Parish Visitation – October/November 2018

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:

St. John Bosco Fall Fest – 9/18 thru 9/23 2018

(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

SPSE and Prayer for the Renewal and Sanctification of the Church in Crisis – Phila 9/14/2018

Mary, Nancy and Peachie went downtown for an hour of street evangelization on Friday evening prior to attending a Holy Hour of Reparation at the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.  The Cathedral was open for the evening for prayer, from 6 until midnight.  The time for street evangelization was short but the encounters made were memorable and, God-willing, fruitful.

Early on the team met and prayed with Naomi for her peace and well being.  She was a lovely woman, with great faith, and appreciative of our prayer time with her.  We told her of the open Cathedral for prayer.

Next Scott and Joan came up and were very open to speaking with our team.  We offered them rosaries and blessed miraculous medals.  Joan happily exclaimed that she loves Our Blessed Mother and would love both.  She spoke of how she was once Catholic but left the Church and is now Lutheran.  Joan told us that her Lutheran pastor and church were praying greatly for our Catholic Church and that they were very upset and sympathetic to our pains.  We told her of the open cathedral for the evening and welcomed them to attend.  They did not want to go in, but did want to pray with us for their granddaughter Sloan whose parents (i.e. their son and daughter in law) did not want to baptize.  Joan mentioned telling Bible stories to the young Sloan and her enjoyment of them but her not knowing them whatsoever.  This pained the grandparents greatly and we prayed that Our Lord would send His Holy Spirit to guide them to speak the words that the parents needed to hear and to guide them to bring their dear granddaughter and her parents to Himself through their example, words, and works.  Joan and Scott were very thankful to us and we are so thankful for them and their church and pastor for their prayer and concern for us!

Another encounter which was quite amazing was with Jack.  Upon asking him if he would like a rosary he stopped and told us that he would and that he was Catholic but he needed us to pray with him that feminist women would stop killing their babies that they did not want.  We certainly agreed to pray with Jack to Our Lord for an end to abortion.  As time went on and we spoke to Jack at length we heard his story of being fooled by his ex-wife into losing much of his money by additional mortgages and excessively high child support payments and all to a woman who ended up trying to have him killed.  We sympathized with him greatly, and he spoke with us about how blessed he had been despite the bad circumstances that befell him from his marriage to an unfaithful wife.  Jack told us of how he was fortunate to earn plenty of money to make up the losses he suffered, the ability to coach little league games despite the awful tales the ex-wife told his boys and the kindness of police officers who helped him when he was being accused of malicious intent to his ex-wife.  We asked Jack if he would pray for forgiveness… to be able to forgive this person who had caused him many years of pain.  Jack agreed! ~  it was amazing to see the difference prayer made in his demeanor, taking him from seeming agitated and upset to peaceful and even gleeful after.  We gave him a “Everybody need to forgive someone” book from Dynamic Catholic and he was very pleased.  He told us that he was raised Catholic and that it was his faith that got him through the darkest days of his divorce and that he considered killing himself but did not, through faith and knowledge that his children would suffer greatly for it.  He promised to read the book and felt that meeting us was a sign from God of His continued working in his life.  Praise be to God for He is so great and His mercy endures forever!

Three kids probably around 18 years old or so came by and we asked if they would like a rosary or blessed medal. One, Daylin said Yes!  The other two were joking and laughing at her for wanting to stop but they stayed with their friend and listened.  They were from nearby Catholic schools.  We could see that Daylin was in need of something, we asked her if she would like to pray and if she had any prayer intention.  She said that she did and that she was sad most of the time and did not know why.  She also told her of her worries for her mom.  We asked the group to hold hands with us and pray and her friends agreed to as well.  We prayed for Daylin’s healing from her sadness and for great blessings upon her life and the life of her mother.  Tears fell from her eyes.  We asked her friends if they would like to pray for any intentions also and the young man, Jimmy who was a practicing Baptist, asked us to pray for him to know God’s will for him and his courage to follow it. We invited them to the cathedral also, but they had other plans.

