In the Gospel we read today at Mass, Jesus gives His last words to His disciples before He leaves them. It is the summary of everything He has told them to do since He met them and is a message to us as well. He tells them to, “make disciples of all nations”. In other words, He tells them to share the faith and to evangelize. And, for whatever their faults may be, that is exactly what they did. These disciples spread the Gospel all over the known world and that is why even in the first century one can see that the faith spread to the West as far as Rome, to the East as far as India and to the south as far as Ethiopia. Truly, we have a universal Church empowered by Christ and we should never forget that.
Yet, in our current time and place, we have mostly lacked any evangelical experience at all. There are many sociological reasons for this lack of evangelization. Mainly, there was very little need to evangelize from an institutional perspective since Catholics by and large maintained their parishes and even grew thanks to the influx of new immigrant groups. Since everything seemed good from the outside, there was little need to go beyond the walls of the faith and shape the culture itself.
However, this is not the case any more and it is a reality we all need to wake up to if we want to see our Church survive let alone thrive in the future. For every one person who joins the Catholic Church six people leave. Ten percent of all US Catholics have left the faith. Only ten percent of Catholics from ages eighteen to twenty four attend Mass. We are not even maintaining our numbers any more let alone bringing people in. But, as Jesus says over and over, “Be not afraid.” We can pull out of this if we all strive for holiness and actually share the faith. If He can found a worldwide Church with just eleven followers, He can save our Church today.
That is why I am planning to start a chapter of St. Paul Street Evangelization in service of our whole cohort. I’ll explain more details about this ministry in a future article. But, I’m sure you can find information about it if you are curious. If you’re interested in helping, please contact me at email@example.com . In the meantime, please pray for our Church and live holy lives. For, we cannot get anywhere without the grace of God.