Dedication to John Paul II
All CCO staff and students would agree that laced throughout
our formation on evangelization is the teaching and heart of
Pope John Paul II as exemplified in his various addresses to
the youth of the world and, in particular, his encyclical
Redemptoris Missio. During the early years of CCO, André and
Angèle Regnier regularly immersed themselves in John Paul
II’s writings as published in the magazine The Pope Speaks.
As a result, CCO has endeavoured to put into action what John
Paul II taught about the missionary identity of the Church.
In 2002, CCO was honoured to receive a personal letter of
encouragement from the Holy Father following World Youth
Day (see a copy of the text on the next page). Three years
later, CCO members, gathered at our national student
conference, sent the Pope a pledge signed by nearly 400
young people. Through this pledge, they committed themselves
to the Pope’s World Youth Day Toronto vision of “a new
generation of builders” and promised to join in the work of
evangelization. Canada’s Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Luigi
Ventura, forwarded the pledge to John Paul II while he was ill in
the Gemelli Clinic in Rome. As we now know, the Pope had
only a few more months to live. Shortly after the message was
sent, Archbishop Ventura wrote to CCO:
I am pleased to inform you that your message was
presented to the Pope by Archbishop Stanislaw
Dziwisz, his private secretary. The Holy Father has
responded in turn by signing, in his own hand, a copy
of the text and returning it to you, as an expression of
recognition to the organizers of the initiative and all
those who participated.
With great affection and admiration, this faith study is dedicated
to the memory and legacy of Blessed Pope John Paul II. We
thank God for the privilege of having been formed under his
leadership and in his ‘school of evangelization’.
The following is the letter written and personally signed by
His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, to Catholic Christian Outreach
on the occasion of the
Rise Up 2002 Christmas Conference in Edmonton, Alberta.
From the Vatican, December 28, 2002.
It is a great joy for me to greet you on the occasion of
your National Christmas Conference. The memory of
my meeting with you and so many other young people
from around the world in July of this year remains
vividly etched in my mind.
At the World Youth Day Prayer Vigil held in
Downsview Park on Saturday, the evening of July 27, I
called for a new generation of builders to respond to
the aspiration of humanity for a civilization of love
marked by freedom and peace. Indeed I entrusted this
hope of mine specifically to you, my dear young
people. As members of the Catholic Christian
Outreach you are generously responding to that
appeal through your courage to be disciples of Jesus,
living the life of the Beatitudes on campuses
throughout Canada. In this way, as you strive to be the
salt of the earth and light of the world for others, you
become shining beacons illuminating the way of the
Lord, answering the question that stirs in the hearts of
all young people: "to whom shall we go?" (Jn 6:68).
Yes, Jesus Christ is the sure foundation of your hope
and joy. Immersed in him and his paschal mystery
your own lives will grow in holiness, which is the
authentic path of true witness to the light of his loving
presence in our world. And so I confidently renew my
appeal to you: listen to the voice of Jesus! Let His light
shine in your lives, continue steadfastly on the path of
holiness, share with everyone "the good news of a
great joy which will come to all the people" (Lk 2:10).
Invoking upon all of you the joy and peace that the
birth of our Savior brings, I cordially impart to you and
your families my Apostolic Blessing.
JOANNES PAULUS PP. II
Table of Contents
Faith Study Objectives
Leading a Faith Study
Lesson 1 – The Premise
Recognizing that evangelization is our deepest identity.
Lesson 2 – Holiness and Mission
Holiness and mission are interdependent.
Lesson 3 – The Message
Comprehending the necessity of clearly and simply
proclaiming the kerygma.
Lesson 4 – The Message and You
Recognizing how we have experienced God's saving
action in our own lives.
Lesson 5 – Heart for the Lost
Uniting with God’s heart of compassion and concern for
those who are far from him.
Lesson 6 – Understanding “Timothy”
Taking into consideration the perspective and experience
of those we want to evangelize.
Lesson 7 – See Opportunities
Identifying people and situations in my sphere of influence
that could be transformed through the clear proclamation
Lesson 8 – Next Generation Mindset
Understanding a ministry of spiritual multiplication.
Lesson 9 – Struggles and Doubts
Examining common areas of discouragement for
Lesson 10 – Commissioned
Recognizing, with great expectations, the work of the Holy
Spirit both in the evangelizer and the one being
Creating a strategic plan to reach out to a "Timothy" or
influence a group/ministry to be more evangelistic.
Commission is the fifth in a series of faith studies written by
Catholic Christian Outreach. Commission expresses more than
twenty years of outreach and leadership formation on Canadian
campuses. In our evangelization efforts, we strive to identify
with people, and to celebrate the beauty and good in each
individual. We also look for appropriate opportunities to
introduce these people to Jesus in a non-judgmental, relevant,
clear and simple way.
The three pillars of CCO are to proclaim, equip and
commission. We believe that a clear and simple proclamation of
the Good News of Jesus is urgently needed in the world, even
among Catholics; this is the mandate of the new evangelization.
Having proclaimed the Gospel, we then seek to equip those
who have experienced conversion with the necessary skills to
evangelize others. We hope that through this Commission
study our alumni, supporters and friends will put into action the
great task Jesus gave his disciples, “to go and make disciples
of all nations” (Matthew 28:18).
Our goal is not just to share the message of Jesus, but to
spread his mission. This mission is to form apostles —
believers who, through the empowerment and inspiration of the
Holy Spirit, send others to proclaim the message. This
multiplication strategy comes from scriptural models which the
It helps to have completed CCO’s other faith studies,
particularly Discovery, in order to understand some of the
concepts and illustrations used here. The relationships diagram
used in CCO evangelization is available in the appendix of this
Since the present study can offer only a summary of the
Church’s teaching on the new evangelization, we strongly
recommend some background reading on this topic, namely,
the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi by Pope Paul VI
and the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio by Pope John Paul II.
(These documents can be found on the Vatican website:
www.vatican.va). I Believe in Love, by Fr. Jean C. J. d’Elbée, is
another text that expounds ideas briefly presented in this study.
Many of the dispositions CCO members strive to embody in
their missionary work come from the teachings of St. Thérèse
of Lisieux. Fr. d’Elbée beautifully articulates St. Thérèse’s
spirituality in this book. In fact, all three of these works are
required reading for CCO full-time lay missionaries.
We hope that as you study this material and take it to prayer,
the Father will commission you, through the power of the Holy
Spirit, to send others out to boldly proclaim that Jesus is the
Way, the Truth and the Life.
Faith Study Objectives
1. CCO's Strategy
Proclaim / Equip / Commission. To bring people to Christ, build them
up as Catholic Christians, and send them out to reach others.
2. The Objectives of CCO Small Group Faith Studies
x For students to hear spiritual truths.
x For students to hear the truth about Jesus and be introduced to him.
x For students to make Christian friends and be drawn into a Christian
x To provide a means to get students involved with activities in CCO,
their parish, their diocese and the universal Church.
x For students to grow in their understanding and love of the Catholic
Church, especially the sacraments.
x For students to encounter the love, forgiveness and salvation offered
in Christ Jesus, and to have a deep and lasting “metanoia”
(conversion of heart and life).
x For students to learn transferable concepts which enable them to
transmit the truths they learn to others.
x To equip students for future leadership.
3. Goals of Each Thematic Study
CCO has formulated five small group thematic faith studies: Discovery,
Source, Growth, Obedience and Commission. These are faith studies,
not Bible studies in a pure sense (i.e. the study of long passages of
Scripture in their context). CCO studies look at particular Scripture
passages and other Church documents as they relate to certain topics
or themes (e.g. prayer, the love of God, the Holy Spirit).
The studies do not attempt to teach comprehensive theology. They are
simply meant to (re)introduce students to the basics of the Catholic
faith, challenging them to greater holiness by means of group
Leaders should understand the purpose of the studies: what they
teach, how they complement each other, and the objectives of each
lesson. Small group sessions should be purposeful (for example, we
want to avoid spending hours looking up verses that may quickly be
forgotten). Adhering to the objectives of each lesson will help us to
successfully pass on their content.
Discovery – Evangelization. The first four lessons of this study
introduce the basic concepts of Christian faith. In the fifth lesson,
participants are invited to make a commitment to Christ. The sixth
lesson aims to help them better grasp that commitment.
Source – Holy Spirit. This study looks at the Holy Spirit's vital role in
our lives, which is to empower and direct us to be holy, and teach us to
overcome our sinfulness.
Growth – Daily Christian Growth. This study explores the living out of
a commitment to Christ. It explains the essential components of the
Christian life (prayer, Scripture, sacraments, fellowship, service and
Obedience – Lordship. The focus of this study is obedience to the
Lord in various aspects of life (speech habits, sexuality, hardships,
Church teachings, etc).
Commission – Missionary Identity. This study explores the Church’s
deepest identity, which is her missionary character. Truths and
principles about evangelization and discipleship that CCO has learned
over the years are examined.
4. Commission Goals
• To be convinced of the centrality of evangelization to the life and
identity of both the Church and us, as members of the Church.
• To have a heart of compassion and concern for those who have not
yet encountered God’s love and mercy.
• To gain understanding as to why some people are far away from God
and the Church: and how to best relate to them.
