Urban Evangelization Initiative
Saint Pope John Paul II said the following about the challenge of evangelization of urban culture during his 1999 ad limina Address to the Bishops of Ontario on their visit to Rome:
“For many people, especially the young, the city becomes an experience of rootlessness, anonymity and inequality, with the consequent loss of identity and sense of human dignity. The result is often the violence that now marks so many of the large cities, not least in your own country. At the core of this violence there is a protest bred of deep-seated disappointment: the city promises so much and delivers so little to so many. This sense of disappointment is also linked to a loss of confidence in institutions — political, legal and educational institutions, but also the Church and the family. In such a world, a world of great absences, the heavens seem closed (cf. Is 64:1) and God seems a long way away. It becomes a profoundly secular world, a one-dimensional world which to many people can appear like a prison. In this “city of man”, we are called to build “the city of God”; and before so daunting a duty we are tempted perhaps, like the prophet Jonah at Nineveh, to lose heart and flee from the task (cf. Jon 4:1-3; Octogesima adveniens, n. 12). But, as with Jonah, the Lord himself will lead us resolutely along the path which he has chosen for us.”
Urban Evangelization is about spreading the Gospel message; yet to do that, we must first enkindle a sense of hope and purpose to these urban communities. As Saint Pope Paul II eluded to in his speech, urban environments are filled with crime, congestion, pollution, noise, and racial polarity. There are a lack of jobs, diverse characteristics, lack of basic needs being met, and no easy solutions to be had. The Body of Christ must be present in these urban environments. We must proclaim the Gospel message in such a way that we offer hope, that we meet people where they are, and that lets them know that they are not alone in their struggles.
With humility and compassion, Urban Evangelization calls for us to understand that this is a spiritual battle and that God is in charge. With the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we can take back our cities and boldly proclaim the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
Hope and Purpose Ministries knows that all evangelization is a work of God. Our Urban Evangelization initiative strives to cooperate with God’s will through the following goals and actions:
Goal #1: To promote the Gospel Message and Gospel values in our society by recognizing the dignity of all people.
1. Develop and offer programs at the diocesan level, parish level, and to groups to teach the Gospel Message, Gospel values, and the importance of recognizing the dignity of all people.
2. Offer resources on our website that promote unity and how to recognize the dignity of all people.
3. Design and implement elements of a Social Media Campaign that will recognize the dignity of all people and the importance of unity.
Goal #2: To actively seek to restore unity throughout each inner city we enter by advancing Jesus’ message of salvation through evangelizing those within as well as outside of the Catholic faith.
1. Develop and offer programs that uniquely speak to the urban population about Jesus’ message of salvation. These programs would include a “food and fellowship” component.
2. Offer resources on our website that promote unity and ways to build unity throughout the city through service.
3. Design and implement elements of a Social Media Campaign that will advance Jesus’ message of salvation to those within and outside the Catholic faith.
Goal #3: To offer support and encouragement to leaders in urban environments.
1. Develop resources that speak to the unique challenges of urban evangelization.
2. Write monthly posts that offer concrete and practical methods to evangelize in urban communities.
Goal #4: Develop and implement the Hope and Purpose Club as a youth program and offer on-going support.
1. Develop and implement the Hope and Purpose Club for school age children that teaches entrepreneurism and evangelizes at the same time.
2. Offer on-going training and support for the leaders of the program.
Target Audience of this Initiative: People in urban environments; particularly inner cities. Each of the groups listed above with urban areas that struggle with Social Justice issues, race relations, and/or poverty. Those who serve the laity and the questioning in these areas have unique challenges that need to be addressed in a consistent, compassionate way to help further evangelization goals.
Below are some resources that help with this initiative: