Miami Lakes, FL – An event taking place nearly 20 years ago and over 1,400 miles away led a Miami-born designer to create poignant Catholic apparel with a purpose.
Dan González was born a cradle Catholic and went to public school and, admittedly, didn’t know too much about his faith. When he went to design school in Providence, RI, he attended a non-denominational Bible study group. Gradually, the group revealed to him that they accepted all denominations except one.
“They pointed to verse after verse “proving” to me that Catholicism was wrong and unbiblical. I couldn’t defend my faith and didn’t have any answers. After not wanting to abandon my faith for theirs, my Bible study friends gradually disowned me. In retrospect, this was the best thing that could have ever happened,” said Gonzalez.
“This event in 1989 lit a fire under me. I made a promise to myself to get to the bottom of my faith. I started with a blank slate and asked God to show me the truth. I started to read every book I could get my hands on. First up, the Bible, twice. The Catechism. Aquinas. Luther. Zwingli. Augustine. Merton. Lewis. Chesterton. Brown. Hahn. Wright. Crossan and more. Through the Spirit, I came to see that Catholicism IS Biblical Christianity. The Mass, the Liturgy, the Sacraments, the Saints, Marian devotion, the Papacy. This is what the Bible teaches.”
After graduating college and moving back to Miami, Gonzalez became involved in several groups: YAMI ( Young Adult Ministry Institute), The Lay Ministry Program in the Archdiocese of Miami, St. Brendan’s Young Adult Group, Catholic Scripture Program at St. Thomas University and he presently co-leads a Bible Study program at his parish, Our Lady of the Lakes.
He also became involved with Amor En Accion (Love in Action), a lay Catholic missionary organization. Through Amor en Accion, Gonzalez has traveled five times to the Dominican Republic to work with the youth and elderly. It has been very impactful.
“My experience with these groups revealed a need. Many Catholics go away to college only to be stupefied by some who plays Bible Bingo, that is to take passages out of their proper historical context, and uses them to persuade Catholics to leave their faith. We need to reach this generation that is embarking on this critical time of transition.”
Gonzalez uses his gifts as a designer to create Catholic apparel that appeals to this age group and challenges them with their faith.
“I want to create visually appealing designs that instruct Catholics about their faith. I want people to wear the shirts and more importantly to understand the meaning behind it and be able to explain it when someone asks. I want them to know about their faith, to understand it, to live it and to be able to defend it! They are powerful evangelization tools and excellent conversation starters.”
It is his desire that the shirts would awaken a thirst for the Scriptures, the writings of the Church Fathers and the Catechism.
“These shirts could be the seed that falls on good soil, it could be the spark that sets a person on fire for God and His Church.”
The t-shirts are available on his site http://www.AgnusGiftShop.com