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?"
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
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
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.
Small Group Information
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 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.
2. What happens to someone who has lost his/her
3. What happens in our lives when we know who we are?
4. How does confusion about our Catholic identity affect
the life of the local 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
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?
7. How can we combat this tendency to become
disconnected from our deepest identity?
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
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!
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?
3. We understand that our spiritual life should activate our
apostolic fervour. How might our apostolic life cause us to
grow in holiness?
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
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.
6. Let us take a closer look at how the people and the
strategy are connected.
7. What would happen if Timothy did not understand
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?
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
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.
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?
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?
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
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
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?
7. What fuels his passion?
8. Paul calls us ambassadors for Christ. How does this
perspective of our missionary role affect the way we
communicate the kerygma?
9. In conclusion, what would you say are the important
points of this week's lesson?
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.
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.
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
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?
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?
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
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.
6. Based on your reflection, share with the group when
and how you experienced Jesus' mercy and forgiveness.
The name “Jesus” literally means “God saves." We are
dependent on God and the salvation offered through Christ. We
should never take for granted our salvation, as though we have
earned or deserved it because we are faithful. A deep
understanding of our redemption is indispensable for us and for
our effectiveness in evangelization. With this understanding we
are better able to articulate how we personally came to know
the saving action of Jesus.
Write a letter to your “Paul” to thank him/her for praying for you,
fighting for you, loving you and pointing you to Jesus.
Lord, I thank you for the cross.
I thank you for making a way for us
to live eternally with you in heaven.
Father, I am grateful that
not only did you love the world enough to send your Son,
you also loved me enough to send your Son.
Holy Spirit, thank you for your mercy —
despite my weaknesses, sins and failures.
I give you permission to continue purifying me,
that I may better know your grace and power in my life.
In a special way today, I pray in thanksgiving for my “Paul.”
Bless and protect all “Pauls” as they continue to love and serve
Heart for the Lost
1. Share with the group how you have been more aware of
Jesus as Saviour in your life as a result of last week’s
The poem, “The Hound of Heaven” describes the merciful and
unstoppable character of God who goes after the most
wayward soul. The poet, Francis Thompson, was an
Englishman who lived in the late 1800s. He came from a devout
Catholic family and studied many years to become a physician.
Nonetheless, he walked away from it all due to an opium
addiction. As a result, he lived a destitute life on the streets of
London, suffering from ill health, poverty, homelessness,
depression and suicidal thoughts. His poem “The Hound of
Heaven” is a testimony of God's loving action in his bleak,
desperate existence. He describes how God pursued him
relentlessly, like a hound — seeking him out to rescue him from
his sin and misery.
Thompson's description of “the hound of heaven” is a powerful
image of God’s love. The Father’s heart is for the lost: he
yearns for their return to him and rejoices when they are found.
Jesus reveals this heart of compassion through his parables,
most notably in the stories of the lost sheep, the lost coin and
the lost son (Luke 15). We too should have a "heart for the
lost." As followers of Christ, we should take on his care and
concern for those who wander far from him.
We will now turn our attention to the parable of the lost sheep to
gain insight into the pastoral heart of Christ. “For the Son of
Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
Lost and Found
2. Read Luke 15:1-7: The Parable of the Lost Sheep.
3. Who is coming to Jesus? Why are they attracted to
4. What can we learn from this?
5. What does Jesus do with them? What does this
6. What can we learn from this?
7. What is Jesus willing to do to find the lost sheep? What
does that say about what matters to him? Why is it
important to fight for one sheep?
8. What does he do with the lost sheep?
9. The 99 sheep in the sheepfold represent the Church. Let
us imagine the many different ways they might have
responded when the lost sheep was returned to the
sheepfold. How do you think they acted?
10. These same responses can easily be manifested in the
body of Christ. What might be motivating each of these
Who are the Lost?
The following texts will support our discussion:
At the end of the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus
recalled that God's love excludes no one: "So it is not
the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of
these little ones should perish." [Mt 18:14] He affirms
that he came "to give his life as a ransom for many";
this last term is not restrictive, but contrasts the whole
of humanity with the unique person of the redeemer
who hands himself over to save us. The Church,
following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all
men without exception: "There is not, never has been,
and never will be a single human being for whom Christ
did not suffer."
The majority of Catholics are still without any explicit
personal attachment to Jesus Christ; they only have the
capacity to believe placed within them at Baptism.
Catechesi Tradendae, 19
In the countries of more ancient Christian tradition
today there is an urgent need to call attention again to
the message of Jesus by means of a new
evangelization, since there are widespread groups of
people who do not know Christ, or do not know him
well enough; many, caught by the mechanisms of
secularism and religious indifference, are far from him.
