Special Issue - Prayer

Phone feed finds FB friends in need

by Marc and Julie Anderson

TOPEKA — For more than 10 years now, Jim Garcia, a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish here, has done a regular Holy Hour as part of the parish’s perpetual adoration ministry.

About nine months ago, while sitting in the chapel, the avid Facebook fan took a picture and posted it to his page.

“I was in adoration,” he said, “and I took a picture of the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance.”

He wasn’t sure what to expect, so his expectations were low — which was a good thing.

And when his post didn’t garner much of a response, he shrugged it off.

But about a month ago, the 57-year-old Garcia decided to try it again.

“I was sitting in the parking lot, and I posted that I was getting ready to go to adoration,” said Garcia. He suggested that those who frequented his FB page send him their prayer intentions.

This time, said Garcia, the results were amazing.

Family and friends sent him all kinds of messages, sharing their hearts and needs. Even the next day, people were sharing messages ranging from the deeply personal to simple statements like, “Pray for me.”

One message, in particular, touched his heart.

A friend said that her husband had just lost his job that day. She herself was unemployed. With two children at home, she was worried about their future.

Crediting the post with giving his Holy Hour new life, he plans to continue posting similar messages on a regular basis.

It’s also one of the ways, he said, he will follow through on his commitment to pray for others when they ask for it, something a friend once modeled for him.

Right before Christmas several years ago, he recounted, his oldest sister suffered a stroke, leaving her partially paralyzed.

On Christmas Eve, while at Kohl’s, Garcia ran into a friend and his family. After exchanging pleasantries, he shared the news of his sister’s stroke.

His friend’s family asked him if he believed in Jesus and the efficacy of prayer. Garcia responded affirmatively and asked them for prayers for his sister. He was surprised when the family immediately started praying.

“In the middle of Kohl’s, we were all standing in a circle, holding hands, praying for my sister,” said Garcia, adding the sight probably surprised several holiday shoppers. But to him, it underscored the need to pray for people when they ask for it.

Now, when people ask him to pray, Garcia drops what he’s doing and, at a minimum, prays silently. It’s just one way he integrates prayer in his daily life.

Garcia is now trying a new Facebook outreach he’s calling his “Friday Mass Challenge.”

For several weeks, he’s been posting a message, asking friends and family members to join him for Friday morning Mass.

“I try to use Facebook in a good way,” concluded Garcia simply.


About the author

Marc & Julie Anderson

Freelancers Marc and Julie Anderson are long-time contributors to the Leaven. Married in 1996, for several years the high school sweethearts edited The Crown, the former newspaper of Christ the King Parish in Topeka which Julie has attended since its founding in 1977. In 2000, the Leaven offered the couple their first assignment. Since then, the Andersons’ work has also been featured in a variety of other Catholic and prolife media outlets. The couple has received numerous journalism awards from the Knights of Columbus, National Right to Life and the Catholic Press Association including three for their work on “Think It’s Not Happening Near You? Think Again,” a piece about human trafficking. A lifelong Catholic, Julie graduated from Most Pure Heart of Mary Grade School and Hayden Catholic High School in Topeka. Marc was received into the Catholic Church in 1993 at St. Paul Parish – Newman Center at Wichita State University. The two hold degrees from Washburn University in Topeka. Their only son, William James, was stillborn in 1997.

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