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Country: United States
State or province: California

Team Leader
David Brandt

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Pinole Farmer's Market

March 16, 2024

Two members of the Berkeley chapter worked together at a farmer’s market in the nearby town of Pinole.  Dave, the chapter coordinator went out with first timer Ed.  Ed had always been apprehensive about doing street evangelizing, even though he is willing to pray outside of abortion clinics.  But he spontaneously decided to just go for it and give it a try.

We gave away probably about 40 rosaries and 10 “My Daily Prayer” pamphlets. There was a local vendor selling clam chowder who sent woman in his booth over to ask me to bring him a red rosary.  I went over to hand him the rosary and notice it had a miraculous medal on it.  I told him I would be right back with something to read about the medal. When I got back, he said, “I want to give you a soup.”  It was around 11:30 and I had not eaten since the night before.  That was one good bowl of soup.

Ed ended up being a real natural. He was very comfortable engaging with people and was very kind and interactive with them.

The main interaction of the day was a young  women who was very open to discussing her faith.  She shared how she had grown up with Catholic grandparents and went on to become a Baptist.  She shared how she had become disillusioned with organized religion because she had seen ordinary people make difficult compromises financially because of tithing as an example.

I addressed her issues about being disillusioned with Protestant churches with the “Bible Alone?” pamphlet.  I talked about how using the Bible alone can lead to divisions and misunderstandings when there is no true authority. Then I gave her “Why Be Catholic”.

I asked her if she read the Bible much and she said, “I learned to read by reading the Bible.” So I gave her a Lectio Divina pamphlet.  I told her how it was an ancient method that can help yield great spiritual understandings.  We finally at the end of our discussion exchanged names.  Her name was Christine.  “So you were named after Christ.” I said. She smiled and shrugged a yes. She was very grateful for our discussion and thanked me by saying, “Well maybe I was meant to be here today.”SPSE Team Photo



October 1, 2021

SPSE Team PhotoOn September 26, 2021, 2 members of the Berkeley Street Evangelization team worked at the Pinole Car show. This car show which resumed this year after missing last year to the virus was very well attended. Rita and Dave had a booth there and connected with many people.
Dave & Rita met a woman who is coming out of a difficult period in her life. She had a 6-year-old girl with her and shared how she is coming back to her faith and really wanted to start reading the Bible. She wanted a recommendation for which one to get. Dave happened to have a paperbacked Ignatius Bible that he had been carrying to street evangelizing for a long time and never used. It even had those tabs that help you quickly answer protestant objections. He was going to show her the title and just decided it would be better to just give it to her. She was very moved and grateful for this. He also gave here the Lectio Divina pamphlet. She took a Rosary along with a manual. She felt like divine providence was at work.

They encountered another woman who had many, questions. She asked the questions in a spirit of genuine curiosity and eagerness. They spoke to her about avoiding churches that are Bible only based since that approach leads to splits and that they lack true authority. When Dave shared with her the fact that he had gained great spiritual insights from praying the Rosary, she said, “Like what? . . .” He discussed the amazing idea of Jesus being fully God and fully human. She took Rosaries for her whole family as well as Why Be Catholic and a Catholic Radio Card and various other pamphlets.
They met a number of families and individuals who were new to the area and did not know enough about the local parish.
One young lady working at a food booth across the isle from them who had Rosary and an instruction pamphlet promptly opened it up, sat down and boldly read out loud, the Apostle’s Creed.
One woman had her 12-year-old daughter with her who had not received her first communion yet. She was talking about how she needed to get her into classes for first communion. Dave gave her the Eucharist and Confession pamphlets and briefly talked to her about how the two work together.
All together they gave out about 50 + Rosaries, a small handful of Miraculous Medals and a stack of My Daily Prayer cards. Rita’s comment after all was done-
“I am always surprised at how much I think I get more out of the ministry than the people we encounter do; it is just such an honor to be there to experience people being able to ask questions and grow as we discuss the faith with them.”

SPSE Team Photo


Finally back at it in Berkeley

July 11, 2021

SPSE Team Phote

The Berkeley chapter of St. Paul Street Evangelization went out for the first time in about 9 months. California has had almost a month to get used to being opened up. We stationed ourselves outside the entrance to the Berkeley Farmers Market. Today’s team members were David, Tracy and Alma. Here are their stories:

I focused on offering rosaries and Daily Prayer pamphlets. I got many, many "No's", but it seemed as though people were going out of their way to be polite about it. My first actual conversation was with a man named Rafael. He has a friend who is struggling with envy, and he thought having a Rosary would help his friend with the issue.

I met a young lady whose dad is Catholic and whose mom is “Christian." I told her Catholics are Christian, too. She sort of agreed. I started sharing with her how the Rosary is a form of meditation. She liked that and said she enjoys meditation. I told her most modern, popular forms of meditation focus on clearing the mind, where the Rosary helps people focus their mind on God.

I met a woman who said she was raised Catholic and asked for the Daily Prayer card. I told her that pamphlet had morning prayers and evening prayers will come back to her after she uses it.

Tracy immediately engaged with a signature gatherer named Andrew. He was collecting signatures for an environmental cause. He accepted a Rosary from her and shared that at one point in his life, he seriously considered if he had a vocation to the priesthood. He ultimately decided to become a social worker, like his mom. But, he says, the Catholic faith is still "his heart." He is not currently attending church because he recently moved & hasn't figured out where to attend. After learning where he lived, Tracy told him the closest Catholic Church to his house. And he's excited to go. Tracy told David about the discussion and a while later, as Andrew was making small talk with David while tossing out an empty cup, David gave him a Catholic Radio card and a "Reasons to Return to the Church" pamphlet. He told David he would go see the church in his area.

A very tall roller-blader named Luigi stopped to converse at the table with Alma & Tracy. Luigi had a lot on his mind & shared many ideas and thoughts about faith and about relationships. He also had done some Christian ministry in the area. God constantly reasserts Himself for Luigi -- through his many twists & turns with several marriages. And Luigi requested prayers (in our prayer register book) for his relationship with his young adult daughter. Although he was a bit scattered, it seemed he appreciated the opportunity to talk through many things that had been stirring his mind for a long time. Tracy noticed he peppered his conversations with swear words, and finally she asked if he'd ever considered making a serious effort not to swear. Luigi said he hadn't, and then he pondered the suggestion, and suddenly thanked her and left, appearing to be a man on a new mission.

Tracy also met with a man named Rasa who was a former LDS member and missionary to Korea. He has some deep interest and curiosity about Catholicism, based on his mother (who was always a spiritual seeker with him) who spoke well of Catholicism in the few years before she passed on. He brought up the Rosary and they actually went in depth with the Rosary pamphlet talking about how to pray it.

Alma met one of the staffers from the farmer’s market named Chantelle, who does security and clean up. She came back twice asking for miraculous medals and Rosaries. In tears, she told Alma that we should be there EVERY Saturday and that she was going to use the Rosaries with her grandchildren. She also took the St. Michael prayer card and said everybody could use more Jesus.

A man turned down Alma’s offer of a free Rosary because he is Jewish and kept walking. Next, a young woman came by. Alma asked if she was Catholic, and she said she did not know. Then the Jewish man who said no came back to the table because the young woman was his daughter. In front of him, she accepted a Rosary and he did not try to stop her.

After looking back at all our collective encounters, what at first seemed like a day where everyone said no, turned out to be quite an engaging day.

These were the prayer intentions gathered today. Please make it a point to pray for these.
• Melisa, recovering from foot injury and surgery. Please pray for quick and successful recovery.
• Chantelle, for her life to get better.
• Luigi, prayers of gratitude and to open channels of communication between he and his 21 year-old daughter, and for his ex-wife.
• Jesse, for help to find a job.
• David, for help to find a job.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for these intentions and pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.



October 24, 2019

SPSE Team Photo

Shattuck with Religious

Brother Chrisistom OP, and Father John were able to join us at the Shattuck Avenue BART Station today. It was great to watch Brother C work. His focus was on salvation and Jesus. Because of his habit, people seemed more curious and interested in engaging with him.

SPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team Photo




October 24, 2019

June 12, 2019

4th Street Berkeley

New Evangelist Rita has been wanting to get out and try street evangelizing for a long time. She was finally able to get out. It was a very pleasant day on 4th Street in Berkeley and the one of the first persons we met a woman who was a fallen away Catholic who was joyfully shocked to see us. She accepted a Rosary and a “Reasons to Come Back” pamphlet. Later another woman with a wagon in tow, gave very enthusiastically praised us for being there and talked about her Catholic beliefs. We had a couple of gentlemen who walked by who seemed mildly agitated. They informed us that they were devout Anglicans and that we would soon be getting a lot of flack for a recent document released by the Magisterium pointing out that there are only 2 genders. It never happened. The first woman came back about a half an hour later talk some more and asked for contact information. I gave her my card and said she could call me any time.

SPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team Photo


El Sobrante Stroll

October 2, 2019

September 15, 2019

El Sobrante Stroll



We had a very large outing in El Sobrante California at their annual El Sobrante Stroll. This event in which the main road through town is closed to cars starts with a parade and continues with hundreds of attendees walking from booth both.   Our booth was two spaces down from a motorcycle club (who’s name I won’t mention) and across from Baptist Church booth. Just prior to the outing, I had received a max order of Rosaries which is about 500. We gave them ALL away along with “how to” pamphlets. We actually had seven evangelists working the street and the booth. Here are some stories.


SPSE Team Photo


Two parishioners one from St. David of Wales and one from St Callista happened upon our booth and stayed awhile to acquaint themselves with us and learn about the SPSE Ministry. They seemed delighted to know we were there and doing the Ministry.

The St David man took our group photo.

It was rewarding to see Dave Brandt rewarded at long last with a street booth at the Stroll. Dave has tried and thought about it for some years.


Moralma (first time)

SPSE Team Photo


Thank you for letting me help you guys on Sunday, my heart was overwhelmed with joy to see that many people have a craving for Jesus. There were three encounters that I had which shows how St. Paul Street Evangelization really has an impact on people.


  1. There was a lady who at first couldn't believe that the rosaries were free. After asking her if she knew how to pray the rosary she said she did but still wanted the pamphlet on how to pray the rosary. I also asked if she was Catholic and she said she was and where she went to mass, and she said she watched it on TV. I invited her to try to go to church because the mass was beautiful in person. She left and after a while came back looking for me to introduce me to her friend and to ask if her friend could also have a rosary. They needed to pray for one of their friends because he was diagnosed with cancer. Those rosaries will encourage them to pray even more especially during the difficult time that they are facing. We also took down her friend's name to pray for him.


  1. There was a young man who kept looking at the booth from afar but seem to hesitate to get close to the booth. I don't know if he was going through something difficult or if he felt melancholy remembering the Church but his eyes had tears. He finally approached the booth when I spoke with him and I said the rosaries were free and all the prayer cards were free. He really seemed to like the St. Michael prayer card. After he grabbed the card I asked if he went to church and he said no but his mom went every Sunday. I suggested that he should go with her. When people see us handing out rosaries reminds them that is time to go back to the church.


  1. There was also a couple that really seemed to like what we were doing but when I asked if they went to church they said they haven't gone since they left in El Sobrante because they moved to Vallejo. But they did say that maybe is time to go back. And I let them know about masstimes.orgwhere they can always find a Catholic church near them.


My favorite thing about this event is being able to hand out rosaries to kids which was very easy because they were attracted to the colorful beads. Many times they would help us also evangelize because even though some parents would hesitate to come to the booth they would have to stop by when the kids got near to choose their rosaries.



Met with a woman who was a Christian Scientist whose husband was Catholic. They sent their child to a local Catholic grammar school. She told me that they had spent their marriage sticking with their own faiths and agreeing to disagree. I gave her a Whey Be Catholic pamphlet and a Catholic Radio card. Her child took a Rosary. Please pray for that Catholic unity may come to their marriage.


Met a guy that I befriended many years ago because our sons were friends. We chatted about general “howzit goin” stuff and he finally said, “So what are you doing here?” I said, “Givin’ out Catholic stuff.” Then I handed him a Catholic radio card which he put in his wallet. I am interested to see if next time I see him, he mentions listening to the station.


