On September 29, feast of the Archangels, the Servant Brothers of the Home of the Mother and some boys, who form part of the Home of the Mother Youth, carried out an apostolate in the streets of Villalbilla, a town near Alcalá de Henarnes, Spain, where the Servant Brothers are parish priests).
The feast of St. Michael draws an extraordinary sum of people to the town each year, which makes ready by setting up tents for concerts, plays, attractions for kids, festivals, food stands, medieval shops, etc. The heart of the celebration--in spite of St. Michael-- are the bull pens. In summary, it is a great opportunity to carry out apostolic work, because a lot of people come who we will not see for the rest of the year.
There was a little bit of everything: food, bulls, and time for prayer. The important part of the preparation was the Mass. We celebrated the Mass of the Holy Archangels together at the parish, and asked the angels and Jesus to grant us the grace of bringing Him to all the people “out there.”
At 10:00pm we opened the parish and had exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in front of the statues of the Cross and St. Michael. The Servant Brothers and the boys went out into the streets to invite people to come in and light a candle before the Lord and pray for a little whole. The witnesses speak for themselves:
One brother tells how a card trick broke the barriers and prejudices, making it easier to talk people. He made a bet with a group, saying, “If you all like the trick, all of us have to go light a candle.” Minutes later, they came back from the church moved. It was impressive to see how the “bad guy” of the group had tears in his eyes.
Another tells how girls went to light a candle while their boyfriends waited at the door. “It’s embarrassing.” Their girlfriends could not even convince them. The situation drew out until a group of young men went in to leave their candles … even the toughest ones ended up going inside.
Two children that attend catechism also surprised us. They are seven or eight years old, and they spent an hour and a half going through the streets with a candle inviting everyone to go inside. When you evangelize in the streets, it is always hard to begin and approach the first group of people. At first, two brothers were walking along and saw a large group of people and the two children approach them. “They won’t listen to us!” they complained to the brothers. But that did not stop them—they kept going. The children’s bravery manifested in how they approached strangers encouraged the brothers to break the ice and talk to the first group.
Quizá el testimonio que mejor muestra la gracia que se derramó, viene del Siervo que estuvo en la iglesia, acompañando al Santísimo (que lleva ya unos años en Villalbilla). Dice que vio muchas personas que jamás ha visto en la Iglesia. Esto quiere decir, o que no vienen nunca a rezar o que no son del pueblo… De todos modos, el Señor aprovechó para tener un encuentro con ellos. Y no es que entraran simplemente a poner su vela; muchos de estos “desconocidos” se quedaron veinte o hasta treinta minutos en presencia del Señor. Obviamente eran conocidas por Jesús, y sólo Él sabe lo que pasó en su interior en esos momentos. Comparado con lo de fuera, allí dentro hubo para las almas un verdadero oasis de paz, un trozo de cielo en la tierra.
The testimony that most testifies the grace poured out was probably witnessed by the Servant Brother, who stayed in the church with the Blessed Sacrament. This brother has been in Villalbilla for a few years, and said that many people that he had never seen before went into the church. This means that they either never pray there or are from out of town. In any case, the Lord made the most of it to have a personal encounter with them. They did not just go in and leave a candle; many of these “strangers” stayed for 20 or 30 minutes in the Lord’s presence. Clearly, Jesus reads their hears and He alone knows what happened inside them during those moments. Compared to what went on outside, inside there was a true oasis of peace, a piece of Heaven on earth.
Regarding the conversations on the street, the youth mentioned how the experience helped them overcome their fear and realize how easy talking to people about God can be. Seeing the situation of several young people led them to be grateful for the gift of faith we have. As a priest, the author of this article adds that many young people thirst for God. Even if they throw out all of their typical arguments at first, such as, “I believe in God, but not in the Church,” etc., if you listen a little you win their hearts by your simplicity and joy. They end up agreeing with everything… except chastity, but that is another article.
Blessed be God for this experience. We encourage you to propose it in your parishes and that, supported first by prayer, do not be afraid to share the richness of the Faith with everyone! Thanks to all those who came to help and to sing during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
-The Servant Brothers and Home of the Mother Youth