May 18, 2023 // Diocese
Refreshed to Bring Glad Tidings
Adam Jenke of St. Paul Street Evangelization presented a refreshing and invigorating synopsis of the basics of our Catholic vocation and core of our Church’s existence, which is the essential mission to evangelize (Pope Paul VI’s “Evangelii Nuntiandi”) at a Eucharistic Revival Evangelization Training at St. Pius X in Granger on Saturday, May 13. Approximately 50 people participated in the eight-hour program addressing the fourth pillar of the Church’s world-wide Eucharistic Revival — “Missionary Sending.” Every baptized Catholic is to be an evangelist.
The recommended process is to be a hospitable and friendly listener using encouraging words and understanding the person’s current positions, and then sharing a personal salvation story as a witness to faith. Each participant was given a chance to practice their witness story with their group. The biblical Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy are ultimately directed toward evangelization of people who are searching for the truth, for what is real, for who they are, and how they should live. It is our Catholic goal to help them find these answers through what Jesus taught and those brought forward by the authority of the Church. Ultimately, it is the Kingdom that Jesus wants to share with us now and into eternity with the help of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and nudging.
Jenke recommended the steps of greeting the person, offering them a simple gift (a miraculous medal, rosary, or pamphlet), and talking about one’s parish’s activities to which they are invited.
If they are receptive to these, Jenke said, ask them if they have any prayer needs and if they would like to be prayed for and with at that time. The various table groups practiced prayer and invitation. He gave suggestions on how to greet people in certain categories like lapsed Catholics, those of other Christian faiths or of no faith, agnostic, or atheist. He also handed out corresponding pamphlets.
Jenke then gave an overview of the basic Gospel message, the Kerygma, that is intended to be more complete and, as a result, should be more successful than the examples used by our other Christian brothers and sisters. It is the hope to build even greater success. He shared detailed stores of how he responded in St. Paul’s Street Evangelization ministry to the objections, challenges, and misinformation people typically have about the Catholic faith. All eight groups role-played different situations and shared their responses to all other groups.
Jenke had everyone practice a simple four-part prayer that may take less than a minute, which can include praising God, asking for forgiveness for some shortcoming, giving thanks for God’s blessings, and then offering an intercessory prayer specific to the person’s shared need. If a person is receptive, one can ask them about their own faith journey. In doing so, often there is an anti-Catholic objection they may have found in contemporary media, like abuse or something from a century earlier, like slavery. Often these objections are only hiding a deeper cause of their woundedness, according to Jenke.
For the last hour, people were offered the opportunity to practice their new evangelization skills by going go door to door for classic evangelization. Four teams of two or three each went out to eighteen homes. The teams passed out a sheet detailing upcoming events at the parish and offered rosaries or religious medals and pamphlets. As expected, no one answered the door at about half of the homes. Nevertheless, many courteous receptions were received.
Jenke has worked for St. Paul Street Evangelization for more than 10 years since his conversion from the Lutheran and then Baptist churches. He and his wife have seven children. St. Paul offers partnerships, chapters, and many online and printed resources.
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