(NH) We were fortunate to have 4 Lower Bucks / Philly St. Paul Street Evangelization team members available to go out on Saturday morning in downtown Philadelphia. The team of Deacon Mark and Rich setup near the Cathedral and the team of Don and Nancy setup down the parkway a bit, across the street from the Franklin Institute science museum. This report is regarding the team of Don and Nancy at the Franklin Institute.
It was quite hot and sunny, but the shade across the street from the museum made it a nice morning for street evangelization. This area is frequented by tourists, homeless people and joggers. We easily gave out over 30 rosaries and 20 blessed medals in two hours. Additionally, having a box of protein bars and extra water helped with corporal needs as well!
Our first encounter was with a young woman named Elizabeth. She was sitting on the curb down the street a bit, playing with her phone, watching us setup our prayer station sign. About five minutes after setup she got up to walk by and we asked her if she would like a rosary. She said yes and we gave her one and a pamphlet on how to pray it. We asked her if she would like us to pray with her and she said yes but told us she didn’t speak much English. We traded in her English rosary “How to Pray” pamphlet for a Spanish one, and lifted Elizabeth and her needs for safety, health and welfare up to our Lord. She left us thanking us greatly.
A young African American man named Nemo came by and when we asked him if he would like a rosary and if he could use a prayer he told us that he had done bad things in life and that he did not think he was the kind of person who God wants to hear from. We spoke to Nemo about how in the Bible we are told that Christ came for sinners and not just for a bunch of good people. We told Nemo about how all of us did some bad things but the great love that Our Father has for every person he creates calls us back again. We asked Nemo if he was regretful of doing the bad things that he has done and Nemo told us yes he was. He told us that it was a good thing we were doing out there with our prayer station and that speaking with us gave him much to think about.
A coincidental encounter happened with a fellow named Hank. When walking by, we asked if he would like a rosary or a prayer, Hank told us no and that he used to be Catholic. He stopped to talk. When asked if he went to Catholic school he stated he did but it was not nearby. Upon further discussion, it turned out that Hank attended the same Catholic high school as Nancy and graduated two years earlier. In addition he lived and grew up down the street in the same small Pennsylvania town as Nancy. We asked Hank if he thought that maybe meeting a couple of Catholics on the street in downtown Philly with a prayer station with one having grown up and gone to school in the same place about the same time as him might be a means by which God was letting him know that He is indeed at work in his life. Hank said no, and that his only god was desire for revenge. He told of many people who had done bad things to him, especially his father and how he only gets satisfaction when he feels he has gotten back at them. Hank did not want to consider the thought of trying to forgive so that he could stop carrying the weight of it. We told him of how sometimes people’s relationships with their own father, when not good, can cause problems relating to the possibility that we have a creator, a Father in Heaven, who created us out of great love. Hank was dismissive of the thought. We asked where all this around us came from and he said factories. Moving on, what about the earth and its atmosphere, and all of the creatures, and the trillions upon trillions of stars? Hank remarked that a big explosion created it all. We asked where the big explosion came from and Hank stated “from nothing”. We wondered why it would be easier to believe that everything came from nothing instead of a loving Father in heaven whose relationship with humanity has been communicated for many thousands of years through history and encounters. Hank left without wanting a prayer and without wanting any book or sacramental. Hopefully Hank left with some food for thought about the possibility of God truly being here and truly loving him.
A family of about 12 came by and they came up to us, telling us that they were in Philadelphia for a family reunion and they would like to pray with us. What a blessing! They were the Brooks family and they had 4 generations with them. It was a great privilege and we shared blessed medals and rosaries with them. When they were leaving the teen girl said do you have a Legion of Mary where you are? She told us that she was a member of the legion where she lived. This was so adorable and here we were giving out rosaries to her!
Finally we were getting ready to pack up and leave. A young well dressed couple came by and said they would love to have a rosary and how to pray it pamphlet. The young woman said she was Catholic. Also they said they would very much like to pray. To our surprise, because of how ‘chic’ they looked, Francesca and Chris told us that they needed prayer for sober living and that they were in recovery. We prayed to Jesus, the divine physician and great healer, for this couple to be healed of any desire to be under the influence, today and everyday of the rest of their lives. May God greatly bless this humble couple and answer their prayers!
Please pray for the following intentions:
- Elizabeth – for her health, well being, and resources
- Nemo – for him to know God’s mercy for him and for him to continue to have strength and reject sinfulness
- May and Will – homeless mother/son – for them to be blessed with getting a home
- Hank – that the Holy Spirit will change his ways from revenge to love
- French family – for their safe and healthy travels
- Gail – for things to get better in her life
- Brooks family – for good health of all the family members and for them to know the love of God in their lives everyday, growing in faith and love
- Francesca and Chris – to never desire to use drugs or alcohol again
- Kamal – for his well being