OREM – Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pescadores de Cristo (Christ’s Fishermen) evangelization ministry at St. Francis of Assisi Parish has continued its evangelization efforts.
The ministry began six years ago as part of the parish’s reconfiguration of its rescue and prevention ministry, which was formed to “rescue people who are away and distant from God and bring them back to the Church to know that God is alive,” said Oscar Gonzales, one of the Pescadores de Cristo organizers.
With the restrictions imposed on social gatherings because of the pandemic, Pescadores de Cristo has not been presenting retreats or other evangelization activities as they have in the past. For example, the ministry used to hold a yearly healing retreat that drew more than 500 participants, women’s and men’s retreats, and retreats and classes for children and youth.
Now, “every Tuesday most of the ministry servers gather at the parish gym and offer evangelization beginning at 6:30 p.m.,” Gonzales said. Social distancing measures are observed and masks are worn.
They start with the rosary, followed by praise music. “We glorify God,” Gonzalez said.
After the singing is a discussion on a specific theme. This month they are focusing on the Book of Daniel. The night closes with a community prayer.
At these Tuesday meetings the members of the Pescadores de Cristo put “all their energy and intentions at the service of the community so they know that our Lord is here with us, walking every step of the way next to us,” Gonzalez said.
Before the pandemic, hundreds used to gather in person for the evangelization night, but now this ministry reaches thousands through social media.
“Technology can be a good asset if you use it for the good,” Gonzalez said of the live transmission that reaches not only the St. Francis of Assisi Parish community but Catholics in other areas in Utah and beyond.
“Now more than ever evangelization is important because it is a calling from God,” Gonzalez said. “It is where our Lord Jesus Christ has told us to go out to the world and proclaim his word. … In these times it is very important because as Catholics we need to be awake, looking for new strategies to be able to go on through the hardships of the pandemic.”
The pandemic is an opportunity for everyone to grow spiritually, he said. “Before it we were lethargic, like numbed. We were in a comfort zone, and now we have been shaken. We need to put the best of us at the service of the community.”
Because the Pescadores de Cristo events are posted on social media, people now not only can participate in real time, they also can go back to see and reflect on the themes that previously were presented.
“We also pray for the personal petitions that people have,” Gonzalez said. “We do all we can and God is the one that guides us.”
To participate in the Pescadores de Cristo ministry, log on to the St. Francis of Assisi Parish Facebook page on Tuesdays beginning at 6:30 p.m. The ministry is conducted in Spanish.