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St. Raphael

Country: United States
State or province: Minnesota

Team Leader
Sharon Hedman

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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.