When it comes to evangelization, Catholics often think that we must go door-to-door and talk to strangers. But, evangelization is multi-faceted. It looks, feels and smells differently based on the needs of the people.
When I was in high school, I went to one of our varsity soccer games in a nearby town. Soccer was big in our school, replacing football as our anchor sport. I remember one game on a warm and sunny Saturday morning; the team we were playing was very good.
“You Catholics write about evangelization better than anyone, but you tend to do it worse than anyone!” exclaimed a Protestant speaker at a Catholic conference on evangelization I once attended. At first, I was furious with this seeming accusation, but have I repented. We do struggle with learning skills for “how-to” reach out with the good news of Jesus Christ to others, especially in ways that it sounds like GOOD NEWS to them!
The extended family walks into church, with the beautiful baby, all dressed in christening finery. During Mass, the baby is welcomed, anointed, baptized and celebrated with applause – and the family basks in the glow of belonging to this faith community.
This activity for young people introduces the topic of bullying and can physically depict our connection with one another as members of the Body of Christ. Powerful, tangible connections can be made to Christ’s command for us to love one another and even how this new commandment fulfills the 10 Commandments. Finally, this activity can be used as a springboard for discussions on the role of the sacraments to help us be made “whole” with and through Christ and one another.
This past Lent, I offered an email retreat. The “topic” was on St. Damien. Each day, retreatants received an email with 1-2 paragraphs describing something about the life of St. Damien, a link to the USCCB for the daily readings, a question to reflect on and a picture related to the day. I used an easy (and cheap!) email marketing tool called Constant Contact to format and send out the emails.
Some news stories surfaced around Easter about the numbers of adults joining the Catholic Church, both catechumens and those completing initiation. Washington, DC, was particularly happy with 1,300 people joining; this is better than the 1,200 that joined in 2012. It would be a great trend if more dioceses reported higher numbers of people who wish to share in the fullness of our Catholic way of life.