"Each one, bring one"
When we think of evangelization, many things come to mind: Billy Graham, perhaps Mother Teresa, and then there is always Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show, where, according to Neil Diamond, you “pack up the babies and grab the old ladies and everyone goes.” Hallelujah!
Okay, so you’re not Billy or Mother Teresa, and you don’t really like Neil Diamond. That’s okay because, according to Jesus, YOU are to “Go forth and make disciples of all nations.” Yes, as Jesus instructed the apostles at the end of His life, that is what they were supposed to do, and, consequently, so are we! We have been commissioned to use our gifts, talents, skills and hearts to evangelize, which, by definition, is to bring others to God.
As Pope John Paul II reflected: “Parishes are called to be welcoming and fraternal, places of Christian initiation of education in and celebration of the faith, open to the full range of charisms, services and ministries, organized in a communal and responsible way, capable of utilizing existing movements of the apostolate, attentive to the cultural diversity of the people” (Ecclesia in America, 41). It has also been said that “life is a focal point of encounter with holy mystery through nature and neighbor…all life is sacramental and holy where God is present, and the spirit of God moves through communities of faith.” (Miriam Malone, Effective Liturgical Formation in the Catechumenate). We are that community of faith made up of many parts. We are the Body of Christ!
According to Bishop Zubik in his segment on evangelization in The Church Alive, there are three groupings of people to whom our first evangelization efforts ought to be directed: those who have left the church, those who have no or little religious upbringing, and those who practice their faith and need to be sustained. The priests, deacon and staff of St. Fidelis are focusing this year on all types of evangelization activities through programs and current offerings, along with some new and innovative ideas! With the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will focus upon each other and the building of God’s kingdom, within and without!
Everyone in the parish can play a role in this work that our Savior has commissioned to us. Through engagement, faith, prayer, spirituality and utilization of our gifts and talents, we can and will bring others to God. It is important to remember that we are the message! “Who we are” is more important than “what we are.” We are called to love God and to love one another.