Meet Fr. Josh Johnson, the next presenter in our Meet the Presenters series for The 99, Ascension’s new system for evangelization.
Fr. Josh is a priest in the Diocese of Baton Rouge. He has spoken at conferences for teenagers and adults, sharing his conversion experience and proclaiming his message of hope and human dignity.
He is the author of Broken & Blessed and is a presenter in Altaration, YOU, Rejoice, and No Greater Love. He hosts Ask Fr. Josh, a podcast perfect for young adult Catholics who are in transitional stages of life and dealing with changes.
Here’s more of his story in his words.
1. When did you first feel called to evangelize?
I fell in love with Jesus Christ during Eucharistic Adoration at a Steubenville South Youth Conference in Alexandria, Louisiana on June 26, 2004. Immediately when I came home from the conference I began to call all of my close friends and share with them my newfound relationship with Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
2. Do you remember the first time you stepped forward and shared the gospel with someone?
A few weeks after my encounter with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration I was invited to participate in a non-denominational summer camp. Most of my friends growing up were Protestant. Some were trying to live out their faith well and others were not engaged in a relationship with Christ.
One of my friends who had strayed from Church was also at this camp for the summer. I vividly remember asking him one night while we are all hanging out together if he was really happy deep down inside. He broke down and began to cry and after listening to him share with me how he felt like he was a mess for all the mistakes he made up to that point in his life I shared with him the fundamental truth that God loved him, had a plan for his life, and wanted him to turn away from his false idols and receive the relationship he was created for in Christ.
3. How has your life changed since then?
Since that experience, I have continued to invite people from all over the world to a relationship with Jesus Christ in the sacramental life of the Catholic Church. As a priest, I am privileged to not only speak with people about the love and mercy of God, but I am also able to share his love and mercy with them in the sacraments of reconciliation and Eucharist on a daily basis.
4. Have there been any particularly memorable moments in your life as an evangelist?
Most recently, I spent some time with my youth group at the same Steubenville conference where I encountered Jesus in the Eucharist during Adoration over fifteen years ago. Right before Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a youth minister approached me and told me that after he heard my testimony many years ago while I was still a seminarian studying to be a priest and he was a non-denominational Christian, his heart was impacted and he came into the Catholic Church and is now a full time missionary.
5. How has evangelization brought you closer to God?
Hearing stories from young disciples like this missionary inspires me to continue to simply invite people to come to Jesus in small group communities, Bible studies, Eucharistic Adoration and the sacramental life of the Catholic Church!
The 99 is coming soon. Preorder your copy today.