EVANGELIZING IN THE DIOCESE OF PENSACOLA -TALLAHASSEE
We are so blessed to be part of such a vibrant local church. Although we Catholics are a clear minority in NW Florida (less than five percent of the population), we are mighty! The seeds for the faith were sown by the Holy Spirit before the first missionaries came to this land. The Gospel took hold and grew through the witness and the martyrdom of the native peoples and immigrants, and it continued to grow through the perseverance of our ancestors. Missionaries, religious, and laypeople came to this land from across the oceans, bringing the message of salvation with them. Over time, the Church was organized, first as a mission within the (Arch)Dioceses of Spain, Santiago (Cuba), New Orleans, Mobile (AL), and St. Augustine. Finally, in 1975, the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee was formed. From here, the Gospel will continue to go forth.
Although we must spread the Gospel everywhere, we have unique opportunities to evangelize to the many groups of people here in our diocesan boundaries. First of all, since our neighbors who are not Catholic comprise 95 percent of the population, we can say along with Jesus that, “The harvest is abundant!” (Mt 9:37) A good place to begin is by inviting everyone within our 18 counties to consider joining us in full communion with the Catholic Church. In addition, many, many people come to our area for the short- or long-term through the military or for vacations or seasonal living opportunities. We are blessed to welcome tens of thousands of students into our community every year at Florida State University, University of West Florida, Florida A&M University, and many other local colleges. Campus ministry has been and will continue to be an important point of evangelization.
Finally,our brothers and sisters in the many prisons and jails in Northwest Florida look to us for support, prayer and a connection to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is not an exhaustive list; it is meant only to highlight the specific opportunities that we have in our diocese to spread the Good News to our neighbors.
Questions for reflection: