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Evangelizing at St Vincent De Paul - Lawrenceville, GA
July 25, 2021
We continue to welcome our newest Evangelizer, Lisa who has quickly shared her talents for sharing our Faith and Praying with those in need.
We set up outside the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Lawrenceville, Georgia, to share our Faith and offer Prayers to those in need. Our visit did not disappoint us, we encountered a steady stream of people who approached us despite temperatures in the 90's.
We had pleasant and lively exchanges with numerous people who approached our table, including:
Will, who attends a Presbyterian Church, visited our table and talked of his mother establishing his faith foundation and how it wavered and grew throughout various stages of his 70-year life. He had polite questions about the Catholic faith and took with him necklaces with Marian pendants for himself and his wife.
A quiet but grateful woman took a few religious key chains.
A fellow Parishioner stopped by to greet us and thank us for being there and was looking for a particular "One Minute in the Church" booklet to increase her Faith. She was happy to find it on our table for the taking.
A woman who had accepted a few items from our table was asked if she had prayer requests, and we prayed for the repose of the soul of her relative who had just died in another country and whose funeral she would not be able to attend.
Amada approached with her three children, requesting prayer for healing for her eyes. She has been experiencing issues with her eyes and of course is concerned and frightened. We offered prayers for the healing of her eyes and assured her God is there for her. Her two teenage children chose religious medals--St. (Padre) Pio for the rising high school senior Jesus and St. Therese of Lisieux for his sister--and were told the story of and encouraged to accept Miraculous medals as well. Her second-grade son Tomas, chose a necklace with a crucifix as well as a keychain with a cross. His enthusiasm for our religion was a living testament to his parents who clearly have instilled
A woman who had previously visited our table and taken some religious medals for her five children came back and sheepishly requested rosaries and pamphlets about praying the rosary for her mother to take to family in the Dominican Republic on an upcoming trip so that they could pray together. She was afraid of "taking too much" but was glad to hear that her passing along these items simply extended the mission of the St. Paul Street Evangelization Ministry.
Seeing Smiles Through Masks, Pt. 2
August 14, 2020
After a hearty greeting from Alex, an elderly couple warmly greeted us on their way into the Farmer’s Market. They asked us what Church we were associated with and when we exclaimed St Oliver’s, through their enthusiasm, they proclaimed they too were from St Oliver’s. On their way out of the market, we jokingly asked if they were going to share their food purchases from the Farmer’s Market, at which point the husband politely told us no. At which we replied with a verse from the Bible for loving their neighbor – which could mean sharing, the wife joyfully expressed her pleasure of us sharing the Bible and our Faith and she let her husband know what our Catholic Faith teaches us. This was truly a witness of our Faith in action! I do not believe this was a charitable act, but if we had been serious, they would have shared their purchases with us out of true love.
A woman looked at us intently while she passed us on her way into the Market. During her return to her car, she crossed the street and approached us to ask what Church we belonged to. We let her know St. Oliver’s Catholic Church. She explained she was not Catholic but was a churchgoing Christian. She was grateful we were out and expressed how much this was needed due to the pandemic and how people felt lost and alone. She let us know her name was Jane and we introduced ourselves. She reached for her pocketbook and asked if we would accept a donation. Of course, SPSE does not accept donations on the street. However, it was a very touching expression of her Christian faith. She mentioned her church has not opened for services yet. We explained St. Oliver’s was conducting services within the pandemic guidelines and reservations were required. We let her know the Mass times, as she appeared interested in attending service. Particularly since her church was not open and she seemed to have a longing to worship God in a Church. Our hope is during the next time we visit the Market, Jane will visit us again and we may be able to introduce her to the beauty of our Catholic Mass.
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Seeing Smiles Through Masks, Pt. 1
August 14, 2020
The St. Oliver’s SPSE team made its first appearance since the start of the pandemic. We welcomed a new member (Alex) who joined us for the first time. His energy and enthusiasm were immediately evident as he greeted all who passed by with words of faith. He waved at cars entering and leaving the market parking lot and by his witness, the smiles were definitely larger on the way out than on their way into the parking lot.
One of the first stories I remember was greeting a husband and wife going into the Farmer’s Market. When they came out, the man hollered to us “John 3 16!” We said, “Yes!” and, they came over to make small talk about loving Jesus. Next a lady came up to the table to talk to us, so we chatted for a little while telling her about SPSE and about St. Oliver Plunkett. She seemed interested in items on our table, so we talked about the pamphlets, medals and rosaries. When we told her she could have anything on our table she said she couldn’t take anything because she was Baptist and didn’t worship Mary. We said we didn’t worship Mary, but we do honor her as the mother of Jesus. Before she left, I offered her a pamphlet on praying the Rosary which she accepted.
Later on, a lady and her mom came to the table as they were heading to the market and asked what we were doing, so Alex told her about our group and finished by asking, “do you go to church, what church do you go to and where are you with Jesus?” At that time, we had some discussion about our church but she was anxious to get to the Farmer’s Market so her mom could sit for a while. She said she would talk to us on the way out, and she did indeed stop by later. So we started discussions on the Catholic church and invited her to come to Mass with us at St. Oliver Plunkett and gave her some material on the Catholic church. She said she would try to come to church and that she hoped to see us again so we can talk more.
Be it from the isolation of the pandemic, or the realization we need God in our life, the overall encounters of the day were a testimony for the purpose of SPSE and the need for us to be on the street proclaiming God’s word. The energy level was too high to be measured and the love through smiles and discussion were heartfelt. One may ask how do you see a smile through a mask? It is only through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, that allows the hidden smile to be seen. Perhaps this was a little miracle of the day.
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Faith Sharing amid fear and anxiety during the Coronavirus
April 4, 2020
The Snellville St Oliver's SPSE Ministry was called by the Holy Spirit to reach out to several members of the Church and form an online webinar to share faith discussion and conduct a Bible study about fears we are encountering during this pandemic times. The Bible study was an outreach of the same Bible study as presented on FORMED (FORMED.ORG). With the technology of Skype, we set up an online meeting one evening and shared Scripture and discussions. Clearly due to the shelter in place restrictions, we long for face to face interaction. The death of a prayer partner was revealed during our discussion and this left a large hole in one member's heart. But it was through dialog and sharing Scripture which offered a calming presence for this member to ease her grief. As Fr. Benedict Groeschel has said – "A day shouldn’t go by without you thinking about eternity. Before this evening is over your life may cease." We are living for eternity, not for this life. We shared several passages addressing fear and anxiety. They included Matthew 6:25, Psalm 28;8, Proverbs 24:10, Luke 12:30-31, Ephesians 3:17 and 1Peter 5:7.
As we discussed each passage, the Holy Spirit directed our conversation to the next passage. It was a moving discussion with kindness and compassion shared by all.
The Lord loves us, this is the source of our strength and we are asked to reaffirm it each day.
God brings good out of all things.
May those suffering during this time from illness, loneliness, fear or anxiety, may you find strength in the Lord and may you reach out to others as you are not ever alone. We are meeting online each Wednesday evening at 7 and welcome others to join us.
May God Bless you!