As previously explained, I've enrolled in the University of Notre Dame's Satellite Theological Education Program (STEP) to pursue their Certificate in Doctrine. I am currently taking my third of the required courses: Ecclesiology. I'm now in the fourth week, whose topic is "The Church in and for the World."
The pre-class reflection questions this week were:
- What do you regard as the greatest needs of the modern world?
- How do you think the Church can best address those needs?
I believe that the world's great need has not changed for 2000 years. Jesus told his disciples and, through them, his Church to go out 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." (Matthew 28:19-20)
I believe the Church is addressing that command through the New Evangelization, which I regard as one of the most exciting religious developments in my lifetime. I have been particularly impressed with Bishop Robert Barron's efforts to evangelize the culture through social media, video, and other new technologies.
The University of Notre Dame's STEP program is another great example of the New Evangelization, albeit one targeted mainly to people who are already Catholics. After all, Pope Benedict XVI emphasized that the Church must engage with our emerging post-Christian culture in the first instance "using new means, methods and ardor to reach alienated or poorly catechized Catholics, and by these means compellingly proposing to them the timeless message of the Gospel anew."