2015.04.11 Dallas

15.04.11 Dallas

On Saturday, 11 April, 2015, evangelists from many of the local SPSE teams met at Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas, Texas to evangelize with Steve Dawson.  We set up in three locations in vicinity of the park.  Initially, I set up in the park, but was eventually asked to move out.  I was told I could walk around and hand out literature, but was not allowed to set up a table.  I subsequently walked around the park and engaged people.  This was very productive, and I think I engaged more people this way than by standing in a static location.  I will incorporate this more in future events.

I had many conversations while evangelizing in the park.  Most of the people I spoke with were Christians.  We had conversations of varying length and depth.  I spoke with a few people who had fallen away from the Catholic faith.  We handed out many rosaries and much literature and invited many to consider the Catholic faith.  Thanks be to God. Please pray for us and the people we spoke with.  Please consider joining the team.

2015.03.28 Denton

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Saturday, 28 March 2015, Denton, TX.  Two members of the Ft. Worth team were present in the Denton town square next to the County Courthouse from 3:00 to 4:15 pm.  It was a beautiful day, and many people were present in the square.

After we entered the town square, but before we set up, we encountered two Jehovah’s Witnesses who were also evangelizing in the square.  We stopped and spoke to them.  We discussed whether Jesus has the same Divine nature as God the Father.  The Jehovah Witnesses said He did not.  This led to a discussion about how one knows if one is interpreting Scripture correctly.  This didn’t seem to be a point they were interesting in discussing, and we went on our way.

We spoke to a young couple who accepted Rosaries from us.  The young woman used to be Catholic, but her family stopped going to Church.  Her responses seemed to indicate she was relatively irreligious.  They didn’t have any questions about the Faith, but took the Rosaries and some literature.

We met another young couple.  The young woman was a Baptist.  She is a member of a Christian sorority.  She said her sorority is about half Catholic and she has had some exposure to the Catholic Faith through them.  Neither of them had any questions, but they excepted Rosaries and literature.

We met two young men with whom we had lengthy discussions.  One man was a Catholic.  He went to Catholic schools, but his family stopped going to Mass at some point, and he doesn’t go to Mass now.  He expressed interest in coming back to the Church.  He asked about local Churches, and we provided information on the parish in Denton.  One man was a Baptist.  When asked if he wanted a Rosary, he said he had been wanting one.  In our ensuing discussion, he explained that he was disappointed the Baptist Church does not acknowledge Mary.  We discussed Our Blessed Mother for some time with him.  He had dated a Catholic woman for some time, and had some exposure to the Faith through her.  He was very interested in learning about what others believe.  Both excepted Rosaries and literature.

Please pray for us.

 

2014.12.14 Southlake

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Saturday, 13 December, 2014, Southlake, TX.  Two members of the Ft. Worth team were evangelizing in the Southlake town square.  I am posting this several months after the fact, and don’t remember the details.  My apologies.

2014.11.01 Stockyards

IMG_0242On November 1, 2014, The Feast of All Saints, two members of the Fort Worth SPSE team were present in the Stockyards area from 12:30 to 2:20 pm.

There was good pedestrian traffic; however, not many people interacted with us.  We met a number of Catholics.  Several of them hadn’t found a parish in their area, and we encouraged them to visit masstimes.org.  We spoke to a couple, both of whom were former Catholics.  They had the impression Catholics don’t read the Bible; however they said the Catholic Church is getting better at that. We invited them to consider returning to the Catholic Church. We met a young woman who had only recently became a Christian.  We invited her to consider the Catholic Church as she grows in her faith journey.  We spoke to another lady who seemed interested or open to the Catholic Faith.

We were approached by an employee of the Stockyards and told the entire area was private property and we weren’t allowed to be there.  He was considerate and told us he liked what we were doing, but he had to tell us to leave.  We picked up our kit and headed where he told us the private property ended.  The area we were directed to was entirely store fronts, and we didn’t want to set up there, so we continued till we found an open sidewalk.  This area close to the Stockyards, but with much less pedestrian traffic.  We stayed there for awhile and handed out some Rosaries, but it was not ideal.

