Road to Bethlehem 12/3/2022
December 4, 2022
This year Phil and I again set up just outside the entrance to our church in the upper gathering area. Our hope was to attract the attention of some the people entering the church to hear the school children sing during our Christmas bazaar "Christmas Village: The Road to Bethlehem".
Most of our encounters were routine: children taking a medal or two on a chain, people picking up medals to give to relatives for Christmas.
Two encounters stick out in my mind.
- We talked one couple for a few minutes. The woman mentioned her mother attends our parish. Phil asked if they had any prayer intentions. The man mentioned his sister-in-law (his wife's sister) died just under a year ago from complications of Covid. Phil said he would take that intention with him when he went to adoration in a few hours. He then asked, since our parish is her mother's parish, where the couple attends church. They live a community some miles away and attend a Protestant church. Let's hope we planted some seeds when we didn't realize they were not Catholic.
- As we were packing up, a friend helped. She noticed I had a zipper baggie with knotted cord rosaries. I said that in a shipment of rosaries from SPSE were several varieties of rosaries other than rosaries with the standard oval plastic beads.. I bagged those up so I could lay out a couple of different varieties. Our parish school has a traveling prayer statue of Mary. She thought these knotted rosaries would good durable rosaries for children to pray with when their family has the statue. I said she could take the whole bag (a dozen?) and she gladly did.
We had a young helper, age 17, who evangelized with us when his parents and younger siblings were walking around the "Road to Bethlehem". We invited him to join us in the future.
As much as possible when we were talking to people picking out medals, we gave them two additional things: 1) https://evangelizationschool.com/store/product/holy-cards-eucharist-living-bread/ The new Living Bread prayer card since we are in a 3 year period of Eucharistic revival 2) https://evangelizationschool.com/store/product/spse-catholic-audio-card/ SPSE Audio cards to which I affixed an "address label" advertising our Drive Thru Prayer and invited them back to pick up more material or give us a prayer request.
Windy Day 11/4/22
November 6, 2022
Three evangelists showed up for our misty, overcast, cold day. After one hour, we had one Drive Thru and gave out one medal to a gentleman waiting for the bus. Since everything was slowly becoming wet, we decided to back up an hour early. We will be back our stations the first Saturday in April.
Rake A Thon
October 29, 2022
The St Raphael School had a wonderful day for its annual service project/fundraiser the Rake A Thon. Evangelists Phil and Sharon were ready with medals, rosaries, pamphlets, and donated Catholic books when rakers returned to the school for a soup and hot dog lunch.
Many children took one or more medals on chains and rosaries. Parents, too, took items and a few chose books. Phil had a conversation with a dad who is a convert from Lutheranism and another with a woman who was happy to converse in her native Spanish. The second grader teacher, who took medals/chains for her class last year, took medals and chains for her class again. Her husband stopped by, picked up a book, and mentioned he stopped by our booth at the festival.
Thank you, God, for a nice weather and good turnout. May the sacramentals given out today increase the faith of those who received them.
Drive Thru Prayer 10/1/22
October 13, 2022
This is from Team Member Phil:
Drive Thru Prayer 9/2/22
September 3, 2022
The road and sidewalk in front the church are both being repaired. We were undeterred and set up anyway despite expecting a lower turnout.
Man with a child in Pre-K at our parish school was waiting for a bus and asked for prayers for his back. Emmanuel asked for prayers for obedience. (Not knowing the circumstance, we think it is likely for obedience to follow God's will. We can all use this type of obedience.)
A mother and daughter walked by. The daughter said she already had a Miraculous Medal she received previously. Sharon thinks the daughter had attended one of the Free Food, Friendship and Faith nights.
As we were packing up, Robert drove up and asked for general prayers. Evangelist Cathy had just wandering down to our brochure table and was able to hand him the "My Daily Prayer" Pamphlet.
Though the turnout was small, we hoped we touched the hearts of the people with whom we spoke.
St Raphael Festival (reboot)
August 9, 2022
Our new young pastor was excited to reboot the festival after a few years off. He was very excited to meet to Pope Francis!
