Why is it so hard for Catholics to evangelize? We say it is not part of our tradition, yet, Jesus can be heard saying “Come and see.” We say, oh, I don’t want to seem pushy, or faith is too personal. Evangelization is sharing the Good News. Who has ever heard good news and thought, gosh, I’m not going to say anything, she might feel like I’m imposing.
Shortly after I moved to Washington, I was waiting for the train at the Brookland Metro Stop. A young woman approached and asked which train went to Georgetown. I knew enough to say, there is not a direct train, but did not know what more to say and so I said “I’m new to D.C. and not sure.” And she said, “I am new to town as well, have you found a church home?” I was taken aback and looked to see if I had something on that revealed I was Catholic! I said, no, I am looking at a couple of parishes. My evangelizer replied, “I’ve found a church I really like, near Union Station, do you want to come with me?” Hesitantly, I said, ” Well, I’m looking for a Catholic parish, but I am happy you’ve found a church you like.” My evangelizer said, Can I have you phone number, because finding a good church is so important, I want to call you in a few weeks to see if you have found a church home.” Big hesitation on my part! I was hooked and wanted to see where this would go, so I wrote down my phone number and name and we parted.
Sure enough, a few weeks later, my evangelizer called and said “Hi, remember we met at the Brookland Metro and talked about finding a church home, did you find one?” I said “yes, I found a parish I really like.” She said “Praise God, my community is great as well, I’m so happy for both of us. And we said goodbye, promising to pray for one another.
Ten year later, I still pray for her from time to time because she is a model for me of the right way to do evangelization. What was not to like about her enthusiasm, about how important finding a church home was to her settling into a new city, how her keeping her promise to check back. She found something good and wanted to share that. What’s not to like about that?
This Lent, Archbishop Wuerl is asking us to invite a fellow Catholic whose forgotten how important a church home is one’s life, to rediscover the Mass. Archbishop Wuerl is depending on us to share with someone why Mass is so important to us or what difference it makes in our week or whatever it is about our faith that is good news for us. My experience has taught me that even if the person says “no.” They have always appreciated that I thought enough of them to ask.
If you are reading this and you have not been with us at Mass for a little while, or a long time, ask a Catholic friend if you can join them. Trust me, that will be so grateful you did the hard part! If you don’t know a Catholic and would like to visit a Catholic church, please post that in our comment section and we will help you make that connection.