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It is unfortunate we won’t be able to evangelize in the Stockyards.  It is a tourist attraction, and there is always good pedestrian traffic through the area.  Nonetheless, we had several positive interactions throughout our time today. We handed out Rosaries (with instructions on how to pray it) and invited several people to the Catholic Faith.  Thanks be to God.

Please pray for us.

2014.09.20 Denton

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Saturday, 20 September, 2014, Denton Community Market, Denton, TX.  The two members of the Fort Worth SPSE team were present from 11:30 am to 1:15 pm.  This was our first event in Denton, and it was encouraging.  The venue was an open air market set up in a local park. There were many vendors and a significant amount of pedestrian traffic.  In these respects, this venue was similar to the Grapevine Farmers’ Market.  Both of these have proven to be good venues because of the amount of pedestrian traffic as well as the fact that people spend time in the area and aren’t just walking by on their way to some other place.  We handed out many Rosaries and had some good conversations.

We spoke with four young adults who were raised Catholic but no longer practice the faith.  When asked why the left the practice of the faith, they all gave answers indicating they had simply drifted away from it.  We had varying discussions with each of them.  One individual didn’t see the need for ‘church’ and thought it was sufficient to pray to God.  We pointed out the reality of the Church as the Body of Christ.  The Church is a community, not just a group of people individually praying to God.  We also pointed out that the Sacraments will facilitate him living his personal relationship with Jesus on a much deeper level.  We invited all the to consider returning to the Catholic Church and gave them the ‘Reasons to Return’ pamphlet.

We spoke with two young adults whose apparent approach to religion is one of sampling from them all since the all had good things to offer.  We affirmed the presence of truth in other religions, but pointed out there is an objective truth and a fullness of truth.  We pointed out the human mind is naturally drawn to and desires to know the truth.  We encourage them to seek after this objective truth because in it they would find great fulfillment.  We invited them to consider the Catholic Church.

Encouragingly, two vendors from across the way approached us and asked for Rosaries. We spoke to them for some time.  They both took Rosaries and some literature.

The venue was great, we handed out many Rosaries and literature, we had good conversations, and we invited many to consider the Faith.  Thanks be to God.

Please pray for us and the people with whom we spoke.

 

2014.08.23 Southlake

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Saturday, 23 August, 2014, Southlake, TX.  Two members of the Ft. Worth SPSE team were evangelizing in the Southlake town square from 1:30 to 3:15 pm.  It was hot, and there wasn’t much pedestrian traffic.  We had limited number of interactions due to this.  Most of the people we spoke to were Catholics, and most of them took Rosaries.  We had two conversations with fundamentalist Christians.  In both cases, they actively approached us to share with us the good news that we can saved by faith alone through grace alone with an absolute assurance of salvation.  Both thought it would be horrible or unbearable to live life without an absolute assurance of salvation.  Both thought the Catholic Church taught salvation by works.  In both cases we explained we also believe we are saved by faith through grace, which is a completely unmerited gift of God.  However, we tried to show via scripture that we must also cooperate with the grace of God and actively love Him and our neighbor.  Both agreed that our love of God must manifest in how we live our lives, but one of them believed it was still impossible to lose one’s salvation even if one was  actively a murderer or adulterer.  The other thought salvation could be lost due to sin.  Both had numerous scripture passages they could cite to support their views.  I offered apparently contrary scripture verses to show that God’s word has other things to say about salvation. From that point I wanted to lead them to concept that our construct of salvation has to be able to incorporate and make sense of all that scripture says about salvation.  From there I wanted to lead them to consider who has authority to interpret Scripture.  I got to that point in one of the conversations, but the woman we were talking with didn’t respond to that point.  One of the fundamentalist disclosed she was cradle Catholic who had lived and practiced the faith for a long time before she left the Church in favor of fundamentalist protestant theology.  She was very grateful she had been saved from the errors of the Catholic Church.  She was sharing this with us because we were obviously Catholic.  She had a distorted view of what the Church teaches with respect to salvation, our Blessed Mother, and the sacrifice of the Mass.  In general, they weren’t receptive the points we tried to make.  I hope they gained some insight into what we believe concerning salvation.