The Holy Hour at the Cathedral was a moving experience.  There were many religious, clergy, seminarians and laity gathered and the church was full.  We sang, prayed, listened to the Word of God and had silent prayer.  Afterwards we visited with some of the seminarians, as Mary who was with our team this evening has a son Declan in the seminary.  The hope and joy of the seminarians from St. Charles Borremeo was contagious and we are so thankful for their continued desire to become priests even in the face of so much more difficulty than many who have gone before.  We pray especially for Declan, Luke, Dominic, Thomas and David.  May Jesus Christ remind them daily of His presence in their lives and His deisre for them to be His heart, mind, hands, and feet to the world.

Please pray for all of the following in your intentions:

  • Naomi – for her life
  • Portuguese family – for safe travels and good health
  • Joan and Scott – for good health and for their grandchildren and children to grow in love of Jesus and be baptized
  • Jack – to be able to forgive completely and to grow in love of the Lord and His Church
  • Jimmy – to know God’s will for him
  • Mackenzie – for her life
  • Daylin – for healing from her sadness
  • Tina – for blessing on her and her family
  • Theresa and Tom – to be blessed with conceiving, carrying and delivering a healthy baby
  • Christine – for God’s blessings on her life circumstances
  • Declan – to grow every day in knowledge and love of our Lord
  • Luke  – to grow every day in knowledge and love of our Lord
  • Dominic  – to grow every day in knowledge and love of our Lord
  • Thomas – to grow every day in knowledge and love of our Lord
  • David – to grow every day in knowledge and love of our Lord

Labor Day Weekend – Made in America on the Parkway 9-1-2018

(NH) Rich and Nancy went downtown on Saturday morning to find the Parkway streets closed off for the Labor Day weekend Made in America concert.  This concert features many current pop stars and the street evangelization mission here felt like a good opportunity to meet with some concert-goers, in addition to the usual tourist and homeless population normally encountered at this location.  We were on the early side so would likely only meet the early birds to the concert.

After setting up on the sidewalk, we were blessed to speak and pray with a few homeless men.  In a short time, a man came up and asked if we had been there around last summer.  We said yes we had and did we meet him before?  He seemed familiar, but not entirely.  He said his name was Donald and that we had prayed with him last summer.  Well that was all it took to realize that Our Lord was smiling on us especially this day, reminding us that though we do not frequently know the fruit of our efforts done out of love for Him, that He is there, He is listening, and He is moving in people’s lives all of the time, and He is allowing our little works to bring others to Himself.  This Donald was the same man who had come back to us last year to let us know the way that God was working in his life ever since we first prayed with him and gave him a rosary (i.e., april-30th-logan-square-center-city-philly).  He appeared healthy and well dressed.  We exclaimed how good it was to see him again and that we did remember him and wasn’t it a black rosary that we gave him?  Yes it was, and Donald happily relayed that his life continues to go well with his job and that he has gotten back together with his girlfriend Mary and that she goes to Mass at the cathedral frequently.  Later Donald brought Mary over to meet us for us to all pray together; he had relayed that we were the people he had told Mary about who prayed with him last year when he was not doing well.  We lift up Donald and Mary to Our Lord and ask for His continued great blessings and grace in their lives!

