Evangelizing Catholics: A Mission Manual for the New Evangelization, by Scott Hahn, 2014
“You cannot keep the faith unless you give it away,” is the very essence of what it means to be a Christian evangelizer. Hahn’s “mission manual” equips readers with a roadmap that addresses three aspects of evangelization: the call, the response, and the message. According to Hahn, what is needed is a desire and commitment to enter into a deeper friendship with Christ, which spark a desire to share this relationship with others. Hahn offers practical ways to share one’s own friendship with Christ in one’s particular life situation.
Hahn emphasizes that the primary field of evangelization is the Catholic family. He counsels married couples to "strive to live the vows made on their wedding day.” Scott stresses that mothers and fathers must become the primary evangelizers of their children, noting, "In the early Church, stable marriages graced by the sacraments and lived out through mutual support and respect helped make converts of millions. They can do the same today."
In his book, Hahn writes how essential it is for effective evangelization that homes become places of prayer, with the Mass as the center of family life. The witness of charity in one’s family life is a shining light attracting others to Christ, both within the family and extending to others.
In the Mass: The Rite of Peace
Peace is a hallmark of Christian life. The priest addresses Jesus, the giver of peace, and asks for peace for the community. Matt. 5:23-24 influenced this rite. Jesus instructed his disciples to make peace among themselves before offering their gifts at the altar. In the early church, Christians were brought into the arena to be martyred. They gathered together and gave one another the sign of peace. Therefore, we are preparing ourselves for martyrdom. Give witness with your life.
The most frequently used word in the Communion Rite is “peace.” We are saying that we want complete reconciliation with everyone here, now, and forever. If we cannot recognize Jesus in other people, we will not be able to recognize him in himself.
In the Mass: The Breaking of the Bread
The priest breaks the host over the paten, places a small piece in the chalice and offers a prayer that this mingling will bring eternal life to those who receive it. Innocent, the Bishop in Rome, would send some of the consecrated bread to the other churches for Mass that day. The priests would then drop a particle into the cup, thus establishing Eucharistic communion among all the churches of the city with the Bishop of Rome. The sending of the consecrated bread to local churches no longer exists but there is another meaning for the mingling of the bread and wine. This would unite the Body and Blood of Christ as a sign of His Resurrection.
As the priest breaks the bread, we pray the Lamb of God. This returns us to the theme of peace for Holy Communion. In the first Passover, God’s chosen people were instructed to eat the flesh of a lamb that had been sacrificed. Jesus was the Lamb of God who was sacrificed for our sins. (1 Cor 5:7-8) Jesus was introduced as the Lamb of God by John the Baptist (John 1:29, 36).
When we pray, “Lord, I am not worthy…” we express our unworthiness and pray for healing. It affirms our faith in the Eucharist.
In the Mass: Holy Communion
We should sing as we process to Communion in order to express the spiritual union of the communicants by means of the unity of their voices. It also shows our joy. It is in receiving the Body of Jesus that we become his Body, the Universal Church. When we respond, “Amen” to the Body and Blood of Christ, we are affirming that it is true.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem states the following on reverence in receiving communion: “Make your left hand a throne for the right, as for that which is to receive a king. Having hollowed your palm, receive the Body of Christ, saying over it, ‘Amen.’”
Following the reception of Communion, we have a time of silent thanksgiving. For the few brief moments when we are all together after communion, united in the common experience of having received Jesus into our bodies and souls, nothing divides us. We are conscious of the peace and unity of the God’s Kingdom that is to come. It is a sample of what we should establish in every area of our relationships: at home, work, and our social circles.
Then, we stand for the Communion prayer. It will refer to the Holy Communion we have just received and the feast or season being celebrated.
In the Mass: Concluding Rite
Announcements may be made here for the sake of the community as we are sent out into the world.
There are four different options for the dismissal which echoes the last words of Jesus. (Matt 28:18-20):
“Go forth, the Mass is ended”
“Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”
“Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”
“Go in peace.”
Note that “the Mass” comes from the word Missa meaning dismissal/sending. We are sent forth to fulfill God’s will in our daily lives.
The priest will then bless the people. We end as we began this celebration, with the sign of the cross which reminds us that Christ sends us into the world to baptize others “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Afterwards, he will kiss the altar, bow to the sanctuary, and then process out.