 

 

2014.07.26 Grapevine

IMG_0087Saturday, 26 July, 2014, Grapevine, TX.  The Fort Worth team was present at the local farmers’ market on Main St. from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.  This was a great venue due to the number of people in the area.  We had a number of very positive engagements throughout the day.

A number of Christians took Rosaries.  Surprisingly, they all seemed pretty interested in Rosary as we explained it to them.  We had conversations of varying depth with each of them, but they can all be generalized as following this pattern.  We would ask if they were Catholic, to which they would respond “no;” they were Christians from various denominations.  When asked if they had ever thought about becoming Catholic, they all said, “no, they were pretty happy where they were at.”  These responses were characterized by impression they left of “it has never crossed my mind.” After praising them for their faith in and love of Christ, we would offer to them that wherever they were in their relationship with Jesus, they could be closer to Him in the Catholic Church because of the Sacraments and Grace available to us in the Catholic Church and the truth of the Church’s teaching.  We stressed that this wasn’t true because Catholics were better, but because of the action and grace of God.  Here, the conversations would take different paths as we discussed various aspects of what we had said.  We had a long conversation with a non-denominational Christian.  We spent a good bit of time discussing “private interpretation” and the teaching authority of the Church in response to her claim that what we had said might be personal opinion.  It was a very engaging conversation.  All three of us enjoyed our conversation and sharing.  I invited all of them to consider the Catholic Church.

We had a very interesting encounter with a “Christian Atheist.”  It began as I was discussing John 6 with the non-denominational Christian lady discussed above.  He entered the conversation claiming that Jesus didn’t say those things.  Katie engaged him while I finished the conversation with non-denomincation Christian lady.  He was claiming that Jesus was made into God by the Church.  In order to understand better where he was coming from, I asked him if he was Christian.  He said he was “Christian Atheist.”  He explained this as believing there was a man named Jesus but not really knowing much beyond that.  He said Jesus might be God, who knows.  Very interesting.  It seems he based most of this comments on the writings of scholars.  He noted the Gospels stress the divinity of Jesus differently and claimed the idea of Jesus as God evolved. For example, the Gospel of John was written last and stresses the divinity of Christ the most.  He held that Council of Nicea was were Jesus became God definitively.  I pointed out the very short period of time in which the Gospels were written compared to other historical documents believed to be true.  I also pointed out the Gospels were written during the period of living memory, meaning people were still alive who had witnessed those events when the Gospels were written.  I further pointed out that all the Apostles believed Jesus was God.  Interestingly, the admitted all and and said that the idea of Jesus as God was definitely the mainstream tradition of the Church.  He seemed to be totally leaning on the scholars because he would say his opinion really didn’t matter, the scholars knew these things.  I invited him to the virtue of Faith.

Of course, we met a number of Catholics, some local and some who were visiting the area.  As usual, those encounters ranged from people walking by as they told us they already had Rosaries to those that stopped and talked for varying lengths of time to those that were surprised to see Catholics on the street and encouraged us in the apostolate.  We helped some visiting Catholics find a local Church to go to Mass.  We met a  lady who was engaged in the Faith but didn’t pray the Rosary.  She said she had friends who encouraged her to pray the rosary, but it seemed she wasn’t very interested or didn’t see the point.  She asked us why she should say the Rosary.  We explained what the Rosary is and how it can help us to grow closer to God and how it can help us to grow closer to Our Blessed Mother, who always leads us to God.  She told us she would start to pray the Rosary.  We met a Greek Orthodox mother and daughter.  They took a Rosary too and encouraged us and thanked us for sharing the faith.  We met a Knight of Columbus as well.  I generally invite the Catholics to consider joining the apostolate.

