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Melbourne Archbishop declares evangelisation No. 1 priority

Archbishop Denis Hart yesterday opened an Archdiocesan Office for Evangelisation, following a new pastoral letter admitting new challenges facing the Church and underlining evangelisation as his "foremost pastoral priority".

Drawing from statements of Pope John Paul II, he said in his pastoral letter that there is a "lack of the sense of God and the importance of the Church" in the midst of challenges from "the horror of terrorism", genetic research, the Internet revolution, the evolving global economy.

"The once Christian foundations of our society are irrevocably changed; and with devastating consequences," he said.

The Office and pastoral letter are part of an ongoing strategy that has included the "Contemplate - Launch Out" focus , and the establishment of the Archdiocesan Committee for Mission (2002-2004), which has now presented its recommendations. The Letter aims to offer a more direct application to the Archdiocese on evangelisation.

In the Letter, Archbishop Hart highlights decreasing numbers at Church, problems with a basic knowledge of Christian beliefs, and the Christian faith exerting less influence on public morality as major challenges locally.

Acknowledging that much has already been achieved through energies in schools, parishes and other pastoral initiatives, he said that "new methods of evangelisation are needed".

In response, Archbishop Hart said he has established the Archbishop's Office for Evangelisation as a fundamental source of support for parishes.

"Systematic focus on evangelisation by education, information, resources and strategies will be promoted from the Office," he said.

"The Office will encircle and guide Catholic Adult Education Melbourne (including education for evangelisation as well as education and accreditation of Pastoral Associates) and will encircle and guide the Office for Worship (and include other prayer forms) because Evangelisation springs from prayer and holiness. It will maintain strong relationships with other diocesan agencies, deaneries, parishes, pastoral associates and all involved in the Church's mission."

The text of the pastoral letter is printed and online in the latest edition of Kairos Catholic Journal.

We Are Sent: A pastoral letter on evangelisation from Archbishop Denis Hart

Archdiocese of Melbourne
Contemplate - Launch Out"
Committee for Mission
Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne Establishes Office for Evangelisation (Archdiocese of Melbourne 20/8/04)

2 Sep 2004