Holy Spirit time

“The Holy Spirit forms thoughts and suggests words in the hearts of the just. Those who have the Holy Spirit produce nothing bad; all the fruits of the Holy Spirit are good.”
-Saint John Vianney

Do you ever have that moment when reflecting on a past interaction with a person when all of a sudden, you think of something profound you wish you would have thought and said? This happens to me constantly, usually hours or days after the fact… I then regret the missed opportunity that I could not communicate because it could have been so helpful! I usually get very frustrated when this happens, however after speaking with a fellow member of our Street Evangelization team, some words of wisdom were impressed upon me.

Something I did not consider was that perhaps great words that do not come to mind in a particular situation is simply because the Holy Spirit did not think it was the right thing or time to be said. This was a very humbling realization and especially impactful to me as I become involved with the St. Paul Street Evangelization ministry at SJUP. At times I struggle because I desire to proclaim the Good News and the One True Church all at once so that people understand immediately. However I should also consider the personal and spiritual lives of every individual I interact with and where they are at on their faith journey so that I can meet and walk with them, rather than overwhelm or push them away. Perhaps a lack of thought or words while evangelizing on the street could be because that individual is not yet ready to take that step in their faith journey.

Although I believe it is extremely important to never cease reflecting and praying on these situations in order to grow and better prepare for future interactions, I know that I need to trust in God’s Divine Providence and rely more on the Holy Spirit to guide and counsel me. I am beginning to see that the more I do street evangelization, the more I will rely on the discernment of the Holy Spirit to pour grace into my heart. As a result, the right words will come as I need them! So instead of demanding perfection from myself when speaking with others and regretting all the things I should have said, I will pray to the Holy Spirit and have trust in God so that I can better evangelize with love of God in my heart, kind words, stewardship, and living by example.

Brenna Wuerzburger
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Terrified

Prior to witnessing about the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ at the Samaritan food pantry, I was quite honestly terrified at the prospect of sharing my faith. At 53, I decided that is was about time that I participate in the great commission, according to the command of the Lord. Though in retrospect, it was a challenge, it was also far easier than I had anticipated. With the assistance of my fellow parishioners, as well as the witnessing tools (rosaries and pamphlets), it was easy to establish a rapport with those who had came seeking assistance from St. Joseph’s. In addition, the majority of those we spoke to seemed hungry for information about the Catholic faith. Likewise, those who did not wish to talk to us were generally polite about their choice.
Having participated twice in witnessing at the Samaritan pantry, each time with successful results, I found people to be less receptive at locations that were not in proximity to the parish. After witnessing at the block party, along with Elizabeth Davis, there were less people that wanted to discuss the Catholic faith with us, though we encountered vastly more people than we did at our station in front of the parish. In retrospect, I have thought about this fact, and believe the high temperature on the day of the block party may have been a deciding factor to those who may have otherwise chosen to talk to us. I have also considered the possibility that many people may have been reluctant to be seen by others inquiring about possible interest in our faith. As a teenager, I recall being embarrassed what my peers would think about me if I were to express interest in Christianity. Though many in our parish would cringe at the prospect of someone suggesting they were embarrassed to be associated with the Lord Jesus, it is way more common than many would believe, especially amongst the younger generation. I am anxious to share my faith more in the future and believe that the majority in the parish would find sharing their faith to be as rewarding as I myself have.
Kevin Marchant

