Review: To All the World: Preaching and the New Evangelization

To All the World: Preaching and the New EvangelizationTo All the World: Preaching and the New Evangelization by Michael Connors
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book of short essays – originating as presentation as a 2014 conference of the same name – has much to say about the central place of preaching, and preaching the Sunday homily, in the task of the New Evangelisation.

This ‘New Evangelisation’, which really isn’t new since Pope Paul VI first mentioned it back in the 1970s, is a reminder that the task of evangelisation is always about proclaiming the Gospel message to those outside the Church, but must also, perhaps firstly, be constantly proclaimed to those who are inside the Church. It’s not about developing shiny new programs that are meant to teach doctrine and fundamental truths. It is about proclaiming Jesus Christ, and his Resurrection, in order to invite people into new or deeper relationship with the very Word-made-Flesh.

I have to confess I didn’t read all of the essays in this book. Some were completely disconnected from the experience of Church that I encounter on a daily basis here in Australia. Others had a more universal application and so I tended to focus my attention and reflections on these contributions. All of those that I did read and reflect upon had much to say about the task I face as a preacher and teacher of the Gospel, and the primary place of the Sunday homily in that task. My hope is that what I read here and reflected upon will have an impact on what I do most Sundays.

Because that, ultimately, is what matters.

From the back cover:

Pope Francis’s vision of the ministry of preaching offers a renewed emphasis on what it means to preach the Word of God in such a way that it transforms lives and communities, and inspires hope. In To All the World, Michael Connors, CSC, draws together contributions from a variety of expert voices to reflect on the importance of liturgical preaching today.

To All the World combines contemporary scholarship with pastoral practicality in one volume by well-known practitioners in the ministry of preaching including Timothy Radcliffe, OP, Honora Werner, OP, Paul Turner, Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, Karla J. Bellinger, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl. It will serve as a perfect companion to the United States Bishops’ document, Preaching the Mystery of Faith: The Sunday Homily, and will be of interest to all those who share the pope’s vision and call to be evangelists to the Word to all the world.

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