Austin, TX. We recently had a training for a large group in Austin, Texas, for the diocese’s Office of Vocations. There were 56 men in training for the deaconate, and their wives. Here is an account and reflection from Phúc, one of the candidates for diaconate:

“During my street evangelization encounters on Saturday afternoon, on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I spoke with three people – Rupert, Kyle, and Annette – and each of them taught me a little something about myself and my Catholic faith. Rupert is a Hispanic man who works in construction. Due to his work schedule, he attends Sunday mass at [three different Churches]. We found common ground when we talked about Our Lady of Guadalupe. He was really surprised that I knew that December 12, 1531 was the date Our Lady’s image appeared on St. Juan Diego’s tilma. We also talked about the Knights of Columbus. … However, what struck me the most during our conversation was, when we talked about Pope Francis, the Jubilee of Mercy, and God’s love, hope, peace, and mercy, Rupert interrupted me to ask me if I was a priest. I told him, no, but that I was in formation to become a deacon. It was at that moment that I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking to Rupert, and that I was a conduit to deliver God’s Good News to him.

Kyle is a Caucasian male who had just parked his car and was at the parking meter. He was gracious enough to talk with me briefly about the rosary. Kyle shared with me that he was born a Catholic but had not been to mass in some time. I shared with him that I go to daily mass at St. Mary Cathedral, and invited him to come back to mass. When I handed him a rosary, he immediately tried to wear it as a necklace. However, he quickly stopped when I told him that the rosary was blessed and that it is a spiritual “weapon” that we can all use to lift us up during times when we feel down and defeated in life. He understood that message and said that he would start praying the rosary. I thanked him for his time and I told him that I hope our paths will cross again, perhaps at St. Mary Cathedral.

Annette is an African-American woman who I met in front of a 7-Eleven. I asked her if she wanted a rosary and she said “yes.” When I asked her if she has ever prayed the rosary, she shared that she had gone to a rosary service once at St. Mary Cathedral; however, she did not feel well so she left the service early. She also shared that she did not understand the Hail Mary prayer. So, for the next 10 minutes, I talked with Annette about each verse of the “Hail Mary” prayer, and shared with her how praying the rosary brings me closer in my relationship with Jesus Christ, through his mother (our mother) Mary. We also talked about the different mysteries of the rosary and how each mystery tells the story of the life, ministry, passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Like with Rupert and Kyle, I told Annette that I go to daily mass at St. Mary Cathedral and invited her to join me sometimes and pray the rosary with me. I know that the Holy Spirit guided my words and actions that afternoon. Through the street evangelization, and speaking with Rupert, Kyle, and Annette, I learned a little something about myself. I learned that I love to share my Catholic faith with others. I enjoy talking with people about what the Catholic Church does to spread God’s love, hope, faith, and mercy to everyone we encounter. Finally, I love to show others the beauty of the praying the rosary, and share with them how our Blessed Mother Mary really does answer our prayers when we pray for her intercession.”

Thanks, Phúc!