Let’s identify some saints that we can look to as models for the New Evangelization. I’d like to be able to take credit for this notion of saints serving as evangelization models, however, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI beat me to it when he canonized seven new saints in 2012: Jacques Berthieu, Pedro Calungsod, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Marìa Carmen Sallés y Barangueras, Marianne Cope, Kateri Tekakwitha, and Anna Schäffer. In doing so, he referred to these seven as saints for the New Evangelization.
Even before that, however, Pope John Paul II canonized numerous new saints as models of holiness for the New Evangelization. In a 2001 interview, Archbishop Edward Nowak, then Secretary of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, explained the reason for looking to the saints for the New Evangelization:
The saints…enable us to see how Christ continues to make himself present to the world, and how his Gospel is extending in time and space. They are valuable examples for the Church: Blesseds and Saints show us the practical ways to holiness. Their lives are lives of witnessing to Christ. Today they are held up to the people of the new evangelization and to the people of our times…Since they constitute a heritage, the saints are also a programme, that is, they show us what we need to do. They are an example for us to follow of how, or in what way, we should fulfil our commitment to being human and Christian. (“New Evangelization with the Saints,” L’Osservatore Romano, 28 November 2001, page 3)
In describing the New Evangelization, St. John Paul II explained that it is a proclaiming of the Gospel with “new ardor, methods, and expression.” I suggest the following as inspirational examples for these three key ingredients of the New Evangelization:
- Ardor: St. Frances Xavier Cabrini; St. Teresa of Calcutta; St. Isaac Jogues.
- Methods: St. Paul; Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
- Expression: Blessed Fredrick Ozanam; Servant of God Dorothy Day; St. Ignatius of Loyola.
If we look to the example of the saints and other holy people, we can find many who embody the qualities of ardor, methods, and expression. Who would you add to the list in each category? And what can these saints teach us about the New Evangelization?