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State or province: Minnesota
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Parks, Festivals, Prayer and Healings!
September 24, 2019
Dear SPSE Twin Cities Team,
What a busy summer and early fall it has been! The Holy Spirit continues to move hearts to answer the call to share the Good News. I wanted to share with you a few of the stories we’ve encountered this summer on the street as well as the many talks and workshops Deb and I have been giving around the region. My summer really got into gear with our Basic Evangelization Training at the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis on July 13. Deb and I presented the SPSE mission and trained 65 eager Catholics to share their faith and the Good News. We’ve already seen the fruits in one team forming out of that training. We are so grateful to Crystal Crocker, Susanna Parent, Enzo Randazzo and Hazel Jordan of the Office of Evangelization for hosting us and for the wonderful facility and lunch. After that amazing kick off, our team returned to the streets.
While at Como Park, Scott talked with a man who believed in God, but didn’t like to label himself a Christian. Through a series of gentle but challenging questions, Scott was able to lead the man to admit with a chuckle that his reluctance to call himself a Christian really didn’t reflect his actions, and perhaps he should reconsider his walk with Christ because Christ was calling him to get closer. Daryl and I were able to pray with a woman who was wearing the Miraculous Medal she received from us previously, for her new intentions. She mentioned she was hoping we would be at Como Park again because she needed prayer! The seeds God planted in her heart through us are sprouting and growing!
At Thomas Beach a few weeks later, we met a man who needed prayer for his wife who was just diagnosed with cancer. He identified himself as a disgruntled former Catholic who now attended a local non-denominational mega-church. Although he had educated his children in Catholic schools, he did not feel he could support the Church anymore because of the mismanagement and damage done in the abuse scandal. I shared with him the hurt I too felt from the scandal, and then was able to share with him my own story of reversion. I told him that I left the Church looking for holier people too, and after searching long and hard, I realized that no human institution is exempt from fallen human behavior. We all are sinners. Once I realized that, my search brought me back to the Catholic Church as the only place I could find the truth, beauty and goodness I longed for. Then I gave him my one good reason for staying: the power of the Eucharist. His eyes opened wide and he said, “I did not think of that. You know, I really miss going to Communion.” I joyfully told him he could come back just by going to Confession. We gave him two Miraculous Medals, one for him and one for his wife, and then prayed with him for his wife’s healing. Praise God he lets us be his hands and feet and lips.
In September we were out at the Transfiguration Parish Festival, and despite the rain, Mark, Risa, Scott, Daryl, Neil and I had some great encounters. One woman questioned Mark about why Catholics worship statues because it clearly states in the Bible that we are not to worship idols. Mark was able to talk with her about where she learned this, and help her see that Catholics don’t worship idols, but use sacred art to lift our hearts to God, whom we do worship. He shared with her the “Common Objections” pamphlet to help her understand Catholicism better. We pray a seed was planted in her heart. Another Protestant sister, Janet, said she needed prayer for her ear problems. She had ringing in her ears, dizziness and lots of pain. I asked her if she believed that Jesus wanted to heal her ear and she said yes. Then I put my hand over her ear and prayed in the name of Jesus for it to be healed. She got a big smile on her face and said she felt power and heat in her ear, and that the pain and ringing were gone! I praised God with her in more prayer, and then asked her if she would consider finding out about the Catholic Church. She said she would and took a Miraculous Medal as a reminder of Jesus’ healing and his love and mercy in her life. I pointed her toward the pastor who was walking the festival as the person she could talk to about becoming Catholic.
The next week we were out for two days at the huge Nativity of Our Lord County Fair. Bill has been awesome in arranging for us to have a table for the past four years at the County Fair. We always have lots of kids stop by to get our free medals and rosaries, since Nativity has a large Catholic school. This year, we had small packets with a crucifix or Miraculous Medal and holy cards, and for each medal the kids took, we challenged them to take a packet and give it away to someone they knew who needed to know the love of Jesus. We had them share with us why Jesus died on the cross for us (to pay for our sins, open heaven so we could be there with him and to show us his love), and then encouraged them to share that message with whomever they shared the packet. It was a huge success! Lots of parents and other students came by to get a free medal or prayer because of those packets. Those kids were our hands and feet! One young lady stopped by with her mom, Jenny. The young girl asked if we knew which saint was in charge of worried people. I asked if she was worried about someone and she said, yes, that her mom was going to start chemotherapy for cancer. I gave her a St. Jude medal and holy card, and asked if we could pray right then for Jenny. After our prayer, they both had smiles on their faces, took Miraculous Medals and said they felt much less worried about Jenny’s upcoming treatment. One of the carnival workers, Tara, came by on her break to see what we were doing. She took a St. Christopher medal for travelers and we prayed a short prayer for her protection and she went back to work. About an hour later, she stopped by again, and said, “I had to come back and tell you that I have had a terrible migraine since yesterday. I took all the medication I could but it wouldn’t go away. After I put this medal on my migraine is gone. I’m never taking it off!” I shared her joy, prayed in thanksgiving to Jesus for her healing, and then asked her about her faith life. She goes to a Bible church in Virginia near her home. I asked if she would be willing to read our pamphlet “Why Be Catholic” and she said she absolutely would.
Deb and I have been giving lots of “10 Great Ways to Share Your Faith” talks, prayer talks, and introductions to SPSE this fall. We’ve been all over the diocese of New Ulm, met with Bishop Kettler in St. Cloud and have been helping write the lessons for the New Live School of Evangelization that is being piloted this fall in Detroit. I did manage to find two more Saturdays this fall to go out as a team before the weather gets more difficult. They are both on the team calendar: Saturday, October 12 at Mears Park in St. Paul and October 26 at Thomas Beach in Minneapolis. We also have two parish Advent events I am working on, so check the calendar for those in a few weeks. One is in November and one in December.
Please continue to pray for our team, for our apostolate and especially for all of those intentions we received from the many people who courageously shared their needs with us. God bless your autumn!
P.S. If your parish is having an Advent, Christmas or Lenten activity this winter, be sure to ask your pastor if we can sezzzt up an SPSE table at the event. We have some of our most amazing encounters at parish events. We already have several on the calendar and would love to work with your parish!
God bless you! Denise