How Ignatians will be Pro-Actively Pro-Convert

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 “To convert somebody, go and take them by the hand and guide them” – St. Thomas Aquinas

The Priest must lead the way for Lay Catholics

The Priest, due to his triple mission, is called to lead the way for the laity in proposing the Faith to non-Catholics.

As the anointed one of God by priestly ordination, with the triple mission of sanctifying, teaching and governing the Mystical Body of Christ, he is responsible for encouraging, guiding and instructing converts.

For most non-Catholics seeking knowledge of the Faith, the priest is often the personification of Catholicism – and so is expected to throw out bridges to enable understanding of Catholic doctrine and life. 

A Modern Role Model of a Pro-Actively Pro-Convert Priest: Fulton Sheen

One of the most renowned  for doing this in a very effective way in recent times was Bishop Fulton Sheen who helped countless souls enter the Church. Among his converts were the foundress of Life magazine, Clare Boothe Luce,  the  automaker Henry Ford II, the writer Louis F. Budenz, the theatrical designer Jo Mielziner,  the violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler, the spy Elizabeth Bentley, and the actress Virginia Mayo.

Even as a young priest stationed in Washington D.C. his passion to propose the Faith to non-Catholics led him to travel to New York almost every weekend instructing converts on Saturday and preaching on Sunday. On top of that he spent his vacations doing a lecture-tour throughout the USA.  So great was the work load that  fellow professors warned him  that he was shortening his life – that  he would not live to be forty-five.

Convert-Outreach: Before, During, and After Conversion to the Catholic Faith

    • By supporting those converting to the Catholic Faith before, during and after their entry to the Mystical Body of Christ.
      • Through careful catechetical and apologetic instruction of those who decide to convert to Christ
      • Ignatians will energetically give ongoing support for the converts who have, often at great sacrifice and even danger, given their lives to Our Lord Jesus Christ, ensuring that they find through the Society of Ignatians, our parishes and other institutions the sense of family that should always characterize the holy Catholic Church.
    • Through establishing Ignatian Parishes in the world’s megalopolises, making them:
      • Centers where men and women can come into contact with the Catholic Church’s sacred traditional Latin Mass and liturgy enacted with the maximum beauty and splendor
      • Vibrant missionary centers with high-quality, on-going programs of lectures on the Faith, the Bible, the Liturgy, history of the Church, culture war issues which will attract the many thoughtful non-Catholics searching for truth and salvation.
    • By founding Catholic Information Centers where non-Catholics can obtain Catholic books and pamphlets, meet lay people who will answer their questions, recommend follow-up retreats, lectures, apologetics groups, info on Catholic mass media and publications directed by members of Ignatian parishes and other institutions.
    • By forming Catholic lay people to be missionaries of the Catholic Faith wherever they live and work: in their professions, in universities, schools.
    • By fostering door to door  and street evangelization. If Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses can go door by door proselytizing, often giving up a year of their lives for this task, why cannot Catholics do the same for non-practising Catholics and non-Catholics proposing the Faith winsomely and intelligently?
    • By mass media, publishing, lecturing, preaching
    • By outreach to students through associations, fellowships, lectures, apologetics study, debates, readings, retreats, pilgrimages, missionary work. Every single university, college, and school must have a clear Catholic point of reference, a true lighthouse of Catholicism!

For men and women often make their decisions about the meaning of life in their teens: C.S.Lewis abandoned  Christianity as a teenager to return as a “convert” years later; Evelyn Waugh from the time he was sixteen years old realized the Catholic Church to be the true religion; Christopher Dawson converted at the age of nineteen; the young Winston Churchill in his early twenties earnestly searched for answers to the great questions of life while soldiering in India….if only a Catholic were to have been present to answer his questions…