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Welcome to Basic Training

by Christopher Zettel

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Two-day bootcamp on evangelization includes downtown Detroit street ministry.

As the saying goes, God doesn't call the equipped. God equips the called. Sacred Heart Major Seminary has become a training ground, a boot camp, or an equipping center for Catholics who are answering the call to evangelize.

Fifty-five of these Catholics gathered at the seminary during the Friday and Saturday of the Mother's Day weekend, May 12-13, to attend a School of Evangelization. Hosted by the priests and seminarians of the Companions of the Cross, this evangelization bootcamp sought to equip the called while allowing the Holy Spirit to fill them with zeal for the Church's great mission of evangelization.

Participants were led through an intensive series of talks and workshops that aimed to provide the necessary knowledge and tools for evangelizing. The various topics included Church teaching on the New Evangelization, the Holy Spirit's role in evangelization, the basic Gospel message and how to share it, as well as the powerful witness of a life filled with the joy of the Gospel. Workshops allowed participants to practice sharing the basic Gospel message with each other as well as preparing and sharing of their personal testimonies.

Time for Mass, Confession, praise and worship, and prayer was woven throughout the weekend. An extended prayer time concluded the Saturday afternoon sessions. Participants were invited to make an act of deeper surrender to Jesus and to give the Lord full permission to use them for the building up of the Kingdom. During this time of recommitment, everyone present asked the Holy Spirit to fill them in a new way.

Following a special Mass and procession for the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima led by Archbishop Allen Vigneron, we hit the streets of Greektown in downtown Detroit to put our learning into practice and do some real-life street evangelizing. Fuelled by the Eucharist and the intercession of Our Lady, attendees responded boldly, approaching passers-by to tell them about Jesus and to pray with them.

One participant, Lauren Ghastin, commented that it was amazing how respectful people were to talk with us, and for us to pray for and with them. Out of fifteen or so, only two said no. God's presence and grace were with us.

The Lord is powerfully at work in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Many hearts are being set on fire with a new zeal for evangelization. As Companions of the Cross, it is a privilege to play our small part and to witness souls encounter the Living Christ and then be sent out on mission. In all this, we ask Our Lady of Guadalupe, star of the New Evangelization, to pray for us!

Christopher Zettel

Christopher Zettel is a first-year theologian for the Companions of the Cross, a religious community whose seminarians receive their intellectual formation at Sacred Heart.

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Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a Christ-centered Catholic community of faith and higher learning committed to forming leaders who will proclaim the good news of Christ to the people of our time. As a leading center of the New Evangelization, Sacred Heart serves the needs of the Archdiocese of Detroit and contributes to the mission of the universal Church.