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  • Feb
  • 7

Evangelizing is the ‘mission’ for Catholics

Posted By February 7, 2013 | 12:53 pm | Featured Article #4
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By Tanya Connor

MILLBURY – “Probably the best thing that we can do is be an example.”
Theodore Jakubiak, of St. Brigid Parish, was talking about evangelizing. The pre-Lenten mission at his parish and Our Lady of the Assumption had suggested ways to do that.
“We need to be a little bit more pro-active,” even if it’s by inviting people to come and eat, decided his wife, Felice.
“If you can’t get them to church, get them to a function,” he added. “If they think you’re O.K., they might come to your church.”
The mission focused on “Spirituality of Evangelization: Living Out Our Baptismal Anointing as a Priestly, Prophetic and Royal People.”
Presenters were Paulist Father Edward Nowak, director of campus ministry at the University of Texas in Austin, and Theresa Delmotte, former university chaplain and now mental health therapist from Mansfield, Penn.
She said evangelization doesn’t have to be like “pushy, churchy” television personalities, but includes telling how God acted in one’s own life. Each day participants were encouraged to talk about that in small groups and with the whole group.
On Sunday Father Nowak encouraged them to live their priestly calling by leading prayer – in saying grace and in faith-sharing groups – and by giving blessings.
At the request of their associate pastor, Father Donald C. Ouellette, St. Brigid parishioners Robert and Zorina Curnen blessed fellow participants’ eyes, that they might see “how great is the hope to which you are called.”
“It was a very powerful, positive feeling,” Mr. Curnen said. “I went back to the pew and was joking with Zarina, ‘Didn’t you feel priestly?’”
Did he?
“For sure. One of the people I said the blessing over was Father Don. It was kind of a role reversal. The whole experience was a real honor.”
Father Nowak said people spend their lives acting like chickens on the ground, when they’re meant to be like eagles, soaring with God and ministering to others from the heights.
On Monday participants were told that being prophetic includes sharing God’s word with others.
Father Nowak said when he wondered if he was good enough to be a priest, a friend sent a card with John 15:16: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you…”
“What my friend did was kind of simple, but, if she hadn’t … I might not be here tonight,” he said.
Mrs. Delmotte said the prophetic call is to “bear witness – by our lifestyle, our words and actions and the values that we hold.”
She spoke of breaking with materialism, individualism and racism, living life in the Spirit, growing in desire for unity with everyone and moving beyond the letter of the law to its spirit.
She suggested inviting people to church, offering to pray for them and being counter-cultural.
Father Nowak suggested saying, “God bless you” at the check-out counter; saying, “I’m blessed” instead of “I’m lucky,” and buying someone a daily Bible calendar.
On Tuesday, participants were told that kings and queens were responsible for seeing that their subjects were treated justly, and that evangelization involves social justice; it involves converting society, not just individuals.
Mrs. Delmotte spoke of Church social teaching about peace, the right to life, the option for the poor, the rights of workers and stewardship of creation.
Father Nowak spoke of not hiding one’s light under bushel baskets of fear of ridicule or lack of qualification.
“It’s not the title we need,” Mrs. Delmotte said. “We need the royal, dignifying, magnanimous spirit of … Christ the King.”
She encouraged listeners not to think of what they give God as extra; they don’t have extra time and money, but need to put their gifts at his disposal, sometimes doing things they don’t want to do.
To conclude, participants held lighted candles and sang, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”