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Crystal - St. Raphael

Country: United States
State or province: Minnesota

Team Leader
Sharon Hedman

Team Badges

Free Food, Friendship & Faith, Week 2 (6-20-24)

June 21, 2024

SPSE Team Photo


On day that was overcast and threatening rain, we served 43 people-up 10 from week 1.  Games, free SPSE materials and free books were offered along with our free hot dog meal.

We had one Spanish speaking diner originally from Peru who is looking for a job.  Phil, our "resident" Spanish speaker, gave her the address to the local food shelf who might be able to help her with resources.

We also had a immigrant from Cameroon who is looking for a job and who also directed to the same food shelf.

D stopped by who has Catholic relatives.  D is a transplant recipient who needs some follow up care regarding an issue.  We gave him a Miraculous Medal and he took a St Joseph one for his unemployed girlfriend.  Phil brought him to the adoration chapel to sit in the Lord's presence.  D said that was just what he needed. He expressed some interest in attending St Raphael as he is looking for a church home.

G, a recent revert and newly registered parishioner, stopped by for a meal and was able to connect with parishioners to help him feel more at home.  He was given a brochure on Confession.  Our pastor stopped by and was able to speak to G.

As we were picking up since rain was threatening, food supplies were low, and time was nearing 7 pm, a young man stopped to gather a "take out" meal for himself and his sister.  He was sent home with a few extra items since we were picking up.

As Sharon was packing up the materials to protect them from the sprinkles that were falling, a gentleman stopped by.  He wished he had come earlier so he could have had more time to spend at our event.  Sharon invited him to come next week, but he had enough time to grab at least half a dozen books, including a Bible.

Many of our visitors were given slips of paper (see above) advertising our remaining dates. While our two teens featured last week did not return, we hope to see them and others return next week when the weather might be better.

Thank you to all our volunteers, especially those who purchased and set out food items. A big thank you to our pastor for stopping by and greeting diners.



Free Food, Friendship, and Faith-Week 1 (6-13-24)

June 16, 2024

FFFF 6-13-24

What a nice turnout last evening for the Free Food, Friendship & Faith event, particularly with the number of kids and teens stopping by and even helping out with clean up.  Particularly moving were two young men who Mary waved over after having been initially reluctant as they kept looking up from the sidewalk. They not only came over, but then even came back a second time and asked how they could volunteer in some way at our church.  They were invited back to help set up next week.

In the conversation with these two H.S. Sophomores, the conversation came around to who is the Pope today?? Would you know who Jesus designated as the first Pope?? They seemed genuinely interested, especially  as Peter is the name of one of the young men.

One of our team members has an idea for a handout that could be given to teens and young adults who come to FFF&F and also to our parish festival.  The idea was forwarded to our pastor and youth minister.

Pray that these young men return and we can have further conversations with them about the faith.



Drive Thru Prayer - June 1, 2024

June 12, 2024

SPSE Team Photo

We had five team members on hand today to try out our new table drape: Justin, Lisa, Phil, Sharon, and Suzanne.

Sharon had recently attended a Knights of Columbus convention with her husband and was given a few packages of "just add hot water" meals to pass out in the community. After giving the matter some thought, she decided the team could pass them out to people requesting prayers dealing with financial issues.

Suzanne and Lisa handed out the first package when a woman drove through requesting prayers.  She and her two daughters are facing eviction.

A second package was given to T.M. who asked for prayers for financial and family healing also for stability in his life.

We also prayed for E.  He and his wife are Protestant pastors.  He stated that his parents raised in the Christian faith.

We also prayed for J., who was on his way to work.  Phil could only speak briefly to J. in his native Spanish as his bus arrived to take him to work.

There were a few others who stopped as well.  Everyone who stopped was invited to our Free Food, Friendship, and Faith events which occur on Thursdays beginning on June 13.  Perhaps we will have another opportunity to pray with the people who stopped by this morning.




Drive Thru Prayer 5-4-24

May 5, 2024

This report comes via Suzanne:

The May Drive Thru Prayer event started off slowly but after 25 minutes it began to get busy with even a couple cars lined up at one point!  Prayer Warrior, Tom, was back for a second month of blessing the vehicles with the sign of the cross as they drove by (with people waving or gratefully honking their horns)!

