All are called to be evangelists, says speaker for August family conference

By Mary Jobe-Waddill
Evangelizing is a mandate for each of us from Jesus, says Martha Fernandez-Sardina, international bilingual speaker, trainer and ministry consultant, and a presenter at this year’s Midwest Catholic Family Conference. The conference is scheduled for Aug. 5-7 at Century II Convention Center in Wichita.
“Christ gave us a new commandment and a new commission, and they go hand in hand with the end-goal of life: Total conformity to Christ,” said Fernandez-Sardina. “The new commandment is to love the Lord your God with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love your neighbor (everyone) as yourself.
“Here is where the new commission…comes in,” she said, “As Jesus commanded, we are to make disciples of all nations and teach them all He taught. So, love of God and neighbor mandates evangelization.”
As director of the Office for Evangelization for the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas, Fernandez-Sardina has an extensive background both in the United States and in foreign countries through her work with youth and young adults, retreats, prayer workshops, parish missions, forming evangelization teams, hosting and appearing on TV and radio shows, developing training and outreach programs, and assisting organizations wanting to reach Spanish-speakers.
She is a much sought-after conference speaker and evangelization is the focus of her three presentations at this summer’s conference.
“The goal of evangelization is to so imbue persons and institutions with the teachings of Christ that we achieve a deep transformation of hearts and minds in individuals,” Fernandez-Sardina said, “and a transformed society and world through that conversion of outlook and behavior we call ‘metanoia’ – deep conversion within resulting in deep changes without.”
She points out that “the church made [the need for evangelization] clear by issuing a renewed and ‘universal call to holiness’ in the Second Vatican Council documents. Holiness is for all believers in Christ. It’s the loving thing to do! If you love God, you will want to be just like Him. If you love your neighbor, you will want to treat them just like Jesus does, and act like the saint we are called to be. And one thing is certain: Personal holiness is attractive, a means of evangelization in and of itself! “

Over 20 years ago, Fernandez-Sardina felt the call to evangelization. “Thanks to a personal encounter with Christ at the age of 15, which was strengthened at age 18, I discovered immediately a call to evangelize, making it my life’s mission to ‘prepare the way of the Lord,’” she said.
As director of the Office for Evangelization, she states that “the work I do locally and nationally is a direct response to Christ’s mandate. I am privileged to have been called to contribute in some small way.”
She said that Blessed John Paul II made it clear that all baptized believers are called to evangelize. “Calling it our supreme duty,” she said he stated: “I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the church’s energies to a new evangelization. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church, can avoid this supreme duty to proclaim Christ to all peoples.”
Registration is necessary to attend the Midwest Catholic Family Conference. For additional information, a complete schedule of speakers and program events, and to register, go to www.catholicfamilyconference.org. Registration can also be completed by calling 316-618-9787 or emailing to midwconf@cox.net.
Early discount rates are available if registration is completed by July 15. Mention the Midwest Catholic Family Conference for special rates when making reservations at designated hotels near the Conference location.
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Jobe-Wadill is a member of Blessed Sacrament Parish, Wichita.