Faith Happens? Getting a new perspective on Evangelization!
Sunday, January 16, 2011 by Fr. Santo Arrigo C.Ss.R.

by: Fr. Santo Arrigo C.Ss.R.

Coordinator of Redemptorist Youth and Vocation Ministry

I am constantly amazed by the questions that we all have about the Church, Faith and Spirituality. On Friday November 19th at a small neighbourhood pub near the University of Toronto, we looked to explore the questions of faith that are dear to our hearts. “Faith Happens? Beliefs, Bewilderment, and Beer!” was an opportunity to gather young adults from all walks of life to not only explore their questions, but to “Dive into Mystery”, knowing that their questions are not just about facts and details, laws and ordinances, but about an opportunity to enter into the mind and heart of God and for a moment, take on a listening heart in a safe and welcoming atmosphere. As an approach to Evangelization, it was an opportunity to hear the Good News, perhaps for the first time, or perhaps again for the first time. With all the clutter and noise around us giving us mixed messages about faith, the Church, and our relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, it can be hard to allow anything of faith to touch us deep down in any significant way.

Our evening began with Ben Hur, a local comedian who openned up our thoughts and hearts through some light-hearted Catholic humour! Following Ben, as our 60 young adult guests shared in some awesome pub grub, we all did some soul searching to see what are the questions that touch to the core of who we are as either people of faith, people who are questioning faith, and those who struggle with the notion of spirituality and organized religion. Each person was invited to write down one question that is part of that soul-searching, so that we can dive into mystery together. After some brief table discussion, I took the opportunity to address some of the common questions that seemed to emerge from the group. “Faith and Science”, “Homosexuality and the Church”, “What does God want me to do with my life?”, “Pedaphelia and the Church”, “the role of women and the Church”, and “Why God allows bad things to happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people” were some of the areas addressed together as a group. But there were many more questions that emerged from the group as well.

We feel that it is important to share the questions that are resting in the minds and hearts of people. Remembering that it is not always about getting black and white answers, but more about diving into mystery. Diving into the mystery of the mind and heart of God, all in order to received insight, understanding, and a sense of how the Good News of God’s plentiful redemption does speak to the real issues and concerns of today.

We hope that this opportunity can happen again in the new year!

Previously, I wrote an article on this site Faith Happens! From blind to living Faith! Perhaps that article might enlighten your thoughts about this whole topic.

The following are the questions that emerged from the group.

  • Explaining God to Atheists/people who want scientific proof
  • How to explain to a non-Christian the mystery of confession?
  • Can you please give suggestions on how one can make a good confession?
  • Are homosexuals welcomed by the Church?
  • If all God’s creation is good, why can’t gay men/women marry and live like heterosexual creations in the eyes of the Church?
  • Why does misogyny flourish in the Church? Why is it and other forms of oppression and denial of dignity ignored or even promoted by those in leadership?
  • Why does it seem that God lets bad things happen to good people?
  • I have noticed that God loves to irritate people (not always in a bad way, though): People pray for something though & constantly too, but He sends NO answer. It can get annoying sometimes. Why does He always do that?
  • Dive into Mystery: Why the one who doesn’t know God, don’t even pray to Him get what they want/ask, and God seems to be closing his ears to prayer, the cries of the ones who love Him, pray to Him?
  • Why do some people always get the worst breaks in life?
  • Why am I more excited and anxious about my earthly dreams & future in this life rather than about God’s plan and the afterlife? How do I fix this?
  • Why can’t priests marry? Wouldn’t this increase the number of men entering the priesthood?
  • Does God really have a plan for me?
  • How can we explain faith & science when challenged?
  • What is the will of God for me and how do I know that I am doing His will in my life?
  • How do I identify my “true calling” in life?
  • What is the best way to discern what God has in store for me?
  • Does God know the winning lotto #? Does God know who’ll meet an accident? How does he know & decide, maybe?
  • Who is the Holy Spirit?
  • How do we explain seeing a family member after their death?
  • What is the truth about hell?
  • Why does the Church observe indulgences – what is the justification for them?
  • Why can’t women be clergy/priests?
  • Why does the Church oppose the use of contraceptives in a relationship?
  • What does the Church think about pre-marital sex nowadays?
  • How do we accept the reality of pedaphilia in Church among clergy?
  • What is the role of women in the Church today? What happened to the role of Deaconess?