Gaithersburg, MD. Here is a great report from SPSE evangelist Tom, showing the strong community and fun that can be joined to evangelization (and often is):
As the summer weather settles in, the opportunity for evangelizing at more venues presents itself. On June 12th our team attended the ‘Celebrate! Gaithersburg’ festival in the Old Town section of Gaithersburg. Being registered participants, we had an assigned spot and set-up time, and were applying the final touches to our table just as things kicked off.
The festival ran from 12:00 to 5:00 pm and is a yearly event held by the city. This being our first time participating, we were excited to share the Faith in this new setting. Since live music was being played nearby, Joanne and I handed out rosaries and other materials with 80’s hits playing in the background, while various folks stopped by to talk. We were soon joined by team member Lionel, who before long was answering questions and correcting misunderstandings (his specialty!). Around this time, Joanne had an interesting and productive discussion with a man named Ebenezer. He was a one-time practicing Catholic who had even taught catechesis, but who had left the church. However, by the end of their talk, he was ready to rethink his decision and consider reentering the church!
Our next team arrivals were Jeannie and Dominic; Jeannie bringing her considerable Spanish skills, which is always welcome! (They also afforded Joanne and me a quick lunch break). It is also of note that throughout the day various Catholics would stop by and express their pleasure to find us there proclaiming Christ and His Church; telling us, as we often hear, that it is refreshing to see us out there. A volunteer from one of the political tents stopped by to talk (we were in the non-profit area), and was very enthusiastic to see us, taking information with him as he left.
About half-way through the outing team member Al joined us, and Jeannie and Dominic had to leave for another engagement. It was at this point that I looked over and saw a man in black looking around for something, and paying more attention I realized he was a priest. I thought “Great! Perhaps he would like to speak with us.” Then upon closer scrutiny I realized it was Father Chris, our chapter’s spiritual advisor, trying to find us. He had driven up from D.C. to join us, and we were happy that he did! Though not absolutely necessary, the addition of a priest is always a sort of spiritual boost at an outing. (He also bought us ice-cream … That didn’t hurt.)
A woman named Carrie stopped by and informed us that she was Catholic. She attended Mass, but her husband did not. She would take the kids with her, but they went only grudgingly. No one else in her family had her fervor for the faith, and she needed discernment about finding a job. Father Chris, having just prayed with me about employment, repeated the novena prayer to St. Joseph, the patron saint of workers, with her. He promised to pray the novena for her. Her spirits were visibly lifted as she left!
As the afternoon was drawing to a close we were grateful for the appearance of the last SPSE volunteer for the day, Tom (another Tom!). Tom has been evangelizing with us, as time has permitted, for about a year. He took his place with us and joined in the fun.
The rosary has an ability to appeal across denominational lines; I’ve always been surprised at how many non-Catholics are willing to take one with the intention of praying it (one hopes). Perhaps this is Mary’s influence. A woman came to our table, and speaking with her I learned she had never been Catholic, but had a devotion to Our Lady. She explained that the church doctrine on Mary was perfectly sensible to her. She had not yet made up her mind on the Church, however.
For a five-hour outing, it went quickly. The team was great and the weather was wonderful, but most importantly, our evangelizing had borne fruit, and that is why we had come. God Bless!
Praised be Jesus Christ! Evangelization is great for groups, for it brings people together in a common, God-centered mission. Our Gaithersburg team is a great example of this. They share the faith with the joy of the Gospel, and this is pleasing to the Lord, for “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). Are you interested in joining our apostolate yet? There are many ways to serve, but remember that “he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Cor 9:6). Please pray about joining or starting a team!