• To restore evangelization as a desired, uniting purpose of all Church
• To identify opportunities for evangelization in ministries, parishes,
and with their friends and acquaintances.
• To multiply their efforts by learning to entrust the message (of
salvation) and mission (of multiplication) to other faithful people.
• To encounter the Holy Spirit and understand his primacy in the work
Leading a Faith Study
A. Qualities of a Faith Study Leader
Faith study leaders should be: F A C T (Faithful, Available,
Contagious and Teachable). They agree to chaste conduct, daily
prayer, committed attendance at their parish and dedication to
whatever their primary vocation is. (For example, students should be
diligent in their academics). They must be:
x To the Lord
x To personal holiness (prayer, Mass, discipleship, etc.)
x To Church teachings
x To a parish – faithfully attending Mass every Sunday
x To the call of evangelization
x Diligently prepare each lesson
x Spend time with group members
x Welcoming, affirming
x Authentic witness of a vibrant relationship with God
x Strive to identify with those to whom they minister
x Enjoy and delight in each group member
x In the areas of personal holiness, ministry, character, involvement
x Willing to grow in faith (prayer, reading, conferences, retreats)
x Able to accept constructive criticism
B. How to Lead a Faith Study
1. Phone Contact
x As you are dialling, say a brief prayer for each person.
x Identify yourself and how you know the person, or received their
x Confirm the time and place of the small group meeting.
x Make sure each person knows where to find the meeting room, or...
x Plan somewhere obvious to meet so that you can lead your group to
the meeting room.
x Let them know that every week they should bring a Bible to the
group, preferably with an Old Testament. If anyone doesn't have a
Bible, ask a CCO staff member if there are extra Bibles available for
a) Personal Prayer
x Leaders should have a consistent personal prayer life (with daily
x Leaders should be reading Scripture on a regular or daily basis.
x Leaders should faithfully attend Mass every Sunday.
x Intercede specifically for each participant.
x Pray for one student each day.
x Ask the Holy Spirit to open the hearts and minds of the participants.
x Pray the rosary, offering a decade or a Hail Mary for each member.
x Review the faith study as a whole and the lesson to be led.
x Have The Catechism of the Catholic Church handy for reference, as
per preparation notes. The index in the back of the CCC is the best
way to search for information.
x Call a CCO staff member or student leader for guidance if
x Note which part(s) of the study are most important and which could
be covered more quickly.
x The answers provided are intended as a guide and sometimes
contain more information than is required. Use as needed.
x These studies are tools that you use, not just studies that you lead.
Make the content your own. Share your relationship with God and
your personal faith journey.
3. Logistics for Your First Meeting
x Meet your group members but do not wait too long — 10 minutes
after the starting time, go to the study location.
x Have everyone introduce themselves, then hand out the studies and
go over logistics.
x You will need to collect money from each small group member to
cover study guide costs. Please forward this money to CCO student
executive members (as applies).
x Give participants your phone number.
x Explain that you are committed to this study time and ask the group
to make the same commitment for the semester. This commitment is
important because the lessons build on one another. Ask them to let
you know if they cannot make it to a meeting.
4. Components of a Faith Study
a) Casual sharing
x Start the small group meeting in an atmosphere of fun and sharing.
x Discuss how the group implemented the study challenges that week.
x Make announcements at the beginning of each lesson. If you only
make announcements at the end of the lesson, many will be rushing
off to class and will not take proper note of the upcoming events.
x Open the faith study with prayer.
d) Recap last week’s study
e) Overview of this week’s study
x This helps participants focus on the topic.
f) Go through the study material
x Summarize each section as you go, so participants understand the
direction of the lesson. This avoids a verse-by-verse checklist
g) Closing comments
x Summarize clearly and concisely the points the group has
x Go over the challenge/homework.
h) Closing prayer
x Add any special intentions that have come up during the study.
x Time permitting, you could close with 10 minutes of small group
prayer. Have each person share a need and pray for the person next
5. Helpful Tips
a) Set the tone
x Be on time for the meeting (arrive early when possible). This sets a
good example and shows your commitment to the group.
x Greet each member by name. Vary comments, but let each know
they are welcome. The sooner you remember their names, the
sooner they will feel comfortable with the group.
b) Facilitate discussion
x A circle without barriers is best for group discussion. If anyone
comes in late, make sure he/she is brought into the circle.
x Your group may be quiet because they may be concerned that the
answers are really "deep" ones. They might not want to give the
‘obvious’ answer for fear that it is too simple to be true. For the most
part, the answers are very straightforward. Remind the group of this.
x Give people time to think after you have asked a question or invited
sharing (wait 2-5 seconds before speaking again). Relax. Don't fear
x Avoid answering your own questions. Re-word a question if it is
x Sometimes you may want to expand on someone's answer by
asking, "What else do you see?" or "What other ways are there?" or
"Does anyone else have anything to add?"
x Do not struggle to get participants to say exactly what you think is
the right answer. Better to let a few questionable responses go by
than to discourage people from talking. However, if it is a matter of
basic truth or the answer is wide of your aim, say something like,
"That's an interesting point of view. Does anyone else have a
thought about this?" To avoid confusion sum up briefly, "I appreciate
your sharing. I guess my thoughts are... because..."
x Acknowledge each person's answer. Let him/her know (verbally and
non-verbally) that you are listening and that you appreciate the
contribution. If necessary, ask questions like "could you explain
more?" Be natural in your response. If someone brings up
something new to you, say so ("I hadn't seen that before. Thanks for
pointing that out.").
x If someone talks too much, try saying, "Let's hear from someone
who hasn't had a chance to comment yet."
x If someone is barely talking in the study, ask him/her to read aloud
certain sections of the faith study or Scriptures so that he/she can
participate verbally in the group.
x Direct a question at an individual to draw out timid participants. It is a
good idea to direct easy questions their way to build their confidence
in speaking out.
x You can also use this technique (of asking specific people to answer
questions) to allow other voices to join in when there are individuals
monopolizing the discussion.
x Keep the sharing current and personal. Encourage people to share
things God has done in their lives that week or during the meeting.
x Please be sensitive and welcoming if you have non-Catholics in the
group. It would be considerate to prepare them before the study
begins, in case they do not want to be in a Catholic program. Assure
them that they are most welcome in the group, and that it is in fact
an honour to have them join. Be sure they understand that the
content will be very Catholic, with quotes from Scripture, popes,
saints, and The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Although the
material has been written to communicate the Catholic Church's
teaching, non-Catholics will probably be pleasantly surprised at how
understandable it is. Assure them that you will be sensitive to their
situation in the small group discussions. Let them know they can
approach you if they have questions.
c) Pace the study within the time limit
x Know the objective of each lesson and communicate it clearly to
ensure that people stay on track and do not go off topic. Do not get
bogged down in unimportant details; keep the discussion moving.
x Be mindful of how much time is left and of how quickly you are
progressing through the material.
d) Leader's role
x The onus is not on the leader to convert the hearts of the students
— that job is for the Holy Spirit. The leader’s role is to present the
material in an enthusiastic way and to facilitate discussion. Most of
the speaking should come from the students.
x The leader intercedes quietly in and beyond the study, staying
closely connected to the Holy Spirit. The leader recognizes that:
No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:3b
Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s
Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to
understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:14
We are not to be concerned with being effective. We are to be
faithful, faithful simply to what the Lord has called us to be.
What he may want to accomplish through us is his business
and known only to him.
Father Bob Bedard, CC
6. During the Semester
x Plan a social or meal as a celebration/reunion of your study group.
x Remember: you are encouraged to book a one-on-one
appointment with each member of your study after lesson 7.
Small Group Information
Lesson 1 Preparation Notes
"The Premise" In Brief:
Evangelization is our deepest identity.
x This lesson begins by looking at texts which support the Church’s
teaching that evangelization is our deepest identity.
x After reading the texts, we discuss the importance of identity in selfknowledge, and how this concept relates to the Church. The aim of
this discussion is to show that if we understand evangelization to be
our deepest identity, then we can be united in purpose in the various
ministries and organizations within the Church, or within a parish.
x There is a large amount of text in these lessons. They should be
read aloud as a group. You can do this by having one person read
an entire section, or alternating people from paragraph to paragraph.
The advantage of the latter is that people have to be engaged and
pay attention or they might miss their cue to read. The disadvantage
is that it can be distracting to hear multiple people read. It’s your call.
Encourage people to underline or circle things as the text is being
read so that, during the time for questions and discussion, they can
refer to the things that stood out to them.
Some participants may be unfamiliar with the term "the new
x It is a term, coined by JPII, which does not mean “the new
evangelization” as opposed to “an old evangelization” of some kind,
it is more of a re-evangelization: clearly proclaiming the message of
salvation in Jesus and the Church to those who are baptized and
have received the sacraments, but whose hearts and lifestyles do
not reflect the faith. Its purpose is to bring them to a personal
encounter with God’s love.
x The 2012 synod of Bishops is focused on the promotion of the new
evangelization. In the Lineamenta document released in preparation
for this synod we read,
The new evangelization is not a matter of redoing
something which has been inadequately done or has not
achieved its purpose, as if the new activity were an
implicit judgment on the failure of the first evangelization.
Nor is the new evangelization taking up the first
evangelization again, or simply repeating the past.
