New Evangelizers in Action: John Proffitt

Book Cover NEY T36515One of the most popular aspects of my book The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid were the many sidebars about New Evangelizers in Action, stories of everyday Catholics doing their best to know, live, and share their faith. The original plan was for an entire bonus chapter of New Evangelizers, but unfortunately the page count exceeded the plan for the printers.

So for the next few weeks, I’m going to share this great bonus content from The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid. Enjoy!

New Evangelizers in Action: John Proffitt

John Proffitt believes he has a desire to share his faith journey, and to do it in the most creative way possible.

“I am in the process of trying to write my own book, based on a prayer that I felt I was given a dozen years ago,” John says.  “If I finish that one and it is deemed publishable, I have an idea for a second book that I would also like to write.”

His writing stems, in part, from his desire to read more.

“I have actually spent a considerable amount of time building up a library of Catholic authors and books on apologetics and other topics to learn my faith better,” John says.  “I feel like I am getting a lot more comfortable with the basic knowledge of the faith.”

Even still, reading and remembering are two different things.

“What I wish I could do more of (should do more of) is memorizing some of the scripture references to support the various aspects of the Catholic faith that are the least understood by non-Catholics so I can change their perspective of what Catholics believe and why.”

Like many, John’s past is often a hindrance to having confidence as a New Evangelizer, and sometimes makes it difficult to live his faith.

“I was such a dog for so many years, overcoming the bad habits is certainly a challenge,” John says.  “The older I get, the less patient I seem to be with the process, which just angers me.”

Nevertheless, John holds to great hope for the future of the Church and his own faith development.

“My hopes are that more of those who call themselves Catholic will actually begin to understand and embrace their faith more faithfully,” John says about the New Evangelization.  “I think there are plenty of things that are making us actually decide for or against the Church – the HHS mandate for example. The differences between black and white, right and wrong, good and evil are becoming more apparent, with less opportunity to sit on the fence.”

New Evangelizers in Action: Cheryl Dickow

Book Cover NEY T36515One of the most popular aspects of my book The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid were the many sidebars about New Evangelizers in Action, stories of everyday Catholics doing their best to know, live, and share their faith. The original plan was for an entire bonus chapter of New Evangelizers, but unfortunately the page count exceeded the plan for the printers.

So for the next few weeks, I’m going to share this great bonus content from The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid. Enjoy!

New Evangelizers in Action: Cheryl Dickow

dickow_cherylCheryl Dickow has a passion for sharing the faith through the written word, not only as an author in her own right, but as a publisher of others, as well.

“I began Bezalel Books to provide a forum for authors who did not have “names” or “connections” but who were, themselves, trying to respond to the new evangelization,” says Cheryl.  “It has been a real blessing to meet these men and women who simply want to be part of the body of Christ with their talents and gifts.”

In addition to trying to make inroads on a global scale, Cheryl also maintains focus on a local level through a number of volunteer positions including leading Bible study and teaching adult faith formation.

Though she’s engaged in education and writing, Cheryl still encounters several challenges in knowing her faith.

“I participated in a program titled ‘Called and Gifted’ and found out that my gifts were in areas of knowledge, teaching, writing and evangelization,” she says. “While that confirmed for me that I am where God wants me and can use me, I have found the biggest challenge to knowing my faith to be the limited time I have to take it all in. The older I get (I am currently 54) the more challenged I am to prioritize what I need to read, do and accomplish so that I can live fully for Christ.”

For the New Evangelization, Cheryl has high hopes, especially “that Catholics who have platforms will be more willing to open doors for Catholics who don’t but who are still the body of Christ. There are so many people who have been given a passion and the gifts to accomplish something for Christ but need the help of their Catholic brothers and sisters whose own apostolates have been blessed by God–and maybe who have forgotten where their blessings come from and for what purpose they are to serve.”

You can visit Cheryl’s website at www.bezalelbooks.com.

New Evangelizers in Action: Fr. Darryl Millette

Book Cover NEY T36515One of the most popular aspects of my book The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid were the many sidebars about New Evangelizers in Action, stories of everyday Catholics doing their best to know, live, and share their faith. The original plan was for an entire bonus chapter of New Evangelizers, but unfortunately the page count exceeded the plan for the printers.

So for the next few weeks, I’m going to share this great bonus content from The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid. Enjoy!

New Evangelizers in Action: Fr. Daryl Millette

FrDarrylWhen Fr. Darryl Millette, a priest is the diocese of Saskatoon, decided to get involved in Catholic New Media, he went all in and created both a personal and parish website, along with a podcast and YouTube channel.

Even though he is an ordained priest, the downside of being so busy with these various projects is taking the time to read and study in order to better know his faith.