Suzanne first prayed for a woman’s family in Colombia and we talked about her desire to find a Spanish speaking mass. (Modern technology helped in this encounter via Google Translator app!)

Pete was on fire for the Lord by engaging 3 people who needed his help. The first were sisters who needed his prayers along with his website expertise, then a man from war-ravaged Liberia (who lost a mother and daughter in the war) was looking for a new church.  Pete’s going to invite him to join he and his wife for an upcoming mass.  We also had some wonderful tag-teaming prayer encounters with our community friends.

Lastly, we finished up strong with Tom blessing a convey of motorcycle bikers as they roared by with many thumbs up and honking fanfare.  It was such an uplifting and inspiring day!

SPSE Team Photo

Team members Tom and Pete

Follow up with DTP items:  After Team lead Sharon returned from her weekend away, she forwarded contact information to the parish of the man looking for a church.  She also gave Suzanne information on three near-by parishes who offer Spanish Masses for Suzanne to pass onto the woman looking for a Spanish speaking Mass.


Windy Drive Thru Prayer 4/6/24

April 6, 2024

It was a blustery day for our first Drive Thru prayer of the season.

We had four evangelist/prayer warriors today: Lisa, Phil, Sharon and new comer Tom. Tom said felt God wanted him to join us today.  Tom evangelized by asking God to bless the passing motorists and making signs of the cross as they drove by.


SPSE Team Photo SPSE Team Photo-Tom & Phil

J spent a long time speaking with Phil and Lisa after he loaded up sacramentals and statues that were blessed after Mass. J asked for prayers with several issues including employment.  He had just started a job that requiring driving when he broke his right foot.   His foot is now healed and he can look for employment.

With the biting wind and temperatures in the 50's, we started out slowly.  Tom couldn't stay the whole time, but he and Phil were able to talk to K who had spoken with Phil last year. K asked us to pray for better work opportunities.

SPSE Team Photo-K , Tom, & Phil

While Phil was walking up and down the sidewalk, he was spotted by T who was at a gas station.  T was intrigued and happy with the Drive Thru Prayer concept and said he would stop by.  T did stop by and took a photo of Lisa, Sharon, and Phil (holding his sign) to show people.  T asked for prayers for some personal vices he is fighting.  Phil mentioned how St Michael tossed the demons from heaven and said the St Michael prayer for T to overcome his vices/sins.  Sharon quickly pulled a bagged set of a St Michael medal on a chain and a St Michael prayer card.  T liked the St Michael prayer and was grateful for the set.  After Phil asked if T has studied the Bible and we learned he recently signed up for a Bible study, Lisa mentioned Jeff Cavins is a good resource for studying the Bible.  T mentioned his father is currently in rehab after back surgery, so we prayed for him as well.

Before T left C pulled up.  C was recently diagnosed with epilepsy.  He asked for prayers regarding direction in employment and spiritual direction as he is just exploring Christianity.  Sharon gave him a Sacred Heart medal and chain.  After talking with him for few minutes, Phil also referred him to Jeff Cavins and gave C a parish bulletin.

Before C left M pulled up.  M asked us to pray for a job opportunity as her hours are being cut due to slow down of sales.  After being handed a Sacred Heart medal on a chain and a bulletin, M mentioned that she does attend a nearby Catholic church.

We look forward to another year of evangelizing through prayer.




November 25, 2023



SPSE Team Photo

The St Raphael was invited to set up at Christkindlmarkt, a Christmas bazaar at a parish about 20 miles away.

While we didn't stay for the entire 8 hours, Phil and Sharon had several fruitful encounters.

We gave out many medals and rosaries.  One lady's chain given to her last year at Christkindlmarkt by then Regional missionary Denise Hirl had broken.  She was given a new chain and a new medal.

We prayed with at least 6 people. C will soon have hip replacement. M is a retired nurse and full time care giver for her parents. R asked for prayers an elderly aunt who recently made the decision to discontinue dialysis treatments.  E asked for healing from epilepspy.