Instead, it is the courage to forge new paths in
responding to the changing circumstances and
conditions facing the Church in her call to proclaim and
live the Gospel today.... Pope John Paul II again took up
the expression in his Magisterium and proposed it to the
universal Church. "Today the Church must face other
challenges and push forward to new frontiers, both in the
initial mission ad gentes and in the new evangelization of
those peoples who have already heard Christ
proclaimed.... The Church's renewed efforts to meet the
challenges which today's society and cultures, in view of
the significant changes taking place, are posing to the
Christian faith, its proclamation and its witness. In facing
these challenges, the Church does not give up or retreat
into herself; instead, she undertakes a project to
revitalize herself. She makes the Person of Jesus Christ
and a personal encounter with him central to her thinking,
knowing that he will give his Spirit and provide the force
to announce and proclaim the Gospel in new ways which
can speak to today's cultures.
Lineamenta for the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization, 5
x The new evangelization is commonly understood as re-evangelizing
those cultures which have a Christian history, whereas, in “the
mission ad gentes," evangelization is directed at those who have
never heard of salvation in Jesus.
x In the past decade, the new evangelization has become regarded as
a key pastoral concern in parishes, dioceses, and countries .
The time has also come for a new evangelization in the
West, where many of those baptized lead totally unChristian lives and more and more persons maintain
some links to the faith but have little or a poor knowledge
Lineamenta for the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization, 9
(General note: The titles in the “Recommended Reading” section of
the Preparation Notes are valuable resources. If you have not yet read
them, you should do so before leading the study.)
x Evangelii Nuntiandi:
x Redemptoris Missio:
x Message of the Holy Father for the VII World Youth Day:
In this lesson and the next, we will look at a number of truths
upon which Commission is built. Today, in particular, we will
focus on the Church’s teaching in regards to our calling and
identity as Catholic disciples of Christ. It is a critical premise to
establish as we begin our pilgrimage with Commission.
1. What kinds of answers do you think people would give
to the question, 'what is the Catholic Church's deepest
The purpose of the question is general sharing rather
than to elicit “the right answer.” The wide range of
responses will highlight the fact later on, that there is
The Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by
Christ to all nations to make disciples of them.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), 767
Evangelization is in fact the grace and vocation proper
to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order
Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14
The pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature,
since it is from the mission of the Son and the mission
of the Holy Spirit that she draws her origin, in
accordance with the decree of God the Father.
Ad Gentes, 2
It is the duty of the Church to proclaim always and
everywhere the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He, the first
and supreme evangelizer, commanded the Apostles on
the day of his Ascension to the Father: “Go therefore
and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have
commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). Faithful to this
mandate, the Church—a people chosen by God to
declare his wonderful deeds (cf. 1 Peter 2:9)—ever
since she received the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day
of Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:14), has never tired of making
known to the whole world the beauty of the Gospel as
she preaches Jesus Christ, true God and true man, the
same “yesterday and today and for ever” (Heb 13:8),
who, by his death and Resurrection, brought us
salvation and fulfilled the promise made of old. Hence
the mission of evangelization, a continuation of the
work desired by the Lord Jesus, is necessary for the
Church: it cannot be overlooked; it is an expression of
her very nature.
Ubicumque et Semper
Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI establishing the Pontifical
Council for Promoting the New Evangelization
These statements are central to Commission. They confirm that
the Church has a clear understanding of why she exists. There
is, however, confusion among some of her members. In recent
years Catholics have become increasingly aware of the
importance of evangelization, yet uncertainty remains about the
“why,” “how” and “who” of the evangelistic mission.
“Who are we?” is a question we must be able to answer with
confidence and clarity. When we know our deepest identity —
personally and as a community — we are able to live
meaningful, abundant and vibrant Christian lives. Unfortunately,
many Catholics do not know their deepest calling, and the
Church has consequently suffered an identity crisis. We must
overcome this crisis in order to accomplish the task God has
entrusted to us, which is the mission of evangelization.
Leaders: The next two questions deal with life in general,
not specifically spiritual life.
2. What happens to someone who has lost his/her
Leaders: This question is intended to create open
discussion to get the juices flowing.
We have a basic human need for identity, self-esteem,
belonging and love. If we do not know our identity, we will be
unsure of what defines us. We risk feeling lost, confused or
sad, and may become psychologically, physically or morally
unhealthy. We might misguidedly search for anything to fill
our yearning for identity. This could lead to addictions,
damaging relationships or self-harm.
People who have lost their identity are often not content with
their lives (e.g. The Bourne Identity movie). They will always
be searching for their past identity or striving to create a new
3. What happens in our lives when we know who we are?
Peace: we have both roots and direction. We are centered
and focused. We see ourselves clearly, knowing our
strengths, weaknesses, and purpose. We have the capacity
to give and are prepared to reach out to others. We are
healthier mentally, physically and morally.
4. How does confusion about our Catholic identity affect
the life of the local Church?
Lack of clear understanding of our Catholic identity breeds
confusion among individuals within the body of Christ. It also
affects how the world perceives the Church. It is common for
people to define "being Catholic" by their personal
involvement in church activities, by what Church teachings
they personally believe, or by how they practice their faith.
This way of defining Catholic identity lacks consistency —
being Catholic seems to mean something different for
everyone. This confusion about our identity affects the
message we communicate to the world, and as a
consequence, influences the world’s perception of the
Division occurs between ministries when the overarching
identity and purpose of the Church (along with a vision for
how all parts of the body fit together) is unclear. Because
each group has its own purpose, spirituality and way of
serving, there can be misunderstanding and lack of solidarity
among groups who approach things differently. In worst-case
scenarios, this leads to labelling and judgement. It can also
promote a disjointed image of the Church.
5. How would clarity of Catholic identity help the local
Church? The following excerpt from Redemptoris Missio
provides some context:
Faith must always be presented as a gift of God to be
associations), and to be extended to others through
witness in word and deed. The evangelizing activity of
the Christian community, first in its own locality, and
then elsewhere as part of the Church's universal
mission, is the clearest sign of a mature faith. A radical
conversion in thinking is required in order to become
missionary, and this holds true both for individuals and
entire communities. The Lord is always calling us to
come out of ourselves and to share with others the
goods we possess, starting with the most precious gift
of all - our faith. The effectiveness of the Church's
organizations, movements, parishes and apostolic
works must be measured in the light of this missionary
imperative. Only by becoming missionary will the
Christian community be able to overcome its
internal divisions and tensions, and rediscover its
unity and its strength of faith [emphasis added].
Redemptoris Missio, 5
A common understanding about Catholic missionary identity
would enable each group to appreciate the contribution of the
others and to support one another in solidarity. This fosters
respect for each ministry. We know we are working towards a
common goal and can rejoice in the success of other
ministries (resulting in authentic unity). We would have a
fresh outward focus. We would not be satisfied with what is
happening “in house,” but would seek to support other
ministries and help others (especially those outside our
parish) in any way we can to know and love God.
Leaders: You can pull together the answers with the
segue below. Have someone read it. Then move on to the
The Church's roles and ministries are varied and extensive.
They include defending and teaching the faith, working for
social justice, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, loving
our neighbour, faithfulness to our vocation (religious or family
life), sacraments, prayer, penance and the worship of God. Let
us be very clear: none of these things should be seen as lesser
than, or separate from, the call to evangelization. The challenge
is to look at all these roles and ministries, and everything the
Church does, through the lens of her deepest identity:
evangelization. In everything, love must be our motivation.
“For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced
that one has died for all; therefore all have died” (2 Corinthians
5:14), and without love we are nothing (cf.1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
Being Christian and "being Church" means being
missionary; one is or is not. Loving one's faith implies
bearing witness to it, bringing it to others and allowing
others to participate in it. The lack of missionary zeal is
a lack of zeal for the faith. On the contrary, faith is
made stronger by transmitting it. The Pope's words on
the new evangelization can be translated into a rather
direct and crucial question: "Are we interested in
transmitting the faith and bringing non-Christians to the
faith?" "Are we truly missionary at heart?" The new
evangelization is the name given to the Church's
project of undertaking anew her fundamental mission,
her identity and reason for existence.
Linementa for the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization, 10
Many Catholics do not feel any personal responsibility for the
work of evangelization and mission. They perceive this work to
be for those who seem more directly called: priests, sisters and
a few radical people who choose to be missionaries.
Fortunately, there is today a growing number of Catholic lay
people (many of whom are involved in ministries and
movements committed to the new evangelization) who
recognize their responsibility in this task.
A challenge we face in CCO is to keep our alumni alive with the
same apostolic zeal they demonstrated as students. Some
think that once they have graduated, they move on to a new
and different stage of life, even spiritually. Although they often
continue to be faithful Catholics and believe in the work of
evangelization, they might not participate in the life of the
Church with the same apostolic purpose they did when they
were students. Their zeal for Jesus was somehow connected,
perhaps too exclusively, to that state of life, time of
youthfulness or period of involvement in a particular ministry or
6. Why do you think some Catholics are (or become)
disconnected from evangelization?
Common answers may range from being too busy or fearful,
people aren’t held accountable to share their faith, or many
people feel that faith is just a private matter. Some people
feel like they have tried and failed, or just become
7. How can we combat this tendency to become
disconnected from our deepest identity?
