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I’ve never seen Catholics evangelize!
Posted By Eric Sammons On June 17, 2010 @ 9:17 am In Evangelization | Comments Disabled
Last night I had the fortune of meeting Msgr. Charles Pope , pastor of Holy Comforter/St. Cyprian church in downtown Washington, D.C., and über-blogger  for the Archdiocese of Washington. He was holding a meeting at his parish to plan for a major door-to-door evangelization campaign his parish will be conducting this Fall. I was invited to share my own experiences of going door-to-door. In many ways, I was there to smash the many “myths” that have cropped up around going door-to-door. Here are a few:
1) You will be yelled at and attacked.
I have organized going door-to-door to over 2,000 homes in the past four years, and we only had a single instance of someone yelling at us. The vast majority of people are polite, even if they are not interested. But even if someone did yell at you, why should that stop you? Our Lord told us that we are blessed when people persecute us in his name, so being yelled at while sharing the Gospel is a wonderful blessing.
2) Catholics don’t go door-to-door; only Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses do that.
Quite often people who meet us when we are out evangelizing are shocked to hear we are Catholic. They expect us to be either Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. We have even heard people exclaim “I’ve never seen Catholics evangelize!” What a sad commentary. Our Lord told his followers to go to all the nations preaching the Gospel, so all Catholics are obligated to evangelize in some way – and door-to-door evangelization is a great way to follow Christ’s command. Door-to-door evangelization has gotten a bad name, and this is mostly due to the aggressive tactics of Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, who often browbeat those they meet in their attempt to make converts. But that does not have to be the only way to go door-to-door. In my experience, Catholics take a much more subdued approach. We go simply to share with others about our parish and the blessings we have received there. We have been given a great gift and we are letting others know about it.
3) I don’t need to go door-to-door; I evangelize without using words.
When people are looking for excuses not to go door-to-door, they often remark that the best evangelization is “without words” and that is how they evangelize so they don’t need to preach with words. I’ve addressed that canard here . It is very important to evangelize with our whole lives, including our actions, but it is a false dichotomy to say that we should only do one method. The assumption of the Christian life is that we evangelize with our actions; we also need to evangelize with words.
4) You have to be outgoing to go door-to-door.
Most people picture the typical door-to-door evangelizer as someone who is bursting with enthusiasm and extroverted to the extreme. I have actually found that the best door-to-door evangelizers are the exact opposite; those who are willing to listen are the most effective at sharing God’s love with others. My wife has a definite gift for door-to-door: very often people will pour out their problems on her as soon as she gets to a door, and she is able to tell them that they will be loved at our Catholic parish.
5) Door-to-door is not effective.
People often cite statistics showing that going door-to-door isn’t really effective and it doesn’t bring people into church. My first response would be to ask why the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are growing so fast then? Also, Jerry Falwell built his megachurch from a tiny congregation by going door-to-door back in the 1950′s. So it can be effective in growing numbers. But the real reason we go door-to-door isn’t to effectively grow our church, it is to be obedient. Christ commanded us to share the Gospel with others, and this is a prime way to do it. And effectiveness can be measured in many ways. I have countless stories of praying with people who are hurting and sharing God’s love with strangers through door-to-door efforts. Furthermore, those who go are energized in their faith and often become better disciples of Christ after going door-to-door. Ultimately, we don’t go door-to-door to get (converts), we go to give (God’s love).
I was very encouraged to see the work Msgr. Pope is doing and the enthusiasm of his parish for evangelization. I hope and pray that more Catholic parishes would recognize the great need to share the Good News with their neighbors who surround them.
Article printed from Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons: http://ericsammons.com/blog
URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2010/06/17/ive-never-seen-catholics-evangelize/
URLs in this post:
 Msgr. Charles Pope: http://frpope.com/
 über-blogger: http://blog.adw.org/
 here: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2010/04/19/it-is-necessary-to-use-words/
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