Before the advent of “gifted and talented” coursework at the high school level, my classmates and I were among the original “trailblazers.” By the time we reached senior year, we had either taken classes at neighboring colleges in math and science or had exhausted the options at our own school and needed to complete a college-level course in one of those subjects.

In my case, it was math. Calculus, to be precise.

To meet that need, our school administrators brought in a college instructor, who taught us what is commonly known as AP Calculus AB.

With AP scores and a college transcript in hand, I later applied to college expecting to have fulfilled my two-semester math requirement. That didn’t happen. Instead, I was placed in the science and engineering majors’ AB Calculus class using the exact same book, only the next edition.

I remember the first day of class, watching our very meek professor face the chalkboard as he wrote out the day’s homework assignment and then proceeded to teach to the chalkboard rather than the students. While he talked, I did my homework. That is, for the first semester.

By the time the second semester rolled around, I was assigned to a new professor, who picked up with Chapter 10 of the same book.

The problem for me was that we had stopped at Chapter 10 in my high school course. That meant that I would actually have to pay attention and learn something new.  It was a struggle for me that second semester!

Most of us in parish life succumb to a similar arrogance when it comes to evangelization. So many of us have worked so long in ministry that we think evangelization is second nature or well-integrated into our programs or “just common sense.”

This week’s professional ministry resource from CatholicsRead is like my second semester of calculus—the proof that there is always more to learn.

In Becoming the Good News: A New Approach to Parish Evangelization from Liturgical Press, Michael Sanem shares an authentically Catholic approach to parish evangelization, grounded in the rich and diverse Tradition to which we belong. We, the Church, are all called in the common priesthood of the baptized to consecrate this world to God in the way we encounter, accompany, and invite people into a deeper relationship with Christ.

We are called not only to proclaim the Good News but to become the Good News in a world that desperately needs it. This is the challenge of “second-semester” evangelization: becoming what we proclaim. Thankfully, we have great teachers to support our learning.







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Therese Brown is the Executive Director of the Association of Catholic Publishers. She holds a master of arts degree in youth and liturgy from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She previously served as senior marketing specialist at United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishing Office. She is the author of Graced Moments: Prayer Services for the Lives of Teens (World Library Publications). She resides in the Baltimore area.

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