“Do not be afraid”
To say what you believe
HUGE FEAR in society
SCARED BEYOND BELIEF
Speak for Christ!
Do you fear others more than you fear God?
Spend more time worrying about what others think or what God thinks?
6th Sunday of Easter
Spirit as Consoler
Spirit as Advocate
Speaks for us
Evangelization, prayer, praise of Father and Son
Down upon us
Spirit leads us to F and S / Eucharist
Divine Mercy Sunday –
JC’s ministry to each generation
Those who have seen + unseen
Mercy in modern world
Chaplet of divine mercy
On behalf of our entire staff at Assumption, I wish you and your family a blessed Easter! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Parish Launches Street Evangelization
Recently, we embarked on our maiden voyage into the waters of street evangelization. It was an exciting and fruitful two hours that we spent at Congress Heights metro station, talking with people about faith and distributing materials like rosaries and miraculous medals. We personally invited over fifty people to our church especially for Holy Week liturgies. It was all good!
Well, maybe not all good. One man told me he was a Methodist, but didn’t celebrate Easter because he didn’t believe in the Resurrection. He stated that “thousands of people saw Jesus die but only three saw him rise. That should tell you something.” I tried to tell him that that number rose to 12 and then 500 as Scripture says. It has grown to millions and billions in the past two thousand years. He gave some other reasons why he doesn’t believe, but they were given in anger and profanity. It seemed that his problem was more personal than spiritual actually.
What would you say?
Nevertheless, if you were evangelizing (sharing the Good News) with someone on the street, how would you reply if they said they didn’t believe in the Resurrection? You can give the traditional points of evidence from Scripture – empty tomb, burial cloths and garments, belief and witness of the Apostles and disciples. I told the man that the witness of the Apostles is huge. All but one of the eleven gave their lives because they believed that Jesus rose from the dead, and died as martyrs for the faith.
Tell your story
But really, the best way to evangelize is through personal experience. If I had had more time with the man, I would have talked about knowing the risen Christ, and having a relationship with him today. If we speak again, I will tell him about all of the evidence at Assumption that Christ is risen.
First and foremost, it would be the joy of our parishioners. You all believe that Christ is risen, that life triumphs over death, that we all have the hope of eternal life, and you show it! Your joy would quickly melt away any sadness or anger of his or others.
It all starts at Mass
There are so many more ways that our parish shows its faith in the Resurrection. As with everything, this starts at Mass. We kneel before the risen Christ in the Eucharist and whisper the words of St Thomas, “my Lord and my God” (btw, Mass attendance is up). Think specifically about healing Masses, though. You come forward to receive blessings for healing with the faith that Christ will bring healing to your wounds, peace to your burdens, and joy to your sadness. It’s really the faith that Christ has power over all things; if he can overcome death, he can overcome anything in your life!
One visit to the Pope Francis Outreach Center reveals the faith in the risen Christ of this parish. You firmly believe that Christ lives in the poor (cf. Mt 25), and you feed him accordingly. This and so many other aspects of your witness to the Resurrection are greatly in sync with what Pope Francis has said:
“The message which Christians bring to the world is this: Jesus, Love incarnate, died on the cross for our sins, but God the Father raised him and made him the Lord of life and death. In Jesus, love has triumphed over hatred, mercy over sinfulness, goodness over evil, truth over falsehood, life over death.”
May we experience the triumphs of our risen Lord and be a witness of them to others, and
May you know the peace of the risen Christ,
Will you heed the call?
Today we are asking you to sign up for prayer teams for our upcoming “street evangelization.” You’ve heard me mention this and even explain it in homilies in the past, but now it gets real. On two upcoming Saturdays (April 8 and 22), a couple of parishioners and I will set up a table with Catholic materials at Congress Heights metro station from 2-4 p.m. We will ask passersby if they’d like a miraculous medal or rosary as a way to start a conversation. The table will include these items as well as Catholic pamphlets. The goal is to engage people in a discussion about faith, spread the Good News mainly through personal witness, and invite them to visit Assumption. This is the basic premise of street evangelization.
Evangelization is necessary
As we have been saying here for over a year, evangelization is not just a good thing for our parish to do, it’s necessary. We all know that in order for our parish to survive and thrive in the future, we have to bring in more people now with the help of God. Hopefully, it will be young people and young families who will become the next generation of active, long-standing parishioners here. I drove through the neighborhood the other night and saw many young people and families on their porches and in their yards enjoying a warm, spring evening. They are around us!
