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Following The Truth: Evangelize? Sorry, But Iím Catholic! (Catholic or Open)
CE.com ^ | June 18th, 2010 | Gary Zimak

Posted on 12/08/2011 8:52:59 AM PST by Salvation

Evangelize? Sorry, But I’m Catholic!

June 18th, 2010 by Gary Zimak

Catholics are known for many things, such as novenas, devotions to saints, love for the Blessed Mother, and abstaining from meat on Lenten Fridays.  One thing that generally doesn’t come to mind when we hear the word “Catholic” is evangelization.  To be totally honest, the vast majority of Catholics view evangelization as a negative thing.  There is a belief among many Catholics that our relationship with God is a highly personal matter and that “we shouldn’t impose our religious beliefs on others”.  I must admit that I felt this way for many years.  Even though I went to Mass every Sunday, talking about God to others was something for Protestants and “Jesus Freaks”.  I considered it offensive to tell others how they should believe.  Furthermore, I didn’t want others to think I was strange.  Evangelization is “not something that Catholics do”.  To take it a step further, many Catholics don’t feel the need to learn or understand their faith, let alone share it with others.  While that may be a common opinion, is it really what the Church teaches?  Not at all! As Catholics, we are not only called to study and understand our faith, but we are mandated to evangelize.

Now that I’ve either piqued your curiosity or caused you to suffer a panic attack, let me present some evidence to support my claim and give you some simple and painless ways to fulfill the Church’s instructions.  On December 8, 1975, Pope Paul VI issued an Apostolic Exhortation entitled Evangelii Nuntiandi (EN), which addresses evangelization in the modern world.  In this document, the Holy Father explains the importance of Christian evangelization:

…the presentation of the Gospel message is not an optional contribution for the Church. It is the duty incumbent on her by the command of the Lord Jesus, so that people can believe and be saved. This message is indeed necessary. It is unique. It cannot be replaced. It does not permit either indifference, syncretism or accommodation. It is a question of people’s salvation.  (EN, Paragraph 5)

The above paragraph spells out the importance of proclaiming the “Good News” of Jesus Christ.  It is not something that is “nice to have”, but is necessary for people’s salvation!  That’s all well and good, but isn’t evangelization the job of priests, religious and deacons?  Not exactly…

Thus it is the whole Church that receives the mission to evangelize, and the work of each individual member is important for the whole. (EN, Paragraph 15)

In other words, evangelization is not only the responsibility of the religious and clergy; it is a requirement for the laity as well.  Every member of the Catholic Church is personally responsible for sharing the gospel message with others.  The Vatican II document, Lumen Gentium, teaches that all baptized Christians “must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God”.  This profession of faith involves both actions and words.  While it is crucial to set a good example, the Church teaches that we must also share our faith verbally.

…even the finest witness will prove ineffective in the long run if it is not explained, justified – what Peter called always having “your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have” – and made explicit by a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the Lord Jesus. The Good News proclaimed by the witness of life sooner or later has to be proclaimed by the word of life. There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed. (EN, Paragraph 22)

Now that we know what is expected of us, do we need to stand on street corners and hand out bibles?  Are we required to preach at the office and quote scripture all day long?  While there is a time and a place for that approach, there are simpler and less threatening ways to “get our feet wet” in the world of Catholic evangelization.  Here are some simple ways to get started:

1. Learn – We need to learn about the Catholic Faith.  There is no way that we’ll ever be able to share what we don’t know.  There are many great online resources to assist you in learning about the Catholic Faith.  Among them are the USCCB and Vatican websites.  Additionally, my website http://www.followingthetruth.com lists many authentically Catholic websites and books, all geared toward individuals with a basic or intermediate understanding of the Faith.