First day of school

It was getting close to noon and I was already catching whiffs of food coming from the direction of the ISU student center when Sam Bunch came sauntering up to Friar Mario, cupping a white bag in one hand that smelled delicious.
“Have a chicken tender,” he said.
“No, no, no thank you, ”Friar Mario waved him off.
Sam pushed the bag in his direction. “You’re a mendicant order, you have to take it.” Laughing, he took a tender and bit into it. I, on the other hand, not being in a mendicant order, was free to refuse, but it’s hard to turn down free food when your tummy is rumbling and I gave in after only a token resistance.
This was our first mission outing on ISU campus. It was the first day of classes for fall semester and one couldn’t ask for more perfect weather. Friar Mario and I set up outside the career center at a bench under the trees. Mario went over to talk with the Baptists who had their own table set up and walk around for a while. I minded the table and worked on making hand-knotted rosaries. Many young people walked by wearing ear buds and staring at their smartphones at the same time (How do they keep from running into each other?), or passing swiftly, eyes straight ahead or even up like, “If I don’t look that way maybe they won’t see me.” But to those who made eye contact, I called out, “Beautiful day, isn’t it? We’ve got free stuff here.” Several stopped. I had some say, “I gotta get to class. Will you be here in an hour? I’ll be back.” And, in fact, they did come back.
Friar Mario is such a natural with the kids, asking them questions about their major or where they’re from, introducing himself as campus minister and inviting them to upcoming campus ministry functions, like Mass on the Grass, and the Holy Spirit Mass.
I really enjoyed talking with those who stopped. We had a lot of good encounters with some very interesting people. One freshman in particular we invited to Maximize Your Faith night also took a Mass on the Grass/Holy Spirit Mass flyer. She was picking out a rosary and, of course, I asked her if she was Catholic. She wasn’t, but she had graduated from a Catholic high school because her dad wanted her to have a quality education. I asked her, “Have you ever thought about becoming Catholic?” She shrugged, so I followed up with, “Can I tell you one good reason why I became Catholic when I was in college?”
“Yes,” she said.
So I told her a bit of my story, how I felt challenged to find out about this Catholic faith just to know the truth, and started meeting with a priest at Ball State campus ministry. I found so many things that never made sense from my protestant perspective just fell into place from a Catholic view. But what really clinched it was when I found out that Jesus personally founded the Catholic Church while on earth and promised that the Holy Spirit would protect it from teaching error. And that church is still with us today. That was a shock. I had never thought about that. I realized if Jesus founded only one church, then why wouldn’t I want to part of the one true church founded by Christ? And that’s how I became Catholic at age 18.
“Doesn’t it make more sense that God wanted 1 church rather than 33,000 different Christian churches that all teach different things?”
“Right,” she nodded. So I asked her what is she going to do about it now that she knows? She waved her flyer and said, “I’m gonna check this out.” So we told her how to find St. Joe’s and also invited her to also check out the 7:00 Mass Sundays.

Then there were the 3 freshmen girls picking out rosaries who said they were not only Catholic, but were surprised to learn half the girls on their dorm floor were also Catholic. So we quick like a bunny gave them extra flyers and told them to pass them around.

We’re going to try to go back to ISU campus every week we can. Note to self: from now on, pick a site not next to a trash receptacle to avoid bee encounters.

Joan
Jesus is Lord. Spread the word.
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God had other plans

Every morning a part of my prayers is to ask the Lord to give me a joyful heart that in all things I may see his hand at work and give myself over to what he wants of me that day. When I got out of bed yesterday I was really thinking that his will for me was to hang around the house in my pajamas until I got ready to go to church to set up for 5:15 Mass. Guess I misread that one. About 9:00 Joan called and said she was coming by to drop off something and I was glad because I had the St. Francis medals and explanation/prayer card and a couple of St. Jude medals and prayer to give her. During our conversation, she said she would not be out evangelizing in front of the parish building at 1:00 because no one was available to be there with her. Before I realized what I was doing I heard myself saying that I would sit with her. After she left I said out loud, “What did you just do?” Well, guess God’s will for me was a little different than what I had expected.I was so glad that I had that experience. I hadn’t been to any meetings/training so I just had to go with how I usually talk with people. Almost immediately a man came over to me with a big smile and I was so glad to see him. His name is Ronnie. A couple of months ago he was sitting in church before 5:15 Mass. At that time he was very tired and discouraged. A few days later, he was back again and could hardly walk because he had blisters on his feet. He would have to walk across the river bridge to his apt. in WTH. Both times Rob Murray drove him home. About two weeks later he came into church on a Thursday about 7:00 with a big smile. He had been moved to an apartment in Terre Haute. That was the last time I had seen him but I pray for him each day. It was so good to see him yesterday and know that he is managing fairly well.It was interesting to see and talk with so many people varying from kids who would be starting to school this morning to some folks that were elderly. There were several who I continued to think about last night and included in my prayers. One was a parishioner who no longer is able to come to church because of numerous serious health problems. He appeared to recognize me but my old brain couldn’t recall having seen him. I was so glad we had two of the St. Jude medals because he wanted one and also gladly accepted a prayer card I had in my purse that reads, “Lord, walk with me through my illness. Take my hand in yours and calm my fears. Impart your strength through your loving presence. Amen.

