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Philadelphia - Lower Bucks CountyCountry: United States
State or province: Pennsylvania
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Day Before Palm Sunday 4-9-2022 - Suburban Station
April 10, 2022
Deacon Mark, Don, and Nancy went to Suburban Station in Center City Philadelphia for St. Paul Street Evangelization on Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday. This was Don's first time back in the city for street evangelization since the pandemic and he agreed how eerily empty the streets and the station seemed, compared to before. Walking through the station to go to our usual spot, we saw a worker in the station, Eric, who we met before and who had joyfully accepted a blessed medal with crucifix for himself and his wife Monet. Nancy had spoken on the phone with Eric's wife, the last time, as he wanted to share the news of his joy in meeting us and praying with us and having a gift to bring to his wife. Eric seemed pleased to remember us and for us to remember him.
Our little team setup in the station and gave out many blessed medals and spoke to many passersby. It was a more difficult mission on this morning due to a needy young man named Mikhail who was not well at all. He stopped to talk with us and it became clear early on that he either was schizophrenic or high or both. We offered him a juice and a cereal bar or clementine and he asked us if we were trying to kill him. Carrying on a conversation with Mikhail was nearly impossible because anything that was spoken seemed to bring his mind off in many directions. The team tried to help calm him by speaking of peace and loving thoughts and of God's love but Mikhail would take anything said to a strange and frequently bad place, with topics of pop stars, Pope Francis, racist remarks, recollections from his Catholic education, and choice obscenities filling his mind and words. For two hours he stayed in our vicinity, getting loud at times and quieting a little at times, but constantly agitated and talking. The poor man was in a world of his bad thoughts. Our team did the best we could to carry on, speaking with others and praying with them, all the while praying and hoping to God for a healing for Mikhail, loudly nearby, as well.
One particular young man, exiting his train and on his way out of the station stopped to speak with us. His name was Johnny and he was new to the city, in law school at Temple University. He was from Louisiana. Johnny saw the many needy around with our little prayer station setup and he built our little team up with kind words about how good it was that we were here to serve and that he would very much like to pray with us. We prayed for his family and his schooling and for his safety in the city. The team asked whether he had a church that he went to and he said he did at home but was not looking right now. He was pleased to take a miraculous medal with him as we wished him a Happy and blessed Easter.
The team, now having been to the train station a few times this year, met and prayed again with Ebony, Miracle, and Rosa. All were happy to be remembered and to remember us. What a blessing!
When it was time to pack up and leave, we told Mikhail that we were glad to have met him and that we would continue to pray for him and for his dad, who he mentioned had visited him the day before, giving him $20. However, Mikhail decided that he wanted to follow us on our 3 block walk back to the cathedral parking lot. When we got to the car we told him that we needed to go home and fortunately he was not aggressive, but he did seem so lost. On these trips downtown for street evangelization it can be very hard feeling utterly unable to provide homes, and mental health services, and addiction treatment programs, and community, and jobs, and care for the many many many needs of the poor in our city. Imagining that these folks were once wee babes, hopefully loved by mom and/or dad, and grown and now seem to be tenuously hanging on to life full of difficulty and sorrow. May the risen Christ see to the needs of his beloved and may we continue to see and plan means of serving Him and His flock.
Please pray for the following people and their intentions:
Mikhail - for his healing and to come into good relationship with his family
Eric and Monet - for their marriage
Joseph - praises God for his life and prays for his work at the airport and for peace
Kingata - for work and shelter
Mad - for life and wellness
Miracle - for her life
Alvin - for a place to live, for better health, and for God's protection
Ebony - for her wellness and joy
Philip - for wellness, shelter, and human dignity
Archie - to be reunited with his family; for a place to live and to stay on the right path for life
Johnny - for his family's wellness, safty and health as well as his own and for his good studies
Kenny - for wisdom
Lateev - for shelter and food
Taheer - for a better life and not to be homeless
Malik - for world peace and peace in Philadelphia