When asked about the biggest challenge in living his faith, it may be surprising that the answer is reminiscent of what is commonly heard from laity.  “Taking the time to nurture my personal relationship with Jesus Christ [is the biggest challenge], particularly through prayer,” says Fr. Darryl.

But Father understands the need to find other resources to help himself and his parish to be more active in the New Evangelization.

“One of the most recent things we did was a 10 week showing of Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism,” says Father Darryl.  “It went over very well and I plan to show it again in the fall, while using is as part of an RCIA process.”

You can find links to Fr. Millette’s initiatives at www.saskapriest.com.

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Wedding Feast of Cana 2-Part Painting

The above video was shot from February 11, 2014 through tonight, March 30, 2014, but the process began way back in December when I first had the idea of doing a painting based on a stained glass image of the Wedding Feast of Cana, which is one of my favorite stories from the Bible.

As I searched around for stained glass images, I came across one from the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Providence, Rhode Island. Talking to my friend, Fr. Jay Finelli, a priest of that diocese, he believes the windows are as old as the Church, which is about to celebrate it’s 125th anniversary. Thus far, I have not been able to discover who created the original stained glass design.

Nevertheless, while the layout of the paintings I did is similar, there are so many things that are different, and areas I took liberty with the paintings to make them more in my style.

The new view when you first walk into our house

The new view when you first walk into our house

But more importantly, these two paintings did so much to help revitalize my desire to use my creativity in a more prayerful way. I wrote about my growing in this area in a previous post.

Just after finishing the second painting

Just after finishing the second painting

I definitely felt God’s peace and guidance through this work. There are a few aspects of the paintings that I have no idea how I pulled off, and I attribute those areas in particular to the Holy Spirit. I also attribute the spin-off Mysteries of the Rosary series (still in progress) to the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, as well.

I’ve been very blessed to rediscover this hobby after so many years. It’s hard to adequately give words to how it has changed me in such a short period of time. I feel a tremendous peace when painting that transcends just a relaxing hobby. I feel a connection with God and an appreciation for the gifts – big and small – that he gives us.

I suppose it’s appropriate that his first public miracle – his first gift to the world – would be the my first big project upon returning to these creative endeavors.
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New Evangelizers in Action: Fr. Timothy Gallagher

Book Cover NEY T36515One of the most popular aspects of my book The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid were the many sidebars about New Evangelizers in Action, stories of everyday Catholics doing their best to know, live, and share their faith. The original plan was for an entire bonus chapter of New Evangelizers, but unfortunately the page count exceeded the plan for the printers.

So for the next few weeks, I’m going to share this great bonus content from The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid. Enjoy!

New Evangelizers in Action: Fr. Timothy Gallagher

FrGallagherFr. Timothy Gallagher is a priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta currently serving his first year as a pastor of his own parish.  To him, the need for the New Evangelization is not just important, but critical.  Even still, the implementation of the New Evangelization requires a gentle hand.

“At the parish level, it is important to help people connect to the Universal Church so to be able to enter into Her perspective and appreciate what the Holy Spirit is guiding Her through in our time,” says Fr. Gallagher.  “So for me simply introducing the language of ‘New Evangelization’ is a major step, explaining its origins and meaning in its development, and trying to help parishioners to understand, accept, embrace, and own it, not just as a concept or a trendy campaign, but as a movement of the Holy Spirit to bring new life to the Church.”

So how does a busy pastor working as the only priest in his parish approach this?  Start with the basics.

“In the area of reaching my own active parishioners, I cannot assume that they even know the basic Precepts of the Church anymore,” explains Fr. Gallagher.  “You cannot tell someone to go and do corporal works of mercy if they have no idea what you’re talking about.  You cannot challenge someone to preach the Gospel if they think that is something that only televangelists do.  I have to use clear catechesis in the pulpit and in the classroom to, in a sense, re-evangelize them.”

Fr. Gallagher also understands that the use of catechesis sometimes requires identifying misunderstandings people may have about Catholicism.  “I find that a big part of Knowing the Faith in my own parish is first helping people come to an awakening that they do not know it,” he says.  “Many live a hybrid sort of faith, a mix of protestant beliefs and popular culture along with personal opinion.  So it has to re-presented but in a way that our culture has made them accustomed to taking in information.  It will be like new to them.  So as a pastor, I have know how to do this.”

Is he himself challenged by the need to Evangelize anew?

“The New Evangelization is a charism born from the Second Vatican Council that is coming into maturity, a charism that is made for our time, our culture, and, yes, our technology,” explains Fr. Gallagher.  “And so I as a pastor have to pray that I may have this spirit, that I may share this charism given to our Church, and then share it with my flock.  The spirit of the New Evangelizing is the age-old message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that brings light to the world, that opens our mind to a new vision of what our life is all about and a gives a new perspective on how would should live our life.  But it is the presentation I think that is key.”