2. Witness – Christian witness lays the foundation for evangelization.  Avoiding foul language, making the sign of the cross and saying grace before meals, having a positive disposition, and avoiding gossip are all ways that can be used to set a positive example for others.  These techniques can be used anywhere: in the workplace, at school, in the home, even at the grocery store.  People may notice that there is something “different” about us and could begin to ask questions.  This provides the opening to share our “secret”, which is the Catholic Faith.

3.  Share – There are many painless (but effective) ways to verbally share our faith with others.  We can offer to say a prayer for a coworker who is sick or in a painful situation.  We can explain how our faith comforts or sustains us in time of need.  We can casually relate a message heard in a homily at Sunday Mass.  This technique not only gives us the opportunity to share a positive thought, but it also sends the message that we attend Sunday Mass.  Non-threatening techniques such as these are often very effective because they do not involve “beating people over the head” with our Bibles.

4. Pray – The most important step in being an effective evangelist is often the most neglected.  We should always remember to pray, especially for an increase in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Everyone who is baptized and confirmed has received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but we need prayer and grace to help them grow.  Prayer and frequent reception of the Sacraments will allow these gifts to grow and will ultimately lead to greater success of our evangelistic efforts.  We should also pray for the individuals to whom we are directing our evangelization efforts.

As we begin to follow the Church’s command to spread the gospel in the world, there are a few things that are important to remember.  We should not become impatient or discouraged if our efforts don’t appear to be effective.  The Lord never asks us to be successful, instead He asks us to be faithful.  In the end, any success we have should be attributed to God alone.  Also, we must never forget to be charitable when sharing God’s message with others.  Our goal must be to win souls, not arguments.  Turning to Sacred Scripture, St. Peter provides an excellent one sentence summary of what is expected of us as Catholic evangelists.  Staying faithful to his instruction will ensure that we are fulfilling the Lord’s command of charitably spreading the gospel to all nations:

“Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15)



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; evangelization

Gary Zimak is the founder of Following The Truth Ministries (http://www.followingthetruth.com), a lay apostolate created to assist Catholics in learning more about their Faith. He is a regular guest on EWTN Radio’s “Son Rise Morning Show”, Ave Maria Radio’s “Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo” and appears frequently on several other Catholic radio programs.  In addition to writing for CatholicLane. Mr. Zimak hosts a daily program on BlogTalkRadio and posts frequently on his blog, Facebook and Twitter.  He is a member of Catholics United For The Faith and the Knights of Columbus and resides in New Jersey.


1 posted on 12/08/2011 8:53:02 AM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Contact and Invite — evangelization is just that easy. Try it during Advent.

Ping to all Catholics!


2 posted on 12/08/2011 8:55:21 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Matthew 28:19-20 (the great commission)

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

3 posted on 12/08/2011 9:01:51 AM PST by Upstate NY Guy
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To: Salvation

Thanks for the ping salvation! Keep up the good work!


4 posted on 12/08/2011 9:07:42 AM PST by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: Upstate NY Guy

We all have that responsibility to evangelize.


5 posted on 12/08/2011 9:09:05 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

You could invite someone to go see this:

http://www.thegreatestmiraclemovie.com/new/


6 posted on 12/08/2011 9:09:21 AM PST by surroundedbyblue (Live the message of Fatima - pray & do penance!)
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To: Salvation

We’ll happily tell people of our pets, children, what we did over the weekend. All the ‘earthly’ non-spiritual stuff.

Yet the very thing that could save a loved one from hell, oh, wait, that’s a personal thing?

Rubbish.

Jesus, it is all about Him. He is the way, the ONLY way. Other than that, well, hell is not a good place.


7 posted on 12/08/2011 9:10:25 AM PST by RoadGumby (This is not where I belong, Take this world and give me Jesus.)
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To: Upstate NY Guy
Matthew 28:19-20 (the great commission) "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Many people believe that the Commission is only incumbent on clergy but all believers have a role to play. When you have a tangible stake in the success of an endeavor, you will work harder to see that success come about.

