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Joliet

Country: United States
State or province: Illinois

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Nick LaBanca
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More From our 2018 Maiden Voyage at Taste of Wheaton

December 23, 2020


When you think about how people come to Christ, or come back to the Church, it is in many instances through what Pope Francis calls “a culture of encounter;” that is, coming into personal contact with people who are living the faith and, as Paul says, being “imitators of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). When people have bad experiences with Christians or the Church, they can often be put off by the disconnect between what Christians claim to profess and how they live. Those wounds can live for years and keep people from experiencing the love of Christ lived out and in the sacraments. Thankfully in our work as evangelists, we are given opportunities to make new impressions and be a light to the world in word and deed with those we encounter.

SPSE Team Photo

This report comes from evangelist Nick of the Joliet, Illinois team:

“Throughout the day, we handed out many rosaries. At least 150! Many people were more than happy to take one, and we were able to give them instructions (from SPSE) on how to pray the rosary. Miraculous medals were in hot demand too, as were some million dollar bills featuring Pope Francis. The kids especially liked getting some extra “money” for their piggy banks!

One of our station leaders, John, was also able to have some meaningful conversations with the passerby, particularly with a military veteran, Thomas, who had served our country in Afghanistan. It was clear he had a heavy heart, and John encouraged Thomas to return to the sacraments. Thomas asked for prayers and we were able to pray with him right there, on the spot. Another one of our station leaders, Edgar, also was able to pray on the spot with a woman who had been suffering from some ailments. People were very glad to have the opportunity to pray with others.

I myself was also able to pray with quite a few people, including Sandy for the conversion of her daughter (and we also pray for her reversion to the Catholic faith for her as well). I also spent some time talking with Karen, who has been hurt and scandalized by a number of things that have taken place within the Church. These scandals have led her to question the Church, but she knows that she needs Christ, and that she wants to find a good parish to go to. We prayed right there, especially in thanksgiving for a recovery from illness, and we’re hoping to find her a great spiritual home and that she will return to the sacraments.

Needless to say, please keep all of these people (and those that I didn’t mention!) in your prayers. We don’t know what effect our witness will have this side of heaven, but we can only hope that we planted some seeds, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Hopefully some of these people we met will return to the Church. We could also use your continued support with prayers as well for the success of our apostolate.”

Praised be Jesus Christ! As our Lord tells us, “You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Mt 5:14, 16). In cultivating a culture of encounter and praying for those we meet, we live by example...which is the best witness to the love of Christ! Let’s work on our own lives and allow God’s grace to motivate everything we do, and in doing so we can trust we will “bear much fruit” (Jn 15:8). Will you join us in our work?

Listen to Nick’s “Story from the Street” podcast here!: https://streetevangelization.com/stories-from-the-street/