When asked about ways to best present the faith, Fr. Gallagher points to successful examples of evangelizers from history.

“St. Paul was one man who made a big difference in Evangelizing,” says Fr. Gallagher.  “As he sailed on the waves of the sea by ship in the spirit of Psalm 19:4, I hope to help my little parish to realize that we can reach many on the waves of the internet.  Perhaps it will be the spark that ignites the New Evangelization that sets the Earth on Fire.  My work as a pastor has to get parishioners to see themselves as a part of this Living Flame and to understand that they play a crucial role in its spreading throughout the world, starting with their families, through social network of friends, and those they meet along the electronic highways and byways.  If they can embrace the idea of using virtual reality virtuously, then I think Pslam 19:4 can be realized more and more in our time.”

Rosary Mysteries Painting

Rosary Painting Project

First, A Progress Report
A few weeks back I wrote about a new painting project I had started. I’m about 75% finished with that one. Here’s the progress so far:

Wedding Feast of Cana Paintings

Those are actually two separate paintings (thus, my wife Jennifer holding one of them) that tell the story of the Wedding Feast of Cana, which is one of my favorite stories from Scripture. It is based off of a stained glass image from the Cathedral in Providence, Rhode Island. Never seen it in person, but liked some of the photos I’ve seen enough to do my own version. When it’s done, these two will be framed separately and hung on the living room wall that has been completely blank for far too long. Like this:

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The project has been a great challenge (in a good way) to re-awaken a lot of dormant understanding of painting.

Unexpected Surprise
One of the things that was driving me nuts is that sometimes I end up having to mix a lot of paint just to get a little bit of color on the canvas leaving me at the end of a painting session with a pile of unused and unneeded paint. And since I’m now painting with acrylics instead of oils, the paint dries super fast.

One night, further inspired by Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Artists, I had the idea of grabbing a spare, smaller canvas and just seeing what comes out of the brush by using the spare paint from that night’s painting session.

This was the result:

Third Luminous Mystery - The Nativity

Third Luminous Mystery – The Nativity

Surprised by the result, I’ve since continued doing these #SparePaintPaintings whenever I have leftover paint at the end of the night. I’ve now completed 16 of the 20 mysteries of the Rosary.

We’ve talked about the possibility of having prints made of these either individually or as one large collage, like this:
Rosary Mysteries Painting

So here’s the question – Would you be interested in prints like this? It would require a bit of investment to have HD professional photos taken so that the prints would actually look like the original. And do any other artists out there have an idea how much things like this run for?

Here are some others I’ve done so far. Can you figure out which mystery each represents?

Copyright (C) 2014 Greg Willits

Copyright (C) 2014 Greg Willits

Copyright (C) 2014 Greg Willits

Copyright (C) 2014 Greg Willits

Copyright (C) 2014 Greg Willits

Copyright (C) 2014 Greg Willits

copyright (C) 2014 Greg Willits

copyright (C) 2014 Greg Willits

Copyright (C) 2014 Greg Willits

Copyright (C) 2014 Greg Willits

copyright (C) 2014 Greg Willits

copyright (C) 2014 Greg Willits

New Evangelizers in Action: Teresa Tomeo

Book Cover NEY T36515One of the most popular aspects of my book The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid were the many sidebars about New Evangelizers in Action, stories of everyday Catholics doing their best to know, live, and share their faith. The original plan was for an entire bonus chapter of New Evangelizers, but unfortunately the page count exceeded the plan for the printers.

So for the next few weeks, I’m going to share this great bonus content from The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid. Enjoy!

New Evangelizers in Action: Teresa Tomeo

tomeo“My entire apostolate/ministry is hopefully an effort to help promote the New Evangelization,” says popular radio host and writer Teresa Tomeo.  “It is what I love and what I do 24/7 (when I am not sleeping of course).”

So what drives this desire to focus on the New Evangelization?

“I think Pope Benedict is truly a prophet for our times and knows why this is so needed right now,” Teresa says. ”We have an incredible opportunity to evangelize as well as re-evangelize and it has never been more needed.  I just hope that more Catholics will discover the treasures of the faith and take time to study it more closely.”

To help in this effort of educating others, Teresa explores multiple methods of delivering the message.  “I run a full time media apostolate (Teresa Tomeo Communications LLC), host a national talk show, write books about the faith, media influence, and women’s issues, and speak regularly around the country on these issues as well.  I am also active in social media with blogging as well as maintaining Facebook pages.  My company also has a public relations arm that works with Catholic apostolate in helping them with their own evangelization efforts.”