At the end of the day, as we were taking down all our booth, I got to thinking how I did not have as many interactions as I would have withed. I then put the kibosh on that thinking because I realized that I helped 6 other evangelists have those encounters.


Paul (first time):

I offered a gentleman a free Rosary and asked him if he was Catholic. He looked off to the side and shrugged saying, “I’m kinda Catholic”. I remembered being in his shoes for many years and the joy that I experienced when I finally came back. I looked him in the eye, and shook his hand while giving him a Rosary and Roasary pamphlet and said, “Welcome home”.



We were approached by at least four people from local Catholic Churches who had never heard of the I ministry and wanted to learn more about it. They were visibly moved and expressed gratitude to us for being out there. I made it a point of connecting them with our team director so they could learn more and hopefully get engage

SPSE Team Photo

Left to Right- Chuck, David, Rita, Maria, Rodney, Paul & Moralma


Wait’n Outside the Station

September 16, 2019

Some days and places where you evangelize, you don’t feel like you have accomplished much. You don’t get that encounter that gives feeds your fire. Those days are probably the most important because like it or not, God is still working. And as we know, His ways are so far above our ways. Here is what happened-
Team: David, Rodney & Chuck worked at the Shattuck Avenue BART station plaza on April 13th.SPSE Team Photo

SPSE Team Photo

We gave away about 30 Rosaries and about 20 manuals and about 10 Prayer Cards.
The downtown Berkeley BART Plaza is the entrance and exit to an underground subway station. People going in are not to approachable because they want to catch the next train. People waiting around to meet up with those coming off the train are very approachable. The trick with approaching these folks is to strike up conversations without appearing to be like a salesman in a shop looking to score. Your there to engage, but if they are not in a place to, just stay away. The excitement comes when a large wave of folks come up the escalator after getting off a train. On this particular date, there was some type of event being held at the nearby University of California for high school kids. As waves of them came out of the station with their chaperones, you could hear people making anticipatory statements about what it is going to be like here in crazy Berkeley. As a drove of kids walked by our table, one young man pointed to our table saying, “Woah man, can you believe that?” I offered him a Rosary and he eagerly accepted. Once he did, about 3 or 4 of the kids with him wanted one too. We made sure as they walked away that they know they were not necklaces and made sure they got instruction manuals to go with them. Some of the chaperones were visibly irritated with the kids accepting Catholic freebees and kicked into high gear to herd them along.

I offered Rosaries to 3 college aged young men who were strolling together. They kind of chuckled and smirked and turned me down. My hunch was that these guys were atheists. I decided to that in additions to offering Rosaries, I should in my other hand have some Existence of God pamphlets. I tried to come up with a quick way to offer it, but could not come up with anything that rolled off the tongue, but I just kept trying.

One couple approached me and the woman asked for a Rosary for her Mother, who had been a good friend of Father Jay. Father Jay was the first African American priest to be ordained and he recently past away at the age of 70. It was a painful event for the diocese, but the remembrance of him in his vigils, funeral and burial were very inspiring. I had actually attended the burial because I work at the cemetery where he was laid to rest. She referred to Father Jay in a very endearing and inspirational way.

SPSE Team Photo

She accompanied by a man who did not seem to share in this spirit. He pointed at the picture on the Catholic Truth sign and demanded to know who that was. I told him Jesus. He demanded to know how I knew that. I told him 2000 year of tradition. He then went on to explain to me that Jesus real name was Jashua (pronounced Yashua). He acted as though this fact was somehow going to discredit everything about Christianity. He then explained to me that Jesus was just a man and that all this fuss over Jesus was built up legend. I asked him if he believed in God. He said no. I asked him if he was an open-minded person and he said yes. I then offered him one of the pamphlets I was holding, Existence of God. He immediately stepped back with his hands open next to his shoulders while turning his head slightly to one side. Then I said, “So you’re NOT open minded?” He then said that Martin Luther King was built up legend too. While he spoke, the woman he was with was using hints and body language to get him to move on so they could go to the farmer’s market. As he was walking away with her he told me, “Think about it.” I said, “I already did.” He said think about it some more.” I said, “No, I’m done.”
A woman walked up to the table and wanted to know how much the Rosaries were. Upon learning they were free, she told me she was Anglican and loved the Rosary.

-A woman who accepted a Rosary when asked if she was Catholic responded no but her mother was. She asked what Parish we were from and I told her while I was a member of St Joseph in Pinole that we met at St Joseph the Worker on Addison. She excitedly said she had been there and knew where it was. She seemed to take some pride that a Berkley Parish was involved. We talked a bit and she took Why Be Catholic and How to pray the Rosary Pamphlet along with a Mary Medal.

-A man accepted a Rosary and said he had studied Catholicism a bit. Rodney mentioned Christ as head of the Church and the man thought Catholics had placed the Blessed Mother ahead of Jesus. We were able to dispel his confusion. He too accepted a Why Be Catholic Pamphlet and a Mary Pamphlet.SPSE Team Photo

-A man who said he had left the Church because he had concluded women were equal to men and he believed the Church didn’t teach that, but this was more of an over the shoulder criticism as he walked away but was pleasant. We discussed what could have been response to this gentleman.

– Several people stopped to chat and were pleased we were there including a group of 4 young men who may have been students and said they had rosaries. Seemed to be obvious Catholic.


Back at the BART Station Plaza

September 16, 2019

Well the Berkeley team was back at it. We went to the newly refurbished plaza at the Shattuck Avenue BART Station. This are always waves of people coming up the escalators from the underground station to make their way to where they are going. A girls scout troupe was selling cookies on the opposite side of the entrance from us. There are many other walkers going to shops. There are the those who live in half-way houses and the homeless. Then there are the young men who congregate with their bikes in much same way I did when I was 10 years old. This is an area where you can count on somebody approaching you about some cause or a talk being given by a thought leader or an upcoming cultural or music event. As a result, many of the walkers wear protective gear such as sunglasses and ear buds to make themselves less approachable. We just act as if those shields are not there and ask them if people would like a free Rosary or prayer card. I personally gave out about three of the daily prayer cards. Together we probably gave out about 20 Rosaries. We started our session with sprinkling of holy salt around the table and a prayer to St. Paul.

SPSE Team Photo

Here are some stories-

One young man returned after refusing a Rosary. He decided to accept one and immediately tried to put it on while thanking us for what we were doing. I started instructing him about the proper use of a Rosary and he asked, “What if you see people putting this on even when you tell them not to?” I told him, “I can’t control what people do with it once they leave, but if they
are walking around with an image of Jesus right in the middle of their chest for the whole world to see, I am happy with that.”

I offered a Rosary to a young man on a bike. He mumbled something as he took the beads from me. I asked him to repeat himself. He told me more boldly that he is an atheist. I immediately asked him if he had ever considered becoming Catholic. He was a little surprised by this question and then proceeded to very demonstrably dropped the beads into the front of his pants. This attempt to shock did not phase me. He then proceeded to challenge me on staying in a church that was going to collapse under the weight of the sexual abuse scandal. I asked him if he considered himself an open-minded person. He defensively told me yes and countered with are you?! I said yes and made sure I was standing shoulder to shoulder next to him looking forward to avoid being physically confrontational and asked my next question. I asked, “Would it stand to reason, that the percent of priests who abuse is the same as the percent of men in the general population who abuse?” (knowing full well that it is actually lower for priests. He responded from a confident slouched position that it was a far higher percentage with priests than the rest of the population. Being the open-minded person that I am, I said, “Really. I would like to see the data you have to support that.” He started pulling away on his bike and gave me his email address so I could email him and get this information. I have emailed him and am waiting for his response. This guy needs your prayers and fasting. Add him to your list.

I met a young father who was with his very cute little 5-year-old son who said he was searching for a faith and a church. In addition to the Rosary and a Rosary manual I have him, The Good News and Why Be Catholic. We visited for a while and his wife came up. They then walked off together with their boy discussing church.

Some people who do not stop immediately start talking about the church or God after they pass. Our presence offered an intersection in their conversation to take a turn toward Go
I met another gentleman who said no to the Rosary but then did a u-turn and told my his granddaughter would love a pink one. I gave him a pink one and a manual. Go evangelize grandpa.


SPSE Team Photo

In brief, I really enjoyed the unexpected and delightful interactions with people out on the plaza outside of the BART station. And for the first time, I could clearly see why opening our evangelization efforts with the rosary, in particular, is just perfect. There is a HUMILITY in relying on prayer, and with us approaching people from a soft, God-dependent, humble place. I’ve heard an analogy of humility being the string on which a rosary of virtue “beads” is strung. Without the virtue of humility, all the other virtues would scatter.

I had a wonderful discussion with an older man who shared with me. He had been away from the Church, spent time in the Leftist movement and with Protestantism too. He came back to his Catholicism with a passion. He is a musician and is using his gifts to contribute to the worship experience at his church. I was going out to evangelize and I got evangelized by his story.

I also appreciated the blessed salt that you used around our table. Evangelization with the St. Paul Street Evangelization team is not a job. It’s a spiritual experience. One we share with others. And in that sense, I feel like I am fulfilling one of the most important parts of my vocation as a Catholic, and as a Christian. Evangelization is Life, and more & more now, it is truly a prayer-based life for me.


Working on a Wednesday

September 16, 2019

Working on a Week Day
Today was the first time that team members worked on a week day. Two evangelists, David and Tracy joined forces with the Holy Spirit to work in Berkeley’s 4th Street shopping district. There was a steady volume of foot traffic with led to some wonderful encounters. Here are their stories.

The first person to stop at my booth was a woman named Raye. She was not Catholic, but I asked her if she has an active prayer life and if she uses the scriptures to pray. She enthusiastically said yes. I gave her the pamphlet on Lectio Divina. She said, “Wow, I didn’t know that Catholics prayed like THAT.” I encouraged her to try it out. I then aske her if she wanted us to pray for anything that was concerning her. She said she was experiencing some trouble with vision in her right eye that she would be seeing the doctor for. I prayed over her eye right on the spot. Please say a quick prayer for her before continuing to read this story. I’ll wait . . . Thank you.

SPSE Team Photo

Next I met a young man who attends the University of California at Berkeley. He was very happy to see a Catholic street evangelist. He had attended a Jesuit high school in his home town and had not found a place to go to Mass. I gave him information about the Newman center at Cal along with a Rosary (including the manual) and a miraculous medal. He took one or two prayer cards and was on his way. He strolled by again about an hour later and made it a point of showing me that he had added the miraculous medal to a chain he was waring with a smile and a “Thanks again”.
A gentleman with a trim full beard, working clothes and a Raiders cap stopped by at my invitation to accept a Rosary. I actually had one with silver beads and white Glory beads. I handed it to him and said, “Here is a Raider Rosary. You better take it, they need your prayers.” David liked that but also wanted to talk. He was experiencing some trouble in his life and wanted to be heard about them. He was coming to the conclusion his life that materialism was not making him happy. I asked him, “What are the three most important things in your life, if you had to just rank them, 1, 2, 3?” He said, “My soul, my salvation and, well I guess my family.” He took Rosaries for his fiancé, and his daughter. I make sure he took manuals with them. Then he took the Jesus knocking prayer card. I asked him where he lives and he explained that he lived in the town of Pittsburg, CA which is about 40 minutes north-east of Berkeley. He then started talking about how much trouble his commute was. I handed him a Catholic Radio card and explained how listening could turn his drive time into God time, something he would actually look forward to. He left grateful and upbeat, saying, “I was just gonna’ get a cup of coffee.”
A woman named Billie accepted a Rosary form me and since she was not Catholic, I gave talked about how praying to saints is just like thinking of your saying things to grandparents that have passed on. I also talked about the unique and special bond that happens between mother and child. She told me she did not have children, but that she was very close to her mother. I then pointed out how the Blessed mother and Jesus would have a similar bond, which is why we ask for her intersession. I also gave her a Lectio Divina pamphlet. She walked a way with some great tools for her prayer toolbox.

