Fr. Z kudos to Archbp. Vigneron

When I hear about the “New Evangelization”, I often wonder when the “Old Evangelization” concluded.

For your Just Too Cool File.

Archbp. Vigneron of Detroit did some sidewalk evangelization!

The group that organizes this is St. Paul Street Evangelization.

“This ministry proudly announces the blessing and honor of welcoming Detroit’s Archbishop, Allen Vigneron, to lead the Detroit team in evangelizing this past weekend. The team was also blessed to have four priests joining in the fun. Imagine the thoughts of people walking by this ordinary street corner and seeing an archbishop and four priests sharing the Gospel! This week this ministry will feature some of the amazing conversations the team had to share.”

Bishops can’t lead from behind.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Boniface says:


  2. tpodonnell says:

    “Proselytism is a great foolishness, it doesn’t make sense.”

  3. Alex S. says:

    Unless they’re in procession, of course.

  4. Spaniard says:

    I would encourage all readers to do the same: organize yourselves in your parishes and go out to preach!! We did it this saturday night: went to the streets, offered Our Lady’s medals and phrases of the Bible, invited people to the church, and got them to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Tears, prayers, confessions after 5 years without coming into a church… It was amazing!! God IS great, we couldn’t believe the fruits!!!

  5. Supertradmum says:

    Very cool…thanks for the photo as well.

  6. PA mom says:

    What a great idea.

    For several years now, I have wondered about Ash Wednesday and whether priests could go to busy public areas and offer ashes there, rather than trying to dragoon people into attending Mass to get them. It seems to me it might awaken in people a memory, a sense of rightness, and a sense of penitence that they have abandoned God, and a desire to change that.

  7. Jon says:

    Gosh, why would he do that? In the The Interview II (of which everyone will begin hearing today), Pope Francis said, “[O]ur objective isn’t proselytism but listening to [people’s] needs, desires, disappointments, desperations and hopes. ”

    Now, when I look up the word “proselytism,” I find this:

    Proselytism is the act of attempting to convert people to another religion or opinion.

    I certainly hope the good archbishop was just out there listening.

    Christe eleison.

  8. JPManning says:

    I infer that you are scandalised by the pope’s refutation of proselytism and I think I might be able to help you with that. In short, in clerical circles proselytism doesn’t have the ordinary meaning of converting someone.
    Vatican II defined proselytism as “a corruption of the Christian witness by appeal to hidden forms of coercion or by a style of propaganda unworthy of the Gospel. It is not the use but the abuse of the right to religious freedom.”
    Cardinal Edward Cassidy described proselytism as, “the use of unworthy means to attract members of other churches or even unchurched persons to their fold.”
    So when Francis calls proselytism foolish he isn’t refuting the need of the Church to preach the Gospel and make converts. Rather he is just indulging in elitist wordplay and helping create a shibboleth used to restrict the missionary activity of the church to clerics and other ‘in-groups’ who have been educated in the self-referential jargon factories that pass as universities these days.

  9. AnnAsher says:

    Vatican II is wrong.
    Our Pope is more interested in social work than the Sacraments.
    i applaud this Bishop.

  10. TomG says:

    JPManning: I don’t know that I agree with your assessment of the Holy Father’s treatment of proselytism, but “self-referential jargon factories that pass as universities these days” is definitely a keeper!

  11. Choirmaster says:

    I feel like being nitpicky this morning.

    Outside of the fact that this is a nice story:

    The people welcoming the bishop are not a “ministry”, they are an “apostolate”. These kinds of terms matter, especially in these days of the first tumbling pebbles of a backslide into a reprise of our Church’s unfashionably-late—even in the 1970’s—entrance onto the hippy scene.

  12. jeffreyquick says:

    This is a good thing, to be sure. But wouldn’t Abp. Vigneron get more “bang for the buck” if he evangelized in his own chancery, where there are many who need conversion?

  13. Proselytism is always used pejoratively and it isn’t the same as evangelising.

    I can’t figure out why so many people are opposed to, or nervous about the new evangelisation. All it means is evangelising the lapsed as opposed to those who’ve never heard the gospel at all. It requires a somewhat different approach and an acceptance that it is necessary in the first place. That’s why it’s called “new”. But as Venerable Pope Paul VI said, every generation is a new continent to be evangelised for Christ.

    Anyway, fair play to the bishop for his efforts on the street, and to the Holy Father for his efforts with the secular media.

    And a happy feast of St Therese of Lisieux to you all – you don’t have to have a big life to have a great life.

  14. robtbrown says:

    Not to demean street preaching, but I think that crossing oneself and praying before eating in a restaurant (incl fast food) is every bit as effective.

    Of course, there is also the English tradition of apologetics and public disputation that is perhaps unrivaled. It has gone beyond street preaching (or the encounters mentioned above) and included the famous Hyde Park public speaking events that were frequented by the great Dominican Vincent McNabb.

  15. TimG says:

    I think this is very cool and would categorize it under evangelization, which Pope Francis talked about in May….
    God Bless all.

  16. majuscule says:


    Just a reminder–It doesn’t have to be “either/or”.

    He can do both.

  17. MarkG says:

    I think it’s great that people including a Bishop are doing this. But, I do think the Bishop should give some time to Catholic groups he refuses to meet with in addition to his street evangelization.

    They should also consider the pilgrimage format, where people could walk through a city, going church to church, carrying banners. I’ve been to one of these types of events before in Denver and it got a lot of people asking for information and lots of Catholics asking about where the Latin Masses are at. Oddly the local Bishop there didn’t like the pilgrimage format and didn’t want the banners in the Churches used for prayer stops.
    I think pilgrimages scare people off because they are always 50 mile, etc
    I think a mini-pilgrimage would work, say a 1 day walking between close churches in the downtown areas, with cars available for people who can’t walk the distance.

  18. av8er says:

    @jefferyquick, indeed. Members of the Arcbp’s Chancery continue to torpedo speaking engagements by Michael Voris who tries to do the very same thing he did on the street corner.

    My buddy is leading the way to do the St. Paul street evangelization here in Laredo.

  19. I’m proud of my Archbishop. :D

  20. Patrick-K says:

    @tpodonnell – do you really think the pope meant that we shouldn’t talk to other people about the Faith? Or do you think he probably meant something like we should preach the Faith often, but we should let other decide whether or not to follow it? I mean, I know you’re being snarky, but honestly which do you think the pope meant? It was probably something like “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” And in general what purpose does snark serve?

  21. Lin says:

    WOW! I pray more bishops set this example!

  22. Robtbrown, indeed so, quite a few people have come, witnessing me make the sign of the Cross in a public setting, or during the Angelus times of the day….

    I must admit when I’m on various college campuses that when preachers came and say “Do you know Jesus?” that it’s a bit of a turn off that people are trying to sell something, The Truth in of itself is attractive and doesn’t need to be sold or made relevant….Evangelization should occur by every action including words.

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