“Go make disciples of All Nations… teaching them to observe all that I command you.” This month I had the opportunity to do intentional evangelization at Washington Park, the largest park in Denver and a gathering spot for vast amounts of people in the Denver area. Additionally, we, as a community, also did outreach at bars in the River District of Denver near the Colorado Rockies Field.
Our purpose in doing this month-long project was to seek to do outreach and evangelization to the average, unchurched adult in the United States. There is plenty of outreach for the extremely marginalized, such as the homeless population and those in extreme need through Catholic Charities. However, a gap exists with trying to reach a young adult or adult who is not poor and homeless but is completely unchurched, or fallen away from their faith. There is very minimal evangelization by Catholics to people who are not destitute that exists outside the physical campus of parishes.
While we did experience some active hostility it was quite minimal. Many people were simply uninterested or were not paying attention to anyone, usually because they were wearing Air Pods. However, we had countless conversations with people who had fallen away from the Catholic Church or their Christian Faith. All the statistics that we often hear about the fallen away Catholics and Christians are true. The New Evangelization that Pope John Paul II called for is necessary in our time. I challenge you as school leaders to consider, both: how are you evangelizing your students to foster a living relationship with Jesus; and how are you empowering them to effectively witness to the increasingly unchurched America? In addition to offering service projects to help those physically in need, what experiences are you offering to your students to form them in actually sharing their faith?
Fr. Paul Kostka:
Servants of Christ Jesus and
DIA Schools Collaborative Chaplain