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It's an exciting time to be an evangelist, convocation delegates told


  • Delegates listen as Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron is projected on a screen July 4 during the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" in Orlando, Fla. Leaders from dioceses and various Catholic organizations gathered for the July 1-4 convocation. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

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ORLANDO, Fla. (CNS) -- Delegates at the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders. The Joy of the Gospel in America" have their work cut out for them but they are equipped to do it, said speakers at the final plenary session July 4.

"The saints always loved a good fight and we should like a good fight too," said keynote speaker Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles.

The bishop, known by many of the delegates for hosting the documentary series "Catholicism" and the website "Word on Fire," was unable to get to the Orlando hotel where the convocation was taking place because of problems with his flight, so he greeted the crowd through a video hookup.

At the start of his talk, he cited sobering church statistics about the decreasing number of Catholics today that some delegates heard at some of the breakout sessions. For every Catholic who joins the church, six leave, he said, and also the number of "nones" -- those who claim no religious affiliation even if they were Catholic -- is growing.

The bishop let this sink in and then went straight to encouraging delegates to move forward saying: "It's an exciting time to be an evangelist."

A major obstacle challenging Catholics who want to evangelize the modern world is that they are up against as he put it: "a culture of meh," which is akin to a shrug of the shoulders, or an attitude of "whatever" or anything goes.

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