A bit later on a young family from Ontario came by, husband and wife and 3 beautiful little girls.  They were on their way to visit family and were stopping in Philly to see the sights.  The kids were so happy to be out and about and on vacation and were very pleased to receive miraculous medals.  We spoke of how Mary was on the medal and that was Jesus’ mommy and she carried Him in her tummy and took great care of Jesus just like their mom did with them.  We told them that they can ask Mary, Jesus mommy, to help them when they need it, just like they could ask their own mom.  The 7 year old pointed to the crucifix on our prayer station sign and asked if it hurt.  We told them yes, that it did, and the little one particularly wanted to know if Jesus’ hands hurt from those nails.  We said yes for certain.  Next question was “then why did He do that?”  Oh from the mouths of babes, we should have these girls helping us evangelists along all of the time! We told the little girls of the love that Jesus has for them and for us and for mommy and daddy and for everyone in the world.  We told them He died for us because He loves us, to take our sins that we couldn’t get rid of, so we could someday go to heaven.  The eldest exclaimed how happy she was that she was going to be getting baptized soon.  The parents told us about how mom was raised Catholic and that the girls would be going to Catholic school soon, but the father was raised as LDS.  Dad was very open to talking about the Catholic faith and mom accepted a Rediscover Catholicism book and we recommended that she consider trying to get back to practicing the faith with her family.

As the morning went on, more people came by who were going to the concert.  Several of the young folks were surprisingly open to receiving blessed medals or rosaries with instructions on how to pray.  The ones who stopped to pray with us asked for prayers for safety at the festival for themselves and everyone going.  One thing must be said about the youth of today, they frequently exhibit social concern for others in their prayer requests and it is so heartening to be allowed to lift them up.

Please remember the following intentions in your own prayers:

Michael – for his health

Rafael – for his work

William – for his life needs

Donald – for continued blessings on his job and his relationship with his girlfriend

Mary – to avoid sin of envy and be relieved of jealous feelings

Steven – to find shelter and care for his basic needs

Christian – to get a job, to receive help for his basic needs, and to be able to save money to return to Ghana

Laura – for everyone who needs prayers

Mark – to know God at work in his life

Vincent – gives praise to God for this day, for him to know God in his day every day

Ontario Family – to grow in love of Christ and His Church and for safe travels

Brianna – for her safety and the safety of all concert goers

Khalil – a West Chester U student, for his successful school year in psychology

Emily and baby Evy – for husband/dad Matt deployed overseas and for the safety, health and love of the family

Casfa family – for good health and safety

Raul – for his shelter and material needs

Buddy – for the safety and good health of himself and for all on the parkway this weekend

For the many concert goers who accepted sacramentals, to continue to soften their hearts and open their minds to the Lord at work in their lives.

 

August 18th – Across the street from the Cathedral

(NH) Deacon Mark, Nancy and Rich went out for street evangelization on Saturday morning.

We were planning to head about a block up from the cathedral, to our spot where we frequently go, but we were stopped right after crossing the street, right in the middle of the sidewalk.  Our friend Shane, met on many other missions in this area, was there and wanted to chat.  Shane was animated in his desire to speak about Jehovah’s witnesses and the details of their religious beliefs.  He had been speaking with them, setup around town.  He thought their belief on a very limited number of people (144,000) getting to heaven and that many who die go nowhere was not at all reasonable.  Deacon Mark was able to speak factually with Shane about the beliefs of the JW members, having known the religion well, and contrast it with Catholic belief.  Shane is an engaging and intelligent man to speak with, taking classes on many topics, telling us about what he has recently read in the library.  He speaks of how he wants to get a job.  He appears poor but does not speak of it.  Shane frequently has prayer requests for us and he always asks us how we are doing.  It is a wonderful fruit that the Lord shares His friends like Shane with us!

As Shane was still speaking with Deacon Mark, two other men came up right away, having seen our Prayer Station sign, still in hand and not setup.  Now it really seemed the right thing to do, open up the sign and set it down right there.  We met Isaiah, David, and John.  All men were looking for us to help them pray to our Lord.  We have met David on previous occasions.  He suffers from mental illness and told us he was released the prior day from the hospital.  He did not know where he was going to go.  We have a list of the area shelters and addresses and asked him if he could go to one of them.  David did not seem open to any.  He did want us to pray with him.  Sometimes in life we can feel so impotent, see sorrows as so large, feel like we cannot do much of anything to help.  Calling on God seems strangely simple and small, yet in faith, is tremendously large at the same time.  We know God wants to work signs and wonders in our time to help people grow in faith, as His instruments of love in this world.  Dear Father we thank you and praise you for the privilege of serving You.  We look forward to continuing to see the amazing ways you answer our prayers!

