|"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of time." Mt. 28:19-20|
|"The whole Church, therefore, is called upon to evangelize, and yet within her we have different evangelizing tasks to accomplish. This diversity of services in the unity of the same mission makes up the richness and beauty of evangelization." Evangelii Nuntiandi, 66|
At some point in 1992, my parish pastor, Fr. Vadino, approached me and asked if I'd like to become an Evangelist of the Catholic Church. Our precious blessed mother told Gabriel, "let God's will be done"...and that's exactly what I said to Fr. Vadino.
The good Father selected six people from our parish, who he knew to be devout and constant in their faith, to become Evangelists of the Catholic Church.
For the next two years we attended classes at the rectory, and lectures in various places, including St. Charles Seminary.
We were sworn in by our Bishop, at a mass, on the altar, in front of the congregation.
We tried going door to door, but this wasn't received very well, and at the end of the first month of trying, we discussed this with Father who told us to try calling fallen away Catholics on the phone. This wasn't received well either.
We needed some method of Evanglizing where we could actually reach people. We realized that we could evangelize in other ways, such as by example, and a simple smile, or a show of appreciation.
I prayed constantly for the Lord to lead me to the path He wanted me to take and for Him to guide me especially with evangelizing.A person can sense when someone is desperately trying to get out of a situation, and this is what I'd sense whenever I'd approach someone to evangelize to them.
People feel as if you're being self righteous and a blatant bore.
I prayed and prayed on the subject, and for the next few years simply did what I always do...going to mass several times a week, going to prayer meetings, praying diligently, and always strived to help those in need. Occasionally, when the Spirit led me, I would say something like, "Jesus loves you sooo much", and with that, people were very grateful for the kind words.
I began to find my place in evangelization and found that doing God's work, was being Jesus for others.
It doesn't end there though. I continued to pray on the subject. One day when someone called me to put a critical patient on the prayer line, I tried calling those pray-ers who I passed the prayer requests to, but they were desperately in need of prayers themselves. One was hospitalized, another had suffered a heart attack, another had fallen, etc. I called various other parishes around the United States and passed on the prayer requests. I was diligently praying for this person, and those others who were in need of prayers, when my youngest son who was then 11 years old, came to me and asked me why I didn't put the prayer line on the Internet. I told him I didn't know how to do it. He said he'd show me how, and within an hour or so, I had a prayer line on the Internet, with prayer requests going out and coming in. The prayer requests were so numerous the first week that I was booted off AOL. They said that the influx of e-mail to my account caused their server to crash.
That was 1995, and today The Power of Prayer Web site has grown by leaps and bounds.
I would love to say that this is my part in evangelization, and it is in a way. However, I was definitely led by Jesus to do so, therefore, all the credit goes to Him who led me.
|Evangelii Nuntiandi - On December 8, 1975, Pope Paul VI promulgated a groundbreaking document on evangelization called Evangelii Nuntiandi (On Evangelization in the Modern World). In it, he proclaimed, "the Church exists to evangelize." He called us as a Church to renew and reclaim our roots as an evangelizing community. Catholics throughout the world were being called to realize that there is a difference between being a believer and being a disciple . Pope Paul VI challenged us to reflect on three key questions:
Building on Paul VI's understanding of evangelization, Pope John Paul II called for a "new evangelization" that is an evangelization that is new in ardor, methods and expression. The new evangelization must deepen the faith of Christians, forge a new culture open to the Gospel message, and promote the social transformation of the world.
"I sense that the moment has come to convert all of the Church's energies to a new evangelization."
Mission of the Redeemer
Go and Make Disciples On November 18, 1992, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops published "Go and Make Disciples: A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States". The reason they issued this plan was their deep and earnest desire to make evangelization a natural and normal part of Catholic life and to give evangelizers the tools and support they need to carry out this ministry today. The three goals outlined in this document are:
These three goals constitute the thrust of evangelization of the Catholic Church. In implementing these goals, we strive to fulfill the mission of Christ through the Church which is the reason that we exist in the first place.
Evangelize in your parish?
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