Homeless Encounters

It’s been four years since I’ve last ministered on Skid Row. This was a special ministry that I took to heart, and as a team we loved praying for those who were downcast. I served in this role for 20 years. God always has the last word with ministries, so because of COVID and an autoimmune disorder that I developed from a flu shot, the door to this ministry was closed.

I have good insight into how homeless people operate. Many of them are self-serving and rebellious because they came from dysfunctional families. These families were not equipped to direct them or give them any type of guidance. Asking the homeless to leave or to move out causes them great pain and anger because to survive on the streets you must find companionship. Two broken souls try to lift each other up but fail because of their emotional trauma. Very rarely will you find a loner on Skid Row, but when you do it is because they have been mentally affected because of drug abuse. Women are the most vulnerable because they are subjected to all types of abuse. Usually a woman will hook up with a male, and in many cases the relationship is volatile and violence is ever present. I’m writing about this because this past Friday I had two separate, traumatic encounters with homeless men.

First Encounter

Last Friday I went to Homegoods to purchase decorative pillows. As I was leaving, I pulled up to the edge of the driveway to make a right hand turn. I was on the car phone with a friend when suddenly I heard a loud thump on the side of my car. It startled me, because at first I thought a car hit me. But it was not a car but a homeless man who was angry with me because he felt I was in  his way. The man quickly moved and almost ran from my sight. I rolled down the window of the car to yell something at him, but quickly came to my senses. He got away, leaving my car slightly dented. I got home and told Mike what I had experienced. Mike’s response was,”What did you do? You must have done something to upset him!” I answered, “No, no! I was waiting to make a right hand turn.”

Second Encounter

Later that day Mike and I attended one of our grandsons basketball game. Neither Mike and I nor his parents were happy with how the coach bullies some members of his team. Mike and I went to dinner and had the most unpleasant meal; we both ordered unpalatable dishes! I was still upset about the outcome of the game, so I told Mike I was going to Adoration to pray. We have Adoration only once a month, but it last 24 hours. I arrived at the church about 7:30 p.m. Paying close attention to my surroundings, I scanned the church and felt safe. There were several families with both parents, several couples and me. I got my rosary out and started to pray, but on the second decade something unusual happened. A barefoot person walked up to the altar and picked up baby Jesus (we are still celebrating Christmas). I was sitting on the third pew so nothing escaped me. From there the person, who I thought at first was a woman, walked up to the altar picked up a book and was behaving very erratically. He was making motions with his hands, almost as if  he was putting a curse on the altar. I looked at the family sitting directly across from me and, with hand gestures, asked if we should do something. They looked worried and kept praying. From there the person walked over and picked up a church bulletin and placed it near some burning candles at the statue of the Blessed Mother. Now we were all on alert because this could have started a fire. Nothing upsets me more than someone desecrating the holy things of God;  but, because I was alone, there was nothing I could do. Finally when the crazed man walked into the Adoration room and took a large, life-sized cross, four men came from different directions to escort him out. The possessed man walked down the aisle where I was sitting, slurring all types of obscenities. The brave men got him out, and I wanted to leave because I feared for my safety.  We were all discussing if we should call the police because the church was going to be open for 24 hours for Adoration. I called one of the sacristans to report the incident, and she told me to call the police. As I was on the phone with the police a massive headache came upon me. I never get headaches but this one was almost as if my head was about to explode. I could not concentrate to finish the conversation with the police. As I walked out, I asked one of the men to escort me to my car, which was just a few feet away. I got into my car and drove home.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The drama continued at home: poor Mike tried to calm me down as I held my head, crying and asking him, “What is wrong with me? Am I going to die?” I did not share the details of the incident with Mike until the following morning, and I promised him that I would never again go out at night on my own.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “Adoration is the acknowledgement of God as God, creator and savior, the Lord and master of everything that exists as infinite and merciful love.” (CCC #2096) “Adoration is homage of the spirit to the King of glory, respectful silence in the presence of the ever greater God.” (CCC #2628)

Christmas in January

Yes, we Catholics are still in the Christmas season. This morning our hymns included Joy to the World, What Child is This, We Three Kings, and Nowell. Our Catholic Christmas celebration begins on Saturday, December 24 on Christmas Eve with the celebration of the Nativity of the Lord and ends on Sunday, January 8, the Epiphany of the Lord. This year in the United States this Christmas season will be 14 days instead of 12. To those of you who procrastinate about taking down Christmas decorations, this works out well for you, and this could be an incentive to convert.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, I thank You for protecting me during these unfortunate incidents. I pray for our state to make headway with the dilemma of the homeless and mentally disturbed population. I pray that we, as a state, will help in solving this problem by providing housing and open mental hospitals for these hurting souls.  Amen.

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