BEING A CATHOLIC WITNESS IS NOT DIFFICULT

 

St. Paul Street Evangelization is dedicated to using simple, fruitful approaches to evangelization. Giving away rosaries, handing on miraculous medals, making invitations, praying, and walking with others to a life of discipleship is something every Catholic Christian is called to take part in. The Catechism of the Catholic Church even states: “The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it: ‘All however must be prepared to confess Christ before men and to follow him along the way of the Cross, amidst the persecutions which the Church never lacks.’ Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation: ‘So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.'” (1816)

UPDATE FROM THE STREETS

 

St. Paul Street Evangelization is dedicated to using simple, fruitful approaches to evangelization. Giving away rosaries, handing on miraculous medals, making invitations, praying, and walking with others to a life of discipleship is something every Catholic Christian is called to take part in. The Catechism of the Catholic Church even states: “The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it: ‘All however must be prepared to confess Christ before men and to follow him along the way of the Cross, amidst the persecutions which the Church never lacks.’ Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation: ‘So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.'” (1816)

WET AND WINDY DAY IN BRACKNELL!

There are never two days the same, which can be a joy. Some amazing conversations, a lady was asked by someone who has a number of problems, partiularly for a rosary that had been blessed. As she passed me by, I asked her “would you like a rosary as a gift!” I cannot explain the surprise and happiness this brought us all, God answers prayers in so many different ways!!

Another valuable lesson was learnt as well today, we need to know when to close a conversation, hopefully gracefully. We were questioned why we had the risen Christ on the Cross, and told we were destined for hell. Plus an avalanche of things about the catholic church. it was most frustrating, as sadly I used to say some of the things myself before my conversion. I did my best to try and answer his questions, but it was impossible to have any reasonable dialogue.

I have to put in my mind that God loves him, and not to argue or raise my voice, that can be a challenge. The positive thing though, later on when I go home, I researched some of the questions, and wow, my faith grew so much more. I must pray for him, that God will open his eyes to the truth.

Todays Scripture

‘We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose’. (Romans 8:28)

 

 

NEWS FROM THE STREETS

Excellent day out in the New Shopping Centre, the pictures just show a fraction of the people who we encountered. Many rosary’s and prayer cards were given away, some of the excellent books from Fr Andrew Pinsent & Fr Marcus Holden. One of the best books people take and is so helpful, is “The Catholic Gift To Civilisation”. It is amazing how many catholics are unaware of how much the catholic church has done over the centuries for civilisation, and it is actually a great evangelisation tool.

What we have become more aware of in the last couple of weeks, is that many of the people employed in the new development, now come over and speak to us. You soon make friends and it gives us such a wonderful oportunity to share our faith. In fact one of the cleaners on the streets, asked us today “is that a rosary in your hand, I have never had one. We gave her one of the nice rosaries we have from the Combini Fathers, and a booklet on how to pray with it. The rest is up to God.

I think the one great lesson myself and Pamela have learnt, is to be consistent, and just keep going out on the days we agree to go.  It is not always  easy, but it produces so many blessings, in ways you would never think of! People from the church  stood with us for a while today, they told us they were a bit scared to be in a public place sharing the gospel. Many people feel the same way, but while they  stood next to us holding a rosary they could see for themselves that there is nothing to be fearful about, and how non-confrontational this apostate is!  We are so aware that it is God who builds his church, and we continue to pray for more labourers to come into the harvest.  We want to encourage others to start an outreach in their local parish and see for themselves how God will use our willingness to share the love of God with others.

Todays Scripture

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:26-28)

 

SOMETIMES IT’S GOOD TO JUST LISTEN

We want to witness our Catholic faith, but we meet so many interesting people like this lady here. A staunch Salvation Army Convert, she told us, “you will never make me one of those!” (Pointing to our catholic poster) Sometimes we need to listen, and so many older people have no-one who wants to listen to them.  We hear amazing stories, some so very sad. We pray and leave these things to God, only he can change hearts!

 

OUR FIRST CATHOLIC OUTREACH TO ST ALBANS

 

What a fantastic first outreach to St Albans, this was at the inspiration of Robert Colquhoun who runs 40 Days For Life In The UK.  There was just the three of us, and then we were joined by Maureen a Catholic who lives locally. We had a number of conversations, and we were all blessed to see how this ministry works anywhere. Our plans are to start a regular Saturday outreach on market day where it gets very busy.

STREET NEWS

PRAYER

I read this morning that prayer for the work we are doing is so important, and I have to admit being on the streets it is not always easy. We always start with prayers and when we finish, we always thank God for being so blessed  to be a witness of the catholic faith in the highways and byways. I did my best while I was standing there, asking the Holy Spirit to be with us and hopefully we would see people come along. However, it was quiet for us, hundreds of people just passed us by and seemed not to even notice us.

