First Friday

It was the first Friday in October when the stores and restaurants stay open late downtown. The weather had abruptly changed from the warm summer days to which we’d become accustomed into a crisp “Why didn’t I bring a jacket?” evening.
Carol Etling and I set up our table between the band and J Gumbo’s restaurant. We had to change our normal layout because the wind would whisk away anything not nailed down.

It turned out to be a good location and there was moderate to heavy foot traffic. We stayed about an hour from 6 to 7pm and in that time we only gave away about 5 rosaries, but we had at least 3 encounters of substance and 2 women we prayed with.

One that touched my heart was a woman with same-sex attraction. She had tattoos and at first I thought she was a man from the way she dressed. She had a lot of self-loathing for that part of herself, yet she feels a tugging toward God. I told her that is normal because we are created for intimacy with God and we can never be totally happy without that relationship. What she feels is her response to God who never stops calling her. I told her she is a beloved child of God created in God’s image. She can’t help what she feels—but that’s not a sin. We all have crosses to bear. What’s important are her actions. I told her she is not an animal without self-control and God could help her. I gave her a pamphlet about the Church’s position on homosexuality, one “10 things we want you to know about Catholics” pamphlet, and one of the knotted rosaries I had made with another pamphlet on how to pray it. I told her about Mary, Undoer of Knots, and how she can help us untie the knots and tangles of sins and confusion that keep us from being free and to see God clearly. I told her that while I make each rosary I am praying for the person who will use it. When we finished praying, she showed me the rosary and said, “See, I was holding it tight in my hand.” I also showed her how to find St. Joseph’s and told her she can come in any day and spend time with Jesus there because it is a holy place and many people find peace within. We hugged and she went on her way.

Praised be to our Lord Jesus Christ who loves us sinners with a love beyond our understanding and never ever stops calling us. What a joy to take our faith into the streets and what a privilege it is to talk with the people there.

Jesus is Lord. Spread the word.

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