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Ann Arbor

Country: United States
State or province: Michigan

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John Harburg
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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.



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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.



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Old St. Pat's picture

March 8, 2020


Here is a picture of Joe Lipa (background) and myself.SPSE Team Photo



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Sent4Lent

February 8, 2020


Hey team,

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.



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Pancake Breakfast

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.

SPSE Team Photo



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Free Miracles

December 5, 2019


SPSE Team Photo

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!



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