Archbishop Eterović: First Step of the New Evangelization is Conversion

Secretary General of Upcoming Synod of Bishops Speaks on Historical Event

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By Junno Arocho

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 5, 2012 (Zenit.org).- At a press conference today, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Nikola Eterović along with Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office briefed journalists on the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.

The synod will commence this Sunday beginning with Mass in St. Peter's Square where the Holy Father will also declare St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen as Doctors of the Church. Archbishop Eterović stated that 262 Synod Fathers will be present for the event, the largest gathering in the history of the Synods. Among the Synod Fathers, the majority were elected by various Episcopal Conferences around the world, while some were chosen personally by the Holy Father.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., was appointed Relator General of the Synod. Considered a key role within the meeting, Cardinal Wuerl will present an overall view of the topics to be discussed and summarizing the various presentations throughout the synod that will aid in developing various proposals to the Holy Father. The American prelate will address the press on Monday at a press conference at the Holy See Press Office.

Archbishop Eterović also noted several important leaders will be present at the synod, among them the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of All England, His Grace Dr. Rowan Douglas Williams and Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Their presence, said the archbishop, "will give an important ecumenical aspect to the Synodal Assembly."

"The great work of evangelization and new evangelization of today's world requires the cooperation of all the Churches and Ecclesial Communities. We accompany this process with prayer, with the witness of Christian life and the renewed dynamism in confessing, in communion with the Holy Father Benedict XVI, the 264th successor of St. Peter the Apostle: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God', he said.

Renewal within the Church

Regarding the role of the New Evangelization within the Church, Archbishop Eterović stressed that it is not only for those who do not share the Catholic but as well a call to those who are baptized and have become distant from the Church to experience the beauty of Christian life. The first step of the New Evangelization, he said, "is conversion; this is a call for all Christians."

The Croatian prelate acknowledged that while secularization has been on the rise in the world, there is also a search for the transcendent in today's society. The archbishop also stated that the Church has a responsibility to announce Jesus Christ in this new culture.

Archbishop Eterović emphasized the role of the Christian family in today's society as a one of the most powerful tools of evangelization. A Christian family, with their own existence, is in itself an announcement of the love of God. They make Jesus Christ present [in today's society]," the archbishop said.