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Focus

on the world of CNEWA

by John E. Kozar

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Our Holy Father Pope Francis often exhorts us to focus ourselves better as Catholics in our shared vocation to evangelize. But many followers either don’t understand this or even dismiss it. Some presume that evangelization is somehow only related to preaching, faith formation or catechetical programs.

All of these are certainly very important dimensions of evangelization and should never be dismissed as “irrelevant” or “outdated.” But the church, through the power of the Holy Spirit, evangelizes in many other ways.

At the basis of all our evangelization efforts is the core truth that God loves all of us and invites us to know him more fully through meeting Jesus, his only-begotten son. And how do we share Jesus with the poor, the oppressed, victims of war, the displaced?

The opportunities are endless. In every good work, every response of loving kindness, every gesture of reaching out to assist someone in need — done in the name of Jesus — we share the Good News that God loves us and wants us to be uplifted by his love.

We are not alone, we are not forsaken, we are not orphans.

I think of so many examples of how CNEWA is honored to accompany the church — witnessing, sometimes without even mentioning the name of Jesus, to the power of God’s love in the midst of so much suffering and injustice.

The good works of the church, which form a major plank in the platform of evangelization, give witness of how Jesus would have us live and how he would have us respond to the needs of others. The recipients of these works often recognize there is something unique about what we do, and especially why we do it. Unlike governmental or secular programs of aid, the church — and CNEWA accompanying her — reaches out to those in need because we are compelled in faith to do so.

We exercise our baptismal mandate to live the Gospel of Jesus and to share his Good News with everyone. To be more concrete: CNEWA supports, through your generous contributions, many clinics and dispensaries, which serve everyone in need. Oftentimes these people are welcomed, embraced and tended to by the loving care of religious sisters and devoted lay associates.

For some patients, of whatever religious background or faith, this might be the only expression of love and human dignity they experience. And whether spoken or unspoken, it is done in the name of Jesus.

In hundreds of schools supported by CNEWA, the church — through priests, sisters, brothers and lay staff — offers a refuge from the realities of hatred, bigotry and disrespect. For a few hours each day, youngsters learn that God loves all of us and wants us to be at peace with each other. And oftentimes the lessons learned at these schools are long lasting, even life changing.

This is part of the future for many areas of CNEWA’s world. These are the fruits of this form of evangelization.

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