St. Paul Street Evangelization has 200+ active street ministry teams that evangelize in their local communities. The teams are located throughout the United States with others in Canada, Honduras, Japan, the Philippines, and Sweden. Teams evangelize at church events, festivals, farmer markets, shopping districts, local parks, or busy street corners. Some of these teams go out once a quarter, once a month, or even once a week. This stability allows them to build trust with the community. The teams report back on a regular basis, sometimes sharing stories and pictures of the fruit of their experiences. In July the SPSE team shared 24 of these experiences on their blog. Our evangelists talked to many people passing by their location. The conversations ranged from topics such as Confession to whether all churches are the same. Evangelists often pray with people for particular needs and even help connect them to available Catholic charity organizations.
Blogged outing locations in July were Lincoln, NE (3), Plymouth MI (2), Marietta, GA, Owatonna, MN, Escondido, CA, Bloomington, IN, Redford, MI, Albuquerque NM, Syracuse, NY, Royal Oak, MI, Uniontown, PA, Denver, CO, Royal Oak, MI, South Windsor, CT, Saint Louis, MO, Farmington Hills, Lansing, MI, Cuyahoga Falls, OH, Smyrna, GA, Dallas, TX, Gaithersburg, MD.
Here are some of this month’s highlights:
Farmington Hills, MI. Teens from all over the Detroit and surrounding areas came to hear talks and attend Mass & Confession on a recent weekend for the Teen Pro-Life Conference.
SPSE evangelists got to talk to the teens. They asked them: “How can we change the culture of death into a culture of life? How can we stop abortion?” Many answered, “By coming to these conferences,” etc.
The team then asked, “Don’t you think if people encountered Christ and got to know him, that it would change their hearts and minds to understand that abortion is wrong?” They said “yes!”
The next question was, “How can we do that?” … No answer. So they told them: “The only way to do it is by sharing the faith!”
“Do you know the Gospel message?” Many did not know how to answer. So the evangelists provided them with the Gospel card, and many teens walked away confident in wanting to share the faith!
Praised be Jesus Christ! Young people bring a great enthusiasm to evangelization. It is important to teach our kids the importance of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with people they meet, and with friends and family.
Saint Louis, MO. We had two people attend Mass that we had met while street evangelizing earlier in the day – a mother and her son who were in town from Indiana to tour SLU as an option for college next year. We met them on the street and asked if they went to Confession regularly (because they had said they were regular church going Catholics). When we arrived to the Church, the lady had already gone to Confession and was sitting in the pew in near-tears; her son was in “the box.” She said “I went to Confession!” with a big smile! Although the Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy was new to them, they followed along in the provided translations and were so happy at the end of the Mass. It was a new experience for them, especially receiving the Eucharist at the communion rail. They stayed for a long time visiting the various side altars and praying. It was inspiring.
South Windsor, CT. We were at the [strawberry] festival last year and talked to a young adult named Stuart. He was working at the fair with his family, and grew up Protestant but was very curious about the Catholic faith. We gave him a lot of literature, medals etc. This time around he came over to our tent and said “I remember you guys from last year … I’m now in the RCIA program.” He asked for more materials on the faith because he is going to do a debate on the Catholic vs. Protestant faith. I gave him a CD of Scott Hahn’s “Theologian to Catholicism” and a pamphlet called “Salvation by Faith Alone?”
Royal Oak, MI. One of our new initiatives is the “Ask-a-Priest” sign, for sale in our member’s store. Having your priest out to evangelize and hear Confessions is a powerful way to bring Christ to the culture, for the priest is ordained, by the laying on of hands, to represent Christ as the head and bridegroom of the Church. They are servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries/sacraments of God. People instinctively recognize this. We find that they appreciate seeing priests out in public, and are ready to turn to them for Confession, consolation, and counsel. Here is a report from Father Patrick:
I felt so blessed to hear the Confessions of folks who had not been to Confession in many decades. I spoke with a Muslim man for a while. I was asked to bless dogs, which in turn led to blessing the people walking them! Watching people stop and read the sign (when I was unable to directly interact with them due to busyness) and seeing their response was wonderful. They seemed to be generally surprised. Several people came up simply to say “thanks for being out here!” As I reflected on the time spent on the streets later, I simply sensed that the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was overflowing and that God still so loves the world, that Jesus continues to pour out His love powerfully through the Holy Spirit to a hurting and wounded world … just waiting to win one soul at a time for His kingdom of peace, love, joy and Holiness.