A variety of practical answers can be brainstormed here such
x Community and fellowship with likeminded people who can
encourage assist and keep us engaged in evangelization
x Education: books, encyclicals, seminars
x Do it! Actively evangelize in any variety of ways. When we
see people come to faith, we are inspired to reach out
more. We can serve in parish ministries or apostolates.
Leaders: If your small group is with students on campus,
ask them how this makes them feel about their “life after
university/after CCO” when they may have to battle
becoming disconnected from zeal for evangelization.
If we, as Church, do not know our deepest identity, how can we
really be who we are meant to be? The Church exists to
evangelize. This truth has the power to transform how we see
ourselves as Church and minister to the world around us. We,
too, are personally invited to connect with this identity and
engage in the life-giving mission of evangelization.
Do at least 30 minutes of reading from: Evangelii Nuntiandi,
Redemptoris Missio, or the Message of the Holy Father for the
VII World Youth Day. Be prepared to share what you learned
Leaders: These documents can be found online (at the
addresses listed in the Preparation Notes for this
lesson). The first two can also likely be found in a parish
library or Catholic bookstore. They are a great
investment and worth owning.
As difficult as this may be to pray,
I know that I must surrender my very identity to you.
In you alone can I find my true identity
to be who I am meant to be.
Help me to see all aspects and activities of my life
through the lens of my deepest identity: evangelization.
Lord God, I want to embrace your plan for my missionary
identity and I also desire this for the whole Church!
I pray that you would pour out your grace so that many more
would come to embrace who they are as a missionary people.
I desire to see the whole of God’s people united in that same
call and purpose.
May your Kingdom come and your will be done! Amen.
Lesson 2 Preparation Notes
"Holiness and Mission" In Brief:
Holiness and mission are interdependent.
x Holiness and mission are complementary and united. One is not
more important than the other is. One cannot be separated from the
other. They work together for our sanctification and the sanctification
of the whole world. This is often not understood.
x We then look at how missionary activity revitalizes the Church and
x The lesson ends with an overview of the discipleship model from 2
Timothy 2:2 which will be used throughout the study.
x You will need to practice presenting the 2 Timothy 2:2 diagram in
order to comfortably share it in an interactive way.
x The goal of this lesson is to have participants see the legacy of
Paul’s discipleship model (entrusting the message and the mission
to faithful people). The topics of the message, multiplication,
entrusting the message and the mission will all be discussed in in
upcoming lessons. Be patient — this is just an introduction.
x This lesson, along with lesson 1, establishes important foundational
concepts for the rest of the study.
Holiness and Mission
1. Share with the group what you learned from your
reading assignment last week. Did you find any
Our spiritual life can be understood as being both interior and
exterior. The interior life is our personal relationship with God. It
is our personal growth in holiness that happens through prayer,
study, obedience, repentance, and the pursuit of Christian
Our exterior life can also be called our apostolic life, or our
apostolate. It is our call to mission: our actions of service,
witness and proclamation which invite others to encounter the
love of God through the person of Jesus Christ.
Today, we will look at how these two aspects of our spiritual life
are complimentary and united. We will then look at the Church's
call to mission, and wrap up the lesson with an introduction to 2
Timothy 2:2 — a verse which will inform the rest of
Holiness and Mission
Evangelization is not a task to which only certain people are
called. We must not exempt ourselves from this mission. Nor
should we limit our missionary contribution to a limited time
when we felt more qualified or ready than we do now. The
Church teaches that evangelization is not just an activity: it
should be the natural outpouring of our spiritual life.
From Baptism, every Catholic is called to be a disciple of Jesus
and to share in the Church’s mission (CCC 1269, 1270). To be
true disciples of Jesus and to live fully our relationship with him,
we have to embody these two essential elements: holiness and
We all agree that for a Christian, the call to holiness is obvious
and necessary. We know the importance of living a good moral
life. This call to holiness is well supported in countless Catholic
homilies, books and formation opportunities that inspire us to
live a prayerful, godly life.
The second dimension of being a disciple is the call to mission.
From our intimate relationship with God should flow a desire to
make Jesus known to others. This desire should be a natural
expression of what is happening inside our hearts. If we are
close to the heart of God through our personal prayer and quest
for holiness, then we will share the Father’s loving concern for
people. Zeal for evangelization is indicative of a healthy spiritual
Listen to the words of John Paul II:
In the spiritual realm, too, no one lives for himself
alone. And salutary concern for the salvation of one's
own soul is freed from fear and selfishness only when
it becomes concerned for the salvation of others as
well. This is the reality of the communion of saints, the
mystery of "vicarious life", of prayer as the means of
union with Christ and his saints.
Incarnationis Mysterium, 10
To be true disciples of Christ, we must live a deep spiritual life
woven together with apostolic (missionary) life. One is not more
important than the other; they are two sides of the same coin.
CCO recognizes and teaches this, inspired by the words of
John Paul II:
The universal call to holiness is closely linked to the
universal call to mission. Every member of the faithful
is called to holiness and to mission.
Redemptoris Missio, 90
Pope Benedict XVI has also spoken about this in his homilies:
In this perspective it is clear that the Church's holiness
and missionary character are two sides of the same
coin: only because she is holy, that is, filled with divine
love, can the Church carry out her mission, and it is
precisely in terms of this task that God chose her and
Benedict XVI's Homily at Port of Brindisi, June 15, 2008
Holiness and mission are truly interdependent. As one area
grows, the other should also be stirred to action. If this
communion of life and growth between the internal and external
spiritual action of a Christian is not happening, something is out
2. How is the missionary life dependent on our holiness?
Without God’s grace, we can do nothing. We need to reach
out to others in a state of grace and through the power of the
Holy Spirit (e.g. Acts 1 and 2: the disciples waited for the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit before they launched out on the
mission Jesus gave them at the Ascension). We must pray
and intercede for those we want to help (e.g. by making
sacrifices and fasting). To be credible and authentic, we must
live a transformed and holy life. We cannot give what we
have not received.
3. We understand that our spiritual life should activate our
apostolic fervour. How might our apostolic life cause us to
grow in holiness?
When we step out of our comfort zone to love and evangelize
others, God moves in our hearts and fills us with joy and zeal.
The more you give, the more you receive.
x Our hope is increased as we see God acting through us in
people’s lives, in conversations, and in "divine
appointments" (when God has put us in the right place at
the right time to minister to someone in need).
x Our love is increased when we identify with our brothers
and sisters and are moved to bring Jesus to them.
x Our faith is increased as we are impelled to pray and
intercede for the needs of others. There are people in our
lives now for whom we MUST be strong spiritually! It is not
just about our individual relationship with Jesus — we must
each see how connected we are to the body of Christ and
the mission, and recognize that we must connect to God
even more for the sake of those we want to reach.
Mission as Vital to the
Life of the Church
Missionary drive implies action. As Catholics we have to go
beyond simply agreeing on the importance of evangelization —
we must evangelize! The Church entrusts lay people with a
spiritual responsibility for the new evangelization; we are the
ones who have direct contact with those who may have walked
away from the Church or do not believe.
A disciple of Christ is never a passive and indifferent
observer of what is taking place. On the contrary, he
feels responsible for transforming social, political,
economic and cultural reality... You must have the
courage to speak about Christ in your families and in
places where you study, work or recreate, inspired
with the same fervour the Apostles had when they
said: "We cannot help speaking of what we have
heard and seen" (Acts 4:20). Nor should you be silent!
There are places and circumstances where you alone
can bring the seed of God's Word.
Message by the Holy Father John Paul II
7th World Youth Day, 4
The twentieth century often tried to do without that
cornerstone, and attempted to build the city of man
without reference to Him. It ended by actually building
that city against man... The aspiration that humanity
nurtures, amid countless injustices and sufferings, is
the hope of a new civilization marked by freedom and
peace. But for such an undertaking, a new generation
of builders is needed. Moved not by fear or violence but
by the urgency of genuine love, they must learn to
build, brick by brick, the city of God within the city of
Allow me...to consign this hope of mine to you: you
must be those "builders"! ...God is entrusting to you
the task, at once difficult and uplifting, of working with
him in the building of the civilization of love.
Address by the Holy Father John Paul II
17th World Youth Day Evening Vigil, 2-3
The vision John Paul II outlined in these words is the
transformation of civilization. This task can seem overwhelming.
Contemplating the enormous demands of this mission, we can
relate to what the apostles might have experienced before
Jesus’ ascension into heaven.
They were commissioned with an enormous task and a grand
vision for the salvation of the entire world (Matthew 28:18-20).
John Paul II further reminds us that evangelization has always
been necessary for the wellbeing of the Church.
For in the Church’s history, missionary drive has
always been a sign of vitality, just as its lessening is a
sign of a crisis of faith.
Redemptoris Missio, 2
When our lives, our parishes and our ministries are missionary,
we experience vitality, energy and dynamism. It is exciting to
live in a Church engaged in evangelization! When the Church is
not alive with missionary zeal, the result is a crisis of faith. Lack
of missionary activity corrodes our faith and pursuit of holiness
because it is a denial of our true identity.
4. Why does a lack of missionary activity signal a crisis of
faith? How do you see this played out in a parish, for
Leaders: We want participants to see that if people are
just silent specators, they can easily fall into
complacency. Their faith life can become dull, irrelevant,
self-focused and unattractive. Faith can be reduced to
simply cultural elements, rather than a living relationship
with a God who loves us and invites us, as his disciples,
to find life by sharing him with others.
