Fr. Barron’s 7 Qualities of a New Evangelist: What Makes Them New?

In the video above, Fr. Barron lays out the seven qualities of a “New Evangelist”–priests who would be active agents in carrying out the New Evangelization Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict have called for.

Fr. Barron has made the formation of New Evangelists the primary mission Mundelein. A vision that, I have no doubt, will draw many young men to this seminary in search of the tools needed to save souls in the future.

But in what sense do these seven qualities make a New Evangelist new? And how will they differ from evangelists that have come before?

To answer that defines the core of what the New Evangelization is all about.
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The Most Important Thing You’ll Never Do for the Year of Faith

The Year of Faith is starting soon.

And, Pope Benedict has asked everyone to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

But you’ll never do it.

Oh, you’ve wanted to for a long time. You know you should do it. But it’s so big! And it’s kind of…dry.

I once read the Catechism all the way through…once! But I have to admit, I did it out of fear.

In the Catechetics program at Franciscan, you had to pass a test on the whole Catechism to get the degree. Anything was fair game, so I read the whole thing.

It was a killer test. Hardly anyone passed it the first time. But I did (grin).

How did I do it? Well, here’s a better question, how do you eat an elephant?
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Franciscan’s Faith + Reason Website | A Tool for the New Evangelization

I got an amazing education from Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Yet I missed out one of the best educational opportunities they provided.

The Faith + Reason website is a new online initiative from Franciscan University of Steubenville that makes great Catholic presentations given at the university available to the public.

It’s the stories that you tell…

There were a lot of great things about being a student at Franciscan.
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What the Olympics Coverage Can Teach You About Evangelization

I’m not a big sports fan.

But I love to watch the Olympics.

Even the obscure sports are so much fun. I mean, who normally gets excited about rowing?

But even with the more popular sports like swimming–I don’t normally sit up on a Saturday night wondering who’s going to win the 100m freestyle.

But come Olympics time, I’m there! And I’m thinking there’s a few of you out there that get Olympic fever too.

So what makes the Olympics so cool?
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Evangelization and the Top Gun Effect

Sometimes this gets me in trouble with the hardcore catechetics types…

In evangelization, you have to do more than just present the facts of the Faith to get a good start with people.

Most of the time, if you don’t sell them a bit, it won’t grab their hearts.

Let’s take an example from my own life.

I was recruited into being a Navy pilot by the 1986 movie “Top Gun.”

“Top Gun” is the Navy’s elite fighter pilot tactics school. In the movie, Tom Cruise played a pilot who got a chance to go there and fly with the “best of the best.”

In a sense, Top Gun evangelized me. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Well, maybe I’m a little ashamed. But I couldn’t help it!

It made being a Navy pilot look so cool and glamorous–it totally drew me in. And, I wasn’t the only one. Recruitment skyrocketed. In fact, it sold the Navy lifestyle so well, recruiting officers set up inside the movie theaters to cash in.

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In Evangelization, It’s God Who First Reaches Out

Olivia Hussey as Mary in "Jesus of Nazareth"

It’s hard to reach people outside the Church with the message of Christ.

But that’s the people you’re supposed to reach with evangelization!

Most people that start in the RCIA (the process for joining the Church) already know something about Catholicism.

But, they’re the brave ones–the 20% with enough gumption to walk through the doors.

There’s probably another 80% that have questions but aren’t ready to take that step.

However, like God, we have to find ways to reach out to people that need a nudge in the right direction. And, I was convicted of this recently by watching the old movie Jesus of Nazareth.
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How Effective Evangelization Begins

Does being Catholic bring you joy?

Do you show it?

St. Teresa of Avila would say of Catholics who took no joy in their faith, “Lord, save us from sour-faced saints!”

There is a tendency in the Catholic Church to emphasize the demands of Catholicism first.

Children’s catechesis focuses primarily on learning about doctrine, definitions, and rules–the “what” of the Catholic Faith. However, for an evangelizing catechist, there might be a better way to begin.

In the video below, Fr. Barron talks about that better way using the example of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
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The Taylor Swift Guide to Evangelization

Taylor Swift is hugely popular.

From 2006 to 2011, she sold over 20 million albums and 41.8 million singles.

She’s actually in the 2012 Guinness Book Of World Records for the Fastest Selling Digital Album by a Female Artist (source: Wikipedia).

What’s that got to do with evangelization? If your message doesn’t resonate with people, no one will pay attention.

Taylor Swift has that attention thing down.

My friend Roy Petitfils listed 10 things Swift could teach Catholics about evangelization. Here’s the first four on his list:

  • Be real—Be yourself.
  • Meet people where they are, not where you want them to be.
  • Observe life, people (including yourself) and human nature closely. Try to understand what they really feel, what they hope for, what they long for (this really helps with the previous).
  • Speak from your heart. It reveals your humanity. People are tired of talking, singing, preaching and commenting heads. They yearn to connect with the humanity, of others.

In this post, I will show you how to get some of Taylor Swift’s magic into your evangelization efforts.
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Evangelize With Your Strongest Assets | The Benefits of the Eucharist

A real estate agent once told me, “When you’re selling a house, you lead with your strongest asset. You talk about the best features first.”

She told me this during a lecture on evangelization in the RCIA.

“So,” she asked, “why do we always wait so late in the game to start talking about the Eucharist? It’s the best thing we’ve got!”

The Eucharist is the most spiritually beneficial thing in the Catholic Church. But it’s usually not the first thing people talk about when trying to evangelize.

There’s the feeling that it’s too complex and loaded a topic to tackle right away.

So how do you introduce the Eucharist to non-Catholics so that it draws them in deeper instead of scaring them away? That’s what this post is about.
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Baking Evangelization Into the Business

Does your parish actively evangelize?

You might say no because there’s no special evangelization program like a door-to-door ministry.

But I think that’s the wrong way to look at it.

Here’s an example from the business world that makes this point.
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