The Face of Mercy

Video from our 35th anniversary!

LAMP recently celebrated its 35th anniversary at a Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral with Timothy Cardinal Dolan! Here are, courtesy of St. Patrick’s Cathedral:

1) An abbreviated video segment (25:35) containing portions of the Mass, the entire homily, etc.

2) The clips that show or discuss LAMP directly (3:49)
The video of the entire Mass is available here . Jesus bless you!

The Power of a Simple Yes

Liliana* had been at Baychester, a homeless shelter for women and children, for quite a while now. Each time the missionaries knocked on her door, she declined any invitation to pray and seemed very uninterested in speaking with us. So today, we walked past her room without knocking expecting the same attitude. As I walked past her and saw her back turned to us through the open door, I felt the spirits of fear, despair, and deception present. I slowed.

Give me a chance. God whispered to my heart.

Okay, Lord, yes. But I have no idea what is going to come of this.

I turned around, a bit fearful, and lightly knocked on her open door.

“Hi I’m Hailey and this is Mary. We are from the church and were wondering if you wanted to pray today?”

Come Holy Spirit.

She looked over her shoulder and threw down her towel.

“Yes, I actually would. I need guidance.”

God took that yes, that slightly opened door of her heart, and seized the opportunity to love her. She was overwhelmed with being a mother, so we spoke of our mother, Mary. Her eyes lit up at the picture of Our Lady of Fatima which she hung on her mirror. She listened attentively and actively as I taught her how to pray the rosary.

“You know, even if you aren’t praying it at any moment, you can still hold onto it because there is power in it; Jesus is present.” I encouraged.

“I once had a rosary,” Liliana began. “Whenever I would leave to go somewhere, I would put it in my daughter’s baby bag and so I knew that no matter what happened, Jesus was with us. I lost it a while ago and have been looking for another one. And now I have one again.”

Yes, yes you do. Jesus is taking care of you. Lord, I’m amazed by you.

Then we prayed.

Come Holy Spirit.

We prayed with the story of the parting of the Red Sea. God our Father parted the sea to guide the Israelites safely to the promised land. Lord, right now we may be looking at a raging sea in front of us, unsure of how to cross it. But you can and will guide us safely through to the abundance you have prepared for us on the other side. Jesus, we trust in you.

As we prayed, tears began to fall upon her shirt. They were tears of freedom. Chains were breaking. She was being set free.

“Sorry,” she sniffled, “I haven’t cried in a while.”

In that moment, I knew the Devil was defeated. He no longer held her in the bondage of fear—Christ gave her peace. He no longer held her in the bondage of despair—Christ gave her hope. He no longer held her in the bondage of deception—Christ’s beating heart resounded, each beat whispering His love into her heart. The fog was lifted. She encountered His love. She encountered His Heart that beat solely for love of her.

Jesus’ beating heart moved my heart to say yes to giving Him a chance to love Liliana that day. Jesus’ beating heart moved Liliana to say yes to prayer that day. And on that day Liliana was set free by Jesus’ Beating Heart to say yes to His perfect peace, hope, mercy, and love. That is the power of a simple yes. That is the power of love.

– LAMP Missionary Hailey Megge

His Beautiful Face

Two LAMP Missionaries were serving at our LAMP Café ministry on a beautiful late summer New York day. At first glance, the scene looks familiar—the same location, the same silver Café truck, a long line of our brothers and sisters hungry for food and especially hungry for God. But this is God’s ministry so no day is ever mundane. It is always fresh, always new.

Marco wouldn’t come close to the truck.

“Can we talk over here, away from the truck?” He asked as Mary approached him to talk and offer to pray with him.

“I don’t want to stand too close because I smell bad. I know that it’s not nice to be around me because I smell. No one wants me around.” He said this softly, his eyes cast down.

Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society—completely forgotten, completely left alone… -Mother Teresa

Marco is bound by the chains of alcoholism. The missionaries sat and listened to his story. Mary, a LAMP Missionary, recounts their conversation.

“He was crying and explaining that we don’t understand addiction. I said that he was right, I don’t know what drug/alcohol addiction is like but I can still feel for him. I struggle with other things, as all of us do.” When we serve the poor, many times, we cannot heal them from their sickness or take away their pain. We can simply be there with them as a testimony that God loves them in the midst of it all.

