My blog neighbor Larry D has the scoop on an impressive apostolate that began in Detroit, but is catching fire and winning converts around the world. He turns a welcome spotlight on the St. Paul Street Evangelization project.
Just three years ago, Steve Dawson took an idea and ran with it. It was a simple idea, based on a simple concept: Spread the Gospel by going out and talking to people about it. It was so simple, in fact, it was brilliant. In just three short years, St. Paul Street Evangelization has gone from a seed of an idea to a multi-national evangelization apostolate with teams in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia, as well as Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and even the Philippines. Their mission? Spread the Gospel through non-confrontational, face-to-face contact, usually with passers-by on a street corner. “It wasn’t a plan to start a big apostolate, but we have 190 teams now around the world,” Dawson said in an interview with The Michigan Catholic, which will be broadcast on the Catholic Television Network of Detroit. “I just wanted to do some evangelization, and now we’re all over the place. It wasn’t really a plan, but here we are.”
I was told that Archbishop Vigneron, in not only granting the apostolate“formal recognition as a de facto association of Christ’s faithful” (per the article), also had accepted an invitation to join an evangelism team one day. Out on the street. Amongst the sheep. And he loved it. How cool is that?
This reminds us that sometimes a simple notion can, in fact, rock the world. Not insignificantly, it also shows what a positive and faith-affirming apostolate can do with the support and active encouragement of the archbishop. The fruits of this endeavor speak for themselves. Kudos to all concerned.
Check out the video below. And visit the website for the St. Paul Street Evangelization for more. They describe their work this way:
Armed with a simple sign, pamphlets and Rosaries, SPSE evangelists take to the streets, going wherever people are gathered – on a street corner, at a festival, or even at a football game. Our teams always begin in prayer. Unlike some forms of street evangelism which seek to forcibly proselytize those passing by (for example, by yelling, displaying confrontational signs, or preaching loudly at no one in particular), SPSE employs a non-confrontational method, maintaining a peaceful presence and allowing people to approach if they choose. Initial contact is limited to a friendly greeting and an offer of a free Rosary, but the evangelist never tries to force anyone to stop and talk. St. Paul Street Evangelization has found this non-confrontational approach to be very effective at strengthening the faith of practicing Catholics, bringing back into the Faith fallen away Catholics, and clearing up misconceptions about the Faith held by non-Catholics. While it is the mission of SPSE to work with God for the conversion of the whole world to the Catholic Faith, SPSE evangelists recognize that it is only their job to plant seeds, and in the end, it is up to God to make those seeds grow.