I’ll just mention one more person who especially caught my attention. We both talked with him. He was an older man who said he lived a couple of blocks from St. Joseph He lived by himself, had lost his wife a few years earlier and didn’t particularly enjoy talking with people. However, it was his attitude toward God that lingered with me. He didn’t exactly say he didn’t believe in God or that he was angry. He was more or less indifferent. He obviously didn’t want to hear anything about God but was willing to talk with us. I would be interested in how he arrived at this place. I have added him to my prayer list. Maybe I will encounter him again sometime.

Before I fell asleep last night, thoughts and sights from my “Monday Experience” kept filling my mind. I was remembering a young man Joan was talking with for five or ten minutes, giving him some materials but also asking some questions that I couldn’t really follow because I was engaged with a little girl who would be entering 2nd grade the next day. That’s the level I function on best. 🙂 I wish I had been able to tune in on her conversation because she really knows how to get people on topic quickly. The neat thing is that if he might desire some more information we might see him again next month if not before. I also recalled an older woman who walked by me as she was leaving. I spoke to her and got a weak hi in return. She looked angry but I later thought it was more an expression of a feeling that everything was falling apart around her. I was almost overwhelmed by the amount of food being carried out of our food pantry and how through the hard work of so many volunteers, St. Joseph Samaritan Project is able to help those in need. The people standing in line would have so many stories they could share of the hardships in their lives. They all need our prayers that God will give each of them what He knows they need and keeps them safe from harm and gives them his peace.
Guess that is all I have to share right now.

Carol Kulow

Just do it

DSC02328Our team has started setting up outside the Samaritan Food Pantry when people are lining up before the doors open. We get quite a few people coming over to talk, asking for rosaries or miraculous metals, or seeking prayer. Last week Friar Mark and I (Joan) set up under the trees along the sidewalk outside the parish office. It was hot and humid and Friar Mark decided to bring along his water cannon. Parishioners reading this may remember getting ambushed on their way into Mass prior summers. Well, he’s at it again. 🙂 Every time someone walked by, Friar would ask, “Are you hot?” and if they said ‘yes’, he’d get ’em. The kids loved it, as did some adults. As they were leaving with their groceries, one little boy said, “I’m still hot…and so’s my mother!” The heat was quite supportable (evidently even with a habit on, though I was in shorts and sleeve-less top) and it was a wonderful time.

It’s been 5 times now that I have been out and it is interesting how I feel like, when I am evangelizing others, I’m also evangelizing myself. I don’t really know how to explain it. But I know there isn’t anything that lifts my spirit more than doing street evangelization. When we set up we pray for God’s help and for all the people God wants to send us that day. When we pack up and leave, we always say a prayer of thanksgiving. And I just feel so happy and at peace the rest of the day. Everyone should try evangelizing, and street evangelizing is just the easiest kind of evangelizing there is. Just share your faith with a stranger (Hi, I’m a Catholic), offer a rosary to the person next to you on a plane. It’s not that hard. Just do it. It gets easier with practice. In the back of church there are pamphlets “10 Things We Want You to Know About Catholics.” Think about taking one, put it in your pocket, and then when you go to the store, offer it to the cashier or slip it in the aisle. Occasionally I will slip one in the greeting card section under “Thinking of you”. When you do your morning prayers, ask God to send someone today who you can be Christ for, and see what happens. It’s great. Just do it.

What is truth?

