something that began with Pope Blessed John Paul II. Often sited as the origin of the new evangelization is Bl.
JPII’s 1979 Poland visit when he said, “A new evangelization has begun, as if it were a new
proclamation, even if in reality it is the same as ever.” However
this is not the origin of the new evangelization.
The new evangelization movement began when Pope John XXIII prayed for a “New
Pentecost” (novo Pentecustes) in his
apostolic constitution Humanae Salutis
that ushered in the start of Vatican II (§23).
For Pope John XXIII to call for a new Pentecost is to call for a church
in the modern age that is as convicted in their faith as deeply as the apostles
were on the day of Pentecost and the years following. Moreover, there cannot be a new Pentecost
without there also being a new evangelization – something Pope Paul VI
understood when he expressed the desire the Synod Fathers had for a “new period
of evangelization” at the close of Vatican II (§2 Evangelii Nuntiandi).
Though the new evangelization was a theme present in the ministry and
writing of Pope John Paul II — and he was one of the Synod Fathers; therefore, it naturally follows that the new evangelization would be emphasized in his teachings — it is dificult to credit him as the sole instigator of the movement. However, the roots and origins of the new evangelization are in Vatican II, and not in the Polish address of 1979. So if you want to understand the new evangelization, first read Humanae Salutis, then the Documents of Vatican II and finally read Evangelii Nuntiandi. Pay close attention in Evangelii Nuntiandi, as some form of “Evangelize” is used about 195 times in the document.