Over the course of the next two hours, we gave out many rosaries, pamphlets on how to pray the rosary, blessed medals, and books.  A man named Christian asked for prayer.  He wanted to find work so that he could raise money to go back home to Guyana.  We spoke about the choices we make every moment of every day and how when we make them in thought about what God would want us to do, that it will always lead us down the path to peace, hope and joy in life.  He agreed and accepted copies of the New Testament Bible and Resisting Happiness.

An encounter that was most striking was with Henry, a veteran who had served in the army.  Henry is a homeless man and he came up to us, telling his buddy “just wait for me over there, I really need to talk with these people”.  Henry told us that he needed prayer and that although he was raised Baptist, that he loves the Blessed Mother so much, as she protects him while he sleeps on the streets at night, but he had lost his rosary.  Henry had a medal he wanted to show us, that he did not know much of, but wanted us to see.  It was a St. Benedict medal, which we told him was a medal renowned to protect from evil, when worn in faith.  Henry told us he believed it and at that point got down on the ground, laying flat out on the sidewalk, and showed us how he placed the St. Benedict medal at his feet when he slept.  He spoke of being attacked at night and having not have been injured nearly as badly as he should have been and that he attributed it to Mary and this medal of St. Benedict.  He spoke of how scary it can be sleeping on the streets and how he loves Mary.

We told Henry that the church (i.e., Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul) across the street had beautiful images of Mary in it and asked if he had ever been in there.  He said no, that he did not think he could go into the church and he did not know what to do.  We asked if he would like to go in and assured him that it would be fine and that it was open for everyone who wants to go in and be respectful.  Henry agreed, and leaving his shopping cart full of his life’s possessions with Rich, Henry and Nancy went into the cathedral.  Henry with the greatest respect learned how to bless himself with holy water, how to bow to the tabernacle at the altar (i.e., noting where Catholics store “blessed” holy communion that we believe is truly Christs body and blood) and he saw a beautiful cathedral mosaic of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, whose medal we gave him.  We sat in the cool silence of the church and prayed some.  We told Henry that the Mass times were on the sign and that he could go in there during Mass.  We told him that at Mass there would be some sitting, standing and kneeling, but not to worry.  Either try and do it too, or just sit and be respectful, that the Catholic Church is there for all.

We met and prayed with many, and volunteered to take pictures for tourists wanting to pose with the Amor statue.  Please keep the following people and their intentions in your own prayers:

David – to find shelter, assistance, and hope.

Shane – to do well in his classes.

John – for himself and for his mom Edna.

Isaiah – for his general welfare.

John – for his sister Diane.

Ramone – for his successful audition.

Luis – from Nicaragua – for his welfare.

Gloria – that she remains faithful until the end and for our culture.

Michael – for his recovery from cataract surgery.

James – for good health.

James – to get off the streets.

John – for the restoration of our Catholic Church from scandal.

Anthony – for protection from anxiety while serving the Lord.

Genevieve – for reconciliation with family.

Florence – for her welfare.

Family from MD – for peace of mind and to grow spiritually.

Dan – for his relationship with his brother and for general healing.

Rose – to find housing and for healing from her hernia.

Henry – to find shelter and care and to grow in love, hope and peace in the Lord.

2 homeless men – that they make it another day.

Paul and Brian – that they find housing and a bed to sleep in tonight.

Carroll (male) – that God takes care of his physical needs.

Ron – to walk with the Lord.

Jackie – for her general needs.

Armando – for his welfare.

Christian – to get a job and to get back home to Ghana.

Carlo – to get the grocery job and for his wife.

