“Ultimately, it all starts with Matthew 28:19,” says Edward Herrera, Executive Director of the Institute for Evangelization in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, “but we can only go out if we convince those in our pews that we are called to go out.”
This core point explains the tension that we feel in our Catholic parishes: Should our evangelization efforts focus on our current parishioners? Or should we focus on external ministries and inviting people into a relationship with our parish community? The answer is “Both-And”.
Unless we are inspired by, connected with, and convicted by Jesus, we do not have the desire and fortitude to bring others into relationships. For this reason, Catholic parishes that start efforts to reach outside find they cannot sustain the effort because too few people are willing and able to take part.
Herrera says, “To talk about evangelization is one thing, but to go out and share what Christ is doing in your life is much more challenging. We need to provide people with the tools and resources to help them share their faith with their friends.”
What is the Archdiocese of Baltimore doing?
The Institute for Evangelization was formed by Archbishop Lori in 2021 based on the deep realization that evangelization happens person-to-person and in relationships. The best place for evangelization is through our parishes, where we develop personal relationships. The Institute is set up to recognize that a central organization must support parishes in their evangelizing mission.
In the conversation, Edward talks about the fruit of their parish efforts. Listen to the conversation to hear more.