I was at Church of the Holy Spirit this past weekend (Sep 27-28) to sell Befriending Jesus to parishioners. Holy Spirit Parish Priest Father Andrew Wong kindly allowed me to set up a booth outside the Church main hall to share with his parishioners the joy of having Jesus as a friend through this book.
Over this past weekend, I’ve had time to reflect more on this book. I really must thank Father Gerard Weerakoon for catalysing this process of reflection in me.
On the evening of Sep 27, after the sunset Mass, Father Gerard approached the booth and began to ask some questions. He asked me what the proceeds of the sales of this book would go to, and whether I had sought any approval from a church figure on publishing a book containing Church teaching. He also took a copy of Befriending Jesus to read over the night.
The answer to the first question is: evangelization. As for the second question, the book has been endorsed by Sister Jean-Marie Andrews, FMDM.
That got me thinking more seriously about those two areas, because it is not the first time that someone has asked me what the proceeds of the sales go to. My brief answer is that the proceeds go towards evangelization, which means to cover the costs of publishing Befriending Jesus, which is itself a tool for evangelization, as well as to fund the publishing of future Catholic books. But I had previously never sat down to work out just how large a percentage of sales go towards evangelization.
So, tonight, after I came back, I sat down and worked out those figures. The result is, based on the current figures I have, and projected figures, 73% of the proceeds from the sale of Befriending Jesus goes towards evangelization.
I also reflected more deeply on why exactly Befriending Jesus is a form of evangelization. As Pope Benedict XVI recently said to pilgrims at the Paul VI Hall on Sep 3, “Christianity is a personal encounter with Jesus“.
Befriending Jesus is evangelization because it helps readers to encounter Jesus as a friend by helping the reader to reflect on his or her own friendships and showing the reader how Jesus himself was a friend to the people He walked among. It also shows us the kind of friendship that Jesus wants to have with us, a friendship born from a personal encounter with Him.
I’m happy to say that Father Gerard seemed to approve of Befriending Jesus when he returned the copy the next morning, and I thank God for the opportunity to reflect more deeply on this book.
I am also thankful to Diana, a catechist at the parish who purchased 50 copies for her catechism class., her own children, and for her preschool students. I pray that these little ones may go to Jesus and get to know Him as a friend.