Chris, who is homeless and needs food
Elsa, who needs to reconcile with her atheist brother-in-law
Sonny and Eric, who are homeless and need jobs
Winnie, who is homeless
José, who is gravely ill with cancer
Diane and Latoya, who are trying to save money for a weekend getaway with their family
Melvin, who is dying in Temple University Hospital
Kenneth, who is homeless
Mimi, who battling Alzheimer’s
(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
For the third Independence Day in a row, our group set up our stand along the parade route in Southampton. We began by attending the 9:00 Mass, which readied us spiritually to share our faith with the our fellow citizens. The parade began a few minutes after Mass ended, and all we had to do was gather our equipment and walk less than fifty yards to the end of the church driveway. There were literally hundreds of people lining the street, and we decided to have Nancy stand alongside our display while Don and Mark walked among the spectators to offer them either a rosary or a religious medal. The first few people whom we encountered politely declined the free handouts that we were offering, but before we had time to get discouraged, other families began reacting very positively. Over the next hour, we distributed several dozen rosaries, crucifixes and religious medals, and had the opportunity to give encouragement to a young mother whose husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago. They are faithful Catholics in an adjoining parish, and we ask everyone to intercede for Scott McDowell, who is scheduled next week for a CAT scan to see how his case is progressing.
(NH) Don, Nancy and Deacon Mark headed down to the Philadelphia Cathedral area, certain that with St. Patrick’s weekend, there would be tourists. There was a large group of kids on tour who were very excited to receive rosaries and blessed medals. Many of the adult tourists and suburbanites hurried along, wanting to get out of the chill. Early on, a pickup truck stopped at the traffic light in front of us. A young worker jumped out, running up, asking for prayer for his family, and a rosary. We were happy to oblige. His truck mates started leaving without him and he had to quickly leave to catch up and jump back in.
One lady that stopped, Lucille, was very pleased to meet us. She told us that she had just left serving breakfast at a homeless shelter and was heading to the library to do some research on some ideas for helping them. Lucille told us how happy she was to see us out there on the sidewalk, offering to pray with people and speak with them about God. We told of how we are so privileged to be allowed to be the hands and feet and heart of Jesus and Lucille agreed.
A young man named Charles told us that he would like to pray. When asked if he had anything special to pray to God about, any intentions, he said that he wanted to thank God for being able to get up that day. It was amazing to hear this young man, apparently quite poor, want to praise God for what he had. We lifted up his prayers of thanks with him and asked God to especially bless Charles with great knowledge of His love for him and his job to share the love of Jesus with all who he meets. Charles was please to accept a blessed crucifix to wear.
An older man named Stan came by a little later. He had a green coat on to which we exclaimed that his coat was particularly celebratory for St. Patty’s day! Stan was pleased and told us that he was part Irish and Catholic to boot. He told us that he wanted to pray with us about his methadone treatment and how good it would be if he were done with it. Stan wanted to move upstate to live with and care for his 84 year old sister, Teresa. He said that the methadone treatment worked and helped him but he was struggling with other health issues and worries too. Stan was told that he had hardening of the arteries and that he might have to get his left leg amputated if it “goes downhill”. We touched his left leg below the knee, and prayed for Jesus the great healer to have mercy on Stan and heal his left leg. We greatly pray for God to move in this way of mercy for Stan. We also spoke of the importance of receiving the blessed sacrament and Stan assured us that he went to the Cathedral frequently and that he had not thought of how important it was to receive Christ in the Eucharist. He wanted to hear more about it. Nancy mentioned a quote from one of the talks she heard, “We consume Christ in order to be consumed with Him”. How beautiful is it that Our Lord wants us to receive Him in such an unfathomable and intimate way!
Finally, a woman named Hah came by. She was immediately recognized as we prayed with her almost two years ago (http://streetevangelization.com/lowerbucks/2017/06/10/saturday-june-10th-warm-day-warm-hearts-philly/). Hah, Vietnamese immigrant, had been homeless and seemed in dire straits when we last me her. She was beside herself with anger and hurt over her family ties that were broken. She appeared to be under the influence of something. Today Hah was tremendously better! She said that she now has an apartment. She spoke of an outreach worker named Chris who helped her get identification and food and shelter. Her eyes were clear and she looked lovely. Hah said that she still was not in touch with her family, that she could not even go to them to get her identification worked out, for fear of her father killing her. Hah continues to struggle with the pain of loss of family. She tells of how her brothers who have done wrong were forgiven but she will never be because she is a daughter. Nonetheless, Hah praised God for His working in her life and she wore a little pin of the Blessed Mother with infant Jesus on the lapel of her pretty wool coat. The difference in Hah’s appearance from two years ago to this day is nothing short of miraculous!
