Why a Campaign?
Now is the time for a campaign in the Diocese of Phoenix because we are currently facing a historic opportunity: people need to meet Christ through his followers (disciples) and through hearing the Good News of Jesus and His Church (evangelization.) This need has existed for centuries in every place and culture – but never before as it does in our Diocese today.
Take a moment to learn more about Discipleship, Evangelization, and how we will respond below.
What is Discipleship?
Discipleship is a dynamic process of following Jesus. It means coming in close to the heart of Christ - watching, listening, asking - and then making an active choice to go where Jesus goes, to become more and more like Him. The word "disciple" in Greek signifies a student or apprentice, and for us, too, we confess our need to learn and to be transformed. It means giving our lives, totally, just as Jesus commanded Peter and Andrew (Mark 4:19). Jesus is the model for us; in His teaching, action, joy, and hope - we must encounter Him and commit to following wherever He leads.
What is Evangelization?
Evangelization is the process of proclaiming the Good News that Jesus is Lord, and that the Church He founded is true indeed. Pope Paul VI said that "evangelization is bringing the Good News of Jesus into every human situation" and continued with "the Church exists in order to evangelize...to preach and teach, to channel the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God." The Catholic Church has a bold mission: live authentically as disciples, give reason for our hope in Christ, and encourage others in faith to enter fully into a relationship with God.
A Response in Our Diocese
If we are each called to become disciples of Jesus and to be active members of His church, we must respond to the growing need and opportunity in the world around us - specifically in our Diocese. God has truly blessed us with an incredibly rich home: a vibrant economy, a crossroads of culture, and an enthusiastic community of parishes and missions spread out over nearly 44,000 square miles of territory. Yet we face great challenges that demand our response in faith.
Studies have shown that the second largest religious grouping of people in the country is "former Catholics," and similar studies point to a great need for a growing population of people who leave the Church because they do not believe it is possible to have a personal relationship with God. Each of us can think of a friend of family member who has left the Church of their childhood because of struggles in faith. As Christians, it is our responsibility to increase our efforts to meet these people through our own witness of faith: to give a reason for our joy and hope (1 Peter 3:15) and to offer an invitation to encounter Jesus afresh. This effort is what Pope St. John Paul II called the "New Evangelization" - a recommitment to energy and new means of expression to clearly articulate Jesus Christ and His church.
Our efforts in the Together Let Us Go Forth ~ Juntos Sigamos Adelante Campaign are a direct response to our call to live as Disciples, and the commandment (Mathew 28:19) of Evangelization. From health clinics that bring healing in the name of Christ to the establishment of vibrant Catholic institutions in the West Valley, our campaign is much more than a series of "programs" or "building projects" - it is a response in faith to the mission of the Church. It is an opportunity for every parish, every mission, and every Catholic to make a commitment to join as one community, unified. It will require great sacrifice for the benefit of others, even those whom we may never meet in different cities or parishes. Yet we remain in hope trusting that God will indeed bless our common efforts of faith.
The time to bring Christ is not limited to yesterday, and it is not only tomorrow. It is today. Together, let us go forth.