Blessed Pope Paul VI summarized the entire purpose of the Second Vatican Council as preparing the Church to proclaim the Gospel more effectively to twentieth century society which is to be done through “a new period of evangelization” (Evangelii nuntiandi [EN] 2). According to Fr. Piero Gheddo (member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, a peritus at the Second Vatican Council and primary author of the Council's Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church [Ad gentes], as well as the major collaborator with Pope Saint John Paul II on his encyclical letter on the new evangelization Redemptoris missio), by the early 1970s Pope Paul VI had become concerned that the world's bishops had begun to drift from Vatican II's urgent call for renewed missionary action. This led Paul VI to employ the General Synod of Bishops in 1973 to refocus the bishops on the urgent need to restore a worldwide zeal for mission and evangelization (for more on this, see Sandro Magister, “The Proclamation to the Peoples: From the Council to Pope Francis,” Chiesa News [18 October 2013]).
The results of the 1973 Synod of Bishops were published in Paul VI’s Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi. St. John Paul II indicated that this post-synodal exhortation is to be considered the foundational document for understanding and effecting the new evangelization. Evangelii nuntiandi formed JPII's strategy for continuing Paul VI's efforts at applying the Second Vatican Council for the new millennium. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's and Pope Francis's pontificates were/are similarly influenced by this document. It is no overstatement then, to say that everyone interested in the new evangelization (i.e. all faithful Catholics) should read and be familiar with this document. You can find a link to Evangelii nuntiandi among the Magisterial Documents under our Resources tab.