We met a young lady who was very interested in the faith.  We asked her if she was interested in becoming Catholic.  She said she was.  We asked if she had any questions, she said “many.”  Unfortunately, she was pressed for time and couldn’t stay.  We gave her our contact information if she had any questions.  Her desire and hunger for the truth was obvious. Please pray for her.

It was a great afternoon.  We had many very positive interactions.  We handed out many Rosaries.  We shared the Faith, invited many to it, and encouraged others in it.  Thanks be God.  Please pray for us and for the people we spoke to, that the Lord will bless us all and lead us all closer to Him.  Please pray He will help us to be good and humble servants of Him and His Church.  We invite you to join the team.

 

2014.05.31 Stockyards

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Saturday, 31 May 2014, Fort Worth Stockyards.  The Fort Worth team was present in the Stockyards from 3:30 – 5:30 pm.  There was significant pedestrian traffic because of the cattle drive at 4:00 pm.  Shortly after we arrived, a young woman approached us.  She had recently moved to the area.  She was interested in the Catholic Faith and was interested in becoming Catholic.  She is a Presbyterian.  She has known a number of Catholics, all of whom left a good impression on her.  She felt the Catholics she knew were more active in their faith than the Christians she knew.  She also said the family she is working for is Catholic, and she thought if she was Catholic as well, it might encourage them to go to Mass more.  We encouraged her to go to masstimes.org to find a parish in her area and to contact the pastor and let him know she is interested in becoming Catholic.  We explained the RCIA process.  We gave her several pieces of literature.  We met quite a few Catholics who were new to the area.  We recommended they go to masstimes.org to find a parish.  One woman stopped to take a rosary.  She said she was Catholic, but didn’t go to Mass.  We encouraged her to go to Mass and explained that being Catholic and living in relationship with Our Lord is a joyful experience.  We invited her to find a parish and experience that joy for herself.  We met eight Catholics who were surprised at seeing Catholics on the street.  They thought it was great and encouraged us.  Four were from Fort Worth, one from Boston, two from Florida, and a deacon from Portland.  We gave them the address for the St. Paul Street Evangelization page and encouraged them to consider joining a team.  We handed out a lot of Rosaries.  Thanks be to God.

We invite you to join the team.  Please pray for us.

 

2014.04.19 Southlake

20140419_135036April 19, 2014, Holy Saturday, Town Square in Southlake, TX.  Two members of the Fort Worth SPSE team were sharing the truth and joy of the Catholic Faith from 12:00 to approximately 2:00 pm.  The majority of the people we interacted with were Catholics.  A few of these were non-practicing Catholics.  It highlighted again to me the great need for evangelization within the Church.  To date, we have met a significant number of Catholics on the street who have left or drifted from the Faith.  This is sad, but it is a great joy to serve them and Our Lord by showing to them anew the beauty of the Faith and inviting them home.  We had some engaging conversations with the Catholics and a few Christians.

We met a woman who used to be Catholic but became a Baptist due to marriage.  She and her daughter took a rosary.  She said she stills prays the Rosary.

A woman sat on the park bench next to us, and Katie struck up a conversation with her.  The following are her comments.  She is a Baptist.  She thought you only need to pray to someone that you think controls the universe. When she mentioned examples like God, Jesus, Mary…I clarified that Catholics only worship God but ask for Mary and saints to intercede. She emphasized the need to keep praying and I agreed, saying that it was critical to our relationship with God. I invited her to Mass for Easter but she already had plans.

