Thomas Cronin.
Thomas Cronin.

Now that we have covered several foundational topics including what evangelization is, why it’s so important, and some housekeeping details; let’s dive deeper into the process of bringing more people closer to knowing Jesus. 

Numerous resources have assisted me in developing the four pillars of evangelization. First and foremost is prayerful and reflective time calling upon the power of the Holy Spirit. Additionally, there have been many books, apostolic exhortations, conferences, webinars, collaborative discussions with Bishop Scharfenberger and many parish leaders that have greatly contributed to bringing this together.

The four pillars of evangelization include: Prayer, Relationship, Faith and Welcoming. Allow me to state a disclaimer — there is no one silver bullet approach to successful evangelization, but in my experience these four ingredients are essential for both an individual as well as a parish.

As we jump into the first pillar, we need to make a critical self-assessment of both ourselves and our parish communities. Many entities, including institutions like the Church, struggle with taking a critical look in the mirror. A healthy spiritual environment is the foundation for successful evangelization efforts, but if we are evaluating ourselves through rose-colored glasses we will not be able to address and improve areas of deficiency.

For starters, the following two questions will help us take stock of our current spiritual state: Do we underestimate the power of prayer? Do we get too busy to pray?

If we could only follow the guidance that St. Paul provided in First Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” This is much easier said than done, but it doesn’t mean we have to give up and throw in the towel.   

Since prayer is so important and foundational, this column will specifically focus on prayer as it relates to the individual and offer two practical ideas for implementation. Next month, we will look at ways parish communities can improve their spiritual offerings.

I have come to the realization that it’s impossible to get anywhere quickly nowadays. A drive that used to take 30 minutes now takes 45 minutes and traffic delays are the norm.  As individuals, we can dramatically increase our prayer time if we personally challenge ourselves to turn off our blaring car radios and invest that time in our prayer life. Maybe this increased traffic is God’s cue to us to slow down, include Him in our thoughts, and reduce road rage. 

Additionally, utilizing the technology at our disposal makes it easy to access spiritual content.  One of my favorite resources is the free daily Gospel reflection emails provided by Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. Bishop Barron provides inspiring and insightful comments everyday which includes a link to the actual daily readings too.  Here’s the link to sign-up:  https://dailycatholicgospel.com/sign-up-daily-gospel.

Stay tuned for the next column of Everyday Evangelization when we will continue with the first pillar and focus on parish prayer life.

Please contact me with any questions about boosting evangelization efforts at your parish at Thomas.Cronin@rcda.org, by visiting https://www.rcda.org/evangelization or heading to instagram.com/tom_rcda/