Here are your stats!
Title: New Evangelization: Passing on the Catholic Faith Today
Author: Cardinal Donald Wuerl
Page Count: 90
Current Price: $4.95 (how can you beat that?!)
This book was quick read when I sat down to read it, but boy did it pack a punch. This book is written by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington. He wrote this during The Synod for the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith called by Pope Benedict XVI convened October 7-28, 2012. The book reads like a mission statement meant to be carried out by the reader. At the end of each chapter there is a quick summary as well as questions for reflection. This book can be passed out to every new Catholic, anyone inquiring about coming back to the faith and especially those who have fallen asleep in their faith.
“There are numerous people, particularly in what we call the Western world, who have already heard of Jesus. Our challenge is to stir up again and rekindle in the midst of their daily life a concrete situation a new awareness and familiarity with Jesus” (Wuerl, 2012. p. 83)
Short, succinct and to the point, Cardinal Wuerl gives you some history and homily. The reader doesn’t get specific implementation strategies – but in his teacher style, he can’t to do it all for you. Much like my husband says to Lexicon when he drops him off at school – “I giveth you to St. Joseph the Worker”, Cardinal Wuerl brings us to the the threshold of the knowledge he’s gleaned from the Synod, it’s history and application. He superimposes all of this onto current secular roadblocks and provides us with a toolkit for how to get beyond the staleness of one’s faith. It’s all right there. All in the Synod documents and he’s there to help us wade through the heavy stuff. Don’t know a term or a word? No problem. Cardinal Wuerl gives the word and its meaning in such a way that you don’t feel as if you’re being “schooled”:
“The word soteriology means the study of the soter, the Greek word for “savior”. Soteriology is simply the study of what redemption in Jesus Christ means.” (Wuerl 2012, p. 80)
This can also be considered a next step book for new Catholics after RCIA. I certainly wish I had it. This book is also great to get an RCIA team fired up in their role as pilgrim journey guides (better known as RCIA candidates and Catechumens). I will definitely be sharing this with them at our next organization meeting.
Essentially, this book is for anyone looking for a bit of a kick start. One downside could be for those looking for specific strategies; you may be left wanting. Perhaps that’s the intent?
I read this book in three sittings. I earmarked and highlighted, underlined and stuffed pieces of paper in that I wanted to relay to you here with my thoughts. Towards the end of the book, Cardinal Wuerl caught my attention with the standout (for him) qualities required for the new evangelizer today:
“…boldness or courage, connectedness to the Church, a sense of urgency, and joy.” (Wuerl 2012, p. 86)
Isn’t that what we feel like inside? Sometimes? No? Just me? Come on! It’s the joy part that got me. It takes courage to write, even more to write about my faith. I do feel a connectedness to the church and an urgency to share with you everything that I feel about my faith. But, did I have joy throughout? A resounding yes! I invite you to ask yourself the same.
This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on New Evangelization: Passing on the Catholic Faith Today. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.