, Italy Sept. 8, 2006

“How many people also in our time are in search of God, in search of Jesus and of his Church, in search of divine mercy, and are waiting for a "sign" that will touch their minds and their hearts! Today, as then, the Evangelist reminds us that the only "sign" is Jesus raised on the cross: Jesus who died and rose is the absolutely sufficient sign. Through him we can understand the truth about life and obtain salvation."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Parish of God the Merciful Father, Rome, March 26, 2006

“Thus, the apostles' adventure began as a gathering of persons who open to one another reciprocally. A direct knowledge of the Teacher began for the disciples. They saw where he lived and began to know him. They would not have to be heralds of an idea, but witnesses of a person. Before being sent to evangelize, they would have to "be" with Jesus (cf. Mark 3:14), establishing a personal relationship with him. With this foundation, evangelization is no more than a proclamation of what has been experienced and an invitation to enter into the mystery of communion with Christ (cf. 1 John 13).”
- Pope Benedict XVI, March 22, 2006


Young People and the New Evangelization


"Young people in particular, I appeal to you: bear witness to your faith through the digital world!....Employ these new technologies to make the Gospel known, so that the Good News of God’s infinite love for all people, will resound in new ways across our increasingly technological world!"
- Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican City, May 20, 2009

"If you find your sustenance in Christ, my dear young people, and if you live profoundly in him as did the Apostle Paul, you will not be able to resist speaking about him and making him known and loved by many of your friends and contemporaries."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Youth Day, February 22, 2009

"If Jesus has become your hope, communicate this to others with your joy and your spiritual, apostolic and social engagement. Let Christ dwell within you, and having placed all your faith and trust in Him, spread this hope around you. Make choices that demonstrate your faith."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Youth Day, February 22, 2009

"The main task for us all is that of a new evangelization aimed at helping younger generations to rediscover the true face of God, who is Love. To you young people, who are in search of a firm hope, I address the very words that Saint Paul wrote to the persecuted Christians in Rome at that time: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom 15:13)."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Youth Day, February 22, 2009

"I think in particular of our need to speak to the hearts of young people, who, despite their constant exposure to messages contrary to the Gospel, continue to thirst for authenticity, goodness and truth. Much remains to be done, particularly on the level of preaching and catechesis in parishes and schools, if the new evangelization is to bear fruit for the renewal of ecclesial life in America."
- Pope Benedict XVI, meeting with U.S. bishops, Washington, DC, April 16, 2008

"For more than 160 years, through the initiative of the French bishop Charles de Forbin Janson, the childhood of Jesus has become the icon for the commitment of Christian children who help the Church in her task of evangelization by prayer, sacrifice and gestures of solidarity....Thousands of children meet the needs of other children, driven by the love that the Son of God, become a child, brought to the earth. I say thanks to these little ones and I pray that they will always be missionaries."
- Pope Benedict XVI Thanks Little Ones for Missionary Work, Vatican City, January 6, 2008

"The missionary experience is part of Christian formation and it is important for adolescents and young people to be able to live it personally."
- Pope Benedict XVI Encourages Youth to Evangelize Hometowns, Vatican City, October 7, 2007

"Continue to witness to the Gospel every day and commit yourselves generously in the next missionary initiatives in the Diocese of Rome."
- Pope Benedict XVI Encourages Youth to Evangelize Hometowns, Vatican City, October 7, 2007

"Apostolic and missionary fruitfulness is not principally due to programmes and pastoral methods that are cleverly drawn up and "efficient", but is the result of the community's constant prayer (cf. "Evangelii Nuntiandi," 75). Moreover, for the mission to be effective, communities must be united, that is, they must be "of one heart and soul" (cf. Acts 4:32), and they must be ready to witness to the love and joy that the Holy Spirit instils in the hearts of the faithful (cf. Acts 4:32)."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Papal Message for World Youth Day '08, July 24, 2007

