Friday, April 3, 2009

Door-to-Door Evangelization

While the official parish mission has not yet begun, the evangelization of the neighborhood has. On the Feast of the Annunciation, Fr. Joseph, Katy (my coworker), Marie-Alix (Emmanuel Community member), and myself took to the road, located a street with lots of houses, and began knocking on doors.
Before I continue, I know what most are you are thinking: "There is no way I could do that." Well, I bet all of you could. It just takes courage, zeal for souls, the willingness to be rejected, and trust in the Holy Spirit. And a partner to pray while you're talking. That's all. And once you do throw yourselves out there, the Lord repays in spades with joy. That's coming from the girl who considered door-to-door evangelization to be her least favorite form of evangelizing prior to coming to MN. Now, after almost two weeks of being out there and thinking of the people we've met, I'm all for it. There's nothing like the mission high.
Anyway, back to our first day. We arranged for the two pairs, Fr. Joseph with me and Katy with Marie-Alix, to take every other house on the block. However, Fr. Joseph and I got invited into the first house where someone was home and proceeded to have a 45 minute conversation with the man who lived there, while the girls were stuck canvassing the rest of the block in the cold. They were icicles by the time we met up with them again.
This encounter on the first day was great. Paulino is the man who let us in and he could use some prayer. He is Catholic who no longer goes to Mass but might go to a non-Catholic church. He is here from Mexico, trying to provide a better life for his four kids, two of whom are in Mexico. There are family and relationship struggles. We let him tell us about his life and in the end he invited us back to meet the rest of the family and to have a homecooked Mexican meal. Since then, we've stopped by his place once, with a delivery of banana bread, but he wasn't home. We'll keep visiting until we make contact again.
Since that day, we have met all sorts of people. A woman Episcopalian minister. A lesbian Buddhist-raised philosopher who thinks religion is good without believing in God. A homeless man who loves the Lord and is improving himself so he can win his ex-wife back and be a good father to his daughter. A Catholic woman who lives only 2 blocks from the parish but was going to another parish because she didn't know our mass times. By the way, we gave her a flyer and saw her that very night at the Spanish mass. One hopeful contact was with a college student named Whitney who was raised Lutheran or Episcopalian but hasn't been involved in a faith community for awhile. Fr. Joseph and I stopped by her place and in the course of the conversation she said two things that stick out in my mind, "I've been thinking of going to church for awhile now" and "Maybe this [meaning our invite to the Triduum liturgies and a possible young adult group at St. Stephen's (my after-Triduum project)] is just what I needed." Praise God!
Well, I should say goodbye for now. The official mission begins in two days so I entrust it, as always, to your prayers. Like St. Therese, who is the patroness of missionaries even though she never left her convent, you can join us in the mission with your prayers and sacrifices. In a future post I'll run through how we go about evangelizing door-to-door, what we say, prayer, etc. Amy Welbourn, an Augustine Institute graduate, has a great program for this, which I have yet to take. Check her out if you're in the Denver area.

Thursday, April 2, 2009