In a story about a 74-year-old man who has now been Catholic for 50 years.
Though he wasn’t Catholic, he started attending Mass at St. Alice with Kay. The couple’s six children would be baptized at the church.
In 1971, St. Alice got a young assistant priest, Father John Waldron. The gregarious Irishman assembled young couples, including Mike and Kay, for faith sharing. The priest told Whitney he’d always wanted to ride in a police car. The precinct sergeant, who was Catholic, approved the plan. And so Father Waldron joined young Officer Whitney on the graveyard shift on weekends. When things slowed down, the priest smoked cigarettes like a machine and Whitney slowly puffed cigars. This went on for a few weekends when Father Waldron had a question: “Why have you not joined the church?”
Whitney replied, “Because nobody’s ever asked.”
To which Father Waldron said, “Well, I’m asking.”
That started a period of Catholic education interrupted only by stops to arrest suspects, take reports and transport inebriated college students to the drunk tank.
Whitney became Catholic the following Easter.
He is still in the same parish with his wife.
I have read/heard stories like this from time to time and it always rather surprises me. That just the simple personal element of being asked can make the difference. Sure, in many cases it is not going to seem to make a difference—yet the personal invitation is the reminder that evangelization starts at that personal level. Jesus started at that level with “Come and see.”
This story is worth reading in full.