The new initiative of the Diocese will begin on October 13 at the Sanctuary of Volto Santo in the Neapolitan city. At the helm, Don Michele Madonna, former DJ now parish priest of the Santa Maria di Montesanto community: “Today there is a lot of suffering among young people, adults, families. Let’s try to bring everyone closer to Jesus”
Luana Foti – Vatican City
“The school of evangelism was born from a pain, the pain of seeing so many people, young people, adults, families suffering incredibly, almost surviving instead of living and being happy.” With these words Don Michele Madonna presents to Vatican news the new Evangelical school that will open in the Sanctuary of Volto Santo in the archdiocese of Neapolis from October 13. The social concern from which the need to open the school arises is the sadness that lives in the hearts of so many people. “One of the most serious diseases today is sadness, which affects people of all ages, including the young or the very young,” says the parish priest. Father Madonna’s desire, to whom the Archbishop of Naples, Monsignor Domenico Battaglia has entrusted the leadership of the school, is to bring people closer to Jesus, because “Jesus is happiness. It makes you go from a black and white life to a colorful life.” He continues: “Our desire is to bring a living Jesus, not a distant Jesus, a Jesus who died for us, who is real, with whom you can have a relationship that can really change your life.” To encourage mass participation, the meetings will be held every Friday at 8.30pm so that even the workers, explains Don Michele, cannot miss them.
A school of modern evangelism
The additional element of modernity is its method based on an active-participatory approach. “It’s participatory because in every meeting people not only hear the training, but they are encouraged to participate because they are involved in different dynamics. There will be dramatizations, testimonies, moments of deep prayer in which we want to allow people to have a real encounter with the Lord.” “And then – he continues – there is another element: people with children can come, whole families, because inside there is a mini school of evangelism that allows children to experience what their parents experience.” The school therefore wants to offer adults and children a common path open to all. In addition, “we go to the field, we go out into the streets, that is, there will be moments, events in which we must, as Pope Francis says, not convert but evangelize by announcing salvation through face-to-face encounters with the People”. This is a another new element that gives added value to the school, according to Don Michele.
Evangelize by living in mercy
“The Archbishop told us that we must live in the places of Mercy. Abitare is an important verb because it doesn’t just mean to pass quickly, it means to stay there, to live with it. This leads to a great transformation,” explains Father Madonna. The aim is therefore to create evangelists, “missionaries in the diocese”, who will bring the proclamation of the Gospel to the “places of Mercy”. Reflecting on the current context, Don Michele says that we live in a world that offers a lot of entertainment, “not that entertainment is wrong, but today’s world offers really incredible tools so that people can have a moment of leisure.” Faced with this, the father thinks, “everyone says to themselves: but I’m already fine, I know how to carve out a moment of relaxation, why do I have to go to evangelism school?”. But, he explains, that’s exactly the plus point. “The school of evangelism offers something more. Not a moment, not a part of the day, but it transforms your entire life consisting of hours, minutes, weeks and years. It is the family that transforms, it is the adult that transforms, it is your life that transforms in all its aspects. Compared to the quick and fleeting entertainment, the encounter with Christ does not pass, it lasts forever.” And he concludes: “Pope Francis in evangeli gaudium says perfectly in four lines what evangelization is: the joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and entire lives of those who encounter Jesus. from the Trinity, from inner emptiness and isolation. With Jesus Christ, joy is always born and reborn.”
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