Like others who work to spread the Gospel, Teresa understands the need to continually be educated herself.  “My biggest challenge in knwing my faith is keeping up on all of the great writings and teachings in the Church,” says Teresa.  “There is so much depth and beauty but not enough time to absorb it all but I keep trying.”

It also helps to be able to identify her own shortcomings when it comes to living out the faith, which includes trying to be patient with the un-churched.  “We are living in dark times right now and I know we are all on a very unique journey but I want so many people to know Jesus and recognize the gift of the Church,” she says.  “But then I have to remember that I can only change myself so it is always back to square one. It’s a good lesson to look back at my own many failings and remember that I was there once too.”

Baptized into the faith, but having left it for fifteen years, Teresa’s own reversion to Catholicism only acts to heighten her own desire to share the faith with others.

“You can’t have a discussion or even try to witness if people are not open to the truth and so many people deny what is right in front of their noses and they live literally in an alternative universe or reality denying facts and staying in their own comfortable place,” says Teresa.  “The truth of Church teaching is so clear in terms of what we see in society when we don’t follow the natural law.  Just look at the fallout from abortion and STD’s.  When we don’t follow God’s plan things fall apart but people often refuse to look at this.”

You can find Teresa’s books and other resources online at www.teresatomeo.com.

Help Me Decide On My Next Project

I enjoy helping other people be successful. I’ve been doing this for over a decade in not only developing and running non-profits, but in helping people behind the scenes to do the same.

Lately I’ve been working to develop ways to not only build ways of providing for my family’s future, but in creating other products and services that improve other people’s lives and help them to help others.

To this point, I’d appreciate your input as to what things I could do that would most benefit you. If you would, please take less than ONE MINUTE to answer this two question survey:

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New Evangelizers in Action: Tim Drake

Book Cover NEY T36515One of the most popular aspects of my book The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid were the many sidebars about New Evangelizers in Action, stories of everyday Catholics doing their best to know, live, and share their faith. The original plan was for an entire bonus chapter of New Evangelizers, but unfortunately the page count exceeded the plan for the printers.

So for the next few weeks, I’m going to share this great bonus content from The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid. Enjoy!

New Evangelizers in Action: Tim Drake

TimDrake“I encountered Christ in the Catholic faith through Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration,” says Tim Drake, a convert from Lutheranism who now works as a Catholic journalist, radio host, and author. “Once I had that encounter, and understood the Catholic understanding of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, there was no turning back.”

And though there’s no turning back, Tim acknowledges the myriad of potential difficulties along the road to heaven.

“I suspect that, as with most people, the biggest challenges to living my faith are my own shortcomings, failings, weaknesses, and sin,” says Tim.  “My own selfishness is what prevents me from the grace that Christ and His Church so desperately want to share with me. There is a tremendous need for spiritual directors and spiritual direction so that those of us stuck at a particular place in our faith journey might be able to advance.”

While Tim’s own parish in the Diocese of St. Cloud in Minnesota offers multiple opportunities for Tim to continue in his own faith development, the overall emphasis on using new tools to share the Good News is still very much in early stages.  “My parish is active in the New Evangelization primarily through the programs it offers, such as dynamic parish Bible studies and educational offerings for adults and confirmation students,” says Tim. “The parish website is quite rudimentary, however, and neither the parish nor the pastor utilize social media. The Diocese has embraced some social media to engage in the New Evangelization, but is at the beginning stages. There is much more that both the parish and the diocese could be doing in this regard.”

When asked what more could be done to speed up and further these efforts, Tim identifies an all too common problem for evangelization efforts within the Church. “Funding certainly is a roadblock both at the parish and diocesan level,” Tim explains. “Both could be doing far more with technology and social media, but simply do not have a dedicated person or the funding to be as active as they might.”

Even still, Tim sees great promise in the future of New Evangelization.  “I hope that it will be an opportunity for all the faithful to grow in their knowledge, love, and practice of the faith,” Says Tim.  “Faith is a gift, but one that is meant to be shared. Christ told the apostles to ‘Go out to all the nations and baptize them.’ We are facing a time when ignorance of, and hostility toward, the Church are extraordinary. I would like to see the lay faithful of the Church use this opportunity to not only grow in their own faith, but to spread that to family members, friends, co-workers, and strangers so that more may come to know Christ and His Church.”

So how is Tim growing in his own faith himself?

“As British journalist and convert G.K. Chesterton once said, ‘The Church is much bigger on the inside than it is from the outside,’” quotes Tim.  “Being Catholic is realizing just how much you don’t know, and admitting that you’ll never be able to learn everything there is to know about the Church. There’s much that is a mystery. As Catholics, we need to be comfortable with mystery.”

You can read years worth of articles from Tim Drake at the National Catholic Register’s website at www.ncregister.com.