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Owatonna

Country: United States
State or province: Minnesota

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Deb McManimon
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Listen, Befriend, Proclaim, and Invite!

June 2, 2023


[This article appeared in the May issue of The Courier- our Diocesan Newsletter]

The two great commandments are Love God and Love Your Neighbor. When our teams go out to evangelize in our communities, we are able to follow those two great commandments. We love God by following his commission to bring Him to the whole world. We love our neighbor by being willing to share God’s love with those we meet on the street or in our daily lives. At St. Paul Street Evangelization we use the model of Listen, Befriend, Proclaim, and Invite. The first step is to always love our neighbor through listening and befriending. So many people never have an opportunity to experience the love of Jesus, except through someone willing to step out in faith and bring him to another. As St. Theresa of Calcutta put it very simply“ To evangelize means that you have Jesus in your heart, and then you carry him to the hearts of others“. Recently, I was doing the Easter Challenge in Hallow reading Acts and this line came up after Chapter 24 “We should look for a divine opportunity to share the Gospel to those that might not hear it except for us.”  What exactly does that look like? For our teams in the region that go out jointly in Rochester, we meet together before walking to the Peace Plaza. We bring blessed medals, holy cards, rosaries, and a “Need Prayer?” sign. If we are blessed to have a priest with us, we also bring an “Ask a Priest” sign. We pray that the Lord would send us those that need for us to be his hands and heart that day. Those are divine appointments. Each time we go out, there is always at least one divine appointment, but often there are many.

On our first outing of the year last month, we talked to many people who were hurting spiritually or physically and were able to pray for all of them. We prayed for peace and healing for people with heart problems, abdominal disease, issues with pain, hope for clear cancer scans, and listened to stories of anxiety and fear. One Catholic couple in town for a follow up visit at Mayo from a southern state was shocked (and delighted) to see other Catholics out on the street sharing their faith. After talking for a while, we learned of a deep need for healing of someone in their family who had suffered severely. We were able to pray for that family member and for the couple’s needs in caring for this person. Having the common connection of being Catholic made it feel like we were talking to old friends. We all felt so graced to have met each other and being able to lift their needs in a special way up to the Lord.

Sometimes the Lord sends a divine appointment when you least expect it. I was getting a checkup recently and the nurse working with me happened to mention that her husband had severely injured his eyes in a farming accident. I had a blessed St. Michael medal and holy card with me and asked if she would like it. She started to cry, and I prayed for her husband’s healing. I found out that she was a fallen away Catholic, so we talked for a bit about that, and I invited her to check out Word on Fire and also the Bible in a Year podcast. I shared with her how easy it was to come back home to the church.

While we are blessed in our diocese to be able to evangelize at a place like the Mayo Clinic, where the needs are so great, each of our communities have people living in them who have deep wounds they are carrying. How can we reach them? We can start by having hearts open to those Jesus sends across our paths. Does this sound scary? I was scared the first time, too, but now I find it an amazing blessing to be on mission for the Lord. If you are looking for practical ways to get started, contact Susan or me and we can meet with you to help. Our evangelists are at Farmer’s Markets, in parks, outside of Walmart’s, at parishes for drive-through prayer, and more. Anywhere there are people, there is an opportunity to share about Jesus and his Church in a loving and non-confrontational way. Who needs to meet Jesus through you today? The Lord is calling us all to be missionary disciples. Will you answer the call?

Deb McManimon
Regional Missionary/Team Leader