A woman named Lydia stopped at the table to check things out. She was Hispanic and explained to me that she had been on pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. She also discussed how she was now Buddhist and started sharing some of her experience of holiness through Buddhist meditation. We started talking about Holiness. I gave her a Rosary and explained how the Rosary was a meditation on the life of Christ through the eyes of his mother. I offered the Rosary manual to her in English or Spanish. I decided to give her on in Spanish. I remembered a conversation I had had with someone from my home parish who told me how big a difference it made to her to attend Spanish because it was the language of her childhood and was more intimate. This made me decide to give her a Spanish Rosary manual. We parted with my telling her that I would really love on pilgrimage to the Guadalupe shrine someday. With great sincerity she encouraged me, “Go. You have to go.”

There is a devout mail man who was born in Mexico who likes to stop and chat with us. He has been on the 4 St. Rout for many years and has a great love for the faith. Right behind us, parked on the curb was a very erudite looking middle aged Caucasian gentleman in a convertible European car with the top down. I kept thinking I should leave something on the seat of his car, but I thought if he found something left by us, he may just throw it away. He must have been a business owner because he struck up a conversation with the mail man who came around to the drivers door to chat and it was obvious that they knew each other well. I reached across the back of the convertible and handed the mail man a Catholic Radio card. He knew just what to do. He handed the driver the card and said, “Here, you should check out Catholic Radio.” The driver, out of respect for their relationship took it eagerly and said, “Thanks, I will turn it or right now.” He turned on his radio and started searching for the station. As he got ready to drive off.
A young man who spoke only Spanish accepted a Rosary from me. I tried in my very limited Spanish to see if we could connect. Tracy, who is fluent in Spanish was talking to a couple of women in Spanish who were seated at the café. Turns out she was talking to them in Spanish and the man turned to THEM told them he was new to the area and wanted to know where he could go to Mass.
One of my favorite things to do is what I call planting time bombs. I like to think that this kind of thing might have an impact on somebody. Here is an example. Tracy was opening up conversations with people by asking if they were familiar with the Rosary. Right at the end of our outing she had started dialoguing with a middle aged gentleman who said, “I was raised Catholic but . . .” and he went on to quickly justify how it’s all the same while his shoulder was turned to Tracy. Without saying a thing, I handed him “Reasons to Return” which he took, folded and stuck in his pocket. Now for all I know, he may have discarded it at the end of the day while emptying out his pockets. But he may also take the time to read it and think. Who knows, but we can always hope, right?SPSE Team Photo

Tracy is not afraid to approach anybody. She approached a couple of women who were at the outside table of a diner and asked them if they were familiar with the Rosary. They told her they were active Catholics and shared some beautiful personal testimonies about how the faith had such an impact on their families. Tracy after hearing this shared some of her personal story with them.


New Day, New Location, New Evangelist

September 16, 2019

Well, we have rebooted ourselves at the Berkeley Chapter. We have moved our meetings to a new location in Berkeley proper where we can work on attracting students to become involved. And we reached out in the community at a new time on a new day: 12pm – 2pm, Sunday afternoon. In our recent outings, we evangelized from a new location too; the corner of College Avenue and Derby in the heart of Berkeley. We had a team of 4 evangelists, one for each corner of the intersection — Chuck, Tina, Dave and our newest evangelist – Tracy.
Tracy at one time in her life had fallen away from the Church and became very active with the Revolutionary Communist Party. She believed in the cause strongly enough that she was street “evangelizing” for them in their mobilization efforts. But life experiences and the Holy Spirit called her back to be in relationship with our Lord through His holy Catholic Church.
Here is an overview of last Sunday’s evangelization efforts: We started by praying together and then familiarizing ourselves with the available materials on the outreach table.
Was able to get a strolling woman to pull her earphones out and accept a prayer card. Upon learning she was Lutheran, he asked her if she had ever considered being Catholic. When she said yes, he gave her the pamphlet, “Why Be Catholic”. Then she headed off to the corner café.
Knowing that a nearby Bible-based church held services that day, he watched for people walking with Bibles. He spotted three young men approaching with Bibles in hand. As presumably they would not be interested in Rosaries, he asked, “Would you be interested in learning what the Bible has to say about Salvation?” They said, “Sure, we are on our way to church now.” He gave them “Salvation”, a pamphlet which shows Bible verses which demonstrate that Salvation is not a one-time event, but a lifelong process. It also states that Salvation is not guaranteed and can be lost.
Tina was in the right place at the right time. While working her corner, she met a man who puts out Open House signs for realtors. She engaged him with the offer of a free rosary. He asked for one for his wife as well. Tina asked him if he knew how to pray the Rosary and he said no. She gave him “How to Pray the Rosary” and some holy cards. He told her that he attended St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in San Francisco. He thanked her for us being out there.

SPSE Team Photo

Chuck gave out a few rosaries. Two of them went out to two cute little prancing girls who were out for a Sunday stroll with their parents.
The third one was to a man who was out walking his sleeping baby in a stroller. Chuck sent him across the street where our table was sezzzt up to check out our literature. Turns out this gentleman is a theologian who just recently earned his degree at the local Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. We asked him if he had prayer intentions and needed prayer and he said he was looking for employment. Please include him in your prayers.
This was Tracy’s first full outing. She liked the fact that it gave her the opportunity to meet fallen away Catholics and that there was a sense of receptivity from those that she met. Here are three examples.
She met the owner of a small neighborhood grocery store. This woman works 12 to 16-hour days running her business. Tracy was able to connect with her by sharing how even fitting in one decade of the Rosary can fit into a hectic schedule. She also gave her a Catholic Radio card to give her something enriching to listen to while she worked, and mentioned its daily Interactive Family Rosary at 5pm.
She engaged with a young couple very well. As they passed our table, he surreptitiously snagged a “Why Be Catholic” pamphlet. She approached them as they were walking by, asking, “Are you familiar with the rosary?” The young man, said, “Well, yes, a little but a long time ago.” Tracy added, “Can I share with you for just one minute, then?” He replied, “Yes, but just for one minute because we have to get going.” In that one minute, she learned that he was raised Catholic and yet he stopped believing any religious teaching is real, and the young woman is a Jehovah’s Witness. Tracy shared with them how she too had fallen FAR away into atheism and that she is joyful to be back and wishes she had never left, and how she’s only been praying the rosary steadily since last October. She gave them the “How to Pray the Rosary” pamphlet and Rosaries, talked about how powerful they can be as a prayer tool, and let them hurry on.
She then met a young teacher named Eliseo who was raised Catholic but has been involved with some local Seventh Day Adventists. He was concerned about wanting to be more true to the Bible, and liked that the SDA church offered him some deeper Biblical study guidance. Tracy and he discussed Mary’s perpetual virginity vs the idea that she had other biological children; also Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. She gave him a copy of “The Truth about the Gospel Message” and “What About Mary”?” After we broke down our table, she was able to join him in the café for a more extended dialogue, sharing Scripture citations in a Catholic Radio apologetic tract called “The Bible Reference Sheet (for Catholics)” to help him further research his questions.
Tracy also met a woman who’d been away from the Catholic Church for a LONG time, and she wanted a rosary for herself and her sister. Asked how long she’d been away, she counted the decades on her fingers. Turns out it was 5 decades — one for each of the 5 decades of the rosary — which struck her as meaningful.

SPSE Team Photo

And there was a young, non-Catholic Christian student with an “I AM.” sweatshirt, who said she has a Catholic roommate. We united on the importance of keeping one’s faith during college, as many (including the evangelist) have abandoned their faith at that time. The student promised to give the Catholic Radio card to her roommate as a favor.
The nice thing about this locale was that it had a good combination of people who were out on their way to places and others who were just out for a stroll. We will definitely be back.
Want to hear more? Come to our next meeting Wednesday, March 7th at 7:15 PM at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Berkeley.


A Giant day outside the ballpark

September 16, 2019

San Francisco Giants fans were streaming into AT&T Park on June 25th to see their team play the New York Mets.  Except before being offered a program or cotton candy or beer, they were first offered a free Rosary on their way into the park.  And not just any Rosary, these were Rosaries put together by the San Francisco team of St. Paul Street Evangelization team in Giants colors- black, orange and white. Members of the Berkeley and San Francisco teams of St. Paul Street Evangelization combined their efforts to give out 600 “Giants” rosaries along with may Rosary instruction pamphlets.

SPSE Team Photo

We between 11:15 and 11:30 and said prayed together at Willie Mays Plaza. Then we divvied up the special Rosaries and sezzzt up 2 tables near the main entries to the ballpark. to catch fans coming in for a 1:05 start time. Although most fans who did accept the Rosaries had to get going so they could get to their seats, we still had time for a little conversation all starting with the question, “Are you Catholic?” This helped us help the fan. If they were not Catholic, we gave a quick primer how to pray it. For those who were Catholic, we encouraged them to take a little time to pray it. Some younger people would say that they want to give one to their mom or grandma who is a devout Catholic. To this we gave encouragement for them to keep the Rosaries themselves and make it a point to pray it with that family member as a way to make that person’s day. Other folks stopped to chat with team members at the tables and take advantage of the free pamphlets that were available.

SPSE Team Photo

The best way to get people’s attention was with humor. My favorite opening line was, “Care for a free Rosary so you can pray for the Giants? They need it.” This got good chuckles from people of all faiths and got some folks to stop.

SPSE Team Photo

By 1:00, we had given out our last “Giants” rosary. We gathered together at Willie Mays Plaza and said a decade of the Rosary in thanksgiving to God for giving us. Then we went to have a meal together and went our separate ways with a great feeling of satisfaction. The Giants lost that game, but as of this writing, they are on a six game winning streak. Coincidence? You decide.


Joined by a San Francisco Team Member

September 16, 2019

On Saturday March 11th, Dave, Eddie and Rodney evangelized in the 4th Street shopping district of Berkeley. We were visited by Eva from another SPSE Chapter which works in San Francisco out of the Star of the Sea Parish. She wanted to see how we work and to share ideas as well. She bought her little dog along, so we had our first session being joined by a canine. We shared some ideas. I told her how someone in my local parish had made rosaries with University of California rosaries to give to college kids. I told if she had a team of folks who made rosaries, they should make some with San Francisco Giants colors and give them out before games at the ball park. She loved the idea. She shared with us how their team members give out the sacramental that they are personally most excited about and that they have had many very good conversations with folks they have met at farmer’s markets in San Francisco.

SPSE Team Photo

This is the kind of evangelization outing that used to discourage me, because we did not seem to have a lot of good conversations with people. However, the conversations we did have were good AND we got to be witnesses. I had previously underestimated the how good it is just to be a witness alone, but the importance of it became apparent as the morning went on. Just after setting up, two men walked by and made disparaging comments. The vast majority of these types of comments are made the same way, over the shoulder while walking away. These dudes were no exception. They did a “thumbs down” while saying, “Boo. Get out of here. You don’t belong here.” My comment was, “It’s a free country.” What else could I do. Berkeley if supposedly the birth of the so called, free speech movement. It is supposedly a pillar of peace, enlightenment and tolerance. These were not young men making these comments, they were easily in their early 60s. But at least they know there are Catholics serious enough about their faith to be open about it in public.

We struck up a conversation with a couple who were sitting on a nearby bench waiting to be called into Bette’s Ocean View diner for brunch. He shared some of his experiences growing up and attending Catholic school with tough nuns in the 60s. I shared some of my experiences attending a tough Baptist school in the 70s. They were currently not practicing, so I gave him a Catholic Radio card and told him that it is nothing like political talk radio. He made a comment to me that he found folks in the area extremely intolerant of those who do not share their political and world view.

I met a young man named Michael whose brother from Texas just moved out and was looking for a church. I gave him a “Why Be Catholic” brochure and encouraged him to check out the Catholic church I knew was in his neighborhood in Oakland. We did end up giving away quite a few rosaries and had one young woman diminutively ask if she could have a “Why be Catholic” pamphlet. I also met one of my 4th street regulars, a woman named Rosemary Jones. She wanted to stop by for a visit and give me an update on her life and commented that she likes the respectful way we evangelize. She has cancer and could use your prayers.


