Kids and adults evangelize on the street in San Francisco

Star of the Sea Parish is inspired by new book from Ignatius Press
Star of the Sea parishioners and street evangelizers work in pairs.

Street evangelizers work in pairs.

California Catholic Daily Exclusive

A useful roadmap for the evangelization ministry is presented in Catholic Street Evangelization: Stories of Conversion and Witness by Steve Dawson, published by Ignatius Press.

When Eva Muntean, Assistant Director of Sales at Ignatius and co-chair of the Walk for Life West Coat, read Dawson’s book, she was immediately inspired and gave a copy to her pastor, Fr. Joseph Illo of San Francisco’s Star of the Sea Church, telling him “We’ve got to do this!”  After Fr. Illo read the book, he called Ms. Muntean back, saying “yes, we’ve GOT to do this!”

While Fr. Illo took a leadership role early on by announcing the new ministry in the parish bulletin, in the parish newsletter, and from the pulpit at Mass, the work of evangelization fell on the laity. A small group of parishioners formed, and the decision was made to try the first evangelization at the nearby Farmers Market, a three-block stretch of Clement Street close to the parish that is closed to car traffic on Sundays. The first street evangelization was offered on Sunday, July 17. More than a dozen people participated—children as well. Muntean described their attitude before the evangelization as “excited anticipation.”

Ms. Muntean told CalCatholic that the responses left the evangelizers ‘walking on air.’ “Our first time taught us a lot,” said Muntean. “We realized it was best for all of us to work in pairs—we can see why Jesus and Mother Teresa to always sent people out ‘two by two.’ What we found most effective was handing out Miraculous Medals with the intro of ‘Hello, would you like a free MM – these were the medals Mother Teresa handed out to everyone she met.’ This probably worked partly because of the word ‘free’ and partly because it’s hard to refuse anything to do with Mother Teresa.

2016-07-31-11-41-02We were also lucky to have some children helping us. They were so persistent and positive. Almost everyone who rejected medals from the adults took medals from the children. They could not resist. One man, a non-believer, asked, ‘Did Jesus tell you to hand these out today?’ The children replied, ‘YES!’ emphatically and positively. The man didn’t have a single comeback. Another man rejected a medal from one little girl only to come back 20 minutes later to say, “I changed my mind. May I have one please?”

Vivian, a street evangelization participant, said “one man who took a Miraculous Medal came back about 20 minutes later and said, ‘I need to tell you a story so that you understand why this medal is so meaningful to me.’ He pulled out his key chain, and attached to it was a three-inch Miraculous Medal, which the man explained had been given to him by the priest who gave last rites to his dying wife. He explained that even though he is not a Catholic (his mother was Catholic and his father was Muslim, he added), he has kept the medal ever since as a reminder of his wife and the kindness of that priest. ‘Once I realized that the medal you gave me was the same as this one from the priest,’ he said, ‘I had to return to say thank you.’”

Clarisse and Marc, the two evangelizers who spoke with a Buddhist/Atheist for over an hour, said “at the end, Dan [the man they met] was joyful. His countenance was changed (as was ours!!) I asked if we could pray with him. He was sort of resistant, but I went ahead anyway. I thanked God for the day, for the gift of life and for bringing us together this day, and I asked Him to guide Dan along in his spiritual journey. It was really awesome. Thanks be to God! Thanks be to the Holy Spirit! All Glory and Majesty to the Lord our God!”

Ms. Muntean told CalCatholic: “Since then we have engaged in 5 more evangelizations—the most recent last weekend, when we started an important new service. We’ve started bringing a ‘prayer box’ where people can write their intentions and we will be placing the intentions on the altar the following Sunday and praying for the intentions as a parish. We did this for the first time this past Sunday and had an amazing response. Even people who don’t believe in God want to be prayed for! We really feel that we are doing the work that God wants from us: the unbelievable joy of sharing the good news of the coming of the Lord!”



