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Joliet

Country: United States
State or province: Illinois

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Nick LaBanca
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More Stories From the Street at Taste of Wheaton

June 13, 2022


Below are a couple stories from me, and one of our other station leaders, Angela, after our awesome outing a couple weekends ago. Please pray for all those we encountered!

 

Angela's Story: I was with Julian and Russell, who were both joining us for the very first time. The most memorable part of our shift was when a group of Christians approached our booth. After a slow hour, the three of us were each suddenly involved in deep discussion with various members of the Christian group. My conversation focused on Marian doctrines, the papacy, and sola scriptura. Though I felt like I was in over my head and definitely stumbled a few times, I said a silent prayer and thought I was able to make a few good points. I know I cleared up one misconception that a young woman had about Catholics ("Yes, I can - and do - mostly pray directly to Jesus. I'm not required to pray through Mary."). At the end of the conversation, one of the men even accepted a book that explains Catholic doctrines.

SPSE Team Photo

Nick's Story: I was there on Saturday, and as always, I feel a little bit nervous before each outing. But I have to remind myself that the Holy Spirit is activating the graces I've received in Confirmation, and once the talking with others begins, it all comes together and I feel better. My first encounter was with an older man and woman who say they have no church community, and just rely on the Bible and don't like "traditions". I reminded the gentleman, after his wife said following the Word is paramount, that indeed we must follow the Word since the Word is a Person, but that St. Paul also said we must hold fast to the traditions handed down (2 Thess. 2:15). He didn't like that, and tried to twist St. Paul's words to say something they don't. I offered to pray with him, but he kindly refused. Please pray for his conversion, an his wife's as well.

 

We also had some very positive experiences with lapsed Catholics coming up and taking materials like Trent Horn's "Why We're Catholic". There were some questioning teens, already baptized Catholic, which took the "YouCat" endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI. One woman ("Joan") we prayed with admitted that she is Catholic but hasn't been to church in a long time. After speaking for several minutes and praying together I asked Joan what is holding her back from going to Mass. She answered very honestly, and said she knows that it sounds silly, but being single and never married, she admitted to feeling lonely especially when seeing so many families at church. Our other station leader, Angelica, told Joan that she is always welcome and we both let her know we can find her a community where she can fill that hole of loneliness, but to also look to the Eucharist. She gave us her email, and since then, we have gotten her in touch with a large parish in the diocese that is working to get her support! Please keep praying for her!

 

In another encounter, we spoke with an older woman who was apparently baptized Catholic, but now goes to a non-denominational church, although she still clings to her Catholic grandmother's rosary. I asked her if she knew how to pray it, but she says she just holds it and is comforted. We talked about how to pray the Rosary, and then prayed together. I asked her if she has considered returning to her grandmother's Catholic Church. She said she appreciates the traditions, but basically said that's not how she worshipped. She wisely noted that Christians must be all one as Jesus prayed to the Father in John's Gospel. I talked to her more about this, and asked her if she believe the multiplicity of denominations ere a scandal to non-Christians. She seemed to agree, but kept changing the subject when talking about the one, true Church our Lord founded, and eventually we parted amicably. Please pray for her return to the Catholic Church since she firmly believes that all Christians must be one.

SPSE Team Photo

There were quite a few children who came up to receive rosaries and sacramentals, under the watchful eyes of their parents, and one young girl admitted she didn't know how to pray the Rosary. I gave her her favorite color Rosary and the pamphlet on how to pray the Rosary. When I told her it was a walk through Jesus' life, she beamed, and said "that's so cool!" multiple times! Pray that she may stay close to our Lady and her Divine Son! One final encounter took place just after I left. Our station leader, Bill, was tearing down the booth, and a distraught woman came to our booth crying asking for prayer because she said she didn't want to live anymore. Bill and Russell consoled her, prayed with her, and stayed in touch through the following day. Bill had given her a Miraculous Medal, and she said that it had given her such spiritual strength and comfort through the night. Se wanted to "thank our group for what we do and continue to be there for others when its sorely needed."

 

We often don't learn the results of our evangelization efforts immediately, but this time we did! Please pray for all those we encountered, especially for the conversion of those separated from our Lord presently, and for an increase of grace in all!