"Those who allow themselves to be led by the Spirit understand that placing oneself at the service of the Gospel is not an optional extra, because they are aware of the urgency of transmitting this Good News to others...I assure you that the Spirit of Jesus today is inviting you young people to be bearers of the good news of Jesus to your contemporaries."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Papal Message for World Youth Day '08, July 24, 2007


The Role of Priests and Religious in Evangelization


“In today’s world, as in the troubled times of the Curé of Ars, the lives and activity of priests need to be distinguished by a forceful witness to the Gospel. As Pope Paul VI rightly noted, “modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses”. Lest we experience existential emptiness and the effectiveness of our ministry be compromised, we need to ask ourselves ever anew: “Are we truly pervaded by the word of God? Is that word truly the nourishment we live by, even more than bread and the things of this world? Do we really know that word? Do we love it? Are we deeply engaged with this word to the point that it really leaves a mark on our lives and shapes our thinking?"
- Pope Benedict XVI, letter proclaiming a Year for Priests, Vatican City, June 18, 2009

"The fields are still ripe for harvesting (cf. Jn 4:35); God continues to give the growth (cf. 1 Cor 3:6). We can and must believe, with the late Pope John Paul II, that God is preparing a new springtime for Christianity (cf. Redemptoris Missio, 86). What is needed above all, at this time in the history of the Church in America, is a renewal of that apostolic zeal which inspires her shepherds actively to seek out the lost, to bind up those who have been wounded, and to bring strength to those who are languishing (cf. Ez 34:16)."

- Pope Benedict XVI, meeting with U.S. bishops, Washington, DC, April 16, 2008

"You must know how to translate the indications of the word into daily witness, allowing yourselves to be formed by the word which, like seed sown in good soil, brings abundant fruit. Thus you will remain docile to the Spirit and grow in union with God, you will cultivate fraternal communion among yourselves and be ready to serve your brethren generously, especially those most in need."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Consecrated Persons Key for Church, Vatican City, February 5, 2008

“I thank you, dear Brothers, for preaching the love of Christ and exhorting your people to tolerance, respect and love of their brothers and sisters and of all persons. In this way you exercise the prophetic ministry that the Lord has entrusted to the Church, and in particular to the Successors of the Apostles (cf. Pastores Gregis, 26).”
- Pope Benedict XVI’s Address to Bishops of Kenya, Vatican City, November 19, 2007

“I urge you to continue your fraternal cooperation with one another in the spirit of the community of Christ’s disciples, united in your love for him and in the Gospel that you proclaim.”
- Pope Benedict XVI’s Address to Bishops of Kenya, Vatican City, November 19, 2007

"While conscious of the challenges you face, I encourage you to follow faithfully in the footsteps of your founders, and to stir into flame the charisms and apostolic zeal which you have inherited from them, confident that Christ will continue to work with you and to confirm your preaching with signs of his presence and power."
- Pope Benedict VXI, Vatican City, November 16, 2007

"Go forth! Carry the good tidings to the poor, bind the wounds of the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom to slaves, open the doors of prisons to those within, promulgate the year of the Lord's mercy…  Bring into the world the hope of God, which is Christ the Lord Who rose from the dead and lives and reigns forever.”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Address to 4th Italian Ecclesial Conference, Verona, Italy October 19, 2006


The New Evangelization is for the Whole World


“The need to proclaim Christ boldly and courageously is a continuing priority for the Church; indeed it is a solemn duty laid upon her by Christ who enjoined the Apostles to ‘go out to the whole world, proclaim the Good News to all creation.’”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Japanese Bishops, December 2007

"May all our contemporaries stand beside their brothers and sisters in humanity. Each one of you is called by Christ and must be a missionary of the Good News in word and in active charity."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Christians Urged to Be Missionaries in Charity, Vatican City, January 27, 2008

“The Church must never be satisfied with the ranks of those whom she has reached at a certain point or say that others are fine as they are: Muslims, Hindus and so forth. The Church can never retreat comfortably to within the limits of her own environment. She is charged with universal solicitude; she must be concerned with and for one and all...  We must... as the Lord says - go out ever anew ‘to the highways and hedges’ (Luke 14:23), to deliver God's invitation to his banquet also to those who have so far heard nothing or have not been stirred within.”
- Pope Benedict XVI, May 22, 2006



