Good questions, Truthnlight.
I have been in Catholic churches that didn’t have missals in the pews, but instead, had BIBLES, and when the readings are done, the references are given first so that the Catholics can look them up in their pew Bibles and read along.
I have attended several of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Family Conferences, and last year, one of the speaking priests said that he is encouraging ALL his parishioners to carry their Bibles to Mass.
So it does happen in some churches.
Our Adoration Chapel has Bibles in the pews
Our parish offers several Bible studies throughout the week. I actually got over-involved in my first year of being a Catholic–I was doing four Bible studies! I finally cut it back to one.
Our city has a Catholic Bible Fellowship for men and women that has been going on for over ten years now. Many of the attendees have been there from the beginning, and they know their Bibles.
I agree that there are a lot of Catholics that don’t know their Bibles at all. But there are many who do. Call the diocese and ask to be put in contact with a Bible study group in a local parish. Visit, and you will meet Catholics who are serious about Bible study.
Also, someone else described the Mass readings in an above post. I have read that Catholics are supposed to study these readings BEFORE they come to Mass (remember, Mass is daily, so Catholics are supposed to read the daily readings, too), and they are supposed to discuss the readings AFTER Mass with their families. Of course not all Catholics do this, but they’re supposed to.
When it comes to soulwinning, Catholics do practice personal evangelism. Every Catholic home is supposed to be a “church.” The parents are supposed to be raising their children up to follow the Lord. This is soul-winning.
Also, Catholics are supposed to be involved in the life of the Church, using whatever gifts and talents they have. All of this helps to win souls. The person who cleans out the pews is helping someone to be more comfortable so that they won’t be distracted during the reading of the Word and the homily.
And Catholics are supposed to be giving personal testimony out in the world. I believe that one way that Catholics win souls is through their continued work for pro-life causes. Many Protestant denominations have admitted that the Catholics have fought this fight against death bravely for many years. It’s a real witness to the love of God for every soul, and I believe that many people come to know the Lord because of pro-life work of Catholics.
Catholics don’t have an easy format to “share the Gospel” with their friends. Protestants have tracts like “The Four Spiritual Laws” that make witnessing easier. I personally think that it would be good if Catholics had some kind of little tract that they could use to share the Gospel whenever they have the opportunity. But since they don’t, they often have a hard time finding the words to share their faith. A lot of Protestants have the same problem witnessing until they get some training through various organizations like Evangelism Explosion, Campus Crusade for Christ, or until they learn to use a Bible method like “the Roman Road” (which, BTW, I think would be particularly appropriate for Catholics to use, too!)
I do have a “Gospel Rosary,” that has six Bible verses describing how someone can be “saved.” It’s pretty cool.