Signs throughout Hastings, Lincoln share message of God’s love
By Dominic Winter
HASTINGS/LINCOLN (SNR) – Throughout Lent and up to Divine Mercy Sunday, about 300 homes in Lincoln and Hastings put up yard signs featuring the image of Divine Mercy.
This initiative was spearheaded by Wayne Ringer of St. Mary Parish in Denton, Bob Sullivan of St. Cecilia Parish in Hastings, and members of Regnum Christi and of St. Paul’s Street Evangelization. The goal is to introduce a picture of God’s merciful love to all who pass by.
“It’s a way to evangelize: to interest people who are unfamiliar and inspire those who are,” Ringer said.
Ringer and Sullivan contacted friends to raise money for the yard signs and then got to distributing. Ringer worked Lincoln, contacting members of several parishes to distribute the signs to homes at high-traffic locations. Sullivan managed Hastings, and called in for a few dozen more signs when he found that 100 weren’t enough for the St. Cecilia’s Ash Wednesday crowd. Those who took signs were given a pamphlet on Divine Mercy and are encouraged to keep their signs for next year, too.
“It expresses the Church’s desire to show mercy, to invite people in and have that conversation,” Sullivan said. “Father Walsh called it a ‘great little Lenten project.’”
In addition, the distributors mentioned to those taking signs that Father Scott Courtney offered Divine Mercy meditation points to those committed to a Divine Mercy Chaplet daily. Seventy-seven people got on that list.
All are highly encouraged to participate in a special way in Divine Mercy Sunday (April 12), not only at Mass, but also in a worthy communion, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and a corporal or spiritual work of mercy. Diary of St. Faustina, 699, mentions incredible benefits from Christ for those who do.
The sign project was Ringer’s idea, inspired in him when he read St. Faustina’s diary. Her words on silence, simplicity and spiritual warfare touched him. Soon after, around January, the yard sign idea came to Ringer.
“Yard signs are more personal than the billboards and mercy radiates through when tied with a particular person,” he said.
Part of the project goal includes getting word out about St. Paul’s Street Evangelization, which goes to the Farmers’ Market in Lincoln every week from May to September and currently has 12 evangelists in the area. They make a presence at the market, including signs and reading material, ready to converse with anybody who approaches. More details about the organization are at www.streetevangelization.com.
Sullivan is moving another evangelization project at Hastings College. After meeting a few of the non-Catholic students who visited his parish, he decided to extend God’s teaching to the Presbyterian college. He asked a world religions professor if he could distribute copies of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to students in his classes. The professor agreed to give them to anyone who wanted one.
“The Holy Spirit has a way of making things happen,” Sullivan said. “It’s definitely an extension of the yard sign project: it might change their lives.”
“Hopefully next year we can cover more of Lincoln with yard signs,” he said. “It would be great if every Catholic in the diocese had a yard sign.”