Theology of the New Evangelization

A free online course designed for the lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Detroit and those seeking to Unleash the Gospel! 



What is the New Evangelization?  Why is it important?  How do we do it? 
You may have heard that we are called as Catholics to carry out the New Evangelization, but often with minimal explanation of what this means. Guided by expert faculty of Sacred Heart Major seminary, this course will take you more deeply into essential Church teachings and documents on our topic. We will learn not only the theory behind the New Evangelization but also how to begin to apply it practically in our lives. A special module is dedicated to Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron’s call of the Archdiocese of Detroit to the New Evangelization in his extraordinary 2017 pastoral letter, Unleash the Gospel.
The goal of this course is to provide you with a richer theological grasp of the New Evangelization, equipping you more fully to answer the call to missionary discipleship and to help others answer that call. 

– Dr. Matthew T. Gerlach

Dean, Institute for Lay Ministry


How is this course structured?

This FREE non-credit course is being offered online using the seminary's learning management system, Canvas. Upon signing up for the course, students will receive a username and password for accessing the online class.

The class will be conducted online giving students the freedom to engage with the material and complete course tasks around their own schedule. The class will consist of six modules which can be completed according to the individual's own pace.

Each module will be hosted by Dr. Matthew Gerlach, Dean of the Institute for Lay Ministry at Sacred Heart, and  taught by one of our distinguished faculty members. Each module will  include:

- Lecture Video (~20 minutes)
- Supplemental Reading Material (~30-minutes)
- Online Discussion Forum
- Personal Assessment Quiz

The goal of the course is not to deliver a high level of rigor or stress, but instead expose any Catholic who wants to learn more about the New Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship.

Consider this a retreat experience for the lay faithful, done at your own pace and guided by six globally esteemed professors from Sacred Heart, all of whom help form holy, healthy, and joyful priests—as well as deacons, religious, and lay leaders—for service of the gospel. This is an opportunity to grow a deeper relationship and spend time with the Lord. 

What will be covered?  

What is the New Evangelization  |  Paco Gavrilides, STL

Paco GavrilidesPaco Gavrilides introduces the course by providing a foundational understanding of the New Evangelization and the call to Missionary Discipleship.

Instructor of Homiletics - Instructor Bio


Evangelization in the Modern World  |  Dr. Robert Fastiggi, PhD

Fastiggi-photo-SHMS.jpg_0Dr. Robert Fastiggi will show us why our deepest Christian identity is to be found in evangelizing according to Pope St. Paul VI’s groundbreaking document, Evangelization in the Modern World (Evangelii Nuntiandi).

Professor of Systematic Theology  - Instructor Bio 


Pope Francis’ Call to Missionary Discipleship | Dr. Donald Wallenfang (OCDS), PhD

Dr. WallenfangDr. Donald Wallenfang will explain the Holy Father Pope Francis’ call of all Christians to “missionary discipleship” in The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium).

Professor of Theology/Philosophy - Instructor Bio 


Archbishop Vigneron’s Call to Unleash the Gospel | Dr. Mary Healy, STD

HealyDr. Mary Healy will unpack the theology of the new evangelization behind Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron's call to “unleash the Gospel” in his 2016 pastoral letter to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Detroit. 

Professor of Sacred Scripture - Instructor Bio 


How to Evangelize: Practical Tips | Fr. John Vandenakker (CC), STD

Vandenakker_Fr_John-3550Fr. John Vandenakker shares practical advice and tips for answering the call to a New Evangelization. 

Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology & Director of Graduate Pastoral Formation - Instructor Bio 


Urgency of the New Evangelization | Dr. Ralph Martin, STD

Ralph MartinDr. Ralph Martin calls us to action by highlighting the urgency of the New Evangelization and our role as the Catholic Faithful.

Professor of Theology & Director of Graduate Programs in the New Evangelization - Instructor Bio 


"All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization, and it would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelization to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients."
– Pope Francis
Evangelii Gaudium, 120
Register today or request information to learn more about the course and other offerings at Sacred Heart.