Although for each it was their third experience with parish outreach in a door-to-door evangelization, nothing can truly prepare a pilgrim for what they will encounter.
Despite ringing the bells of several homes along the way, they were finding that people were either not at home, or reluctant to engage in conversation with someone they didn't already know.
It was then that their spirits were lifted. At one home, a mother who had practiced the faith early on in her childhood in Puerto Rico, and her four children welcomed the pair into their modest apartment to receive the packets of rosaries and religious literature the women were bearing.
Although their mother spoke little English, her children did, and they eagerly followed along as Vaillant and Lee led them in praying an entire rosary together.
"I don't know how to pray at all," Paola Ginel, 15, said in an interview with Rhode Island Catholic, said after she and her three brothers, joined by their mother, recited the prayers that were written in booklets provided by their surprise guests.
Her brother, Josue, 13, said he would proudly wear his rosary to school, knowing now the mysteries the beads represent. He has seen other students wear rosaries to school, but thought they did so as more of a fashion statement than for their religious symbolism.
The children, who range in age from 9-15, said the visit has served to heighten their desire to experience the Mass.
"I've passed the church many times," Josue said of Our Lady of Consolation, one of the churches now merged together as Holy Family Parish. "I've just wanted to experience (the Mass) to see what it is like."
For Vaillant, a parishioner at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Providence, and Lee, a parishioner at Our Lady of Mercy, East Greenwich, the visit was a powerful one for the pair, who are members of the Legion of Mary as well.
"The family was wonderful," Lee said as she resumed her evangelization, proceeding to the home next door.
Posted with permission from The Rhode Island Catholic, official newspaper for the Diocese of Providence.
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