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Taking it to the streets

Becoming evangelists: Sunnybank parishioners Samantha Ranatunga and Matt Leaso eagerly signing up to learn expert tips and tricks on how to evangelise their “circle of influence” effectively.

Becoming evangelists: Sunnybank parishioners Samantha Ranatunga and Matt Leaso eagerly signing up to learn expert tips and tricks on how to evangelise their “circle of influence” effectively.

CATHOLICS at Our Lady of Lourdes, Sunnybank, are hoping a parish conference on evangelisation will help bring the Church out of the pews and into the world.

Steven Bird and John Thomas, parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes, Sunnybank, have watched each other evangelise outside of the pews as co-workers at St Thomas More College, Sunnybank.

“It’s something I do every day to keep the Church alive,” Mr Bird said.

After reading Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge’s 2013 pastoral letter, Through Doors Wide Open, and Pope Francis’ encyclical, Evangelii Gaudium, Mr Bird, a young husband and father of one, was moved to start a conference to help his fellow parishioners learn how to evangelise.

“It kept speaking to me about the need to evangelise,” Mr Bird said.

Next week he and Mr Thomas will help run his parish’s first conference designed at offering “effective tools” for evangelising in schools, workplaces and homes.

“People who come to Mass on Sundays are already committed, and are all there because we believe in something, but we want them to do something with that commitment,” Mr Thomas said.

“But what does that look like if I’m a father of teenagers, or if I work in a factory or office?”

The challenges of evangelising outside the Catholic Church can be confronting, Mr Thomas said.

“Catholics are afraid of talking about religion, and people don’t know what to say, especially when they’re wearing the brand of the Catholic Church and people want to challenge them on various teachings,” Mr Thomas said.

“We want to give them the skills to deal with those challenges, to upskill people in evangelisation.”

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge will give a keynote address followed by workshops led by project officers from Evangelisation Brisbane, menALIVE director Robert Falzon, St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland state youth manager Cassandra Bull, Australian Catholic University campus director Mark Lysaght and others.

Mr Thomas said the workshop addressed evangelisation across a variety of vocations.

“We’re acknowledging that as grandparents, parents, co-workers, there’s a vocation, and each is called to evangelise in our world of influence,” he said.

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