Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Equipped for One-on-One Evangelization

by Father John McCloskey

It is the love of Christ that fills our hearts and impels us to evangelize (2 Corinthians 5:14). Today, as in the past, he sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth (Matthew 28:19). Through his love, Jesus Christ attracts to himself the people of every generation. ... Today, too, there is a need for stronger ecclesial commitment to new evangelization in order to rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith.
        —Pope Benedict XVI, from his apostolic letter Porta Fidei.

… The Second Vatican Council emphasized in a special way how the missionary task, that of broadening the boundaries of faith, belongs to every baptized person and all Christian communities. … Each community is therefore challenged, and invited to make its own, the mandate entrusted by Jesus to the apostles, to be his "witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
— Pope Francis, from his 2013 Message for World Mission Day.

The Year of Faith is over. We have celebrated the great Solemnity of Christ the King, and as we enter Advent, we are ready to continue the work of the New Evangelization openly and joyfully, one-on-one, like the first Christians who are our role models. Or perhaps we are venturing out into “mission territory” for the first time. In either case, we need to feed those we hope to evangelize with good readings to help them see the beauty of our Holy Church.

The materials of the reading list you see below have worked for me and many others, but back them up with prayer and deep friendship, and soon you will find yourself someone’s sponsor at baptism or confirmation; and there are few better experiences this side of heaven!

For Gentiles of Good Will


Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

A Map of Life by Frank Sheed (Reprint Ignatius Press)

Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton

Christianity for Modern Pagans: Pascal’s Pensees by Peter Kreeft and Blaise Pascal


Choose one of the first three and also No. 4 (as a reference book):

Fr. Smith Instructs Jackson by Archbishop John Francis Noll (Our Sunday Visitor)

The Gift of Faith by Bishop Donald Wuerl and Fr. Ron Lawler (Our Sunday Visitor)

Faith of Our Fathers by Cardinal Gibbons (FQ Books)

Catechism of the Catholic Church (Reference book)

Catholic History

Catholic History From the Catacombs to the Reformation by Diane Moczar (Our Sunday Visitor)

Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know by Diane Moczar (Sophia Institute Press)

History of the Catholic Church by Msgr. Philip Hughes (McMillan)

Great Moments in Church History, Host: Father C. John McCloskey with Harry Crocker (EWTN Series, ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com, Toll-Free: 800-854-6316, orfree audio downloads)

Catholic Culture

Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday? by Michael P. Foley Palgrave (McMillan)

Why Do Catholics Do That? by Kevin Orlin Johnson (Random House)

Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan by Fr. John McCloskey


The Spirit of Catholicism by Karl Adam (Angelico Press)

The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism by Louis Bouyer (Scepter)

Conversion Stories

Confessions by St. Augustine

Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton

Apologia Pro Vita Sua by Bl. Cardinal John Henry Newman

Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn (Ignatius Press)

Spiritual Journeys edited by Robert Baram (Pauline Publications)

Surprised by Truth (3 volumes) by Patrick Madrid (Sophia Institute Press)

Crossing the Tiber: Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church by Stephen Ray (Ignatius Press)

Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie

For Jews Open to Catholicism

Salvation Is From the Jews, by Roy Schoeman (Ignatius Press)

Honey From the Rock, edited by Roy Schoeman (Ignatius Press)

Second Exodus, by Martin Barrack (Magnificat Institute Press)

Revelation of the Son of Man, by Levi Khamor (BenYamin Press)

The Ingrafting, edited by Ronda Chervin (Remnant of Israel)

Bread From Heaven, edited by Ronda Chervin (Remnant of Israel)

Before the Dawn, by Eugenio Zolli (Ignatius Press)

Completed Jew, by Andrew Sholl (Comsoda Communications)

En Route to Eternity, by Ronda Chervin (The Miriam Press)

First appeared on National Catholic Register in November, 2014.

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