Just in time to help prepare us for upcoming Holy
Week missions, a senior from Immaculate Conception Apostolic School
(Center Harbor, NH), Troy Lawrence, shares with us an article
he wrote about his experience doing door-to-door missions with the
novices in Cheshire, Connecticut, in December, 2013.
By Troy Lawrence
Birch Street, my hands clenched tightly in my pockets, I
shudder against the cold. A gust of wind sets my
teeth chattering, and I scrunch my neck further into the
collar of my jacket to preserve some heat. I look
to my side at my fellow companion Anselm Kim, a
third-year precandidate from South Korea, and catch him studying the
tendrils of his breath as it winds its way through
the cold December air. He sees me watching him, turns
to me, and says, “It’s really great being out here
again in Connecticut for missions. I just hope we’ll have
more doors opened than slammed today.”
Br. Peter Kang, our mission
leader, also South Korean, turns around and encourages us, “It’s
all in the Holy Spirit’s hands. We have nothing to
“Hey, brothers, are we going to try this next
house? It seems as if nobody’s home,” I ask, pointing
to a low, one-story house with a small garden surrounding
the path leading to it.
Br. Philip Litchfield, a tall, dark-haired,
first-year novice from Indiana, looks up from the map which
has all the streets highlighted that we are to visit
and shrugs his shoulders. “I guess it’s worth a shot.
Troy, remember it’s your turn,” he says to me as
he places the map back into our bag full of
rosaries and prayer cards. I nod, and we all walk
up the short path. Few of the flowers are blooming
on either side, now with winter approaching. I ring the
doorbell and brush off the sleeves of my jacket. We
wait there in silence for a few moments, but no
one answers. I turn and give Br. Peter a questioning
glance, but he gestures for me to try knocking. I
knock a few times, but that too fails to bring
anyone to the door. My companions and I turn to
leave, making our way down the path.
Back on the sidewalk
we only stroll a few yards when an old, red
Honda Civic pulls up into the driveway of the house
we had just visited. We stop to watch the driver,
a tall, young man, step out of the car and
sit down on its hood to light a cigarette. His
friend gets out of the passenger seat, and she strides
immediately to the front door, giving the impression that the
man’s habit of smoking bothers her.
“Hey!” the man calls out
to us as he notices us watching him. “Just wanted
to say Hi.” He returns his focus on trying to
get his lighter to work.
We break from our befuddlement and
begin to walk towards him. Br. Philip responds, “We want
to say Hi, too.” We cover the short distance to
him, and Br. Philip introduces us. “Good morning, we are
Catholic seminarians. My name is Br. Philip, and this is
Br. Peter Kang. We’re novices at a seminary down in
“Oh, okay,” the man nods his head. He is clean-shaven,
but has a chestnut-colored mohawk running down his head. I
place him roughly around twenty-six years old. As he gets
up to shake our hands, I notice the glint of
an earring in his left ear.
Br. Philip continues, “This
here is Anselm. Both he and Br. Peter are from
South Korea.” Indicating me, he adds, “This is Troy. He’s
from California. He and Anselm study in a minor seminary
up in New Hampshire.”
“Nice meetin’ you. My name’s Kyle.” He
gives my hand a firm shake and sits back down,
transferring his cigarette back to his right hand. “Well, uh,
what can I do for you? I myself am not
Catholic, but go to this new group down the road.
A few of us get together and discuss things among
“Oh, so is it a kind of New Age
group?” Br. Peter asks.
“No, not exactly.”
“Is it sort of
nihilistic?” Br. Philip tries.
“Definitely not. I do believe that there
is some all-powerful Being out there.” He pauses to take
a puff of smoke, his bright blue eyes gazing at
it as it rises up and disperses.
“So then I take
it you do believe in an absolute truth,” Br. Philip
Kyle begins to chuckle to himself and looks down, shaking
his head. “I don’t like to go there because that’s
where I get in trouble. I think that doing good
is very important, but – I don’t know – I
just don’t see that doing good ultimately to be rewarded
by a Deity is right. Then it becomes selfish and
so not actually good. So, yeah, there’s a distinction to
be made, and I try to keep my motives pure
and do good for its own sake.”
“Well,” I begin, “We
have a Mass today at 5:00 PM at Mary, Our
Queen Parish, just down Regent Road. We would like you
to come. It does us all much good.”
“Actually me and
my friend,” he jerks his thumb back to the front
door where his friend had entered, “we’re going to a
Christmas party, and I don’t think we’ll make it for
“Then why don’t you just stop by and visit?
The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed all day, and Our
Lord will help you find the answers you seek,” Br.
Peter requests. “Oh, and do you have any intentions we
could pray for? As seminarians we spend a good portion
of our day praying.”
Kyle looks up thoughtfully for a while,
rubbing his chin. “How about for world peace,” he finally
“Yes, that’s important. Well then, it was nice meeting you,”
says Anselm, “and God bless!”
“Yeah, you too. Take care of
yourselves.” He stands up and stamps out his cigarette.
around and walk down his driveway as he heads inside.
I spin around at the last minute and call out
after him, “Merry Christmas!” He stops before his front door
and looks back at us, a big smile on his
face. Giving a final wave, he steps inside.
The wind continues
to bluster, scattering leaves around us, but no longer do
I feel cold. I tread down Birch Street with a
joyful purpose in my step and a sense of contentment
and warmth welling up within me. I see the wind
no longer as a disturbance but as the Holy Spirit,
kindling in me the fire of his love. Each gust
stokes the flame, and I make a prayer of thanksgiving,
recalling the words of John Paul II: “If you are
what you should be, you will set the world ablaze!”
Yes, Lord, that is what you are asking of me,
to be an instrument bringing your light to the world.
You are the truth leading me. Fill me with the
passion to evangelize, the flame of the mission.
We turn the
corner of the street and tramp up another driveway. Another
soul waits behind the façade of the front door, another
child of God perhaps estranged from the Father. We knock
and wait; the Father calls and waits. A door opens,
and a man steps out. A heart opens, and God’s
love and grace rushes in.