This report comes from Richard in Rehoboth Beach, DE.
During June Katherine and I handed out 60 rosaries and pamphlets, and we had some memorable encounters. One of them was a Jewish woman with four children. She was originally from Falmouth, MA. She told us that all of her childhood friends were Catholic, and when she was younger, she wanted to be Catholic also. There was no Jewish community in Falmouth, and she felt a sense of community with her Catholic friends. She married a man from Israel, and they had three children, but they later divorced.
I offered her a rosary, which she initially rejected. However, I told her that anyone can pray the rosary, and so she accepted one from me, along with a brochure on how to pray the rosary. She seemed grateful; we had a very friendly conversation.
I met two young women, both college-age. One of them, Aria, was very well-read in the Bible. She said that she had been baptized Catholic, but she has joined a local Baptist church. She asked me why priests couldn’t marry, as ministers of other faiths can. I explained to her, to the best of my ability, why our clergy don’t marry. We talked about many other things, and she seemed to enjoy the conversation. I then introduced her to Katherine, and I turned to Chloe, the other young woman who had been quietly listening.
Chloe opened up a bit and slowly shared that her mother is Catholic, although she’s not sure about her father. She had questions about the faith and Jesus, but she doesn’t like the structure in Mass and in the Church. I shared with her what I had learned from Matthew Kelly’s books, that God has a plan for each of us to become the best version of ourselves. I shared with her some of the things I do to be involved with people who need help, such as the elderly and the sick. We had a long and good conversation. I think she may go to church with her friend Aria this week. I also gave her a book that has had a big impact on my life. Chloe seemed moved that I had given her the book.
I asked her what kind of relationship she had with her mom. She said they were close but she didn’t share “stuff” with her. I suggested that after reading the book, perhaps she and her mother could read and discuss it together. Chloe said her mom would be really happy if she found out she was reading books like these. We must have talked for at least 20 to 30 minutes. It was a very special encounter for me.
Praised be Jesus Christ! SPSE team members find it especially rewarding to engage in conversations that go in seemingly life-changing directions. Young college-age adults are not only exploring who they are and what they want to do with their lives, they are also often searching for that deeper meaning to life. Spiritual thoughts are so very personal, it can often be easier to talk to a stranger than one’s own parents or even friends. Become a member of SPSE and join an evangelization team. Be that person that the young can turn to with their questions about the Church and faith.
Very apt observation in the last paragraph about how people will reveal their spiritual lives to a stranger. May I ask the title of the book you gave Chloe?
I thought I had signed up a while ago as a supporting member. I have not received any emails now for quite some time. I’m anxious to learn now I can be a better evangelist at the hospital where I work.
Thank you for what you are doing. You are an answer to the prayers of many who, like me, pray that their loved ones will meet someone who will bring them home to the Church.