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Encouraging Saturday outing
June 18, 2022
Two weeks ago (6-4-22) my team member Bob and I went to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. The whole time was characterized by "No thanks." We even became comical with it and offered people $50 or $100 dollars after the free rosary offer just to see if they would pay attention. People just kept walking and shook their head. We did not get into any meaningful conversations. Bob was engaged in a Pro Life conversation with a college student who was just exercising his intellectual prowess with no openess to a different point of view.
This week (6-18) was the opposite. As I was setting up a man came up to me so I offered a rosary reflexibly. He said he wanted one. Surprised I asked if he knew how to pray it. He said no and received a pamphlet explaining how to do so. Asked about where he went to church he said he went to Grace Baptist and believed in Jesus. I asked if he ever considered becoming Catholic. He said no. I asked if he would allow me to tell him the one good reason why I love being Catholic. He said Yes. The Holy Spirit took over and I told him that the very same Jesus who walked the earth healing (he said yea), teaching and preaching (he said yea), died on the cross (he said yea) and rose again was in the host that I could eat every day. I quoted Jesus saying that any who does not eat his flesh and drink his blood cannot have life within him. He said he knew that. I emphasized that I was able to have life because I did just that every day. He said he believed in Jesus and he was OK with his Church. I asked him if he wanted prayers. He shared that he had had 3 strokes and was having to walk with a cane until he recovered. I was able to pray for his healing. He thanked me. We parted on positive terms.
The other person with me on the 18th was Joseph and he had a long conversation with a woman who took the rosary but did not seem to know much about the Catholic faith. He gave her a pamphlet he bought recently called the Penny Catechism, a small condensation of the Catholic Catechism. She took it and we asked if she wanted prayer. She said she wanted prayer for Hope and Forgiveness (it was one of the suggestions listed on the sign we set up). We prayed for this generic request and she was very appreciative.
A woman we offered the rosary to said "I'm Jewish." I said that we believed in the same God. She then got into a long conversation with Joseph and she had relatives who were Catholic. She was very open to discussing things and eventually shared that she had moved here recently from Washington DC with her daughter. I don't remember if Joseph was able to pray for her but it was a very positive encounter.
Joseph talked to a woman named Angel who was Catholic but doesn't go to confession. He gave her a pamphlet on Confession after encouraging her to take advantage of this life giving sacrament.
Many people when offered a rosary said they had many at home but thanked us anyway. Joseph brought 10 Penny Catechisms and gave out 9 of them (I wanted one).
All in all, many positive encounters were very encouraging and made up for the very dry outing two weeks earlier.
Glorious outing 10-9-21
October 12, 2021
I took a run in the morning and prepared to go to the 9:00 am Mass before going out to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market to offer Rosaries. My partner (in life and in the SPSE enterprise) was not feeling good and went back to sleep. I waited, missing Mass and when she got up she still had a headache. I kind of gave up on our outing. Then she took something which helped take the headache away. So we both reluctantly agreed to go out late to the outing. We were under a cloud of doubt and resistance internally to doing this. She dropped me off so I could set up the station while she parked (without her driver's license). Before she came back I had already prayed for one woman's sister who had cancer. She grabbed my hand and thanked me profusely. I was talking to a man who was a devout Catholic but still wanted prayer for his brother-in-law's bone marrow transplant. All in all we had 6 encounters, one of which almost ended in a prayer to accept Jesus into his life. He heard the Gospel and said he wanted to hook up with a church to support his effort to get back into his faith life. I used the "One good reason" to encourage him to think about the Catholic faith. We talked to a Jewish woman who took the rosary and engaged in a very enlightening conversation. I pointed out that we worship the same God and we were very grateful for the Jewish people since our Savior was from their faith tradition originally. The outing started out under a cloud, in hindsight, because the devil did not want us to have the outing we had. The rest of our Sunday was spent basking in the afterglow of such a glorious outing. Praise the God who seeks the lost and uses wretched sinners like us to be His ambassadors!
Back to regular outings
September 30, 2021
Since early July, my wife and I have been going weekly to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market on Saturday mornings (with a few exceptions). We have seen a lot of fruit in terms of conversations which got people thinking about their relationship with God or with the Catholic Church. It has also been fruitful in terms of learning how to steer the conversation a little more effectively to an invitation. Some people were open to being prayed with and all who did expressed sincere appreciation and gratitude. We recently had an hour training session with Bob Wilson at our parish and many people showed up to learn how to evangelize on the street. We went out after each of the 2 trainings to put into practice what we learned. One thing I was hesitant to do was to share the gospel message. After one training, I put into practice this piece of it and had wonderful results. The person receiving it, did so with joy. The Holy Spirit really annointed what I was saying and I was amazed at what came out of my mouth! This is the highlight of my week (after Mass) and I look forward to having more people join by team as a result of the training. All glory belongs to God, from start to finish!
Back to the streets!