The same world of young people, dear friends, is a
mission land for the Church today. Everyone knows the
problems which plague the environment in which young
people live: the collapse of values, doubt,
consumerism, drugs, crime, eroticism, etc. But at the
same time every young person has a great thirst for
God, even if at times this thirst is hidden behind an
attitude of indifference or even hostility.
John Paul II, Message for the 7th World Youth Day, 3
What the Church proclaims to the world is the Logos of
Hope (cf. 1 Pet 3:15); in order to be able to live fully
each moment, men and women need “the great hope”
which is “the God who possesses a human face and
who ‘has loved us to the end’ (Jn 13:1)”. This is why the
Church is missionary by her very nature. We cannot
keep to ourselves the words of eternal life given to us in
our encounter with Jesus Christ: they are meant for
everyone, for every man and woman. Everyone today,
whether he or she knows it or not, needs this message.
11. Who, then, are the lost that Jesus wants us to find?
12. John Paul II said our evangelization should be directed
at “those who do not know Christ or those who do not
know him well enough.” How does this statement help us
understand who the lost are?
13. What is the problem with being lost?
Conversion and Compassion
The Gospel writers describe many examples of Jesus' concern
for the lost: from his weeping over Jerusalem, to his parables
about coming for the sick rather than the healthy, and
ultimately, to his passion, death and resurrection. In the
narrative of the Samaritan woman, we read about an intimate
encounter with Jesus. Let's look at her dramatic story:
14. Read John 4:7-30, 39-42.
15. What kind of encounter did the Samaritan woman have
16. What can we learn from Jesus’ example?
17. Why is the woman filled with such apostolic zeal after
her conversion? What can we learn from this?
We embrace the commission to bring the Good News to all
creation out of obedience to God and love for our neighbour.
We ought to have compassion and concern for those whom the
Father seeks. Indeed, “the love of Christ urges us on” (2
Corinthians 5:15a). Mindful of how we have received God's
grace and mercy in our lives, we practice a ministry of
reconciliation with “Timothys” around us. We appropriate Jesus'
heart for the lost, and echo the words of St. Paul: “we entreat
you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians
This week, pray and seek to see each person with whom you
interact as Jesus does. Speak to them with care and
compassion, desiring to bring the love of Christ to them. If the
opportunity arises in conversation, share Jesus and his
message of reconciliation with them.
Lord, thank you for finding me and rescuing me
when I was lost.
Thank you for continuing to unveil to me areas of my heart and
mind that remain lost and in need of your mercy.
Lord, you have shown me what it means
to have a heart for the lost.
Help me to recognize that every person I meet
is loved and cared for by you.
Give me your heart to see them as you see them,
to love them as you love them.
Help me to hear your voice directing me to pray for them
and talk to them.
I pray that I may be empowered by the Holy Spirit
to communicate the Gospel with sensitivity, clarity and
I pray that I may be faithful in making Jesus known and loved.
1. Share with the group how you interacted with people
around you this week, striving to see them through the
eyes of Jesus, mindful of what he has done for you.
As we engage in conversation with “Timothys”, we might feel
we are wrestling with their hearts and souls to point them to
Christ. Many people have incomplete perceptions of the
Church, of Jesus and of morality, which influence their
openness to the Gospel message. The “Timothys” you are
trying to reach may share these perceptions.
We want to communicate the Gospel in a way that will
encourage people to receive it. We should thus always take into
account their perspective and experience. Effective
missionaries are more concerned with the perspective of those
with to whom they minister than with their own personal
understanding. It is not what we know but what they need to
know that matters. Therefore, we must communicate the
message that is most important for them to hear in the way they
can best understand and receive it.
Perception of the Church
2. Which of these perceptions of the Church looks more
Many people have a mistaken understanding of the Church.
They think the Church is purely about imposing ethics and
morality, a set of rules, or “do’s and don’ts”. Because of this
perception, people are critical, cautious and hesitant to listen to
the message of the Church. We need to help them understand
that Catholic Christianity is not simply a set of rules, but that it is
first a love story, a relationship with God.
Sadly, this first perspective is found not only among those who
wander away from the Church, but also within our parishes.
Peter Kreeft’s question to Catholic students at Boston College
sheds light on this reality. He often asks: “If you were to die and
God asked you, ‘Why should I let you into Heaven?’ what would
The students generally respond with a résumé of their actions.
This reveals the perception that God merely measures our
conduct; demanding from us a certain set of behaviours and
rewarding or punishing us according to our compliance.
Some people assume they are doing a good enough job and
that God will likely rule in their favour. Others are not sure they
can measure up to God's demands for perfection and holiness.
Both types of people think God and the Church are evaluating
how well they follow the rules.
