JP Catholic launches New Evangelization Program

JP Catholic News, January 22nd, 2010

John Paul the Great Catholic University is pleased to announce the launch of its major in New Evangelization starting in 2010. At the turn of the new millennium, Pope John Paul II exhorted young people to spread the Gospel to all nations. The third millennium has ushered in an explosion of new media channels through which to spread the Good News. John Paul the Great called us to embrace these new means of communications to impact the culture for Christ. The New Evangelization major embraces John Paul’s exhortation to bring the light of the Gospel to all nations by passionately articulating the faith using new forms of communication.

The New Evangelization major is the next step in forwarding the university’s mission to impact culture for Christ. “It not only answers the call of Jesus, but also that of John Paul II, to use the media to evangelize the world” says JP Catholic President Derry Connolly. “We're leveraging the strengths that we have in other areas to create a program which we feel is a direct call of both Jesus and John Paul II.” The core focus of the program is the melding of theology and new media. The New Evangelization major gives students a well-rounded education in both these disciplines, thus empowering them to create cutting-edge media and build sustainable apostolates.

Each JP Catholic student, regardless of his or her major, is given a firm grounding in Catholic thought. New Evangelization students obtain a particularly rigorous formation in Scripture, theology, and philosophy. They take classes with both their fellow undergraduates and with Masters in Theology students. These include courses in the Old and New Testaments, the Sacraments, and Catholic social teachings. Students are equipped to defend the teachings of Holy Mother Church. Each professor in this program is joyfully loyal to the Magisterium. The theological formation is bolstered by courses in philosophy. “Bad theology,” says Michael Barber, Professor of Theology, Scripture and Catholic Thought, “often emanates from a bad philosophical foundation.” The philosophical formation offered in the New Evangelization major anchors students in the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, an invaluable foundation for those seeking to study Scripture and theology.

On the practical side, the New Evangelization major focuses on three areas: creating new media, teaching others, and building apostolates. Students take a comprehensive mix of classes in media production, including screen writing, editing, and directing. New Evangelization majors take these classes alongside the Entertainment Media majors. Both receive a foundational education in the world of media; the chief difference between the two majors is the emphasis on theology. While Media majors become more specialized in a particular field in the entertainment industry, Evangelization majors delve deeper into Catholic thought. “With the New Evangelization major,” says Dr. Connolly, “we’re producing a generalist, not a specialist.”

Through the Apostolate Launch Pad, students take the skills they have learned and apply them to an evangelization project. Entertainment Media majors are encouraged to focus more on reaching a secular audience with a solid moral message. “Evangelization majors,” say Provost Dominic Iocco, “will do media projects that focus more on the Christian message.” They will use new media to spread the Gospel. “We want our Evangelization majors to be the Saint Pauls of the twenty-first century,” says Dr. Connolly.

By integrating the theology and Scripture education with the practical tools of media, JP Catholic hopes the New Evangelization program will further its mission to impact culture for Christ. For further information on the program, please visit our academic page. - click here