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Joliet

Country: United States
State or province: Illinois

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Nick LaBanca
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First Large Scale Event of 2021 - Taste of Bolingbrook Report

August 10, 2021


 

It's been a long time coming, but the Joliet Team has finally made it back to a large event! Sure, we've done a few smaller-scale outings during pandemic time, but our team enjoys being out and about to reach as many souls for Christ as possible!

 

SPSE Team Phote

 

Below is my report as Team Leader. We met a lot of people, prayed for and with many others, and were able to have some great conversations. We are hopeful that we were able to lead people closer to the one Church founded by our Lord Jesus and to Him in the sacraments! A few more pictures from the event can be found as well:

The day started fairly quiet as we got our both set up at 10 AM. We weren't expecting many more people at the Taste of Bolingbrook until lunch time, and we would be there until 8 PM. The first person to come up arrived with his young daughter. Jim [all names are changed] saw our prayer station sign and said he could always use some prayer. His daughter wanted one of the rosaries and we gave her the how to pray the rosary pamphlet, asking her to have her father pray it with her. He said that he had felt like the "lost sheep" for the longest time, but that our Lord had found him again just six weeks ago. He said he used to be Catholic and went to a nearby parish, but he said he never "felt" anything. We encouraged him to return to the Church, but he didn't want to take any other sacramentals or further conversation and he parted amicably.

Most of my experience throughout the early part of the day was praying with others, not so much discussion. Diane came up to us, a Lutheran, and said she was in need of prayer as two of her adult children have disowned her and will no longer talk to her. She broke down into tears, but was very comforted by our prayers and thanked us profusely, her and her friend taking rosaries. Another woman, Maryella, came up to our table looking at our rosaries and other items. She seemed reticent to engage us in conversation, but once we engaged her she stayed to talk with us for quite a while as it was clear she needed prayers. She was Greek Orthodox and told us that she paints icons. She finally asked us for prayers for her daughter, Victoria. Maryella broke down, sobbing, as we prayed. Her daughter is currently studying abroad in England, and she is very sick after taking her first COVID vaccine, with an adverse reaction causing her arm to swell up and she is now in the hospital. Maryella was very scared for her because she has no way to reach her daughter, but she was comforted as we prayed together and asked for the protection and intercession of the most pure Virgin Theotokos, Mother of our God. She also took a St. Michael medal and prayer card and was very thankful for our prayers.

SPSE Team Phote

We handed out many, may rosaries and miraculous medals to others, and also handed out quite a few books and pamphlets. One young man even took home a copy of Dr. Edward Feser's "Five Proofs of the Existence of God" which we were giving away!
Later, when I returned for my evening shift, a young woman, Amy, came up to our table and eventually engaged us in conversation. She asked for prayers for her mental state, and for peace. After prayer, she said she belonged at one time to a Baptist church, but she hasn't really gone to church on a regular basis, noting to us that this is something she should be better about. We talked about the necessity of coming together as a community, as Christians, and I asked her if she was baptized. She said that she was, and I gave her a prayer card invoking the Holy Spirit, so that she could become closer to Him and have those graces within her activated. We then kept talking about the necessity of gathering together at church, and I told her that the most important reason we must gather together is so that we receive the Eucharist. She said she had never hear that word before, and I explained to her that in the Catholic Church established by Christ Jesus, we receive Him in Communion. She remembered Communion from her days at a Catholic high school where she had attended Mass periodically. I explained to her why we as Christians must be joined to our Lord in the Eucharist, and I encouraged her to take the pamphlet on "True Worship - The Eucharist" which she gladly accepted before parting.
SPSE Team Phote
Our last encounter at the end of the night was with a young man named Jamir. He wore a shirt that had a crown and a cross. He looked at us and said, "Hey guys, look at my shirt!" I responded by saying, "Jesus is King!" He laughed, and he shook hands with us and we got to talking a bit, He loves Christ and we found out we have a lot in common. He understood the threefold office we have been given through baptism; that we share Jesus' priestly, kingly, and prophetic offices. He called himself "non-denominational" and was hesitant to call himself a Christian. He said he just wanted to follow Jesus and that he hated all the divisions in the Body of Christ. Our other evangelist, Anthony, concurred with Jamir and told him that the first Christians just simply called themselves followers of "the Way". I then quoted the words of a Catholic priest in our area that being a Catholic Christian isn't so much about identifying as a certain group, but that it is "a way of seeing", a way of seeing as Christ wants us to see, and that must be in a sacramental worldview. I gave him my testimony of why I was Catholic, and quoted to him the prayer of our Lord Jesus to the Father that all Christians might be one as He and the Father are one. I told him that Jesus does not want division, and since the Truth is a person, He wants to lead us into all truth, including the one, true Church that He had founded. We asked him what he had thought of the Catholic Church and he said that he has gleaned good things from all different kinds of confessions, but he worried that different confessions took away from the centrality of Christ. We agreed with him and told him this is why we're Catholic, and that we want to keep the focus on Christ, but to remember the focus of his teaching. Quoting Dr. Tim Gray, I told him that if he accepted Jesus as King, then he must accept Jesus' Kingdom as well. We talked about the parables in Mathew's Gospel which focus on the kingDOM, and that this Kingdom is currently in seed form, for as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, "The kingdom of heaven was inaugurated on earth by Christ. "This kingdom shone out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ" (LG 5). The Church is the seed and beginning of this kingdom. Its keys are entrusted to Peter" (CCC 567). We talked a bit more and before he parted I asked him if he'd take a copy of Trent Horn's book "Why We're Catholic". He balked at first, but then he said it might be good for him to as he might find something useful. Our other evangelist Nina told him about our diocese's final event the following weekend for Theology on Tap, and he exchanged social media info with Anthony. We all parted amicably, and by that time, the night was over.
We had many first time evangelists out, as well as other veteran's, and this being the first large event we had done since 2019, we were very glad to be out there for such a large event. Please keep all we encountered in your prayers!