In Discovery, the following question is asked: “Why did the
prodigal son want to take his inheritance and leave?” The
answers given by participants in the study reveal their
impression of God and the Church. A common response is,
"The son does not agree with the father’s rules because they
are boring and limiting — too many do’s and don’ts. There is
more freedom and adventure in the world than within the
father’s house." They might provide a similar answer when
asked why they think people leave the Church. Their responses
indicate that there is little in the 'rules' of the Church that
attracts them. The Catholic way of life is perceived as limiting,
controlling and unrealistic.
Even many practicing Catholics identify with the Church mostly
on the level of ethics. Some put up with or even try to live out
the Church's moral teachings, but often become discouraged
by the challenge this presents. Trying to follow all the rules is
frustrating when their efforts are not supported by a vibrant
relationship with God. They see the letter of the law without the
heart of the law. Some Catholics, aware of the Church's moral
teachings, avoid them all together, considering them
repressive; others put their energy into trying to change the
Church's stance and teachings.
Unfortunately, these Catholics often do not identify with God’s
love and mercy, nor can they express a sense of freedom and
intimacy with him. They seem unaware that God is with them in
their joys and struggles, and that he can bring healing,
forgiveness and meaning to their lives. They do not see that
God is alive and active in the Church. They would likely be
astounded to hear that the Church is not simply about rules and
regulations, but about the love of God as shown through Christ
in the power of the Holy Spirit, and made real and tangible for
all his people.
Many non-Catholics also share this mistaken perception of the
Church. Their paradigm of the Church is unattractive, irrelevant
and uninteresting. The gap becomes even more pronounced
when they perceive vast differences between their worldview
and that of the Church.
3. How could explaining these two perceptions of the
Church help those people whom we want to evangelize?
4. Even people who are church-going can be bound by
their “spiritual résumé” and their ability to abide by all
God’s commandments. How do you think their faith life
would change if they could understand the second way of
viewing the Church?
5. Consider those Catholics who may struggle with, put up
with, avoid, or try to change the teachings of the Church.
How do you think their faith life would change if they could
approach the Church from the lens of the second model?
Despite these varying perceptions, the spirit behind the rules
and laws of the Church is best understood in the context of a
loving relationship with God. Having recognized this truth, let us
now look at another common obstacle to faith.
Perception of Jesus
For some, the barrier to faith is an incorrect image of Jesus.
Although they revere and respect Jesus, they do not appreciate
what he has done and why they need him as a Saviour. We
looked at how this can be true in our own lives in lesson 4.
Practicing and non-practicing Catholics have, for the most part,
varying degrees of reverence and respect for Christ. Although
respect is important, the lack of awareness of their need for him
affects their spiritual life. They consider God as an aspect of
their life, but they do not think they actually need him until a
serious problem arises.
The bridge analogy illustrates our need for God not just when
we have a life crisis, but at all times: we need him because he
rescues us from sin.
God and man stand on opposite sides of an immense river. In
this huge crevice separating God from man are SIN and
6. How does this image, just as it is (without a cross) make
you feel? How does it change your perspective on your
need for Jesus?
7. Why is it important to help people shift their perception
of Jesus from one of ‘respect’ to one of ‘need’?
Speaking of Jesus should always be central to our efforts in
evangelization: he is the heart of the message we want to
communicate. Sometimes, however, when attempting to share
our faith, we fail to emphasize the most important part. Instead
of speaking of Jesus, we focus on issues, teachings, practices,
laws, rules, etc. Although discussing these issues can lead to a
conversation about Jesus, the issues often become the primary
message. By the time the topic of Jesus comes around, the
conversation has become argumentative and confrontational.
The most important message for our “Timothys” to hear is
Jesus. Until this foundation is in place, they will not be able to
truly understand the Church’s moral and social teachings. We
must be patient and avoid trying to tackle every moral issue at
once. We risk doing great damage by dwelling on issues with
those we are trying to evangelize. A confrontational attitude can
create a negative environment in which the love of Jesus
cannot be sown. This does not mean we should avoid speaking
the truth. We must speak the truth without becoming
argumentative, thereby missing the opportunity to focus our
conversation on proclaiming God’s love.
Sometimes it is the people we are trying to evangelize who
bring up issues. This can happen while we are sharing the
Gospel, or before we even begin to share the Gospel.
The first circumstance causes us to shift our focus from Jesus
to the issues introduced. For example, as you are explaining
God’s personal and secure love, someone may ask about
suffering or poverty in the world. People will often bring up
similar questions: “But how would a loving God allow for things
like tsunamis?” Or, “My aunt just died. She was young and had
children. How can there be a loving God who cares for us?”
Naturally, it would be difficult to understand these problems
without a solid faith. It thus becomes all the more important to
bring God’s love and concern to light.
