From the beginning of the ecumenical movement in the 19th century each of the churches involved in this growing quest for local and global unity brought their respective gifts and backgrounds to an ongoing search for common mission. This quest has clearly been fueled by the prayer of Jesus in John 17:20-24 more than by any other biblical text. Our Lord prayed, the night before he went to the cross, that we would all be one so that the world might know that the Father had sent the Son. All efforts to understand these modern historical developments must be understood in the light of how churches and leaders have worked out the implications of this amazing prayer.
When Vatican II changed how the Catholic Church related to the world, as well as to the proclamation of the gospel, things really began to move in a new direction. The now popular Catholic commitment to the “New Evangelization” entered the Catholic missiological vocabulary in the 1980s but found its first prominent expression in 1992 at the Council of Latin American Bishops (CELAM)