Saturday, 11 August 2018 – Feast of Saint Clare – 34th Street Hospital Area

Despite the threat of thunderstorms today, the Lord provided a nice window of opportunity for street evangelization this morning.  Rich Scanlon and I met in the Cathedral parking lot at 9:40, and then drove over to the 34th Street hospital area and set up our sign between Children’s Hospital and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.   We began reaching out to passers-by and people coming out for a short break from attending to a loved one.   One of our most significant encounters was with a woman named Linda, who was initially on the phone while Rich was speaking with a man seated nearby.  As Rich walked back to our station, I saw Linda gesture for him to come back.  I told Rich to go speak with her, and the two were soon engaged in deep discussion.  When Rich was finished praying with Linda, he came back and related her very sad story.  Ten years ago, her six year old grandson died from complications of a genetic disorder, and both she and her daughter have struggled with depression over his death.  Four years ago, the daughter had another baby, a girl named Ashanti.  At the age of six months, Linda noticed that she was not developing properly, and tests finally revealed that she has Rett Syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes multiple developmental problems in girls.  Ashanti has been in the hospital since Wednesday and her prognosis is not good.  Linda asked for me to come up to Ashanti’s room in CHOP and pray over her.  Ashanti was cradled in bed with her mother, and slept as we all held hands and prayed for divine intervention.  It was a tremendously moving experience for all of us, and we exchanged contact information before I left the room.  Linda promised to stay in touch, and demonstrated incredible faith in God.  Please pray for the whole family, as well as for the following other people who requested our prayers:
  1. Ali Kashidi – A 39 year old physician who was hospitalized on Wednesday for complications from diabetes that made a tracheotomy necessary, and for his mother, who is very upset because he takes better care of his patients than he does for himself.
  2. Celmy Lynn – She has had small cell lung cancer for 11 years and now has multiple metastatic brain tumors.   She has a lively faith and trusts that God will get her through this latest setback.
  3. Ryan – A 49 year old man who has been battling cancer for 5 years and was getting another MRI at HUP.  His young son came by with a group of friends, who all took religious medals and participated in prayer for Ryan before heading to the hospital.
  4. Tianna – A young girl in CHOP for treatment of unspecified problem.
  5. Birch – For healing of his family and an enjoyable vacation.
  6. Lynn – A woman being buried today.
  7. Crystal – A young woman in HUP for treatment of an unspecified problem.
  8. Brie – A 2.5 month old boy in the NICU for treatment, and for his family.
  9. Jennifer – A young woman seeking a house in Delaware.
  10. Cecilia – An unborn baby girl whose birth may have to be induced ahead of schedule due to complications.
  11. Zaza and Zaria – Twins who are to be born today via C-section in HUP
  12. Sir Hunter – A 3 month old boy having surgery at CHOP
  13. Christopher – A man battling cancer at HUP

28 July 2018: Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA

After a week of rather unsettled weather, we awoke Saturday morning to much nicer skies.  Rich texted me just before 8 AM and offered to accompany me anywhere downtown, and we agreed to meet up at the Cathedral at 9:30.   We walked one block over from the parking lot and barely began setting up the A frame stand when two men separately approached us for information.   We were absolutely astonished at how quickly the Lord sent people our way, and for the next 90 minutes, we had one powerful encounter after another.  While there was the normal number of people who politely ignored us, there were also many people who did not hesitate to stop and talk with us, including many out of town visitors.   It was incredibly heart warming to see that faith is certainly not extinct in our culture, and that there are many people who are conscious of their hunger and thirst for the living God.  
 
Among the people that we spoke with was a young man named Pat, who couldn’t have been nicer and willingly accepted and put on a crucifix.  He then asked us sincerely for an explanation about Catholics praying to the saints, and after listening to us intently, he appeared almost relieved by what he heard.  He is Protestant and fell into a rough patch in his life that led to drug abuse.  We spoke to him at length about God’s unfathomable love and mercy for him, even when he succumbs to temptation, and that God only asks that when we fall is to look up at him, ask for forgiveness and help, and to struggle back onto our feet with whatever help God provides.  That message visibly moved him, for tears began to well in his eyes as he listened.  We prayed over him, and he in turned prayed for us, and promised to continue interceding for one another. 
 