Cal Campus Evangelizing

September 16, 2019

We finally did evangelizing on the campus and UC Berkeley. We originally sezzzt up at Sproul Plaza, where the “Free Speech” movement was born in the 60s. Turned out another group was putting on some type of “Ray of Hope” event. They had the whole plaza reserved and asked us to leave. Even though we too were about a ray of hope, we agreed to move our table. We went across the bridge and sezzzt up right next to where they were holding a “College Days” event, a day where high-schoolers can come see the campus and go to booths to learn about financial aid and other programs to help kids get into college. We were able to evangelize a combination of college and high school kids. Here are some of the Spiritual Works of Mercy that occurred.

Counseling the Doubtful

Eddie had a good dialogue with a college student who was struggling with balancing his faith life and prayer life. It was an opportunity he might not have had if we had not been there. He connected well with quite a few students as well as parents who were accompanying their young adult children to the event.

SPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team Photo

Redirecting the Sinner

A high school kid who accepted a rosary said he was Catholic but that he does not go to Mass very often. I talked to him about the difference between venial sin and mortal sin. I explained to him what happens when you die with mortal sin on your soul. I asked him if anyone have ever told him that before and he said no. I then informed him that not attending Mass is a mortal sin and that he needed to get to confession. I gave him a pamphlet about confession and sent him on his way.

Instructing the Ignorant

Met a couple of Jehovah’s Witness girls who were asking for directions but once they saw what our booth was about, they decided to ask questions. They were both baptized Catholics who had been converted to the JH cult. The topics we covered were fairly predictable. First was the divinity of Christ. Luckily, at our recent group meeting, we read through the pamphlet on this topic so I knew that it was chalk full of biblical passages to support this truth. They said they would take the pamphlet to their Bible teacher to review it with him. I guess the guy is infallible. Anyway I informed them that if they believe in the authority of the Bible, that they accept the authority of the Catholic Church since the Church compiled the Bible. We also hit on saints and I also contrasted the JH religion (less than 200 years old) and the Catholic Church (200 years old). They were very eager to counter my claims because of their staunch trust in the JH stuff. But they head a very hard time countering what I had to say and even demonstrated some outright ignorance about the Bible themselves. For example, I talked about Jesus stating “I AM” in his trial in the same way God identified himself to Moses as “I AM” in the old testament. They had never heard of the burning bush. I did not approach this as if I were going to persuade them of anything on the spot. My intent was to let them know there was a well formed answer to all their objections and I would let the pamphlets I gave them, time and the Holy Spirit do the rest.

All in all, a beautiful fall morning spent with the young and open minded.

Thanks to Chuck Pratto for the great pictures.


Taking Out a First Timer

September 16, 2019

SPSE Team Photo

One Saturday morning, on a day our had planned to go out to evangelize, nobody from my team of three regular evangelists was able to go. Disappointed since I do not want to go alone, I went and attended my Saturday morning men’s Cursillo group reunion meeting. Well into the meeting walked another guy who rarely attends meetings. After the meeting, I asked him if he would like to come out to Berkeley to evangelize and he said yes. His name is Liviu. Now I have always been very impressed with this guy because he has such a beautiful faith and family. He grew up in Rumania where you had to take risks to practice your faith. He is a retired physicist and is very familiar with the area of Berkeley where we evangelize because he used to work at the University. Here is his experience:

I think the one hour we spent giving the rosaries and pamphlets was very productive. I gave out 10 rosaries and had a nice discussion with a couple who were expecting. They were not married so I encouraged them to get married. They said that they will after the baby is born. She was baptized Catholic, but now she and her partner are attending a nondenominational church in San Francisco. They got couple of pamphlets: Returning to the Catholic church and Existence of God.

Another lady took the pamphlet about existence of God. She said that she goes occasionally to St Joseph the Worker (parish in Berkeley).

A young man just moved to Berkeley. I told him about the Newman center and he said he will try it. I think that next time I will try to make eye contact when they are about 25 feet away. If they are too close, they are likely just keep going. Was a productive morning.


BART Plaza

September 16, 2019

We had a four man crew working in Downtown Berkeley yesterday, Eddie, Chuck, Rodney and Dave.  Normally, when we work downtown on Shattuck Avenue, it is at the plaza outside the Berkeley BART station. When we got there we found out that the entire plaza is closed for reconstruction till late 2017, so we stationed ourselves right outside the exit to the BART station. The result of the construction was that we had all the pedestrian traffic compressed which increased the amount of people we encountered.   Also, because we were now directly outside the BART exit, we would get these waves of people exiting the station after getting off the underground train.  We probably gave out 50 Rosaries. They were moving like hot cakes. We also collected a lot of prayer intentions.

As we were sezzztting up the table, a woman whom I had met while evangelizing a couple of months ago came by to say hi. I remembered her face and asked how she was doing. She said that she started listening to Catholic radio and that she really likes it a lot because the people on there are so nice and how that is not how other radio and tv shows are .

SPSE Team Photo

Eddie had three memorable encounters. His first one was at the table while he was addressing a small group of people on how praying the rosary can change you from the inside out in your understanding of Christ. Suddenly, a young man said, “I want that! I want to change from the inside out. I need to stop selling drugs and get right.”

He also observed a woman who was walking briskly past me as I was giving a rosary to someone. She stared in amazement as she passed. She looked at the Catholic Truth sign, then did an about face, approached me and asked for a yellow rosary. All I know was that she was suddenly there talking to me, but Eddie saw her transforming body language.

Eddie gave rosaries to two young brothers walking with their mom, probably aged 5 and 7. One boy looked at the crucifix on the rosary and said, “Who’s that?” His mother told him it was Jesus. The boy aske, “Why is he lying down.? Is he sleeping?” His mother said, “No, he was hung up. They killed him.” “Why?!” was his immediate response. “The Romans killed him because they did not like what he was doing, but because he died, he transformed mankind.” Who would have thought that handing a child a rosary could create such an opportunity for a child to ask his mother such important questions? Praise God!

I made it a focus to be diligent about asking people for their prayer intentions. It is amazing the kinds of burdens people carry in their hearts. When we see them walking down the street looking like they have some place more important to be, little do we know what is truly on their minds. People worried about their health, their employment, their close family members, society, desires for guidance, loved ones who have passed away. It was out willingness to ask for prayer intentions in a spirit of genuine caring that made strangers comfortable enough with us to share these things with us. To be able to be in that position is a true blessing.

The first man I met was a man named Willard. He accepted a rosary and said he knew how to use it because he was Catholic. When I asked him what we could pray for, he asked for prayers for his health because he suffers from diabetes. He also shared that is was his eighth year anniversary of being sober. I congratulated him and said I would add requests for prayers of Thanksgiving for his sobriety.

I saw a gaggle of young ladies who were all dressed to have a good time somewhere. They stood in a circle outside the entrance to the BART station chatting and joking loudly among themselves. I walked up and asked if any one of them would like a rosary. Most of the group initially acted like they were politely going to say no, when the most outspoken one said, “I want a pink one.” I immediately dashed to the table and grabbed a couple of pink rosaries. Then each young lady chose the color they wanted. I then gave them “The Rosary Album” cards which direct them to so they could learn about it. They accepted them enthusiastically and expressed gratitude.  I asked where they were headed and they were going to attend a dog show. This lead girl said she was actually a cat person, but she was going any way. I pointed my thumb at her and told them, “Now that is true friendship.”

I met another woman who has a teen aged daughter who told me that she had been a guest on Catholic radio once because of some type of human service work that she was involved with. In an open an nice tone, she asked, “What is the rosary all about anyway?” I told her the it was a meditation on the life of Christ through the eyes of his mother and that she and her daughter should try it together and gave her another rosary to give to her daughter. She was so happy she gave me a big hug.

I saw this tall striking looking young man with who must have been six foot four. He had a full beard and appeared to be of Persian decent. He was leaning up against a pillar as if he was waiting to meet someone. I approached him and asked if he would like a rosary. He informed me that he was Muslim and was curious about the rosary. I told him it was a meditation on the life of Christ through the eyes of his mother and about how each bead had its own prayer. I talked about how each decade represented a new mystery and how fruitful I had found it to meditate on these mysteries. He was very intrigued and said Muslims have something similar. I asked him, when during his traditional prayers, does he feel closest to God. He really lit up talked about meditating on the “prophet” Mohamed and the prophet Jesus. Now I was not going to debate with him about Christ since Christians believe Christ to be priest, prophet and king. I brought him over to the table to give him the rosary brochure. At this point his friend showed up. He introduced me. I kept talking about the mysteries and mentioned how God’s understanding is so far above ours. His friend agreed with me by nodding and tapping his fist on his breast, as the two turned and headed off.

There were many other great encounters.  It was an outstanding day. We collected 12 prayer intentions in all.  Thank you to all those who prayed for us while we worked. Your prayers made a big difference.

Are you curious to see what its like to do Street Evangelizing but are a little scared?  One non-threatening way to see for your self is to come along with us on an outing with the intent of observing and praying for us and those we meet.  You might be moved by the Spirit to join us in approaching people OR you may find that praying for us while observing is something you are called to as well.  Either way, you are evangelizing.  Our next meeting will be November 2nd.


Another Morning on 4th Street

September 16, 2019

The 4th Street shopping area of Berkeley California is a former industrial area converted into shops and restaurants.  There is a restaurant we work close to called Bette’s Oceanview Diner.  It has indor 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 down her are aging extremely left leaning secularized graduates of the University who may have thought of themselves as “hippies” at one time. A perfect location to witness to the continued “aliveness” of the Catholic Church.  Here are some highlights of our recent outing there last Saturday.

SPSE Team Photo

A dog walking couple stopped to talk, She 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 now embarrassment whatsoever.  As she went in to make a reservation, he 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 the “Existence of God” pamphlet.  He asked if he could have it and upon opening it, started to read it 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 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 worth while.

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.


Beautiful Day In Berkeley

September 16, 2019

It was a beautiful spring day perfectly made for evangelizing.  We offered up our outing as a prayer for the men on this weekend’s Oakland Cursillo.  Our team gave out plenty of rosaries, along with the new rosary cards with the downloadable directions for praying it.  Some interactions of note.

Two young men came by who live in Richmond to tell us they go to a baptist church and that they were glad we were out there.  They accepted rosaries and the cards.

Met with a young man named David accepted a Rosary and when I asked him if he was Catholic, he said he was Christian.  I told him that the Catholics were the original Christians and he chuckled and agreed with me. Turns out he attends Mass with his girlfriend and her parents now and then who are very Catholic. Looks like somebody has already been working on him.

SPSE Team Photo

Open for Business

I met a second man named David who was very intense.  He wore some type of prayer beads from some eastern religion and told me he makes prayer beads.  He was extremely open to learning the Rosary and wanted to know the prayers and why a Rosary had 159 beads.  I discussed with him the history of the prayer starting out has the 150 psalms.  He was struck with the depth of each of the prayers. He then shared with me how his mother was an atheist who had shut out all her religious family members.  He discussed his enthusiasm for exploring the many faith traditions through a local rabbi and an imam.  I had to dig but I found my last “How to pray the Rosary” pamphlet which he accepted enthusiastically along with another Rosary.

Right as I was about to get ready to go, I met a man named Dino.  He grew up Catholic and already knew how to pray the Rosary. Dino showed me a picture of his tow little girls which he had lost to CPS after his wife’s recent death.  He lives in a shelter and has a job he is starting on Tuesday.  He was distraught about losing the girls.  He said he just needed to get baptized again. I told him he has already been baptized and that he did not need to have it done again, but that he should go to confession, then Mass and to give his life to Christ when he receives communion.  That way he would be in a good mental place to start his new job and get on the road to getting his kids back.

Please pray for Dino.


