For those most observant readers, you are probably thinking — “Everyday Evangelization” is published once a month and was in last week’s issue, so why did Tom write another column again this week?

I was inspired by the Holy Spirit to share some thoughts on our state of affairs given the coronavirus specific to evangelization. First and foremost, my prayers go out to everyone impacted by the virus — especially those that have passed away and those that have lost loved ones. I also pray for those suffering from the illness, those suffering from the stress and anxiety of the situation, for healthcare workers, and for all of the businesses and their employees that may be struggling financially to make ends meet.

As previously stated, evangelization is all about relationships and our mission is to share our insatiable joy and love of knowing Jesus with others. This is a challenge to do under “normal” conditions, but much more difficult as we continue to live in extraordinary times and follow new protocols like “social distancing.” I pray that we more fully realize that being companions on our journey in faith is more important than we may have first thought.

Remember, Jesus did not send out His disciples alone, He directed them to go out two-by-two. We need to support each other in much the same way to provide strength and witness to our faith.

A “fellow fisherman” and I have had many recent discussions about what he calls “the ministry of presence.” As I reflect on what that means to me, it calls to mind a higher level of awareness of every interaction and the importance of truly being present to others: unselfishly giving of time and attention; having the courage to show vulnerability in sharing how God is working in our lives; and having the courage to ask others how God is present in their lives. It is extremely rewarding to have such an intimate engagement with someone, especially in today’s superficial world in which we spend more time chit chatting about sports, traffic, breaking news and the weather.

How often do we pray for the Holy Spirit to be with us? As stated in a previous column, effective evangelization requires the Holy Spirit. I invite you to pray for the presence of the Holy Spirit to come upon us and bless us with its gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of God. Amazing things will happen when we stay strong in our faith, seek God above everything else, and see the world from God’s perspective.
Since we currently cannot celebrate in the Eucharist communally, may we find opportunities to stay connected in our faith and work even harder to be the face of Christ to everyone we encounter, albeit from a distance.

Please contact me with any questions about boosting evangelization efforts at your parish at Thomas.Cronin@rcda.org or by visiting https://www.rcda.org/evangelization. And follow on Instagram: tom_rcda.