Crystal Frolics 2022
July 30, 2022
This report is from team member Phil:
Free Food, Friendship, and Faith (July 14 & 21)
July 22, 2022
St Raphael Reaching for Faith (RFF) ministry, of which the parish SPSE is subset, hosts every few years Free Food, Friendship, and Faith nights where we give free hot dogs meals to people driving or walking by.
This year we planned to add SPSE materials to give away every week but due to Sharon's broken ankle (who would staff the table), we were only able to do July 14 & 21.
On July 14, about 50 diners were served including a group of 6-8 young adults who each took a Miraculous Medal
On July 21, we served about 60 meals including one to a bus driver:
One of our team members, Suzanne, was walking about Bass Lake Rd as usual, holding up our FFF&F signs & drawing attention to our event. As it happened the Metro city bus made the stop right at our Church, and Suzanne let the bus-driver Tony know, of the free hot dog meal that awaited him. He asked her if she could have a meal ready for him when he returned in about 25 minutes. Suzanne agreed, and had a hot dog plate made up for him. Well sure enough, he came back and was very happy to receive his meal, and commented that he'd watch us operate over the several previous weeks, and thought the outreach was a good idea. Suzanne asked him for his prayer requests, for which he responded. And before the bus pulled away, Suzanne asked the 5 riders on the bus if they too, would pray for bus driver Tony, and every one of them agreed!!!!!! In addition to the meal, Suzanne brought him a Miraculous Medal and a brochure or two.
We had also an encounter with a local school board member, who having driven by on at least one prior week, decided to stop by and see what was happening. She wholeheartedly loved the meal give away and wanted Sharon to explain the significance of each medal.
The school board member had been Mexico and was interested in the story behind the Our Lady of Guadalupe image. In their discussion of what sets Catholicism apart from other denominations, Sharon handed her brochures on Mary and the Eucharist. She identified herself as a reader and someone who loves to learn and took several other brochures as well. She also received one of every medal on a chain. She may come back for our parish festival in a few weeks when the SPSE team will have a booth as well.
Join us in prayer for the intentions of our diners and that they each grow in faith and friendship with God.
Drive Thru Prayer 6/4/2022
June 6, 2022
In the shadow of recent mass shootings, near-record inflation, and the war in Ukraine, the Holy Spirit’s loving and positive presence was upon our community in a big way, and provided comfort and awareness that God is still with us. On Saturday, June 4th, St. Raphael’s St. Paul Street Evangelization team had a record number of drive-thru and walk-by prayer requests (16), where we prayed for those with mental health, financial, addiction, and family needs. Our efforts provided a visible reminder of God’s love for those who are prayer recipients, and we're confident that God is planting seeds of hope in those who drive by but don’t stop. Saturday’s Drive-thru Prayer event allowed us to have many requests and needs lifted before the Lord -- it was awesome to see the power of prayer at work!
Drive thru Prayer #2 May 7, 2022
May 9, 2022
Evangelizing with Door Hangers
April 3, 2022
Several members of our team helped with this project in various ways: stuffing bags, helping to distribute bags to parishioners after Masses to hang on doors on their block, and four members along with our pastor (split into two teams) went into the immediate neighborhood around our church to hang the bags on the door of houses/townhouses. One member took 100 bags to distribute at a location further away. Free Food, Friendship, and Faith event running on Thursdays June 16- July 28 is sponsored by Reaching for Faith committee of which SPSE team is a subcommittee. (Note: the bags we distributed today did NOT have the SPEI card in them. This photo is from our Drive Thru Prayer event on Saturday, April 2.) One team, Phil and Julius, spoke to Bruce, who attends a local Protestant church. Bruce thought it is important taht people of faith follow the Holy Spirit. Phil and Julius agreed and suggested Holy Spirit was with them now. The three men prayed for their homes and peace. Bruce said he appreciated what Phil and Julius were doing.
Drive Thru Prayer #1 2022
April 2, 2022
We had a brisk, partly sunny morning for our first Drive Thru Prayer of the year. Phil, Serena, and Sharon were joined by FIVE new people this morning. Brad and Joe, who sometimes stand with signs in various places near by, were invited to join us this morning with their signs. Jack, Julius, and Suzanne, who came to our kick-off information meeting, joined us as well.