In the second case, issues arise before we begin sharing the
Gospel. You are standing at a CCO table on campus when a
student approaches and immediately confronts you about
Catholic “intolerance” towards homosexuality. Or a casual
conversation with your uncle turns to the subject of religion, and
he suddenly attacks the Church’s teaching about contraception.
We may feel obligated to address these concerns before
sharing the Gospel, fearing that the person will otherwise stop
listening. As mentioned above, however, the conversation often
becomes confrontational and we miss the opportunity to talk
about Jesus. It is important to remember that he is our
Brett Powell, a staff member with CCO, says, “You can spend
years trying to tackle the issues in someone’s life. Bring them to
Jesus and he will tackle them all.”
We must recognize that our beliefs are not necessarily
understood by those outside the Church. As St. Paul says in 1
Corinthians 2:14, “Now the natural person does not accept what
pertains to the Spirit of God for to him it is foolishness and he
cannot understand it.” The problem for most is not closedmindedness, but lack of faith. The virtue of faith enlightens the
mind and helps us see truth more clearly. To those who are
without it, many Church teachings do not seem to make sense.
People’s inability to accept these teachings, however, is not
necessarily evidence of a lack of the Spirit. More often this
attitude is a result of the pervasive influence of secular society.
Our desire is clear: we want Jesus to be known. We are aware,
however, that certain issues distract people from the message
or prevent them from hearing it. We can choose either to dwell
on these issues (which may result in confrontation and a lost
opportunity to share our true message), or to look for a chance
to speak of Jesus. It is important to remember that if people
know Jesus, they are better able to deal with the various issues
that obstruct their faith. The Holy Spirit will help them to sort
through these issues.
8. Have you ever missed an opportunity to speak to
someone about Jesus because you got bogged down in
9. How has your relationship with Jesus changed your
perspective on issues that may have previously obstructed
10. How would you now approach conversations that are
focused on an "issue"?
11. As a group, brainstorm some resources (books,
websites, organizations) that would be helpful to people
who have questions about certain issues.
The message is Jesus. Problems of confusion, disconnection
and frustration can be dealt with when we clearly understand
who Jesus is and what he has done. We need to know and
understand what influences people’s attitudes and respond to
them in charity. With these abilities and dispositions, we should
now have the confidence and desire to share the Gospel.
Apply what you learned in this lesson to conversations you
have with "Timothys" this week.
Lord, I pray for all those who are blind to you.
I pray for those who struggle with issues, that in finding you,
they will also find peace.
I pray for those who struggle with the Church and do not see
the life, love and freedom she offers.
I pray that when my Catholic brothers and sisters see a crucifix,
they will be moved to reflect on what it really depicts. May they
see the love of the one who rescued them and gave them the
hope of heaven.
Almighty Father, I also pray for myself. I pray that I will not be
intimidated by the opinions of others, but always remember that
you are the truth.
Holy Spirit, give me the wisdom to consider the experiences of
others and speak to them out of love. Let my disposition and
words not be obstacles to your grace, but use them to dissolve
the barriers that prevent people from seeing you clearly.
1. Share with the group how you were able to integrate the
illustrations and suggestions from last week in your
conversations with others.
This week we will do some dreaming and hoping. We will ask
the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us in our call to be his
ambassadors. The world is full of lost “Timothys”. To whom is
the Holy Spirit leading me to speak? To what particular mission
he is calling me? Am I involved in communities, faith groups or
ministries with whom I can share the kerygma? In this lesson,
we will discuss these potential mission fields and dream of how
God may want to use us to proclaim the Gospel.
In this story, André Regnier tells of how God directed him to
share the Gospel with certain individuals. André responded
eagerly, his heart full of great expectations for how the
message of Jesus could transform their lives.
Back in the early days of CCO, I was at a Sunday evening
Mass and my heart cried out for all the young people there. I
knew from experience that many were unaware of the extent of
Jesus’ love for them. A young couple sat down in the pew
directly in front of me. The writing on the young man’s jacket
caught my eye: “U of S Huskie Basketball” I thought to myself,
“what a platform he could have to speak of Jesus to young
people. What a blessing it would be if this young couple gave
witness to Jesus being at the center of their relationship.” I did
not give in to the idea that all this would be highly unlikely given
the spiritual state of young people in 1990. Rather, I was
encouraged and somehow I expected that something would
come from this cry of my heart. I asked God for that young
man’s life and soul.
Two years later at one of CCO’s large group events, I sat at the
back of the room listening to a couple giving a testimony of how
Jesus was the third person standing in the center of their
relationship. These two people giving testimony were the same
couple I had seen at Mass years earlier. Brett and Andrea
Powell would say that at the time I saw them at Mass, they
were not living in a dynamic relationship with God. Today, they
are married and witness to the whole world that Jesus is at the
center of their relationship and their family. That did not just
When I saw these two young people at Mass, God gave me
hope that one day they would be powerful witnesses of his love.
