Kerygma (noun) ke·ryg·ma \kə->rig-mə\
The word kerygma is related to the Greek verb κηρύσσω (kērússō) (pronounced "kay-roos'-so") meaning to cry or proclaim as a herald. It means proclamation, announcement or preaching.
The kerygma is the message of the Gospel; the apostolic proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ. It is the core and heart of our faith.
If you were to sum up the core message of the Gospel in just a few sentences, what would you say that it is?
As you can see, the kerygma is not complicated. It is not (yet) concerned with the details of morality or magisterium. It is a telling of the story of our salvation in its simplest and most important form. It is not just for Catholics. It is so fundamental, that this core Gospel message crosses all Christian denomination boundaries and barriers.
How to Proclaim the Kerygma
There are many different ways to express and proclaim the kerygma. You can find it throughout the New Testament, the documents of the Church, and the writings of the early Church Fathers.
We at Burning Hearts summarize the kerygma using this five-point proclamation:
Download pdf The Kerygma Defined (36 KB)
Ultimately, however you express it, the kerygma is about the person of Jesus Christ and someone making a choice to give their lives to Him - to become his disciple.
Proclaiming the kerygma is essential to the mission of evangelization.
To proclaim Jesus Christ: that is the Church's mission.
[Silent] witness, no matter how excellent, will ultimately prove ineffective unless its meaning is clarified and corroborated…the good news proclaimed by a witness of life sooner or later has to be proclaimed by the word of life. (Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 22)
Evangelization will also always contain - as the foundation, center, and at the same time, summit of its dynamism - a clear proclamation that, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, who died and rose from the dead, salvation is offered to all men, as a gift of God's grace and mercy. (Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 27)
On the lips of the catechist the first proclamation must ring out over and over: “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 164)
There are a number of resources and tools that we can recommend to help you proclaim the kerygma most effectively to the people you have been called to evangelize. Ultimately however, the most powerful proclamation of the kerygma is the one that comes from out of your personal encounter with the life-changing power of the person of Jesus. The most effective proclamation tool you have at your fingertips is your answer to this question:
What difference has Jesus made in your life?