New vicar of evangelization eager to witness to “authentic communion with God and others”



Bro. John Nahrgang is Vicar of Evangelism for the Diocese of Phoenix. (Jennifer Ellis / CATHOLIC SUN)

PHOENIX – The Diocese of Phoenix has a new assistant to Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted to discern God’s direction for evangelism.

Bro. John Nahrgang is the new vicar of evangelization on August 16, following his appointment by Bishop Olmsted in late spring.

He will lead what is called the Division of Evangelization, which includes the Office of Catholic Schools, Parish Catechetical Offices (English and Spanish), Marriage and Respect for Life, Formation for a Safe Environment and the Kino Catechetical Institute. , which offers courses of study in catechetical formation and oversees the process of certification of catechists for all employees of diocesan institutions.

“This office assists our bishop in his capacity as the main evangelizer of our diocese, which dates back to the Great Commission of Jesus,” Fr. Nahrgang said. The catholic sun. “Just before his ascension, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Go, make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. ‘”

Bro. Nahrgang continued: “This remains the great task of the Church. We are all called to participate in this mission, in our parishes and schools and beyond; to be evangelized and to evangelize, to grow in holiness always with the help of the grace of God and to be a light for others.

Awareness, like most other activities within the diocese, has been affected by health protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Parish activities are returning to normal or almost normal levels in a large part of the diocese.

Bro. Nahrgang looks forward to his new role, including more face-to-face communication of the gospel and its transformative power.

“I love to witness and hear the testimonies of people about how God is moving in their lives, how they experience grace and transformation, because it is the greatest transformation there is”, a- he declared. “It is transformation that opens the door to eternal life. When people experience freedom from sin, when they grow in virtue, when they experience that special happiness that only comes from genuine fellowship with God and others, that’s what it is. that it is. And I love to witness it.

Bro. John Nahrgang distributes Holy Communion during his Ordination Mass at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Chandler, June 16, 2018 (Billy Hardiman / CATHOLIC SUN)

Bro. Nahrgang graduated from the University of Notre-Dame in 2005. He joined the diocese in 2013, when he was “adopted” by the parish of Notre-Dame du Perpétuel Secours in Glendale. He then attended Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, and was ordained a transitional deacon in 2017, serving at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, where he was involved in Hispanic ministry. Bro. Nahrgang was ordained a priest a year later.

Steve Green, director of the Kino Catechetical Institute and co-host of “The Catholic Conversation” podcast, has interviewed Fr. Nahrgang on several occasions and described him as very intelligent, as well as a man of deep prayer and a teacher and gifted researcher.

“He loves to broach a subject and dive deep. I’ve rarely had a conversation where you don’t learn something from him. He is passionate and enthusiastic and has a natural gift as a communicator and teacher. We are very happy to work with him and for what he brings, ”said Green.

Bro. Nahrgang also brings the experience of conversion to Catholicism.

He likes to take a subject and dive deep. I’ve rarely had a conversation where you don’t learn something from him. He is passionate and enthusiastic and has a natural gift as a communicator and teacher.

Raised loosely in the Methodist Church, a series of experiences beginning at age 10 changed his heart and his mind. These events were directed by the influence of Mary as she studied in Monterrey, Mexico, and prayed the Rosary.

“When someone has gone through the conversion process, they have a different understanding of where people are (religiously and spiritually) before or while going through the process,” Dcn explained. Doug Bogart, Associate Director of Education and Training for the Office of the Diaconate of the Diocese. “It can be useful (since) we no longer live in a Catholic or Christian culture. It is essential to target both inside and outside the Church.

“You shouldn’t be afraid to get involved”

The Roman Catholic Church, along with other denominations, faces the post-pandemic challenge of bringing worshipers back to the church as well as pre-pandemic losses.

“The phenomenon of the growing number of people who are disaffiliating from the Catholic Church – and from religion as a whole – presents a difficult cultural situation for the Church today,” says the Evangelism Committee of the Bishops’ Conference Catholics in the United States on its website.

Pope Francis addressed the subject seven years before the pandemic in his Apostolic Exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium, The Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World,” published on November 24, 2013.

“The challenges exist to be overcome! Let us be realistic, but without losing our joy, our audacity and our commitment full of hope. Let us not let our missionary vigor be robbed! (Evangelii Gaudium, 109).

Bro. Nahrgang expressed this hope and optimism, based on trust in God and in his power, to carry out the mission of evangelization.

“There is still a lot of fear and division among the people. We need the liberating power of the Holy Spirit and the teachings of Christ more than ever, ”he said. “We must not let fear cripple us. God wants to free us from fear and empower us to spread truth, love, faith and hope, just as we testify in the book of Acts. The Great Commission of Jesus, (Matt. 28: 16-17) his mandate to make disciples, to baptize and to observe all that he has taught us, remains the great task of the Church. We all have a role to play. We should not be afraid to make a commitment, to pray, to sacrifice and, with the help of God, to try to set an example for others.

Fr. Nahrgang succeeds Fr. John Parks, the first vicar of evangelization of the diocese, who is now pastor of the parish of Sainte-Thérèse in Phoenix.


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