PETE: You went from kick boxing champion to hard-hitting Catholic Evangelist. For those who have not read your latest book Catholics, Wake Up! can you tell us about your faith journey?
JESSE ROMERO: I was a lukewarm Catholic for the first 25 years of my life. I worshipped the unholy trinity of me, myself and I. My idol was the Martial Arts. I knew about Jesus, but I didn’t KNOW Jesus. At this time in my life as I worked as a young Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff I met a fellow Deputy who was on fire with the love of Jesus. He was an evangelical Christian. I was such a low information Catholic that I didn’t even know what an evangelical was? His witness and love for our Lord moved me to start reading the Bible, going to retreat & conferences, eventually running into Catholic Apologetics materials and the rest is history. In a nutshell, first I fell in love with JESUS, than I fell in love with His Church.
PETE: I believe those of us involved in evangelization can clearly see the huge need for it in today’s secular world. In your opinion where do we go from here and how does your book help with that?
JESSE ROMERO: I continue doing what I do best, teaching, preaching, inspiring Catholics to fall in love with Jesus and His Church. I share my journey of faith in the book, I share my struggles, my weaknesses and my strengths. I wrote the book so that my fellow Catholics get to know who I am at the core of my being. They hear me on radio, see me behind a podium, watch me on the internet, the book was written so that people can see I have clay feet also, I am a work in progress. I want to become holy or at least die trying.
PETE: The title of your book is fitting…today’s Catholics do need to wake up. The question is this. In your work as an author-speaker do you find people are spiritually asleep or afraid to evangelize?
JESSE ROMERO: Yes, Catholics think evangelization is a Protestant endeavor. In the book, I share stories of how I evangelize my boys, my daughter, a gangmember, a muslim, a hooker etc. I also show the absolute power of prayer in another true story. This book is meant to encourage other Catholics to step up to the plate and do likewise. Really, the best way to evangelize is to tell your story, your great adventure with Our Lord Jesus Christ. Nobody can argue with a changed life. Also, another important component of evangelization is ABC, Always, Be, Christ centered. In everything you do and say, ABC, Always Be Christ centered.
PETE: The numbers I have seen are bleek. Some 70% of those identifying themselves as Catholics say they do not regularly attend Mass. What more must be done to turn this around?
JESSE ROMERO: Live in a state of grace, have a serious prayer life, speak the truth in charity, be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church. Know your faith biblically, study your faith from the Catechism. Look out for daily opportunities to share your faith daily. Be kind and joyful, nobody likes being around a sourpuss Christian that looks like he is sucking a lemon. Let the joy of the Lord be our strength even amidst this present darkness. Ultimately, we know the scorecard at the end, the game is fixed – WE WIN!
PETE: Can you give us an overview of your work at your website Jesse Romero, On Fire Evangelization?
JESSE ROMERO: On Fire Evangelization is a 3 man team: Myself, Anita (my wife) and Phil (web & production). The motto of our apostolate is: Love God, Save Souls, Slay Error. Our 3 man team goes to daily Mass, daily rosary, daily divine mercy, daily 12 noon angelus, daily bible reading, weekly prayer in front of an abortion clinic.
I am a bilingual Catholic Lay Evangelist, I preach Parish missions virtually every weekend, and about 2 Parish Missions (locally) during the week. I want to spend myself for JESUS, I would rather die evangelizing than die fossilizing in a rocking chair watching Gilligan’s Island reruns. I also do a Spanish Catholic radio show 3 nights a week in Los Angeles (largest radio market in the country) and I do English Catholic radio 4 days a week in the daytime with Immaculate Heart Radio. I also get invited at least 1 a month to the local Spanish television news networks to defend the Catholic Church against the culture of death secular progressive liberals. I am known as the voice of conservative Hispanics in southern CA Spanish television networks.
PETE: Time for my signature ending question. This is a blog about books. What is currently on your bookshelf to read?
JESSE ROMERO: I am currently reading: The One Minute Aquinas – the doctors quick answers to Fundamental questions by Kevin Vost. Excellent read…