Gaithersburg, MD. Here is a team update from Gaithersburg team member Tom:
“On the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the team evangelized at the Lake Forest Transit Center, inclement weather having no effect on the teams’ enthusiasm. This was a particularly rewarding outing, since beginning last week we have been joined by the pastor and some parishioners from Assumption parish in Southeast D.C. Fr. Greg Shaffer, along with Patrina and Rodney, were present to get their feet wet (literally, as it turned out), learning the fun-and-easy-ropes of street evangelization.
Usual team members present were Fr. Chris, Joanne, Nancy and I. Nino also stopped by to check in with us. We were also blessed to be joined by Melissa who drove out from Severna Park, who was also present at the Baltimore outing in November with SPSE director Steve Dawson.
Joanne and Melissa spoke to a man who is involved in a protestant church, though he had been raised Catholic. He accepted a rosary, and had a fairly in-depth conversation about the reasons he left the Catholic Faith. As our team members spoke to him, his objections seemed to melt away as he realized they were misconceptions. He expressed great openness to returning to Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Melissa also shared with a young woman who is a college student and gave her information on parishes in Germantown at her request.
Fr. Chris, Patrina, and I spoke to a man in his early 20’s who was very receptive, accepting a rosary from Fr. Chris. Though he had not been to a church in several years, he told us that previous contacts with various Christian groups had been positive. He seemed to have a look of relief after glancing at an approaching bus and seeing that it was not his. He appeared moved that strangers would take an interest in him, mentioning, at one point, how life can sometimes be lonely. Before parting, I also handed him a Miraculous Medal, and he was genuinely appreciative.
We also spoke to a young man from Ivory Coast, who had a varied religious background, his father having been a tribal religious leader of sorts. Upon going off to college, his father advised him that being unable to find a place of worship for his tribal religion, that he should become Catholic. He mentioned that he had also been to seminary for a year, though he was no longer practicing. Joanne, however, gave him One Good Reason to return to church: A relationship with God, like any relationship, requires an effort.
Shortly afterwards, Fr. Chris and I (mostly Fr. Chris) had an interesting conversation with a man who was well versed in Scripture, yet had his own unique take on it. As the dialogue progressed, Father seemed to make some headway with him on the issue of authority and the interpretation of scripture, and the need for one authoritative body, that being the Catholic Church. When his bus came, we parted cordially, having given him some things to think about. Remember, we plant seeds!
One truth that has become increasingly clear throughout our work is the need to evangelize and not proselytize. To be genuine, it must involve a give and take; not just speaking at people, but engaging them in conversation. It is through that real contact with a stranger that we evangelize, sharing more than just a theological treatise.”
Praised be Jesus Christ! Please consider joining our efforts! You CAN evangelize!