Standing at the cross of Jesus was his mother…(John 19:25)

“He shared how he doesn’t want to drink but feels like he has to. I gave him a small Divine Mercy image explaining the mercy of Jesus and how that mercy can give him the freedom he is aching for.”

Let us fall now into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great. (2 Samuel 12:14)

The conversation came to a close and they all prayed together.

“I thank God for sending me beautiful people like you” Marco said through tear filled eyes.

Mary, recognizing the beautiful face of our suffering Christ as He endured His passion in this man’s suffering face, replied under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,

“I thank God for sending me a beautiful person like you.” And she meant it.

– LAMP Missionary Mary Maynard

His Glorious Face

THE FACE OF MERCY: Stories and Reflections from the streets of New York

“Jesus Christ reveals the face of the Father’s mercy.” (Pope Francis)

Of You my heart has spoken: Seek His Face.” (Psalm 27)

May 24, 2016

It has been just over a week since a beloved brother in the Lord completed his journey to the Father’s House. Timothy Gilbride served faithfully as a LAMP Missionary for the past six years. After an unexpected cancer diagnosis in February, and a brief but valiant battle, he was taken home on May 15, 2016, Pentecost Sunday. Timothy was a joyful servant – full of abundant life, inimitable humor, and humble sincerity.

In these days since his death, wake and funeral, we in the LAMP family have shared many “Timothy stories”. There are many to share! One thing we dearly miss is listening to the riveting stories he himself told on Monday mornings at our weekly community gathering. While I could write about Timothy, I think it would be more effective to let you hear from him personally. The following is an account written by Timothy himself. Though just one of numerous stories from time spent with the elderly poor in several nursing homes in Brooklyn, it offers an authentic glimpse into the heart of our dear brother and friend.May Timothy, who constantly sought the Face of Jesus in His beloved poor, now behold His Glorious Face for all eternity!

“While doing my rounds at the nursing home, I came across Dolores* sitting in her wheelchair in the hall. She is ordinarily very eager to pray and talk about God. But this day she seemed out-of-sorts and distraught. She told me she didn’t want to visit this day. I let her know that if she changed her mind, I would be on her floor for a while. Moments later, she asked me to come to her room. She told me that she was not a good Christian because she could not forgive her husband. She then went on a 20-minute rant covering a variety of human emotions – mostly rage and sadness. She was crying, punching tables, and throwing items around the room. She obviously had very deep pain. Not knowing what to do, I prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit.

Even though this was a woman well versed in the Bible, I could see that there was a different approach that needed to be taken.

I was led to just continue to listen. Apparently her husband had abused and tortured her for some time and she had never revealed this to anyone. As time went on she was getting more weary. The intensity abated. When she appeared to be completely exhausted, we prayed for God’s help and I departed. I left her in a peaceful state.

On my next visit, I was greeted with a big, warm, loving smile from Dolores. She exclaimed, “I have forgiven my husband. I prayed to God to help me forgive him, and I did.”

I thank the Holy Spirit for leading me to her, guiding me through our encounter, and leading to a peaceful resolution for her. And I am grateful to God for using me as His instrument to help heal her wounded heart.”

– LAMP Missionary Kirsten Goza

His Faithful Face

THE FACE OF MERCY: Stories and Reflections from the streets of New York

“Jesus Christ reveals the face of the Father’s mercy.” (Pope Francis)

Of You my heart has spoken: Seek His Face.” (Psalm 27)

May 6, 2016

Sometimes I struggle to be faithful. Last Tuesday was one of those days. I was standing on the street outside Planned Parenthood. It was cloudy. Cold. Feeling somewhat guilty, I still had to honestly admit to myself that I was simply…bored. Not too many conversations happening. I was trying to pray the Rosary but just kept losing track of endless Hail Mary’s. I could not focus. And it was a losing battle not to check my watch every two minutes (which felt like twenty-five).

I looked down the sidewalk at my fellow missionary. She was faithfully standing there, with her pro-life pamphlets and her rosary. Okay. We’re in this together. It’s not all about you. Just stay.

How much time left? Twenty more minutes?! Okay. Just twenty minutes. You can do this! Just stay. Be here. Present Moment. Grace is here. Offer it up. Sacrifice. Babies are counting on you. Stay. Remain. Faithfulness, not success.