May 29, 2021
After more than 1 1/2 years, my wife, Barb, and I went back to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, inspired by another local team leader, Joseph Lipa. We didn't have much time (less than an hour) but it brought back the juices and now we are fired up about making it a regular practice again. Both Barb and I had good conversations with people stopping to talk. Barb gave a rosary to a Baptist woman who liked the idea of "prayer beads." She also had a long conversation with a man who was raised Catholic but had since become a "Christian", although it was not clear what he meant by that. I had a conversation with a man who just stopped by to take off his mask (we were on the street sidewalk) away from the crowds of the Farmer's Market. He talked first about the weather but as we talked, he revealed that his brother was struggling with cancer and he wanted to be careful not to infect him. I fully supported that and asked if I could pray for his brother. He balked and said "it couldn't hurt," So I said I would be praying for God's will for his brother. He thanked me and we parted ways.
What I experienced afresh was how much Jesus wanted to reach out to these people through me. I had just gone to Mass and He was very much alive in my heart (spiritually and physically). It felt like such an honor to serve Him and those He loved so deeply.
Barb and I plan to go out next week and I am inviting the rest of my small team members to join us.
Catching up reports
November 15, 2020
After several months of neglecting to go out to the streets (winter and summer), my wife (Barb) and I have gone to the Ann Arbor Farmers market for 3 weeks (10/24; 11/7 and 11/14). The first time we were joined by another team member, Bob, whose holiness is nothing less than attractive. A new team member (Katie) joined us and she was heaven sent. She had a natural out-going approah which was quite inspiring to me. While I was getting nothing but "No thank you" and being ignored, every time I looked over to Bob's direction, he was talking to or praying over someone. When he came over to where I was, another man stopped as Bob engaged him (he was crippled and unkempt). We ended up praying over him and Bob got silent for a minute. Then he prayed for something that happened to this man when he was a boy. After we were done praying, he said "how did you know about that?" . I jumped in and said God was speaking to him because he loved him. He was truly impacted by this and walked away with more hope than when he came . In the last 2 weeks, it has just been my wife and I. We were able to give out a fair number of rosaries and miraculous medals. Barb engaged a woman who identified as a Muslim but was admittedly more in name than in practice. She was very open to the gospel. She shared in subsequent texts that her husband had lost his job and his unemployment was ending. We offered to help and ended up giving her a christmas tree and some diapers (she had 4 young children). In the last session on 11/14, I offered a miraculous medal to a girl walking quickly by when she turned and accepted it eagerly. I asked if she was Catholic and she said no. The Holy Spirit nudged me and I boldly asked if she would consider becoming Catholic. She smiled and said, (not exact quote) "who knows, I could be converted!" She then rushed off while I was totally at a loss as to what to say next. I prayed immediately for her conversion. Another woman stopped to talk to Barb, named Megan who was open to receiving the rosary and some literature. She said she was "spiritual" and Barb prayed over her for her request of serenity, peace and guidance. Another woman excitedly said "really!" when I offered a free rosary. She said she had just moved from California and she lost her rosary. I told her about a local parish church (to which we belong) and invited her to attend. She said she would check it out. I finally remembered to take a selfie of our outing and it is included with this post.
I will try to report on each outing as they happen so this does not have to be so long.
Old St. Pat's picture
March 8, 2020
Here is a picture of Joe Lipa (background) and myself.
Old St. Pat's Friday Fish Fry
March 7, 2020
February 8, 2020
Things have been stagnant for the first couple of months this year. We are being invited to take part in an initiative to have four outings during Lent. I'd like input as to any ideas you have as what we can attend.
December 16, 2019
Today I set up a table at the Pancake breakfast put on by the Knights of Columbus after the 9:00 am mass at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic church in Ann Arbor, MI. The MC of the breakfast made an announcement at the beginning of the event that I was there and encouraged guests to visit for free rosaries, literature and stories of evangelization. I gave out more rosaries than I had in several outings previously, mostly because the children were fascinated by free things. Unfortunately I did not become engaged with anyone to discuss their faith but it was a great occasion of giving the love of God freely to others.
December 5, 2019
As I was setting up my station, a man approached me and asked who I was associated with. I told him St. Paul Street Evangelization. He knew all about us as he was with campus ministries (I was on central campus at the University of Michigan). I felt very supported by his fellowship and encouragement.
At this point my partner showed up and we spent an hour offering rosaries and Miraculous Medals. One person took a rosary saying he had a home altar and many other rosaries. I got creative and started offering “free miracles”. A woman ran up to me all excited and asked for that free miracle. I gave her a Miraculous Medal and explained what it was. I took her name and asked for what she wanted prayer. She said she needed a miracle for her grades as her friend bust out in giggles. I promised to pray for that miracle.
It was very cold and I discussed with my partner finding a place indoors for the winter months. He was in full agreement.
Praised be Jesus Christ! God is ready to perform these “free miracles” that today’s evangelist promoted. All we have to do is ask Him!