We are often asked what material evangelists should be reading to continue their own faith formation and be better equipped to lead others to Christ. We have compiled a basic list of recommended reading for all those involved in the New Evangelization, both lay and ordained. It is by no means exhaustive and will be updated periodically.
At the bottom of this page you can find a form where parish evangelists can submit their own comments on the reading listed or make their own suggestions for Evangelization-related reading. This will inform future inclusions and recommended reading. Please leave your name and parish. Thank you for your thoughts.
The Bible – RSV-Catholic Edition
The Word of God. Daily reading, lectio divina and group Bible study are essential for the Catholic evangelist to preach the Good News.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Promulgated by St John Paul II in 1992 the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the summary of the beliefs of the Church. The Catechism is divided into four primary sections: Creed, Sacraments, Christian Living and Prayer.
YouCat: The Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church
YouCat is a very accessible and contemporary Catechism. The pages are visually attractive, with handy summaries, quotations and explanations of key terms. YouCat covers the entire Catholic Faith and is cross-referenced to the full Catechism for further exploration. Though released for young people YouCat has been successfully used in RCIA as well as Confirmation programmes and can be a useful reference for adults.
The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
While the full Catechism is an essential reference source many people find the shorter compendium a more approachable format for answering questions on the faith. The compendium contains all sections of the full Catechism in a concise format that follows the well-known question & answer style.
Evangelii Nuntiandi – Pope Blessed Paul VI
“The Church exists to Evanglise” – All evangelists should read this exhortation from Pope Blessed Paul VI. In many ways it is the source text for the New Evangelization.
Pope Blessed Paul Vi writes “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.”
Credo: The Catholic Faith Explained (Evangelium) – Andrew Pinsent & Marcus Holden
Another succinct pocket catechism that introduces the fullness of the Catholic faith. Drawing on Scripture and Tradition, and fully cross-referenced to the Catechism and Compendium.
A Pocket Guide to Catholic Apologetics – Patrick Madrid
All evangelists need to have some proficiency in apologetics. This handbook lists more than 40 apologetics themes in an easy-to-locate format for answering some of the most common questions, confusions and objections to Catholic teaching.
Evangelii Gaudium – Pope Francis
Pope Francis on Evangelization. His Apostolic Exhortation to fling open the doors of our hearts, and of our parish churches to proclaim the joy of the Gospel. Archbishop Peter Smith has called Evangelii Gaudium a ‘radical document… because he wants us, the Church, to re-acquaint ourselves with the roots of the Church’s mission as set out in the Gospel’. The Holy Father elaborates on the condition of today’s world and how this impacts the Catholic mission of evangelization.
Redemptoris Missio – Pope St John Paul II
Pope St John Paul II expands on his vision for the New Evangelization in today’s world and the “urgency of missionary activity”. Redemptoris Missio affirms the missionary theology of Vatican II in continuity with Evangelii Nuntiandi. The missionary Church accomplishes its evangelizing task as it "proceeds along the path already trodden by the Virgin Mary".
Forming Intentional Disciples – Sherry Weddell
Forming Intentional Disciples has been recently very influential for Catholic evangelists. Weddell makes a persuasive case that many of today’s Catholics lack a personal conversion to Christ and are therefore unable to transmit the Faith effectively. Therefore, catechesis will not imprint on people’s lives until they experience a personal conversion. Weddell’s book is practical rather than simply polemical, her writing on thresholds of conversion and spiritual conversations is particularly engaging and useful for the Catholic evangelist.
Divine Renovation: Bringing your parish from maintenance to mission - Fr James Mallon
Fr James Mallon’s guide to renewing the Church that is practical and accessible. Fr Mallon argues that our current parish cultures, assumptions, structures and programmes are suited to a Christian-friendly era that is disappearing. He speaks from his experiences as pastor of St Benedict Parish in Nova Scotia which has undergone significant renewal and growth through his priesthood.
For a more detailed review see the Bec Review: https://www.ccftootingbec.org.uk/news/2017/11/15/bec-review-divine-renovation
Living as Missionary Disciples: A Resource for Evangelization – USCCB
A good short summary document by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Missionary Vision of the New Evangelization. As a reference document this provides a useful planning framework for Missionary Discipleship in parishes.
The New Evangelisation and the Sacrament of Penance
Archbishop of Glasgow
Pope Benedict XVI said that “The New Evangelization begins in the confessional”. “The Sacraments and the proclamation of the Word, in fact, must never be conceived as separate”. In this talk Archbishop Tartaglia of Glasgow takes inspiration from the Pope Emeritus and gives a detailed reflection on how the Sacrament of Penance is ‘the Sacrament of the New Evangelization’. The personal encounter with Jesus Christ is the kernel of the New Evangelization and therefore the Sacrament of Penance must be valued and promoted as the channel of His salvific mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation.
For Pope Benedict XVI's original address on the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the New Evangelization see: http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/b16intforum.htm
Catholic Street Evangelization: Stories of Conversion and Witness – Steve Dawson
Edited by Catholic convert and founder of St Paul Street Evangelization this book elucidates stories of conversion and witness. Anyone seeking examples of the movement of grace in people’s everyday lives should consider this book. As an inspiration and source of ideas for street evangelization this is a great resource.
Abiding the Long Defeat: How to Evangelize Like a Hobbit in a Disenchanted Age - Conor Sweeney
A fairly dense read but one of the most intelligent and insightful books on the New Evangelization I have encountered. Situates evangelization in a radical sacramental theology and the need to re-evangelize ourselves as a way out of the post-modern condition. For those looking to understand the roots of today’s culture Sweeny writes perceptively on the ‘genealogies of modernity’ and ‘narratives of secularization’ which can be helpful for evangelists looking to reach people influenced by the modern zeitgeist. Sweeney’s ‘Hobbit evangelization’ is not a shiny programme or strategic plan but a ‘small’ evangelization.