In addition to our normal SPSE materials and our inventory of gently used Catholic books, we were handing out "door hangers" to people that stopped. Our young energetic pastor wants these doorhangers distributed to the neighborhood to invite people to check out St Raphael. Included in the "door hanger" is a half sheet advertising our Free Food, Friendship, and Faith nights which will occur in June and July. To the bags we handed out today, I added SPSE Catholic Audio Cards with a sticker affixed advertising our 1st Saturday Drive Thru Prayer.
We had barely finished setting up when two cars drove up requesting prayers. Caught off guard with a car driving up so soon, Sharon forgot to give a door hanger bag when she gave a Miraculous Medal to Susan for her friend who is suffer from lung cancer. The rest of people received both medals and door hangers. In total we spoke to ten groups of people.
Please pray for Rick-suffering from lung cancer, Patience-that she may be adopted by her Aunt Esther, and Alfreda-who wants a revival of her prayer life and is having marriage difficulties and all of people who stopped by and those who honked happily as they drove by appreciating what we are doing.
Evangelizing Faith Formation
December 13, 2021
This report comes from team member Peggy:
On December 5, I gave the students who are going to be receiving their First Communion the rosaries and Rosary Guides, along with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy prayer cards. The teacher thanked me for them. I explained to some of the kids and teacher the plan was to pray the rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy once a week, and then in Lent increase the praying to the rosary to twice a week. The students and teacher were all happy to receive the materials.
Road to Bethlehem Boutique 12/4/21
December 5, 2021
Walk up Prayer 11/9/2021
November 6, 2021
After cancelling Drive Thru Prayer on our normal first Saturday (due to a parish event happening at the same time), Sharon decided having unusually high temperature forecast of 64 degrees forecast for today called for evangelization. Due to deciding this morning to set up spur of moment, the only evangelists were Sharon and her daughter Serena.
It appeared that no one might stop by the material tables (other than our parochial administrator) on this nice morning. We were approaching the time to pack up when a couple walked up who were waiting for a bus. They both took rosaries and each took a medal on a chain with the accompanying prayer card.
They were quickly followed by a man in motorized wheel chair who was traveling down the sidewalk. He received prayers, a Guardian Angel medal/card, a rosary/pamphlet and a St Benedict crucifix was added to the Guardian Medal on the chain when the rosary wouldn't fit over his head. He identified himself as a Lutheran. Perhaps praying the rosary will draw him closer to the Catholic Church.
As Serena and Sharon started to pick up the materials, a family arrived to wait for a bus. This family waited for the bus before on a Drive Thru Prayer Saturday and the bus came so quickly, we did not have a chance to talk to them. This time Serena offered the family some candy and Sharon managed to give two children medals before the bus came. Perhaps next year, we will be able to give medals to the rest of family.
As Drive Thru (walk up) Prayer is done for the year, we pray that we touched the lives of people who received medals/materials and drew them closer to God.
10/30/21 St Raphael School Rake-A-Thon
October 30, 2021
The day started a bit nippy as Sharon and Phil greeted families gathering for the annual St Raphael School Rake-A-Thon, a combination service project and fundraiser. Due to time constraints, not all families could stop by our two tables of SPSE materials and free books. We were able to give a mother who is not currently practicing her Catholic faith a rosary and other rosary materials along with "Reasons to Return to the Catholic Faith."
Last year due to Covid protocols, the usual lunch for families after the raking did not happen. This year the lunch did happen. Before Phil left for another parish volunteer commitment, he helped Sharon move the materials into the school cafeteria for the families who returned for the hot dog and chili lunch. It was thought during lunch would be a better opportunity to reach out the families and reach out Sharon did. A mother picked up replacement medals and chains for ones received at last year's event which had broken. Children picked up medals (many several took multiple medals) and chains. Parents and children picked up free books. The second grade teachers took medals/chains for her students (except for the one standing next her that she knew had received one). Even our new parochial administrator Fr. Hagen stopped by and picked Miraculous Medals cards to hand out with the Miraculous Medals he carries with him in a rosary pouch. We started the morning with a small quantity of loose chains (12?) and Sharon opened a bag of 50. After the families left, Sharon discovered the loose chains left are probably less than five. Please pray the children will continue to happily wear their new medals/chains and the sacramental graces they receive will aid them to grow in their Catholic faith.