Later, he gave me the opportunity to minister directly to this
couple for whom I had prayed. I heard that the young man was
interested in a Christian group of which I was a member. I knew
of his interest, but I also noticed that he never actually came to
any of our meetings. So I sought him out. I saw an opportunity,
so I prayed and worked hard to make contact with him. I called
him, I went to his basketball games, and I tried to set up a
meeting with him through his girlfriend. My desire was matching
up with God’s desire for Brett, so the meeting and the
relationship developed. I was there when he gave his life to the
Lord. I had the opportunity to pour my life and faith into him.
Through the work of the Holy Spirit and God appealing through
me, he stands today as a man of faith and influence.
In another incident, I was walking by the cafeteria when I saw a
young man who had been a classmate. My heart longed for
him. I asked the Lord for an opportunity to speak to him. Only
twenty minutes later I found myself standing next to him at the
bus stop. After introducing myself, I proceeded to invite him to a
faith study. He said yes, then shared with me how he was
finding it very hard and lonely being away from home. He was
praying to God for help and encouragement. Fred is happily
married now and practicing his faith.
2. How did André consciously act on what God had put on
3. Is there a particular “Timothy” in your sphere of
influence to whom you sense God calling you? Take three
minutes to think and pray about how you can seek this
person out. Share your ideas with the group and ask for
There are many environments, ministries and events where
“Timothys” can be found. There is no lack of opportunity to be
more mission-oriented. Pope John Paul II says in Redemptoris
Missio, “No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can
avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.” (3)
Let us take some time to dream and pray that God would
inspire not only one individual, but large groups to actively
proclaim Christ. Let us imagine what new energy and vitality
could be brought to these groups if the kerygma were central to
their life and work.
The following story describes how one parish group was
encouraged by two CCO staff women to focus on
evangelization and grow in their missionary identity.
We had been regularly attending a parish near our apartment
for a couple of years. We began getting involved with a group of
committed parishioners who gathered every month. During
these meetings, we saw a great deal of potential. However,
despite a lot of talk about serving and plenty of ideas, nothing
significant was happening. There didn’t seem to be much life,
fervour and purpose coming from the meetings.
Instead of criticizing the dry meetings and lack of fulfillment of
the group’s stated mission, we saw an opportunity to align this
group’s activity with the kerygma: to show them there could be
so much more for them and for the parish if they knew the 'point
of it all.'
We started small by introducing Discovery as a part of each
monthly meeting, and linking it to the group’s purpose and
mission. Each time the message of the Gospel was exposed,
the group's leaders were changed. This revelation enabled
them to live more purposefully as disciples of Christ,
parishioners and members of their group. We were thrilled as
the members saw how to align their activities and events with
the Church's universal call to evangelization and their ministry's
4. How could integrating the sharing of the kerygma
(through tools such as the Discovery faith study, The
Ultimate Relationship, etc.) be an important help to
ministries, groups, parishes?
Seeing and Seizing Opportunities
When we are presented with “Timothys” or opportunities
towards which God is directing us, we need to step out in faith
to make the Gospel heard. Here are some practical tips from
our CCO ministry experience:
x We need to look for individual conversations that allow us to
share Jesus. We should seek out opportunities to proclaim
the Gospel and invite others to respond.
x We need to sow broadly, inviting many people to hear the
Gospel. An example would be to walk into your parish and
look for a way to invite everyone, or as many people as
possible, to participate in a Discovery group.
x When people attend our events, we should not just be content
that they came, but make sure they are personally cared for
and given a chance to encounter Jesus.
The following three scenarios present opportunities to
evangelize. Let us discuss how to see and seize the opportunity
1) You invite a friend to a CCO event. Afterwards you decide
to go for coffee together. What can you do to build off of
this event in your evangelization efforts?
2) You see someone new at mass. What can you do to reach
out to them?
3) You are in leadership with the Baptismal Preparation
course at your parish. How can you clearly proclaim the
gospel and give parents an opportunity to enter a Christcentred relationship?
5. How could each of these situations be evangelistic?
6. Take 3 minutes to reflect on the opportunities in your
sphere of influence. Ask yourself:
x What opportunities do I have to advance the
proclamation of the Gospel in ministries, groups and
organizations to which I am connected or toward which
God is leading me?
x What is God’s dream for these situations and
Share your reflections with the group and ask for feedback.
There are missionary opportunities all around us. The Father
loves every single person and he puts people on our path so
that we can show them his love. The Holy Spirit desires to point
us towards “Timothys” who need to hear the Gospel. The Holy
Spirit can also inspire us to see how a ministry or group might
be revitalized through the work of evangelization.
Take to prayer the things you have reflected on in this lesson.
