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Can a Catholic really evangelise at a time like this?

On April 25 Catholics from East Anglia joined over 4000 others for the UEvangelize virtual summit to learn that the call to share the Gospel is not constrained by our current circumstances. In the second of three articles, Rebecca Bretherton reports on Sherry Weddell’s contribution to the summit.

Sherry Weddell, the author of Forming Intentional Disciples, spoke about the opportunities for ordinary Catholics to evangelise. Two-thirds of the world’s people are not baptised. People are not with us because they have not heard of the Gospel or have rejected what they believe is the Gospel message. Sherry told us that some of the great revivals of the Church have come at difficult moments and have been led by laypeople.

People are online searching for truth now. This is our moment. Are we ready to be their companions? When we do not answer their call, we are weakening the Church. We are being called, especially at the moment, to be with people outside the Catholic Bubble. How can we do that in a lockdown situation?

Our address books and telephone contact lists are our mission equipment. This pandemic gives us the opportunity to reconnect with people. We can offer hope. We can offer intercessory prayer. These are very effective ways to invite people to consider a relationship with God.

We can pray for the people who live in the streets where we walk for daily exercise as a form of prayer walk. We can talk to neighbours as we weed our front gardens. Do all this with mission in mind. Listen; offer support and hope. If you feel called to do so, offer prayer.

While the current guidance means we are not able to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, He is still present. His spiritual presence is available for everyone. Our Catholic life continues and 95% of it is available to everyone. We regret that we cannot attend Mass and receive the Lord in the Eucharist but there are other ways to draw people to God.

One of the thresholds of conversion Sherry speaks about is ‘Openness to Change’. This can be triggered by major life events which can surprise people who have no experience of a relationship with Jesus Christ. We should be ready to help people pray the powerful prayer, ‘Dear God, I’m open to the possibility of something.’

 Sherry reminded us that we have to be ready to move back to ‘live’, the time when we are together again. However, we can and should be ‘live’ now. That is what we are being called to be as disciples of the living Lord.

For more information and resources, join others at the website: 

Pictured above is Sherry Weddell