April 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.