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State or province: Pennsylvania
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Nativity Carnival Part Two
September 19, 2019
(NH) This was our first outing at a local church carnival doing St. Paul Street Evangelization and was a tremendous blessing for our team. We were welcomed by the Legion of Mary group at Nativity and we are so thankful to them and to Dan for helping us get it together!
In the two evenings spent at the carnival we had many SPSE team members participate including Dan, Don, Cheryl, Deacon Mark and Nancy. Perhaps we’ll even get a new team member or two from the Legion of Mary to join us on some street evangelization outings in the future, as we gave them our website and schedule information and they said they were interested.
I hardly know where to start with this post as there were so many notable encounters. The atmosphere of the carnival was full of family and teen excitement, with food and rides and games abounding. Our little prayer station, with blessed medals and rosaries, and a tented table with evangelization books, pamphlets, and prayers took up little space but had the desired effect on the activities, reminding us all of why the Church, its parking lot, and the carnival exists – to share the Good News of Christ with the world, and our little Warminster community! The dear Legion of Mary folks, sharing in tandem with us, was an example of beautiful fellowship.
Throngs of people stopped and spoke with us, prayed with us, and accepted sacramentals and evangelization materials from us. We have given out more rosaries and religious medals that on any of our other street evangelization outings! We even had carnival workers who were on break following us out of the carnival, ensuring they didn’t miss us, to ask us for rosaries, how to pray them, and prayers.
Many teens asked for religious medals or rosaries; they were polite and listened while we instructed them on the significance of the various medals, e.g. St. Benedict medals, Miraculous Medals, St. Patrick medals, etc. and how to pray the rosary. They were all amazingly respectful… God willing, seeds were sown! Many of the kids brought their friends over afterwards as well.
Loads of young families were there, meandering by our table and prayer station and many stopped to talk, receive sacramentals, and pray with us. There was a large number of Hispanic families and Deacon Mark’s ability to speak Spanish sure was handy!
One young man that particularly stands out is Gabriel, who came over with a buddy. It was a popular name that Tuesday, with him being the third Gabriel we met and remarked that he was our third visitor named after that visiting angel! He was baptized as a Christian but does not currently practice; we talked about how God is working in our lives even when we are unaware and he did request a prayer. Gabriel and his friend and I prayed that he would get to spend more time with his family, which was his request. His intention, while simple, was so very moving.
Early on in the evening a man alone with his young daughter slowly were walking by our prayer station, to which any good evangelist says 🙂 Hi – we have a prayer station sezzztup here, could you use a prayer tonight? The man Bob and his little girl Cory said that they sure could. Bob relayed that a year and a half ago, Cory’s brother / Bob’s son, Chris succumbed to cancer at the young age of 26. Dad and sister miss Chris so! You could see the pain in their eyes, how they wished Chris was there at the carnival to enjoy it with them. We prayed that Bob and Cory’s hearts would be flooded with the peace of Christ and knowledge of their loved Chris immersed in Jesus’ peace and joy. We also prayed that the little family would be blessed with a sign that Chris is with them much-so still and loves them.
A lady came by the table looking for some religious materials and she said she was very much in need of prayer. Her name was Tracy and she is raising her grandchildren. She wanted blessed medals for them to wear. She also took the Everybody Needs Forgiveness book which we told her was a great one. We prayed for her to be guided daily in God’s will for her and her grandchildren. She especially prayed for patience and strength.
On Tuesday night a sweet lady Donna and her daughters came up and wanted to receive sacramentals and some of the Dynamic Catholic books we had on hand. They were very excited to have been given these items. Also, Cheryl and Nancy prayed to Our Lord with them, especially for Donna’s healing and also for spiritual healing in their household, where the family felt concerned about evil spirits. Two days later Donna came back to the table exclaiming that she woke up the past two mornings without her any of her usual swelling and with no pain. Praise be to God! She said she had relayed this to her friend who has been pestering her to go to church on Sundays and her friend said “See! it is true, God wants you more!” We spoke at length about confession and the Eucharist.
