Registered: 3 years, 8 months ago
• Detroit-St. Leo's Soup Kitchen team leader • Started with SPSE in 2018 Patti is a true rookie team leader at SPSE although she received training in the basic course about 2 years ago. Her parish serves lunch at St. Leo’s Soup Kitchen in Detroit once a month and Patti decided it would be good to add evangelization to the menu. At this point there are 3 evangelists but Patti expects this team to grow. How did you get started with SPSE? I started with SPSE Basic Evangelization Training about 2 years ago. I was immediately, deeply touched by the spirit of the trainers in faith-felt reaching out and in being part of bringing people closer to Jesus Christ. I found the people involved in the training to be so genuine and heartfelt in their love for Jesus Christ. I knew in my heart that spreading the Word of Jesus Christ to others was a passion that I needed to further pursue. I began my mission by evangelizing with several existing teams in various locations which helped me to learn, practice, and experience the process in action. I highly recommend doing this before taking on the responsibility of becoming a team leader. How did you start your SPSE team? My parish had a group of people that went out to St. Leo's Soup Kitchen in Detroit to help serve the clients once per month. I thought that this would be a good place to evangelize on the same day that they went to serve meals. I contacted the director at St. Leo's and she thought it was a wonderful idea and it was!!! After some nudging and encouragement by the leaders of SPSE (I'm sure that the Holy Spirit did some nudging as well), I became a team leader last fall. We were so very welcomed by the administrator, employees, and clients at the soup kitchen. Everything just fell into place. We were not even set up when people began to come over and were very ready to pray with us. So our parish was not only able to nourish them with food, but with spiritual nourishment as well. Right now, just three of us have participated but I believe this team will grow as others see us "glow" upon returning from our trips to St. Leo's. I have nothing but praise for the leaders at SPSE who are always reaching out to us with calls, prayers, zoom meetings, newsletters, etc. I am grateful to be a part of this incredible team and look forward to growing with it!! What motivates you to evangelize? I feel blessed to always have had the love of God within me. It is who I have always turned to for thanksgiving, hope, and guidance. I am a retired special education teacher and principal of an elementary school, so reaching out to others in need has always been a part of my being. Evangelizing is a way for me to get one step closer to becoming a disciple of Jesus. I can truly feel the Holy Spirit working through me as I listen, learn, and pray with others. I find that most people are so ready and willing to pray -- they just need a little nudging. We have a big sign on our table that I believe draws people to us. It is an idea borrowed from an SPSE shirt that read, "What is YOUR story?" When people know that you care and listen, they become so willing to talk that almost always leads to prayer. They may walk up to our table with fear and doubt but often walk away with reassurance that God loves them and there is always hope when we turn to Jesus Christ. Evangelizing with others brings me a very deep feeling of love and commitment to our faith. How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect your evangelization? Sadly, during this pandemic, we have had to stop our visits to St. Leo's for now, but I have found some other ways of passing on the gospel. During walks with my husband, I have hung rosaries on fences along the way, and I am happy to say that they have been received by others who walk this path. As I listened to others from SPSE say they have called their parishioners to see how they are doing, we have adopted this wonderful ministry at our parish and have found the people to be incredibly happy to connect! I also write brief articles on Evangelization for our church bulletin...here are a few of the topics: We are All One Body, Evangelizing with Children, Love your Neighbor as Yourself, Who Does God Seek to Evangelize?, Evangelizing Starts by Being a Good Listener, Meaningful Prayer, Patience, Truly a Virtue, and He Asks You to Forgive, to name a few. I keep them brief and simple and have received many favorable comments of appreciation. What is the relationship between evangelization and your spiritual life? My spiritual life is not a separate entity, it is part of every day. Evangelizing has brought me more awareness of its importance. As Pope Francis tells us, it is the number one mission of the Church. Whether we are just passing by someone, listening, joining, inviting, or welcoming someone, evangelizing plays an important role and is expressed by our behavior. Showing kindness, appreciation, care, and concern for others is part of everything we do. Whether we are at the grocery store, in our car, at church, at work, or having dinner with family and friends, we can evangelize in every circumstance.
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