When our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI established the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, he wrote an apostolic letter Ubicumque et Semper (Always and Everywhere), beginning thus:
“It is the duty of the Church to proclaim always and everywhere the Gospel of Jesus Christ. … Faithful to this mandate, the Church—a people chosen by God to declare his wonderful deeds (cf. 1 Peter 2:9)—ever since she received the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:14), has never tired of making known to the whole world the beauty of the Gospel as she preaches Jesus Christ, true God and true man, the same “yesterday and today and for ever” (Heb 13:8), who, by his death and Resurrection, brought us salvation and fulfilled the promise made of old. Hence the mission of evangelization, a continuation of the work desired by the Lord Jesus, is necessary for the Church: it cannot be overlooked; it is an expression of her very nature.”
In keeping with this evangelistic expression, the People of Hope engages in a number of outreaches by which we seek to make known the love of God in Jesus Christ for every person. We do this primarily in our daily lives and personal vocations as we strive to follow Jesus Christ; the People of Hope supports this movement of individuals toward God through its common commitments to personal prayer and through the support of sharing groups, common prayer meetings (General Community Gatherings), and the general common life of the community. But in addition to this, the community offers several forms of reaching out to our local communities and offering an encounter with Christ:
Retreats: Every fall, the community hosts two retreats (for men and women). Although the theme changes from year to year, the spiritual growth is consistent. Now matter where you are in life, these retreats are for you: they are real encounters with God and with his direct Love for you.
Koinonia Academy: In the long and rich tradition of education as an outgrowth of Christian life and love, the People of Hope founded Koinonia, a K-12 school, in 1984 to meet a need for outstanding academic education that would not compromise its authentic Catholic identity.
SPO NJ: Saint Paul’s Outreach is “a Catholic ministry on college campuses across the United States that began in St. Paul, Minnesota, 25 years ago, in response to the Church’s call for a “new evangelization”. We reach out to university students with the life-changing power of the Gospel through building relationships and faith-filled environments” (www.spoweb.org). Since 2010, the People of Hope has sponsored an SPO chapter here in NJ, reaching out to students from Seton Hall University, Kean University, Montclair State University, and more.
Ignite! is the outreach program of the People of Hope geared toward young people during their formative, adventurous, and momentous high school years. It is a time of big changes and challenges, and of even bigger questions to be asked, and young people bring with them a particular energy and radical approach to life that demands an equally radical response. In truth, the only answer big enough and authentic enough is Jesus Christ himself, the Word made flesh, entering into time and history in order to encounter each person in a unique and personal way. Ignite! is about enabling this encounter…and then watching what God and young people can do!