Please pray for the following people in your prayers:
- Hah – for healing of her family brokenness and bitterness to that of loving and merciful
- Stan – for his well being and good health and for healing of his left leg
- Bruce – for his health and well being
- Charles – to feel God’s presence strongly in his life guiding him
- Lucille – for blessings on her ministry efforts and her good health
- Young construction worker – for his family and continued faithfulness in Our Lord at work in his life
- Two young women from Tallahassee – for their safe travels and continued faith journey (one is preparing to become Catholic!, very pleased to receive and hear story of miraculous medal)
(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
(NH) Nancy and Deacon Mark went downtown to Suburban Station in Philadelphia for St. Paul Street Evangelization ministry on Saturday morning. The station was bright and dry, decorated with Christmas trees and shop signs, with Christmas music playing in many areas. Then there were the homeless, whose presence is a stark contrast to the tidy, clean, efficient looking station… Many were coming in from being outside in the rain, dampness clinging to their clothes and their scent. As found before at this location, as soon as our team enters the station we are approached by homeless people. Many tell stories of woe that are shocking and scary. They tell of lives of abuse and neglect, foster homes, addiction and prison, violence, theft, hunger, fear and bitterness. Many also tell of belief in God at work in their lives, of gracious love for Jesus and His Mother, of tremendous concern for the others who are homeless, of hope in getting places of their own, of getting jobs, of being healthy, of getting married, of making contact with their families. They are typically kind and sweet and so thankful for us to pray with them and speak with them about life and God and what He asks of us and what He does for us.
Wanting to do something special for Christmas for some of those that we would meet, the team brought several $10 Dunkin’ Donut giftcards, as there are a few of these shops in the concourse. This seemed a good idea so that we were not carrying cash and could steer use of our gift towards food instead of being used for drugs or liquor. In addition to our usual sacramentals, we also brought some knit gloves, purchased at the dollar store, to offer folks as a little Christmas gift, along with cookies and waters. The people were very appreciative for anything and everything that they received from us, corporeally and spiritually. After giving out all of the gift cards to the needy, there were some who came by later who had drinks from Dunkin’ Donuts but we had not given them gift cards. Apparently those whom we gave gift cards to shared what they had with others and bought them food and drink with their cards. The care of many of the homeless for their brethren truly cuts one to the heart. Our team is so appreciative of being given the privilege to serve the poor in the name of Jesus.
There were many encounters that were moving and this post could go on and on and on. However, for the sake of getting some things done today in addition to this post 🙂 and for the sake of the reader, here are some excerpts and intentions:
Keith – A young man who told of his prior life of alcoholism and being on the wagon for over 6 years, but in need of work and getting back in touch with his family after having been in prison. We bought him a train ticket to Lansdale, per his request.
Odell – A man who was sitting up against the wall in the station, but looked healthy and well dressed. He said he was very blessed. Odell had a speech impediment that made it very difficult to understand him. This has been noted before when ministering to the needy in Philadelphia; many have speech difficulties and it makes one wonder if that is part of the source of why they are not employed or being left behind in the culture. It certainly makes for a difficult life. Odell wanted to pray for Nancy and her children before wanting her to pray for him.
Salim – A young man who was heavily tattooed prays for forgiveness.
Elderly woman – She was mute and tried to sign her needs but was not understandable. She left seemingly pleased with a prayer, a new pair of gloves and a dunkin donuts card.
Charlene – A middle aged woman who we met on previous occasions. She said “Hi I’m back and I need prayer!” We prayed for her needs for shelter and stability and peace and for her daughter too.
Keith – A middle aged man who had spent some time in prison and wants to make good choices in alignment with God’s will in his life. He told us that he gives himself to Jesus and loves the Blessed Mother. His deceased mother’s name is Mary also, and Keith prays for a sign that his mom is well and with Christ.
Dante – 26 year old man who we met before. We prayed for him to have doors open in his life for stability and peace and for him to have strength to make choices to bring this about.
Leonora – For her health, shelter, and care.
Henry and Marcus – For their health, shelter, and care.