8 posted on 12/08/2011 9:11:19 AM PST by Tamar1973 ("Never care what the other guy has, it is not yours and someone always has more."--isthisnickcool)
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To: Tamar1973; Salvation
Many people believe that the Commission is only incumbent on clergy but all believers have a role to play. When you have a tangible stake in the success of an endeavor, you will work harder to see that success come about.

Yes. And sometimes all we need to do is spread the word of God. According to the verses below He will do the rest.

Isaiah 55:10-12

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
So is My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."

9 posted on 12/08/2011 9:29:22 AM PST by Upstate NY Guy
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To: Salvation

The key is the approach.

First, you must be an informed Catholic and know the Biblical references for the teachings of the Church.
Anti-Catholics have spent the last 150 years inventing lies and misinterpretations of Catholic beliefs and practices.
So, study Catholic Apologetics and keep studying.

Second, it is most effective to be aware of opportunities to “evangelize”, rather than intruding on strangers, who have no interest in your zeal.

If you’re informed, you can gently correct misstatements, by those critical of Catholicism.


10 posted on 12/08/2011 9:31:29 AM PST by G Larry ("I dream of a day when a man is judged by the content of his Character.")
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To: surroundedbyblue

Thank you. That was great, and I believe I may use that.


11 posted on 12/08/2011 9:32:32 AM PST by sayuncledave (et Verbum caro factum est (And the Word was made flesh))
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To: Salvation
There is a belief among many Catholics that our relationship with God is a highly personal matter and that “we shouldn’t impose our religious beliefs on others”.

Say what? Did you miss the Crusades?

12 posted on 12/08/2011 9:42:16 AM PST by Phlap (REDNECK@LIBARTS.EDU)
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To: Salvation

Ping!


13 posted on 12/08/2011 10:00:20 AM PST by Mortrey (Impeach President Soros)
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To: Salvation
Wasn't it St. Francis of Assisi who said that we should always preach the Gospel and, when necessary, use words?
Soup kitchens, hospital visits, with or without doggie pal for patients, St. Vincent de Paul, gifts for the myriad of Church sponsored charities (e.g. homeless, unwed mothers and battered women shelters, sandwich Sundays, food banks), visiting the imprisoned (men, women and children prisoners).. and so on.

Walking the walk means more than talking the talk. st.cloudmountainwannabe:o)

14 posted on 12/08/2011 10:14:36 AM PST by cloudmountain
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To: Salvation

Donate to Relavent Radio “The New Evangelization”. Great Catholic Radio — news, homilies, advice, etc., etc. Always good listening. Not available everywhere in this country, but it is growing.


15 posted on 12/08/2011 10:18:04 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Phlap

>>Say what? Did you miss the Crusades? <<

I don’t think that anyone in the Crusades is alive today.
Come with us into this century.

(there, I’ve evangelized)


16 posted on 12/08/2011 12:16:04 PM PST by netmilsmom (Happiness is a choice)
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To: cloudmountain

Your Post is Brilliant!!!! Thank you.

Show that you are a good Christian. Follow up by displaying that you are Catholic.

Pushing your flavor of faith can push people away. Showing them how you love them is the best evangelizing anyone can do.


17 posted on 12/08/2011 12:35:34 PM PST by netmilsmom (Happiness is a choice)
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To: RoadGumby

**We’ll happily tell people of our pets, children, what we did over the weekend.**

When people have wished “Have a good day” to me, I have been known to say, I will have a good day — I’m going to church at St. ————————.

They sort of look at me funny, but God cares, and I don’t really mind their weird looks. If they say anything in response, then I invite them to join me for Mass.


18 posted on 12/08/2011 3:49:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: G Larry

Great advice!


19 posted on 12/08/2011 3:50:37 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: netmilsmom

I have news for you, authentic faith is going to push some people away, anyway. And many of the damned will be perfectly content to let you expend all your limited resources on themselves without ever feeling the first “twinge.”