We prayed with B, former Methodist, who said he didn't leave the church.  He feels the Methodist church changed and left him.  We had TWO long and good conversations with B.  He spoke to us, walked around the Christkindlmarkt and came back to speak with us again.  He wants us to pray for the world so people's hearts will be open to learn about Jesus.



SPSE Team Photo

SPSE Team Photo

Thank you to St Peter and Paul parish for inviting us and thank you for the lovely Nativity scene backdrop for our space.


Drive Thru Prayer 10/7/23

October 20, 2023

We had two team members brave the cold to evangelize, Pete and Suzanne.  Thank you to Suzanne for supplying this report.

Pete engaged in a lengthy conversation with a young man at the bus stop who was on his way to work. He seemed very appreciative of Pete and his prayers for him and his family.
Suzanne was up in the Drive Thru area. Stopping by was a woman, J. A., who is celebrating one year of substance sobriety but is struggling with temptation to use. This is mainly due to the stress of not being able to find a job and her concerns for her two children. We talked for awhile and prayed. She was heading across the street to a woman’s substance support group and she asked for additional medals, materials, and holy water for some of the  ladies. She was very appreciative and got out of her car to hug me. It was really touching.
A couple, B. & H., came back through (their third time in two years that Suzanne encountered them). We prayed for their needs and for family.  They’re getting closer to joining our church and asked where they could bring donations for food (to leave at our church).  They’re hoping we will be back for another month of Drive Thru Prayer in November.  (Suzanne told them she wasn’t sure if we would be back in November.)
Suzanne thinks they just had the 4 people, but powerful connections, with lengthier conversations, were made via the work of the Holy Spirit! ¬†ūüôŹūüŹĽūü§óūüĎć


Stewardship Fair 9/24/23

September 24, 2023

Today was St Raphael's stewardship fair.  While the intent was to introduce to parishioners various ministries with which they could volunteer, we still handed out a few materials.

Team member Cathy purchased Bishop Barron's new book on the Eucharist and dropped off several copies for our table.  At least three copies were picked up.  A young mother picked up two Spanish brochures, one on Confession and one on why to return to the Church, with the hope of having her husband return to Eucharist reception.  Several other people people picked up rosaries, brochures, and medals.

We invited people to join our email list and volunteer for events as they are able.  Happily, we collected six names.

We also encouraged people to stop by our table next month when we are hosting Fellowship Sunday aka "Donut Sunday" when we will have more supplies available to pick up.

SPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team Photo


Stewardship Fair 9/24/23

September 24, 2023

Today was St Raphael's stewardship fair.  While the intent was to introduce to parishioners various ministries with which they could volunteer, we still handed out a few materials.

Team member Cathy purchased Bishop Barron's new book on the Eucharist and dropped off several copies for our table.  At least three copies were picked up.  A young mother picked up two Spanish brochures, one on Confession and one on why to return to the Church, with the hope of having her husband return to Eucharist reception.  Several other people people picked up rosaries, brochures, and medals.

We invited people to join our email list and volunteer for events as they are able.  Happily, we collected six names.

We also encouraged people to stop by our table next month when we are hosting Fellowship Sunday aka "Donut Sunday" when we will have more supplies available to pick up.

SPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team Photo


Drive Thru 9-2-23

September 2, 2023

Today we had five evangelists-Jack, Michael, Pete, Phil and Sharon.  We also had a guest evangelist, our pastor Fr. Hagen.

Shortly after we set up, Father Hagen and Jack engaged in long conversation with D. D was Catholic, but was not practicing anymore.

SPSE Team Photo

Phil, while walking along the sidewalk holding a Drive Thru Prayer sign, engaged two different times with people at the gas station on the corner, who while Protestant, appreciated our efforts to pray for people.

Pete and Sharon spoke with a teen carrying her pet reptile (some sort of dragon). She requested we pray for her father who has cancer.  She volunteers at her Protestant church reaching out to peers.  Sharon lauded her efforts as the young lady previously gave the impression that she is a regular church goer.

