Last week we shared the sign that Fr. Ryan Adams has been using to attract people on the street to talk to a Catholic priest through their ministry at St. Anne's in Detroit. (The sign was created by Danielle Center.)
It reminded me how attractive a smile and a kind word can be. Our Cortland, NY team is one of our active teams that understands these "street basics" when they go out.
This report comes from evangelist Caleb of the Cortland, New York team:
Mahatma Ghandi once said, “I’d be a Christian if it were not for the Christians.” He was put off by those who did not live the faith. As Christians, we have to be very mindful that the world is watching us, even when it seems they are ignoring us. They are watching us because they are looking to see if we will “walk the talk”--that is, if we will practice what we preach. Our Lord himself relays the importance of deeds and action over empty promises in the Parable of the Two Sons (Mt 21:28-32).
Immediately while setting up our ground cloth a gentleman and woman approached us. Luther and we think, Melany. They both were interested in the rosary and we gave them each one. After a brief introduction I was able to find they both were Christians but not currently attended any church and I encouraged them that though we can talk to God directly, as Melany, God has chosen to use others to build us up "as iron sharpens iron" and that Christ promised that where "two or more are gathered together in my name I am there in their midst." I explained to them briefly the importance of the rosary as a prayer centered on the life of Christ through the eyes of her who was most and continues to be most close to Him, His Holy Mother, Mary. Please pray for Melany who admitted to living in our local Rescue Mission for the homeless.
There were so many other similar interactions today. Both Michelle and Mike also were able to share some instruction on the rosary. One young man named Victor looked encouraged to see us out as he said he was a practicing Catholic and was out working delivering goods to a local shop. We met another man named Sterling. I explained to him the rosary and also encouraged him to get back to church, but to especially consider the Catholic Church. I then asked if he needed any prayers. He didn't have any specific requests, but we prayed for him. My wife met a woman who had taken a rosary and also shared with her that she had lost her 2 year old daughter Jamisha just last year to a hit and run. My wife offered to pray for her. An older gentleman named George took a crucifix and said he had grown up Catholic and used to go to a parish nearby. I encouraged him that he is always welcome back.
We prayed for a man named Adam who moved here from Brooklyn. He said he also had not been back to any church for some time and again we encouraged him to get back, welcoming him to consider the Catholic Church. He said he was sick of people who talk but do not walk the walk. He then said he was not downplaying the need to talk, to speak the truth, but that it was just as important to do it, to put it into practice. We simply prayed with him the same, that more Christians would walk the talk, less hypocrisy, more genuine discipleship.”
How many souls are we saving?
The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. is opening a new exhibit on Billy Graham arguing his ministry led to 2.8 million Christian conversions.
One of the largest mass conversions ever, occurred in Mexico following the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe in December 1531: more than 9 million Native Americans converted from paganism to Catholicism within nine years. Spanish missionaries continued to evangelize for decades. Even today, a typical priest can reach 1 million souls over the course of his career.
Which makes us wonder: can we better quantify the number of souls we are influencing through our evangelization efforts? Our Development Director, Joe Serwach, is tracking the testimony stories of how people were moved to become members of St. Paul Evangelization. Please share your successes with Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’d love to hear from you.
Join us for dinner! Also, please consider sharing your success stories when we gather for our 5th annual national gala in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Our keynote speaker, Father Larry Richards is speaking on how each and every one of us is called to “Go and make Disciples!’’ Please sign up soon! This is expected to be a sell-out so order now.