4 Questions about Evangelization with Michael Dopp

4 Questions about Evangelization with Michael Dopp


Michael Dopp is the President of Mission of the Redeemer Ministries, which equips Catholics for the work of evangelization. 

1. The New Evangelization is a very big deal right now, and at times it seems like everything good that is happening in the Church is being labeled as "the New Evangelization." What is it really?

Great question Josh. With the recent Synod of Bishops, it seems like everyone is talking about the New Evangelization. The funny thing is, everyone seems to mean something different by it. Some people think it replaces what we used to call "mission," others think it is any activity done in the Church, and others think it is just evangelization that uses modern technology. 

All of these miss what John Paul II was referring to when he coined the term "New Evangelization". John Paul II said that the New Evangelization is the re-evangelization of the baptized. It's that simple! He saw that many baptized Catholics do not have faith, that is, they have not really been converted. So while the Church needs to continue to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to non-Christians, it is equally important that she evangelizes those people who were baptized but no longer practice the faith, those who call themselves Catholics but who live a life far removed from Christ, and even those go to Mass but have not given their heart fully over to God. In short, the new evangelization is nothing more and nothing less than the work of evangelizing unconverted Catholics.

2. Why does this meaning get lost? What is at stake if we fail to clearly understand the terms evangelization and New Evangelization?

Everything is at stake, for the work of evangelization is the very reason the Church exists. If we do not understand it, how can we do it? And if we do not do it, how can people come to salvation? When the New Evangelization is reduced to just being any good or pastoral activity, we miss the heart of what it is: the call to conversion.

Paul VI said that the Church evangelizes when she seeks to convert. We have forgotten what a beautiful gift conversion is. And so in the busyness of doing lots of good things, we forget that the most important is leading people into deep friendship with Christ. But the good news is this: for those who do realize the meaning of the New Evangelization, that is, that it is the re-evangelization of the baptized, they can refocus both their lives and their contributions to the Church in such a way that it invites people to this eternal friendship with God.

In short, it really is a matter of eternal salvation.

3. So what about simply being devout Catholics, being holy, and letting your life be your message? Are you saying that this is not enough?

It is a great start, but no, it is insufficient. Imagine I love my wife (which I do!). So I do good things for her. I am kind and gentle and I cook and clean. Imagine I serve her and am generous with her. All of these are very good, but they are not enough. I need to speak to her. I need to tell her that I love her. In other words, the love that is implicit in my actions needs to be made explicit in my words. 

Paul VI said that a wordless witness, even a great one, is never enough. We need to actually tell people about Jesus. We need to invite them to repentance and to friendship with Christ. Silent witness to the faith is like tilling the soil. Proclaiming the truth is like planting the seed. You have to do both in order to grow a vegetable garden. 

The same is true for evangelization. A wordless witness opens the hearts of others and prepares them for the life giving message of the Gospel. But this life giving message must then be shared. Many Catholics have bought into the lie that we should never speak about our faith or invite others to something deeper. This simply is not true. While it goes without saying that everything we say must be done in truth and love, speaking about our faith is part of being Catholic. In fact, proclaiming the Good News is an act of charity for it is to reveal to another the very thing for which his or her heart is calling out for: communion with God.

4. What is Mission of the Redeemer Ministries? What resources do you offer?

Mission of the Redeemer Ministries was founded by my wife and I in 2008. It is dedicated to forming evangelized Catholics for the New Evangelization. Pope Benedict reminded all Christians that in virtue of baptism, they have an inherent missionary vocation. There are lots of great resources out there to help Catholics learn more about their faith and to grow in holiness. But there is very little available to train and equip them in how to simply share their faith with those around them. 

Thus we meet this essential need by running a 3 day crash course in the basics of sharing the Catholic faith. What people find amazing is how simple and easy it is. Many Catholics are afraid to share their faith but we find that after our program they have the tools and confidence to go and do it. This is beautiful for us to see because all Catholics should evangelize. Sometimes this is viewed as a duty or obligation. The truth is, it is a gift, for God has given us the immense privilege of being an instrument in the salvation of another soul.

Thus, by equipping Catholics to share their faith, Mission of the Redeemer Ministries plays an important role in the great act of love which is evangelization and one which brings us great joy!

If you would like to contact Michael Dopp about speaking to your group, you can do so here.

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