November 30, 2020
Celebrate the (Unofficial) Patron Saint of Friendship Evangelization
by: Pete Ascosi
During my late teenage years and early twenties I wanted little to do with God and the Church even though I was raised in a very faithful Catholic family. I would still attend Sunday Mass, but that was the extent of my religious commitment.
Things began to change, however, during my senior year of college. And it all began with personal invitations from friends to a variety of faith-based activities: retreats, service projects, Mass, and a young adult prayer group. While the Holy Spirit was certainly preparing my heart, these young Catholics played their part, overcame their own hesitancy and reached out to me. These invitations were the seeds of a dramatic conversion that changed my life.
My namesake, St. Peter experienced his own dramatic conversion only after his brother, St. Andrew, invited him to meet Jesus personally.
Having met Jesus and hearing that he was the Messiah, St. Andrew couldn’t keep this news to himself, but he stepped out and invited his brother to meet this new Rabbi. Little did Peter know that his brother’s personal invitation would change the trajectory of his life!
Another moving example of this type of friendship evangelization is the conversion story of Dr. Gloria Sampson which was aired several years ago on EWTN. The pivotal step in her return to the Catholic Church was her neighbor’s personal invitation to Discovering Christ. After 52 years she returned to the sacraments and now wants to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others!
Gloria’s neighbor, my college friends, and St. Andrew all had one thing in common: a desire to share what they had received.
While many know St. Andrew as the patron saint of Scotland (among a list of things), I’d like to propose one more title: the patron saint of friendship evangelization. Had it not been for my friends, I don’t know where I’d be today (certainly not in full-time ministry for ChristLife!). His example shows us that even taking small steps, like simply extending a personal invitation to just one person, can make a world of difference.
Share Christ: Inviting Others to Friendship with Jesus
Blog header image: the actors who play Simon and Andrew in The Chosen