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Lack of evangelization seems to be an issue amongst all Catholic parishes, whether they are Ordinary Form, Extraordinary Form, Ordinariate, sui iuris Eastern Catholic. And I think that corresponds to declining Mass/Liturgy attendance.

Does your parish engage in any sort of evangelization work in your community?

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We don't go out, like the JW/LDS; and other communities who are rather direct about their evangelization. I dare say the only Catholic group who is remotely like that is the St. Paul Street Evangelization Group. I respect their efforts, though I disagree with their tactics, at times.

I think every parish has to take a look at their respective character/charisms, and see how those can help in such efforts. Everyone isn't built for a food festival type evangelization.

My respective communities (OCA, and BCC) are the types that aren't exactly direct. We're more intimate and word of mouth.

Looking solely at my OCA parish, we do offer enough services which could spark interest. We also have certain services where many are welcome to attend, like Agape Vespers (especially this, because of its shortness [not a thing in itself, but I think it could be a way to ease into things], and there's a barbeque to follow).

Simply inviting them (like our pastor does his students, at the local university where he teaches) will help, first and foremost.

I hope this makes sense.

LS

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I hadn't heard of St Paul Street Evangelization Group. Thanks for the reference.

Evangelism is something I am thinking about very acutely right now, as I seek to move my mission parish from where it currently is (with a handful of families, a couple of university students, and frequent one-time visitors), to something substantial and long-term.

I will be watching this thread with interest, so beg other readers to contribute!

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SPSE is a wonderful group! I thoroughly enjoy reading about their street evangelization efforts. How else is the Faith to grow?

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using whatever method fits the mind of a given parish community; every parish has a culture unique to itself. The SPSE may work better for some, not all. I've been in the trenches, with them; and their tactics do concern me.

I'm more of St. Seraphim's approach. If I am asked questions, I'll provide answers.

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Lester, could you elaborate on those tactics? Thanks brother.

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I'm working from home today and just had two very nice young girls from South Korea knock on the door to tell me about Jesus and ask me to visit with their local church for a week long evening Bible study. Of course I invited them in and had a nice visit with them.

The girls were probably about 18 or 19 years old. They were sent by an international youth fellowship as missionaries to witness the Gospel to Americans (imitating the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul). They will spend the summer visiting 8 major cities in the United States and Canada, and then spend a month in Haiti.

Their English was fair to awful. Their understanding of the Christian basics was fairly non-existent (even from their "non-denominational" perspective). Curiously enough, their first quote from Scripture was 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. It's certainly true, but probably not the one I would lead with. The few other Scripture quotes they offered were also rather strangely chosen. Yet I admire them greatly for their willingness to travel to a country that is foreign to them and to knock on doors to bring the Good News to as many people as they can.

It would be an interesting (and possibly useful) discussion to explore why some Protestant Christians are willing to travel halfway across the world and go door to door to witness Christ, and why some such churches can get a sizable percentage of their people to turn out for a Wednesday night Bible study. I have several friends who are active in adult education (BC, RC, Orth) and they tell me how difficult it is to get a dozen people to turn up for a weekly Bible study / adult education in a parishes ranging from 250 to 15,000 people. Some say it because they have only the Bible and we have the Eucharist (and so much more) but that seems to be a cop out explanation.

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Sharing is a personal skill, in that everyone has their personal gifts the ability to share. Not everyone will share things effectively, with identical methods, and expressions. I'm very indirect; and will try to show it in my character. I'll bring my little icon to work; and put it against my monitor. I'll cross myself, on occasion. I don't really care what others think of me; I try to be respectful, not pushy in anyway. If asked a question, I'll answer it.

I think honesty is important, particularly with expectations. I'm not one to use snake oil, as much as possible. I had been part of a Buddhist cult for a few months, and the expectation was sort of unrealistic, as if were to receive a tangible blessing every week. God doesn't work that way - chant for x amount of hours, received y amount of blessings..

We have to keep things simple, too. We have to go the heart of the Gospel, take joy in it; and spread it. It's made tougher because you have fringe groups already out there on the streets pressing this or that gospel. This whole notion of Jesus dying for our sins is being treated as a once and for all deal, in that Jesus hasn't a stake in the present time, and world.


You can scream from the mountain tops, all you want. You can show your character transformation, or whatever progress made in that department, but it doesn't matter if their hearts aren't moved. If they want it, they'll come.

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Some would say that the UGCC is "insular" because of its focus on Ukrainians etc.

However, the field of evangelization for the UGCC is quite wide with respect to, for example, the new immigrants from Ukraine.

A number of these are "unchurched." Having grown up under the Soviet Russian system, their Christian moral sense often creates serious pastoral problems. The idea of them having a family in Ukraine or elsewhere in Eastern Europe and then "shacking up" with another person here is something they have a great deal of difficulty understanding. Priests will encourage them to come to confession where they will admonish them, but they won't give absolution until they promise to separate from their live-ins.

Our priests have their work cut out for them.

Alex

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I also belong to an ethnic Catholic parish, it seems by word of mouth. Several parishioners are involved with the local higher education campuses, and they invite students of their ethnicity. I have invited lapsed Catholics and Christian friends. They seem equally confused about Eastern Catholicism.


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You could just tell them that Eastern Catholics are like them, ethnic Catholics, except that their ethnicity really spills over into their liturgical celebrations in a much greater way . . .

Alex

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I have never heard of a Catholic Church both East or West Evangelize. Only recently, driving along the east coast I saw a sign out from a Roman Catholic Church from "Catholics Come Home". As far as Eastern Catholic Churches I have never heard of any evangelizing programs ever.

I brought the issue up a few times and was told the Eastern Church canonically can't evangelize in the United States or something to that effect. Quite a shame since the most if not all Eastern Churches will be closed in about 20 years. I am hoping we will set aside funding for a museum so people can know that we existed once.

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Originally Posted by Ray S.
I brought the issue up a few times and was told the Eastern Church canonically can't evangelize in the United States or something to that effect. Quite a shame since the most if not all Eastern Churches will be closed in about 20 years. I am hoping we will set aside funding for a museum so people can know that we existed once.
This is patently untrue. Eastern Catholics are only not to 'evangelize' practicing Romans. Everyone else is fair game - without proselytizing. Our first method of evangelization is our authentic and full Liturgy - this I have only seen rarely and those rare parishes thrive. The latinized others keep losing members and only have gray hairs and recent immigrants in attendance.

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I can't help but wonder why we don't go door to door, passing out fliers and inviting people to church. Networking seems to be how evangelical protestants reach the most people.

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That wouldn't be the Catholic way. You know we go to liturgy don't talk to anyone and try to be the first ones to leave on the way out. We leave our $1 dollar in the collection basket and feel good about ourselves.

Going door to door? It will never happen. If you wanted to do it which one of our 80 year old priests with artificial hips will go with us?

Last edited by Ray S.; 07/26/15 06:57 PM.
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