(NH) Nancy and Deacon Mark took to the streets of Ambler to knock and speak with St. Joseph’s parishioners. There was a chill but it was fortunately a sunny February day. The team went to Mass at St. Alphonsus to be readied for ministry, as St. Joe’s has no Saturday morning Mass. Using Google Maps uploaded with parishioner addresses, the team set about knocking on parishioner doors to explain that Deacon Mark is from the parish and they were looking for input on how the parish and Church is serving them and whether they would like their homes blessed and for any prayer intentions.
A kind man answered at the first home and invited us in to chat. The woman of the house exclaimed how pleased her mom would be that we came to visit. She told of how her mom had a considerable reversion, following the death of her father on this exact date 10 years prior, and now is an Extraordinary Minister at her parish. This adult daughter explained that she is raising her children in the Catholic faith but that she is having difficulty getting to Mass and growing in faith herself. Nancy witnessed to her own reversion some years ago when realizing that she struggled with Church teaching and lack of understanding why many things were taught. The faith had been more a set of rules to follow, then a relationship where one prays and worships and loves out of love for God. The homeowner agreed that she wanted to learn more too and that a recent sudden death of her best friend has brought her to looking for God in her life more than ever. The deceased best friend’s name happened to have been Nancy as well. She accepted Rediscover Catholicism and Rediscover Jesus books. Deacon Mark wanted to bless the home. He had forgotten to bring holy water but this woman happened to get holy water the day before and a paper with a house blessing on it, and he used this to bless the home and family. Truly, the number of “coincidences” with this home visit was staggering. It is a beautiful privilege to see God’s hand at work in clear amazing ways.
At another home a young man answered the door in pajama pants. He was not comfortable inviting us in but wanted to speak with us. He told us that was going to get changed and for us to wait. Mike came out and was pleased to speak with us. He told us of having been raised in the parish but then left to go to a Baptist church for a bit and now considered himself an atheist. Asking him “what does he believe in?” he told us that he was a type of atheist that thought that any religion could be right and that he did not know which was right nor what it mattered. He said that he did not have any particular complaints about the Church or St. Joe’s. We asked Mike if he considered the possibility that there was a creator. He said yes and that there could even be more than one. We agreed that yes there have been religions that have believed this throughout the centuries and Greek and Roman mythologies particularly lean towards the idea of many gods creating. Going back to the possibility of one God, the team asked again if Mike thought it was possible that there was one God who created all. He acknowledged that he thought it was a possibility. Nancy told of her recent talk with some fellows at a nursing home and their discussion about the number of stars in the universe exceeding the number of grains of sand that would fill a 5-mile wide x 5-mile high x 5-mile long box! Mike liked the idea of chatting with old guys at a nursing home about the universe 🙂 Going back to the single creator idea, we asked Mike if he could believe that a creator made this universe, this immense number of stars, and all else… and then the craziest thing, this super powerful creator, thinking of us individually in advance, and then creating us because when He thought of us He loved us. Mike said yes he thought it was a possibility. Then a most fantastic thing occurred next, we asked why would this God send Jesus? Mike told us that God would do that to show humans His love for us, that it would be a natural way for an amazingly powerful creator to draw his human creatures closer to Himself. Wow! We asked Mike if we could join hands and pray with and for him and he said yes. We prayed that our visit was going to help him come to know and love God and the Christian religion he was baptized into. Mike accepted a Crucifix telling us he did not have any of those for his room and would like one. Praise be to God who works in the most mysterious ways!
The team visited another home with a family and the dad answered the door and invited us into his home. He said that he and his family regularly attended Mass as St. Joe’s and that he has told his kids that it is important to keep their faith. The homeowner mentioned that he is very pleased to have Deacon Mark at the parish as he finds his homilies very good and relatable to family life since the Deacon has a family himself. He spoke of the difficulties of raising kids in today’s world and Nancy and Deacon Mark agreed. He thanked the Deacon for his service to the parish and for our prayers for him and his family.
Finally the team visited a Hispanic family where Deacon Mark’s Spanish speaking skills came in so handy once again! The homeowner told of how appreciative she is of the parish, that the recently formed Spanish prayer group was a great blessing to her. She also told of how parish staff helped her navigate her way to become a legal citizen of the US last year and how grateful she is for having St. Joseph’s parish in her life and the life of her family. The Deacon prayed with her and blessed the home and the family’s little shrine to Our Lady of Guadeloupe.
It was a fantastic blessing to have had the opportunity to speak about the Church and the parish of St. Joe’s with these parishioners. Please consider praying for the following people and their intentions:
- Vincent and his Uncle Joe – health, faith and well-being
- Tina and Joe – for their continued evangelization ministry
- Ron and family – strength as parent, growth in faith and love
- Charlie – anxiety difficulties
- Michael – to grow in faith and share it with his family
- Shauna and Chris’ family – faith, health, and safety
- the parish of St. Joseph’s in Ambler