Northern California Catholic Men’s Conference

September 16, 2019

Our team was able to get a table at the Northern California Catholic Men’s Conference held in Napa, California. Renowned Catholic speakers Father Carter Griffen and Patrick Madrid gave talks on evangelization, apologetics, true fatherhood and priesthood to a room packed with enthusiastically Catholic men. We were even given an opportunity to address the crowd after one of Patrick’s talks.

SPSE Team Photo

Patrick Madrid and Father Carter Griffen take questions.

Our message was simple. You can do this with the help of the Holy Spirit. We focused on getting every visitor to the table the pamphlet that describes SPSE. For those who stopped to chat we tried to share stories and find out if guys might be interested in joining or starting a chapter. We recruited a couple potential members to our chapter and one prayer warrior. All while being inspired by great speakers and being around a lot of men who care about the faith. Great day!

SPSE Team Photo


4 Man Crew

September 16, 2019

Here are stories of evangelizers from our April 9th outing in El Cerrito.


Met with two young ladies separately who had very similar backgrounds. They both said they were Christians and that their grandmothers were Catholic. When I told them about the Rosary being a meditation the life of Christ through the eyes of Mary and that praying to Mary was not worship, they accepted the Rosaries and “How to” cards and pamphlets with great enthusiasm. In both cases, I shared how I have had some of my greatest spiritual insights happen while saying this prayer. The first one asked for a second Rosary for her boyfriend, so she went on to evangelize him with the help of the Blessed Mother. The second one showed me that she actually had a Rosary tattooed onto her arm! She new there was a spiritual connection to the Rosary but did not know how to pray it. I encouraged her to learn how and then go see her grandmother and offer to pray it with her. I told her that would really make her grandma’s day. She liked that idea.

Met a young man walking his dog who said he was Catholic but was not currently attending mass. He shared with me his dramatic experience of traveling to Italy and being unexpectedly swept away and amazed by the Vatican museum and St. Peter’s. He said those were the best three hours of his life. In addition to a Rosary, he was also given a “Jesus is knocking” prayer card and a “Reasons to Return” pamphlet.

Met a woman who had seen us at a previous outing who said she already had plenty of Rosaries. She was very glad to see us again. I offered her a Pope Francis million dollar bill which she loved. She wanted a couple of more to give to her sisters since she and her sisters all love the pope.

SPSE Team Photo

We had a new team member join us named Eddie. He was very comfortable with the process and connected well with a couple of people.


My end was pretty quiet for the hour I was there. I was heartened to see we were joined by young Eddie, the range of ages among us men is a great sign of the Holy Spirit at work.


The one that remains with me was Jose Salgado. He was doing the maintenance work, ash & trash, and didn’t speak much English but asked for a Rosary and prayers.

SPSE Team Photo

SPSE Team Photo

Also one fellow I asked if he would like a Rosary, who said he was a Jew and I said ‘so was the blessed Mother and her son Jesus’. He replied he only could hold one religion at a time and there was only ONE God anyway.

I responded ‘Yes that is so and we learned that from the Jews’. All this took place as he was walking away into a store and he turned and gave me a thumbs up sign.

While sezzztting up, a man came by to commend us with a big smile.  He said that he was Catholic and that it was good to finally see Catholics out in public evangelizing.

We also collected prayer intentions from 4 people.  Please pray for the following:

Jose S. needs prayer for Peace and Comfort

A womans asked for prayers for two family members-

-Jeff back in Chicago who is going through struggles with his family

-Her Niece Kitty who is getting a biopsy

Sa Juana- Peace in her heart


January Outing

September 16, 2019

SPSE Team Photo

We only did one outing for the month of January due to the Walk For Life West Coast falling on one of our normal evangelizing dates.

On January 9th, we actually had 4 evangelists working at El Cerrito Plaza, David, John and two new faces, Paul from Napa and Steve from the Diocese of Oakland. We worked at the plaza because of the threat of rain and because a wide open space could accomodate 4 evangelists. Since Paul and Steve were out for the first time, they wanted to whatch what we do for a little while and then jumped into it.

Here are some high lights.
Steve did a great job of engaging with people. His gift was a willingness to offer to pray with poeple right on the spot as part of gathering prayer intentions. At our closing prayer he commented about how much this seemed to help people and help him connect.

SPSE Team Photo

Steve prays with a woman he met while John prays as well while waiting for a chance to engage.

Here is what John had to share:
Speaking to Gladys, she reminded me of myself, I explained. She acted surprised because she had been raised Catholic by her mother and could not explain why she had fallen away from the Catholic faith. She accepted a rosary. I got her easily to come to the table and then I offered one of pamphlets to her. At first it was “Why Be Catholic,” and since “Reasons to Return to the Catholic Church“ was right next to it, she took that one also. I then gave her something she needed, The Miraculous Medal. I explained about the graces from heaven and the Blessed Virgin Mary’s promise for those who wear it around their neck. When I gave her the Catholic Immaculate Radio Card, I challenged her to listen to our radio station and tune in on some of the programs with non-Catholic Q/A sessions. She was very grateful and went along her way. Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for allowing me to do your work.

SPSE Team Photo

Paul shares and asks questions while “on the job”.

Paul was full of nervous energy. He had his own prayer back-up system going, his wife was sending him texts letting him know she was praying for him.

Here are his comments:

“I am Paul from Napa. I have been thinking of starting a new chapter in Napa. God has been calling me to do something like this. When God calls you to do something you know nothing about, fear sezzzts in big time. Through the web site I got in touch with David and he called me right back and invited me to go out that Saturday and evangelize in El Cerrito. My first thought was, “No thank you, I will stay home and get some chores done”. But I went. There was David, John and Steve spreading the Good News like I have never seen before. I was ready to leave at any moment without any notice. But as I got talking with Dave about how things are done. Watching all the time, not missing anything, like watching the Super Bowl. I also talked with John and Steve. We were just sharing our Faith in Jesus with each other, and all the little miracles that go with it. I went from fear to, I can do this. To witness these three God loving men spreading the Good News. Now my life will never be the same. I am so motivated to start this new chapter in Napa. We reached a few people that day, but truly I say to you, that I was totally reached and beyond. Please pray for me and all the people in Napa as I start this new chapter.”

SPSE Team Photo

Steve shares at the table while Paul observes.

And from Dave:

I met with a woman who said she was Baptist and said her daughter had become Catholic. She expressed that she was so greatful that her daughter was involved in some form of Christianity. She took a Rosary and Rosary manual. I later met her husband not knowing they were together till she came by to fetch him. He started the conversation praising Jesus with a warm smile, Christ in his eyes and a hand shake. He took a Roasary as well.

A young lady while passing by mentioned that she was a “recovering Catholic”, a label that I have some issues with. Now we have working in this area for some time and I could sware I had heard this gal come by on a previous date mentioning this while passing by. It can be challenging to try to engage with people who make comments while walking in full stride because I do not want to badger people. But this time, I had Paul standing right next to me, so when she made her comment I immediately turned to Paul and said, “I hear that a lot, what exeactly is a ‘recovering Catholic’ ?” She immediately stopped and responed by explaining how she had been all the way through Catholic School, having an uncle who was a priest that she had had extensive discussions with and said, “Its just not for me.” My response was, “Do you consider yourself an open minded person?” She answered yes immediately. At this point I gave her a Good News and Why be Catholic pamphlets. I hope she reads something in there that can spark her mind or heart. Please pray for her.

Finally, I met a woman who accepted a Rosary and explained how she used to go to Mass but does not go any more. I asked her what she missed about it. She looked up as if gazing at a stained glass window and said, “The beuty.” I just nodded with a big “Hmm. . . Would you mind if I gave you sommething to read?” She said no, so I have her a “Reasons to Ruturn and a beautiful prayer card with a picture of Jesus knocking on the door. I just can’t believe how lucky I am to be able to be in the postion to do this for people. This minustry is such a blessing.


The Second Day of Christmas

September 16, 2019

SPSE Team Photo

Introduction sung to the tune of the most annoying Christmas Carroll of all time, “The 12 Days of Christmas”.
On the second day of Christmas our team just had to go
Evangelize in El Cerr-i-tooooo

The team of Dave and Tina went to El Cerrito Plaza on the cold morning of December 26th. It was a fruitful day. They gave out about 20 Rosaries along with instructions and about 12 pamphlets which call people to the Church and clarifying Church teaching. They made it a point of asking people for prayer intentions. This really means a lot to people and really opens the way to open hearted discussions.

  • Dave’s initial encounter was with a woman named Vicky who said she wants to come back. Her husband Ron is not a Catholic. They do spend time reading the Bible together. She demonstrated a great longing as she spoke with Dave. He shared with her some of his personal challenges from being in a religiously “mixed marriage”. Since she spends time reading the Bible, he gave her the pamphlet “Scriptural Reference Guide”, which gives Biblical explanations for Catholic traditions and “Reasons to Return”. She was extremely grateful. Please pray for Vicky and Ron.
  • Tina also received quite a few comments expressing extreme gratitude. A number of people told her they were glad she was facing the cold to spread the good news.
  • Dave got some push back from a man who was out with his son walking his dog. This gentleman followed the typical approach that the team gets from folks who don’t agree with or like the Church, a snide and inaccurate comment made over the shoulder while walking away. He was responding the team sign which reads “Catholic Truth” straight across the top. His comment was, “Are you here to teach about Catholic lies?” Dave invited this man to come back and expound on his comment, but he just kept walking. A while later the same man, along with his son and dog came strolling the opposite direction. Dave greeted them with a “Howzit goin’?” The man answered back, “Happy imaginary friend day.” So, this guy was an atheist.   Now mind you, this man was walking a dog who was covered with a very attractive red plaid sweater. Dave could not help commenting to Tina that the man seemed to have his own imaginary friend. Well, no use stewing about this Dave, just get praying!
  • Tina and Dave met with a woman named Sheila who’s extended family grew by 12 babies this year. She wanted our prayers for the babies and the parents of these children. Tina and Sheila also discussed the difficulty of the Christian approach to terrorist activities. She told Tina she was a Christian and wanted to know the difference between Catholics and Christians. After Tina’s explanation, Sheila said, “So all Christians are really Catholic in a way?” They gave her a “Why be Catholic”, a Rosary and a “How to Pray the Rosary”. She was very glad to have encountered the team. Please keep Sheila’s intentions in your prayers.
  • Dave met with a Baptist man named Greg who accepted a Rosary and a Catholic Radio card. As Dave gave Greg the Rosary, he made it a point to address the issues Greg may have found uncomfortable about praying the Hail Mary. He offered clarification on praying to saints and why Mary is referred to the Mother of God. Greg was grateful because he spends a lot of time in his car driving to and from work to support his family and said he needed a good radio station that is more positive than listening to rap music.
  • A man named Ka approached Tina wanting to learn more about the ministry. Ka is from Hong Kong and speaks Cantonese and Mandarin. He is a devout Catholic and wanted to know if he could at some point lend a helping hand with approaching the Asian community. The team gladly said yes and obtained his contact information.

The team appreciates your continued prayers for the ministry, for the folks mentioned above and for the following people who opened up to team members-
Woman named Monique asked for payers for her friend JoAnne who has cancer, another friend named Candy who is waiting for a diagnosis for an illness, and her 4 children, Alex, Elizabeth, Sergio and Joey who just lost their father.
Andrew Barron a 99 year old who is sick.
A woman named Narmina who is recovering from brain surgery.
A woman named Theresa has a friend named Craig who needs a job and a woman named Myrna who is dying from Cancer and her husband Peter.

Have a happy new year and Praised be God.


Gathered Intentions for 12-26-15

September 16, 2019

Hello Prayer Warriors.
Our team went out on December 26th to El Cerrito Plaza and were very diligent about gathering prayer intentions. It is great to know that you are there to help us out in this way.
Here are the intentions we gathered that day-

A woman named Vicky who wants to go back to the Church but here husband Ron is not Catholic. She would like her husband to be open to coming to Mass and needs the strength to come back herself.
Another woman has 2 sick friends, Candy, who is waiting to find out her diagnosis for symptoms she is going through and Joanne, who is suffering with cancer. Also, this same woman has 4 children who’s father just passed away. Heir names are Alex, Elizabeth, Sergio and Joey.
A man named who’s 99 year old father Andre Barron is ill.
A woman named Sheila who has extended family has grown by 12 new babies this year. She would like your prayers for the health and well being of these children AND for their parents as they get accustomed to the new people in their lives.
For Theresa’s friends from her worship community- For Craig to find a job and for Myrna, who is dying from pancreatic cancer and for Peter her husband.
For Narmina Narona who is recovering from brain surgery.

