Written by Sherry
Tuesday, 15 April 2008 13:15
You've probably seen this elsewhere but some Catholic New Yorkers are taking creative advantage of the Pope's visit to do some evangelization: From Pope2008.
Excitement is building in New York City, which will receive Pope Benedict this Friday. A number of Catholic lay people have joined with some local religious communities to plan a welcome that evening. The event will combine prayer, evangelization and singing, which organizers hope Pope Benedict will hear.
The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, the Knights of Columbus, the Sisters of Life, Communion and Liberation, the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, the Daughters of St. Paul and other Catholic groups are organizing what they are calling a “massive street evangelization event” at three locations in Manhattan. Their idea is to stand outside churches and invite people on the street to “encounter the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration and Mass.”
After Mass, those at each church will process to the 72nd Street residence of Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations, where Pope Benedict will be staying, and join together for a candlelight vigil and singing.
The event begins at 4:30 Friday afternoon at three locations:
· St. Malachy’s: 239 West 49th St. between Broadway and 8th Ave.
· St. Jean Baptiste: Lexington Ave. between E. 75th and E. 76th Streets
· Our Lady of Good Counsel: 230 East 90th St. between 2nd and 3rd Aves.
Evangelization is scheduled for two and a half hours, culminating with Eucharistic adoration at 7:00. Priests will be available for confessions. Mass begins at 8:30.
Excellent! This sounds so like similar initiatives that the Emmanuel Community undertake in Rome at the Parthenon. I know so many people - non-Catholics, non-baptized, who feel the presence of Christ in such a powerful way when allowed to encounter the Blessed Sacrament!
As I've written before, there are a number of stories I could tell:
There is my own story since it was the recognition of a presence of God that I had not experienced elsewhere that originally lured me into praying in Catholic churches as an undergraduate.
And the story of a friend of mine, who was a unbelieving, practicing homosexual and yet was also seeking and would spend hours at a time simply sitting in my parish, soaking up the Real Presence.
I could tell you of an unbaptized college student who went to a friend of mine, a Catholic chaplain and said she wanted to become Catholic. The priest asked "Why? Do you have Catholic family members or friends, do you attend Mass, have you been reading books? What has made you want to become Catholic? "No", she replied and then dragged him with trembling hands into the sanctuary and pointed to the tabernacle. "I want that", she said. She didn't know what That was but she could feel the goodness eminating from the tabernacle.
A newly confirmed Catholic woman told me this story on the steps of a church in Twin Falls, Idaho.
She was from a Protestant background. Her turning point was attending an evangelization retreat put on by a local Catholic parish. She told me that when the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, she felt a powerful spiritual energy issuing from the Host. "What is that?" she gasped to her friend. Before that moment, she had never imagined what the Church teaches about the Eucharist could be true, that Jesus is really and fully present. But by the time the retreat ended, she had come to believe her Catholic friends were right. A year later, she was received into full communion.
I could tell you of a large, urban diocese rejuvenated by a lay person who championed Eucharistic Adoration and collaborated with her bishop to establish it in the cathedral and then throughout the diocese.
Here is a story from Myanmar (Burma) about how years of Adoration has changed an entire parish.
What God can do if we will only invite people to come and see!
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