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Evangelization in a Pluralist and Secularist World

A one-day Theological Symposium on the above topic was held at Don Bosco Theological Centre, Kavarapettai, on 19 September 2019, organized by the third year theology-students under the able guidance of Fr. Cassius Correya SDB. It was attended by the students of the Theological Centre, as well as by students from other Theological Centres and Sisters from various Religious Congregations.

Taking into account the religious, social and political situation of today’s India, the topics of the three sessions of the Symposium which addressed the main concerns with regard to evangelization were the following: i) Understanding Evangelization in the Context of Today: Talk given by Dr. Pushparaj, Former Professor of Madurai Kamaraj University, with the session Moderated by Rev. Dr. Victor Antonyraj SDB; ii) Theological Principles that Foster the Process of Evangelization: Talk given by Rev. Dr. Roy Lazar, Parish Priest of Aarani and Professor of Theology and Applied Religion, with the session Moderated by Rev. Fr. Suresh Felix SDB; and iii) Pastoral View Points on Evangelization: Challenges and Prospects: Talk given by Rev. Dr. G. Felix, The Rector and Professor of MMI College of Philosophy and Theology, with the session Moderated by Rev. Fr. Franklin SDB.

Each Talk was followed by a lively floor-discussion, oriented towards a deeper understanding of the theme, taking into account the pluralist and secularist situation in India and the challenges to which theologians and evangelizers need to respond. A spirit of open dialogue, mutual respect, and cordial exchange of thoughts and experiences were some of the main elements that emerged during the discussions and enabled all to have a greater grasp of the various issues involved. Queries regarding the specific role and work of today’s evangelizers in India in particular, and in the Church in general, were answered. It was stressed that the evangelizers need to learn the “denouncement” of evils that nix the values of Jesus, the “renouncement” of every aberration that counter-witness to the holiness of the Christian message, and learn the “announcement” the joy of the Gospel.

The Theological Symposium was indeed an enriching experience for all the participants. It highlighted the importance of knowing more about other religions and of having “Theology of Evangelization” as a formal subject in the curriculum of theological studies. Besides, it served as a clarion call to courageous and concerted efforts to make evangelization in today’s pluralist and secularist world, especially in India, a personal and community endeavour. The Symposium concluded on a note of hope that evangelizers will deepen their knowledge of the Bible and, getting to know Christ more and prove to be heralds of the Gospel of joy in a world that needs so much to be evangelized.

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