Lecture describes how to share faith
By Frank Flegel
REGINA — Evangelization has to do with presenting Christ to others, said Rev. Benjamin Fiore, SJ, in a Sept. 17 lecture at Christ the King Parish. He and Pierre O’Reilly, who could be described as a lay evangelist who teaches in the archdiocesan Lay Ministry program, discussed ways to share the Roman Catholic faith with others. Both based their presentations on an apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi, issued in 1975 by Pope Paul VI in which the pope urged Catholics to evangelize. The lecture was titled How to Share Our Faith.
Fiore described several ways in order to evangelize affectively, beginning with oneself. “Self-evangelization is a re-acquaintance with our faith. If we’re going to evangelize we have to learn current practices.” We have to speak in a way that communicates our ideas to someone else, he said, and there has to be a reliance on the Holy Spirit.
“We are the intermediaries. The Holy Spirit will fill out what we lack.”
Pierre O'Reilly, Rev. Benjamin Fiore, SJ, and Laura Dubois (Flegel photo)
Evangelization can be carried out in several simple ways, he described; speak honestly about our own experiences with the faith, be a personal witness, a simple word of faith to people who experience a life-changing event like a birth or death “could go a long way in sparking faith awareness.” We’re in on a good thing, he said, and we have to express that.
“Love, forgiveness, the desire to help others is important to manifest God’s grace in our lives; manifest the way we come to know God and how he comes to us in prayer.” It doesn’t call for new programs, he said, it’s doing what we do with greater consciousness.
O’Reilly described evangelization as ordinary people going about their ordinary lives. “It is the witness of life, a clear proclamation of Christ in one’s personal experience of faith.”
He took the approximately 40 people through a series of questions that eventually led to realizing different styles of evangelization which could also be seen as different styles of living one’s life and interacting with people: Confrontational, intellectual, testimonial, interpersonal, invitational and serving. He gave examples of each.
“Recognize that we are all evangelists,” he said and ended his presentation with a quote from Franciscan priest Brennan Manning: “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.”
The evening was arranged by Christ the King Parish CWL. “Since this is the Year of Faith we thought it would be a good way to start our year,” said CWL Chair Laura Dubois. It also serves as the first in a series of lectures, Catholics Come Home, established by the Regan East/West Deanery that will be held in several churches in October/November.