Here is a thought to ponder for Pollyanna Christianity....if the Church thrives on persecution, why isn’t the entire Middle East still Christian?


20 posted on 12/08/2011 4:10:24 PM PST by papertyger (What has islam ever accomplished that treacherous, opportunistic, brutality couldn't do on its own?)
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To: papertyger

>>I have news for you, authentic faith is going to push some people away, anyway.<<

I have news for you, more flies are got by honey than vinegar.

If I have my choice of listening to FReeper Papertyger or St. Francis of Assisi, guess who I give more credence to?

No one is converted by someone being rude to them. I’ve lived that role. I’ve dealt with Christians who say they love me while slamming what I love. It doesn’t work, I’m still Catholic. I’ll show a person how wonderful Jesus is by my example and it’s evangelizing all the same.


21 posted on 12/08/2011 4:21:43 PM PST by netmilsmom (Happiness is a choice)
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To: netmilsmom

So how many have you converted?


22 posted on 12/08/2011 4:25:29 PM PST by papertyger (What has islam ever accomplished that treacherous, opportunistic, brutality couldn't do on its own?)
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To: papertyger

We don’t convert anyone. It’s always by the grace of God.


23 posted on 12/08/2011 5:16:21 PM PST by Not gonna take it anymore (Member of the First Church of Christ, I am Catholic)
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To: Not gonna take it anymore

If the poster I was replying to takes the position we can “push” people away from God by our comportment, it is perfectly legitimate to posit the converse.

That being said, I have no intention of playing proto-Protestant word games with would-be “teachers of the law.”


24 posted on 12/08/2011 5:58:13 PM PST by papertyger (What has islam ever accomplished that treacherous, opportunistic, brutality couldn't do on its own?)
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To: papertyger

Whoa, having a bad day?

We can push people away if we are unChristian in our manner toward others.

We can help people find faith by our actions. But it is always the grace of God which brings them to Him.


25 posted on 12/08/2011 6:54:29 PM PST by Not gonna take it anymore (Member of the First Church of Christ, I am Catholic)
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To: Phlap

The Crusades were defensive wars.


26 posted on 12/08/2011 7:36:27 PM PST by WPaCon
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To: papertyger

At least three, how about you?

Actually, I would have to say that God, through the intercession of Our Holy Mother and a good green scapular turned their hearts. I didn’t do anything but pray and not push.

And let me tell you, to take someone who was sour on Western Religions and see them become Catholic was quite an accomplishment. I never got in his face, I never said he should, I just lived a good life and showed the best example I could.

Thank you Holy Lord.


27 posted on 12/08/2011 7:52:20 PM PST by netmilsmom (Happiness is a choice)
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To: Salvation

I “evangelize” with my actions but I wouldn’t push Jesus on a stranger.

You never know where a person is in their walk in life, and bad evangelism by bossy know it alls makes a lot of folks turn away from God.


28 posted on 12/08/2011 8:48:42 PM PST by LadyDoc (E)
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To: Salvation

I see great evangelization here on FR.


29 posted on 12/08/2011 10:09:19 PM PST by NEWwoman (God Bless America)
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To: NEWwoman

Well now that might depend on what threads you read. FR can be so anti that I do not send many here.


30 posted on 12/09/2011 7:44:38 PM PST by Not gonna take it anymore (Member of the First Church of Christ, I am Catholic)
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To: Phlap

I wonder if it was because of that crusades rap that Catholics are so closed-in. I doubt it. I think it’s because of the centuries of persecution Catholics have undergone in this country and in Europe. Untold numbers burned at the stake or decapitated just for practicing their faith.


31 posted on 12/09/2011 7:59:09 PM PST by ichabod1 (Vote for Herman Cain 2012! Stop Letting Them Drive Our Candidates Away!)
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To: NEWwoman

That’s true. You could say even this article by Zimak is an evangelization.


32 posted on 12/09/2011 8:12:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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