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Raleigh Diocese Puts Catholics into Evangelist Role

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RALEIGH — Catholics are taking on a new role in Raleigh. The Raleigh Diocese is one of six in the country chosen to try out a new program aimed at bringing more people into the Catholic church.

Traditionally, the Roman Catholic Church has left evangelism to priests and nuns, but the church is now calling out to lay people. Father Tim O'Connor says that folks will talk about everything these days -- but talking about Jesus Christ is hard for some people.

The church is hoping to eliminate a reluctance to discuss religion with a pilot program called Disciples in Mission, according to Terry Jackson, the Diocese Evangelization Director,

The program asks Catholics to develop enthusiasm about their religion so they'll want to share it with others. All people, especially inactive Catholics or those who don't practice any particular faith, are welcome. The church is asking them to fully integrate Catholic faith in their lives, both at home and at work.

The church is not encouraging an aggressive or heavy-handed approach to sharing. Evangelization is about welcoming, says Jackson.

The Raleigh diocese was chosen because of its diverse make-up and the fact that there are programs here supporting Catholic evangelism.

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Betsy Sykes, Reporter
Mark Copeland, Photographer
MJ Ainsley, Web Editor

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