Dr. Petroc Willey speaks about evangelization Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Oct. 03, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

dr. petrock willey
Dr. Petroc Willey speaks with Diocese of Madison staff on evangelization on September 19 at Holy Name Heights in Madison. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- On September 19 and 20, the Diocese of Madison was blessed to have Dr. Petroc Willey speak to diocesan staff members and catechetical leaders in the diocese.

Dr. Willey, born in England, is a professor of theology at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio; an author; and world renown expert on evangelization and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Diocese of Madison Office of Evangelization and Catechesis has been working closely with Bishop Donald J. Hying of Madison to further the mission of evangelization in parishes and schools of the diocese.

Dr. Willey was in Madison to continue to foster that discussion.

Three parts of evangelization

Dr. Willey outlined three parts of evangelizing others, which can be used in parishes and at home.

One of them he called “one on one” missionary discipleship, and being with someone on their journey to growing in faith.

It’s “staying with the person to getto that point along the way,” he said.

While Dr. Willey said parishes have a lot of good programs, “we have to do something more,” he added.

“As a disciple,” he said, “you try to bring, especially an adult member, into a genuine conversion . . . that requires a great generosity of time and spirit” and “one never knows how significant these things are.”

He also shared the importance in the “style of the catechesis,” namely a Christ-centered or “kerygmatic” approach.

Dr. Willey said that in some dioceses and parishes, people are getting a lot of catechesis, but it’s not always tied together and connected with Christ.

He also stressed the importance in the “formation of those who are to disciple others.”

He added those who are going to be sharing themselves with whom they are catechizing need to be trained well and have knowledge of the faith, as well as being examples of faith themselves.

To give oneself to the Church, Dr. Willey said, “is an incredible gift”.

The New Evangelization

Dr. Willey said this type of evangelizing is all part of the New Evangelization, which has been articulated by many of the recent popes.

“The Church knows what she wants to do,” he said.

“The Church simply says answering to God’s plan . . . God knows what he’s doing at this point, and we’ve been very blessed with saintly popes who have been very much aware of the need to do something.”

He used examples of the writings of St. Paul VI, St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis, as well as St. John XXIII’s example of calling for the Second Vatican Council.

Dr. Willey said the New Evangelization is “giving the Gospel and Catholic faith to cultures that have had it,” but turned away from Christ and the faith.

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