John Williams – For the repose of his loved one’s souls.
Jerold – A gentle giant of a man ~ for his needs.
Larry – Released from prison two days ago, having served a 20 something year sentence. Larry is on-fire with the Holy Spirit! He tell of how he has a job setup, is living in a halfway house and wants to build a good future for himself by following what God asks of him. Larry speaks of how he gets “thumped” on what he should do, sometimes it is light and gentle, sometimes it is strong and he knows what to do based on this. He plans to “Keep Holy the Lord’s Day” tomorrow by going to services at a Pentecostal church where he is comfortable, having been raised in that denomination. He accepted a medal of the Blessed Mother and enjoyed speaking with us about her love of us as her children.
Jackie – A soft spoken gentle women who originally came from Louisiana and speaks with a lilting southern accent and excellent vocabulary. She told of how she has no family in the area but came to Philadelphia for the promise of a job, after losing a job of 3 years in New York. The Philadelphia job never came to fruition and Jackie speaks of being stuck in Philadelphia. She has had some college education, which was not surprising considering how well spoken she was. Jackie’s story makes one think about how any of us could be a homeless person, due to job loss, lack of family or friends, mental illness, poor choices, health problems, and bad luck. She asked for a ride to the Art Museum but then having gotten there and seeing the rain, asked to be brought back to the train station. We recommended she go to the Hub of Hope in the station to ask them to help her get work, that she had employable skills. She said she would. On driving home, we saw that she did not enter the station after all but was walking down the street in the rain.
(NH) We (Deacon Mark and Nancy) braved the Philadelphia November chill for street evangelization on Saturday. Our little team started in front of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) but decided to switch gears when it became apparent that nobody wanted to be out on the sidewalk in the cold. So we packed up the car and drove back into center city, with a plan to go into Suburban Station.
Down in Suburban Station, with the cold outside, we had the privilege to meet, speak, and pray with many homeless people as well as share our protein bars and bags of nuts. It is always a humbling experience to have strangers willing to stop and connect with us. It is even more so with the poor. They demand nothing. The smallest gestures of kindness are met with a deep gratefulness not often experienced in life.
Early on we met Donna. She was hard to understand because she was missing many teeth and it made speech difficult. Despite our lack of ability to communicate well with each other, she allowed us to pray with her and she accepted a blessed crucifix. Donna gave Nancy and Deacon Mark big hugs. Her hug, which could be considered a small thing, built us up for the rest of our ministry that morning. God bless that sweet Donna!
A young woman named Tara came up to us and told us that she would like us to pray with her. We prayed for Tara to find permanent shelter and for her baby girl, who was with relatives, and gave her some blessed medals for her and her little one.
A short time after Tara left us, she returned with her friend Bree. Nancy said, “Hi Tara, do you want to chat some more with us?” and Tara exclaimed, “Oh, you remember my name!”. Another small gesture, the recollection of a name, does not seem like much. However, to someone who is struggling, it can mean very much. Tara explained that her friend Bree would love to pray with us too and that if possible she would also like a blessed medal. We were happy to oblige. We spoke at length with the young women about how the choices we make every moment of every day are either a choice God would want us to make or would not want us to make. We spoke of our need to do our best to make our choices in alignment with what God wants. This will bring the peace and hope and joy in Christ that He promises us. We spoke of how if everyone on earth did this and rejected turning away from God that it would be like we were living in heaven already. The young women enthusiastically agreed. Tara and Bree were pleased to accept Matthew Kelly’s Resisting Happiness books, which promise help in seeing one’s choices clearly in life.
Finally, we spent much time in conversation and prayer with a man named Albert. It was funny because he came up to us and asked where we were from. We told him Lower Bucks County. Albert went on to tell us that he went to school at William Tennent. Wouldn’t you know, that is Deacon Mark’s high school Alma mater and Nancy has a daughter there now too? To top it off Albert went to the same junior high as the Deacon as well. We asked what neighborhood he was from and Albert told us about how he had been placed at Bethanna in our town, then a residential facility for children from abuse/neglect situations. Nancy had volunteered at this same facility in the early 1990’s as a young college graduate, working with a little boy who must’ve been just a few years younger than Albert; this made Nancy and Albert miss each other at Bethanna by about 4 years. What a small world!
