One 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: Bravehearts Men’s Ministry
Since 2007, Bravehearts Catholic Men’s Ministry out of St. Joseph’s Parish in Lake Orion, Michigan has helped men in their faith lives in multiple ways. By bringing in local and national Catholic speakers to help inspire and challenge men to live their Catholic faith and following up these gatherings by forming small men’s groups, Bravehearts men build the confidence needed to talk about faith.
“I have considered myself Catholic all my life although due to my ignorance and poor catechesis I fell away from the Church in my 20’s and 30’s,” says Scott Gordon, chairman of Bravehearts. “Then I had a profound spiritual experience in my mid 30’s that I attribute to the 24-hour Perpetual Adoration chapel at our parish as well as a small men’s group I attended.”
These two things combined changed Scott’s life for the better. “I was compelled to learn and get more involved in every aspect of my faith and to this day am still amazed at how ignorant and stupid I was when I was younger. Because of this spiritual experience I have engrossed myself in aspects of evangelization in both my personal life and parish life.”
Andy Gardner, Braveheart’s vice-chairman, has experienced similiar blessings by spending time in prayer and adoration, but the desire to be a new evangelizer still requires work to overcome the roadblocks.
“There is such a richness to our Catholic faith that is also so intimidating at times,” says Andy. “Where do you start?!? To some it’s not knowing which version of a Bible to get, what the heck is in this 3” thick Catechism, how do I say a Rosary if I even wanted too!?!?”
For Andy, and other men in Bravehearts, inspiration usually comes from others experiencing life in much the same way as they do. “Just hearing other men talk about living their faith is educational at times,” Andy explains. “The other way we’ve overcome this challenge is sitting in silence in our perpetual Adoration Chapel at St. Joe’s. We have a Bravehearts hour on Tuesday mornings at 5:00am, and there is always a portion of that hour spent in silence to learn from God. Nothing could be easier than just sitting and listening.”
“We believe prayer and worship is one of the most important aspects to this ministry,” Scott adds. “We encourage a strong prayer life with emphasis on prayer and adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament. We pray for the Holy Spirit to guide our men’s ministry to help all men of all faiths come to a better knowledge of the truth which is Christ Himself and His Holy Church.”
Both men believe the time spent in prayer, study, and fellowship will yield great results for the Church.
“Evangelization basically boils down to truth,” says Scott. “Through my research of history, scripture and common sense I am completely convinced that all truth, all love and all grace exists first and in its entirety within the Catholic Church. And if we fail to evangelize and defend the truth that defines us we risk losing our identity as Catholic Christians.”
“No doubt there are problems in the world,” Andy says. “But tell me how Evangelization won’t help fix poverty, crime, abortion, pornography, war, or any other of the problems in our world. Evangelization will bring more people to want to fix these issues either in their own lives or in the world. Evangelization is the answer to any problem in our world today, and as more and more people come to a deeper faith in Christ, they will begin attacking these problems.”
You can learn more about Bravehearts at www.BraveheartsMen.org.