Q&A with Sean Ater on the Center for the New Evangelization
What is the Center for the New Evangelization?
The Center for the New Evangelization (CNE) is the combination of each office in the archdiocesan pastoral center charged with the mission of evangelization. These offices include: Evangelization and Discipleship, Youth Evangelization, College Campus Ministry, Young Adult Evangelization and Marriage & Family Evangelization.
What Ministries does it include?
The CNE provides evangelization programming for some of the most important stages in people’s lives. For young people, the CNE hosts retreats and prayer experiences such as Encounter, youth and family Masses in partnership with NET Ministries, and retreats in partnership with the Catholic Youth Summer Camp. Our College and Campus Ministries provide evangelization and community for students attending our colleges and universities and work in partnership with apostolates. Our Young Adult Evangelization includes community building, small groups, human formation and prayer experiences. For couples preparing for marriage, we offer Genesis retreats and help parishes implement the “Witness to Love” marriage prep program.
Much of our ministry is in supporting, mentoring and equipping parish leaders for evangelization. This includes formation and training.
What brought about it’s Formation?
The CNE is the culmination of a renewed emphasis on evangelization by Archbishop Schnurr. In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI called for an extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization building upon the hopes of his predecessor, St. Pope John Paull II. In the wake of the Synod, Archbishop Schnurr established the Office for the New Evangelization in 2013. Now, seven years later, the Center for the New Evangelization brings together every office in the archdiocese directly tasked with evangelization in order to serve people
and parishes in more fruitful ways. We’re doing this by combining talents and resources and operating under one mission, vision and approach.
How will the CNE assist Parishes?
Our mission with parishes is “communion for mission.” This means we work with parishes for renewal, particularly the renewal of parish leadership. The spiritual communion of the pastor and his parish leaders is essential for the renewal of parish structures. In addition to parish renewal efforts, we provide planning and training for mission. We do this primarily through workshops and training on particular areas of evangelization. For us the parish is “ground zero” for all evangelization efforts.
How will the CNE help Individual Catholics?
Our mission with individual Catholics is “mission for communion.” We want to reach everyone with the Gospel and encourage each person on their journey toward missionary discipleship. Our efforts are directed to reach people where they are and bring them into deeper communion with Christ and the Church. We are focusing our evangelization efforts on young adults. We believe that the young adult years are critical – from leaving their parents’ home, to attending college, to the discernment years of single young adulthood, to preparing for marriage, to the first years of marriage and parenting. When young people have a deep relationship with Christ and the Church, they will build families that nurture and pass on the faith to their children.