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tionship with Christ and his Church. Christ himself stated, “The Son of

Man did not come to be served but to serve” (Mt 20:28). Imitating Christ’s

servant leadership, exemplified beautifully in the washing of the disciples’

feet at the Last Supper, leads us closer to him. This is often true for youth

and young adults performing acts of charity and service, attending retreats,

prayer, bible study, talks, and reflections. Social justice and direct service

opportunities can be powerful experiences that lead people to intimacy

with Christ. “Service, when understood as serving Christ in others and as a

means to share the Gospel, has the ability to bring the server and the one

being served closer to Christ.”


Those who will be his disciples are already seeking him (see Jn 1:38),

but it is the Lord who calls them: “Follow me” (Mt 9:9; see Mk 1:17). This

encounter must be constantly renewed by personal testimony, the procla-

mation of the


(“the message of salvation of the paschal mystery of

Jesus Christ”


), and the missionary action of the community. Without the


, the other aspects of this process of evangelization are condemned

to sterility, and we run the risk of having hearts not truly converted to the

Lord. Only out of the


does the possibility of true Christian initi-

ation occur. Therefore, the Church should work to ensure the continual

proclamation of the truth of the Gospel, including opportunities outside

of the Mass for the Body of Christ to share their personal experiences of

Christ. Each member of the Church is called to connect his or her experi-

ence of Christ with the overall history of salvation.

“The witness of Christians, whose lives are filled with the hope of

Christ, opens the hearts and minds of those around them to Christ. This

openness to Christ is a moment of conversion (




It is the moment

in which a person’s life is reoriented to Christ, when he or she—by grace—

enters into a relationship with him and thus enters into a relationship with

the community of believers, the Church. In

Ecclesia in America

, conversion is

explained as having an intimate link to the encounter with Christ:

An encounter with the Lord brings about a profound transformation

in all who do not close themselves off from him. The first impulse

coming from this transformation is to communicate to others the

richness discovered in the experience of the encounter. This does

not mean simply teaching what we have come to know but also, like

the Samaritan woman, enabling others to encounter Jesus personally:

“Come and see” (Jn 4:29). The result will be the same as that which