Pete and Sharon also spoke with C. who is divorced and his adult daughters are estranged from him.  This causes him much pain and he, while a faithful Protestant, has been struggling to attend church as he receives no comfort from sermons anymore and receives more comfort praying/reading Bible  at home.  Sharon remarked that some Catholic saints have suffered through the "dark night of the soul" while still believing in God, they struggle to pray and to feel God's presence in their lives. Pete offered comfort as he has a relative in a similar circumstance regarding estranged children.  It was remarked that God must have wanted C to interact with us as he had two choices of paths to walk to destination and he chose to walk past our church. Pete invited C, who had attended a Catholic high school, to attend Mass any time he wants.


Festival 2023

August 11, 2023

Our pastor wants  one of the primary foci (plural of Focus) to be community outreach. He is very glad our RFF (Reaching for Faith)/SPSE ministry can help with that.

We had  approx 8 SPSE medals offered as well most SPSE brochures set out.  We had our collection of donated used religious books  as well as a new Matthew Kelly book and the new book by Bishop Barron on the Eucharist set out.  Several people took the Matthew Kelly book and the Bishop Barron book.  We gave out two Bible. Of course, medals are always popular items as well as rosaries.

One woman stopped with her mother who is visiting from Ecuador.  I pointed out our selection of Spanish brochures and she happily took a few.

The wife of new volunteer for the RFF side of things died recently.  He donated various religious articles (some new) that she had accumulated.  We gave out several one decade rosary bracelets along with other articles that team lead Sharon had blessed in the morning to make sure everything was blessed.

Sharon needed to have more St Benedict medals and St Benedicts crucifixes blessed in the morning also to make sure we had an adequate supply.  Our pastor noted that St Benedict medals need a special blessing (exorcism?).  As Sharon was setting up the booth, Father came by to give the extra blessing.

Pope Francis made an appearance again.  Even Elvis wanted a photo with the pope.

SPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team Photo



Frolicking in Crystal 7/29/2023

July 29, 2023

Whoooooooo weeeee!!! Our Good God was looking out for us again today, with a gorgeous 75 and sunny day, as we evangelized anyone and everyone, with a kids bible trivia table at our city's festival event called, Crystal Frolics, in Crystal MN. We cozied-up next to our St. Raphael Catholic School table, which made an excellent combination of Catholic Education and Evangelization. The foot traffic was excellent as usual, and in just 3 hours gave out 70 miraculous medals, and 65 rosaries, all blessed. Please pray for all recipients, to find the light of Christ Jesus, in their hearts!!!!
The best evangelization seemed to be while giving the kids some bible trivia (ehem, ehem, Catechization!!, so badly needed in our broken society), the parents usually helped the kids, and after the kids picked out the rosary color they liked, we presented the parents with a miraculous medal & explanation card, and told them to "buckle up!!" for some miracles in their lives, as our Holy Mother is waiting to introduce them more profoundly, to her Son. They joyfully received them!!!
Come Holy Spirit!!!!


Last Free Food event 7/27/23

July 29, 2023

In light of the heat advisory (and maybe a severe weather watch), our Free Food, Friendship and Faith event was moved into our "upper gathering" area.  Despite moving indoors, we still had over 50 people come for a free hot dog meal.  That brings our total to approximately 250 for our six week event.

We had a mix of returnees and new faces.  We had a few new faces from the AA meeting place across street. Mike, who has shown up several times to help us and mingle, will reach out to the AA folks when he attends the meeting in the future.  Mike knows several people from AA who are on their way into the church and likes to bring them over to our adoration chapel.

C... came with two children.  We learned she is parishioner, but thought having her children attend the school would be financially out of her reach.  Phil encouraged her to reach out to the school and told her there is scholarship money available.  Please pray C...will reach out the school and find a way to have her children attend.

F... and C... along with F's parents stopped by.  F...  grew up in the parish and was recently married. Please pray for a successful, happy, long marriage for F... and C...

Team member Suzanne has been faithful about bring lawn games for the children and also coloring pages.  Since we were inside,  lawn games were not feasible but that didn't stop the kids from using hula-hoops.

Thank you to all our Reaching For Faith/St Paul Street Evangelization ministry members for a successful year.  We look forward to summer 2024.





Free Food, Friendship, Faith 7-20-23

July 20, 2023

We had a glorious summer evening with a light breeze and seventy-two (yes, 72!) people served.   Within a few minutes we had served two dozen meals.