October 2: Drive Thru Prayer and Knights of Columbus Booya
October 4, 2021
We had two events lined up for Saturday, October 2 and both of them were lasted less than the anticipated two hours.
Rick joined us today for the first time. Rick is a long time member of the St Raphael evening prayer group and years ago did some door knocking evangelizing with the Legion of Mary in Texas.
We started our Drive Thru Prayer under cloudy skies, but hopeful the rain would hold off until after 12 pm. This was not the case, but we still managed to talk to a few people, pray with them and hand out Guardian Angel medals on chains in honor the feast of Guardian Angels on October 2.
When heavy drizzle started, we packed up and closed our session with prayers for those we encountered at about 11:15am.
Josie and Sharon moved our slightly soggy supplies inside to wipe them off and set up for KC Booya feed which was scheduled for 5-7pm.
As Josie left, she found two envelopes outside the locked doors just short distance from where we set up the SPSE table. The envelopes were labeled "Prayer requests". Sharon assumed they were from people who wanted to do Drive Thru prayer but discovered we had packed up early, so she opened them and she and Josie prayed for the prayer requests. The envelopes appeared to from a mother and daughter due to the similarity of a few of the prayer requests. Sharon told Josie she would email the prayer requests to the other team members and Rick so everyone pray for them.
Curiously, the mother had written her first name and street address on one of the index cards that she placed in her envelope. After consulting with team, Sharon mailed a care package today (October 4) to the family with Guardian Angel/Miraculous medals on chains along with the prayer cards for each, rosaries/rosary pamphlet/rosary CD, the brochure on suffering, a St Francis prayer card (the saint of the day), and the book "I Heard God Laugh" by Matthew Kelley. Team member Phil emailed Sharon a personalized letter to include with package, gave his contact information and said they could contact him if desired. Team member Peggy had also emailed encouraging words which Sharon copied onto a text document, printed and placed in the box.
The evening KC Booya Fest was also cut short, but for a good reason--the booya sold out by 5:50! Before packing up for the final time, Sharon had managed to give out a few medals, replace a broken chain from our Christmas 2020 medal give away, give out two examination of conscience brochures to a woman who along with her husband encourage fallen away Catholics that they meet in their Alcoholics Anonymous ministry to return to the faith, and gave away a few books-one of which is a Catechism of the Catholic Church-from our free book collection.
Drive Thru prayer 8/14 & 9/4
September 5, 2021
Our team had a new member the past two months. In August, Lisa took a spin up and down the sidewalk in front of the church (see photo below). In September, she helped Sharon pray with passers-by on the sidewalk while Phil and Serena "beat the pavement."
Peggy rounded out our team the past two months and manned the drive thru station at the church north entrance.
As evangelists, we may often wonder if we are making a difference. After our experience Sept 4, I can say, "Yes, we are making a difference." There is one gentleman who has stopped by nearly every month since we started Drive Thru prayer October, 2020. He was having a bad day and looked forward to stopping by and knowing there would friendly people with whom he could discuss his cares and pray with him. As he and his wife are discussing the possibility of moving, we are not certain if we will see him again. But he hasn't moved by the first Saturday in October, we will be ready to greet him, listen to his concerns, and pray with him.
Frolicking in Crystal with St Raphael School 7/25/2021
July 27, 2021
The St Raphael SPSE team shared a booth with St Raphael School at the Crystal Frolics Family Festival on Sunday, July 25. As part of the Family Festival, each booth needed an activity for children. Team member Phil had a Bible Trivia game, so he was our quiz master and handed out candy to participants.
We were not allowed to talk about doctrine so we were hampered. We could hand out free religious articles and information about our parish, however. After the children tried a trivia question and received a piece of candy, we invited them to make a necklace with a medal or two and to take a rosary. We did offer a simple explanation of the rosary when asked and gave out a few rosary pamphlets. Sharon gave a brief explanation about Our Lady of Guadalupe to a woman stating the tilma which should had lasted only 40 years has been in existence for 500 years. She was impressed and chose that medal.
