My friends all know that I am a Catholic, because I have always been very open with them about my faith. So, when the news broke about Cardinal McCarrick, who long served in my home archdiocese of Newark, and the grand jury report was released in Pennsylvania where my father now lives, many people asked me, “How can you stay when the Church is so corrupt?”
Christ calls us to take risks in order to open ourselves and invite others to an encounter with him. In The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis offers this guidance, "The Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction. [EG 88]"
“The Body of Christ sure has many voices,” commented a visitor to the Church of St. Joseph. Father Kenneth, the pastor of this parish, believes that his is not the only voice that should be heard in the bulletin every Sunday.
If you want to be an effective evangelizer, it is helpful to recognize where you, and those you hope to evangelize, are on the journey of faith. The journey to a mature faith may take years and may not follow a straight line. Typically, it is more like a spiral. We usually revisit the same places, but at a deeper level, drawing closer to Christ. It is also possible to get “stuck” and stay in one place for a time, or to wander off on a tangent and then come back. Keep this in mind as you meditate on your own faith journey.
Most of us know people who are distanced from the Catholic Church or are not affiliated with any faith community or denomination. These may be our spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings, and friends. According to the Pew Research Center, 23 percent of Americans recently answered “none” when asked what religion they practice. This figure is even higher among people younger than 35 years old.
It’s difficult to pass by a store during Valentine’s Day season without seeing hearts or red roses in display windows. While its roots are attributed to selfless acts of kindness by St. Valentine in 3rd century Rome, today the holiday has become symbolic of romantic love and a pretext for marketing its trappings.
Stories of faith are compelling. Recent studies show that seekers and believers alike need to hear a friend’s faith story to help them encounter Christ or encounter him again in a new and more personal way. People are more willing to listen and be convinced by personal witness than by intellectual rationale.
Topics: Witness Matters