Christians are called to Evangelize. In Luke 24:46-47, it is written: "that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in His name to all nations." The season of Easter is a perfect time to recall, celebrate, and share this good news. For many reasons, however, people feel uncomfortable with sharing.

Even just using the word evangelization may evoke a sensation of anxiety, hesitation, or even fear. Because of this, the idea of evangelizing has fallen outside of many Catholics' scope of their individual Christianity. For many, the term evangelization gets conflated with Christian Evangelicalism (the denomination), so it is disregarded. Others may confuse it with the act of proselytization and think that to evangelize is to attempt to convert someone to Catholicism. Some believe evangelists must be experts on the faith and be prepared to answer complex questions about the faith, as in apologetics. For many of us, however, evangelization merely falls out of our comfort zone and is something we would prefer not to do.

Evangelization, however, is not something that has to be complicated. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes evangelization as "the proclamation of Christ and his Gospel by word and the testimony of life in fulfillment of Christ's command" (CCC 877), which is documented in Mark 16:15 when Christ said to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation." This is something that the Wildfire ministry here at St. Francis has tried to accomplish personally.

Wildfire is the evangelization ministry of St. Francis and is a group dedicated to spreading the fire of their faith through the intercession of the Holy Spirit. In late March, just before Easter, Wildfire was privileged to plan and present an evening of music, food, and fellowship to the residents of Maple Gardens Village. A retirement home within the boundaries of the St. Francis Parish. Wildfire played music, sang spiritual songs, prepared, and served a full meal, and then ate with the residents, sharing their company and love of Christ. The evening concluded with presentations of personal testimonies by some of the Wildfire members to the residents of Maple Gardens, sharing how Christ has been present and impactful in their lives. It was a fruitful evening that generated conversation and a deeper understanding of the good news of Christ Jesus.

Wildfire's mission is to continue planning and conducting evangelization events of varying size and scope, taking the good news of Jesus Christ out of the doors of St. Francis and into the community within the St. Francis parish boundaries and beyond. If you are interested in joining this mission, please consider attending the next Wildfire: What is Evangelization Seminar to learn more about evangelization, or come join us every third Tuesday of the month and jump right into helping us plan our next event.

Matthew Weller — SFA Theologians Guild Member