Last weekend, on the Feast of the Ascension (and Mother’s Day), I had the honour and privilege to baptize Jackson. This was truly something to celebrate. Jackson became a new member of the community of Christians. In doing so he became a disciple of Jesus and was given a call – he became an evangelist.
An evangelist? This is not a term we Catholics use very often. Sometimes, in fact, we seem uncomfortable applying the term to ourselves. Yet it is a term that we hear used throughout the New Testament and it very aptly describes who we become when we are baptised. An evangelist is someone who shares the good news, the Gospel. That is the call given to Jackson, and to each and every one of us when we were baptised.
Our diocese of Saint John has entered into a project to realign in order to revitalize our communities. This is not simply merging and changing our diocesan structure of parishes. It is not simply a response to financial or even population challenges. Its ultimate aim and purpose is to bring new life to our parish communities, to revitalize.
The vision that directs the realignment of our diocesan parish communities is an expression of our baptismal call. The vision asserts who we are to become:
“A community of growing disciples who share their faith, support one another, and lead other to Jesus Christ.”
“An evangelizing community that gives Jesus Christ to the world.”
This is our call, given us at our baptism. In describing Jesus’ return to the Father in the Ascension, the Gospel of Mark has Jesus say to his disciples: “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole of creation.” (Mark 16:15) Proclaiming the good news in word and in action is what we do as disciples who are evangelizers or evangelists.