Intercede for people and opportunities. Discern how and where
God is asking you to proclaim the Gospel. Is there anyone you
can ask for advice about this? Is there anything you can begin
to do this week?
Lord, thank you for trusting me with opportunities to share you
I bring to you these “Timothys” that you have placed on my
Come Holy Spirit! Give me the gift of creativity to see ways that
I can connect with them and reach out to them.
Come Holy Spirit! I also ask for the creativity and wisdom to see
other opportunities for the message of Jesus to be proclaimed.
Prepare the way for me.
May I have the grace to follow your lead and be docile to your
Give me a heart of great expectations, anticipating what you
can do in these opportunities and trusting that you will be with
me as I step out in faith in accordance with your will.
Yes, Lord, may your will be done!
Next Generation Mindset
1. Share with the group how your discernment and
intentional planning is going regarding your outreach to a
“Timothy”, or to a group, parish, ministry, etc.
Much of our discussion up to now has been about proclaiming
the redemption Jesus won for us through his death and
resurrection. We have recalled the “Pauls”, the witnesses in our
lives who have shown us the way to Jesus. We know we have
been entrusted to bring this message to a “Timothy”. The goal
of Commission, however, is not evangelization alone. The goal
is to send out missionaries. As Pope Paul VI describes:
Finally, the person who has been evangelized goes on
to evangelize others. Here lies the test of truth, the
touchstone of evangelization: it is unthinkable that a
person should accept the Word and give himself to the
kingdom without becoming a person who bears witness
to it and proclaims it in his turn.
Evangelii Nuntiandi, 24
Let us go back to our anchor passage, 2 Timothy 2:2:
And what you have heard from me through many
witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to
teach others as well.
2. Draw the people described in this verse, showing how
the message is passed along. (Reviewing from Lesson 2).
3. How does this illustrate that evangelization alone is not
4. What would happen if Timothy focused only on the
message and not the mission?
5. How does the result change when Timothy entrusts
both the Gospel AND the mission to others?
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commissioned the disciples to go and
make disciples of the entire world. In both the Scriptures and
Tradition, it is recorded how seriously the first disciples took the
final words of Jesus to “go”. Two thousand years later there are
2.2 billion Christians in the world. The “great commission” is as
relevant and necessary today as it was for the first disciples.
Today, 2.2 billion are commissioned to “go”. Imagine what
would happen if they were all equipped and ready to carry out
Reaching the world may be a daunting task, but it is possible.
The world becomes much smaller if we focus our efforts on
building into “Timothys” who can also join in this mission. This
was Paul’s strategy. He strove to proclaim Jesus, then equip
and commission others who would also proclaim, equip and
commission — and on and on.
Let us examine this method, which we call spiritual
multiplication. To reach the whole world, we could be tempted
to focus on events at which large numbers of people gather to
hear the Gospel message and respond. In this task of
evangelization, however, quality has to come before quantity.
While large groups may be attractive to those of us who hope to
reach the world quickly, according to the math, our efforts are
better spent focusing on one person at a time. The principle of
spiritual multiplication shows us that to reach the world with the
Gospel, we must do more than just bring people to conversion:
we need to build “multiplying disciples.”
To highlight the potential of spiritual multiplication, let us first
look at the model of spiritual addition. Spiritual addition is
simply focused on evangelization. Evangelization on its own,
however, is not sufficient. Consider if just one Catholic could
reach 1000 people per day and bring them to conversion:
x 1000 people per day x 365 days a year = 365,000
x In 100 years, this one evangelist would reach 36.5 million
While this is an amazing number of people reached, we have
fallen far short of our goal to reach the whole world.
A missionary committed to spiritual multiplication focuses
his/her effort not just on helping a person experience
conversion, but takes it one step further. The missionary also
helps the person develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to
become a multiplying disciple who can pass this formation on to
others. Instead of focusing on large numbers of people, this
missionary is dedicated to spending a lot of time on a few
people, in the hope of reaching the world through those people.
Theoretical potential of multiplication:
One person disciples two people for two years. At the end of
the two years, each of the three would then find two others to
after 2 years there would be 3
after 4 years there would be 9
after 10 years there would be 243
after 20 years there would be 59048
after 30 years there would be 14,348,907
after 32 years there would be 43,046,721
(approximately Canada's population)
x after 36 years there would be 387,420,489
(approximately USA's population)
x after 42 years there would be 10.46 billion —
the whole world would be reached!
By focusing on just two people for two years, helping them not
only to experience conversion, but building them up to be
multiplying disciples, we can reach the world in our own
6. How do you feel about this model and your part in it?
A CCO staff member shares how challenging it is to stay
focused on this important multiplication mindset:
Throughout history, it has been through people that God has
accomplished his purposes for spreading the Gospel. We also
need to work through people to help accomplish God’s plan.
