Unique ministry immerses students in community

Staff Writer

A normal Friday night for Red Light Ministry starts on campus. The members of the ministry begin in prayer and then separate, men and women, to engage in different prayer activities. Upon arriving in Weirton, the men pray two rosaries and a Divine Mercy Chaplet on the sidewalk across from a strip club.

“We like to do things the unconventional way. We like getting off the hill and working with our hands,” said senior Tom McCartney.

Praying outside the strip clubs, these men have received many different reactions. On several occasions, the ministry has received negative comments and plenty of hand gestures from people driving by and those entering the strip club.

However, these negative reactions do not discourage the men praying; rather, it affirms them.

McCartney, business management major, said, “It’s encouraging when we receive a reaction – positive or negative. We know it’s never going to be all smooth sailing. If we just go out and sing kum-ba-ya and eat cake when we get back, what are we really doing as Christians?”

McCartney started going his freshman year and has been a regular participant in the ministry for the past four years.

Paul Gagnet, senior biology major and coordinator of Red Light Ministry, has also been going many years, but only became active in the leadership role his sophomore and junior year.

“Seeing guys break out of their shell and not knowing what to expect is awesome, because I see them grow in virtue” said Gagnet. “Praying for purity and being a witness to those who enter or drive by the strip club has been amazing. Having a group of 10 college guys praying outside a strip club, giving up their Friday night, is really is out of the norm, and people see that.”

Both McCartney and Gagnet enjoy inviting their household brothers to engage in prayer with the workers of the strip club through Red Light Ministry.

“The guys that go really enjoy going out into the streets, being proactive and making a presence in our community,” said Gagnet

Some positive reactions have included people coming to pray with them, compliments and even a woman buying pizzas for the men praying.

“One of the girls who worked there came out and asked us to pray and talk with her. It was really great for the guys to just listen to her and pray,” said Gagnet.

Gagnet added, “There was a guy who came out of the car and said to us ‘I see you guys, and I thank you!’ It really meant a lot to us because we know we must be doing something right.”

“Just a wave really means a lot,” McCartney added.

After praying in front of the strip clubs, the men return to campus to discuss the happenings of the night with the women, who have been praying on campus. Red Light Ministry meets at 9pm on Friday nights in Sts. Kolbe and Clare Hall.

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