Albert spoke of his great faith in Christ but the need for all of us to get along with each other, regardless of religion. We wholeheartedly agreed that this is certainly what Christ wants of us, to love ALL His people. Albert, however, did not speak lightly of sinfulness nor of the need to turn away from it. He mentioned, without prompting, that Jesus calls us all to repent of our sins to receive Him and live in Him. Albert spoke at great length of his childhood history in Lower Bucks playing football and running track. He seemed so happy recollecting this with us. He briefly mentioned that after high school he dropped out of vocational tech school due to illness in his family and never went back. Now he is planning to try to complete some classes for a certificate that will help him get a good job. He mentioned that speaking of his sports made him remember how good the physical outlet was for him and that he should try and do more of that to help when his mind is full and needs to let some thoughts out. Upon asking about his housing situation he mentioned living in North Philadelphia and said it was OK. We told him about some affordable housing near mass transit in Lower Bucks and that perhaps he might consider trying to move back up as he has such fond memories of his time near our home. Upon leaving, we realized that our conversation with Albert brought back good memories for both us and him. It was a lovely blessing from Our Lord 🙂
Please pray for Albert to get his classes, job and life on track and also for the following:
- Jenise and Robert, for their well being
- Jenise’s husband David, for healing from his cancer
- Donna, for her well being
- Tara and Bree, for them to continue their friendship and to be guided and given strength to make choices in alignment with God’s will and good for their lives; Also for Tara’s baby girl
- Trevor, for his family
- Angel, for direction in his life
- Laura, a victim of domestic violence, for a new home
- Dante, for healing from his addiction and continued openness to hearing the Lord’s call
- Shaina, to be blessed with being able to return to her home and family
And for the many people who accepted rosaries and blessed medals to receive great grace from God when looking upon them and praying with them.
Marcel – for his senior housing to come through
Leonard – for his needs and shelter
Two Indian men – for peace in the world and for their families
Salim – gives glory and praise to God
Kim – for complete healing and recovery from alcoholism; we prayed healing prayer for her to be relieved of any desire to drink.
Tony – for his needs and life
Rachel and Alexis – for blessings on their life
James – to find permanent housing
James – for his foster mom’s healing and wellness
Rich – for peace in Philadelphia and the world
Lissee – for her family members to come to know the beauty and truth of faith in Jesus and His Church and for Lissee to be guided by the Holy Spirit know what and when to speak and act in her love of Christ and when to be quiet and still
Adrian – 42 year old man who has been on the streets for three weeks following the loss of his job due to relapse in drug use. His step mother evicted him from her house, and he has been going to Saint Francis Inn for food and shelter on cold nights, and he desperately wants to put his life back together again.
Some of our team members have been busy visiting parishioner homes as part of their evangelization efforts in recent weeks. Nancy joined the evangelization team at her home parish of Assumption for their bi-annual home visit mission and then last weekend, Deacon Mark and Nancy started parish home visit efforts at the Deacon’s new parish assignment of St. Joseph’s in Ambler.
Both parishes ran information in their parish bulletins about the evangelists coming around town. All parishioners who answered their doors were welcoming. When a parishioner did not answer, a parish bulletin along with a note explaining that we stopped to say hi and to please contact us or the pastor if they would like to speak about anything related to the Church, the parish, or ask for prayers, etc.
For the Assumption parish visits a few weeks ago, about ten teams of two prayed first and then went out with planned routes to knock and try to visit with any parishioners, active or inactive, who lived on their assigned route. The team members wore tags that identified them as members of Assumption parish. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and the joy of the team members was palpable. We met some people in their driveways, we knocked on a few homes without answer, and then we were invited into homes as well. When we had the opportunity to speak with folks we explained that we were from their parish and were volunteers coming out to visit parishioners. We asked them how they felt about their parish,how they were doing, we asked how going to Mass was working for them. We witnessed to our own experiences of faith at work in our lives. We asked how the parish can support them and to see if we could pray with them. We were blessed to be allowed to pray with many of the parishioners we met.
On the St. Joseph’s parish visits that began last week, just our single team of two went out, to begin an effort that Deacon Mark has looked forward to for a long time :). The plan is for our St. Paul Street Evangelization team members to support Deacon Mark in his parish visits as needed, and to hopefully get other St. Joseph’s parishioners interested, trained, and on fire for the Holy Spirit to join the effort for their parish as well.