The challenge of working through people is that it requires time,
effort, sacrifice and hard work.
It is common among Catholics working in evangelization to
focus their energies on seeking out and forming good Catholics.
Their desire to evangelize can soon transform into one of
community building. While it is good to seek out and build
community with other Catholics, this is not the work of
evangelization — this is the work of fellowship.
For example, a few years ago a group of Catholic students
began a prayer meeting. Their focus was “evangelization of the
campus”. I was very impressed by their faith and excitement,
and the number of people coming to their meeting each week.
There was something very good happening for these faithful
students. I noticed, however, that there were no active outreach
efforts happening to meet their goals. I encouraged them to do
more than just talk about reaching out; they must go out and do
the work of evangelization. Even more, they should be building
up and multiplying themselves so that when they move on,
there would be someone there to take their place. It was only a
matter of time before their initial excitement faded. There was
little impact on the campus because there was little reaching
out into the campus. As you can imagine, four years after the
original leaders graduated, there was no one to pick up the
vision for evangelization. Evangelization is very different from
community building, and being missionary is much more than
As a movement, we do not simply want to gather all the good
Catholics to support and encourage each other in the work of
evangelization. Our desire is to invest our energies in reaching
out to the lost, bringing them back, building them up and
sending them out. Is is important not only to build community
but to build the mission. We must gather people to whom we
can entrust the work of multiplication.
Our “Timothy’s” “Timothy’s” “Timothy”
7. Did you have to read that section title a few times? What
does it mean?
8. Why is it important for us to have this paradigm in our
ministry and mission?
9. How can we give our “Timothy” a next generation
A missionary’s desire is that Jesus would be proclaimed, for as
Paul says, “that is what brings me joy” (Philippians 1:18). The
greatest hope of a missionary, however, is that the person
he/she evangelizes will be empowered to proclaim Jesus to
others. The objective of a disciple with a next-generation
mindset is to pass on the message and the mission to another.
“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).
In Lesson 7, we took time to pray and dream about potential
“Timothys” or outreach situations. At the time, we were likely
seeing this only from the perspective of evangelization.
Your challenge this week is to continue praying and dreaming
about the people and opportunities the Holy Spirit brought to
mind in Lesson 7.
This time, however, ask yourself:
x How can I have a next generation mindset with this person or
x What is the bigger picture I was missing before?
x How could these people or opportunities have a multiplying
Be prepared to share with the group next week.
Father, we unite ourselves with Jesus’ prayer for his disciples in
the Gospel of John. "I ask not only on behalf of these, but also
on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word"
We pray for our "Timothys", for our “Timothy’s Timothy’s
Timothy”, and for all those who will hear through their witness.
We pray for the generations of believers who will follow from
their apostolic labours.
Holy Spirit, empower them to be your instruments to evangelize
and mobilize others to be missionary.
May their lives and their witness leave a legacy — that Jesus is
proclaimed, one person at a time, to all creation.
May you forever be glorified in all our lives.
Struggles and Doubts
1. Break into pairs to share your new insights, hopes and
strategies for your “Timothys” and evangelistic
opportunities. Discuss how you have adapted your original
ideas from Lesson 7 to include a next generation mindset.
Last week, our understanding of the call to be missionary was
widened through learning about spiritual multiplication. This
week, we will look at some of the challenges we might
encounter in our ministry.
A ministry of spiritual multiplication carries amazing
possibilities. To the enemy, these possibilities are very
dangerous. Our approach is strategic, and so is his. Don't be
surprised when he tries to sabotage missionary efforts. St.
Peter gives us important guidance on this.
Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion
your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for
someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith,
for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the
world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.
And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of
all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in
Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and
1 Peter 5: 8-10
2. What are some ways we encounter spiritual warfare?
3. What advice does St. Peter offer us?
There are other ways we can be tempted to despair in our
missionary efforts. This can happen (1) when there is a lack of
success, or (2) when we feel a lack of confidence.
Lack of Success
What if you have tried to revitalize a certain ministry in your
parish but nothing seems to be changing? Or perhaps you’ve
been working with a “Timothy” for a long time, but they are not
really interested in spiritual multiplication. How do you deal with
this apparent lack of success? What is going on?
Mother Teresa is often quoted as saying: “God has not called
me to be successful; he has called me to be faithful.” We need
to have this truth engrained in our missionary hearts, so that we
have proper perspective when we are discouraged in ministry.
4. How might this quote change our perspective when
struggling with lack of success?
Lack of success can cause us great suffering. It is a cross we
bear that challenges our pride (which would love to see obvious
results). This suffering is part of being a disciple of Christ. Lack
of success is one of the many sacrifices we can offer for our
“Timothys” and for the greater glory of God.