Reach the World One Person at a Time
Jesus has entrusted the Church with the great task of making
disciples of all nations. Though its objective is to reach the
whole world, this mission actually happens at the level of the
individual human heart. God loves each and every soul and
wants to touch each one individually. We believe that an
effective model to reach the world one person at a time is found
in the Second Letter of St. Paul to Timothy. This passage will
be a central paradigm for the rest of our study.
And what you have heard from me through many
witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to
teach others as well.
2 Timothy 2:2
5. Clarify the two key elements in this verse: the people
and the strategy.
x The people: Leaders ask: "Who are the people
identified in this verse?"
Paul, Timothy, and people identified as: “witnesses” “faithful
people” and “others”.
x The strategy: Leaders ask: "What strategy do we notice
in this verse?"
The strategy is to pass on what they have heard from Paul to
those who, in turn, will continue to transmit the message to
6. Let us take a closer look at how the people and the
strategy are connected.
Leaders: You will be directing this next set of questions
as they are not in the student guides. There is space in
the student guides to draw out the 5 types of people in
the passage. Here is what the diagram will look like at the
end. Say what is in bold type face.
x Who is speaking in this passage?
[Draw a circle or box with “Paul” written inside]
x Look carefully at this verse, how did Paul's message
get to Timothy?
It is through witnesses that Timothy hears Paul’s message.
[Draw next circle: witnesses; draw next circle: Timothy]
x But it does not end there. What is Paul asking Timothy
ENTRUST the message to the faithful.
[Draw next circle: Faithful]
x Does it end there?
No! Entrust the message to faithful people who will pass it on
[Draw next circle: Others]
x What do these people have in common?
The message Paul is communicating (the Gospel) and the
mission to keep spreading it to others.
x What is the verb Paul uses to explain how this
message and mission is transmitted?
Entrust (to give somebody responsibility for something)
[Connect the 5 circles by arrows or bars that represent
7. What would happen if Timothy did not understand
Many would not hear, and the spreading of the message
would be stopped or slowed down because of Timothy (or the
next person after Timothy). The message would end with
him. The people would be dependent on Timothy and not
know how to move the message or mission forward without
This was a very brief orientation to 2 Timothy 2:2. We will take
time to unpack the strategy and the message of Paul, Timothy
and friends in upcoming weeks.
8. To wrap up, what would you say are the important
points covered in this lesson?
Leaders: See "Summary" for overview or glance back at
Mission goes hand-in-hand with our growth in holiness. Our
mission as members of the Church is to bring the message of
Jesus to the world, one person at a time. Paul and Timothy set
an example for us of how to accomplish this mission. Their
method is concrete and carries amazing potential for the spread
of the Gospel. We too are called to put this method into action.
Do another 30 minutes of reading from: Evangelii Nuntiandi,
Redemptoris Missio, or the Message of the Holy Father for the
VII World Youth Day. Be prepared to share what you learned
Leaders: These documents can be found online (at the
addresses listed in the Preparation Notes for this
lesson). The first two can also likely be found in a parish
library or Catholic bookstore. They are a great
investment and worth owning.
Lord God, I thank you for the opportunity to understand more
deeply my baptismal call to be a disciple of Jesus, especially by
recognizing the two calls of a disciple: holiness and mission.
Holy Spirit, increase my desire to be counted among the new
generation of builders, and stir in me the urgency of genuine
love and concern for the salvation of others.
Give me the courage to speak about Christ
so that I may say with the apostles,
“I cannot help speaking of what I have heard and seen!”
I pray that I may be a “Paul” to “Timothys” out there in the
world. I pray for the grace to be faithful to all you entrust to me.
Lesson 3 Preparation Notes
"The Message" In Brief:
It is necessary to proclaim the kerygma clearly and simply.
Important: This week you should bring your Discovery leader guide for
reference and some copies of The Ultimate Relationship to hand out.
x This lesson explains the message of a missionary: the kerygma.
x André Regnier’s story shows the necessity for a clear and simple
proclamation of the Gospel. It is a powerful story that speaks of the
exodus of Catholics to Protestant churches.
x The section on puzzle pieces describes an all-too-common Catholic
experience: knowing many truths about God but not understanding
how they all fit together. A clear proclamation of the kerygma helps
put those pieces together.
x Be aware that some participants may be confused when we use the
word "Gospel" to mean the message of salvation in Jesus - not a
book in the Bible. Here is a helpful explanation:
In referring to the Gospel, we must not think of it only as a
book or a set of teachings. The Gospel is much more; it is a
living and efficacious Word, which accomplishes what it says.
It is not so much a system of articles of faith and moral
precepts, much less a political programme, but a person:
Jesus Christ, the definitive Word of God, who became
man. The Gospel is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However,
not only does the Gospel have Jesus Christ as its content; but
even more, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ is also the
promoter and the centre of its proclamation and transmission.
Consequently, the goal of the transmission of the faith is the
realization of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, in the
Spirit, thereby leading to an experiencing of his Father and
Lineamenta for 2012 Synod on New Evangelization, 11
x The section on 2 Corinthians 5 unpacks Paul's commitment to
spreading the message of God's reconciling love. Be sure to prepare
your explanation of this passage ahead of time. Here are some
helpful points to assist your preparation:
o In this passage, Paul refers to the ministry of reconciliation. He is
not referring to the sacrament of Reconciliation per se, although
what he describes as the ministry of reconciliation most definitely
happens in the sacrament of Reconciliation; Christ forgives us
our sins and reconciles us to the Father.
o The use of the term in this passage has a broader meaning. We
can all (not just priests) participate in the ministry of reconciliation
by sharing the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection with
others, and invite them to make their peace with God (be
reconciled with him, receive salvation). Through the ministry of
reconciliation, we invite people to become “new creations in
Christ,” and to surrender all things to him so that the “old things
pass away.” This is the grace specifically given in Baptism (see
CCC 1214, 1265).
o Since the sacrament of Reconciliation is an essential means in
helping people restore their relationship with God. We should
encourage and help participants get to the sacrament (letting
them know where, when and a refresher on how).
x The lesson closes with a challenge to share the Gospel with
someone else. Many participants know the message, but lack
confidence in their ability to share it. This challenge gives them an
opportunity to practice sharing the Gospel clearly and simply. It
would be ideal if they could share the message with someone who
has not heard it, but it is still valuable for them to practice sharing ,
even with a believer.
x The Ultimate Relationship booklet is a helpful tool for sharing the
Gospel. Participants can share the booklet as is, but they should not
feel confined to using it. This can be done in whatever way they feel
is most appropriate in each circumstance, whether it be telling a
story, drawing on a napkin or sharing the booklet. The goal is for
each participant to be comfortable communicating the Gospel.
x The Ultimate Relationship
1. Share with the group what you learned from your
reading assignment last week. Did you find any
In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul begins by saying, “what you have heard
from me…” It is clear that a message is central to the
missionary relationship he has with Timothy and the others
described in this verse. This week’s lesson is dedicated to
understanding the message of a missionary. The most
important message we have to communicate is straightforward:
Jesus. This week we will recall the basic Gospel message of
the redeeming work of Christ: his death and resurrection. We
will study the importance of this message and learn how to
communicate it clearly and effectively.
A CCO Story
Over the years, CCO has sometimes been criticized for the way
we articulate our message. Some have said our material seems
too basic, lacks theological depth or sounds too “Protestant”. In
developing our material, however, we sought to connect with
those who are confused and unsure about the person of Jesus.
These people need to be introduced to Jesus in a clear and
simple way so they can understand and respond to his
invitation in their lives.
This invitation to a personal relationship with Jesus should not
be considered unique to either Catholics or Protestants: it is the
Father himself who desires such a relationship. The mystery of
the Gospel is in its universal appeal: the most simple of minds
can grasp its meaning, while the most learned can spend a
lifetime discovering its richness. What fuels us even more to
focus on Jesus is the direct call from the Church:
There is no true evangelization if the name, the
teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the
mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not
Evangelii Nuntiandi, 22
André Regnier (co-founder of CCO) speaks of a formative
experience which occurred before CCO began:
I was invited to a “college and career” event at an Evangelical
church while attending university. What I witnessed there
influenced the direction of my life. There were over 200 young
people at church! I had never seen this before as a Catholic.
Although there may have been such gatherings in the Catholic
Church, I was not aware of them!
Although the crowd was impressive, the conversations I had
with these people were what really affected me. It was evident
that Jesus was important to them. They spoke of him as if he
were relevant and real in their lives. Their enthusiasm and
authentic, genuine witness were undeniable. I could see they
truly loved God. I was impressed but at the same time deeply
saddened because it seemed as though every second
Protestant I spoke to was an ex-Catholic. They would share
how they now had a personal relationship with Jesus: implying
that they had to leave the Catholic Church to experience Jesus
in an intimate way. I wanted to drop to my knees and beg them
to come back! But then I thought, where could I bring them so
they could continue to experience the encouragement and
growth in their relationship with Jesus that they were currently
experiencing outside of the Church? Nothing came to mind.