We had a return "customers" as usual, including one man who usually grabs a hotdog meal then goes across the street to his AA meeting.  Tonight, however, he had just been released from ER where he was treated for a leg wound.  He gratefully grabbed his meal then headed home to elevate his leg.

We also had Y... who immigrated a few years ago from an Asian country near Vietnam.  She knows very little about Christianity but is very eager to have her three young children learn about it.  Phil talked to her about our school and encouraged her to phone for more information.  She stopped by our table and chose medals for herself and her children.  She said she felt welcome at our event.

We also had a woman from Nicaragua with her niece and nephew.  She and her family member do not speak much English and attend a parish nearby with a Spanish Mass.  Phil encouraged her to return and attend our 10:30 Sunday Mass where she can speak to some of our Spanish-speaking parishioners.  She also chose medals and asked us to pray for the bishop of Nicaragua who has been arrested.

Jack carried a meal to a car to a grandma who was waiting in her car with a baby while her two older grandchildren gathered their meals.  The grandmother is caring for her three grandchildren while their mother is in rehab.

Sharon noticed that the Catechism she set out as part of our free books display was taken.  Several other books were also taken as the box had a noticeable space which was not there before.

Please pray for everyone we encountered and that Y... and her family embrace Christianity especially our Catholic Faith.






Free Food July 13

July 15, 2023

We had a large crowd, approximately 40 and ran out the hot dogs that we thought we were likely use.  That is a great problem to have as we had leftovers our previous weeks.

We again had return "customers", and two of those were turned away due to lack of hot dogs (but they also arrived about 5 minutes before "closing").

Phil's Spanish again came in handy when a couple from Ecuador almost left due the language barrier issue.  He explained that we have a small community of Spanish speakers who usually attend the 10:30 am Sunday Mass and invited them to attend Sunday Mass here.

A new community group is meeting at our parish and they were invited to stop by before their meeting.  Several of them did and since the group has a fair number of Protestants, it was an opportunity to show that Catholics can be welcoming, too.







FFFF July 6

July 12, 2023

We had beautiful weather, but smaller gathering at about 24 people who stopped to eat our "gourmet" meal of hot dogs, baked beans, cole slaw and chips.

We again had return "customers"  including J... who brought about 6 teens who were friends and family.  All of them took at least one medal or rosary.  While I tried to explain the rosary, none were interested in the pamphlet.  All of them have some knowledge of Jesus, but one young man I could tell has very little religious instruction.  If they come back again, I hope to better explain some basics about Jesus and Christianity.

We had a young married couple and a woman who are looking for a parish.  Phil gave the woman G...., who had a little familiarity of our of campus, the "grand tour" and had a long conversation.  Perhaps these three people will be return "customers" at our next hot dog meal Thursday or better yet attend Mass to experience our reverent Sunday Masses.


Two events

July 2, 2023

This was a busy week for our team.

We helped staff a table and provided volunteers for our parish evangelization/community outreach called Free Food, Friendship and Faith.  June 22 was our first FFFF event and our turnout was low 14-17 attendees.  June 29, we had 43!

FFFF SPSE material table      SPSE Team Photo

We had a couple of return attendees from our first week and two notable encounters.

A lady named M--- joined us, and our team-member Justin sat and shared a hot dog meal and conversation with her. Justin shared that as the conversation unfolded, she had a Christian background, but hadn't been to Church in awhile. They discussed the Eucharist, and he invited her to attend Mass, to which she seemed warm to the idea.  She has son in jail and talks to him frequently.  She told team members Sharon and Pete that her son had fallen away from Christianity and dabbled with Islam, but she was encouraged because he told M--- that he recently picked a Bible and read the from the book of Exodus.

Team member Phil was able to use his Spanish with three attendees from Ecuador. The parents were just visiting and the son didn't yet belong to a local parish.  Phil invited them to return on Sunday for Mass and gave them a church bulletin.

Note: Our young pastor as a seminarian was required to take a Spanish immersion course.  He is able to hear confessions in Spanish and would like to take a refresher immersion course.  Our parish does have native Spanish speakers who are proficient at English.  Pray that this Ecuadorian family visits our parish for Mass.

