Transport for Christ

Transport for Christ is a roadside ministry here in the USA for truckers. I was in Columbia today to attend a chess tournament with Elias and when we nipped out the the local Scottish restaurant for a burger we happened along this Transport for Christ chapel.

You an see that it is fashioned out of a tractor trailer, and is situated next to the boiled peanuts stand with the Golden Arches in the background. We met Clifford the local chaplain with his two dogs and talked about his ministry to truckers. Truckers have a lonely life, there’s violence out there, drugs and drink. Clifford said the prostitutes turn up at the truck stop parking lots going from truck to truck.

You have to admire the Evangelicals. So often they just get out there and get on with the job. They preach a simple gospel and minister to people in need. I’m tempted this summer to get on my cycle with my riding buddy Mikael (who is a hefty truck driver and former soldier) and hit the road and do some Catholic trucking evangelism together.

  • kkollwitz

    This reminds me of an article a few years ago in the Miscellany. It was about a circuit-riding priest in the lower part of South Carolina during the 1950s or so. A photo of the priest's Mass trailer showed something much like your photo. If you remember the itinerant priest and his vehicle in Lilies of the Field, well, it was like that.

  • DJ | AMDG

    I'll go. Sounds like the perfect STMT. Seriously. I'll go. Couldn't go all summer, but I could do a long weekend for sure plus a day or two. As a matter of fact… I bet I could get a couple other guys, too. If you're more than just tempted, let's talk about planning something.

  • Neophyte

    Father, if you do take a road trip, I would love to ride along with you guys.

  • Fr Longenecker

    Well drop me a line fellas by email so we have contact. I mean if we're forming a Catholic motorcycle evangelization group we better get our act together.

  • john

    I didn't know you rode Father. I ride too. I live in New England and yes I ride year round. The only thing that keeps me off the road is a snowstrorm. I also used to be a Truck driver as well. I used to see some weekly newspaper in truckstops that was put out by some group that are Evangelical Christians aimed at truckers. Ride safe Father.

  • shadowlands

    Go mental Father, and deliver the Gospel with speed. I really think this could catch on. Innovit, innovati, that word beginning with inno, that's what you are.Innovative!

  • Red Letter Believers

    I love it. Taking the gospel to the streets!DavidRed Letter Believers, "Salt and Light"

  • KT

    I really honestly do admire the creativity and passion of the evangelicals. They are deeply committed to the salvation of souls. We could learn a lot from them.

  • Victoria

    I really honestly do admire the creativity and passion of the evangelicals. They are deeply committed to the salvation of souls. We could learn a lot from them.Couldn't agree with you more KT and the same goes for the bible schools in the holidays for kids, the Christian rock concerts etc etc We Catholics have the true Faith and yet we haven't ten percent of the fire that the Evangelicals have. We seem to spend all of our time in in fighting. What's up with us? Is it lack of leadership?

  • jedesto

    Fr.L,Beginning in the 1930s and continuing for years the Paulist Fathers ran a number of "trailer missions" around the South. They would set up, pass out flyers inviting the locals to talks about the Catholic church. I assume the CSPs have an archive about these missions that would inspire those of you who are interested in organizing the CMEG. You also might consider a link up with those Franciscan friars (from Chicago?) who walked along the back roads through Virginia last year wearing their robes.

  • Maureen

    Up in Oregon, they had train car chapels in the late 1800s-early 1900s that rode the rails with a priest onboard from itsy-bitsy whistle stop to whistle stop, serving the local Catholics with Mass at the stops.

  • Anna A

    Victoria,As a frustrated former Baptist, I see several reasons for the lack of evangelism within American Catholicism.Evangelism is a bad word.We have religious orders to do the job.I didn't like it when someone knocked on my door, so I can't knock on doors either.Not my job.

  • Pete Ascosi

    Victoria and Anna-As for "evangelism" or whatever word you use, the US bishops wrote a document on evangelization and the #1 goal of the document is:To bring about in all Catholics such an enthusiasm for their faith that, in living their faith in Jesus, they freely share it with others.and the second goal:To invite all people in the United States, whatever their social or cultural background, to hear the message of salvation in Jesus Christ so they may come to join us in the fullness of the Catholic faithPretty awesome goals I must say. Having worked five years as a young adult in the new evangelization – I must say "doing it" is a lot harder than "talking about it." But HE is faithful and by pursuing Him everyday and asking Him for grace to grow as a Catholic evangelizer – I've begun to see myself personally witnessing to others in lots of situations.Training also helps. Vatican II said:In regard to the apostolate for evangelizing and sanctifying men, the laity must be specially formed to engage in conversation with others, believers, or non-believers, in order to manifest Christ's message to all men.#31, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Vatican IIEver been "specialy formed" to evangelize?We offer one such course- which I'm taking 15-20 young adults through starting in March called "sharing christ"

  • Daniel

    My husband was a full-time trucker for five years. He now drives during the winters when farming is done. It would be a help if local Catholic parishes would simply post their info. for Mass times, etc. at the local truck stops and keep it updated. Then give a number to call for someone who would be willing to arrange a ride to Mass and back to the truck stop. There's a lot of places a semi can't go. A year ago when he was still driving full-time he did an extended run between two places in ND and SK. There was a priest in Dickinson, ND who would come get him each Sunday he was there. He even took him to a couple of special events that landed on those weekends. That kindness will never be forgotten!

  • Daniel

    Ooops! My last comment posted under my son's name! ~Tracy

  • Jen

    Do you know why Catholics can't do that kind of evangelism? Because here's what happens in the Catholic context:1) Let us introduce you to Christ.2) You know and meet Christ most fully in the sacraments.3) Uh, no, you can't just come next Sunday and go to Communion. Or even confession. You have to you know, become Catholic.4) Oh, about a year – you have to go through RCIA. Next Easter, maybe.5) Oh….hmmm. Yes, well, we'll have to talk to Father about that. See, you'll have to get that first marriage annulled, if possible, and then get your second marriage blessed in the Church. So that might make it take longer than a year. Maybe Easter after next, you can come to Christ in Eucharist and the other sacraments..I'm not saying it's *wrong* I'm just saying that "bringing people to Christ" in the Catholic context is way more complicated than, "Pray with us, join us next Sunday."