Saint Paul and How to Evangelize in the 21st Century

Saint Paul by Bartolomeo Montagna (cropped)

By now, you are probably aware of a new movie about to be released: Paul, Apostle of Christ, starring James Faulkner as St. Paul and Jim Caviezel as St. Luke. The movie, to be released next week, is rated PG-13 and tells the story of how “two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to live out the Gospel of Jesus.” (IMDB)

As happened when the Church celebrated the Year of St. Paul ten years ago, this movie presents us with another opportunity to reflect on how we can learn from St. Paul to live and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ under difficult circumstances and in hostile environments. Here is a list of things that any one of us, including young people, can do to proclaim to others that we are not shy about being a disciple of Jesus Christ!

  • Show enthusiasm for your faith, especially when going to Mass and religious education.
  • Invite a friend to attend Mass.
  • Pray in a public place, such as making the Sign of the Cross in the cafeteria or in a restaurant before a meal.
  • Wear a sacramental (a chain, scapular, or pin), and be prepared to talk about it.
  • Display a religious image on your backpack, book bag, or folder(s), and again, be prepared to talk about it.
  • Make mention of your faith on social media.
  • Get involved in some form of service above and beyond required service hours.
  • Become involved in a parish activity or ministry, and don’t be shy to talk about it with others.
  • Strive to be an example of Gospel values, especially in circumstances in which those values are often not seen.
  • Put a religious ring tone on your phone.
  • End your voicemail greeting by saying “Peace” or “Blessings.”
  • Create an e-mail signature that does likewise.
  • Help someone in need.
  • Include God in your everyday vocabulary.
  • Tell someone you will pray for him/her.
  • Respond, “Thank God,” or, “Praise God,” when someone shares a success story with you.
  • Display a religious article in your room or office where friends or coworkers who visit will see it, and be prepared to talk about it.
  • Talk about good experiences at Church or religious education.
  • Invite friends to social functions at your parish, and introduce them to the pastor, DRE, catechists, etc.
  • When you hear gossip, tactfully steer the conversation in a new direction.
  • Send an e-mail or a tweet to a friend in need, assuring him or her of your prayers.
  • Be generous with compliments.
  • Ask someone to pray for you when you are in need.
  • Offer some money to a person in need.
  • Carry a rosary (or finger rosary) in your pocket or purse, and don’t be ashamed to let it be seen.
  • Read an inspirational book while on a trip with friends or during lunch break with coworkers.

Finally, here are a couple of great St. Paul resources from Loyola Press that you can read in conjunction with seeing the movie Paul, Apostle of Christ:

Image: “Saint Paul” by Bartolomeo Montagna, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

About Joe Paprocki 2278 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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