Vocations, Conversions and Preaching Christ Crucified


Deacon Greg Kandra has the story.

Remember Father Greg Shaffer?

He’s the priest at George Washington University who is under attack by a couple of homosexual activists. The reason? Father Shaffer told them that homosexual people are called to celebacy.

It turns out that people are attracted to this simple formula of preaching Church teaching. The parish at the Newman Center where Father Shaffer is assigned has grown from 100 parishioners to 400 in the time he’s been there.

Perhaps even more amazing, this small parish now has four young men who are entering seminary.

I’ve been saying for a long time that all the Church has to do is preach Christ and Him crucified.

The Church cannot approach its ministry from a social work/business model. It’s as clear as anything I’ve ever seen that God does not honor that approach. Vocations fall. Parishioners drift.

People do not get out of bed on Sunday morning week after week to hear a watered down version of the Gospels that are shorn of their life-saving power. They go for Christ.

Christ’s followers have been willing to lay down their lives throughout the 2,000-year history of our faith. They are doing it now all over the world. But they will not do this for a vague politically-correct, weak kneed sham Jesus. They will follow and die for the real Jesus; the one who said “no” to the kingdoms of this world, and by so doing set his foot on the pathway that led to the cross.

The jesus that fits in with polite dinner party conversation among the politically correct is a sham and a lie who cannot save anyone and does not attract followers of any sort. You cannot dilute Christ to make Him socially acceptable among those who want to walk down the wide way that leads to destruction. When you try to do that, you are not diluting Christ. You are denying Him.

It takes courage to follow the real Jesus Who was sent to the cross. I would guess that it also takes courage to preach Him. The attacks on Father Shaffer are an example of why it takes courage. But the results he’s seen in his parish are what happens when you do it.

Preach Christ, and Him crucified. Do that, and the vocations and fallen away Catholics problems will take care of themselves.

From the National Catholic Register:


WASHINGTON — Father Greg Shaffer, the Catholic chaplain at George Washington University, learned early that a good pastor can defy the odds and lead the young to embrace a priestly vocation. Growing up in Bethesda, Md., Father Shaffer was inspired by the example of Msgr. Thomas Wells, a charismatic figure in the archdiocese who possessed a deep and infectious love for the Eucharist. Msgr. Wells brought many young men to the priesthood before he was murdered during a 2000 robbery at his Maryland parish; he was 56 years old. Now, 13 years later, that beloved pastor remains a source of inspiration for Father Shaffer, who has revealed a knack for fostering vocations at a secular university better known for jump-starting careers in government. Since the priest’s arrival four years ago, Sunday Mass attendance at the campus Newman Center has increased from 100 to about 400 people — and, this year, four men will enter the seminary.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/george-washington-chaplain-leads-four-men-to-the-priesthood/#ixzz2SWOzg2VP

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  • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

    I am not a great believer in the ability of argument to convince others – one has to remember that it took them just as much to reach conclusions that contradict yours, as it took you to reach yours. If only out of respect for them as thinking human beings, one should not assume that one can knock mistaken ideas down with a mighty heave of one’s powerful arguing muscles. However, I think I have accounted for one conversion in my life; and the argument that did it was – exactly – Christ crucified. I argued that it is not within my power to know HOW the death of God saved me, but that one thing I know is that when I pray to Jesus Christ, I pray to someone who has been there, who knows the worst things that can happen to any human being, who has experienced them. I do not pray to a God who lives in a distant realm of flawless perfection, but to someone who has felt hatred, prejudice, rejection, violence, perjury, injustice, torture and judicial murder literally on His own skin. No matter how terrible your situation may be, He knows it and has been there with you. Shortly after I made these points to a friend of mine, he started attending Mass. I don’t take the responsibility for his conversion, I think he was always looking for a way home, but I do think I may have made it easier for him.

    • midwestlady

      Amen. It is Jesus who does the converting, and he converts people to himself. When you sense his presence in the quiet, talk to him like a friend because he is your friend. Read the Scriptures. Speak to others about him. Make him the center of your life. You won’t be sorry.

  • Bill S

    “Father Shaffer told them that homosexual people are called to celibacy.”

    This will probably be the divisive issue of the decade. Paths will be chosen based on whether people accept or reject this stand by the Catholic Church. Those who accepted will be drawn in and those who rejected will back away. Many young people will sympathize with gays and will not get as involved with the Church as they would have otherwise. I think this stand will create a lot of atheists.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Fair weather apostles have always run away from the hard teachings Bill,

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fabio-Paolo-Barbieri/1326821465 Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        And as CS Lewis had Screwtape say, courage is not a virtue, courage is the form that all virtues take when it comes to the point. Certainly including faith. If you only have enough faith as long as you don’t have to face entrenched, rabid hatred, then you don’t have enough, period.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      Worse than that Bill, I’m already seeing signs that those who accept Church teaching on this issue are being actively persecuted in secular culture.

  • http://jessicahof.wordpress.com/ Jessica Hoff

    Preach the Gospel – use words if necessary :)