Study of The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium)Course Level: Intermediate

Course Summary

Pope Francis has "a dream: a Church working without hesitation on a path of pastoral and missionary conversion"¯: an attitude that is personal and communal, "capable of transforming"¯ habits, styles, language, and facilities, directing them towards evangelization rather than "self-preservation"¯. (LR 11/29/13). The "dream"¯ is the focus of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). It is the fruit of labors of the Synod of Bishops on the "New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Faith"¯ (October 2012). It is clear that the Pope's intentions, though spurred by the recommendations of the Synod Fathers, go beyond. It is not presented as a post-synodal document but expresses his concerns for the Church and the world today. "I wish to encourage the Christian faithful"¯, Pope Francis writes "to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church's journey in years to come"¯. There is a sense of newness in The Joy of the Gospel that radiates from the document's originality, style and character than from other Church documents.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • To Understand the place and meaning of an Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium amidst related Church teaching in various Church documents
  • To explain the meaning of The New Evangelization and being mission–oriented in light of the Synod Fathers and Pope Francis’ pastoral invitation
  • To identify forms of education which teaches critical thinking and encourages the development of mature moral values.
  • To identify the role and responsibility of the laity in the Church under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
  • To Identify practical pastoral approaches for listening to and serving the cries of the poor
  • To Describe the meaning and place of popular piety, or spirituality in the Church
  • To explain the meaning of Spirit-filled evangelizers

Course Materials

  • No books required. All readings are online.

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: The Church's Missionary Transformation
    • To understand the meaning of Christian joy as rooted in Church documents, e.g. Gaudet Mater Ecclesia (Mother Church Rejoices) – Pope John XXIII; Gaudium et Spes (Constitution on the Church in the Modern Word) – Vatican II; and, Gaudete in Domino (Joy in God) – Pope Paul VI. Check out the 217 footnotes which demonstrates the continuity of the teaching of the Church.
    • To be able to explain the meaning of the Church being in a permanent mission-oriented state
    • To explain the importance and role of Catholic Teaching
    • To explain the grounding principles for understanding and practicing pastoral ministry
    • To explain the pastoral characteristics that radiate from one that ministers within the Church today
  • Week 2: Amid the Crisis of Communal Commitment
    • To identify the various contexts in which we have to live and work as we strive to engage in the work of evangelization
    • To explain the meaning of evangelical discernment
    • To name the signs of the times Catholics should be attentive to today
    • To identify forms of education which teach critical thinking and encourages the development of mature moral values
    • To explain the meaning and reality of spiritual desertification
    • To identify challenges to be overcome for nurturing a mature spirituality
    • To identify the role and responsibility of the laity in the Church inclusive of our youth.
    • To describe spiritual worldliness and its dangers to developing a mature spirituality
  • Week 3: The Proclamation of the Gospel
    • To describe the meaning of primacy of grace
    • To explain the meaning, role and understanding of culture, diversity and inculturation for proclaiming the Good News today
    • To describe the meaning and place of popular piety or spirituality in the Church
    • To identify the elements for presenting an effective homily
    • To explain the meaning of the art of accompaniment
    • To describe the role art plays in evangelization and proclaiming the Good News
  • Week 4: The Social Dimension of Evangelization
    • To understand the place and meaning of an Apostolic Exhortation in relationship to other Church Documents particularly since the Second Vatican Council
    • To explain the meaning of kerygma and role of the Holy Spirit in the Evangelizing Process
    • To explain the Church’s teaching on approaching social questions
    • To identify practical pastoral approaches for listening to and serving the cries of the poor with particular interest for their spiritual needs within our faith and local communities
    • To identify specific ways to address the spiritual needs of the poor within our faith and local communities
  • Week 5: Spirit-Filled Evangelizers
    • To explain the meaning of Spirit-filled evangelizers
    • To explain the role deep prayer has for engaging in missionary discipleship
    • To explain how the best incentive for sharing the Gospel comes from contemplating it with love, enthusiasm and conviction
    • To explain why and how missionary disciples are to give reasons for our hope
    • To identify how advancing in the spiritual life means we need to constantly be missionaries and be evangelized
    • To understand the Marian style as it applies to the Church’s work of evangelization.