DSC02332That’s what the man said as he plopped down onto my chair beside the table and pointed to the sign that read “Catholic Truth”.
“So tell me, what is truth?”
I’m staring at him across the table thinking, “Okay, Pontius Pilate, that’s a big question. Where do I begin?”
“You don’t know!” he crowed.
“Wellll, the biggest truth is that God loves you.” It’s so true, so fundamental and important. Yet I could see it rang hollow in his ears.
He said, “i take care of my wife all the time trying to get medicine for her. I want to know that is truth?”
I’m thinking “What is he really asking?” when he slaps the table, jumps up and walks away with a dismissive wave over to a group of men standing. “That bitch doesn’t know what’s truth!”, he says, pointing my way.
Clearly I blew it. I was awake all that night going over and over what happened, haunted by my inadequacy. I was totally unprepared for the question. But when you sit on the sidewalk with a big sign reading: “Catholic Truth”, it is inevitable someone will ask.
Over the next few days I mulled over what I could have said. Do you ever do that? Miss an opportunity to say something meaningful and then berate yourself for days over the all the clever comebacks and convincing arguments you should have used instead of standing there looking like an idiot? Or is it just me?
What should I have said? Answer with a question? Hmmm. “What truth do you mean?” (Then he points to the sign. Right. Duh)
Why didn’t I just hand him Father Larry Richard’s CD entitled “Truth” that was sitting there on the table? Never occurred to me.
Maybe I could have told him there are a lot of people who are true, like himself taking care of his wife and all. Jesus is true.
Maybe I should have kept on talking; not give him a chance to speak while I wowed him with the gospel message. Like, “God loves you so much he sent his only begotten son that whoever believes him Him what not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). I know this is true because I know Jesus. I spend time with Him and I know Him. I trust what Jesus says because Jesus is God and God can’t lie, right?” Hey that’s good. Why didn’t I think of that?!
The truth is I need to practice telling the gospel message out loud in a mirror, or to my cats so I can hear myself. I also need to practice saying my witness in 3 minutes or less–What Jesus has done for me and what a difference He makes in my life.
This is my resolution. Learn from this mistake and practice to be better prepared next time.
God knows how incompetent I am. I think I’m in good company, though. The Bible is full of incompetent people and God can write straight with a crooked pencil like me. We learn by doing. As a priest friend once told me,
“If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.” So I will keep on stumbling along, striving to do better, trusting that God is pleased that I am trying to please Him, and knowing that “God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8.

I love movies about Jesus, but

When my son was little he got picked on by bullies in the neighborhood, so the whole family signed up for self-defense classes.  Then it got so when we’d watch action movies, we started noticing things.  Like, “That’s not how you would do that. It’s totally unrealistic.”  And it always drives me crazy to see a woman in labor on the screen yelling her head off when she’s supposed to be pushing.  I mean, come one. Have any of these actresses ever had kids?

Well, now that I’m focused on learning how to share the good news of salvation on the streets, I’m noticing things I never noticed before at the movies and it drives me crazy.  For instance, I just got done watching an old 1956 classic film, THE ROBE, on Netflix.  It stars Richard Burton as Roman Tribute Marcellus Gallio who is tormented by his guilty conscience after crucifying Jesus Christ.  He won Jesus’ robe playing dice, but when he draped it over his shoulders he went crazy and started acting like Lady Macbeth, washing his hands, and saying to everyone, “Were you there?”  Then he decides the robe is bewitched and sets off to destroy it, and runs into some disciples, including St. Peter.

I loved this film when I was a kid, and it’s still well done albeit hokey by modern standards.  But I never noticed before, in the entire film nobody once said that Jesus rose from the dead.  The central part of the gospel, and nobody says it.  Not once.  There was a little ditty sung by the lame woman about the empty tomb.  But no resurrection.  Christianity was portrayed as a philosophy of love and generosity.  When Jesus is referred to as a dead wonder-worker, I was the only one saying, “He’s not dead, he’s alive!  Just say it.  He has defeated death!” in my living room.  St. Paul in 1st Corinthians chapter 15 says, “If Christ is not raised from the dead then your faith is in vain…If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all..But Christ has been raised from the dead…(and) he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet, and the last enemy is death.”