Please lift Pat up in your prayers, and intercede also for the following people:
 
  1. Russell, whose daughter Kristin has separated from him following arguments.   He wants to reconcile and was impressively well versed in Catholic beliefs and the Bible, even though he was raised a Quaker. 
  2. Sage, who asks for prayers for her family
  3. Anton, who has prostrate cancer and is suffering from the treatment
  4. Anonymous  man, who asks for general prayers for his homeless situation 
  5. Kevin, for an end to his family’s fighting 
  6. Nathan, for God’s help as he begins his medical studies at Jefferson (he is terrific young Anglican man who readily accepted two religious medals)
  7. Barb – whose friend Bruce recently had open heart surgery and is not doing well.  She was overwhelmed to see us there, as she had given away the crucifix we gave her months ago and wanted a replacement!
  8. Maggie, a 21 year old woman who has the degenerative neurological disease CMT.  Her father made a cash donation to us and thanked us profusely for our presence on the street. 
  9. Hai, a Vietnamese woman who became separated from her family this past March while immigrating.  
  10. Pat, a young man struggling with drug addiction 
  11. Marcus, who is struggling with alocholism
  12. Les and Tash, a young couple seeking family reconciliaron 
  13. Colleen, for her general intentions
  14. Garrett family, for their general intentions

Downtown Philadelphia July 14th 2018

Lyrics from The Summons (heard at Mass this morning, felt fitting):

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

(NH) Don and Nancy went downtown about a block from the Cathedral Basilica of SS Peter and Paul on Saturday, after attending 8 am Mass and after making a quick visit to pray at the altar of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (i.e., see photo below).

We were blessed with many encounters, almost all male and most homeless or living in shelters. It has been remarkable in this location before, how one setup with a prayer station for street evangelization may feel the hostile stare of suburbanites and millennials in center city.  This is in contrast to the poor and visitors to our city of brotherly love, who usually seem much more open to friendly chatter, offers of sacramentals, books and prayers.  The current climate in the Philadelphia area is difficult for faithful Catholics as we wait for the release of a two year detailed grand jury report on historical sexual abuse cases by clergy in five area dioceses and we see news headlines on the pending activity nearly daily this summer.  The details promise to be horrific and may be the final straw that makes Pennsylvania decide to completely remove the statute of limitations on lawsuits.  All one can do is praise God for the purification of His Church, ask Him for blessings on all victims, and humbly ask Our Lord to show us personally how to be His body in the world, granting us fortitude, perseverance, right judgement and absolute charity always.

Our encounters included:

Sage, who prays for his health and his family’s health and prosperity

Jon, from France, who spoke very little English but was ecstatic to be given the Miraculous Medal and prayer card about St. Catherine Laboure.  For his safe travels and to know God is with him always.

Marvin, who prays for healing from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for his addiction to drugs.  He agreed that Christ is the great healer and promises us that anything asked in his name may be granted.

Don, for his healing from a knife attack and for the grace to forgive his attacker, and for his future safety.

Robert Ford, for his finances, health and shelter.

Luis, from Honduras, for remaking his life and following God’s will for him.  He is recently out of prison from serving a six year sentence and so prays to have strength, right judgement and blessings.

Jose, new to city from Florida, to find shelter and God’s direction.  He was working but arrived after allowed time and the shelter refused to allow him back and threw away all of his clothes.

Bruce, for his life.

Curtis, to make the right choices in life for good health and success.

Marcell, for his senior housing to come through and for his health.

Jason, to make the right choices in life.

Ryan and Constance, to be filled with the Holy Spirit again, as he was greatly moved during prayer, and for them to get jobs and an apartment.

