My story: How I came to be an Evangelist
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I was born into a Catholic family, and I was taught the Catholic faith in bits and pieces. For most of my life I practiced my faith in a lukewarm way, mostly because it was what I was taught. But I always sensed there was something more. Even when I had opportunities to abandon my upbringing and choose something different for myself, I felt the right thing to do was to stay where I was. Even though at the time I didn't know why, I knew there was more to it than what I knew, much more. I had questions, but not only didn't I know the answers, I didn't even know where to find the answers. Worse than that, even when I had the opportunity to ask questions, I was often stuck trying to form the questions so that they would be understood. In fact, I frequently received answers that made it clear that my questions were not understood. Then, a few years ago, I found I wasn't alone, that there were many like me. And other people were asking the same questions I had been asking. But now, thanks to new tools such as the Internet and social media platforms, questions and their answers were available for all. I embarked on a field of study that I had been looking for my entire life. I have learned so much over the past few years. One of the greatest lessons I learned is that even though I don't know the answer to a question, there is an answer. People much smarter than me have been dealing with these questions for generations.
A few years ago, I felt called to share what I have learned. I felt called to help people discover the truth about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church. As a member of His Church, I felt that my strength would be to share with people like me, people who have questions. The next step in my journey was to figure out how to best do this.
I was attending a meeting at church when the topic of evangelization came up. It was clear that no one really seemed to want any part of it. But it stuck with me. Then later, I was listening to a radio show on which a leader of a group called St. Paul Street Evangelization (SPSE) was talking about the program and how Catholics could take their faith to the streets. My interest was piqued. But it wasn't until a few months later when I heard a second radio show with another leader of the same group talking more about the program that I became hooked. This was something I was convinced I could do.
Next, I had to learn how to do it. I looked for a local team, but there wasn't a team in our area. So I reached out to the nearest team leaders of SPSE I could find, about 150-200 miles away. I heard back from a team leader in Fredericksburg, VA, about 150 miles to the north. I arranged to go out with his group and see what it was all about. Once I went out with them, I knew that I had just entered a new phase in my life. I felt that this was something I should be doing. Since there wasn't a team in our area, I volunteered to start a team here in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia (Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk).
Today our team sets up a small stand in a local park on a regular basis and talks to people, sharing the gifts of Jesus with people around us. But, perhaps even more important, we are growing our ability and confidence to share our faith, and the Church that Jesus gave us, with people around us wherever we go.
Evangelization is Ecumenical.
Evangelization is restorative.
Evangelization is inviting.
Hi, my name is Jimmy Martino. I am a Bible-believing, Evangelistic Catholic.
Just curious, how many of you have ever heard those words strung together before; Bible-believing … Evangelizing … and Catholic.
Catholics don't read the Bible. Well, maybe some of them do, but Catholics definitely don't evangelize.
The truth is that we most certainly do. Maybe we've gotten away from it in the last few decades. But we have for centuries. Catholics have a rich and full history of sharing the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, with the world. Our Lord told us to go forth and make disciples of all nations. And we have been doing just that for 2,000 years now.
Whether you are out in the park on a Saturday morning, or in a restaurant sitting down to dinner, or at work, talking to co-workers, you can share the message of the Gospel.
Would you like to learn about Evangelizing? Would you like to see Evangelization in action, one-on-one or with our group? Perhaps you would like me to come speak to a group at your parish. Reach out to me and let me know by sending me an e-mail.