“Ask a Priest: How Can I Evangelize My Family?”

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Q: How can I evangelize my husband and three adult children who have fallen away or are lukewarm Catholics? I have been attending daily Mass for last two years and once a week adoration for this intention. I asked God that my youngest son might be a priest, but now he is looking into the Restored Church of God. I get very upset and almost angry about this and argue with them. All my efforts seem to be failing. What can I do? – T.F.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: I’m sorry to hear about the family situation. Unfortunately, the drifting away of loved ones from the faith is all-too-common nowadays.

A few ideas might be worth keeping in mind.

First, God loves your husband and children even more than you do. Our Lord is on your side and at your side: He shares your desire for your family’s salvation.

Second, the grace of conversion comes from the Holy Spirit, not from us. Trying to argue people into line won’t work and will likely backfire. So be charitable at every step.

Third, keep your focus on Jesus. Your daily Masses and Eucharistic adoration and prayers are crucial to helping you to draw closer to him and to intercede for your family. The holier you are, the more weight your prayers will have.

As for engaging on religious issues: You might try a multifaceted approach.

For openers, try to have a steady diet of apologetics books. The more you study the faith, the better you might be able to articulate it to skeptics.

There are lots of accessible authors out there; for instance, Jimmy Akin, Patrick Madrid, Peter Kreeft, Frank Sheed, Karl Keating and Trent Horn (you could find them on the Internet).

You could also leave these books around your home; they might catch the eye of curious family members.

For now, just look for opportunities to share how the faith has helped you. As you learn about specific difficulties that family members have with the faith, you could read up on the topic. This will prepare you the next time the topic comes up.

Also, you might want to have a Mass or two said for your family.

And don’t get discouraged. God has his own timing for bringing back the lost sheep.

Count on my prayers.


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