Nate, a man of God with a glowing and happy personality.  That his love of God shines on to others and for his safety, well-being, and continued walk with God.

Finally, we met up with a bunch of young men exiting the Cathedral.  They were there as a “Heed the Call” group who were discerning priestly vocations.  We gave them SS Peter and Paul medals and prayers cards and promised them our prayers.  They were very thankful and their director gave Don and Nancy St. Benedict medals.  God knows the young men discerning the priesthood and those in the seminary need our prayers and that Our Church needs some great young faithful priests ~  Praise be to God!

 

 

Fourth of July Parade in Southampton, PA

Upper Southampton township has had a Fourth of July for many decades, and our parish church happens to be along the parade route, so for the second year in a row, our team set up the stand in front of the church entrance.  Nancy, Don and I took turns standing by the A frame sign and walking through the crowds lining the street, and had the opportunity to share our faith with fellow parishioners and others attending the parade.  One of our first encounters was with a woman who had stopped by last year, and she eagerly requested more medals and rosaries for her family.   Other Catholics asked us about our ministry, and we explained how we work in other parts of the Philadelphia archdiocese to evangelize and re-evangelize the community.  In the space of 90 minutes, we distributed dozens of crucifixes, rosaries, religious medals and pamphlets.  It was particularly heartening to see how many younger people were eager to get a religious medal, and it gave us the chance to explain why Catholics wear sacramentals.
Please keep in prayer the following intentions that were brought to our attention:
  • George, who passed away last week in nearby Newtown.
  • Scott, who is healing from metastatic pancreatic cancer, which is appears to be almost in remission at this point
  • Leo, whose foot is slowly healing.
  • Mark, to experience success at his job and find peace in doing it.
  • Jim, who needs knee surgery and to lose a lot of weight beforehand.
May God bless our country and keep us free to share our faith boldly!

Cradle of Liberty – June 30, 2018

(NH) Yesterday was the feast of SS Peter and Paul and July 4th is quickly approaching.  With this in mind, Deacon Mark and Nancy went to downtown Philadelphia for St. Paul Street Evangelization, thinking that the cradle of liberty, a block away from the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul, was the perfect place for street evangelization this day.

The day promised to reach 100 degF, so getting there straight after attending 8 am Mass in the ‘burbs was a good plan, with a few extra bottles of water on hand for people who might need them.  Unbeknownst to our team, there was an immigration rally planned a block away.  This brought even more people to the area and more opportunity to bear witness of our love for Christ and His Church in the public square.

A young man came by early on, his name was Jeffrey. He told us that he recently came to Philadelphia from Indiana where he felt he needed to leave “everything” behind. He is living in a shelter and is looking for work. At first when we asked Jeffrey if we could pray with him, he was a bit standoffish. After chatting a little while, Jeffrey spoke of how he did not like how there are so many religions out there and can’t it all be one?  Deacon Mark quoted scripture where at the last supper Jesus asks the Father that they all be one as the Father is one with Him. With this word of God we wholeheartedly agreed with Jeffrey’s desire and he seemed pleased.  Asking again if he would like to pray with us, Jeffrey agreed that everyone can use prayers and he as well. We prayed with him and asked God to help him rebuild his life and to grow closer to Him. He accepted a Resisting Happiness book which we told him was useful for guidance in making every decision every day and a rosary with pamphlet on how to pray it.

Several adult women with a little girl came up to us and one of the ladies told us that the little girl wanted to pray and that she needed to learn about the rosary.  Crouching down to become the same height as the girl, Nancy asked her name.  She proudly told us Sophia.  She liked the red, white and blue rosary and wanted to wear it.  We helped her put it around her neck and explained how these beads had to do with the lady on the sign holding baby Jesus and that her name was Mary and just like Sophia can ask her mommy to pray for someone, we can use the beads to ask Jesus’ mommy to pray for someone or even ourselves.  We gave her a pamphlet on how to pray the rosary, which she gave to her mom to carry.  After that, she asked for us to pray for her new baby sister, expected by her stepmom, and we happily obliged and prayed also the health, safety, faith and joy of Sophia and all present.