Saturday was first Saturday of the month Drive Thru Prayer. We ministered to about 10 people.  One man L--- is from Africa.  He spoke at length with Pete on the sidewalk and asked for prayers regarding finding a job and the souls of his parents. Pete invited him to Mass and walked with L-- to the west entrance which is where Pete would be  sitting this morning at 8:30 Mass.  L--- seems very interested in attending. Pete invited him to return on Thursday for a free hot dog meal.

Suzanne spoke with B--- who drove through in her vehicle.  B--- felt so touched talking with Suzanne that she drove home and drove through again with her huband H---- . H----'s family is struggling from the death of his nephew J---.

Please pray for everyone we encountered this week that their prayers will be answered if it is God's will and they grow closer to God.




6/3/23 Drive Thru Prayer

June 3, 2023

We had a large crew with three new people joining us today.

Many prayer requests and several good conversations.  Phil encouraged one woman to return the practice of confession. One Baptist gentleman seemed interested in learning more about the Catholic Church.  In this octave of the Pentecost, we hope the Holy Spirit will move them to move forward in their faith life.



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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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)  The new Living Bread prayer card since we are in a 3 year period of Eucharistic revival 2)  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:

One visitor who stopped by our Drive-Thru Prayer event on Oct. 1st, was having various life challenges. It seems he lost his cell phone recently and was on a quest to find it. As we explained a little about how we serve to meet people's needs in prayer, he confided he felt he didn't need Church, because he was "in Church" all the time. He also confided that he'd had some real challenges in his youth, which resulted in same-sex attraction issues. It was obvious that he was deeply troubled about this, and about the only thing we thought to recommend was the Catholic apostolate "Courage International", which serves to help those men and women, find their next step forward with Christ Jesus, in this most difficult challenge. We also let him know we'd be back again next month, if he'd like more prayer, or any other assistance we could provide. Please pray for Maria.


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!

SPSE Team Photo

We had some challenges with the wind (Fri) and rain/wind on Sat!  So that's why the booth may not look fully set up in the photos.
But we managed to meet/see lots of people, get prayer requests, give medals and rosaries, esp to young children who were curious or wanted a necklace.  Having Pope Francis "join us" was definitely a fun feature and a draw for photos, conversations, etc.  There was a youngish Spanish speaking couple from the parish, praying for another child, and she (Gabby) was so enthusiastic and wants to get involved in our ministry, to do "anything, organizing things, cleaning, etc" ).  I had never met her before, but got her number.
Special thanks to Denise Hirl, Regional Missionary from SPSE,  who was a wonderful presence and great evangelizer.
SPSE Team Photo  SPSE Team Photo SPSE Team Photo
The last photo with the pope is Cathy who graciously filled in when Sharon and Phil were unable to set up and coordinate the booth festival weekend.


Crystal Frolics 2022

July 30, 2022

This report is from team member Phil:


Just finished the Crystal Frolics.
I estimate that about 40 rosaries were given away and also about 50 miraculous medals with chains.
I am a little worn out so I do not think I will do a write-up.
Nonetheless it was a good day with some good conversations.
Note: Phil co-ordinated 7  Thursdays of Free Food, Friendship, and Faith at our parish-which just ended. The number of hot dog meals served is estimated to be 338. SPSE materials were set up at two Thursdays.
Thank you for your hard work, 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.

SPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team Photo



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.

SPSE Team Photo

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

SPSE Team PhotoIn 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

SPSE Team PhotoSaturday May 7th our SPSE team held our usual first Saturday sidewalk & drive-thru prayer event. At the drive-thru, we experienced good traffic, and one lady named Joanna was in the passenger seat, and her PCA Liz was the driver. Joanna was requesting prayer for her children, to make good decisions in life, do the right thing always, & grow to know Jesus better. I asked Liz if we could include her children as well, and she agreed. We called upon our Good God, for blessings upon them.