I left that experience with not only a great concern for the
Church, but a desire to do something about the problem. It was
at a Campus Crusade for Christ Christmas conference in
Edmonton that the solution became clear to me. The keynote
speaker quoted St. Paul: “All that matters is that Jesus is
proclaimed. That is what brings me joy” (Philippians 1:18). I left
that conference with great excitement, anticipating the amazing
things God could do within the Church. I felt called to proclaim
Jesus as clearly and simply as possible so that everyone could
understand and respond.
Only a few weeks later, a friend handed me an encyclical that
he thought I might enjoy. It was called Evangelii Nuntiandi
(Evangelization in the Modern World) by Pope Paul VI. I was
astounded at how God was showing me that evangelization
and a personal relationship with Jesus are most definitely at the
heart of the Church.
2. Do you agree that proclaiming Jesus clearly and simply
would help Catholics? Why or why not?
Catholics would know and understand clearly the “reason for
it all” the “why” to our Catholic faith. In hearing the Gospel
message simply and clearly they would also be able to
explain it to others simply and clearly.
In our experience of ministry with Catholics, we have found that
people are often confused about Jesus. They may be unsure
whether he is actually God or what his death on the cross
means. They often see Jesus’ death as a great sign of love for
humanity, but not for themselves personally.
It is very difficult to share Jesus with non-believers if Catholics
themselves are confused about who he is. They may believe
that Jesus is important but not understand exactly why. As one
student explains, "I was always very involved in my faith, but I
was never clear on who Jesus was in my life. I had great
respect for him and I knew somehow that he was important in
my life. My understanding of Jesus was like pieces of a puzzle
(death, sin, mercy, miracles, sacraments, heaven etc). I was
somewhat aware of each piece but was unable to understand
and see the complete picture. This limited my ability to know
and love Christ. Going through Discovery, I saw how all the
pieces of my faith fit together: I saw the relevance of Jesus’
death and resurrection in my life."
A CCO staff member shares the following experience:
It is rare that I have met a Catholic who is clear, comfortable,
and able to articulate who Jesus is and what he has done for
them. I have shared the "St. Catherine's bridge illustration" and
the “Relationships Diagram” many times. Often people are
speechless as the bridge illustration is presented to them. They
finally see the pieces of the puzzle being put together. During a
particular lesson, a lady in her mid-forties spoke up with an
angry voice. She said, “I have been a Catholic all my life, why
did I not know that Jesus was God? Why was it not explained to
me why he died? It has been hidden from me.”
3. What is your reaction to these stories? Do you think this
is a common experience for Catholics?
Leaders: Follow up by asking, “Why is there confusion?
How do we explain why this is happening?”
In our CCO experience, most people who have walked away
are either indifferent, critical or frustrated based only on what
they have been taught and told. Pointing a finger at them for
their lack of faith formation and belief is neither helpful nor
just. We should consider the fact that the fault may not be in
their failure to understand, but in our failure to communicate
the message. We need to take responsibility for what has not
been clearly given to them.
Leaders: We want to encourage a paradigm shift, moving
away from judgment and into understanding. They
("Timothys") don’t know what they don’t know.
The Kerygma: Jesus
The student who shared her testimony above understood Jesus
because she heard the Gospel presented clearly and simply
and was able to respond to its message. This is the same
message those young Protestants that André met at the
College and Career group were experiencing in their lives. But
one does not have to leave the Catholic Church in order to
discover Christ! Indeed, it is on Jesus that the Church is
founded and it is him whom she proclaims.
Evangelization will also always contain — as the
foundation, center, and at the same time, summit of its
dynamism — a clear proclamation that, in Jesus
Christ, the Son of God made man, who died and rose
from the dead, salvation is offered to all men, as a gift
of God's grace and mercy.
Evangelii Nuntiandi, 27
In the complex reality of mission, initial proclamation
has a central and irreplaceable role, since it introduces
man "into the mystery of the love of God, who invites
him to enter into a personal relationship with himself in
Christ" and opens the way to conversion. Faith is born
of preaching, and every ecclesial community draws its
origin and life from the personal response of each
believer to that preaching. Just as the whole economy
of salvation has its center in Christ, so too all
missionary activity is directed to the proclamation of
his mystery. The subject of proclamation is Christ who
was crucified, died and is risen: through him is
accomplished our full and authentic liberation from
evil, sin and death; through him God bestows "new
life" that is divine and eternal. This is the "Good News"
which changes man and his history, and which all
peoples have a right to hear. This proclamation is to
be made within the context of the lives of the
individuals and peoples who receive it. It is to be made
with an attitude of love and esteem toward those who
hear it, in language which is practical and adapted to
the situation. In this proclamation the Spirit is at work
and establishes a communion between the missionary
and his hearers, a communion which is possible
inasmuch as both enter into communion with God the
Father through Christ.
Redemptoris Missio, 44
4. What stands out to you in these quotations?
The Church often uses the term kerygma synonomously with
"Good News" or "gospel message" The word kerygma is
related to the Greek verb κηρύσσω (kērússō): to cry or proclaim
as a herald. It means proclamation, announcement or
preaching. It is this basic Gospel message that the early
Church proclaimed. Definition of kerygma: the apostolic
proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ (Merriam
Webster Dictionary, m-w.com).
One of numerous scriptural examples of this can be found in 1
Now I should remind you, brothers and sisters, of the
good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn
received, in which also you stand, through which also
you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message
that I proclaimed to you — unless you have come to
believe in vain.
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in
turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in
accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried,
and that he was raised on the third day in accordance
with the scriptures
5. How does CCO communicate the kerygma in four clear
Leaders: This is a quick review for those who know it,
but there may also be people in your group who are not
familiar with how we communicate the kerygma.
1 – God created you for a relationship with him
2 – Our relationship is broken through sin
3 – Jesus restores our relationship
4 – We respond by inviting Christ to be at the centre of our
Note that the previous quote from Evangelii Nuntiandi says
the kerygma succinctly: "in Jesus Christ, the Son of God
made man, who died and rose from the dead, salvation is
offered to all men, as a gift of God's grace and mercy."
Entrusted with the Message
6. Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. Paul speaks with
tremendous conviction in this passage. What is the object
of his passion?
Paul is passionate about the Good News of Jesus! He
recognizes that people need to hear about Jesus. There is a
sense of urgency in this passage: he is being compelled to
reach out and pursue others.
This passage describes God as being passionate too. He
pursues us. The proof of his pursuit: he sent Jesus to take
our sins upon himself in order to reconcile us to the Father
(vv. 17-19 and 21); he also sends his witnesses (Paul and
others) (v. 18).
Leaders: Ask, “Where do we see the message/the
kerygma identified in these verses?”
x “one died for all” (v. 14)
x reconciled to God through Christ (v. 18)
x Jesus took our sins upon himself so we could be reconciled
to God (vv. 19 and 21)
7. What fuels his passion?
Leaders: Mention that there are a number of contributing
factors; encourage participants to back up their answers
x Fear of the Lord (v. 11) – God is commissioning him to this
task. You don’t take those marching orders lightly! There is
also a sense that this task is of eternal importance — a top
priority from God.
x Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God because his mission
was not only about transforming lives and hearts here and
now (“behold, the kingdom of God is among you” [Luke
17:20]), but for eternity. He came to bring us salvation and
the hope of heaven; the eternal Kingdom of God. This
message is a matter of life and death and was central to
x Love of Christ (v. 14) – implying gratitude for what Jesus
did on the cross.
x Love for those to whom he is reaching out (his “Timothys”)
x Conviction that the message of Jesus is of eternal
importance and meant for all to receive (v. 15).
x Understanding of the great treasure that is found in Christ,
in that through him, we become a new creation and are
reconciled with God (vv. 17, 18).
x Privilege and responsibility of being entrusted with the
message of reconciliation (v. 19) and of being an
ambassador for Christ (v. 20).
x Memories of his own conversion (v. 16).
8. Paul calls us ambassadors for Christ. How does this
perspective of our missionary role affect the way we
communicate the kerygma?
With this in mind, we approach our ministry with a sense of
dignity, responsibility and importance.
Recognizing that we are Christ's ambassadors gives us a
sense of our dignity. It is an honour to proclaim the Gospel,
and we should do so with peaceful confidence. We should
not be ashamed of our message.
We approach our call to apostolate with the fear of the Lord
as Paul says in verse 11. This means we act with deep
respect for God, serving him well and obeying his directives
because he is GOD.
This attitude also implies that we share the kerygma clearly
and simply in order to directly and accurately pass on the
message entrusted to us. We should do so in a way that is
timely, appropriate, loving, compassionate and inviting,
avoiding attitudes and actions that are judgmental, impatient,
or patronizing. We must treat those we speak to with respect,
strive to identify with them, and be patient with them.
Furthermore, we should avoid assuming that the people we
meet do not need to be reconciled. Someone to whom you
are ministering may not have had a chance to be reconciled
with God. It would be a shame for them to miss out on this
opportunity only because it was not offered.
9. In conclusion, what would you say are the important
points of this week's lesson?
Leaders: See "Summary" for overview or glance back at
There is much confusion, even among Catholics, about who
Jesus is and why he is important. The message of a missionary
is the basic Gospel message: the death and resurrection of
Jesus Christ for our salvation. Jesus sends us out as his
ambassadors to implore people to be reconciled to God.
