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Mike Hayes Answers:
This quote is attributed to St. Francis: “Speak the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.”
Our example as Catholics is to what most people will pay attention. Conversely, we discredit our religion each time we are hypocritical, when we are unkind, treat people unfairly, or act out of character in ways that are not consistent with our faith. When our religious leaders violate these same principles, we lose much in the face of those who we hope to evangelize.
I’ve found when we’re unashamed about simple things like going to mass, or participating in parish events, or speaking out for the vulnerable, others get curious and wonder what makes us tick. They ask some questions about us and why our faith is important to us and they ask us to keep them in their prayers. We need to take the last part seriously and even mention that we do pray regularly.
When others see us as authentic people who have benefitted from our faith, perhaps then will they awaken to the possibilities of what God can do for them.
For other ways to evangelize with your parish consider some of the ideas and programs developed by Paulist Evangelization Ministries.