Wednesday, July 23, 2008
After a long silence, she speaks!
It has been my goal to get out of this walk without actually bogging at all. This is not because I want to avoid informing our supporters about our activities, but rather to challenge the patience of Blogmaster Wilkins (a.k.a. Scott). However, I felt that sharing my thoughts about our adventures in Manhattan was more important than winning this battle.
The Missionaries walked through Manhattan on Friday. We traveled in a group of about 12 people, including past walkers, friends, and Fr. Lawrence, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal. Over the course of 6 or more hours we handed out over 300 rosaries and talked to many wonderful New Yorkers.
We began the day with Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was there that we had the pleasure of meeting Cardinal Egan. We were not expecting this. In fact, I thought we were in some sort of trouble when the security guard came to us during the final hymn to tell us that the Cardinal wanted to speak with us. We were all very excited to meet him, and he seemed to appreciate the things we were doing as well.
After this we set out for our trek through the city. We received a variety of responses, most of which were good. There are hundreds of experiences, interactions, and thoughts that I would like to explain in this post, however, the short amount of time and space that I have allows for only a couple.
One of the greatest blessings that came out of our efforts in Manhattan was our experience with a woman in the park. We had been walking for 3 hours and had not yet reached the half way point. Because a couple of us had stopped to talk to someone on the street, the rest of the group stopped to pray by a statue of Our Lady. As we were praying we noticed a woman praying with us at a nearby bench. After the rosary, Maggie stopped to talk with her and to give her a pamphlet about ourselves. The woman ended up telling Maggie that she had not been to church in a while and related a few troubling events that she had recently gone through. Maggie was then able to inform the woman that we had a priest with us if she needed to have her confession heard. The woman accepted the offer and ended up speaking to Father for almost an hour. She told us afterward that she intended to come back to the Church and regularly attending Mass. Praise the Lord.
My ideas about evangelization changed very drastically as we walked through Manhattan. I went into it thinking I was going to be telling people all about what I believe, teaching them the rosary, and bringing them in some way closer to the faith. Even though this did occur, the most important thing I ended up bringing to people was love. I learned that within our culture, especially in cities such as New York, we have huge problem with loneliness. It seems that most people will not take the time to talk to someone who is obviously struggling and yearning for love. Although our citizens suffer from financial poverty, I think more people suffer from poverty in the sense of loneliness. I found that the majority of the conversations I had with people had nothing to do with the Catholic faith. Offering my time, my love, and my ear was the best thing that I could do for them. These people were so happy that someone would actually stop for a minute to hear about what was going on in their lives.
For example, as we were walking toward the end of the day, Maggie and I stopped to talk to a disabled man on the sidewalk. He had a speech impediment so it was important for us to take some time to figure out what he was trying to tell us. I could tell by his huge smile that it had been so long since someone had actually stopped to talk to him, rather than just passing by to drop a coin in his cup without a spoken word. He did not want anything that we could offer him, other than our time and conversation. I was so happy to speak to him. I wish more people would stop and take the time to get to know the people around them. There is so much loneliness all around us, but we go about our lives too quickly to realize it.
New York was a great experience. It was definitely uplifting after our exhausting week with only four people. We are now in New Jersey and struggling to get ourselves going again. Please continue praying for us as we enter the last phase of the journey.
Pax Vobiscum, Andi
Who we are?
Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.
We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.