That is how it can be, and even though we know this is not about numbers, its hard not to desire more action. I spoke to a young woman who was pregnant who had a baby in a pram, who was smoking away. She stood a few feet away from me, and I commented on how nice her baby was. We started chatting and she was aware that smoking was not very good but said she could not stop. She then told me with this new baby on the way she would have eight children! I thought she may be a catholic, however,  that was not the case. She went on to explain her partner had commited suicide, it was such a sad story, anyway I managed to give a very nice rosary and a leaflet on how to pray with it. I just so much pray for her,  that God will speak to her and she will be saved. There is such unbelief today, and I was reminded that the Devil is actively at work, and was drawn to read Corinthians 4: 3-6.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing.
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God.
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

 

 

Why Street Evangelization

“To evangelize, then, we must be open to the action of the Spirit of God, without fear of what He asks us or where He leads us. Let us entrust ourselves to Him! He enables us to live and bear witness to our faith, and enlighten the hearts of those we meet. How beautiful it is to see that young people are “street preachers” joyfully bringing Jesus to every street, every town square and every corner of the earth! –Pope Francis

 

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It comes as a surprise to many that Catholics do street evangelization, yet street evangelization is as old as the Church and has a long history – from the prophets of old to recent groups like Frank Sheed’s Catholic Evidence Guild.

There is a common misunderstanding that street evangelization is the same as “Bible thumping” or “proselytizing”. Street evangelization is not about screaming at people, proselytizing, or telling anyone that they are going to hell. Rather, it is about offering a listening ear, sharing in a conversation about Jesus Christ, and praying (for any reason) with those that want it. By taking our Catholic faith to the streets we aim to make the message of Jesus Christ accessible to everyone by being available to anyone.

 

Into the Street and Beyond  “And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.” (Luke 9:1-6, RSV) Street Evangelization is but one of many necessary and effective methods of evangelization. It creates a bridge of trust and helps connect people to the Church and all of her institutions. St. Paul Street Evangelization offers resources to take evangelization into the street whether literally, or through our relationships in everyday life. What makes the New Evangelization new is not that it takes place at a particular moment in time, rather that there is a special emphasis on the work of the laity in union with the Catholic Church as the principle agents of the New Evangelization.

Most of the people involved in St. Paul Street Evangelization are normal Catholics either in school or with families, jobs, and mortgages just like you. By being involved in St. Paul Street Evangelization we are learning to share the joy and peace that being a follower of Jesus has brought to our life – all in a non-confrontational way that others respond positively to.

The key to all of this is that we are actively sharing the message of Jesus Christ. Street evangelization is probably outside the comfort zone of many of us, but we can’t let that stop us. It is outside of our comfort zone where we grow.

Jesus Christ: The Model of All Evangelization

Throughout scripture Jesus speaks and teaches in public places to those who will listen. The lessons and the results vary, but one thing is clear, in his public ministry he took the proclamation of the Kingdom of God to the road. After the Resurrection, Jesus walked on the road to Emmaus with two disciples who at first did not recognize him. Jesus opened up the scriptures to them and set their hearts on fire (Luke 24:13-35). Even today Pope Francis is calling us to be agents of the New Evangelization and take our Catholic faith to the streets. While we communicate more often at our computers, there are still plenty of places in towns and communities where people gather and travel outdoors.

Examples of Catholic Street Evangelization in History

Catholic street evangelization might not look like what you expect. For an explanation of what our teams do when they evangelize, go here.

  • St. Paul & The Apostles. At one point during Paul’s missionary journeys he shared the faith with a group of Stoic philosophers who brought him to the open hill of Ares (Areopagus) where a council of elders would meet to discuss education, philosophy and religion. (Acts 17:16-34) There he challenged their worldview, proclaimed the message of Jesus Christ, and invited them to the Christian faith. Some said no, others said they would hear from him again, and yet others started following him. Paul and the apostles preached the Good News to those that would listen and by nature of our baptisms all Catholic Christians are called as well to be evangelizers.
  • St. Francis. Founder of the Franciscan order was well known to have received permission from the pope to preach repentance everywhere. Often times churches were not large enough to hold the crowds, so they would proclaim the Gospel outside. He is probably one of the most well-known Catholic street preachers apart from Paul and the Apostles and a great example for Catholics. Street evangelization is about proclaiming Christ, and Christ crucified (1 Cor 2:2).
  • St. Philip Neri. St. Philip would go through the streets & marketplaces of Rome and talk to young people about the faith.
  • St. John Bosco. St. John Bosco would not so much preach openly in the street, but he would go there to break up fights, invite orphan boys to his oratory, and evangelize them. He would use his skills as a juggler to attract their attention and then invite them to Mass.

But does it work?

Public evangelization does not happen only when Catholics are part of a group like SPSE. There are many examples of parishes and Catholic groups setting up booths at festivals, parades, and other public events and handing out literature on the Catholic faith. There are more examples than we can count of individual Catholics and clergy making themselves available to the public.

AMAZING AND EXCITING OUTREACH

Lots of new market stalls today, so we had to move our display, but it was a great blessing, as we had more and more people having a great view  of our catholic presence! So many wonderful conversations today, booklets rosary’s and leaflets were accepted.  This work is not a numbers operation, but just trusting God for one person to be touched by  the witness we hold.  It is amazing when you think like this, all of a sudden people descend on you, we thank God so much for his mercies and that we are able to share  this amazing catholic gift of faith!!