The East Valley SPSE team went out for the first time in downtown Gilbert, in the Heritage District, this past Friday night during the “Gilbert Food Truck Food Court” event. We had 5 first time Evangelists * and they were fantastic out on the street, being joyful and smiling and welcoming to people they encountered. Our team was a mix from several area parishes and included:
*Carolyn and Steve Peterson – Queen of Peace, Mesa
*Carrie Mendoza –Queen of Peace, Mesa
*Victoria Kaehler – Corpus Christi – Legion of Mary, Ahwatukee
*Anne Marie Adams – Corpus Christi – Legion of Mary, Ahwatukee
Janet Manecke – St Timothy. Mesa
Joe McCawley – St. Timothy, Mesa
Dave Tucker – St. Timothy, Mesa
We gathered at 6 pm a couple blocks away and went over a few basics of the SPSE philosophy, looked over some of the resources and tracts available, discussed a few ideas about starting conversations and offering prayers, and then we prayed the Evangelists prayer together.
It was a little slow when we got started as people were still arriving to the event. We stood in groups of 3 or 4 with our sign and rosaries in hand on two corners of Vaughn and Gilbert Rd., which seemed to be the most active corners. We had several good conversations and it was a good night to for a first time experience. We all agreed that in the future, setting up an SPSE table near the corner would be beneficial and allow us to display the resource items available for everyone.
Here are a few comments from about the evening….
- We received several words of encouragement from fellow Catholics who we met in downtown Gilbert that evening. Three people from St. Anne’s parish spoke with us and were very excited about what we were doing. I encouraged them to pray about joining us some time as we are all called to proclaim the Gospel.
I received an email from Manda Poffel, who is on staff at St. Timothy’s and involved in young Adult Ministry and Evangelization. She happened to be out with friends in downtown Gilbert Friday evening.
- Manda wrote “I was approached by some SPSE champions while I was leaving Postino last night. All of the ladies I was with are employed in Catholic ministry in some capacity. They were super impressed with the gals that approached us. It was awesome to see so many of you last night!”
Thanks again to our 1st time Evangelists! You did a fantastic job!
- Steve, a 1st time Evangelist wrote, “My 1st reaction to giving the kids rosaries was—it was a waste because they would just play with them. But, the more I thought about it I decided “it was a good thing” because the sight of the rosaries in their homes might get their parents and/or grandparents thinking about their own faith. That these rosaries may initiate conversations/discussions about faith within the child’s families and maybe even with neighbors. That those rosaries thru the working of the Holy Spirit may do great things we will never know of. We even heard one child ask her Mom what the rosary was as they were walking away, the Mom replied “it’s to remind you of Jesus and, that He loves you”!
- Victoria, a 1st time Evangelist wrote, “It really was not that difficult to ask the “passers-by” if they would like a rosary. I did not get a lot of takers but on the other hand, no one was rude or confrontational. I also gave out a few of the handouts. One little boy in particular was so happy to receive the picture of Jesus “Divine Mercy”. He was a Christian and knew Jesus! My partner, Ann Marie was outstanding and approached many in the crowd and started a conversation! She was very inspiring for me! There were many fallen away Catholics out there whom I hope we planted a seed“.
- Carolyn, another 1st time Evangelist, wrote, “I had a neat interaction with one gal who did take a rosary who said she “used to be Catholic” but, stopped going to church many years ago. She feels she does not need to go to church because she is a good person and, she reads the Bible every day. Plus nowhere in the Bible does it say we have to go to church. I spoke to her briefly about the beauty of community; how society having gone the way of everybody “doing their own thing” and, how that hasn’t turned out well. Since she had been away from church for many years I gave her the pamphlets on “How to Pray the Rosary” with her rosary and “The Reasons to return to the Catholic Church”. She thanked me and promised to read them.”
We took several prayer requests on Friday evening, please keep requests these in your prayers:
For Eric, struggling with addition
For Felicia, who lost her dad recently to cancer
For Louis, who is on the street and in need of a job
For Maria Carrillo, who has Lymphoma cancer
That grace pours over our community
Ken asks that the Holy Spirit root out apathy in the Catholic community
For Uncle Max, that he have a safe journey
For Nicole, that she gain control of her finances
For the Hernandez Family and their health
For Tio Luis, that he regain his health
For the soul of Caesar Cuhana