Chino Hills, CA. The untimely death of retired NBA superstar Kobe Bryant (also nicknamed “Black Mamba”) back in January shocked the world. But what arose from this sad news was the surprising fact to some that Kobe was a devout Catholic. One of SPSE’s pledging members who lives in California, Arelene Zonni, came up with an idea to comfort the members of Bryant’s parish who are still mourning his death. She bought 2,000 crucifixes from our online store, and put out a call to her fellow parishioners at St. Paul the Apostle to make purple and gold beaded rosaries for the members of Our Lady Queen of the Angels. She didn’t know how many people would turn out to help. Boy was she in for a great surprise!
The following report comes to us from evangelist and pledging member Arlene in Los Angeles, CA:
Over the last couple weeks, I purchased 2,000 crucifixes from the St. Paul Evangelization online store for an event I planned at my church, St. Paul the Apostle. We invited people to come make purple and gold plastic beaded rosaries (L.A. Lakers colors) to donate to Kobe’s home parish, Our Lady Queen of the Angels in Newport Beach. The youth director there was so glad we were doing this for them. It was an open invite and I had no idea how many would show.
To my surprise, we had over 200 volunteers come, and we wound up running out of room! We made almost 2,000 rosaries. Most attendees also stayed after to pray the rosary with us. It was such a beautiful, joyful, spiritual event. I can’t even put it into words. We have a large parish (over 6,000 families), and everyone at our church, including the priests, were in shock! I’ve heard stories of people that went to Mass that day that haven’t been in years; people that have family members that refused to go to church that asked THEM to attend the event with them; people with Protestant friends asking them for rosaries, people who NEVER volunteer for anything that ran to volunteer with this…the list of wonderful stories goes on and on. There were so many young people present too! Kids from 3-4 years old with their parents, to teens that made rosaries and enjoyed an actual conversation. I said, “When The Mamba meets The Mamma (Mary), crazy things happen!” The Holy Spirit’s presence could be felt by everyone. We even had an attendee with a friend at Channel 11 that had their people redirected to us last night to come film it. I would have never imagined!
Praised be Jesus Christ! Our Lord used Arlene’s small gesture of compassion towards fellow Catholics to reach fallen away Catholics, Protestants, and perhaps many others. The news story was broadcast to thousands, and who knows how many hearts it may have touched. What an awesome God we have!