If a child chose a St Michael ("the warrior angel" Sharon called him to appeal to the boys) or a guardian angel medal, we made sure to give him/her the prayer card. A woman in 70's or 80's happily took a guardian angel medal on a chain.
Team member Peggy rounded out our team that day. She had a knack for encouraging people to accept rosaries.
Although we did not have as much traffic as hoped, our presence at the Frolics was important as there was a Protestant church (as well as a charter school and the public school district) present at the Family Festival. At least one person thanked us for being there and said the medal and rosary give-away was a good idea.
July 3 Drive Thru Prayer
July 3, 2021
With a soft breeze to sustain us and young lady dipping her toes to see what street evangelism is, we set up once again in front of St Raphael church on the first Saturday in July.
"C" asked the prayer team to pray for health, finances and safe travel to Illinois. "G" asked for all youth to be lifted up in faith and service. Dave stopped once again and picked up a crucifix on a chain, but couldn't stay long as he had groceries and soda fountain drinks to bring back home.
Evangelist Dave is doing a ministry of giving a friendly wave to people driving by as he walks on the sidewalk. Many people wave back or honk.
Sharon answered many questions that "N" had. "N" is someone Dave, Serena, and Sharon met after Mass one day. She is in a summer RCIA program at a neighboring parish and picked up several medals and brochures today for herself and a friend. Peggy and our potential new evangelist spent a long time engaged with man that approached our book/rosary/medal station near the sidewalk. He took brochures on Confession and How to Pray the Rosary , but declined to take a rosary because he wants to read more about it.
With addition of "I Heard God Laugh", we have good supply of books to give away. No one took any books today but "N" expressed gratitude for the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" that Serena and Sharon took from our book inventory and gave her after Mass about a week after we met her. "N" asked about several of the books in the box, but said she hadn't read the other books given to her the same time as the Catechism.
Drive Thru Prayer 6/5/21
June 6, 2021
We had a hot but successful outing. The temperature was 89 at noon when we finished, but we had shade to sit in and a little breeze so God was good to us.
Due to the hot weather, we had few people walking on the sidewalk compared to other months. However, Dave, who stopped by last year and both April and May this year, brought his wife to meet us. We knew from previous meetings that Dave and Lisa have had housing issues in the past and Lisa, who is in a wheelchair, has health issues. Sharon asked if they are pro-life. Lisa stated she is and was adopted as a baby. We gave her copy of "Unplanned" by Abby Johnson to read and Phil explained why being pro-choice is harmful to women. Sharon also briefly explained how Catholics believe that suffering can have a purpose and can be offered as form of prayer to help others. She gave Lisa the brochure on suffering who seemed interested to read it. Lisa asked when we would be out again. Sharon explained the first Saturday of every month barring bad weather or a funeral at the church.
Phil and Peggy spent a lot of time with Rose Marie who needs heart and lung surgery. They gave her comfort and a renewed mission to use the rest of her life, no matter how long or short, to spread Christ.
Two young women , Shien and Shawnshay, stopped by the prayer station to ask for prayers for Shawnshay's job situtation. SPSE evangelist Dave them rosaries and directed them to the materials table to pick up brochures on to pray the rosary and a rosary CD.
While we had very few encounters, we believe we are making a difference and look forward to the first Saturday in July.
Serena, Sharon's daughter, noted we need to add a box of tissues to our supplies as the past few months people tearfully poured out their troubles to Phil and Peggy at the prayer station. Sharon also decided to use the lines on the back of the "Great Catholic Audio Talks" to write "Drive Thru Prayer, 1st Saturday of the Month," along with the church address so interested people can stop by and visit with us again (and maybe listen to some of the SPSE talks if interested).
May 20, 2021
May 15, our parish women's group, the Rosary Society, sponsored a retreat for women with the theme "The Holy Family." Two weeks before the retreat the president of the Rosary Society approached Sharon, Team Lead and Rosary Society treasurer, if she knew where to buy holy cards for retreat. Sharon thought of SPSE. Since the maximum number of participants was capped at 120, Sharon bought one pack each (100) of Holy Family-retreat theme, St Joseph the Worker-year of St Joseph, and Our Lady of Fatima-feast day May 13.
