Evangelization is not an optional activity for those who wish to be disciples of Jesus Christ.

In the teaching of the Catholic Church, especially in the documents of Vatican Council II, the writing of recent popes and synods, and in the catechism, the word evangelization is used to describe the very nature or mission of the Church.

The word itself comes from the Greek word for Gospel, the “good news” that Jesus proclaimed by His life and His teaching.

For us Catholics, evangelization is not about imposing our beliefs on others. Instead, it is the activity of freely sharing with others our conviction that Jesus Christ is the answer to all life’s questions and difficulties.

Pope John Paul II in his 1990 apostolic exhortation, “Redemptoris missio,” teaches that “the Church proposes; she imposes nothing” (#39). Evangelization is our profoundly personal witness to the person of Jesus Christ as the meaning of life itself and as the most important person in each of our lives.

Read more from Archbishop Robert J. Carlson