Why don’t we just go? There’s only ten more minutes! Nothing is going to happen in the next ten minutes. Nobody is coming. It’s completely reasonable. You did your duty. It’s understandable. Some days are just like this. Don’t be so rigid. It’s fine. You can go.

Jesus. Help me. I cannot do this. Help me. I can stay here for five more minutes. It is not going to kill me. I trust You. Help me just stay these last five minutes! To be faithful!

Then, unbelievably, time’s up. Relief fills me as I glance at my watch and see the magical hand hit quarter past eleven. Praise the Lord!! I begin heading down the street to join the other missionary for our closing prayer. But I don’t see her at first…

Then I notice her, leaning in to the window of a car parked on the curb. She’s talking. Deep breath. Patience! Okay, Jesus.

I walk back to my post. And pray, more. Holy Spirit, be with her. Guide the conversation she is having.

Ten more minutes. But new resolve fills me now. Who is she speaking to? What is happening?

I glance over, and see the other missionary approaching me.

“That was amazing,” she says, shaking her head in disbelief. “That girl was just waiting in the car for her mom, who was in the building. She rolled down the window and actually asked me for a pamphlet! How did she know what I was doing here? Anyway, she’s pregnant. She has three children, and wants to finish school. She said she’s not sure if she should…terminate…”

As my sister missionary went on to describe their conversation, it became so clear that the Holy Spirit needed us to be there for those last five minutes! The young woman took our literature, and it seemed hopeful that she would reach out to the Sisters of Life for help. And that she was now more willing to give this baby a chance by choosing life.

I learned something that day about fidelity, even in small things. Results may not always be visible, as they were so mercifully that day, but His grace is always present and active.

Because, “Strong is His love for us. He is faithful forever” (Psalm 117:2).

– LAMP Missionary Kirsten Goza

His Redeeming Face

THE FACE OF MERCY: Stories and Reflections from the streets of New York

“Jesus Christ reveals the face of the Father’s mercy.” (Pope Francis)

Of You my heart has spoken: Seek His Face.” (Psalm 27)

March 31, 2016

It was Tuesday of Holy Week. She appeared across the sidewalk from me, looking around for a building address. I got that familiar sinking feeling in my stomach as I thought, “I bet she’s trying to find Planned Parenthood.”

I approached to offer her one of our pro-life brochures. Looking confused, she responded, “Oh, is this where the parenting place is?” Side-stepping her question, I explained that we were offering information about free pre-natal resources. Did she know someone who was pregnant?

Suddenly, she opened up. She was pregnant. It was her first baby. She was not from New York and didn’t know how to access resources here. She felt afraid…overwhelmed…unsure. She had considered abortion, but…something in her heart told her that was not the answer.

I told her about the Sisters of Life and encouraged her to call. “You can do this,” I told her. “God has a plan for you and for this baby. But you can’t do it alone. It’s not going to be easy. But He is going to be there, and there are so many people out there who are willing to walk the whole way with you.”

I gave her a rosary and explained what it was. “Mary is a mother. She is the Mother of Jesus. She knows what it’s like. She struggled. She can walk this path with you.” I watched her thoughtfully fingering the pink plastic beads.

Then I handed her two Scripture cards – “This one is for you. And this one is for your baby.” She read the verse: “You are precious in God’s eyes (cf. Isaiah 43:4).” She smiled at me and started to cry at the same time.

“Now you’re making me cry. It’s just because I’m pregnant!” she laughed.

I asked about the baby’s father. Was he in the picture? “Actually,” she answered, discreetly glancing sideways, “he’s right over there.” There was a man leaning against a mailbox on the curb. “Sometimes it’s hard to talk to your partner about…these things,” she continued.

“Right,” I responded. “That’s why you need positive support from others.”

“Okay. I’m going home, and I’ll call the Sisters from there. I feel better. I think God put you here. Actually, I saw you out here last summer. I remembered you when I came today. I was actually looking for you. And then, there you were! And…can I have a hug?”

Jesus, I don’t remember ever seeing this woman in my life. I don’t know where she came from. All I know is that we stand out here week after week and, once in a while, You show us Your redeeming Face. Thank You.

– LAMP Missionary Kirsten Goza