Here is a new report from Dave, of the Berkeley team:
The 4th Street shopping area of Berkeley California is a former industrial area converted into shops and restaurants. There is a restaurant we set up near called Bette’s. It has indoor and outdoor dining and is a very popular place for brunchers. There are many proud dog walkers who frequent the area and partake in outdoor dining at Bette’s. Word has it that it is our local bishop’s favorite place for breakfast. The folks who are attracted to the area down here are generally aging, extremely left leaning secularized graduates of the University, who at one time may have thought of themselves as “hippies.” A perfect location to witness to the continued life of the Catholic Church. Here are some highlights of our recent outing there last Saturday.
A dog-walking couple stopped to talk. The woman told us she was Greek Orthodox. She then asked why we were doing this. When she was informed that we are doing it at Christ’s command to spread the word, she said, “So you are EVANGELICAL Catholics . . .?” This label was warmly agreed to with no embarrassment whatsoever. As she went in to make a reservation, the man stayed and talked about how great religion is and what a positive influence it has on culture. He was English and went on to talk about the monasteries that used to exist in England. When asked if he practiced the faith in some way, he informed us that he did not believe in God. He was offered an “Existence of God” pamphlet, which he flatly said no to since he did not need to be “indoctrinated.”
Another passing gentlemen, upon being offered a Rosary, said “No thanks. I am a ‘recovering Catholic’.” We informed him that he is always welcome back, at which point he stopped and somewhat defensively said, “No, I am still with you.” One of us asked, “Do you like Francis?” He cautiously replied, “What do you mean?” “The Pope. Here have one of these,” was the reply, as he was given a Pope Francis million dollar bill. He expressed gratitude as he left and assured us “I’m still with you.”
A gentleman with three sons aged about 15, 11 and 8 stopped by after being offered free Rosaries. The youngest son asked, “How much?” This drew a chuckle as the father said, “He just told you they were free. That means you already know how much.” All three boys also took Rosaries and a “how to” pamphlet and were encourage to try it out when they got home.
The oldest son locked in on the “Existence of God” pamphlet. He asked if he could have one, and upon opening it, started to read the following words aloud with a smart-aleck teen aged grin:
“There is no other question as important as ‘Does God exist?’ If He does not, then we must concede that there is ultimately nothing special about the world and the beings that inhabit it. Mankind is merely the product of a random and senseless cosmic process that will, eventually, swallow us in death both personally and as a species.” He then stepped away and continued reading to himself quietly.
A nicely dressed woman in purple hesitantly stopped and asked, “What is the Rosary all about anyway?” An evangelist stepped forward and shared with her that is a meditation on the life of Christ through the eyes of his mother (thanks to Adam Janke, the SPSE programs director, for that one). She was also given a “how to” pamphlet and invited to try it out. Since she was a Bible-believing Christian, the other thing shared with her was a Lectio Divina pamphlet. We told her it is a great way to use the Bible in prayer and encouraged her to try that as well.
Although we heard “No” far more than we heard “Yes,” those few yes-sayers made it all worthwhile.
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory!
Praised be Jesus Christ! Thanks, Dave, and the rest of the Berkeley team, for your dedication to the mission of street evangelization! Evangelization is a great blessing to those who practice it. Getting out on a nice day to casually talk to people about the most important things. So get off that couch and get involved! The Berkeley team has many nice morning outings – why not join them, or another one of our 200+ teams? Or why not start a new team? Seriously – It’s definitely better than anything on TV.