In most situations when I encounter someone who has a PCA, usually I see a person with some mobility challenges, and I could not readily determine if Joanna's had that challenge. After a short faith conversation, we learned her brother was a Bishop at a Protestant Church, and she noticed our sidewalk ministry table. She asked what that was about, we informed her there were many religious items there. She said, "Are they free?" We said yes, you can have whatever you'd like. Her reaction was priceless. She practically jumped out of the car and said, "I've been looking for a daily devotional for a long time!". She ended up with a couple rosaries, and a Miraculous Medal.
Thank you Joanna & Liz, for earnestly seeking Jesus, and inviting Him into your lives.


Evangelizing with Door Hangers

April 3, 2022

SPSE Team Photo

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

SPSE Team PhotoWe 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.

SPSE Team Photo

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.SPSE Team Photo

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

We setup SPSE at our "Road to Bethlehem" Christmas event, where our school's students sang Christmas Carols, and several other tables were setup with Christmas gift ideas. It was our biggest give-away day, as dozens of Miraculous Medals, Rosary's, and prayer cards were distributed. One of our guests was a visiting priest from California, who is a chaplain at a hospital who will put to good use all that he took. There was not much evangelizing going on across different faiths, however our efforts were useful with several conversations with Catholics, discussing and strengthening each other about which conversational skills that will serve to be most effective when speaking with others about the difficult subjects of our day. Pro-Life is very much in the news lately, as we pray the recent conservative justices appointed to the Supreme Court will tip the scales & put our country on track to reverse much of the damage done from Roe v Wade. A common thread from all conversations is that humbleness must be prominent in trying to win the hearts of anyone we speak with, somehow combined with the tragic facts of pro-choice, such as 63 million babies lives have been terminated. St. Joseph, the humblest of all saints, pray for us!!!!


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."SPSE Team Photo


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.SPSE Team Photo


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.

SPSE Team Photo

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.SPSE Team Phote

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.SPSE Team Photo

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.

SPSE Team Photo

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.



SPSE Team Photo



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).



Women's Retreat

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:

Saturday May 1st, we set up for a monthly event that's been running since last summer, that we call "Drive Thru Prayer". We have two SPSE teams, one setup on the sidewalk in front of our church, and the other just a stone's-throw away handling the Drive Thru Prayer. Every event, the Holy Spirit sends us exactly, the soul's that are usually in desperate need of prayer, or guidance.
On the Drive Thru side, we had a Catholic husband and wife come thru requesting prayer, for the continued good recovery of the husband, who had been an optometrist, but had suffered a stroke that has put him out of the profession. They also have 2 daughters for whom they worry greatly about their potential falling away from the faith. Through all of their desperation, they remain faithful, even joyful, trust in God, and knew they'd like to enlist more prayer warriors, for which the Holy Spirit put us in the spot we were in, to lift up their intentions in a special way, all of us together giving God thanks, and praying for additional graces for all they asked.
On the sidewalk side, a young man (about 20? his name is Blessing!), was retracing his steps for a few blocks, searching for his lost wallet. While we talked and prayed for all he asked, we also discovered that he had been baptized, and the church he and his mother used to attend was Catholic, however they have not been to Mass for some time. We invited him to Mass the next morning, and asked him to invite his mother. To which he said, "I don't know if she'd come. But maybe I can bring my cousins?" We said we'd be happy to have them! We'll be watching for them, to give them an extra special "Welcome!"
Won't you please add your prayer's for these souls?
PEACE! And Thanks Be To God!
Thank You,

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.SPSE Team Photo

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.

  1. 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.
  2.  Dave asked Phil to pray for the soul of the father of his wife's friend who passed away from Covid-19SPSE Team Photo
  3.  Mirah who was waiting for a bus  (I neglected to write down her prayer intention)
  4. 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.)
  5. A man who asked we pray for the soul of his mother
  6. Tiara, a drive-thru,  who asked we pray in general for her life.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.SPSE Team Photo


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.


SPSE Team Photo


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.

SPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team Photo

Dave, Sharon, Phil

SPSE Team Photo

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.)

