Shalom Catholic Community’s New Café Evangelizes in Williamsburg

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY

Five years ago, there would have been alcohol in Adam St. Laurent’s cup, but these days he sticks to coffee.

It’s not an uncommon choice when you’re at a café, but this one is anything but ordinary. The SH NY Cafe at the San Damiano Mission Church in Williamsburg draws young people in with more than just coffee and pastry. Adam found the Shalom Catholic Community when he was at a crossroads in his life, instead of choosing addiction he decided to choose Christ.

“I wasn’t Christian or Catholic at the time and I had a calling to Christ and slowly through the missionaries and Fr. Cristiano they brought me in and brought me to faith,” he said.

The missionary community that has 70,000 members across the world uses cafes like this to evangelize.

“This place is a place of encounter of young adults who come who are in the church and who are far from the church and here they can have an experience of community, this is our goal to make people feel home and happy here, welcomed,” said Barbara Freitas the coordinator of the space.

As a missionary in one of the most secular cities on earth Barbara’s managed to attract hundreds of young people to their events.

“It’s beautiful to be able to give an opportunity to people to believe who never had this opportunity before,” she said.

Under the direction of Fr. Cristiano Pinheiro, the café, which opened earlier this month, is already bringing a new crowd to the heart of Williamsburg, one he says has the power to continue the Church’s mission.

“There are people who are reached by the evangelizing activities of the community and they become protagonists of the mission as well and they become missionaries themselves,” he said.

As a general contractor, Adam helped build the cafe. He was baptized a Catholic last year and these people and God’s love have replaced his vices.

“The serenity I have with the relationship I have with God our Father, with Christ, life is easier, life is more joyful now-a-days, it’s very special to have a community that is not really drinking and is nowhere around drugs and the joy of growing closer,” he said.

He’s now building back his own life, with faith as his foundation.