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Evangelizing with Bishop Barron
September 23, 2023
We were so blessed to have Bishop Barron join our team out on the Peace Plaza by the Mayo Clinic. Below is the story included in our Courier and in the SPSE stories page. Peace--Deb
Going Out Through the Door into the Sweltering Heat
When I talk to groups about evangelization, I always share this quote from Pope Francis "We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities when so many people are waiting for the Gospel!" ... "It's not enough simply to open the door in welcome, but we must go out through that door to seek and meet the people." Each time our teams go out, we are doing just what our Holy Father has urged us to do. We are also following the call of our own Shepherd, Bishop Barron, who reminds us of the urgency of the mission of evangelization. Sometimes we talk to and pray for those who know nothing about God and can talk about why we believe in Him. Sometimes we talk to and pray for those who have a Protestant faith background, and we can share why we are Catholic or just plant a seed for the Lord to nurture. Sometimes we talk to and pray for those who have left the Church and we can invite them to come home. Sometimes we talk to and pray for those who are faithful Catholics, and we can witness to the call we all have to share out faith with others. Oftentimes we encounter all of these in our time on the street. Today was one of those days.
Today when we went out, I think it was the hottest day of the summer so far this year (it got to 97 with a heat index in the triple digits). We went out a little earlier than usual to try to beat the worst of the heat and because Bishop Barron was going to join us on the Peace Plaza in downtown Rochester. As usual, we prayed before we went to the Plaza for those that we would meet and for all of our evangelists. Before the Bishop joined us, we set up our prayer stations and began talking to and praying with people. A man who worked at a nearby restaurant walked by and we asked if he would like a blessed medal or prayer. He stopped to talk and told us he used to be Catholic. I said, “Tell me what happened.” He told us that there were many things, but the tipping point was when he got hollered at during Confession. He said after that, he just left. His mom told him later, that she had a dream that he would have a problem during Confession. I apologized for that happening and we prayed for him. He wanted to pray for the priest, so we also named him and prayed for him. The man had to leave, so we told him that we would continue to pray for him in our adoration chapel.
Our evangelist, Laurie, recognized a young man who was working on filming some people who were part of PossAbilities- a group that works with those with disabilities. Several of the young adults in the group came over to look at our medals and talk to our evangelist. One of the young men with disabilities wanted a medal to keep in his pocket and so we let him pick out the one he liked. He told us he was very depressed, and we asked if we could pray for him. He said yes, but he didn’t want to do it by the others in the group. We moved to a more private spot and prayed. He was very thankful. Another young man in the group also wanted a medal and he asked if he could take a pamphlet about The Existence of God. We were able to talk to him about God and he had a beautiful, childlike innocence in his belief in God. The first man we prayed with came back and asked if we could pray for four miracles. We said sure and asked what they were- and he said the four miracles would be for his father, his mother, his grandmother, and his sister to stop smoking. Another young man asked for prayers for his roommate who had died and that he would be able to find a new roommate.
Several women walked by and didn’t want to stop to talk to us but called over that we could pray for Bill who was going through treatment. A man, John, was walking by and we asked if he would like prayer for anything. He said he didn’t have time to talk, but then stopped and talked to us for quite a while. He asked for prayer for prostate surgery that he was going to be having tomorrow. He told us that it wasn’t cancerous and that two of his brothers had just recently had the same surgery – one was cancerous, and the others wasn’t. He shared that he was Presbyterian but thought well of Catholics. We talked about our beliefs and then prayed for him and his surgery. While we were praying, Bishop Barron joined us and was able to give John a blessing. They talked about how they both enjoyed reading about the history of different faith traditions, including Calvin. Bishop Barron told John that he taught a course on this period when he was teaching at the seminary.
The man who left the church who we had talked to earlier stopped by again to talk and tell us that his life was really good outside the church – we asked some probing questions, and he shared some more – our evangelist Angie followed him as he was leaving and invited him back to church. He said he would come. Praise God!
A woman stopped and asked for prayers for her husband who was at the clinic for problems with his eyes. We prayed for him and gave her a miraculous medal. A young couple stopped by our prayer station and the wife had just had thyroid cancer surgery and now was told that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. She told us she felt that God had put us there for her today. Tom prayed for her comfort and peace and to remember that Jesus is walking with her. He also prayed for healing for her cancer. We shared with them both the story of the miraculous medal and how many people have experienced miracles through Mary’s intercession. Bishop Barron gave both of them his blessing.
Another couple stopped when we asked if they needed prayer. The husband was having surgery for a brain tumor and then for his knee. They were protestant but were interested in what the Catholic Church taught and believed so we talked about that. They recognized the Bishop’s name and asked about him. We shared the Word on Fire site with them, and the wife pulled it up on her phone while we were standing there so she would remember to look it over. Bishop Barron prayed for the man’s health conditions and for his wife and gave them his blessing.
While we were praying for the couple, the women who had passed by earlier came back. They told us they didn’t stop at first because they thought we were from Jehovah’s Witness. They had never seen Catholics out on the street sharing their faith and praying for those in need. The three women were the sisters of Bill, who was being treated for a brain tumor. The tumor was affecting his language and memory and they were hoping for good scans today, Angie, our evangelist, was able to share her experiences of healing from a similar cancer, which was also a blessing to them. We were able to pray for them and also for Bill and gave them some blessed medals to give to Bill and his wife.
Another couple recognized Bishop Barron right away and we talked with her while he was finishing praying with someone else. The young woman’s face just lit up when she saw the Bishop. She told us she had a non-cancerous tumor on her spine that she needed surgery for, and she was very anxious about. When the Bishop came over, she and her husband shared with him how much they love his talks and sermons – she said she had just finished listening to him on Hallow before they walked outside and just couldn’t believe he was there in person. We prayed for her, and the Bishop blessed her. She turned and gave me a big hug and said, “you just don’t even know how much this means to me.” She also shared that it was her birthday. What a blessing it was to pray for her.
Just a note that our evangelists Tom and Angie were celebrating their anniversary today (what a gift to give back to the Lord for all their blessings). Bishop Barron blessed them on their special day. He also blessed our evangelist Jenny, who is leaving for a year – we will miss her very much!
As we were packing up to leave, we asked a very nice man walking by if he would take a picture of our team. He kindly agreed! Before we split up to head our separate ways, we praised the Lord for his goodness in bringing so many people to us so we could share God’s love and mercy with them. We were especially thankful for Bishop Barron’s being able to evangelize with us today. God is so good!
Additional prayer requests:
- Woman with breast cancer
- Abbie- prayers for 5 girls
- Repose of Ginny’s soul
- Andrea and Jackie healing
- Linda- surgery
- Darla – throat
- Mackenzie- prayers for 3 children
- Gina- guidance with work discernment
- Chuck – lymphoma