SPSE Team Photo


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.SPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team Photo


Thomas Beach 8/29/2020

September 2, 2020

Just a note to let you know what happened at last Saturdays Saint Paul Street Evangelization event at Lake Bde Maka Ska.  Sharon and Phil "hit the streets" (or actually the walking paths) with Regional Missionary, Denise Hirl and her team.
As our team gathered to pray before setting out, we thanked our Good God and asked for blessing on everyone we would encounter.
  We had a total of 7 in our team, and baby Gabriel. Our team for the day was large enough, that we split into two groups, maybe about a thousand feet apart??? One group took the counter-clockwise foot traffic, & the other took clockwise.
Here's a recap on those our group spoke with:
Louis - was a fine young man who had the courage to stop and pray with us. We also had a short conversation about faith. When asked about his youth he said he was raised Lutheran, but claims no Church now, and maybe goes to a service 1 or 2 times a year. His parents are not really invested in their faith. He just wanted to pray that everyone be accepted, and that we could all proceed in truth. We let him know that indeed, how he moves forward in his life will be not only very important for his own self, but also for everyone he knows. In the spirit of the truth he spoke of, we invited him to get to know Jesus thru the Catholic Church he started, which allows us to know to the fullest extent humanly possible, this truth he spoke of.
Jay - was a vibrant African American young man, who upon seeing our sandwich board sign, inviting all to pray, was enthusiastic to ask for prayer for his current employment status as a truck driver (he needs work!!), and also for his continuing education in psychology. So we all prayed together.  God bless you Jay!
Another was walking with his young son around the lake, and to our surprise he was a Protestant Pastor at a NE Mpls Church.  He was only too happy to pray with us.  And as a good Christian Father, his young son knew exactly what to do when it's time to pray.
One passer by was a Gopher Volleyball fan, an older guy & staunch Atheist. He said that we've been after him for years, But that we wouldn't convert him. Phil told him he'd listened to many testimonies where older people have converted to the Catholic Faith, and we know it's not too late for him.  He wanted to point out the error of Scripture that supports stoning people to death, to which we were able to point out that thru Jesus the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New. And Jesus spoke to all who were about to stone a woman for adultery, that "Let him who is without sin among you be will the first to throw a stone at her" Jn 8: 7
This was a great opportunity for Phil and Sharon to see how it is done and we look forward to going out again.  While none of the people we encountered with our group took any materials, perhaps the next time they encounter an SPSE team they will.


Christmas Village 2019

December 12, 2019

December 7, the St Raphael parish team had its inaugural display at the annual St Raphael Christmas Village bazaar.  Evangelists staffing the display were Phil Reif, and Denise Hirl-regional missionary and myself-Sharon Hedman.
Many people stopped by the display including
1) A parishioner to pick up a supply of chains for both SPSE medals that Sharon had previously given her and also for crucifixes given to her by another Catholic.  She uses these items in her ministry as a Eucharistic Minister at a local senior care facility. She also picked a pamphlet on confession to help a resident (a non-Catholic) at the care facility do an examination of conscience as the woman's health is failing.
2) A gentleman who carried on a conversation with Phil in Spanish.  This gentleman is interested in our mission and gave Phil his contact information.
3) Many St Raphael school children who performed for family, friends and shoppers at Christmas Village.  Denise challenged some of the school children to give away Miraculous Medals and to tell the recipients of the medals why they love the Catholic faith.
4) A St Raphael school boy who took  Miraculous Medals for his female cousins and St Michael medals for his male cousins for Christmas presents.
5) Another St Raphael school boy (Fulton pictured with Denise) who was evangelizing the attendees by handing out rosaries (given to him by a Knight of Columbus member).  This boy impressed Denise with his knowledge of the Catholic faith and was given a Miraculous Medal to hand out.
6) A woman who is a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints and whose niece (a Protestant) attends St Raphael school. Denise, Sharon and Phil had a long and interesting conversation with her.  Our conversation ended with Denise giving her several pamphlets and Phil leading us in a prayer of thanksgiving for our shared beliefs, and praying we grow in understanding, and ending with the Our Father.  The woman had previously said with pride that her three  year old, who she hopes will attend the St Raphael preschool, already knows the Our Father.
SPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team Photo
Our next event is February 23,2020.  Reaching for Faith (the St Raphael evangelization group) will host Hospitality (aka Donut Sunday) and the SPSE display will be up.  Denise Hirl will speak about SPSE.


Upcoming events

November 1, 2019

SPSE Team Photo

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.