July 27, 2015

LONDON - Catholic bishops in England and Wales hope to establish evangelization teams to transform about 5,000 churches into "missionary parishes."

However, there will be no place for proselytizing, "door-stepping" or "cold calling" in an attempt to win converts, said Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

"Proselytizing is a one-way street," Nichols told a press conference July 7. "It is saying, 'I have got something you must have, and I'm going to make you receive it whether you like it or not.'

"Evangelization is essentially an invitation, and it is an invitation which will draw people closer together in their humanity, in their human experience.

"We don't go in for doorstep evangelization because it is impossible without a relationship, and you don't begin to form a relationship of lasting quality if it stays on a doorstep," the cardinal said.

"What we want to do is show something of our own life and to let that speak for itself," Nichols said.


At the National Catholic Evangelization Conference in Birmingham July 11, some 850 delegates from English and Welsh dioceses attended workshops focusing on the questions of how to evangelize young people, how to reach out to those who have no experience of the Church, how to share testimony in one-to-one evangelization, how to reach out to Catholics who do not attend Mass, and how to make prayer the foundation of the missionary parish.

Auxiliary Bishop Nicholas Hudson of Westminster said he expected the process to "surprise us" by unlocking huge potential for the growth and life of the Church.

"The call will be for every single parish to do this," Hudson told the press conference.