" Share honestly, openly and from the heart what God has done in your life.
" Archbishop Alexander Sample on evangelization
Almost 9,000 viewers watched March 10 and subsequently as Archbishop Alexander Sample was the guest on Real Life Catholic, a webcast with host Chris Stefanick.

Archbishop Sample said his mission in unchurched western Oregon is to help people know God loves them and has a plan for their lives.

“It blows my mind that from all eternity God has known me and loved me,” the archbishop said on the show, which aims to evangelize young adults. “God knew what my mistakes would be and loved me anyway.”

The archbishop said he often sees Portlanders walking down the street looking sad or lost. He wants them to know they are no accident and that God has a mission and meaning for their lives. Their true identity? Beloved children of God, the archbishop said.

But he expressed concern that technology distracts people so constantly that they have trouble opening themselves up to God. And at the same time, he said, people are attracted to many unhealthful things that take religion’s place.

But the archbishop told Stefanick he is sure western Oregon is fertile ground for proclamation of the Gospel. Especially those who have never heard the good news are in position to welcome it because they likely yearn for truth, goodness and beauty, he explained.

“We need to radiate the joy that we have come to know,” Archbishop Sample said. “If they see your joy, they are going to say, ‘What does that person have that I don’t have?’”

The archbishop dispelled the notion that western Oregon has almost no people of faith. “Catholics here in western Oregon are a hard core group of folks,” he said, announcing that he is about to call on them for a broad new evangelization initiative.

The archbishop said that he is telling Catholics that the age of Christendom — a culture formed by Christianity — is over and that the church must now turn again to apostolic mission, as in its earliest days in the middle of an indifferent or even hostile Roman empire.

The archbishop said he hopes to return the local church to the basics: a deep relationship with Jesus Christ and personal sharing of God’s love and the Gospel message. He suggested everyday ways to evangelize by curtailing office gossip, praying at one’s desk and placing holy images in one’s work space. Such things will get people curious and open doors to sharing, the archbishop said.

“It’s not about standing up on a soap box and preaching; it’s about the personal encounter,” he explained. “Share honestly, openly and from the heart what God has done in your life.”

The Holy Spirit is moving in the church and calling forth movements again, largely among lay people, the archbishop added.

“We have got to encourage each other right now,” he said, concluding that it’s “a great time to be a Catholic.”


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