The holy cards were well received. We had approximately 70 women attend. All of two of the St Joseph cards were taken, 12 Holy Family cards were left, and 22 Our Lady of Fatima remained, so women picked up extra copies for relatives and friends.
Thank you SPSE for quality holy cards and prompt shipping service.
Drive Thru Prayer May 1
May 2, 2021
Today's report is from Station Leader Phil Rief as the team leader was unavailable for the event:
Phil Rief - SPSE
Drive Thru Prayer 4/3/2021
April 3, 2021
What a glorious Holy Saturday for our first Drive Thru prayer of the year!
All week we have been experience cold weather (well, average-ish temps weather) coupled with strong winds that felt bitter cold. Last night the winds died down and weather the warmed up to make a wonderful event.
The first drive thru prayer request spent much time speaking with Peggy and Phil. Her marriage is on the verge of breaking up. She was crying and very grateful we were there to pray for her. Sharon handed her a Miraculous Medal on way out. Peggy and Phil also talked to couple, who had just moved here, and requested prayers for a job; for a man for the repose of a soul a loved one and comfort and support for the family; and for a woman for direction in her life and becoming closer to Jesus.
Dave walked up and the down the sidewalk talking to passers-by and referring people to Sharon and Sharon's daughter, Serena. The walkers included mother with young daughter in a stroller. Sharon gave the daughter a book about Jonah. Other people stopping by the table of SPSE materials for prayers included a woman who requested prayers for her boyfriend who is diabetic and had a food amputated; a Viet Nam vet who is also having problems with a foot that may need surgery; Teresa asked for prayers for a friend; and a passer-named Dave, whom we chatted with last year, told of a miracle he and his wife experienced and also asked for prayers.
As we were packing up, a gentlemen drove up and asked about confession times. Sadly, confessions were done for the day. Phil explained what we were doing and he exited his vehicle to look at the materials. He was very happy to see the Catholic materials and asked he could buy some to take to Africa in about month. We explained everything was free. After asking Sharon if a bag was handy, he placed many rosaries, bagged Miraculous medals (leftover from our Christmas giveaway), an assortment of loose medals and several Rosary pamphlets in the bag. He promised to give our names to the priests of parishes that would benefit from the articles so that they could offer a Mass for us.
Christmas Miraculous Medal give away 12/24-12/27
December 31, 2020
Originally, we planned to give out Miraculous Medals at Easter, but we needed to postpone until Christmas. Four people bagged medals strung on chains and a Mirculous Medal card in small sealable bags for the Christmas medal giveaway.
Still, the pandemic ruined our plans for a more personal touch to physically hand out the medals and greet Mass goers.
Phil arrived before the first vigil Mass on Christmas Eve to place baskets at all entrances with Miraculous Medals. Phil also placed an announcement in the bulletin and wrote an announcement to read at the Christmas Eve/Day Masses and at the December 26 vigil/December 27 Masses about medal give away.
Approximately 620 English medals and 95 Spanish medals were taken by Mass goers over the long Christmas weekend.
The parish office was contacted by two people who requested medals after the remaining medals were picked up Monday morning. Sharon left a few at the front desk saying more were available if more requests came in.
Drive-Thru/Walk up prayer 11/7/20
November 7, 2020
Dave, Phil, Peggy, and Sharon set up for what was probably our last Drive Thru event of year on a nice, sunny but windy morning.
We had a total of nine people this morning for our first Saturday Drive-Thru event.
- A former navy man, very friendly, holding a lottery ticket, smiled and asked that if he wins the lottery that he uses the money wisely.
- Dave asked Phil to pray for the soul of the father of his wife's friend who passed away from Covid-19
- Mirah who was waiting for a bus (I neglected to write down her prayer intention)
- two women who were walking and took medals from Dave and later when walking past us again, stopped and each took home a book-one "The Great Divorce" by C.S.Lewis and the other a book on the wonders of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. (These books were given to the SPSE team by a church librarian as the church library already had copies.)
