VATICAN (CWN) -- Pope John Paul II acknowledged today that the "new evangelization" he has urged in preparation for the Jubilee is proceeding slowly. While remaining confident of the process, he also offered a pointed reminder that evangelization is a fundamental duty for every Christian.

      Speaking at his Wednesday catechetical audience, the Holy Father commented on "the rather slow understanding of the Kingdom of God in the world." He said that slow progress should lead believers to put their confidence in God's plan of salvation, and to recognize the need for patience. Noting that Jesus rebuked the impatience of his own apostles, and that the Old Testament is filled with evidence of the anxious desire to see the Messiah, the Pontiff said that Christians must await the favorable moment for evangelization, while always devoting their best energies to the task.

      The faith is "put to the test" by many different obstacles, John Paul pointed out, and at times missionary work appears to be ineffective. At other times the growth of the Church is much more rapid, and conversions become more frequent.

      Through all those times, the Pope taught, the responsibility of Christians is the same: to preach the Gospel throughout the world. The Holy Spirit will make up whatever is lacking in human efforts, he said, producing "new prodigies of grace in the work of evangelization." The Pope underlined the fact that evangelization is the responsibility of all Christians, regardless of their state in life; it is a duty for everyone who is baptized.

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March 12, 1998 volume 9, no. 51         DAILY CATHOLIC