Prayer teams are also critical
Other parishes in our area have had a similar approach when they have evangelized in the neighborhood. That is, they have teams of evangelizers as well as prayer teams. Those on the prayer teams want to be a part of the evangelization effort but don’t feel called to go out. It’s kind of like going into battle: you have those who fight on the front lines and those who are in the rear supporting them. Both are needed! In fact, in the Church, it is believed that the strongest element of the “Church militant” is the prayer contingent.
Ask God to open hearts and minds
So, if you sign up to be a prayer for street evangelization, please pray on that Saturday; if you signed up for the prayer teams, pray during the 2-3 p.m. or 3-4 p.m. hours. You are praying that God will bring people to our table with open hearts and minds. You are praying that we will be good, joyful, and inviting witnesses to the Catholic faith. And, you are praying that these conversations will be fruitful, and that the people will come to encounter the Lord here at Assumption. You have much to pray for! As the Lord says in the Gospel, “this can only come about through prayer“. In the future, we will hopefully have prayer teams come to the church for Adoration during the times of evangelization. Parishioners will literally bring their prayer requests for street evangelization (as stated above) to the Lord himself. For now, we ask you to do this in your home or preferred place of prayer. We have confidence that God will bless our team effort!
In the future, we will hopefully have prayer teams come to the church for Adoration during the times of evangelization. Parishioners will literally bring their prayer requests for street evangelization (as stated above) to the Lord himself. For now, we ask you to do this in your home or preferred place of prayer. We have confidence that God will bless our team effort!
All of us should be evangelizing regularly. All of us should be praying for more people to join our Assumption family. But, street evangelization is a particular and intentional way of going out. It has been fruitful in other places, and we trust that God has initiated this to do the same here.
May you know the peace of Christ,
Woman at well
Last week, I had dinner with several priests who are pastors in D.C. They asked how things are going in our parish, and I told them about our new street evangelization program which begins this weekend. They were intrigued, and wanted to know all about it! It was obviously good and reaffirming to see the interest of my fellow pastors, but we also saw this from our own congregation. When we had our street evangelization training a few weeks ago, twice as many Assumption parishioners attended the 3-hour session as we had expected. This already has the feel as if it’s from the Holy Spirit. Please, Jesus!
The twelve of us at the training truly enjoyed it, and benefited from the presenter’s insights, experiences and stories. We went there wondering how to start a conversation with strangers about Christ and the faith, and what is the best way to answer questions about what we believe. And, we came away feeling equipped with answers. With the hope that this will be illuminating and helpful for your own evangelization, the following are some of the things we learned:
Use one of these icebreakers to start a conversation about faith with someone:
1) The Rosary – Hi, would you like a free rosary? Yes? Great! Did you know that the Rosary is a prayer? Yes, it is a meditation on the life of Jesus. Here is a pamphlet on how to pray it. Do you go to church?
2) The Miraculous Medal – Hi, would you like a free Miraculous Medal? Great, here is a holy card that explains the medal. Basically, in 1830, Jesus’ mom Mary appeared to St. Catherine and promised whoever wears this medal will receive great grace from God. Many miracles have occurred through it and it is commonly known as the miraculous medal. It’s on a chain here so you can put it on right now. Do you go to church?
3) Pope Money – Hi, have you seen this million dollar bill yet? Yeah, it’s got Pope Francis on the front and explains the Gospel on the back. Do you go to church?
4) Holy Card – Would you like one of these free Holy Cards of Jesus? Great! Do you go to church?
Do you go to church?
That simple question with a young man we (St. Paul’s Street Evangelization) never met before led to the start of a conversation that would bring him back to the Catholic faith. After just two minutes, the young man was in tears. Less than ten minutes later, we were waiting in line with him for confession.
Some basic parts of the story of salvation:
- God created you in His image and likeness.
- Due to sin we have a broken relationship with God. The bad news is hell.
- Jesus Christ became man, died on the cross, and rose for our salvation.
- We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ.
- Through the Church we have access to the grace of baptism and are nourished by the Eucharist.
- The Holy Spirit changes us, his grace perfects our nature and he fulfills our every true desire.
- Share with those you meet!
- Your conversion story was written by God
- Removes barriers
- Nothing more powerful
- Can’t be refuted
More to come…
May you know the peace of Christ,
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Anniversary celebration recap
Examples of parish evangelization
First (like Israel)
YA dinner / invite
second (like Gentiles)
“I will send”
“I do not know where u r from”
Fr. Greg Shaffer
3401 Martin Luther King Jr. AVE, SE
Washington, DC 20032
Fr. Greg Cell: 240-463-9960
Outreach Center: 202-561-5941
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