A young man came by, Terrence, and he had a great amount of body art and many gold chains, and beautiful sunglasses, and when he smiled he had gold on his teeth.  He stopped when asked if he would like a crucifix.  He said no, that he had plenty of those already, but when asked if he could use a prayer he said he could always use a prayer.  We thanked God for the gift of our lives and we prayed for Terrence to have peace.  We prayed about how we need God’s guidance to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth.  Following prayer Terrence relayed that he actually was not from the area, that he was visiting from Orlando and upon waking that morning in his hotel room he did not want to get out of bed, and felt oh no not another day…  He was very moved and told us that it was so strange that he came by us and that he stopped and talked with us and prayed with us and that now he felt so good about life this day and that he did want to share his love of Christ with the world.  Praise be to God for His mercy and love are great!

Bruce, a homeless man, came by and looked familiar from another time doing SPSE.  Nancy asked if they had met before, at a prayer station.  Bruce said he did not remember but how nice it was for us to remember him 🙂  He had three rosaries around his neck and he spoke of how he once had a guardian angel medal that he wore on his wrist.  He had lost his angel medal and he missed it and wondered whether we might have one.  We were pleased to have the two sided angel medal, with the guardian angel on one side and St. Michael the archangel on the other.  We asked him if he had ever heard the story about how Lucifer was the brightest angel and that when he did not want to do God’s will St. Michael cast him out of heaven and that this is why we ask for St. Michael the archangel to help us at moments of temptation.  Bruce loved it!  He asked for two more angel medals with prayer cards for his friends he was meeting at the library.  Upon asking for prayer, he wanted us to pray for his toothache.  We asked where it hurt and touched his cheek there and joined hands in prayer, calling on the Holy Spirit and asking for his tooth to be healed in Jesus’ name.  Bruce told us that it was not hurting as much anymore, and we told him that God works signs and wonders even in this day and age, and that we prayed for his tooth to be completely healed.  He asked if we thought there was something else he should do about this tooth.  We recommended that Bruce rinse the tooth with very warm salt water several times, but go the hospital if it got really bad as a rotten tooth can affect organ function.  We continue to pray in Jesus’ name may Bruce experience complete healing of his toothache.

Please keep the following people and their intentions in your own prayers:

  • For Chris to find employment and for his son Righteous who just graduated from high school.
  • For Jeffrey in rebuilding his life.
  • For Shirley to find a new job in customer service.
  • For Clarissa and Kyleen’s family, health, and faith, and for Aunt Sharon to be free of pain.
  • For Ed O’Donnell’s (attending immigration rally) family members who are in the last stages of life to be blessed with happy deaths.  For the prostitutes he has met in ministry to be freed from their lifestyle and to turn to Christ.
  • For Ray’s healing of his tooth.
  • For Lee, an attendee of the immigration rally, and his fiance Juliette from Ghana to come together and marry.
  • For Sophia’s baby sister in her stepmom’s tummy and for the health, safety, faith, and joy of Sophia and her family.
  • For Bruce to find shelter, safety, and peace.
  • For Terrence to be blessed with peace and joy in the knowledge of the Lord at work in his life.
  • For Braunwynn starting her life as a math teacher, for blessing of self-confidence, faith, and joy in her vocation.
  • For Desi who works serving in homeless ministry, for joy, peace, hope and right judgement in his work, and for his mom Jeannette to have a complete healing and full recovery from her stomach cancer.
  • For Will and CJ to know the Lord’s will in their lives and to have courage, faith, and joy in following it.
  • For Jose’s right foot to be healed and for him to find shelter, hope, life, and peace.

We also pray for our country, that those in office look to do God’s will rather than their own and provide solutions that are charitable to all.