Even when Peter healed Demetrius, who had been tortured to the point of death, Peter said, “Demetrius, wake up”, not like when he healed the crippled beggar at the Beautiful Gate in Acts chapter 3 and he said, “In the name of Jesus the Nazarene, rise and walk.”  The old woman in the film “War Room” said, “Remember to say, In the name of Jesus. People always forget the name of Jesus”.  Why couldn’t he have said, “Demetrius, in Jesus’ name, wake up.”?  When the physician asked how he was healed, they all looked dumb like, “Gosh, I don’t know how to explain it.”  The doctor concludes sorcery is afoot, and nobody contradicts him.  And let’s face it.  If Jesus had healed Demetrius, they wouldn’t have needed to carry him to a carriage to sneak him out of town.  He would have jumped up and raced them to it.  Because our God is awesome.

Then when Marcellus was defending himself before Caligula, he missed (or Hollywood made sure he missed) a perfect opportunity to preach the gospel.  And he still never mentioned the resurrection.  Jesus was a king not of this world and Marcellus was in his army.  He did say Jesus was son of God.  But let’s face it.  That wouldn’t have impressed Caligula.  All the Caesars were considered divine.  The Romans had all kinds of gods running around.  So what?  Marcellus said the robe was going to change the world; and I’m thinking, “The Robe is going to change the world?!  Jesus is going to change the world, you fool, not a robe.  Jesus!   Caesar isn’t lord–Jesus is Lord!!”  But he didn’t listen.  He’s going to his death over some nice guy who was executed.  Please!  He had a perfect opportunity to do some evangelization (and his last opportunity) and he flubbed it. Or Hollywood flubbed it. Of course we know why they did it that way.  A nice tame Jesus is much easier to sell than a divine Jesus who says “pick up your cross and follow me”.  But it did win two Oscars.  And it’s two hours of entertainment you can forget afterward without pricking your conscience.

There have been some good films lately that make one think.  “War Room” was well made and gave me some needed reminders about prayer.  “God isn’t Dead” was inspiring, too, although when the boy addresses the problem of evil in his defense of God, there were way more convincing arguments he could have used than what he did.  But still good film.  My favorite spiritual movie this year has to be “Risen”.  Now there is a film what puts it in your face.  “Jesus is risen.  Now make a choice.  What are you gonna do about it?”

Joan

Jesus is Lord. Spread the word.

First time takin’ it to the streets

DSC02323So we made our first mission at the Banks of the Wabash festival the last Friday in May.  We set up right outside the bingo tent between the food vendors trucks and the playground which turned out to be a pretty good location.  We prayed first, then set up the table.  At first people walked by quickly, averting their eyes like they were afraid we’d pounce on them.  Then we looked west and a big wall of black clouds was coming across the river.  So I suggested we pray a rosary decade together and we did.  And as we prayed the weirdest thing happened.  The clouds parted and a patch of sunlight shone right on us.  Wow.  After that we had better luck.  Elaine gave rosaries to a young ladiy and she said, “Did you know the rosary is an ancient form of prayer?”  “No.  That’s cool!” She replied.  One man I asked if he would like a free rosary.  He said, “Sure”.  I asked him if he was Catholic.  He said, “No, I’m a baptist minister, but my wife is Catholic.”  We gave out a lot of “10 things we want you to know about Catholics” pamphlets with the “How to pray the rosary” pamphlets.  At the end of an hour we ran out of rosaries.  We didn’t get to talk long with any one person, but it was a good start.  We left rejoicing.  It was such a high to be out there talking with the people.  God is good.  Can’t wait to go out again.

Joan.

Jesus is Lord. Spread the word.

Welcome!

Welcome to your local chapter of St. Paul Street Evangelization.

St. Paul Street Evangelization is a grassroots, non-profit organization, dedicated to responding to the mandate of Jesus to preach the Gospel to all nations by taking our Catholic Faith to the streets. We do this in a non-confrontational way, allowing the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of those who witness our public Catholic presence.

Christ’s call to evangelize was made to every Catholic Christian, and the Second Vatican Council reiterated this need, urging each of the baptized to bring the Gospel, found fully in the Catholic Church, to a culture that has largely reverted to paganism. As an on-the-street Catholic evangelization organization, St. Paul Street Evangelization provides an avenue for you to share the Person of Jesus Christ and the truth and beauty of the Catholic Faith with a hungry culture. Click Get Involved on the menu to find out how you can help.

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