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SPSE National Office

Country: United States
State or province: Michigan

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Mark J Hornbacher
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April 1, 2020


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While out grocery shopping with my father, I had to pick up some cigarettes from the gas station across the street for my mom while he waited in line to be rung up. After noticing earlier that I had a Miraculous Medal in my pocket (but no explanatory card), I was determined to give it away and explain the special protection it has held in the early 1800’s against a cholera epidemic in Paris. I thought this was a rather timely topic, considering the recent COVID-19 outbreak was on everyone’s minds.
I got in line, eventually getting my turn came to purchase the cigarettes, and then we made some small talk about the cigarettes as he finished the transaction. After he handed me the bag, I reached into my pocket and asked him if I could give him something. He agreed, and I showed him the medal which had been placed on a chain, and began telling him about the special protection that the Miraculous Medal had provided for people in the past. I told him that almost two centuries ago, those who devoutly wore the medal around their necks were either spared or alleviated from the cholera epidemic. While I certainly hope I didn’t give him the impression that it was the only needed protection to keep him safe from the Coronavirus, the medal had kept those who wore it safe in the past and could possibly do so today.
I told him it was a medal of Jesus’ mom, Mary (he seemed to know who she was), and appeared grateful for the gift. He even tried to put it on while I was standing there. I could also sense that the young employee behind him was listening to our conversation. If only I had brought another medal! I departed telling him to look up the Miraculous Medal on the internet for more (since I didn’t have the card, nor did I have the time to stay and talk).
Praised be Jesus Christ!


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Prayer > Positive Thinking

March 18, 2020


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I was shopping for supplies for my work, and was in line to purchase them. The woman waiting in line in front of me had a mask on. Our cashier and the woman that bags the groceries, in an effort to make conversation, asked her why she was wearing the mask…perhaps assuming it was a response to the recent Corona virus scare. The woman responded that it was because of her cancer, probably because her immune system was weak from chemo and catching any virus would be very hard on her. The cashier told the ailing woman to think positive, that the power of positive thinking is often underestimated.

When it came time to purchase my items, I commented on their conversation affirming that positive thinking can be good as Jeopardy host Alex Trebek had been promoting recently. However, I said having a positive outlook and prayer together are very important. They both seemed to agree, and hopefully a small seed was planted. It’s important we share with everyone how much good prayer can bring to any difficult situation. God can help fix a difficult situation we’re struggling with, or maybe he will simply give us peace to accept it as it is. Either way, prayer is always a good response to any situation.

Praised be Jesus Christ!



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Holy Family Christmas Store, Pt. 1

January 8, 2020


Detroit, MI. For the second year, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, in Midtown Detroit, organized the "Holy Family Christmas Store". On the weekend before Christmas, this "store" offered a chance for low-income families to come and receive Christmas gifts, clothing, toiletries, etc. Like last year, our evangelists were invited to come and evangelize the 450 families who registered for the distribution.


 

Click here to read more stories from our National Office team in Warren, MI

 

The following report comes to us from evangelist Mark with the SPSE National Office team in Warren, MI:

Early Saturday morning, while we were still setting up our table and before we even did our opening prayer, Cindy offered a rosary to a man passing by. Karl, who was just walking to the corner store, accepted the offer and approached our table. He moved to the neighborhood two months ago and is looking for a church home. Karl grew up near the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, a few miles away, and spoke about his childhood memories of playing basketball at the cathedral. He was very open to everything that we had to say and asked several good questions. Karl asked me "what's the difference between Catholics and Baptists?" I explained to him that there are several differences but the two biggest differences are Apostolic Tradition and the sacraments. I told him that, as Catholics, we can trace our lineage to the Apostles but John Smyth started the Baptist Church in 1608. I explained to Karl that Baptism is one of seven sacraments in the Catholic Church. I told him that, even though they call themselves "Baptists", most Baptists believe that Baptism "is not necessary for salvation." I continued and spoke about the True Presence of the Eucharist and the Last Supper, when Jesus told the Apostles "this is my body", "this is my blood", and "do this in memory of me". Since Karl comes from a Christian, biblical background, I was careful to refer to the Bible in all of my answers.

Karl spoke about how he is working part-time at a nearby gas station and has little discretionary income. I introduced Karl to Fr. Marko, who was standing nearby. Fr. Marko is one of the priests who lives in the rectory and he runs Better Way Detroit, a ministry that offers day labor jobs to those who are unemployed or underemployed. Fr. Marko recorded Karl's phone number and promised to follow-up. I told Karl that the parish church is open every night, and gave him an open invitation to come and visit whenever he can. Karl spoke about how he misses his daughter and grandchildren who live in South Carolina. Unfortunately, he is able to visit his family only once a year and he would not see them this Christmas. Cindy, Fr. Marko and I prayed with Karl—we prayed for Karl, his daughter and his grandchildren. I gave Karl a postcard from the parish and invited him to Mass on Christmas Day. In total, we spoke to Karl for about half an hour before we parted ways and he continued his errand. Please pray for Karl and all of those are searching.

