Editor’s note: Between now and the Archdiocesan Synod, June 7-8, the Catholic Herald will publish summaries, prepared by the Synod Preparatory Commission, of each of the eight background papers that will be discussed at the synod.

The complete text of each paper, along with an introduction to the papers, “Discipleship: Our fundamental Catholic Identity, written by Bishop Donald J. Hying, is available at tinyurl.com/synodbackground.

Cultural realities
■ There is no longer cultural support for faith and religion.
■ The culture is promoting many anti-Gospel values and attacks on the church.
■ Many have left Catholicism and many still leave at a very early age.
■ Many current Catholics do not have a deep and personal faith.

Reflection question

Given these cultural realities, how do we invite people to encounter Jesus in his church and become disciples?

Theological foundations
■ Evangelization invites people to have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ in the church through the power of the Holy Spirit.
■ Evangelization calls people to personal conversion and intentional discipleship.
■ Evangelization empowers people to speak and act their faith.
■ Evangelization calls people to transform the culture according to the Gospel.

Reflection question

How can we center our mission on inviting people to encounter Christ in the church and become intentional disciples who share and act on their faith in everyday life?

Other issues and challenges
■ We need to understand the stages of discipleship and evangelize accordingly.
■ We need to create a “culture” of evangelization for the formation of disciples in our parishes.
■ We need to develop talented and faithful  leaders, along with the necessary financial. resources, to implement an archdiocesan plan for calling, forming, and sending intentional disciples.

Reflection question

How do we find the human and financial resources to form leaders who can build a culture of making disciples in parishes?