Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Street Evangelisation

Street evangelisation happens every Friday evening for us and will also be a big part of our Advent Mission next week. It is often one of the most challenging forms of outreach that we are faced with at the school - and for some this form of outreach is even controversial.

Here we wanted to just give you a picture of what a typical Friday evening of street evangelisation is like for us and what does and doesn't happen.

The whole evening is rooted in prayer, with the Blessed Sacrament exposed in St Patrick's throughout. We begin the night in adoration and by praying the Sorrowful Mystery of the Lord's Crucifixion; we end the night in adoration and by praying the Glorious Mystery of the Resurrection. We also take it in turns to stay with the Blessed Sacrament throughout the evening to sustain in prayer those who are out on the streets. It is very much an evening of prayer for the conversion of Soho.

We always go out onto the streets in pairs, and since different people have different gifts the approaches that work best for them differ. Some include:
  • Standing on a corner handing out SOS prayerline cards and asking people if they need any prayers said
  • Walking around Soho silently praying the Rosary
  • Walking about the streets engaging people in conversation and telling them about a Saint (like Blessed Mother Teresa) and offering them a Miraculous medal
A main challenge is to remember that we are there to bring Christ to people, but not ourselves or our own 'angles' on life or faith. Success cannot simply be characterised in worldly terms - by the percentage of arguments won or the number of medals given out this week. Instead, success might be simply to soak up some of the anger or sorrow a person needs to get rid of, to speak a word of encouragement, or simply to say a prayer for a person we meet.

We all find that Street Evangelisation is something that challenges us. It's certainly not what I look forward to most in the school week. It is emotionally and physically tiring, there is rejection and even ridicule to contend with. But there are also moments of grace and remarkable receptivity. We have a lot to receive, as well as give, in encountering Christ in the people we meet on the streets.

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