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  1. This is so refreshing… opposed to the polemics about candidates and abortions and Latin Mass and bad priests, (you get the idea)…Yes, the Great Commission, something Catholics seemed to have forgotten about. AND two by two, and with KIDS, gorgeously brilliant. IF WE DID this, and more of it, we wouldn’t need to bemoan godless candidates. They’d be chiding us. ONE THOUSAND STARS!! Whoever started this, give that person a medal.

    • Linda Maria says:

      A long time ago, I recall the Legion of Mary active in bringing people to the Church. They tragically almost disappeared after Vatican II!! MISS them!! The Fathers of Vatican II foolishly decided to put Our Lady aside, for “politically correct” ECUMENISM!! She is one of our Church’s greatest spiritual helpers, to guide people directly to her Son, in Heaven! I felt so sorry for Fr. Patrick Peyton, the “Rosary Priest,” after Vatican II, as well as Frank Duff, the founder of the Legion of Mary! Fr. Peyton’s Cause for Canonization was opened after his death– and I bet Frank Duff may have a Cause, too! We need the Legion of Mary, and the Family Rosary Pledges of Fr. Peyton, in todays parishes!

      • Linda Maria says:

        Lifelong, I have worn both a blessed Miraculous Medal, and a blessed Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. I think all young Catholics should be invested in the Miraculous Medal, at least– and carry a blessed Rosary in their pockets! I think all Catholic schools and universities ought to require this simple thing, at least– a blessed Miraculous Medal around the neck of each faculty member, and each student– and a blessed Rosary in the pockets of each! And daily public Rosary recitation, required of all to attend, on campus! I believe this could do wonders, for re-conversions to the Catholic Faith and Morals, and for sanctification of many souls!

        • Linda Maria says:

          If I were the Holy Father– I would ask Our Lady to bring the Church back to Christ– and I KNOW she could do it!! I would put her back where she belongs, prominent in Catholic religious devotion!

          • Linda Maria says:

            Religious devotions such as St. Louis de Montfort’s beautiful 33-day Total Consecration to Our Lady, are a little more complex– but to start with a blessed Miraculous Medal and Rosary, as I described, above– is not too hard, nor too time-consuming, for most people, I bet! It would be wonderful, for Catholic families to once again have the famous Rosary Pledges of Fr. Patrick Peyton! And, as he said— “The family that prays together, stays together!”

          • Catherine says:

            Excellent posts, Linda Maria!

          • Your Fellow Catholic says:

            Linda Maria, the Fathers of Vatican II did NOT put devotion of Our Lady aside! Where do you get such nonsense? Where in the documents do you find this claim? Why do you persecute the Fathers of Vatican II so? How do you know that the Holy Father doesn’t ask for Our Lady’s intersession for the Church? Why do you think he usually goes and prays on his knees at St. Mary Major before he goes on a major international trip? And you sneak in the accusation that our Church needs to be brought “back to Christ”. What heresy! Why do you persecute the Church and the Holy Father so? Really, sometimes the things you say boggle the mind.

          • Linda Maria says:

            YFC– everyone knows, that the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council deliberately removed the prominence of Catholic religious devotion to Our Lady, for reasons of ecumenism! After the Council, many Marian groups began to disappear! Marian devotions such as the Rosary, the Angelus, May Crownings, celebrations of big Marian Feasts, wearing the Miraculous Medal and similar religious medals– began to be discouraged, and they disappeared!! Ecumenism was highly favored– a genocide began, against Catholic religious culture!

          • Linda Maria says:

            Your Fellow Catholic, if our religious culture continues to be suppressed– we will end up with NO CHURCH AT ALL, someday! Very sad! Hope you will join with others, and truly seek to be “Our Fellow Catholic!” It is of NO USE, writing antagonistic posts to good, devout Catholics– aren’t YOU one, too?? Don’t tell me you have the “LGBT” label– Christ does not see anyone that way!! He sees all of us exactly the same! All He wants, is for ALL OF US to be good, practicing Catholics!!

      • TheVeiledThreat says:

        The Legion of Mary is once again very active in my parish. Recently many members from other areas converged on my parish and they went door to door all week talking to people about the faith!