The New Evangelization and Ecumenism


"Many of our brothers and sisters are 'baptized, but insufficiently evangelized.' In a number of cases, nations once rich in faith and in vocations are losing their identity under the influence of a secularized culture. The need for a new evangelization, so deeply felt by my venerable Predecessor, must be valiantly reaffirmed, in the certainty that God's word is effective." - Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, 2010

January 2009 Prayer Intention--Mission: "That the different Christian confessions, aware of the need for a new evangelisation in this period of profound transformations, may be committed to announcing the Good News and moving towards the full unity of all Christians in order to offer a more credible testimony of the Gospel."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Prayer Intentions, January 2009

"The great tasks facing the ecclesial community in the modern world -- and among the many I particularly stress evangelization and ecumenism -- are centered on the Word of God and, at the same time, draw therefrom their justification and support."
- Pope Benedict XVI Names 2 Great Tasks for Modern Church, January 21, 2008

"Christ had a specific evangelizing goal in mind when he prayed at the Last Supper that all his disciples 'be one...The Church's evangelizing mission, therefore, moves along the path of ecumenism, the path of unity of faith, of evangelical witness and authentic fraternity."
- Pope Benidict XVI, Vatican City, January 20, 2008


General Evangelization Quotes


"Many of our brothers and sisters are 'baptized, but insufficiently evangelized.' In a number of cases, nations once rich in faith and in vocations are losing their identity under the influence of a secularized culture. The need for a new evangelization, so deeply felt by my venerable Predecessor, must be valiantly reaffirmed, in the certainty that God's word is effective." - Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, 2010

"Their example gives witness to the fact that baptism commits Christians to participate boldly in the spread of the Kingdom of God, cooperating if necessary with the sacrifice of one's own life...This martyrdom of ordinary life is a particularly important witness in the secularized societies of our time. It is the peaceful battle of love that all Christians, like Paul, have to fight tirelessly; the race to spread the Gospel that commits us until death. May Mary, Queen of Martyrs and Star of Evangelization, help us and assist us in our daily witness."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican City, October 28, 2007

" [The most important thing for the Church in Gabon is] transmitting the faith and acquiring a deeper knowledge of the Christian mystery. In order to meet the challenges they face, the faithful need a thorough formation that enables them to found their Christian life upon clear principles." Benedict XVI Urges Formation in Faith for Gabon
- Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican City, October 26, 2007

"We ask the Blessed Virgin for the gift of conversion for all Christians, so that they may announce and give a faithful and coherent witness to the perennial evangelical message, which indicates to humanity the path to an authentic peace."
- Pope Benedict XVI Comments on Gospel Passage of 10 Lepers, Vatican City, October 15, 2007

"Jesus Christ does not teach us a spirituality 'of closed eyes,' but one of 'alertness,' one which entails an absolute duty to take notice of the needs of others and of situations involving those whom the Gospel tells us are our neighbors....The gaze of Jesus, what 'his eyes' teach us, leads to human closeness, solidarity, giving time, sharing our gifts and even our material goods."
- Pope Benedict XVI Promoting Volunteerism, Vienna, Austria, September 10, 2007

"Continue to walk in the faith and, faithful to the mandate that has been entrusted to you, go out with solicitude and joy toward all creatures and pass on to them the gifts of salvation…Let yourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit to be the leaven of new life, salt of the earth and light of the world."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Parish Council Members, Mariazell, Austria, September 9, 2007

“Lifting one's gaze to the living God, the guarantor of our freedom and of truth, is a premise for arriving at a new humanity. Nowadays, in a special way, the world needs people capable of proclaiming and bearing witness to God who is love, and consequently the one light which in the end, illumines the darkness of the world and gives us strength to live and work”
- Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est.  2006

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