This week, share the kerygma with someone in a clear and
simple way. Be prepared to share your experience with the
group next week.
Leaders: You can offer The Ultimate Relationship
booklets as a helpful reference tool.
Lord Jesus, thank you for the free gift of salvation.
I thank you for all the times in my life that I have been able to
hear the Gospel and respond. Not everyone has had that
Lord, I ask that you would write the kerygma on my heart, so
that I would know it and be able to communicate it to others in a
clear and effective way.
You have entrusted to me the message of reconciliation. I
accept the call to be your ambassador and pray for the courage
to live it out.
I also pray for all those who will hear the Gospel: give them the
grace to understand and respond so that they may become
new creations in you.
Lesson 4 Preparation Notes
"The Message and You" In Brief:
Recognizing how we have experienced God's saving action in our own
x The purpose of this lesson is to help participants identify their
moment of conversion. Each person is encouraged to reflect on how
they came to understand that Jesus died for their sins. The
importance of being able to tell the story of their conversion is also
Some people are able to identify a definite moment of
conversion. Others experience the full impact of Christ’s mercy
later in their faith journey.
In this lesson, examples of both of these situations will be
described through stories. One story demonstrates that,
although it may be necessary to dig a bit to help people
recognize their moment of conversion, the moment can most
often be identified. A second story describes how someone
recognized Jesus as Saviour later in her faith journey.
x It is important to recognize that we were saved from our sins. This
helps us to authentically and effectively communicate the Gospel,
and to identify with others who are lost.
x Leaders: In this lesson your group will be identifying when they
made an adult decision to choose to follow Jesus. Some might call
this time in our lives as "making an adult decision to respond to their
Baptism," being "lost then found," "blind but now they can see" or
"their conversion moment". It is truly understanding the great gift of
salvation and the divine life that Jesus gave them at their Baptism
and choosing to appreciate and embrace it in their lives.
x Also you will notice that we are using the term "the lost" and
"Timothy" interchangeably. Like we said, Timothy began
somewhere: as someone who needed to hear and respond to Jesus
first; he was once “lost.” In this study when we talk about reaching
out to a "Timothy" it is generally referring to someone who has not
had this adult conversion yet (ie. is "lost" and has not responded as
an adult to God's gift of salvation).
x The question may arise: What if the "Timothy" we are reaching out to
isn't exactly "lost" but someone who is practicing their faith? Yes it is
possible we have "Timothys" in our lives who are at this place.
x A great starting point in working with this "Timothy" is to do exactly
what is being done in this lesson — helping this person identify
when he/she was lost and came to know Jesus.
x Make sure to budget your time during this lesson so as to leave at
least ten minutes for the closing activity. It is not necessary for
participants to answer all the questions, only those which help them
identify how they first experienced Jesus' forgiveness and mercy in
x The discussion in this lesson might create a wide range of emotions
and responses. Some participants may get upset, defensive,
sorrowful or despairing when they consider the grave mistakes and
wrong decisions they or their loved ones have made. It is important
to remind them that God can bring good out of any situation. We
cannot give in to despair as though situations are too drastic for God
to redeem. We need to trust that God is God and that nothing is
impossible for him. Remind your group of the testimony of people
like Paul (who sought out and killed Christians), or Mary Magdalene
(who was possessed by demons).
x Prepare your testimony and your own answers to the lesson’s
questions in order to model the tone and vulnerability of the sharing.
You may want to lead by being the first to share, as people might be
shy. This will allow you to model appropriate content and length of
x We want each participant to grasp that he/she is desperately in need
of a Saviour. You may find that some are not able to answer
convincingly (or answer at all). Perhaps they have not yet
experienced their need for a Saviour. Perhaps they have never
actually put Jesus at the centre of their lives. Perhaps they have
always been good and faithful and it is harder for them to have an
emotional connection to Christ’s sacrifice for them. It is GREAT that
they have always been faithful — they do not need to go looking for
dirt. To help them understand their need you could:
o Suggest that if they are not sure whether they have ever really
understood their need for a Saviour, they should ask God for the
grace to recognize it. They can meditate and reflect on the gift of
faithfulness, how Christ has preserved them from serious sin, and
what their life could have looked like without his grace.
o After the meeting, discreetly offer to meet with these people
individually to help them further their reflection and/or help them
concretely reach out to Jesus as their Saviour (sharing the
relationships diagram and praying with them, bringing them to the
sacrament of Reconciliation, etc.).
Notes on Conversion:
Conversion happens in many ways. Someone might truly understand
Jesus as Saviour at their initial conversion, but this understanding can
also be gained through prayer, the confessional, Mass, hearing a talk,
a faith sharing group or growing up in a faithful family. Somehow, in
these situations the individual has a meaningful encounter with the
forgiveness, mercy and love of Jesus. Generally, there are three types
of faith journeys/testimonies:
1) Definite Adult Conversion Moment. Many people can identify a
definitive moment when they acknowledged Jesus as their Redeemer.
They have a personal encounter with God and his truth at a very
specific time and place (for example, on a retreat, praying to put Jesus
at the centre of their life, etc.). There is often a "Paul" connected with
their experience who assisted in reconciling them with the Father.
2) Season of Adult Conversion. Some people have a general idea of
when things began to change, but they are not sure when they gave
God permission to have Lordship in their lives. This may be a fair
assessment of how they became a disciple. However, sometimes with
more reflection, they can find a decision moment. It is very liberating
for them when they do! Is it necessary to dig endlessly for a conversion
moment? Of course not. What is important is that the person can say,
"I see that during this period of my life I received the love and
forgiveness of Christ and chose to follow him as a disciple."
3) Faithful One's Whole Life. Some people have sought to put their
trust in God and follow Jesus throughout their entire life. Instead of
having a dramatic adult conversion, their story is one of faithfulness to
God with many “yesses” over the years. They have lived daily in the
graces of Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation — as
should be the ordinary faith journey for all Catholics. This is a beautiful
testimony of God's grace, empowering them to habitually avoid and
repent of sin, and reminding them of Jesus' saving action in their lives.
However, there is still room for these people to reflect on key moments
of decision to follow Christ. For example, Mary the Mother of God or
St. Thérèse of Lisieux would have been faithful their whole lives, but
there are specific occasions when they made their big yesses —
important decisions to follow God and receive his grace. For example,
Mary's yes at the Annunciation. In her testimony in the magnificat,
(Luke 1:46-55) we read of Mary rejoicing in God her Saviour who has
had mercy on her in her lowliness.
St. Thérèse talks about her Christmas conversion. She was 14 years
old when she overhead her father expressing relief that this would be
the last year he would have to hide presents in Thérèse's 'petit soulier'
shoe. Her usual response would have been to burst into tears and
have an emotional meltdown. Instead, she felt the grace of God acting
in her and helping her to choose not to give into selfishness, but to be
mature and not cry.
Many would see this as a very ordinary story, but St. Thérèse, who is a
doctor of the Church, would identify this as a pivotal moment in her
spiritual growth. It was here that she chose to put Christ first in her life,
no longer herself preoccupied with selfish desires and tendencies.
Surely if these women have a story to tell, so do we!
In order for all these people to be effective as missionaries, they
should ponder this question: "How have I experienced Jesus as the
one who saved me from sin, death and separation from God?"
The Message and You
1. Share with the group how your experience of sharing
the kerygma went. What did you learn from this
“What you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust
to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as
well” (2 Timothy 2:2). Through the loving concern of a “Paul” or
other witnesses in your life, you encountered the message of
Jesus. Thank God for these people! Perhaps last week, you
tried to be a “Paul” in someone else’s life by sharing Jesus.
This week, we will learn to identify with Timothy. Think about it.
There was a time when Timothy must have first heard and
responded to Jesus. We should all recall the starting moments
of our faith. For most of us, our narrative begins with our
parents' faith at our Baptism. In a variety of ways, we chose this
faith for ourselves as an adult or at an age of reason. This
week, we will look back at our faith journey, remembering when
we were a “Timothy,” and how we have come to know the
person and presence of Jesus in our lives, especially in the
initial conversion of our hearts and minds.
The Value of Identifying our Conversion
Leaders: Conversion happens in many ways, such that
the individual has a meaningful encounter with the
forgiveness, mercy and love of Jesus. Remember, there
are three types of faith journeys/testimonies: definite
conversion moment, season of conversion, faithful one's
whole life (see preparation notes).
We understand that Jesus is God. We know that he died on the
cross to take away our sins — after all, we have crucifixes in
our homes and we proclaim at every Mass: “Lamb of God who
takes away the sins of the world.” But do I, personally, really
grasp that Jesus took away my sins, that he died to reconcile
me to God's love?
Some of us understand this as children, but most of us
appreciate it more fully at our adult conversion. Others
comprehend their poverty and need for Jesus as Saviour later
on in their faith walk. No matter when we “get it,” we must be
able to “give it” to others. “Always be ready to make your
defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for
the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
2. Why is it important that I know Jesus saved me, that I
value this gift and am able to communicate it to others?