Thank you for being willing to offer prayers, fasting and suffering for these people and have a Merry Christmas season
You brother in Christ,
David Brandt


Back on Shattuck

September 16, 2019

SPSE Team Photo

Open for Business

Last Saturday  we went back to the place where we started this ministry, downtown Berkeley on Shattuck Avenue right by the BART station. This time we came armed with your prayers and a new opening prayer. Here it is-

Come Holy Spirit!
Sezzzt our hearts on fire with zeal for the Gospel, love for all people and the desire for their salvation.
Inspire us that we might proclaim the Gospel persurasively and with charity, giving witness with our words and our lives.
Give us courage in proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the truth, beauty, and goodness of our Catholicy faith.
We beg you also to open the hearts of all people, helping them to know Your love and Your call to the fullness of life in Your Church.
Through our holy patrons, Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Paul, we ask these graces for all the evangelists of St. Paul Street Evengelization and those of us here, and we make this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

We sezzzt up adjacent to a small group of young homeless folks. It was the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the last time I ordered Rosaries, they threw in a bag of medals depecting the image, so we made it a point of including one with every rosary we gave out. Your prayers for us were answered because we had a very busy two hours. Here are some exerpts of our encounters-

Met with a man who’s wife is Catholic and he was not. He believes in God and does get involved with corporal works of mercy with the Salvation Army. He was very glad to see us. He wanted a Rosary for his wife.f We asked him if he had ever thought about becoming a Catholic. He hesitatingly said yes, so we gave him a “Why Be Catholic” pamphlet and two medals  one for him and one for his wife. We also gave him a brochure about Our Lady of Guadalupe that We had gotten from some friends of ours who used to have a Catholic book store. Please pray for this man, he seemed very open. It would be wonderful if he and his wife could share the faith.

Rodney and I were in discussion with a young man who is wrestleing with questions about the faith and the nature of God. He was curious about why God can be all good and all powerful if there is evil and suffering in the world. He said that he goes to a lot of Protestant churches with the same questions and they have never given him a satisfactory answer. Our answers were the issue of free will and it is up to each of us, in cooperation wtih God to address issues of suffering, and evil and that this in turn makes us closer to God, which is what He really wants.We discussed things further, but no answer seemed to be good enough. I told him that he was asking important questions but that I was not going to be able to answer all his quesions while standing around on the sidewalk. He would need to read about this stuff in order to think these things through. I gave him a “The Problem of Suffering and Evil” pamphlet. I also I also encouraged him to read “Confessions” by St. Austine  since it goes into some of these types of issues and is a compelling book.  He thanked us and headed on.

“The Problem of Evil and Suffering” got a lot of action that day. A young homeless man was drawn to it. I asked him if he had ever considered becoming Catholic. In an attempt to freak me out, he told me he was a satanic priest instead of answering the question, so I asked him again, “But have you ever thought about being Catholic?” He quietly said yes and immediately scowled and spouted off some diatribe about how the Bible is full of evil acts which God allowed and I just looked at him with a pensive smile and agreed that there are some evil acts in the Bible. He took the brochure, thanked me and left.

SPSE Team Photo

Met a woman who when accepting a Rosary and being asked if she was Catholic informed me that she was an omnivore. This gave me a great chuckle and I said, “So you have an open heart and an open mind.” I gave her the Rosary pamphlet and discussed it in terms of a form of meditation. She accepted them graciously along with a medal and was on went on her way.


Also met a woman named Velma. She have moved to the US from Honduras with her 3 sons for a better life . She had not been to Mass in many years. She shared a negative experience she had had with a priest a long time ago, but was not angry about it. She talked about how much she loves Pope Fancis. We gave her “Reasons to Return to the Catholic Church” pamphlet, a Rosary and a medal. She wanted to send an email to the Pope and wanted to know if you knew how to get his email address. We are working on that one.

Here are Rodney’s encounters-

SPSE Team Photo

The morning of Saturday, December 12 was crisp and clear as our two-man team worked the plaza outside the Downtown Berkeley BART station on Shattuck Ave. As it was the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dave had on hand small medals of “La Virgen”, which would make for a nice handout. On doing some reading at home later that day I discovered that Our Lady was named Patroness of the New Evangelization by St. JP II, which was a pleasant surprise and should embolden me on future outings as I keep her in mind.
On the opposite end of the seating area from us was a group of young homeless people hanging out accompanied by two furry companions – a ginger cat and a hound dog. One of the guys approached, sharing he was from New Jersey and comparing the lesser presence of Catholicism in the Bay Area to what he opined is a greater prevalence in his native East Coast. He asked us to pray for one of his companion who was a victim of crime, living out on the street.
Other encounters of note:
A young male happily accepted rosaries, but only as fashion accessories when he was able to fit one over his head and wear around his neck. We explained to him their purpose as meditation beads and I handed him a pamphlet on the Rosary prayers. He folded and placed it in his pocket, so I considered that a “seed planted”.
A young man, who I assumed to be a local resident because he asked what the Catholic parishes were in the area while expressing an interest to look into the faith. I subtly steered him to our table where Dave gave him a diocesan directory. In response to the question, “what does it take to become Catholic?” I was struck by Dave’s simple but powerful answer of “Baptism.” I was formulating a multi-tiered response of finding an adult program, RCIA, etc. but really the ultimate aim of the initiate should be receiving the sacrament of water which is the liberation from sin and inclusion into the people of God. In my progress as an evangelist I must shape my approach to stick to the basics – the Trinity, the Creed, the Blessed Mother, Seven Sacraments when presenting the tenets of the faith. I left he and Dave to further discussion. This was the day’s best example of using apologetics and philosophical reasoning, for which I applaud Dave’s usage and deft handling.

SPSE Team Photo

Dave was in a conversation with a lady when I joined in, discovering she was Honduran – expressing special pride as a Latina when she was given a picture of Pope Francis. She admitted feeling dismayed about all the recent bad news around the world, but I tried to assuage her describing how mainstream media will drum negative stories and controversy 24/7. Despite that, there is a lot of unreported virtuous acts and bold people such as St. Paul Street evangelists who are out there proclaiming the Name of Jesus and the Good News He brings to all people.

An older gentleman, a retired faculty member from Holy Names University and an acquaintance of mine as a fellow mass-goer at Sacred Heart – Oakland, walked by and was surprised I was out there. I expressed how the Mercy Jubilee should impel every able Catholic Christian to manifest God’s loving justice to those who are in the dark, and this is my attempt at being a humble beacon. I gave him one of the DVDs on Our Lady as a parting gift.

Blessings of the Holy Family upon everyone for Christmas and the New Year!
This was one of the most action packed outings we have had. I thank you for your prayers. If you are curious about the pamphlets we give out, you can read them at this link-

If as you read these accounts, you thought of good things that we could have said, maybe that is a sign that you would make a good street evangelist. Our current schedule is the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month. As we grow, there will be members who will be able to do outings on week days for those who can’t work Saturdays. Do you think you are being called to this ministry?


4th Street

September 16, 2019

There was an opportunity for an additional spontanious evangelization outing that was not on our publisehd schedule. John and Dave worked 4th Street in Berekely.
I did not give out any Rosaries, but did have a number of brief discussions with some folks who are Catholic and gave out some Pope Francis Bucks. John had a lot more takers than I did. I did re-encounter folks I had met at a previous outing there. Both of these parties were folks I had specficially ask for your prayers for. The first was a woman who was having a faith crisis. She was happy to report that she had recovered from this situation. The second was a woman who was healing from surgery on a foot or ankle ingury for which which she was waring a boot and using a scooter. She was moving freely with no boot or scooter so your prayers very likely had an impact on her. Thanks for your prayers.
Here are John’s impressions.
It was a cool and overcast morning. This place was more active than most of the places I have experienced before. It sits nearby a very active breakfast/restaurant joint. I was able to give out 7 rosaries (reds and purples were hot items today), 5 Catholic radio cards, 7 miraculous medals, 6 Pope Francis Bucks, 2 brochures on the Consecrating Yourself to Mary, 1 on How to Pray the Rosary, and 1 on Marriage in the Catholic Church and Annulment. I spoke in depth to about 4 different people and was asked to pray by another. Most people who got interested in a free rosary were congenial and to my surprise more Catholics were available.
One lady who was Lutheran accepted a rosary. I wanted to give her a “Why be Catholic” brochure but she was in-and-out in a hurry. Another who was not Catholic was interested in the Catholic Faith. She not only accepted the free rosary but also a Pope Francis $1,000,000 bill. I especially made sure she understood the value of the Miraculous Medal and how to use it.
Then there was one Catholic gentlemen who was going to be married through the Catholic Church. He not only accepted a rosary but wanted more information about marriage in the church for him and his fiancée. He didn’t know about Catholic radio. I always made it a point to share with them that on Tuesdays and Thursdays there is a show where listeners who are not Catholic are calling in and asking the toughest questions. I iterated that I, myself, am still learning about the church today by the answers to those questions.
It was at the end of the day when a college student who was a Catholic accepted a rosary and asked if there might be an intention of hers prayed about. I realized that she was concerned about herself and others who are in the same situation which are on the fence about the faith. She wants us to pray for those lukewarm souls to be enlightened and brought back to Jesus. Then I prayed immediately after she left.
Overall, my impressions of 4th street were positive. I would highly suggest this experience to someone who is interested in keeping busy. It was the Lord who made my cup overfloweth! Thank you Jesus for giving me the breath that I take to pray for others and allowing me to be fit enough to share with others what you have taught me through the Holy Spirit.


Two First Timers Hit Streets

September 16, 2019

It is the now officially the Year of Mercy. Pope Francis wants to draw attention to the powerful depths of mercy that the Lord wants to make available to us. Jesus implored us to be like his father, to that end, we must be involved in works of mercy. The Church has identified two categories of these works- Corporal and Spiritual.

The Corporal Works of Mercy are:

  • Feeing the Hungry
  • Giving Drink to the Thirsty
  • Clothing the Naked
  • Harboring the Harborless,
  • Visiting the Sick
  • Visiting the Prisoners
  • Ransoming Captives
  • Burying the Dead.

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are:

  • Instructing the Ignorant,
  • Counseling the Doubtful
  • Comforting the Sorrowful
  • Redirecting the Sinner
  • Forgiving Injuries
  • Bearing Wrongs Patiently
  • Paying for the Living and the Dead.

Last Saturday November 28th, a team of three worked at the plaza to do works of mercy, two of whom were brand new, Rodney and Ken. It was a very cold morning, but the suffering was worth it.  It was the day after “black Friday”, and we started around 10.  Things were slow initially, but that was OK because it allowed for team member discussions between interactions with the public.  We were physically lined up directly for a while.  Every time someone came from behind me, they already had a Rosary, so obviously Rodney was working the crowd well.  Ken had boldly worked in a very sunny spot, a smart move since most folks out that morning were having to work to stay warm.  He took a coffee break and made it a point of brining another cup for a homeless woman who was sitting on a bunch.  He sat with her to sip coffee and chat.

SPSE Team Photo

Ken is armed and ready.

SPSE Team Photo

Rodney is ready.

I met a man named John who was with his wife.  They were local Catholics who were thrilled to see us out there.  John wanted to give me his contact information so that he could get involved in the ministry.  He also gave me some Bible verses to memorize to help out with situations where a non-Catholic Christian would need to know where our beliefs can be found in the Bible. Here they are- MT 28:16-20, Jn 14L16-17, Jn 14:26 and Jn 16:13.  They have to do with Jesus initiating the Church and assuring the Apostles about the Holy Spirit was empowering them.  He also expressed interest in helping out and gave us his contact information.  Thank you Lord, for sending someone interested in joining the team.

