We’ve received quite a number of suggestions for effective evangelization (as requested in Evangelization Techniques and Opportunities). Let me summarize some of the better ideas thus far.
Frank Hermann of Steubenville, Ohio offered a stiff dose of reality when he reminded us that evangelization takes money. Of course he was not referring to our own personal efforts with our friends and acquaintances, but to systematic evangelization efforts on a larger scale. Frank stresses that to earn God’s blessing on our efforts, we need to be willing to put our money where our mouths are. I probably don’t need to mention that this is a message dear to my own heart; but of course it isn’t the whole story.
Interestingly, several correspondents said that the first priority is to increase the knowledge of the Faith and the commitment of those the Church already has in the pews. Fred Schaeffer (Vero Beach, Florida) suggests that in our parishes we emphasize post-teen Catholic instruction. Carol Egan (Montclair, Virginia) suggests a regular column in the weekly bulletin on the basics of the Faith, drawing from the Catechism.
Ron and Jane Ruck of Los Angeles suggest enjoyable activities (dances, athletics, outings, etc.) for teens and young adults with include Catholic instruction, study of the saints, and the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. I believe this has actually been the reigning model in many regions for quite some time, and I would love to see follow-up studies on how well it works.
Writing from Indonesia, Arman Taher reports on the Holy Trinity Community which is led by a Carmelite priest. They invite people (often Catholics who are not practicing) to a retreat and to prayer group meetings, and use a combination of the charismatic gifts and the great mystics (Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Thérèse of Lisieux) to help people reach holiness.
Also aiming to reactivate inactive Catholics, Fr. Mick Mac Andrew of West Wyalong in New South Wales, Australia reports that in his small rural parish they write a letter to inactive spouses of practicing Catholics, inviting them to Mass and a morning tea to thank them for supporting their husbands or wives. He reports that in the first year they sent out twenty-eight letters. Fifteen spouses came to the Mass, and three returned to regular practice of their Faith the next week. The parish will extend the concept to emphasize “Baby’s First Catholic Christmas” this Advent.
Reaching out to the surrounding culture, Marilynn Karbonski, writing from Oregon, suggests that when we invite our neighbors over for coffee or tea, we ask them to join us in a prayer of thanksgiving, perhaps with a crucifix or a statue of Mary or of some saint on the table—and then hope for questions later. Robert Hanson (Middleville, Michigan) reminds us that just having more than one or two children and projecting a lively joy wherever we go can be a powerful witness that stimulates all kinds of conversation, opening up untold opportunities. John Kaufmann (location unknown) suggests we bear witness to our faith whenever we receive a political call.
Finally, Paul Mathers, who is the coordinator of Street Evangelization in Dallas, Texas, recommends that everyone take a look at St. Paul Street Evangelization, an apostolate in which Catholics who wish to evangelize set up a highly-visible display in a public area, and engage all comers in discussion about their Faith. This is refreshingly reminiscent of Frank Sheed and the Catholic Evidence Guild.
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Posted by: koinonia -
Nov. 24, 2012 8:45 AM ET USA
Subjectivity is a problem. 50 years of purported "inclusiveness" have demostrated little efficacy. Salvation necessarily involves conversion and the cross. Without the essentials all the bells and whistles in the world are worthless. The heart must respond in generous docility to the invitation of love and sanctification extended by God through his Church. We are witnessing a return to the enduring gifts of the Church in this pontificate. Our prayerful participation is essential.