Early on a man Barry, who had been raised Jewish, and his friend Janet came up to the table to talk with the Legion of Mary folks. After a little while our Legion of Mary friends told us that perhaps we’d like to speak with Barry as he had lots of questions. Barry told us that he had a learning disability and had some difficulties but he was interested in getting to know more about the Catholic Church. He was concerned about whether he was allowed to go into a Catholic Church that was open and if there was a Mass if it was ok to stay. We told him sure, while you need to be respectful in the church, you are welcome to come into any open Catholic Church. I suggested that if a Mass was going on, just find a spot in a pew and the only thing he should not do is go up and receive Holy Communion and should just stay at the pew during it. I told him that he could try to follow with everyone for sitting, standing, and kneeling, or could just sit for most of it. Barry wanted to know why he should not receive communion when visiting a church. We talked about how one needs to receive baptism and sacraments of penance and Holy Communion, first learning about the faith, to ensure that one is a member of the Catholic Church prior to receiving. We spoke of how as Catholics we believe Jesus truly gives us his body and blood to consume in the Eucharist. With his disability, this was alot of information! We sent Barry off with some audio CDs, pamphlets, and contact information to help him think about Christ and His Church.
Later, a man had parked his baby in stroller up next to our table. Of course, I needed to fuss over the sweet little baby, as he was wide awake and looking around and had the sweetest creamy baby skin 🙂 (OK I love babies!) The baby had a leg problem. I asked the dad if he was ok and the dad said maybe but the baby had also been diagnosed with encephalopathy and would likely be very disabled his whole life. I told the father how sorry I was to hear this but told him how beautiful his baby was and how the sanctity of all life is a primary teaching of the Catholic Church. I came around to the front of the table to be nearer and asked if I might pray with dad and baby. He said that he used to be Catholic, he used to believe in God, but does not anymore because God could not possibly allow this to happen to his child. I told the father that he should speak with our dear deacon, who we know has suffered tremendous loss as well. At that moment Deacon Mark freed up and was able to speak with dear dad (praise be to God for good timing!). They talked at length and Deacon Mark reached out with contact information so that they can be in touch again. We prayed with the father and sweet baby Ryan for a miraculous healing and good development and for this child to bring utmost blessings to the family. The father remarked that his mom had been telling him to talk with God. I suggested that his mother’s prayers might be starting to get answered that night.
There was a lady Izmair who came up to the table somewhat late on Thursday night, very pleased that we were there. When we asked her if she would like for us to pray with her she excitedly said, “YES! and I have much to pray for”. We prayed for her elderly father, and for her work that was difficult lately, and for her sister, who was quite ill, and was the primary driver of her coming looking for a rosary. We gave her a rosary that we had from the Kuhn collection of left-over rosaries from Pope Francis’ visit. She was tearful and so pleased to be given this gift. It was a lovely opportunity to bring hope and joy of Christ and His Church to this dear woman.
Danielle – for her daughter Tulip
Jim – for his grandpop Jim
Kevin – for his family and for mine (Nancy’s) too
Tristan and little sister – for their family
Angel and little Raylyn – for these young kids
Tara – for health and happiness for her family
Joy and Barbara – for peace on earth
Megan – for patience and strength
Sierra and Natalia – for family, health, and starting college
Mark and Shannon w two children – for their family’s health
Kevin and Jessica – for the souls in purgatory
Barry and Janet – for good health, and Christian company
Donna – for her health
Elizabeth – for her 13 year old son to get baptized
Carol and Cathy – one moving and other needs new good roommate
Alice – continued peace
Betty – for employment and relationship with sister Patty
Anthony – for baby Ryan miraculous development/healing
Gabriella and Vanessa – mother / child for their peace and joy
Gabriel – more time with his family
Annmarie – for her mother who has suffered an aneurysm
Izmair – for her father Melvin, for her real estate work to be fruitful, for her sister Michelle
RJ – for his son Nathaniel
Jay – general intention
Ann – for her husband who has multiple sclerosis to be healed