I also met a woman who was an ex-Catholic.  I did not probe as to why, but she did volunteer that she was from Boston are at the time of the scandals.  She did not seem to identify a very personal reason for not being Catholic.  The only thing I could get her to accept was a Catholic radio card, a small but powerful tool.

Gave a Rosary to a young woman who was on her way to work.  In order for me to get her an instruction pamphlet, I would have had to make her wait while I ran back to the table.  I directed her to stop by and ask Ken for the instructions since he was in her path.  He had a brief encounter to assure her that it was a Christ centered prayer.

I met and offered Rosaries to a couple who were Buddhist.  I asked them if they meditate.  They said yes and I told her that was exactly what the Rosary was for.  She said “Ah, so that is what the beads are for.”  As she said this, she held the Rosary and made the motion of moving her finger tips from bead to bead.  “Exactly.” was my response.  The husband said, can I have the money?” pointing to my left hand full of Pope Francis bucks.  He liked it a lot.

Here is Rodney’s account-

A little background on myself – I am a native of the Bay Area and a cradle Catholic. The faith of my mother and late grandmothers made a great impression on me in childhood. I continued to follow my faith, albeit lukewarmly, during my 20’s. However, an epiphany for me occurred in 2005 during St. John Paul II’s funeral. Seeing on television St. Peter’s Square packed with throngs of people gathered from far and wide – simple pilgrims as well as renowned world leaders, paying their respects for this humble servant of Jesus Christ, sparked a renewed pride and resolve to make my small contribution to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I am now an active parishioner of Sacred Heart, Oakland and of the Cathedral of Christ the Light. My corporal works of mercy include visiting the homebound to distribute Holy Communion and volunteering at the St. Vincent de Paul dining room. In this Year of Mercy decreed by Pope Francis, our Bishop Barber exhorts us to “become merciful like the Father” by putting our faith into practice.

Having completed the diocesan Serra Catechetical Institute for adult formation, I feel St. Paul Street Evangelization could be a worthwhile avenue for me to practice sharing more effectively the truth and beauty of Catholicism.This ministry empowers the participant to be like the sower from Our Lord’s parable – one who scatters the seed and allows the Holy Spirit to take over, come what may. The “seed” in this case is our own personal recollection of how faith has guided our life, and how it can have a similar effect on others regardless of background, culture, and situation. Having somewhat of an introverted personality, the only other similar activity in my life where I was tasked to persuade people was a short stint as a door to door canvasser for home solar electricity. But this we have to offer packs more power than a photovoltaic panel, which is the Light of Christ which illuminates souls.

The Saturday morning that Dave, Ken, and myself was chilly and blustery, which coupled with the previous days’ festivities and holiday shopping was probably a factor in the light foot traffic in the area we sezzzt up. Our primary items of inducement were Rosaries, which made for good icebreakers with parents accompanied by their children as the variety of colors offered presented the young ones with an intriguing decision to make. A majority of the interactions were of the “not interested” category. My encounters of note were:

  • One mother and daughter pleasantly took the prayer beads and explained they were already Catholic as the young child was a student at the School of the Madeleine in Berkeley.SPSE Team Photo
  • Those passersby who were Spanish-speaking appreciated what we were doing and I used my limited Spanish to wish them “Dios te bendiga.”
  • A young lady, not Catholic although her mother was, gladly took a rosary and a pamphlet explaining the prayers.
  • An older woman, non-Catholic, detailed to me her planned trip next year to El Camino in Spain, which is something I am interested in as well, as my baptismal patron is St. James, “Santiago.”  This was the longest conversation I maintained.
  • The non-English speaking Chinese appeared to be bemused, perhaps we need some Chinese-language material to better explain our presence?

With the Advent season just underway I wished all a “Merry Christmas Season” and occasionally threw in a “Jesus is the reason for the season.” During the lulls brother Ken is a good guy to converse with and share some philosophical discussions, and brother Dave is a good team leader whose experience shows; I can learn much from everyone on this team.  I did not utilize the “Pope Bucks” as a lure into discussion, perhaps I can develop an m.o. around this the next time around.  All in all, it was a good experience for my first venture.

Thanks a to Rodney and Ken.

Please pray for the following people we met who had prayer requests:

Adella is a young woman who is going to have to move soon, but does not know where to go yet.  Please pray that her housing situation can get resolved.

A woman named Barbara asked that we pray for all children who are suffering and abused.

A woman named Ann asked that we pray for her husband John Ledin who is suffering from cancer, that he be healed.

A woman named Sue Johnson, a local Parishoner from St. Jeromes asked that she be healed of the macular degeneration in her eyes.


Thanks for reading and if you want to add a comment, scroll down to the very bottom of the page where you can add something.  Happy Advent ?


Adam Janke Visits the East Bay

September 16, 2019

On Saturday November 21st, members of our chapter had the opportunity to attend a talk given by Adam Janke at Our Lady of Grace Church in Castro Valley. Adam is the national program director for St Paul Street Evangelization.

Adam is a convert to the Catholic Church. At one time in his life he was actually was involved in converting Catholics away from the Church. While doing so, he met up with some devout Catholics who challenged him to do some research about the Church and to do so while being intellectually honest. As delved into his research, he slowly started becoming convinced that his Catholic friends just might be right. His project also got his wife curious, so she decided to attend a Mass. Apparently, this was all it took for his wife to become convinced because she came home announcing that she wanted to be Catholic.

SPSE Team Photo

Here are some hi-lights from his talk.

  • Be joyful in your missionary efforts. Joy attracts
  • The power of giving away miraculous medals
  • Listening to people is what allows up us to find common ground
  • Offering prayer or to pray with people is very powerful

My favorite story was about an atheist who spoke for about a half an hour about how he believed in science. Adam did not debate with him at all, he just asked him what he would like them pray for. The atheist immediately answered who he wanted them to pray for.

The meeting wrapped up with questions and opportunities for attendees to meet Adam and each other. It was great to hear that his experiences in street evangelization are so similar to what we have seen happen in our efforts.

Thanks a lot Adam!
Glory to God!


Morning at the Plaza

September 16, 2019


There were three of us, so we went to the Plaza because its layout is conducive to a 3 person team. We ended up giving out almost all the Rosaries on the table. I had a lot of folks who said no thanks to the Rosary saying, “I already have one/plenty.” My response was to say, “I bet you don’t have one of these.” and gave them a Pope Francis million dollar bill (we call ’em Pope Francis Bucks).
There is always a temptation when people talk about how the Pope is being more open (seeming to suggest he is open to changing church positions on certain social issues) to try to point out how orthodox he is. What is more productive however, is to turn that into a discussion around faith in general and if possible, for those fallen away, to come back.
Overall, the mood of the people we encountered was somber because of the mass murders had happened in Paris the night before. A lot of prayer requests for a more peaceful world.
I met a Jehovah’s whiteness who asked what I thought of the whole thing, and I just had one word for him, evil. He was impressed to see Catholics out evangelizing. He was hinting around about whether or not we read the Bible, because he said Witnesses were big Bible readers. I informed him that the Catholic Church compiled the bible and that the Mass is saturated with scripture. I asked him if he had an open mind, he said yes, so I gave him a “Scripture Alone” pamphlet. He cordially returned the favor by giving me a Watch Tower.
Met another young man who was with his son who said he was raised Lutheran and was looking for a denomination. Of course we gave him some good literature as well as a Catholic Radio card.
A woman with her husband and boys who were enjoying each other’s company. The dad was narrowly escaping the sons who were trying to catch him and the mom was laughing. She took a yellow Rosary from one of our evangelists. When asked where she went to Mass, she said she had not been for quite a while because of all of the “issues”, but committed, ” I am going to go back this weekend.”
A young grocery store employee upon being offered a Rosary said, “Oh he** no.” Now the best part about this is that he is probably going to brag to his friends or co-workers about this minor encounter. This man does not realize that he is discussing Catholicism with whomever he tells this story to. As is very popular to say these days, its all good man.
A woman who wanted a blue Rosary to seemed to have a heavy heart. I told her we were gathering payer intentions and if she had someone or something she wanted us to pray for. With teary eyes she said, “Yes, my daughter Shauniece needs healing.”
I committed to her that she would be prayed for THAT NIGHT.
Making that promise helped me make sure that I emailed all of our intentions to the prayer warriors for our chapter that night.SPSE Team Photo

I think I gave out ten or twelve rosary with dialogue with each.
Two women I spoke to, asked for prayers for 1) a recently deceased spouse Bob Frank and 2) a recently deceased Mother Anika.
The first woman was Catholic attended St Davids and found the Church great comfort in her loss and grief. John offered a good prayer for bot Mrs. Frank and her deceased spouse. The second woman was not Catholic and claimed no religious affiliation or belief but asked for prayers for her mother, accepted a Rosary and pamphlets how to pray the Rosary and Why be Catholic?
Another woman who was Catholic asked for prayers for her mother sick with cancer and accepted a rosary to take to her. Another young man who identified as Catholic took a Rosary and several pamphlets.

Today’s outing seemed short for 2 hours. I was able to approach nearly 60 different individuals and families combined. The rejection rate was average for a day out, in which I managed to get one person interested for every ten I approached. In that time, I handed out approximately 5 miraculous medals, 6 Immaculate Radio cards, 5 rosaries, 7 Pope Francis bucks one of the brown scapulars accompanied by a pamphlet. More often children loved the gimmick of the Pope Francis buck and one passerby took it reluctantly without a radio card. He eventually came back and congenially wished me a nice day. Most were passersby who accepted a rosary or the pope buck and then half of that time given along with an Immaculate Radio card. Those who were more deeply interested and had questions or those that wished to engage in prayer were few. They seemed to value the miraculous medal and even a couple of them were Catholic, one active and one fallen away.
I could sense in the eyes of that burly man that this man had found Jesus. He recited words he lived by from the Gospel of John to both David and I. He then prayed for my protection and gifted me with a blessing through the name of Jesus Christ. I felt a strong sense of love of Christ between us. He was no charlatan but a man of God. Thank you Jesus for the blessings I receive because of you.
Lynette I could tell was a Catholic. Impressed by our bold nature to share Jesus with others she invested her time to browse into some of the many literature pieces that were provided for free. I presented her with the story of St. Catherine Labouré and the Miraculous Medal. With that she was very thankful. Lingering among Chuck and I while speaking of the nearest and common Catholic churches, I offered to make a prayer or gather an intention she may have wished for us to take. It was apparent she needed a prayer now ‘on the spot’. She would burst into tears otherwise. And, before she gave her hesitant answer, mustering the name of her late husband of last year, I immediately began to pray. When I finished she hugged Chuck and then hugged me. It was the pivotal point of the day. And I told Chuck “It’s a wrap!” It was at the end of our day and two hours had gone by. This was the connection I needed to make. At last Jesus, I prayed to you that you would allow me to deeply connect with just one of your loved ones. Now I see that you have answered me and have allowed me to become an instrument of your peace. Thank you, Jesus, my Savior.

SPSE Team Photo

As you can see, we did collect quite a few prayer intentions. Please make it a point to include these folks in your prayers. If it seems like to much, simply ask for the Lord to answer prayer intentions collected by the St. Paul Street Evangelization team. Thanks for reading and have a blessed Thanksgiving.


This Week’s Stories from the Plaza

September 16, 2019

This last outing to the plaza had a team of three evangelists going out to do God’s work. Here are some excerpts-
One woman took a rosary, said she was Catholic and attended Mass in Pt Richmond but did not know name of Parish. Also took pamphlet on how to pray rosary. Another took rosary and pamphlets said she was not Catholic. After shopping returned and this time her twenty-something daughter took a rosary.Two young men took rosaries said they were Catholic went to St David’s. Another woman took rosary and pamphlets said she was St Joseph the Worker parishioner. One woman said her mom was Catholic but she was Lutheran. Took rosary for mom and I gave her why be Catholic pamphlet.

SPSE Team Photo

Chuck gives Rosaries to two gentlemen who had attended local Catholic schools.