The day prior to going out at St. Joe’s was All Soul’s day and we had no idea of the delight that was in store for us in the homes of Hispanic parishioners. Upon invitation into a parishioner’s home, we were greeted with what appeared to be a party. There were flowers, balloons, food items, pictures, sacramentals and all sorts of colorful celebratory items everywhere! The homeowner, speaking in Spanish to Deacon Mark, told us that the decorations were for the day of the dead that was yesterday. The entire living room was setup as a shrine to remember this family’s faith in God and His mercy for their recently passed loved ones. The beautiful blending of hospitality, fellowship, joy, faith, and prayer was like a beautiful work of art with the Holy Spirit as the artist. It was a privilege to experience it! We were invited into another home of a Hispanic family and were invited to see their beautiful shrine as well. This next family spoke of the difficulties of working long hours and being unable to get to the Sunday Mass as a family. Deacon Mark told them about all of the different parish celebrations and gatherings during the whole week, in the hope of some of them fitting into busy schedules to help bring the family into the parish to a greater degree.
Finally the team was fortunate to sit and enjoy a coffee at the table of a parishioner who confided that she was battling breast cancer. Her twenty-something daughter sat with us as well, and we cannot help but think that our outreach effort also had a positive effect on the young adult daughter’s thoughts on her Church and her parish. We spoke of how the Lord is with us so in our times of trials. Our parishioner told us that she is confident that God will heal her completely. We gave them miraculous medals and we prayed greatly for mom’s healing and recovery from the cancer, as a beautiful blessing to her and her daughter. Please also offer prayers for this mom and all who we visited.
See picture of Deacon Mark at a home decorated for dia de los muertos:
(NH) Deacon Mark, Don, Bernard, and Nancy served in the St. Paul Street Evangelization ministry at the Fall Festival hosted by St. John Bosco parish in Hatboro. We served alongside the Pontifical Mission Society, helping to remind festival-goers of the reason why the Church stands there today – for love of Christ and Church and the call for all of us to spread the good news of Christ!
The atmosphere was wonderful with families, rides, and carnival food everywhere. We gave out lots of rosaries with pamphlets on how to pray the rosary, as well as many blessed medals with prayer cards, easily numbering in the hundreds. We found people open to receiving gifts of sacramentals and several willing to stop and pray. Some also came up on their own accord to request prayer with us, seeking help in their lives.
On Wednesday evening a young couple came up to us and asked us to pray with them. They told us that the young man of the couple, Christian, needed prayer because he had to go to court on Friday and they were very concerned about charges brought against him and that they needed assistance in praying for an outcome that was desirable. We prayed with the couple that Christian’s hearing would go well. On Saturday this young couple came by, telling us that they knew the carnival was done on this day and that they needed to come back and tell us that our prayers with them were answered, that all worked out beautifully for Christian and the young couple could now get on with their plans for making life together. We spoke with them about how sometimes in life it seems as though the commandments from our Father are just a bunch of rules that God gave us. However, thinking on it more, we can come to realize that God was giving us the path to peace and joy on earth with these commandments, and the wonder of how the world be would so charitable, peaceful and hopeful if everyone would follow these gifts from God. Deacon Mark spoke with the couple about how they may be married in the Church, that an annulment may not be difficult to get, and that he would help them do so if they felt they needed help. The couple told us of how they plan to try and do so, to get married in the Church, and that they also hope to have many children someday also 🙂
A teen group of young men came by and asked us to pray for them to meet some nice girls. We happily prayed with them, asking our Lord to bless them with meeting some lovely young women, who love God and would lead these young men to loving Christ more and more in their lives, and would be good friends to the young men.
On Tuesday an encounter with a woman named Michelle left me thinking. Michelle came up to our prayer station. Her mom Margey is dying of cancer and Michelle is beside herself with grief and fear. She reflected on her anger with God, remarking that He is nowhere for her and her mother. Upon asking Michelle for further details on what she is dealing with in life, such as what cancer is your mom battling, and how old is your mom, we came to realize that she was not in any state to speak of her terrible suffering. Poor Michelle lashed out, what does it matter? Michelle told us that she is sick and tired of people asking these questions, she called them questions that she used to ask, as if somehow it is ok for her mom to die because it is this kind of cancer or because she is this old. Michelle exclaimed that her mom is her best friend and that the doctors took months to figure this out and now they finally did and now Margey is going to die from it soon and Michelle cannot bear to lose her. All that I could offer was kindred sorrow. I told Michelle that I was sorry that I had asked her these questions and I was not sure why I did but that I did not mean to make less of how awful her and her mom’s situation is. She came back a little while later explaining that she was sorry for getting angry. I told her that she was right, that I should have listened more and spoke less, and that I am truly sorry for her and her mom’s suffering, and that I had lost my mom to cancer and that it was awful to see a loved one suffer so. I told her that even when she thinks she is completely alone, she never is, that our Savior Jesus, is with her always, loving her and having complete mercy for her sufferings. I asked her to consider taking a “Beautiful Hope” book from Dynamic Catholic, and she did. I gave her our email address and asked her to consider keeping in touch as we are very concerned and would love to keep in touch with her.
