The New Evangelization under the guidance of the Holy Father, should be open to a little help from above. One day, there will be patron saints of the New Evangelization itself - but until then, I propose the following ten saints as the most worthy candidates for being patrons of renewal and reform within this movement in the Church:
St. John Vianney is the ideal priest, and to this day, is the patron of priests. He loved his flock seemingly more than life itself, and encouraged proper catechesis of the faithful like no one else.
Why should he be a patron of the New Evangelization: In the wake of several decades of apparently wretched catechesis of converts and cradle Catholics, the example of the Cure de Ars' should inspire all of us in the Church to teach the faith in truth and charity like never before.
2. St. Catherine of Siena
St. Catherine of Siena, one of four female Doctors of the Church, stood out in her time. When many women religious were in convents or living as anchoresses, St. Catherine was out healing schism and tending to the sick. Her life is literally a living martyrdom for love of Christ.
Why should she be a patron of the New Evangelization: Everything about her life was, to me, the life of a mystic in action - the very fact that a woman in the 14th century could almost singlehandedly heal a schism in the Church as she did is something to really be meditated on. Her passionate love of the Precious Blood of Christ, her devotion to the Holy Father, whom she termed "sweet Christ on earth", and her love for sinners, the sick, and the destitute - these all make her a prime candidate for being a patroness of the New Evangelization.
St. Francis de Sales, the "Gentleman Saint", is a personal favorite of mine (and not just because he is a patron of writers and journalists - Catholic bloggers take note!). He was fearless in his evangelization of the Calvinists of the Chablais region, facing danger and death oftentimes alone, with his only weapon being the love he had for the souls there, and his ardor for bringing them back to Christ and His Church.
Why he should be a patron of the New Evangelization: He is the patron of writers, thus the patron de facto of all Catholic bloggers, who seem to be a major wing in the movement of the New Evangelization. His humility and wisdom, as well as brilliant apologetics, won the Church back 72,000 souls. He is definitely a worthy patron of the New Evangelization, especially when it comes to bringing the Catholic faith to our separated brethren in the Protestant churches.
St. Bernardine's sermons were famous in his lifetime - he is the Franciscan counterpart to St. Vincent Ferrer. Inspired by his devotion to the Name of Jesus, he quelled quarrels, inspired holiness, and preached the word of God wherever he went.
Why he should be a patron of the New Evangelization: Just like St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Bernardine's constant and active preaching spread increased devotion and conversions everywhere he went. His is an example of fearless promotion of the Gospel.
5. St. Albertus Magnus
I am sure that St. Albert the Great making this list must come as an oddity - so far, I can only imagine people asking where St. Dominic is!
St. Albert was the teacher of the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, and one of the most ardent promoters of faith and reason. But he was also an accomplished scientist as well, who was far ahead of his time.
Why he should be a patron of the New Evangelization: Given that we live in an age where science is somehow assumed to be in direct opposition to religion, I feel that St. Albert is an excellent role model for the fascinating relationship between the two.
I wrote about this particular saint, "the hunter of souls", in an earlier post.
Why he should be a patron of the New Evangelization: Like St. Francis de Sales, St. Cajetan was a walking ideal for the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Not only did he promote devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in the promulgation of 40 Hours' Adoration, but also worked hard to root out corruption within the clergy. As well, his work with the poor and his kinship with them are more than inspiring for those interested in working with the impoverished.
St.Faustina brings to the world the most important message, which I think was forgotten since Calvin - MERCY. Not just justice and sovereignty, but mercy, Divine Mercy. If there is any saint needed to be a patron of the whole New Evangelization movement, it is this dear Polish woman.
Why she should be a patron of the New Evangelization: Because the message of Divine Mercy is especially needed now - many think their lives are too far gone, they have no chance, and that God is just chomping at the bit to punish them in flame and agony. St. Faustina encourages us to spread the message that though God is just, He is also merciful, loving, and compassionate. A message much-needed in the post-Calvinist world.
The brothers who were the "Apostles to the Slavs", Sts. Cyril and Methodius are the archetypal saints when representing the Christian East and West side by side. Fervent missionaries, they brought Christianity to many peoples, and are remembered as co-patrons of Europe.
Why they should be patrons of the New Evangelization: These two saintly brothers are the patrons of unity between Eastern Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church, a unity that I have a horrible feeling will never happen, but one we can hope and pray for despite it all. Re-union with the Eastern Orthodox would be a glorious thing indeed, and we should strive for it.
I hope every Catholic knows who St. Thomas is - the giant who reconciled pagan wisdom with Christian theology, who reconciled faith and reason ultimately in many respects, and who engaged in intellectual combat with all adversaries of his time by using their own philosophical weapons against them. He is, to me, along with other stalwarts such as St. Anselm and St. Bonaventure, the penultimate theologian and philosopher.
Why he should be a patron of the New Evangelization: Despite the fact that atheists such as Richard Dawkins refuse to debate apologists like William Lane Craig, the dialogue and debate occuring between atheism and theism forms one of the major frontlines upon which the New Evangelization is needed. In this context, the excellent teaching of the Angelic Doctor is needed now more than ever.
Am I being serious? Absolutely. Remember, this man went from nothing to everything, from being a slave of pirates to almost singlehandedly converting an entire country to the creed of Christ. His life is one of pure courage and inspiration - if you haven't read his Confession, do so now.
Why he should be a patron of the New Evangelization: His life was one of lived in the face of insurmountable odds, and yet he managed to bring a whole people to Christ - how could this saint ever not be a patron of the New Evangelization? Plus, it gives us Catholics a chance to re-educate people on the real story behind St. Patrick's Day (possibly over a Guinness, but I digress).