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Last night concluded a three night Parish Mission on the New Evangelization at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in New Albany, Indiana.  I had the privilege and pleasure of serving as pastor at OLPH for nine years, from 1998 – 2007.  We were blessed with good crowds all three nights of the mission.

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Many people are curious what this New Evangelization is all about.  It is primarily about each Christian taking their faith life seriously; their relationship with Christ intimately.  The New Evangelization calls us to a vibrant living of our faith day-to-day.  We are called to be intentional in following Jesus (Discipleship) and actively making disciples of others (Mission.)

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Fr. Eric Johnson, Pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, making announcements prior to the last session of the parish mission, Tuesday evening.

The New Evangelization calls Catholics to realize that the Church is not to be self-referential, but turned to the world to proclaim Christ in all His fullness, beauty and truth; for it is only the beauty of God that attracts and warms the human heart.  Every Catholic is called to a deeper understanding and faith in Christ, in His Church, in His Word, and in His abiding presence in us through the grace of the Sacraments.

Pope Francis is the ‘look and feel’ of the New Evangelization.  The New Evangelization is not a ‘program’ with a set model to follow.  The New Evangelization calls us to follow Christ faithfully.  This means taking up our cross daily, dying to self and to worldly ways.  We are called to authentic love, the strength and depth of which is revealed by Christ on the Cross, which is the true measure of God’s love and mercy.

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Crucifix in the sanctuary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, New Albany, Indiana.

As Pope Francis instructed in a September 15 Angelus address:

In reality, only the justice of God can save us!  And the justice of God is revealed in the Cross: the Cross is the judgement of God on us all and on this world.  But how does God judge us?  By giving his life for us!  Here is the supreme act of justice that defeated the prince of this world once and for all; and this supreme act of justice is the supreme act of mercy.  Jesus calls us all to follow this path: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”  (Luke 6:36)