The mission of the Office of Pastoral Services of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Anchorage is to create among Catholics in South Central Alaska an enthusiasm for their faith, that in living their faith in Jesus, they freely share it with others. The Office assists the Archbishop in forming Catholics as evangelizers through Liturgy. The Office also assists the agencies of the Archdiocese and especially the parishes in educating, training, and forming Catholics in Catholic evangelization and faith formation, and specifically in the three goals of Go and Make Disciples, a National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States.
A Plan for Evangelization
Organized evangelization is a relatively new ministry in the Catholic Church in the United States. In November 1992, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved Go and Make Disciples. The Plan offers three goals for implementation.
Goal One concerns the ongoing conversion and reform of the individual Catholic. The goal reads: To bring about in all Catholics such an enthusiasm for their faith that, in living their faith in Jesus, they freely share it with others. The document goes on to explain: Clearly, unless we continue to be evangelized ourselves, with renewed enthusiasm for our faith and our Church, we cannot evangelize others. Priority must be given to continued and renewed formation in faith as the basis of our deepening personal relationship with Jesus.
Goal Two offers the following challenge to Catholics across the country. The goal reads: To invite all people in the United States, whatever their social or cultural background, to hear the message of salvation in Jesus Christ so they may come to join us in the fullness of the Catholic Church. Only a Church renewed in spirit can pursue so grand a purpose. Pope Paul VI says: “The Church is an evangelizer, but she begins by being evangelized herself” (Evangelization in the Modern World, #15).
Goal three addresses the impact of evangelization upon culture and society. The goal reads: To foster Gospel values in our society, promoting the dignity of the human person, the importance of the family, and the common good of society, so that our nation may continue to be transformed by the saving power of Jesus Christ.
A simple way to remember what is asked by the three goals is to understand them as: BELIEVE, SHARE, AND TRANSFORM, Goals One, Two, and Three respectively.
The Archdiocesan Office for Evangelization acknowledges that a large percentage of Catholics of the Archdiocese of Anchorage stand in need of evangelization. The Office is concerned with conversion within the individual, conversion to the Church community, and the conversion of society and its culture. It helps the Church maintain a posture of “mission” over “maintenance.”
Liturgy is the source and summit and the beginning of how Catholics evangelize. Liturgy begins with Welcome and Hospitality. Liturgy encourages and enables Transformation because it is Paschal, Ecclesial, and Sacramental.
The Archdiocesan Evangelization Committee collaboratively advises the Director of the Office for Evangelization in implementing the mission of the Office for Evangelization. The members of the Committee are invited to be part of the Committee by the Director of the Office for Evangelization in consultation with the members of the Committee. Members are usually selected from the leaders of evangelization in the parishes and other organizations.