    • Dan in Danville says:

      Well, fine to avoid actual topics, Jay, but Papa Francisco Oct 1st in former Soviet Georgia says what the street evangelizers are doing is wrong:

      “Pope Francis: “I never should proselytize, is a great sin against ecumenism, we are brothers” , Religion Digital, 10/1/2016.

      Here is the English version:

      • Linda Maria says:

        Dan, isn’t the Pope a tragic case, with his views about our Church? He seems to have NO FAITH in the work of our Church, to preach the Catholic Faith to the world! Yes, our Church has done some bad things, historically. But can’t that all be put in the past, apologized for, and forgotten– and next, have the CONFIDENCE to move forward, and be PROUD of what we have, and offer it to the world?? Jesus forgave St. Peter, when he denied him three times– and St. Peter still was the leader of the Apostles, after Christ’s death– and our first Pope, too! There is such thing, as forgiveness— and pride for our good Church!

      • @Dan in Danville….Re: Pope on evangelizing – that’s astonishing that he would say that, if he did.. I would make him the first pope on record, or in recent times, who’s gone so directly against a key Gospel command, and not only was the Great Commission given at that all important “final words to the Apostles” moment, but there are other related mandates in the Gospels, Luke 14:23 Douay-Rheims Bible
        “And the Lord said to the servant: Go out into the highways and hedges, and COMPEL them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Acts 8:4 tells us: “Now those who were scattered went about preaching (euangelizomenoi) the word.” They went about sharing the gospel with others.”(Luke 12:48).”We have been given no greater gift than…

        • (cont)They went about sharing the gospel with others.”(Luke 12:48).”We have been given no greater gift than the gospel, and we have no greater stewardship than to share that message of good news with others.”

          This is no new subject, and yet do we hear from any other pope in this regard, discouraging evangeliztion. I’m sure, just the opposite. This pope, excuse me, is a real piece of work, if not a quasi heretic. If not “on the street” then where? Soup kitchens? That’s basically ‘on the street’ as well. Paul was put in prison for this very activity, and when he saw the Greeks and the ‘statue to the unknown God’ he took advantage to tell them who that was, and made sure he didn’t draw any equivalences with Zeus….

    • So many contrarians visit this site. If you had a story about a Boy Scout walking an old lady across the street, someone would chime in and say that the pope forbade that. Someone else: Catholics don’t support the Boy Scouts anymore. Someone else: why is it always a BOY …why not a Girl Scout. Someone else: does the old lady go to the St. Pius X Church ? — she’s a heretical schismatic, why bother?

  2. It can’t be a coincidence that this is from the church in San Fran that stands for something and gives you the Latin Mass as well. In the Diocese of a real Lion of the Church, Cordileone… can’t be.

  3. Linda Maria says:

    Terms such as “evangelization” and “the Great Commission” are not Catholic terms, originally– they were actually taken from the Protestants, after Vatican II, by our Church. What a shame, that Church leaders stopped teaching the Catechism, after Vatican II, suppressed Catholic tradition— adopted some Protestant concepts– and then began to disintegrate! A sad Catholic genocide!

    • AS far as I know, the Great Commission is not Protestant, Who told you that? Evangelism is Protestant? exclusively Protestant, except after and at the behest of the suspect VII or by way of some of its errant promoters? (and with me, here, you will find a VII skeptic) ….have you heard of Catholic Saint, St. John The Evangelist? for whom many of our churches are named? The term “to evangelize” is Scriptural, anything Scriptural IS Catholic darlin, especially NT Scriptures. You had better do some research there.

      Because Protestants actually take the Great Commission as seriously as Catholics USED TO and actually DO evangelize, and have a practical NEED for such terms, so as to DESCRIBE what the are ACTUALLY doing, doesn’t…

      • Linda Maria says:

        Jay, the Catholic Church did not use these terms– they were invented by Protestant leaders, as I said! The Church used a different approach! They had different terms! For example, “propagation of the Faith,” instead of the Protestant term, “evangelism.” Rev. Billy Graham is an evangelist– for example! The term, the “Great Commission” was invented by American Protestant evangelists, in the 19th century! Many Protestant evangelists have been highly successful in America, and still are!