Praised be Jesus Christ! Make sure to check out more stories from this outing in the coming days. And please pray for Karl and all those who are struggling in life.SPSE Team Photo



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Evangelizing at the DIA, Pt. 2

December 13, 2019


SPSE Team PhotoDetroit, MI. When people visit the Detroit Institute of Arts, or any art museum for that matter, they are often there seeking beautiful art. Beauty, along with goodness and truth, make up the three transcendentals. “Transcendentals are the timeless and universal attributes of being”, according to Fr. John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary. They say that when we seek truth, goodness, beauty, we are really seeking God, since God Himself is these three things. In today’s story, one of our evangelists used the transcendentals to hopefully draw a young art student closer to God.


 

The following report comes to us from evangelist Mark with the National SPSE office team in Warren, MI:

Click here to read more stories from our National Office team

 

Cindy and I spoke with Cameron, a high school senior, as well as his mother and sister. Cameron is interested in art and wants to go to a nearby art school next year. I told him about my experience and education at the same school and gave him advice. We talked about sacred art and he said that he has a deep appreciation for Renaissance, Catholic art. I told Cameron that beauty is one of the three transcendentals (along with goodness and truth). Beauty has the power to transcend cultures and ultimately leads us to God. The mother said that was raised Catholic but left the Church when she married a Baptist. We encouraged her to return and recommended a parish near their home. We ended the conversation by praying with the family for their intentions.

Later on, Cindy and I met Brian, a cyclist who was passing by but stopped for the offer of a free rosary. Brian was raised Catholic but, like many, slowly drifted away from the Church years ago. Cindy and I both recommended a nearby parish that has daily Mass and daily Confession. Cindy encouraged Brian to go to Confession and he was visibly shaken at first. I comforted him and said that frequent Confession has helped me bring peace to my life. I said that everyone has something on their conscience that they are not proud of. Even if you are embarrassed to talk about what you’ve done, it can be very helpful just to talk to someone about it and allow God to heal you. My testimony gave Brian some solace; he thanked me, shook my hand and accepted a card for follow-up.

Praised be Jesus Christ! Author David Bentley Hart once said, “Beauty pleases not only the eye or ear, but also the intellect in a celebration of the integrity of our body and soul. It can be seen as a sign of God’s goodness, benevolence and graciousness, of both His presence and His transcendence in the world.” If beauty points to God, let us point to beauty when evangelizing in hopes that they will see our Creator in his beautiful creation and be drawn to Him.SPSE Team Photo



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Evangelizing at the DIA, Pt. 1

December 13, 2019


SPSE Team PhotoDetroit, MI. The Detroit Institute of Arts, or DIA as it’s known to locals, is ranked as one of the top six art museums in America, and draws visitors young and old. It contains many beautiful religious works, including Gozzoli’s “Madonna and Child” and Jan van Eyck’s “Saint Jerome in His Study” just to name a few. Today’s team decided to set up just outside the main entrance, to see if they could talk to people coming from and going to the museum, and perhaps catch some of the early crowd for Noel Night (a Christmas holiday open house in the cultural center of Detroit).


 

The following report comes to us from evangelist Mark with the National SPSE office in Warren, MI:

Click here to read more stories from our National Office team

Cindy, Michael and I evangelized in midtown Detroit for an hour on a recent Saturday. The afternoon got off to a slow start—there were few pedestrians passing by and even fewer people willing to stop and talk. After a slow 10 minutes, we moved half a block, near the main entrance to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).

Almost immediately after we moved, a large, extended family stopped and talked with us. They all received rosaries along with pamphlets and a brief explanation of the prayer.

Cindy and Michael had a lengthy conversation with Franco, a native of Mexico. Michael offered him a Gospel holy card, Franco accepted and offered his personal Our Lady of Guadalupe card in return. Franco showed us his many sacramentals, including two scapulars that he received at pilgrimage sites in Mexico. Franco has lived in the Detroit area for years but has not found a parish home yet. I recommend a parish near his home that has weekly Spanish Mass.

We spoke to about 30-40 people over the course of an hour and about a third of them stopped to talk with us. Several people were too busy to stop but did thank us for our presence and our non-confrontational approach. We wished “Merry Christmas” to everyone we spoke with.

Praised be Jesus Christ! Please pray for everyone we evangelized today. Stay tuned for part two of our story tomorrow.



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