I have heard it said that people who have attended parochial schools, especially in mission areas around the world, never hear about Jesus. This to me is an odd complaint - we would not even be there if it were not for Jesus. Our job is not to proselytize or indoctrinate, as some may believe and practice, but to bring Christ's love and justice into the world. One way this happens, the Church believes, is by using the vehicle of education. We are "evangelizers" (gospelers); that is our process and mission. As the saying we attribute to St. Francis goes: "Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary, use words." This can mean going into hostile environments to serve all of the people of God, baptized or not, where it is dangerous enough just to be Catholic but would be foolhardy to be brazen proselytizers. And anyway, trying to force people to God would accomplish not the goal of loving but only our own self interests and deaths. If we die for loving that is one thing, but to die for vain pride, that accomplishes nothing. We are vilified and castigated for just being Catholic, regardless of what we say or do. Yet the fact that even without preaching we can be seen as Catholic is a powerful witness to the world. We want others to know the joy of dedicating your life to Christ so that the Spirit can enter their hearts and transform them. It is the badge of honor of many missionaries (and the Church as a whole) to serve Jesus through their brothers and sisters by meeting their needs, Robert and William included.
In many places evangelization begins with education, to which missionary work dedicates much time and effort, like the merciful vine-dresser of the Gospel, patiently waiting for fruit after years of slow cultivation; in this way they bring forth a new people able to evangelize, who will take the Gospel to those places where it otherwise would not have been thought possible. The Church can also be defined as 'mother' for those who will one day have faith in Christ. I hope, therefore, that the holy people of God will continue to exercise this maternal service of mercy, which helps those who do not yet know the Lord to encounter and love Him. Faith is God’s gift and not the result of proselytizing; rather it grows thanks to the faith and charity of evangelizers who witness to Christ. As they travel through the streets of the world, the disciples of Jesus need to have a love without limits, the same measure of love that our Lord has for all people. We proclaim the most beautiful and greatest gifts that He has given us: His life and His love.
-- Pope Francis, Message for World Mission Sunday, May 16, 2016
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