- A man who asked we pray for the soul of his mother
- Tiara, a drive-thru, who asked we pray in general for her life.
- Mindy who asked we pray for health issues. When Sharon asked Mindy about her faith life, she commented she is Native American and believes in God. Dave had recently watch a movie on EWTN about Kateri Tekakawitha so he mentioned there is a Native American saint. When Sharon gave a brief description of St Kateri and mentioned her smallpox scars disappeared after she died, Mindy was very interested as she has a skin condition. Sharon and Dave gave a brief description of praying to saints and patron saints (probably too brief!) and suggested St Kateri would be a good saint for Mindy to ask for help. Sharon wrote down Kateri Tekawitha (yes, I spelled it wrong when giving to Mindy) so Mindy could look up a full biography later on the internet.
- Finally Tony, a parishioner with three young children, asked that his youngest would get a good nap.
We want to thank Amy G for our new signs. Amy and her husband own a print shop.
St Raphael School Rake A Thon table set up
October 31, 2020
Dave, Phil and Sharon handed medals and religious materials to St Raphael School students and parents before they left for their service project/fundraiser. Most families took several medals and the few Christian (not specifically Catholic) children books and one children's Saint book that were donated were eagerly taken by two families.
The school principal who previously lived in Michigan and evangelized with his high school students and SPSE before thanked us for being there.
As the day was rather windy, we hope they were actually able to rake the leaves and bag them before they scattered back over the lawns again.
Evangelizing with the Knights of Columbus
October 24, 2020
Today St Raphael School had to postpone their Rake A Thon fundraiser as we were blessed (???) with at least 6 inches of snow this past week which had not fully melted.
However the cold turn of weather showed how needed the KC Coats for Kids give away truly was.
We set up our table a few feet away from the Knights of Columbus in the parking lot by the St Raphael School. Phil and Sharon were joined by a new and very eager recruit, Dave. Most of the 10-12 families that stopped to receive free coats also looked at our table. Everyone who paused at the SPSE table picked up at least one medal and usually other items at well. One happy father of a St Raphael School student asked if the Bible on the table was free. I said yes and offered him a Catechism that was also displayed. Phil engaged a woman who was raised Baptist but said she is using this time of streamed church services to try different churches. Phil offered her a parish bulletin along with the other items she picked up. Dave chatted with a woman whom he found out is Jewish.
We hope the blessed medals taken will bring everyone closer to God.
This was a great way to evangelize and we hope we can work with the Knights next year if they have a coat give away at St Raphael.
Dave, Sharon, Phil
A happy recipient of a coat with four Knights.
Drive-Thru Prayer 10/3/2020
October 3, 2020
Today our team consisted of Peggy, Phil and Sharon. Phil and Peggy sat at the prayer station at the north entrance of the church, while Sharon sat at the literature/medal table closer to the sidewalk.
While Sharon was setting up the table, Pedro, who stopped last month, came by to pick up another English language Rosary brochure.
When Sharon and Phil were discussing a possible event later in the month, two young men walked by on the sidewalk. Phil asked if they had any prayer intentions and were told to pray for the world.
After 1 1/2 hours and no drive-thru customers, Phil picked up one of our lawn signs and walked up the down the sidewalk. While he was walking, a woman drove up and wanted prayers as her pet dog of 14 yrs had recently died. Sharon walked up to the prayer station as Phil hadn't returned. The woman also requested prayers for her financial situation. Sharon noticed the woman made a sign a cross when they began to pray. As Peggy remained talking to the woman, Sharon returned to the literature table for a Miraculous Medal. The woman gratefully accepted the medal and immediately put it on.
As we were picking up, a woman asked for prayers for the end of abortion.
Peggy herself picked up a Miraculous Medal and several brochures to pass on a woman who previously spoke to Peggy about returning the Catholic Church after experiencing a miracle.
God is good and again brought us people who were thankful we were there. We are tentatively planning to set up the first Saturday in November, weather permitting.
St Raphael Patronal Statue Installation Event-9/26/2020
September 28, 2020
Phil and Sharon manned a table for 4 hours at the joyous occasion of our parish installing and dedicating a statue of our patron saint.
