1. Start with the end in mind: conversion of souls toward being transformed by grace with perfect love and union with God.
2. The primary method of SOCA to accomplish this is personal relationship; it is primarily a “relational” ministry. Once a bedrock of trust through friendship is there, accountability and challenge in the spiritual life is all the more efficacious to allow the Holy Spirit to bear long-term fruit.
3. These relationships are established through many avenues: at the Church, at young adult events, through recreational activities ( e.g: sports, social outings, intentional discussions, walks etc…) through references, and through “bare handing” or street evangelizing.
4. Once the personal relationship is established with the disciples, we naturally transition to one-on-one meetings that foster spiritual friendship, basic yet fundamental Catholic formation (especially catechesis and spiritual theology), and commitment to accountability with living a disciplined rule of life and daily mental prayer.
5. Disciples are always encouraged to be authentically Catholic through their daily lives and within their circle of influence. Perhaps also through some “bare handing evangelization;” we may call this “organic” evangelization. They will be encouraged to take on the role of “mentor” or “role model” by “forming disciples” (again bearing in mind the emphasis on developing strong relationships in this form of evangelization) once they have received the formation referred to above. This formation includes developing strong habits regarding the rule of life particularly in regards to the practice and understanding the importance of mental prayer.
6. When a rule of life is being sufficiently followed and the individual is receiving spiritual direction from a competent and holy director, they will be encouraged to form themselves on how to be the best authentically Catholic evangelist they can be according to their state in life and their particular attraction of grace. These individuals may be single, discerning, married, or at other stages.
NOTES (corresponding to the steps above)
1. Any effort that advances this effort is within SOCA’s framework. Thus, SOCA works with non-believers, Protestants, lukewarm Catholics, and Catholics striving for sanctity. It really comes down to personal relationship and openness of the individual to conversion. Conversion happens at the beginning stage, but also throughout the entirety of one’s interior life.
2. Understanding the terms: the Church’s tradition of spiritual theology describes the levels of prayer and of the interior life. There are three main stages: the purgative, illuminative, and unitive. It is in the ordinary path of salvation for everyone to advance toward at least the illuminative stage, and we should all set our goal to advance to the highest level of even the unitive stage–that of the transforming union. This is very difficult and indeed extremely, extremely rare. However, this is not a sign of only a select few being called to great holiness, but only a select few corresponding with God’s grace to advance this far. It is SOCA’s aim to encourage and give resources to those docile to the Holy Ghost, desiring to advance toward this goal.
3. Particularly in Denver, this will be through making contacts in the many young adult events as well as at the Auroria campus which has 42000 students.
4. Accountability is a key feature of this apostolate, as there can be nothing more important to do so with than one’s habits regarding the spiritual life, yet many do so with much less important matters (ex: bodily health). There is a need for this, as priests cannot address the details of so many peoples’ lives, and having a friend to do such accountability with is very helpful, arguable essential in some cases. This accountability is intentionally customizable. One easy way is to do it through a shared excel sheet. Some of the points disciples will include in their daily rule of life are: heroic minute, morning offering, mental prayer, rosary, spiritual reading, study of the faith (particularly the Roman or Baltimore catechism), a brief examination of conscience at night, optional divine office (particularly Compline, or “night prayer”), optional daily mass and thanksgiving, weekly confession (with the same confessor, if possible). Once they are sufficiently rooted in mental prayer particularly, they are encouraged to find a competent and holy priest for routine spiritual direction.
5. Because relational ministry involves seeing the leaders in a daily context, if these habits are not strong, they will be trampled by activism, or at the least will lead others astray in following improper example.
5. Only then can they start to be a reliable and long-term support for others. While no one is perfect, this is an integral part of the method laid out in the book “Soul of the Apostolate”: a high standard of deep formation for a few.
-three foundational resources: “Soul of the Apostolate” by Dom Chautard, “The Old Evangelization” by Eric Sammons, and this podcast of Eric Sammons on Evangelization https://onepeterfive.com/ep-43-eric-sammons-old-evangelization/