New evangelization meets Super Bowl crowds
Jesus didn’t wait for the crowds to come to him; he went to where the crowds were.
And where were the crowds Feb. 2, the day before Super Bowl XLVII? In the French Quarter, of course.
So were Archdiocese of New Orleans volunteers, stationed at St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square, ready and eager to answer questions posed by visitors and locals whether it was about the Catholic faith, for directions or even the location of the closest bathroom.
“Archbishop Aymond welcomes you to St. Louis Cathedral,” volunteer and attorney Brandon Briscoe said as visitors walked in.
It’s a faith connection – human to human, Todd Amick, director of the newly created Office of Evangelization and Eucharistic Renewal, said about the effort, coordinated through his office.
“We will be able to extend the invitation to them to make the cathedral their home parish during the (Super Bowl) weekend,” Amick said. “And we will be avaiable to answer any questions they have about the faith in a personal way.”
The evangelization idea was suggested to Amick by Mario Sacasa, director of Catholic Counseling Service through the archdiocesan Family Life Apostolate office. He had heard of a similar evangelization at Notre Dame Cathedral in France. When he moved to New Orleans last year and realized the city would host the Super Bowl, he knew it was the perfect opportunity for evangelization.
Amick couldn’t agree more and wanted visitors to discover the heart of the Crescent City.
“New Orleans is not about the signs (visitors) see coming down Airport Road,” Amick said. “New Orleans only makes sense in the light of the living Eucharist. … The cathedral is the seat of the Catholic faith in New Orleans and is a big part of what New Orleans is really about.”
Loyola Law student Jack Stanton joined Amick, Briscoe and Sacasa outside the cathedral from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Feb. 2 handing out flyers printed with cathedral Mass and confession times, a welcome and blessing from Archbishop Gregory Aymond and “Our Family Prayer” against the battle of today of violence, murder and racism. The phone number for the Office of Evangelization and Eucharistic Renewal also was listed.
The flyer allowed visitors to leave New Orleans not only with their wonderful Super Bowl-related experiences “but to also know that the New Orleans Archdiocese has a unique history,” Sacasa said.
Simultaneously, the Legion of Mary was providing behind-the-scenes prayer support in eucharistic adoration at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish for visitors to have receptivity of the heart.
“This event is a good example of one of the major reasons our office was created, to provide a means by which great ideas like these can be carried out in an effective and pastoral way,” Amick said. “The ‘if you have questions about the Catholic faith, call...’ statement at the end of the invitation reaffirms the commitment that our archdiocese will consistently provide the answer to the question, ‘What is the next step in the faith?’ and that that answer will not be an office, but a human person.”
Christine Bordelon can be reached at cbordelon@clarion herald.org.