Sharon admitted having a low expectation for the table as we would be likely "preaching to the choir." However, we had two items in our favor. 1) Archbishop Hebda was at the dedication Mass to bless the statue. Normally, the 5:30 vigil Mass has low attendance, but we were blessed with attendance close to the allowed capacity for Minnesota. 2) St Raphael Youth Ministry was hosting a retreat for the youth group.
Both these factors allowed us to give out at medals to at least seven people, brochures to at least three people, and free books that Sharon has gathered to at least three people. Some of these items were taken by members of the youth group and at least one visitor to our parish. (Sharon was away from the table for a short time to enjoy a roast beef sandwich with her husband and may have a missed a few encounters in her tally.)
While Sharon was away eating with her husband, Phil-who is fluent in Spanish-conversed with a couple originally from Mexico. This couple took the lone Spanish book we had displayed along with a medal or two and some Spanish brochures. Phil gave them his contact information so that he will be able to assist them in signing up for an adoration hour (maybe two!) in their native Spanish language. What a blessing to have Phil on our team since our parish has a growing native Spanish speaking population.
(An interesting God-incidence, our bronze statue was designed by Georgina Farias Nicolopulos, a native and current resident of Mexico despite her married Greek last name.)
September 5, 2020 Drive-Thru Prayer station and literature table
September 5, 2020
We are very happy with our first Drive-Thru prayer station on Saturday, September 5. Phil and Peggy set up at the north entrance of the church, while after some thought Sharon and the literature table was moved closer to the sidewalk.
While Sharon was setting the literature table, Phil prayed with Michelette who walked across the small front lawn with a request prayer. She and Phil prayed for an end to the pandemic and that a vaccine be found.
After a long dry spell (and after Peggy had to leave), we had several people in quick succession.
Dani requested prayers for a dispute she is having with a neighbor, for her health and also for her daughter, whose birthday is today. Noticing Dani crossed herself when we prayed with her, we inquired if she is Catholic. Replying she is, we gave her a Miraculous Medal/prayer card and an Our Lady of Guadalupe medal/prayer card, one for herself and one for her daughter. She mentioned she attends a nearby parish, but occasionally came to our Adoration Chapel before it shut down. We explained the chapel is re-open but only for committed adorers. We gave her a recent church bulletin with information regarding signing up and noted that Sharon is one of adoration chapel co-ordinators.
Pedro, who attends Mass at St Raphael, stopped by when he saw the literature table. A native of Mexico, Pedro was looking for a brochure on how to pray the Rosary in English. He went away with a Rosary brochure and St Michael medal/prayer card. We also prayed for his family in Mexico.
Amy, also a parishioner, stopped by for prayers regarding a finger she recently broke.
We also spoke with a young teen who was walking on the sidewalk. When he asked if he had a prayer intention for us, he couldn't think of anything. Sharon offered that we could pray for a successful school year, and so we did.
Finally a father and his two sons who attend the parish school stopped. One son chose a guardian angel medal/prayer card, the other chose a St Michael medal/prayer card.
We had decided we had one person stop, we would be happy as the idea for this prayer station was just dreamed up on Wednesday. We are very pleased with this God-inspired idea and how everything turned out.
Thomas Beach 8/29/2020
September 2, 2020
Christmas Village 2019
December 12, 2019
November 1, 2019
While not an official SPSE effort, last night (Halloween) my daughter handed out little ziploc bags with candy, a St Michael Medal, and St Michael prayer card to children who came to our house. My daughter and I prayed that the St Michael items bear fruit and bring recipients closer to God. (see attached photo)
Upcoming SPSE activities are:
Christmas Village December 7 will we set up our SPSE display for the first time. Denise Hirl from the SPSE Minnetonka team will be on hand to show us how to evangelize our fellow parishioners and wider community.
February 23 we will host donuts (along with other Reaching for Faith members), have the SPSE display set up, and have Denise Hirl speak after fellowship time.
At Easter Vigil and Easter Masses, SPSE and RFF will hand out Miraculous Medals (and probably chains and cards) to Mass attendees.