As a man and his daughter walked by the table, I asked them if they would like a Rosary.  They walked past the table a short distance and then came back so the girl could take a Rosary. While she was looking at the Rosaries, I asked the father if they were Catholic.  He said they were, but added that he doesn’t go to Mass.  When I asked him why he doesn’t go, he said doesn’t have time, although he said that wasn’t a good excuse.  He doesn’t live in the area and often travels on the weekends to be with his daughter.  I shared with him that I’m not Catholic because I like to check boxes, but because it gives me great joy.  I invited him to return to Church and find that joy for himself.  I recommended he look at CatholicsComeHome.org.  He added, in response to my comment, that sometimes he goes to a protestant churches because he finds the service and music more engaging.  I reminded him that Christ established one Church, and while the protestant churches have truth in them, only the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth.  I again invited him to return to the Church.  We shook hands, and they walked away.  They walked a short distance from the table and then he returned and took a Rosary for himself.  I gave him the pamphlet on how to pray the Rosary and the pamphlet on reasons to return to the Catholic Church.

A young man sat on the bench next to us because it was in the shade.  As he had approached us, he declined the Rosary we offered him.  After he sat down, we struck up a conversation with him.  He said he was a non-denominational Christian.  When I asked him if he had any questions about the Catholic Faith, he replied he didn’t have any burning questions, and then he began to expound on his view that denominations were made up by people trying to make God and His plan coincide with their limited understanding and opinions.  He cited the following examples.  He didn’t understand why the Catholic Church has a hierarchical organization.  He thinks it is a result of humans applying to God’s church our human institution of government.  He also said he doesn’t understand why Catholics confess to a priest.  He also cited the fact that the Church of Christ forbids instruments.  He thinks God just wants us to be a body of believers.  I responded to his question about Confession by citing Scripture, which tells us Christ gave his Apostles the power to forgive and the power to not forgive sins.  I also cited St. Paul speaking about the ministry of reconciliation.  I further brought up the point that Christ handed on to His Apostles the mandate and mission He had received from His Father, “As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.”  We also see them, in Acts, doing the same things Christ did: teaching, opening the eyes of the blind, raising the dead.  It makes sense that if Christ forgave sins, they would too.  Considering this point, he responded by asking how someone today would know if they had received this power/authority from God.  I responded by explaining that the Apostles transmitted this power/authority by the laying on of their hands.  I explained St. Paul speaks about this in his letter to Timothy.  Christ gave it to the Apostles, and they gave it others, who gave it to others, down to our present day.  I further explained that in the Catholic Church, there is an unbroken succession that goes all the way back to the Apostles.  One knows he has received this power/authority because the Church very clearly gives it to him by the laying on of hands.  I then told him all believers, while equal in the dignity as children of God, are not called to the same ministries.  Some serve in one way, others in another.  I reminded him that St. Paul speaks of this as well when he speaks about the Body of Christ.  Furthermore, while all Christians are called to unity with Christ and to live as He lived and do as He did, some are called and set apart for a special ministry, a closer association with His mission.  With respect to the hierarchy of the Church, I recommended he consider Solomon’s (son of David and prefigurement of Christ) kingdom as he consider how the Church should be organized.  Solomon’s kingdom was so large, he appointed 12 ministers to oversee the 12 tribes.  One of those was the prime minister. I recommended he read Isaiah 22, which closely prefigures what Jesus did to Peter when He gave him the Keys of the Christ’s Kingdom.  In closing, I spoke to him about the four marks of the Church, and in particular the mark of “One,” which denotes the unity of the Church.  He had brought up the fracturing of the protestant denominations earlier.  I cited Christ’s prayer and desire that His Church be one, united.  The division of the denominations is a tragedy, and not according to God’s will.  He had previously said the denominations were a result of people trying to make God’s plan fit into their understanding.  I agreed with him on this point and expounded on it by saying that in the protestant churches anyone can go and start their own church if they disagree with anything.  How is there unity in that?  I made the point that as people strayed further from the truth by trying to make God’s truth correspond to their understanding, they lose the mark of unity.  The protestant churches are a great example of this.  I invited him to consider becoming Catholic.  He said these were interesting points and he would review them with his wise counsel of elders.  Later, as he was leaving, I asked if he wanted my email address in case he had questions. He accepted it.

We also had great interactions with a number of active Catholics.  There was beautiful weather and it was beautiful two hours spent serving the Lord and our brothers/sisters.  Please pray for us that we will be humble and obedient servants of Our Lord and His Church.

