WASHINGTON (EWTN News)—Cardial Donald Wuerl, the head of the Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., will serve as the chief coordinator for the upcoming gathering of bishops on evangelizing societies that are becoming increasingly secular.

“The synod’s theme chosen by our Holy Father appropriately reflects his recognition that in this secular and materialistic society, where people listen in sound bites and slogans replace explanations, we must remember that Christ and his message give true and lasting meaning and joy,” said Cardinal Wuerl in an Oct. 25 statement.

“We must have the excitement and enthusiasm of those Christians of the early Church, going out and telling people for the first time who Jesus is and that he is risen and he is with us.”

The 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is scheduled to take place in October 2012 at the Vatican and will have as its theme “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”

A synod is a religious assembly of bishops and the Pope, convened to share information and experiences regarding a particular pastoral topic.

The Holy Father calls a synod and determines the theme to be discussed. He decides the agenda and presides over the synod sessions, either in person or through others.

The Pope also ratifies synod members elected by various bishops’ conferences and appoints other members. He accepts recommendations from the synod and acts on them as he sees fit.

The official title for the position Cardinal Wuerl was appointed to by Pope Benedict is relator general of the synod. In that role, he will present an introductory address explaining the synod’s goals, be responsible for guiding discussions on those goals, and organize the presentations and suggestions of the attending bishops.

The cardinal will lead efforts to create specific recommendations to present to Pope Benedict and will gather the results of the synod’s discussions to present in its final message.

After hearing the synod’s discussions and reading the report and recommendations, the Pope usually issues an apostolic exhortation that offers his reflections on the synod.

In recent years, Cardinal Wuerl has spoken and written at length on the theme of the New Evangelization.

In Aug. 2010, he issued a pastoral letter on the New Evangelization entitled “Disciples of the Lord: Sharing the Vision.” The cardinal encouraged Catholics to reach out and share their faith in Christ with those around them.

At the center of the New Evangelization, he explained, “is an attitude, a way of looking at life, a lens through which we see reality.”

Cardinal Wuerl urged Catholics to let the power of the Gospel transform their “routine and commonplace tasks” into an “urgent quest.”

He called for “an infusion of creativity and faithful imagination” in spreading the faith.

“We renew our commitment in the sure expectation that God’s grace working through each of us can bring about a renewal of faith and a rebirth of life in the Spirit,” he said.

Cardinal Wuerl has taken part in four previous synods. They were focused on the priesthood, the Church in America, the Eucharist and the word of God.