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Snellville - St. Oliver Plunkett

Country: United States
State or province: Georgia

Team Leader
Robert Zendejas

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A New Spring to Love thy Neighbor

March 16, 2024

As the winter weather wears down and the spring air is around the corner, we ventured out to the St Vincent de Paul store in Lawrenceville, Georgia to spread the word and offer hope to those who are in need.

As quickly as we set up, a woman named Iona came to our table.  after exchanging some pleasantries, and explaining our purpose for being there, Carey inquired if there was anything we could pray for her.  Iona opened up and accepted his offer and informed us she had recently lost her job and did not have health insurance anymore and felt she was getting ill.  We prayed for her success in finding a job and for the healing of her ill health.  She was very grateful and accepted a Miraculous Medal from us.

Immediately following Iona, a Hispanic man came to our table and we offered him a rosary, prayer cards and saint medals.  He asked in Spanish is this from the Catholic Church?   As he was looking at the material, another Hispanic mother and 2 daughters approached our table and greeted the man and they began to talk.  He let them know all items on our table were free or "gratis".  The 2 young girls exhibited a smile and explained to their mother in Spanish that everything was free. They was excited to accept rosaries, and medals.  Although the language barrier existed, smiles and broken English was enough to convey the Word of God and our Faith.  This was obvious from the smiles and excitement of the mother and daughters as they walked away.

Our least encounter was from Jean Marie and her 85 year old mother, Sharon and their neighbor Jeanie.  Jean Marie and Sharon were Catholic.  Sharon had recently lost her husband who was her care giver.  We found out Sharon was in the early stages of Alzheimer's.   While Ray and Carey spoke with the 2 Jean's, I spoke with Sharon.  She was totally alert and full of energy.  She resisted Jean Marie's "orders" to put on her sun glasses as her Doctor had required her to wear them while she was outdoors.  My attempt to convince her to wear the sun glasses failed to, but we had a lively conversation sharing life of the aged, as I shared stories of my parents late years and she was more than glad to share her stories.  For a brief moment the Holy Spirit consumed both of us and we experienced a loving conversation sharing faith lessons and expressing how love is shared among family members.  She did not like to be told what to do, but deep down, she understood why her daughter was doing so.  She just didn't want her daughter to know it.  Sometime independence is hard to shake, as you get older, you will always see your children as children, and not as caregivers who only want the best for you.  We ended our conversation with Jean Marie stating to Jeanie and Sharon, I told you we should have stopped and talked to these men.

God works in all if us in ways we sometimes don't recognize or accept.  Let us all be open to those around us, even if we don't agree with them, but openly embrace them for being a child of God and loving our neighbor.

SPSE Team Photo


SPSE Team Photo


Prayers Old and New at St Vincent de Paul Thrift Store

May 8, 2022

On Saturday May 7th, we set up next to the St Vincent de Paul  Thrift store and were Blessed with several great encounters.   We are always greeted by passer byers who express their appreciation for being out and sharing our faith.

After walking by our table a few times, Anna approached us and to review the rosaries and medals.  As we mentioned to her we offer prayers, she asked if we would pray for her health.  She did not mention was she was suffering from, but clearly by her facial expression, she was going thru something.


Mary from Athens and her friend stopped by to share their story.  Mary attended Catholic school back in 1946 for 2 years, but her parents transferred her to public school.  She wished she had remained in the Catholic school, she felt she would have received a better education and social and moral upbringing. She and her friend accepted rosaries.

Luke approached us and clearly wanted to discuss religion with us.  He was a Vietnamese refugee who traveled by boat to the US.  He firmly believes God chose him to leave his country and follow Christianity here in the US. He was not involved in religion prior to his journey to the US.  He liked to reference the Bible.  He holds to the belief if you do not believe in Jesus, you are not his brother and he doesn't think he should associate with you, whether that means in prayer, sharing faith.  We tried to engage him in our faith discussion, however he would change the subject back to his beliefs.  The world is full of those today, if you do not agree with their thoughts, beliefs or their morality, they choose not to listen to others.

At the end of our outing, a gentlemen from Guatemala came up to us on his bike.  He attends the nearby Catholic church St Lawrence.  Carlo mentioned back home in Guatemala, they are tearing down Catholic churches.  At St Lawrence, there are many parishioners from Guatemala, so they are giving to the churches back home to rebuild and spread the Catholic faith.  He seems very devoted to his religion.




St. Oliver's Catholic Church Lenten Fish Fry Kick Off 2022

March 5, 2022

The SPSE team kicked off the Lenten Men's Friday Fish Fry to share our Faith.  As the event had been canceled in past years due to the pandemic period, this year's kick off was like the flood gates were opened with parishioners and local catholic returning to enjoy the best fish dinner in the region (and perhaps the Southeast - understanding we may be a bit biased ) and share in fellowship with each other.  Many commented the parking lot looked like it does during a Sunday Mass and hoped the fish did not run out.  But like the power in the Gospel, there was plenty of fish and bread to feed Christ's disciples with several baskets left over.

We encountered many who were visiting our parish  and who were not familiar with our Ministry.  Each expressed joy we were out and thanked us for being there.  We handed out rosaries, saint medals and prayer cards.  It was not uncommon for some who didn't want to take more than one, however we encouraged them to take as many items as they needed and share.

Two grandmothers approached our table and although they had several young grandchildren, they were each hesitate to take more than one.  With encouragement, they ended up taking items for each grandchild.  The common theme of our discussion was their lack of Faith in God, or in our religion.  Having recently one of my grown daughters return to the Church, I shared my story with them and they hope for the same result for their grandchildren.  They pray everyday for them to find their Faith.

A father and his young daughter visited our table and the father took a Miraculous Medal for himself and the daughter took a few saint medals.  How impressive she already knew about the Saints she chose.

A few young adults visited our table and picked up saint medals to keep in their car, so they "have protection when they drive".

It was a wonderful evening being out and we look forward to other Friday outings during lent to share God's work.




Evangelizing Outing - Alexander Park

March 5, 2022

Four members of the St. Oliver’s SPSE ventured out to Alexander Park on Sunday afternoon. The group decided to do this outing in shifts starting out with two evangelizers and then finishing with three. Soon after setting up, we notice a man expressing some interest as he past us. When this man was passing us for the second time, he hesitated looking back at us which gave us the opportunity to talk with him. We asked him if he had any question and told him that all our material on the table was free and would he like to look at it. He came over and immediately started telling his story. He was a convert and did so when he got married. He readily spoke about when he converted, he knew that he was in the true church and he loved being Catholic but all this changed when his marriage failed and he felt the church left him. He continued to say he knew he belonged in this church and he had to get back to Her. We told him the church didn’t leave him and the church wanted him to return. We invited him to come to church with us and we also suggested that he meet with our Pastor to talk about his concerns.

The next person to stop by our table was a lady that was very upset because of her lying. You could tell she felt very guilty due to her lying. We offered to pray with her and we all prayed our own prayer, out loud, asking God to forgive her, to see into her heart and giver her peace.  After that she kept on walking.

Another guy stopped when he was asked if he had questions or needed prayers. He was a Hispanic Jewish man but said every Hispanic he knew was Catholic. We talked with him about the Catholic faith


Evangelizing at St Vincent De Paul - Lawrenceville, GA

July 25, 2021

SPSE Team Phote


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

SPSE Team Photo

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

SPSE Team Photo

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!