Bloomington, IN. Here is a report from Father Ignatius, FI:
I learned from Steve Dawson to always have some evangelization materials on me and to seek opportunities everywhere.
In the parking lot of Kroger’s in Bloomington, IN, while Friar Gabriel went inside to get some special items for Thanksgiving, I’ve got some time while I wait in the parking lot.
A car pulls in with two men and a woman. They get out of their vehicle and one man has a foul mouth. Perfect.
“Would you care for a free Miraculous Medal?” Unfortunately, the cursing man is not interested, but the other two approach.
“Do you know what the Miraculous Medal is? Have you ever heard of it?”
“Well, in 1830 the BVM appeared to a nun in Paris whose name was Catherine Laboure’…”, and I told the story.
“Yes, I’ll take one! Me too!” So I give each of them a medal along with a holy card and perceiving that they desired to get into the store, I wished them a Happy Thanksgiving and they went on smiling and extremely pleased.
It’s been probably only 5 minutes and Friar Gabriel hasn’t returned. I have two more medals on me and see a young girl with an older woman hanging on her, hobbling her way out of the store.
“Hey, it looks like you hurt your leg.”
“Yes, I banged it …”
“Oh, sorry to hear that. Would you like a Miraculous Medal?”
Speaking to both of them, “Do you know what the Miraculous Medal is?”
They shake their heads.
“Well, in 1830 …” (I told the story again).
“Yes, we’d love to have one.”
As I give them the medals I say, “Are you Catholic?”
“Are you Christian?”
They look at each other and respond slowly and in a soft voice, “Yes, we are definitely Christian.”
“Did you ever think about becoming Catholic?”
“Well, I’ve been to Mass before.”
“Did you know that Jesus founded the Catholic Church?”
“Yes. Jesus said to Peter, which means rock, ‘You are Peter and upon this Rock, I will build My Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”
The older woman knew the verse and finished it with me.
“And so Our Lord founded the Church on Peter, and He also said, ‘As the Father has sent Me, so I send you’, and, ‘He who hears you, hears Me…”
“Have you ever heard of Martin Luther?”
“Well, did you know that he was a Catholic priest and a monk?”
“Yes, and he rebelled against the successor of Peter and said that he would interpret the Bible his way and, in fact, even decide what books are in the Bible. He removed seven books from the Old Testament…”
They were very satisfied with my brief explanation of Church history and Our Lord’s desire that we all be one, that there be one fold and one shepherd.
They had to get going. “God bless you and please give some thought and prayer about becoming Catholic.” “We will!” they respond.
Fra Gabriel is still not out of the store yet and I notice that a young man working there, gathering shopping carts, has been watching me. I approach, all out of medals, and offer him the holy card with the image of the Sacred Heart. “Yes, I’m Catholic.”
“Do you go to Mass around here?”
“Yes, at St. Paul’s.”
“Do you manage to make it every Sunday?”
“So you are a real practicing Catholic?”
“Have you ever thought of evangelizing?”
“Yes, I did a mission to (somewhere south, either a Caribbean island or South America, I can’t remember).”
“Would you be interested in joining St. Paul Street Evangelization? We go to IU once a week to evangelize.”
“Yes, I think I’d be interested in that.”
“Great.” I got his contact information and at this point, Fra Gabriel had come out of the store and was waiting for me.
15 minutes very well spent.
Praise the Lord Jesus! And join our efforts – your time also will be well spent.