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Philadelphia - Lower Bucks County, PACountry: United States
State or province: Pennsylvania
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Suburban Station, 08 Apr 2017
September 19, 2019
While the sky was bright blue, the wind was whipping too hard to make it practical to work outside, so Grace Burns and Deacon Mark experimented with three different locations in Suburban Station on this Saturday afternoon. Our first spot was not far from the ticket kiosks on the 17th Street side, and we had barely sezzzt up the A-frame sign when two interested people came and asked for medals and prayers. That was quite encouraging, but within a quarter hour, we noticed that there was not nearly as much traffic as we had experienced on prior occasions, and we eventually moved to original location near the 16th Street entrance. While there was definitely more traffic in that location, we also attracted two young men: one who was hostile to the Christian faith and one who was suffering from psychological problems. The two eventually became hostile to one another less than 20 feet away from us, and it took the intervention of a station policeman to get them to calm down and separate. Grace had given that same office a religious medal only minutes earlier, and we were grateful for his help. We decided to move to a third location in the open area near the steps leading down to Tracks 1 and 2, which was fairly well trafficked. Over the course of 2½ hours, we gave away close to 40 religious medals and perhaps 20 rosaries. We met a young couple named Tom and Vim, who was quite receptive to our offer of a religious medal and prayers for restoration of Tom’s health. Another young man named Jonathan asked for prayers for a wide range of issues afflicting him and his family, as was the case for another half dozen individuals. As has been the case at every session, a few practicing Catholics stopped by either to get rosaries or medals and encourage us on our work.
We are beginning to recognize some of the people who find shelter in the station, and have become increasingly aware of the widespread brokenness that afflicts not only the homeless, but also those who are in transit to their jobs or on errands. The Gospel message is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago, and we are called to bring hope and light to a world darkened by despair and ignorance of God.