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My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

This past Sunday we celebrated the Solemnity of Pentecost, which marked the end of the Fifty Days of Easter, and the power of the Holy Spirit filled the members of Christ’s Church. Without Pentecost and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, fear would have continued to have a hold on the disciples and the Christ event would have remained locked in history.

This expression of God’s universal love transcends all human differences. We recall how the disciples were gripped by fear and confusion as they hid in the Upper Room lacking a sense of mission or purpose. But at that moment, Christ sent the Holy Spirit and courage replaced fear, understanding replaced confusion, and a deeper sense of purpose was gained. They realized that Jesus’ death and resurrection was news that needed to be shared.

Just as the apostles went out to make disciples of all nations, today’s Church must return to its roots of evangelization. Evangelization must be the primary focus of today’s Church. In order to get back to these roots the USCCB has been working on a strategic plan for 2017 to 2020, to offer a sustained, compelling witness to the power of Christ’s love in the world. The Gospel of Matthew tells us, “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father”.

Evangelization involves handing on the faith to our families; in other words, becoming mentors in this way of life to a new generation of disciples. The hope is that through these efforts, together we will restore the word “evangelization” to its proper meaning. It means simply to share the Gospel, the Good News, through word and deed.

There are three ways to evangelize. We witness, which is the simple living of our faith through our good actions and virtuous deeds. We share our faith in an explicit way, typically by describing how God is working in our lives. We invite others to experience Christ’s saving love by walking with us in our Catholic Church.

Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, evangelization happens “by the way we live God's love in our daily life; by the love, example, and support people give each other; by the ways parents pass faith on to their children; in our life as Church, through the proclamation of the Word and the wholehearted celebration of the saving deeds of Jesus; in renewal efforts of local and national scope; in the care we show to those most in need; and in the ways we go about our work, share with our neighbors, and treat the stranger. In daily life, family members evangelize each other; men and women, their future spouses; and workers, their fellow employees, by the simple lives of faith they lead. Through the ordinary patterns of our Catholic life, the Holy Spirit brings about conversion and a new life in Christ.” Just as we are all unique individuals, so is the many ways we experience conversion. Some of us experience an unexpected insight that brings sudden change, while others experience a gradual growth over many years. Many of us may experience conversion through our relationships with family and friends, while others have experienced conversion during retreats or parish missions.

Therefore, I ask that as you take time during this summer to renew your spirit or to spend time together with friends and family, that you keep in mind the three ways of evangelization; to live your faith by your actions and deeds, to let others know how good God has been to you, and to invite others to experience Christ’s love in their own lives.

I pray that you have a safe and restful summer, I remain


Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Joseph A. Pepe, D.D., J.C.D.
Bishop of Las Vegas

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