Written by Sherry
Monday, 18 August 2008 11:11
From an Italian tourist website comes this fascinating story of a missionary initiative that took place last week in Italy.
"An all-singing, all-dancing army of Christian volunteers are gearing up for a mass evangelization of Riccione, one of the most popular - and wildest - tourist resorts on the Adriatic riviera.
Between Wednesday and Sunday, 120 young people from all over Italy plan to collar sunbathers on the beaches and recount how Christ changed their lives for the better.
The missionary army, who will wear green t-shirts bearing the legend ''if you are thirsty, come to me'', is also set to invade the town's bars and discos, notorious for their raucous night-life, to persuade party-goers to mend their ways.
''So many young people go out every evening excited and ready to conquer the night, and the next morning they find themselves robbed of a dream,'' Riccione parish priest Franco Mastrolonardo, one of the organisers of the event, told local press.
''I see them walking along the street from the window of the parish church in the early hours of the morning and they look dizzy, tired and above all sad,'' he said.
''The aim of this event will not be to demonize worldly life but to propose an alternative lifestyle to find happiness''.
The missionary army has spent the last two days praying on a retreat in preparation for the mass evangelization, which will also see them singing, dancing and praying on the streets in a bid to persuade passers-by to enter the churches.
Volunteers have pledged to refrain from taking a dip in the sea or eating ice-cream until their mission is over on Sunday.
The programme is one of a number of initiatives by the Catholic Church to target holiday-makers under way this year.
Catholic clergy in Molise have inflated a blow-up church on the shores of the Campomarino Lido to target young people who spend their evenings partying on the sands, while in the beach town of Mondragone in Campania nuns from the nearby convent have set up an altar where sunbathers can go to pray."
Let's remember these creative evangelistic outreaches in Italy in our prayers.