On Tuesday we also were blessed to meet a woman who we prayed with last year. She came up to us and asked if we remembered her from last year, and praise be to God, it was Lauren from last year. This young woman had given birth to her child in emergency, after a horrific car accident. The accident left Lauren with many injuries and difficulties in life. There have been many many times over the past year where I have thought of this woman and prayed for her, never knowing how her life was going but certain that God was listening. This fortunate meeting again makes me realize that she continues to need prayer. I gave her my cell number, hopeful that she will consider following up. Last year we recommended that she get to adoration some and start going to Mass. Perhaps she could use a friend to help with this and will call to make more connection. Come Holy Spirit!
On Saturday a woman named Maryann came up to our prayer station and she did not know what she needed but told us she needed something and could we help her? It was apparent in her eyes that she was suffering greatly. Maryann told of her sister Lori who died a couple of weeks ago, and the loss of her mom and grandmom also, all within the past year. We prayed with her and spoke with her. She did not want to take anything. About an hour later Maryann came back again. She said, did you say you have some blessed medals that I may have one? I asked her if she wanted any special saint or a crucifix… she said she did not know. I realized that Maryann must be the one for whom what I was wearing was appropriate. Upon receiving my medals from SPSE a few weeks back, there was a single Holy Spirit one. I did not order any Holy Spirit one, but found it at the same time I was going to my first charismatic prayer experience, and wore it. I had added a little crucifix to it and had been wearing it these weeks. I told Maryann that I thought that this was the medal she should have. She balked that she did not want to take it from my neck. I told her that as she could see there were plenty of new ones and I promised this one wasn’t dirty (i.e., teasing) – I gave it a new chain and voila, this was the medal I thought she needed. Maryann told me that she believed that she met us there for a reason and that she received this medal for a reason and that she was so thankful to us for being there for her, praying with her, and speaking with her. I gave her my cell number and name and email and asked her to keep in touch.
Finally, one last encounter to mention, is Wanda and Sabrina. Wanda (mom) came up with Sabrina (young woman, daughter) and asked us to pray with them. We asked if they had any special intention. They did and relayed that Sabrina suffered from epilepsy. Sabrina went on to describe how she has many seizures a day. Her mom said that she cannot be left alone at all, not even to use the bathroom, for fear of seizures, falling, and getting injured. Oh the suffering and difficulties some live with, dear Lord have mercy! We spoke of how God works miracles in today’s day and age to help us all grow in faith and that we greatly prayed that He would work a miraculous cure for Sabrina. We prayed healing prayer for Sabrina to not be afflicted by epilepsy any more.
Please pray for the following people and their intentions:
Christian and girlfriend – for their lives and good choices
Sabrina – healing from epilepsy
Wanda – for strength
Nick R. – Seminarian – for strength and guidance
Maryann – to come closer to God, to know her sister with Christ, and for her marriage
Zaria – for her birthday blessings and for her family
Hayley, Kyle and mom – for their family
Megan and Ryan – for their family
Melissa – for forgiveness and strength and for her family
Nicole and Gabriel – for Gabriel’s father
Michele – for her mom Margey’s healing from cancer and for Michele’s comfort and faith
Daniel – for kindergarten
Brianne – to get job she is interviewing for
Dominic – for wife Donna’s healing from hip surgery
Jackson – for his family and for him to grow closer to our Blessed Mother
Nathan and Alfredo – to meet nice girls who help them grow in faith to Jesus and to play basketball better
Marybeth – for her family and for her to feel the presence of her deceased daughter Erin whom she misses greatly
Wallace – little boy – for his well being
Juliana – for her well being
Robin and Michelle – for Puerto Rican people suffering
Megan and Ava – (young mother ) for healing from depression
Lesba – for healing and recovery from cancer