Monday, April 13, 2015

Ax me I'm Cat'lic

This post links to Convert Journal

I had an idea for Easter. You know how folks will come to Midnight Mass and Easter Sunday Masses, but that will be it for the year. They might be inactive Catholics; or not Catholic at all, but they just wanna come and see.

On the Saturday before Holy Week, there's a four-church walking tour here in Greenville, SC. People start at the Episcopal church, then visit the Presbyterian and Methodist churches, and finish up at my parish, St. Mary's. Each church puts on a 30-minute lecture, mostly about its history, the stained glass, the organ, and then there's some time for Q&A before moving on.

I thought this might be a great evangelization opportunity, so the parish Adult Ed czar and I split the time: he covered a bit of parish history, explained the Mary stories depicted in the stained glass, and the history and function of the Stations of the Cross. Then I covered the liturgical function of the church, starting with the Meeting Tent in the desert; running through the Temple and synagogues of Jesus' day; and ending with the church we were sitting in, and how it connected to Heaven per Hebrews and Revelation. So after it was over we had plenty of good questions, some I hadn't anticipated. Once that was done, I wound up discussing more Catholic stuff with a few visitors, including a former Catholic. He was now "spiritual but not religious," and was telling me how Jesus was really conceived out of wedlock by a Roman soldier. I gave him and a few of the lingerers my card, said hey email me and we can have lunch if you want to. I was satisfied that the liturgical pitch went over well.

So I was thinking wow, some of these visitors were way plugged in- and that likewise, many "Creaster" (Christmas and Easter) visitors might respond to some non-threatening evangelization, too. I got permission to be a one-man evangelizer at the 9am and 11am Easter Masses. I made a lapel-sized sign that read "Ask Me Anything After Mass," and did door-greeting which I would have done anyway, I think it's gracious. My intent was to make it easy for non-Catholic visitors to get answers to any questions they might have, make a personal contact with them.

Turned out be a total dud!

First, I knew most of the people, by face if not by name. Second, as far as I could tell, everybody was Catholic. No Midnight Mass seeker-types. And the only questions I got were harmless ones about the parish, where are the bathrooms, etc. asked by out-of-town Catholics. Oh well.

But it was a good experience. Acting on an idea on short notice was energizing. And I learned some stuff I didn't expect to.

I intend to do a modified version at Christmas, and (maybe) get at least 2 more people to cover the other two entrances to the church. It's a long time 'til Christmas so there's no rush. Like the Church herself, it pays to take the long view- but not a view so long that nothing happens.