        • Linda Maria says:

          Actually, the term “Great Commission” was used perhaps by Reformation Protestants, of Europe– they took the “Great Commission” described in the New Testament, very seriously! Catholics also had this term, but the way in which they taught and spread the Faith, was different from the Protestants. The Protestant reformers were originally Catholic, of course, so they taught Christianity according to their own beliefs. Vatican II reformers wanted to place the Catholic Church as close to the Protestants as possible, for reasons of ecumenism in hopes of eventual Christian unity.

        • Linda Maria says:

          Sorry, but I typed the wrong word, in the second line, of my first post, above. The Protestants did not “invent” these terms, instead, they simply preached their ideas of their own new Reformation churches, in their own way, taking Christian terms and using them the way they wanted. I once was given a little booklet by a Protestant neighbor, stating that her religious group “invented” the term, the “Great Commission,” but this is merely a Biblical term, which her church certainly did not “invent,” historically.

  4. What a lovely article, such a pleasure to read good news. God Bless them 🙂

    • Linda Maria says:

      I agree, Kristin! These parishioners are doing such wonderful work! A HOPE for San Francisco, and for the world!

  5. .. doesn’t mean the terms are, per se, Protestant….’s not always an either/or proposition. There are a lot of things Catholic that Catholics don’t know about and/or recognize as Catholic. For example, certain parts of the Church, hundreds of years ago, were allowed to have Mass said in the vernacular. I’m talking Latin Rite. , Was that Protestant or Orthodox, just because it was more common outside the Latin Rite? Certainly not, (well, maybe according to you). Catholics had, and have, married priests. It is not Protestant, no matter how rare we find it in RCC. Remember, any practice at any time valid in Roman Catholicism is valid for all times and retains its place of honor, whether the practice remains common or not,…

  6. …common or not, like the Tridentine Rite, for example.

    Catholics are not too fond of Bible study either, doesn’t mean Catholics don’t have Bible study, or should not call it that, because that is, ahem, Protestant..

    If you don’t like the term “Great Commission” to describe what Jesus asked the disciples to do,i.e., “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost” what would you prefer instead?

    • Linda Maria says:

      Jay, my comments are only about the tragic loss of our own Catholic religious culture! I very much RESPECT Protestants, such as the evangelist, Rev. Billy Graham, and others who are good! I joined with his son, Rev. Franklin Graham, and their group, to pray for America’s return to God and Christian morality! I signed his pledge, to pray for America, and to live by Christian beliefs and morality. This includes PRO-LIFE and PRO-CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE, and PRE-MARITAL CHASTITY, (ETC.). I would join with ANY Christian group, and pray with them, for these same things, for our country! For example, a group promoting Our Lady of Fatima, or Our Lady of Guadalupe, to help America!

      • Linda Maria says:

        P.S. I would join with any other good Protestant group, too, to pray for our country, and promote Christian Morality! How about the Mormons, with Prop 8, for California?? Join with them, and work and pray together! Good idea!

      • Linda Maria says:

        P.S. #2 On his pledges, Rev. Franklin Graham specifically asked people who signed them, to pledge to support PRO-LIFE from conception in the womb, to natural death! That is our Catholic belief, too!

  7. Linda Maria says:

    It really is a worry, the Pope’s statements that Catholics should not share their faith with others, nor ever try to convert them! He really is in need of GRACE as a Pope, to see and to understand the true mission of Christ! Doesn’t he, himself, want to hopefully convert others to Christ, especially by his St. Francis-inspired name, renunciation of residence in the Apostolic Palace, his heart of mercy for sinners, and help for the poor of the world??

    • Yes. Linda, but the Pope wants to make sure no one goes to environmental hell nor does he miss opportunities, himself, to evangelize on the subject of global warming. THAT IS an orthodoxy that ALL must embrace or be deemed heretics…….SMH…..The man is an absolute embarrassment to those who fondly remember a Catholicism that wasn’t ashamed or afraid to be Catholic, some of which he seems to poo poo or ascribe to an antiquated sense of (false) piety or some other nonsensical modernist read of what had sustained Catholics and formed such a part of their identity for centuries. Pray for him.

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COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.