 

2014.02.22 Sundance Square

IMG_2139-1February 22, 2014, Sundance Square Plaza in downtown Fort Worth, TX.  Three members of the Ft. Worth SPSE team were present from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm sharing the faith.  We had many good conversations and passed out Rosaries and literature.

We spoke with a young, Christian man who was largely denominationally indifferent. He felt that anyone living the teachings of Christ, regardless of denominational name, was a member of the same Church.  He further said that IMG_2141all denominations are pretty similar in their teachings and that one’s personal relationship with Christ was all the really mattered, the denominational name was of no importance.  We pointed out that while the Catholic Church and Christian denominations share many teachings in common, there are distinct differences.  As an example of this we said that in the Catholic IMG_2140Church one has access to graces that allow one to live their personal relationship with Christ in a deeper, fuller way.  Following this point, we discussed confession and the Eucharist in depth.  With respect to confession, we brought up that Christ gave the Apostles the authority to forgive sins and to retain sins.  He thought that the Apostles were not different in any way from any other IMG_2138“disciple,” and thus we could, at some point, also receive the power to forgive sins.  We pointed out that the Apostles were chosen by Christ and set apart for ministry that is different that of other disciples.  We pointed out that Christ passed his mission onto his Apostles by saying, “As the Father has sent Me, so I send you,” and we see the Apostles doing the same things that Christ did: working miracles, raising the dead, etc…  So if Christ forgave sins, it makes sense that the Apostles would as well.  Furthermore, St. Paul speaks about the ministry of reconciliation.  With respect to the Eucharist, he thought that Christ was speaking by analogy when he used the words “body” and “blood” in John 6 and in the accounts of the Last Supper.  He thought that Christ really meant, “follow the example of my life” when he said, “eat my body.”  His thoughts were influenced by his view that the body was in no way connected with who a person really is.  A person’s essence is really the way they live their life, not their flesh; thus, the body is of no importance. Consequently, he couldn’t understand why Christ would stress the importance of eating his actual flesh.  We responded by reading part of John 6 with him and pointing out the very literal language Christ used.  We also explained that our bodies of an integral part of our total being and used as an illustration of this that Christ would raise our bodies on the last day and would not leave us as disembodied souls.  We gave him several pamphlets.  When he walked by later, the said he had read one of the pamphlets about the origin of the Bible and thought it was very interesting.

We also spoke with a private security officer who was a Baptist.  He had significant disagreements with the Catholic Church on praying to the Mary and Saints, Transubstantiation, and Infant Baptism.  We explained that asking Mary or the Saints to pray for us is not the same as being “another mediator” between God and us.  With respect to Transubstantiation, we again spoke about John 6.  That discussion largely focused on whether Christ was speaking by analogy.  We referenced another example from Scripture when Christ spoke by analogy and corrected his Apostles when he was misunderstood.  He struggled with the great faith it would take to believe that what appears to be bread and wine is really the Body and Blood of Christ.

A young couple walking past stopped to speak with us.  The young family attended a local Christian church.  They were interested in receiving a Rosary.  We explained what the Rosary is and gave them a pamphlet on how to pray the Rosary.  A woman who has family and friends who are Catholic and expressed interest in knowing more about the Catholic Faith also approached us.  She didn’t have any specific questions.  She took a Rosary and we recommended she go to masstimes.org to find a local parish and mass times.  We also met two young women who were promoting a new boxing club that had opened in the area.  Both took Rosaries and pamphlets on how to pray the Rosary.  One was Catholic and attended a local parish.  The other young woman was Christian, but had attended Catholic schools growing up.  When I asked if she had any questions about the Catholic Faith, she said she was very familiar with the Faith since she had been educated in it. When I asked why she wasn’t Catholic, she didn’t have an answer.  I invited her to consider becoming Catholic.

Please pray for us, that we may be humble servants of Our Lord and of His Church.  Join the team!