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In the year 2000 Catholic Church leaders formed Evangelization 2000 to promote a worldwide decade of evangelization.

"Evangelization is the reason the Church exists!" says Father Tom Forrest, international director of Evangelization 2000.

With that spirit and belief in their hearts, Father Tom and directors from many other continents continue to promote evangelization today through a post-jubilee pastoral plan, still flying under the umbrella of Evangelization 2000.

This program had its beginnings in 1980, when Pope John Paul II sent out a dynamic call for a new evangelization, and Father Tom responded. He was posted in Rome then as director of the International Office for Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and in response to the pope's message he discussed a decade of evangelization with Church leaders.

"My mind exploded with that idea," Father Tom says. "I said we had to bring it to the pope. When you say something that silly, you get the job." After meetings with the Holy Father, Father Tom organized two worldwide retreats — "A Call to Holiness" and "Called to Evangelize" — that brought 11,000 priests from 100 countries to the Vatican to promote evangelization efforts; he has since spoken in 104 countries to promote Church renewal.

"Church documents, such as Ad Gentes, Evangelii Nuntiandi, and Redemptoris Missio, tell us that evangelization is the first duty of the people of God," Father Tom says. "Evangelization is the reason the Church exists. It is the supreme duty of all baptized Christians." But, Father Tom says, "the vast majority of Catholics have not realized this."

Evangelization 2000 is dedicated to promoting an international prayer campaign for world evangelization; proclaiming the Gospel as a message of hope and a practical response to our needs; and forming Catholic schools and Centers of Evangelization worldwide.

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