Synod: The Eucharist, Firm Centre and Ultimate Goal of the New Evangelisation
Vatican Radio – October 27, 2012
(Vatican Radio) “The ultimate goal of New Evangelisation is to bring the baptised who are not practising their faith, back to the faith and in the end that’s going to mean bringing people to the Eucharistic table”, says Fr. Jeremy Driscoll OSB, of the Mount Angel Monastery in St. Benedict, Oregon and Professor of Theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St Anselmo in Rome.
Fr. Jeremy served on the Vox Clara Committee for the new English translation of the Mass, and was appointed advisor to the Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation and Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. It is no surprise therefore, that he was called as an expert to the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation: “Probably because of two things, Liturgy and Fundamental Theology, the two topics that I teach, particularly the Liturgy, that’s what I hoped to bring to the Synod”.
The Eucharist and the Liturgy are covered in Propositions 34 and 35 presented to the Holy Father which state: “The Eucharist must be the source and summit of the New Evangelization… The worthy celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, God’s most treasured gift to us, is the source of the highest expression of our life in Christ (cf. Sacrosanctum concilium, 10). It is, therefore, the primary and most powerful expression of the new evangelization…Evangelization in the Church calls for a liturgy that lifts the hearts of men and women to God. The liturgy is not just a human action but an encounter with God which leads to contemplation and deepening friendship with God. In this sense, the liturgy of the Church is the best school of the faith”.
As the Synod came to a close ahead of Sunday’s Mass, the Benedictine priest found time to drop by Vatican Radio to speak with Emer McCarthy, who began by asking him whether the question of the liturgy and its role in New Evangelisation came up often during synod discussions.
“I thought it might come up more often than it has. But the reason that it doesn’t come up quite as often as I was hoping is because it is pre-supposed: the Word of God needs to be preached more forcefully, that’s been said; the Liturgy needs to be celebrated in a more worthy manner, a more dignified manner that’s also been said. The ultimate goal of New Evangelisation is to bring the baptised who are not practising their faith, back to the faith and in the end that’s going to mean bringing people to the Eucharistic table”.
And doing just that, Fr. Driscoll says, is not as hard as it may seem. It’s a question of the evangelizers themselves:
“Cardinal Toppo of India gave a beautiful intervention and said that they had given a New Testament to a Hindu and he came back afterwards to the priest and said, ‘Jesus is risen from the dead? Why didn’t you tell me?’. This is where we need to concentrate. This is what we need to be saying. A good evangelizer needs to say that but also to explain what it means. To expose its consequences and to offer people the possibility to enter into a communion with Jesus and that new life. Where the encounter with the Risen Lord happens more than ever and is celebrated is especially in the Eucharist, when we eat this Bread and drink this Cup we proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes in glory. This is it. That’s New Evangelisation’s firm centre”.
It’s not a question of practical programs, but of understanding the act of faith and it takes a Benedictine to remind us how and why, again underscoring the unique contribution of religious, and in this case, monastic life to New Evangelisation.