“Are you Catholic?” my friends and I ask. “Would you like a rosary? Would you like to go to confession here tonight?”
“Are you kidding?” responds one man. “Been there, done that!” says another. “God, no!” chimes in a fast-walking atheist.
“You Catholics are all pedophiles!” yells one angry woman. Another hands us a bag of dog poop. Sixty-year-old Michael even has advice: “Why don’t you evangelize out in the Middle East, where they need you?”
“We’re needed here,” we respond. “This city needs Jesus, too. It needs His love.”
Some nights the tide turns in the Lord’s favor. A young woman approaches us, decked out in showy attire. “Are you guys really Catholic? I didn’t think there were any Catholics left! Can I have a purple rosary?”
“Sure! Where are you going? We have lots to talk about.”
“I’ve got to run! I’m a stripper. But I’m going to pray with this rosary.”
At times, the neighborhood even begins rooting for us. Strangers call out: “Way to go!” “Your courage is inspiring!”
We’re in our groove now, engaging strangers with joy—and seeing some of them later in church. On the rough streets of the City, working shoulder-to-shoulder with Christ, we’re no longer alone; we feel God’s grace.
You will, too, as you read the dozens of riveting – and often funny – stories in these pages, about ordinary Catholics from the financial sector evangelizing their wary New York neighbors. Indeed, so fascinating are their experiences, you may be tempted one day to join them.