Lansing, MI. [W]e distributed rosaries, crucifixes, and literature. We met Pamela, who is interested in the Church because her father is Catholic, while her stepfather is Protestant. She’s been to Mass once and was a bit startled by how strange it seemed. She’s also intrigued by the Sacrament of Confession. We told her we’d find an inquiry course or other introduction to the Catholic faith. She was happy to receive Patrick Madrid’s booklet “Where Is That in the Bible.”
Jessica is a young woman who is eager to study Scripture. We referred her to a Bible study that focuses on the Sunday readings.
Ricardo works as a dishwasher in an Okemos restaurant but is homeless. He gave up on his faith when God didn’t seem to answer his prayers in times of difficulty. He agreed to attend Mass with one of our evangelists.
Cuyahoga Falls, OH. When evangelizing, having the Pope with you is definitely a plus. The successor to St. Peter is recognized and loved all around the world. But in the absence of the actual Pope, a life-sized photograph will have to do. One of our evangelists, Mike, brought one to a recent Irish festival and reported that it was a huge draw. It brought so many people to the booth, that the team was constantly busy talking to people and sharing the faith. Many people wanted photos with the Pope, as did [a] man dressed as St. Patrick.
Smyrna, GA. A college student named Brittney approached: “I am actually kind of confused. I have a diverse family, and I just don’t know if there is a real difference between the Christian churches. If I don’t make it to the Baptist church, I go to the Catholic Church. I don’t know if I’m crazy – I just don’t know if there is a difference.”
Clarence the evangelist said, “Well, I can help you with that… Christianity has many divisions; there are around 41,000 different Christian denominations. As Catholics, we are not that way. The teaching authority and tradition gives us unity in our faith. Our beliefs don’t divide us. They unify us. Faithful Catholics believe the same thing all over the world. The essence of our faith is built on the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles. Jesus established the Catholic Church on earth for the salvation of the world through His grace and teachings. Jesus protects the integrity of the faith in the Church. In the upper room, the night before Jesus died, He prayed to the Father, in John 17:21: ‘I pray that they may all be one, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent Me.’ We, as Catholics, are one visible body, united in sacraments and faith. A simple way to learn what we believe would be to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church or the Compendium of the Catechism.”
Clarence continued: “If you studied the faith carefully, and then researched the writings of the early Church Fathers, like from the first 300-400 years of Christianity, you would find the Catholic Church there. A Church doing very Catholic things: celebrating the Mass, seeking the intercession of the saints, acknowledging the authority of the pope and the bishops, professing the sinlessness of Mary, etc.”
Then Brittney said (clearly thinking about the various Christian denominations), “That is because Catholicism is one of the oldest religions.”
Clarence replied, “Jesus himself taught us how to worship in the upper room right before He died. The Eucharist, a memorial sacrifice. We do this every Sunday (and every day) in the Catholic Church.”
Brittney then shared with Clarence, and his fellow evangelist Veronica, that she had recently been coming to realize how very temporary the things of this life are.
Clarence then shared a part of his conversion story; how he came to the same realization.
Brittney had to leave. So Clarence offered Brittney his card and Veronica wrote her name and number on it so that Brittney could keep in touch with them. Brittney thanked them, and went on her way.
Prayer intentions: Roberto - that he will leave the Masons and come back to communion with the Church; that Robert, Mary, Dan, Junior, and Alex will return to the Church and Mass; For Carol, Robert’s mother who died from Alzheimer’s; For Mary’s 3rd son who is struggling; For Leaundria that she will raise enough gas money to get to her audition; That Margaret’s children, Dorothea, Justin, and Elizabeth, may return to practicing the Christian faith.
For more of these stories please visit http://streetevangelization.com/blog/
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