I had the privilege of participating in the first Chicago Nightfever ever this past October. I was a member of the street evangelization team that passed out candles and spoke with different pedestrians.
One of the first people that myself and my partner spoke with was a veteran from the Iraq war that had clearly been negatively affected both mentally and emotionally by his time in service. He told us about his life on the streets, being homeless, having no money or food and then he told us about possible suicidal thoughts that he was entertaining. I was a bit jarred hearing this but certainly felt the loving providence of God at hand because I myself am a service member and I had ears to listen and a heart prepared to love him.
I told him that I was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army studying to be a priest, and that God was inside waiting to see him. He began to cry as we led him inside where we prayed together, cried together, and hugged through the pain of his past experiences. I’m not sure what happened to this suffering man, but I do know that God was there for him that night and I was the instrument that was able to share His wonderful love.
Michael is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Atlanta and a Nightfever volunteer. Michael was a part of the Street Evangelization Team, who stand outside on the block around the Cathedral and invite passers-by to come inside to light a candle and pray for a moment, and often accompany them in to pray or pray with them right there on the street.