1) To authentically and effectively communicate the Gospel. If
we are not convinced of our NEED for Christ, how will we be
able to effectively convey this truth and present this Person to
others? To be effective in our evangelization, we should be
able to articulate our conversion story: "What happened to
me? How and when did I have a conversion? What has
changed? How did I come to know God's love and
forgiveness in my life?" This allows for the listener to know
how, they too, can come to experience God the way you
Being able to give clear testimony to your faith and to glorify
God's saving action in your life is very important for a
missionary. However, some people struggle to find their exact
conversion moment. Receiving training in how to give a
testimony can be very helpful. All of this will be discussed in
2) To identify with others. It is also important to be able to
identify our personal need for Jesus as Saviour so that we
can relate to others with empathy and humility. When we are
conscious of the sobering reality that without Christ, we would
be much worse off, we are able to be sincerely patient,
compassionate and empathetic towards others.
It is important to help people identify how they came to
understand the Good News in their lives and how Jesus
heals them from sin and death. The classic lifeguard
analogy, for example, helps people to recognize that they
were drowning in their sin and weakness and that they
needed Jesus to rescue them. See Discovery Leader's
Guide, Lesson 5.
Identifying our Conversion
It can be challenging to help people develop their testimony.
Often the moment or season of conversion is not clearly
defined in a person’s mind. He/she sees how life is different
before and after conversion, but when this change occurred is
not so clear.
Our challenge is to help illuminate the conversion process.
There are two aspects we can help people to identify:
x Their personal decision to open their heart to Jesus or,
x If they have remained faithful to God since childhood, how
has Jesus' death and resurrection been personally
understood or experienced?
The following stories illustrate both scenarios:
A CCO staff member describes helping a student identify the
moment of his adult faith decision.
I was working with a student on his testimony. He spent much
of his energy trying to convince me that he always believed in
Jesus and practiced his faith. That was fine, but pretty vague. I
wanted to hear more. He wanted me to understand that he did
not have a dramatic conversion. It was more of a gradual
awareness and intimacy with Jesus. He tried to explain how
there was not a moment he could identify but a whole lot of
experiences, one of which was a weekend retreat he went on
that had a particular impact on his faith. Seeing an opening, I
asked him what it was that specifically affected him on that
weekend. Frustrated with my line of questioning, he
emphasized that it was not a moment or realization but that it
was more simply a process of opening up his heart to Jesus.
That sounded good but I wanted to know what moved him to
open his heart. His patience with me was running thin. He
repeated that it was not a moment, but the whole weekend that
had affected him. I recognized that he had lived an authentic
life-changing experience on this weekend but, like him, I was
confused as to how the conversion came about.
After more probing questions, his story began to unfold. He
explained how he went to the retreat feeling very distant from
God, yet desiring to be closer to him. These words caught my
attention, as I noticed that there had been a struggle of faith
and that he was crying out. When I asked more about this, he
started to see more clearly how things began to change for him.
He recalled one of the retreat leaders explaining to him that
Jesus would have died even if he were the only person in the
world. He said that he had been moved to tears. It was at this
point that he realized, probably for the first time in his life, that
Jesus knows and is concerned with him personally. It was soon
after this talk that the retreat participants were invited to give
their hearts to Jesus. He was the first to go forward.
None of the digging to find this moment was intended to deny
the journey of faith this young man had lived. All of his life's
experiences were leading him to faith. However, it was very
important for him to identify that he had in fact made an adult
decision to make his faith his own. He was so excited that he
had concretely encountered Jesus’ love and forgiveness, and
chosen to follow him. With great joy and enthusiasm, he left
that meeting telling everyone about his conversion moment,
because now he recognized it.
3. Why do you think this realization gave so much clarity
and life to this young man's faith?
Connecting to the Cross
Angèle Regnier, co-founder of CCO, tells how she came to the
realization that Jesus died on the cross for her personally.
I have always wished that I had a dramatic testimony. I would
listen in awe and wonder at the stories of people who were
criminals or drug addicts before coming to the Lord. I was
amazed at how God had intervened in their lives. My story was
not dramatic in the least; in fact, I would consider it flat-out
boring. I was raised in a Christian family and went to church all
my life. I have always believed in God and in Jesus. I never
chose to rebel from the faith and way of life modeled for me by
my family. I suppose I should really be grateful that God and his
commandments were never hidden from me."
Because I had never made any seriously wrong choices in my
life, I really did not find I could emotionally connect with Jesus’
crucifixion. Every Good Friday, I felt that I should try to muster
up sadness and regret for what he had done for me on the
cross, but I really could not feel it. After all, I had been a pretty
good person my whole life."
During Lent of 1996, I prayed that God would show me the
depth of my sin so that I could understand what he had done on
the cross for me. That Lent and Holy Week came and went,
and by Easter Sunday I was eating chocolate bunnies with,
sadly, no greater understanding than I had before.
However, in the two years that followed, my spiritual journey
took me to deep and dark places in my soul. The Spirit of God
unveiled incidents and relationships in my past that had caused
me pain. The pain of these situations and people had locked
me into resentment, fear, anger, lack of forgiveness, hatred and
other forms of rebellion in my life. I had never before realized
how ugly and invasive the rot was. I saw for the first time that I
had very serious sin in my life and that I needed God’s mercy
and grace to face it and repent of it.
It was a few days before Palm Sunday 1998, and I found myself
spiritually exhausted. I had previously thought that I had a
substantial “spiritual résumé,” however over those forty days of
Lent I was aware of how very weak I was. I had done a
miserable job of my Lenten commitments and I felt defeated
and useless. I prayed, wept and cried out to God to help me! I
had nothing to offer him: no courage, no strength and no
In prayer, I imagined myself before Jesus on the cross. I saw
myself desperately clutching the nailed feet of Jesus, barely
having the strength to hang on to him while I screamed for help.
I have never before felt like such a complete failure, and I am
happy to say that I received such sweet mercy and consolation
in knowing that I indeed do need a Saviour, and this Saviour is
This was a holy time for me. My hero and rescuer, Jesus, had
stooped down to save me from all my weaknesses and from all
my sins and failures. Then, in his mercy, he reassured me of
the love and of the great plans he had in mind for me all along.
Knowing that I have been loved, fought for and rescued from
the gravity of my sin (that I got myself into) inspires me to love
and fight for the message of Jesus to be understood by others.
I had followed Jesus as Lord my whole life, but now I also know
him as my Saviour.
4. Although this was not the moment of Angèle's initial
conversion, how was it significant for her and her
evangelistic witness to have had this experience?
This experience enabled her to be humble and know her
need for a Saviour. This need was not just in her mind, it was
deeply felt. Her experience enabled her to have greater
compassion on those with more "obvious sins," since she
understood that she too was, really, truly, desperate without
God's mercy and forgiveness. Knowing what mercy really felt
like, she knew how good this Good News is for others.
We can be witnesses only if we know Christ first hand,
and not only through others — from our own life, from
our personal encounter with Christ. Finding him really
in our life of faith, we become witnesses.
Pope Benedict XVI, On Christian Unity in 2009,
"When He Wishes and When We Are Prepared,
[God] Will Create Unity", Zenit.org
5. Having heard these two testimonies, let us spend the
next ten minutes in personal reflection. Recall your own
journey. When and how did you experience conversion and
God's mercy? Here are some further questions to direct
Leaders: Participants may want to take some time alone
to do this exercise. They can also journal their thoughts.
We want each participant to grasp that he/she is
desperately in need of a Saviour. You may find that some
are not able to answer convincingly (or answer at all).
You can respond to this in a few ways. Perhaps they
have not yet experienced their need for a Saviour.
Perhaps they have never actually put Jesus at the centre
of their lives. Perhaps they have always been good and
faithful and it is harder for them to have an emotional
connection to Christ’s sacrifice for them. It is great that
they have always been faithful — they do not need to go
looking for dirt. To help them figure this out you could:
Here you can suggest that if they are not sure whether
they have ever really understood their need for a
Saviour, they should ask God for the grace to realize it.
They can meditate and reflect on the gift of faithfulness,
how Christ has preserved them from serious sin, and
what their life could have looked like without his grace.
After the meeting, you could discreetly offer to meet with
these people individually to help them further their
reflection and/or help them concretely reach out to Jesus
as their Saviour (sharing the “Relationships Diagram”
and praying with them, bringing them to the sacrament
of Reconciliation, etc.).
Who was the “Paul” in your life? Were there several “Pauls”
in your life? We use the name “Paul” intentionally because
to him, what was of first importance was that Jesus be
proclaimed. What is it about these “Pauls” and what they
communicated to you that brought you to a clearer
understanding of Jesus?
At what times in your life did you really understand that
Jesus died on the cross for you, to save you from your sin
What were your big "yesses" to God? When did you choose
to follow him or invite him to be at the centre of your life?
From what has Jesus rescued you? This could be your past
failures, or perhaps the wrong choices you might have
made, were it not for God’s grace in your life.
For example, on this last point, Angèle would say that if
it were not for God’s presence in her life she would be
broken and despairing. Because of her woundedness,
she would have done anything to receive any semblance
of love or acceptance. She could imagine herself making
many damaging choices in relationships. By God’s grace
in her life, she was protected with a formed Christian
conscience. This is sobering and helpful in reminding
her of what God has spared her (i.e. what could have
6. Based on your reflection, share with the group when
and how you experienced Jesus' mercy and forgiveness.
Leaders: Be prepared to be the first to share, as people
might be shy. This will also allow you to model
appropriate content and length of sharing.