Lack of Confidence
We understand the Church’s call to evangelization and the
need for multiplying missionaries. We are enthusiastic about
this ideal and want to see it accomplished. The trouble is, we
do not believe we would be any good at actually doing it. Who
would want to follow us? We will not be able to do this! God will
not use us.
5. What is the lie here?
6. How could like-minded friends encourage us?
We are not alone in this mission, nor in our trepidation before it.
In fact, we are in the company of heroes. Courageous men and
women such as Moses, Esther, and Jeremiah rose to the
challenge of God’s call. But even these great heroes of the faith
did not think they were qualified for the task. They had to put
their trust in God and not in their own abilities. We must do the
same. Mary gives us the greatest example of this disposition:
“May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Let
us follow her example and her words by doing whatever the
Lord tells us to do (rf. John 2:5).
7. Jeremiah is a great model for us. Read these two
passages: Jeremiah 1:5-8 and Jeremiah 17:7. What can we
learn about confidence, or the lack thereof, from
Jeremiah’s life and words?
In St. Thérèse's spirituality, she is very aware of her inabilities,
and purely chooses to trust in God's abilities instead of her
own. Here's how she defines holiness:
A disposition of the heart which makes us humble and
small in the arms of God, conscious of our weakness,
and confident to the point of audacity in the goodness
of our Father.
I Believe in Love, p. 20
8. How does this encourage us if we feel incapable before
the task ahead of us?
9. Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. What is Paul’s perspective
on struggles, challenges and suffering? How does he
apply this perspective to his mission and ministry?
10. How do holiness and mission interact in this passage?
When we learn to expect opposition and understand the tactics
being used on us, we can be ready to counteract. We must not
allow our perceived lack of success or feelings of inadequacy to
stifle our missionary spirit.
Memorize one of these quotes:
God has not called me to be successful; he has called
me to be faithful.
A disposition of the heart which makes us humble and
small in the arms of God, conscious of our weakness,
and confident to the point of audacity in the goodness
of our Father.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Heavenly Father, we turn to you with the words of St. Paul:
“I believed, and so I spoke” — we also believe, and so we
speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord
Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you
into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that
grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase
thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Even
though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is
being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction
is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all
measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what
cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what
cannot be seen is eternal.
We know you will restore, support, strengthen and establish us
in the mission. Lord Jesus, though we will encounter suffering
and sacrifice along the way, let us unite it to your ultimate act of
redemptive suffering on the cross. Thank you for the
opportunity to win graces not only for ourselves, but for the
Church as a whole and for individual “Timothys”. Holy Spirit,
keep our minds and hearts enlightened so as to live always with
an eternal perspective. (2 Corinthians 4:13b-20).
1. Recite the quote you memorized last week. Why did you
choose that particular quote?
The Source of Great Expectations
An excerpt from Father Jean C. J. d’Elbée’s book on the
spirituality of St. Thérèse of Lisieux beautifully links the
concepts from last week on the trials of the missionary life to
this week’s theme of hope and great expectations.
In any case, there will be failures, contradictions, very
difficult moments and sometimes very distressing ones.
But if there is, on our part, this total confidence which
we ought to have in Jesus, He will take care of
everything. He will bring good out of evil and even, as I
have already told you a greater good than if there had
been no evil; and the trial will have been an immense
good for us.
Yes do everything as if it all depended on you, and
leave the results to the Divine Master, on whom
everything really depends.
I Believe in Love, p. 91
We desire to see lives changed: not only the lives of others, but
our own as well. For this to happen, we need to have a heart
filled with confidence that God will act. We must have faith,
trusting that God will do something incredible. We take the
phrase "great expectations" not so much from Dickens as from
Ephesians 3:20, which speaks of "him who by the power at
work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than
all we can ask or imagine.” Great expectations can significantly
influence our faith and how we share it with others.
2. How can "great expectations" significantly influence our
faith and how we share it with others?
3. A word of caution about exercising "great expectations"
is that one could become demanding rather than hopeful in
the way we expect God to act. We could be tempted to slip
into a spirit of entitlement. How can we avoid this?
What exactly is this "power at work within us" we hear in
Ephesians 3:20? This power is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit
as the primary agent of mission is the focus of today's lesson.
The Holy Spirit is the sometimes forgotten and misunderstood
third Person of the Trinity; and we tend to politely avoid him.
We just don't know how to relate intimately to "a dove", "a fire"
or "a cloud" in the same way we relate to the Father or the Son.
Yet Scriptures tell us that we are temples of the Holy Spirit (1
Corinthians 6:19), and the Spirit that raised Jesus from the
dead is the same Spirit alive in us today! (Ephesians 2:18-21).
He is so intimately connected to us that he is inside of us —
directing and empower us!