by Katie Hyde
Special to The Leaven
The Fellowship of Catholic University Students is reaching beyond college campuses and into communities across the nation through its first new evangelization prayer breakfast.
As a part of the nationwide new evangelization effort, the fellowship is hosting a breakfast in Kansas City, Mo., on Feb. 15 at the Downtown Crowne Plaza. The event will begin with a rosary at 6 a.m., followed by Mass concelebrated by Archbishop Joseph Naumann and Bishop Emeritus Raymond Boland. After Mass, participants will share breakfast and attend a short program featuring inspirational talks by the archbishop, archdiocesan vocations director Father Mitchell Zimmerman, and former Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney.
The term ‘new evangelization’ refers to the church’s call to reignite and recall the mission of Catholics to evangelize, according to Rachelle de la Cruz, mission development events coordinator for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students.
“People have already heard this mission of Jesus Christ and the good news, but they need to remember what it really means,” said de la Cruz. “He is our God, he is our Savior, he is the way, the truth, and the life that leads to eternal happiness. It is our duty as Catholics to remind people of that relationship with Christ.”
The group challenges college students across the nation to examine the meaning and purpose of their lives. After successes on 74 college campuses where it operates, the organization decided to spread its message to a broader base.
“We’re noticing that there is such a broader mission field that we haven’t been able to pay attention to because our mission field is primarily work on college campuses,” said de la Cruz. “We are starting now going to a small community and introducing our message to people who are part of parishes, part of the Catholic Church, or are leaders in the community. It’s our way of sharing what we’ve seen be fruitful on college campuses. We want to translate our message better into the real world.”
The fellowship is shifting audiences nationwide, hosting these breakfasts in five cities across the country. According to de la Cruz, the breakfasts will do more than spread the message of the new evangelization.
“The point of the breakfast is not only to introduce people to the mission of the new evangelization, but to help give them the tools and inspiration to do it in their own lives, whether they are the heads of families, in their professional lives, or in their parishes,” said de la Cruz.
Many people shy away from the term “evangelization” without truly understanding its meaning, she said.
“People often disregard evangelization because they’re afraid of organized religion,” said de la Cruz. “This is the idea of relativism: that people don’t want to infringe on others’ beliefs. It’s our jobs to remind people that we’re all part of a family in the church and as people of God. We’re called to return back to our relationship with him. It’s not all about institutions defining our relationship with him. Our mission is ultimately about a relationship with God.”