What Can the Saints Teach Us about the New Evangelization?

What Can the Saints Teach Us about the New Evangelization - header image with several saints

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:

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?


Explore the Saints for the New Evangelization with a free slideshow presentation.

About Joe Paprocki 2380 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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