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Philadelphia - Lower Bucks CountyCountry: United States
State or province: Pennsylvania
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August 18th – Across the street from the Cathedral
September 19, 2019
(NH) Deacon Mark, Nancy and Rich went out for street evangelization on Saturday morning.
We were planning to head about a block up from the cathedral, to our spot where we frequently go, but we were stopped right after crossing the street, right in the middle of the sidewalk. Our friend Shane, met on many other missions in this area, was there and wanted to chat. Shane was animated in his desire to speak about Jehovah’s witnesses and the details of their religious beliefs. He had been speaking with them, sezzztup around town. He thought their belief on a very limited number of people (144,000) getting to heaven and that many who die go nowhere was not at all reasonable. Deacon Mark was able to speak factually with Shane about the beliefs of the JW members, having known the religion well, and contrast it with Catholic belief. Shane is an engaging and intelligent man to speak with, taking classes on many topics, telling us about what he has recently read in the library. He speaks of how he wants to get a job. He appears poor but does not speak of it. Shane frequently has prayer requests for us and he always asks us how we are doing. It is a wonderful fruit that the Lord shares His friends like Shane with us!
As Shane was still speaking with Deacon Mark, two other men came up right away, having seen our Prayer Station sign, still in hand and not sezzztup. Now it really seemed the right thing to do, open up the sign and sezzzt it down right there. We met Isaiah, David, and John. All men were looking for us to help them pray to our Lord. We have met David on previous occasions. He suffers from mental illness and told us he was released the prior day from the hospital. He did not know where he was going to go. We have a list of the area shelters and addresses and asked him if he could go to one of them. David did not seem open to any. He did want us to pray with him. Sometimes in life we can feel so impotent, see sorrows as so large, feel like we cannot do much of anything to help. Calling on God seems strangely simple and small, yet in faith, is tremendously large at the same time. We know God wants to work signs and wonders in our time to help people grow in faith, as His instruments of love in this world. Dear Father we thank you and praise you for the privilege of serving You. We look forward to continuing to see the amazing ways you answer our prayers!
Over the course of the next two hours, we gave out many rosaries, pamphlets on how to pray the rosary, blessed medals, and books. A man named Christian asked for prayer. He wanted to find work so that he could raise money to go back home to Guyana. We spoke about the choices we make every moment of every day and how when we make them in thought about what God would want us to do, that it will always lead us down the path to peace, hope and joy in life. He agreed and accepted copies of the New Testament Bible and Resisting Happiness.
An encounter that was most striking was with Henry, a veteran who had served in the army. Henry is a homeless man and he came up to us, telling his buddy “just wait for me over there, I really need to talk with these people”. Henry told us that he needed prayer and that although he was raised Baptist, that he loves the Blessed Mother so much, as she protects him while he sleeps on the streets at night, but he had lost his rosary. Henry had a medal he wanted to show us, that he did not know much of, but wanted us to see. It was a St. Benedict medal, which we told him was a medal renowned to protect from evil, when worn in faith. Henry told us he believed it and at that point got down on the ground, laying flat out on the sidewalk, and showed us how he placed the St. Benedict medal at his feet when he slept. He spoke of being attacked at night and having not have been injured nearly as badly as he should have been and that he attributed it to Mary and this medal of St. Benedict. He spoke of how scary it can be sleeping on the streets and how he loves Mary.
We told Henry that the church (i.e., Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul) across the street had beautiful images of Mary in it and asked if he had ever been in there. He said no, that he did not think he could go into the church and he did not know what to do. We asked if he would like to go in and assured him that it would be fine and that it was open for everyone who wants to go in and be respectful. Henry agreed, and leaving his shopping cart full of his life’s possessions with Rich, Henry and Nancy went into the cathedral. Henry with the greatest respect learned how to bless himself with holy water, how to bow to the tabernacle at the altar (i.e., noting where Catholics store “blessed” holy communion that we believe is truly Christs body and blood) and he saw a beautiful cathedral mosaic of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, whose medal we gave him. We sat in the cool silence of the church and prayed some. We told Henry that the Mass times were on the sign and that he could go in there during Mass. We told him that at Mass there would be some sitting, standing and kneeling, but not to worry. Either try and do it too, or just sit and be respectful, that the Catholic Church is there for all.
We met and prayed with many, and volunteered to take pictures for tourists wanting to pose with the Amor statue. Please keep the following people and their intentions in your own prayers:
David – to find shelter, assistance, and hope.
Shane – to do well in his classes.
John – for himself and for his mom Edna.
Isaiah – for his general welfare.
John – for his sister Diane.
Ramone – for his successful audition.
Luis – from Nicaragua – for his welfare.
Gloria – that she remains faithful until the end and for our culture.
Michael – for his recovery from cataract surgery.
James – for good health.
James – to get off the streets.
John – for the restoration of our Catholic Church from scandal.
Anthony – for protection from anxiety while serving the Lord.
Genevieve – for reconciliation with family.
Florence – for her welfare.
Family from MD – for peace of mind and to grow spiritually.
Dan – for his relationship with his brother and for general healing.
Rose – to find housing and for healing from her hernia.
Henry – to find shelter and care and to grow in love, hope and peace in the Lord.
2 homeless men – that they make it another day.
Paul and Brian – that they find housing and a bed to sleep in tonight.
Carroll (male) – that God takes care of his physical needs.
Ron – to walk with the Lord.
Jackie – for her general needs.
Armando – for his welfare.
Christian – to get a job and to get back home to Ghana.
Carlo – to get the grocery job and for his wife.