Inside the synod: Deliberating on the new evangelization, and applause for a young catechist

By Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas
One in a series

Friday, Oct. 19, 2012

VATICAN CITY — Bishop Shlemon Warduni, Chaldean auxiliary bishop of Baghdad, Iraq, reflected on today’s reading at our morning prayer. I came to know Bishop Warduni when I visited Baghdad recently on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop Warduni speaks with passion and lives with courage in a land torn by violence. I remember well his impassioned plea to me that the United States help in the recovery of a land that suffers from the ravages of war and has become racked by divisions.

Bishop Warduni in today’s meditation called the synod to work together to awaken faith. He challenged us to be courageous in living our faith and announcing the Good News. He spoke not just with words but the witness of his life.

Today we heard reports from the small groups that met all day yesterday. Each group reporter had 10 minutes to summarize their group’s deliberations, which are meant to help the synod fathers formulate propositions for presentation to the Holy Father. Among the points identified in these wide-ranging discussions are the following:

-There is a need to clarify the meaning of the new evangelization. Is it only reaching out to those active in the church seeking a deepening of their faith? Does it reflect concern for those who have not yet known the Lord? Is the new evangelization only for those countries long steeped in the faith? Wouldn’t it be better to speak of renewal evangelization? There are three receivers of the new evangelization: those who are believers and want to deepen their relationship with Christ and his church, those who have grown distant from the church, and those who have not met Christ. Continue reading

Youth merge marketing & new media to spotlight their newest saint

VATICAN CITY — Move over Flat Stanley, there’s a new kid in town.

His name is “Pedrito” and his goal is to reach the four corners of the Earth, helping people learn about the Catholic faith and get closer to God.

Pedrito, of course, is a doll-version of soon-to-be Saint Pedro Calungsod, a Filipino teen catechist killed in Guam in the 17th century.

People who have purchased the limited-edition of the small doll (it’s a little more than one-foot tall) are asked to take photos of him wherever he may be in the world and upload them to a special page on Facebook. People can also track him with geo-mapping or follow his journey to sainthood on

The idea comes from a special team of young people who work on the New Media Committee of the communications office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. From their site:

In a YouthPinoy! interview, New Media Committee head Eilleen Esteban explained how Pedrito is meant to adapt the very Pinoy culture of “picture-picture” by having Pedrito meet pilgrims, have his picture taken with them and post them on social media as part of a geo-tagging tracking of his whereabouts.

Being true to Bl. Pedro’s quality of dynamism and energy, ‘mini Pedro’ has been moving around Rome – riding the Italian metro trains and buses ― nearly non-stop since touching down yesterday.


The new media team we met today at the Vatican Press Office gave their Pedrito his own “iPad.” They said it’s obvious he’d have one because “he is the saint of the youth” and even though he died in the 17th century, “he is a saint for the 21st!”

People can also follow Pedrito and the new media team’s coverage of the canonization on twitter @jpcalungsod or on Facebook at FilipinoSaintPedroCalungsod.