An elderly woman stops along my path and I offer her a rosary. She declines and asks what we are doing. I explain the mission of our answering the call for a new evangelization in the Catholic Church. She reveals that she is Presbyterian and explains it is a form of Protestant church. I inquired to know more about it since I don’t know exactly what they are protesting or standing up for. Since I shared my weakness in wanting to know more about them and what they represent, I flipped the discussion to her, if she would like to know more about the Catholic Church. Our mission was to answer questions, make prayers and help guide you to the resources you may need to find the truth. But, just as many others I have seen, she did not want to know more but, instead, just wanted to observe us. Eventually she left without notice. I hope she found what she was looking for.

SPSE Team Photo

John having discussion with a man who wants to get his family unified in the faith.

Fred, had some time to listen. He was a daily practicing Catholic communion taker and was laughing at the 1 million dollar Pope Francis bucks I gave him. He accepted my rosary and had no idea of the EWTN or Immaculate Heart Radio existed. I gave him a Catholic Radio card and he explained to me that this could help his household. His wife is a Lord or the Flock follower and his daughter a Jehovah’s Witness. We traded ideas about what they are doing in those faiths. I explained to him that they believe in Sola Scriptura whereas Jesus Christ is the New Testament in the bible and they do not believe he is the Son of God. I also shared with him the idea of the origins of all other faith bibles had been derived from the Catholics and, in their bibles contain certain modifications which were made to suit their beliefs. As we delved into the roots of the Catholic faith, his eyes had become very hungry. At last, I was placed here in the situation I prayed for right before this gentlemen came my way. That, if I could just reach out to one person and share the deep love of Christ with him through an act of friendship, that this would provide me an opportunity to make a meaningful connection with another brother. He had so many questions. I answered them to his satisfaction, except one. “Is it true that Jesus was born in October?” I was stumped for an answer. I said, I will get you that answer. He took my number and hopefully he will call me in a week so I can share with him the true answer. Before he needed to leave, he took many of the pamphlets to spread around his household. Before he actually left, I gave him 3 miraculous medals and 3 Catholic radio cards then explained the St Catherine Laboure mission for the conversion of sinners through the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Miraculous medal. He took my instruction in how to use the medal in his household. He was my brightest guest today and I am truly blessed he was so receptive. Thank you Jesus Christ. It is only through you could my answers motivate him to move his mountain.

Today I gave Rosoaries to quite a few non-Catholics and took the time share that it is a meditation on the life of Christ but cautioned them that praying to Mary was not worship, but a request for intersession. Also talked about the Jewish tradition of the mother of the king being the queen.
One young man wanted assurance that praying the rosary would not water down or diminish his relationship with Jesus. Two separate women said that they did not know that the Jewish mothers of the King were the queens.
SPSE Team Photo

A man stops to offer encouragement with a testimonial about how as a young boy, he prayed for the return of his stolen bike and his prayers were answered.

There were at least four people who said they were actively searching. “Why Be Catholic”, and “The Good News” pamphlets were what seemed to be moving today. My favorite thing is when I ask a non-Catholic if they have ever considered being Catholic and they say yes. This surprises me because it doesn’t fit the modern narrative of how the Catholic Church believed to be so out of step with modern society.


Parish Festival Recruiting

September 16, 2019

Our parish, St. Joseph’s in Pinole California, has an October Fest every first weekend of October to raise funds for the school. The October Fest committee granted permission for our chapter to sezzzt up a table to recruit evangelists and prayer warriors. We ended up doing quite a bit of evangelizing as well and getting evangelized ourselves.

Three evangelists worked at the event. We gave out all of our million dollar bills with Pope Francis on them on the first day. They were very well received, especially since Pope Francis had just been in the states the week before. On day one we were able to pique the interest of a couple potentially interested evangelizing. We also found six people who are willing to be dedicated prayer warriors. Very exciting!

SPSE Team Photo

Dave & Chuck working the table

Our evangelists approached many people to offer rosaries and engage with them about where they went to mass, they found a lot of people who admitted openly that they just don’t go to mass very regularly. Once we realized this, we changed tactics. The evangelist would engage with a new person and then ask, “Do you agree with 100% of what the Catholic Church teaches?” The person being asked would hesitate with thought. At this point the evangelist would say, ” Well guess what, if you don’t, that makes you normal. Take a look at these pamphlets and see which topic you have a disagreement with and take it with you.” At this point the evangelist would turn his back and let the person choose a pamphlet in privacy. Folks really seemed to appreciate this.

Our evangelists also enjoyed the benefit of some folks who were excited about their faith. One woman shared how her young son had insisted that the family say the Rosary together one night. It ended up being a transformational event for her and the whole family and now they pray it together every Friday night. The passion and conviction with which she told this story was inspirational.

We had a great time and met a lot of great adults and cute kids. Also enjoyed some great food and drink. If your parish has any events like this, it is well with your time to sezzzt up a table there.


Pope Bucks at the Plaza

September 16, 2019

David and Tina had a good outing last Saturday at the Plaza. We worked from 11:00 to 1:00 and the time went by quickly. We gave out many Rosaries, Catholic Radio cards, Pope Francis bucks and met some interesting people. We also gathered prayer intentions from several folks. One woman in particular to keep in your prayers was named Lynn, who needs a home. We did make it a point of praying for all those who asked us for prayers. I also feel that it’s important to have all of you who read these posts to pray for Lynn, so please include her in your prayers. Thanks.

As for others we met, here are a couple examples-

We met a couple of men who were in a same sex relationship. One in particular was impressed in what we were doing and wanted to give us money. We told him he could give money directly to the ministry on line, so he took an Existence of God pamphlet so he could get the web address. “I am a homosexual, but I believe in what you’re doing!”, he told us. He said he was raised Jewish and Catholic and considered himself both. He asked us to pray for the goodness of all.

Met a couple who are Catholic but not attending Mass consistently. He took a couple of Rosaries and was great fun for us encouraging his Mass attendance. The wife wanted to know if we thought Supreme Court Justice Alito would resign since the Pope announce he would like to see the death penalty abolished since Alito is Catholic. I told her no, because the Catechism says that capital punishment is permissible. She was surprised to see the Catholic Church “proselytizing” and we shared with her about works of mercy and the upcoming Year of Mercy, and that this was a spiritual work of mercy.

Met a hand full of people who have a somewhat broad and vague spirituality that includes meditation. For them, we gave a more in depth discussion about the meditative aspects of the rosary.

SPSE Team Photo

Here are some impressions from Tina:

Always interesting to hear what people have to say when we are at the
Plaza (it’s the only site I’ve thus far attended). My biggest
take-away impression is that people appreciate our being there.
I do think for some folks when they see us it’s a sort of “prompter”
for them to take a 2nd look at their faith. There is almost a curiosity,
and if they’ve put their faith life on a back burner, our presence may
serve for “re-booting”. I don’t think people are used to seeing
Catholics out on the streets, so that’s positive we’re there and not
being overly pushy, just open to what people have to say, and to
provide a few tools for their journey.

One last impression is I feel people need to be heard, whatever their
stance is, and we’re available for that-and to provide encouragement,
share our own experience that perhaps they relate to theirs and we are
there because God’s Power is so good we want to share it with others!!


Working 4th Street

September 16, 2019

The regular team of Chuck and Dave went to the 4th Street Shopping Area of Berkeley to evangelize on Saturday. Fourth Street is more compact than El Cerrito Plaza, our normal evangelization spot. Also, it has locally owned restaurants and boutique type shops instead of large chain stores. Here are some highlights from Chuck and Dave.

SPSE Team Photo


Three Interesting Encounters
-Rosemarie passed us initially saying she did not need a rosary because she was not Catholic. On her second time through she stopped to talk. She told the story about how she was a widowed pastor’s wife who took in homeless people and fed local street people out of her house. A particular man she knew and had helped caused her house to burn to the ground leaving her with nothing. She had a place to live and finally got insurance money for replacing her home, but she said she needed help because she had lost her faith. She ahead friends praying for her. She could not deal with the fact that a person she was helping could punish her for doing good. She felt like she needed a new way to pray. We discussed the book of Job and the idea if actually thanking God for trials. I showed her how to pray the Rosary and promised we would pray for her in her struggles. If you would not mind, take a minute right now and pray for her that she have her faith restored.
Thank you. Please add her to your prayer list.

-We met a couple named Paloma and Rich. She was very excited to see us and said she had never seen anything like what we were doing. She was happy to have a rosary. She was reading Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) by Pope Francis and showed us her paper back copy of it. We then gave her a Pope Francis prayer card (which she loved) and told her that that letter was partially responsible for us being there. She ended up taking two rosaries and a rosary pamphlet to make sure she was doing it right.  She had her foot in a post-surgical boot and was using a scooter, so I told her we would pray for her to have a quick recovery.  Let’s all say Hail Mary for her recovery. Thanks

-A young man with a Superman T-shirt initially refused a rosary and made some comment which appeared to be one of disapproval as he passed. He later came by again and apologized for what he said explaining that his name was John and he had done some street work for a cause he was involved with and did not like it when people did that to him.
Next John explained that he was a non-repentant sinner and that he could not accept that God could be all loving, all knowing and all good. He felt that God could be two of those characteristics, but it was impossible for him to be all 3. If so, how could it be possible that God allowed him to be homosexual and live out his sexuality happily? John also did not think that just because he was homosexual that he should live a life of celibacy.
Once he stated his position, I ask my favorite dialogue question: “Do you consider yourself to be an open minded person?” He said yes and I then explained how all Christians are called to chastity, married or not. I described chastity by comparing sexual appetites to food appetites and how if you don’t have you don’t have your appetite for food controlled, you get fat and diabetic. I then went on to explain the importance of having unification AND procreation being the purpose for sexual activity. At this point I had no choice but to share with him how when in my marriage, I took steps to separate those two, my marriage suffered. I also talked about how the character of sex changes when’s exhale activity brings risks. He said “Were you around in the 80s? Sex was risky for gays then.” I said that that risk is the same for everyone. He agreed. I said that the homosexual risked self destruction, where the heterosexual risk was one of having a new responsibility, although it is a responsibility that in addition to being a burden, is a great joy. Then I reiterated that in my life, when that risk was removed, it caused deterioration in my marriage.
He wanted clarification on whether in a same sex union, there could be room for such a couple to be sexually active in a chaste way. I told him that the couple would have to not engage in sexual activity to be truly chaste. I complemented him on being open minded and fair in his willingness to explore issues and told him it showed that he had a lot of character. I gave him the “Sexual Purity”, “Does God Exist?” and “Good News” pamphlets along with a Catholic Radio card. Please pray for John.

-One Man wearing a Stanford cap on his second or third pass by the table, stopped, accepted a Rosary, a pamphlet on how to pray the rosary while stating he was not Catholic but he had two sons at Bellarmine Prep School and they “loved “the Jesuit education. That it was really good. He repeated this several times and stated one son was strongly considering converting to the Catholic Faith.

– One man stopped accepted a Rosary, stated he was not Catholic but his wife was but did not practice. He also took a pamphlet on how to pray the rosary. And asked what I thought of Pope Francis. I told him I liked all the Popes. He said he did not like Pope Francis’s “politics” and asked what I thought. My reply was I thought the Pope and his encyclicals were fine. He said he thought Pope Francis appointment was political. I replied I thought it was from God. He replied that was a good way to think and left.

-Twenty or thirty minutes later a young woman refused the offer of a free Rosary but said over her shoulder ” I love your Pope”!

-a young man sitting with an older woman (son and mom?) while talking and observing us said ” you guys picked a tough town to do what you are doing”. I replied “it is very rewarding”. End of conversation.

-It was a good day of evangelization. Just being there declaring is good witness I think. I did notice that sometimes people give us a couple of passes before stopping and talking. They probably want to make sure we aren’t a couple of loonies or Catholic cuckoos before talking to us. Once they are satisfied they will be safe they feel more free to stop and chat. Whereas at El Cerrito Plaza the first encounter is all there is.That is my impression anyway.


In Depth in El Cerrito

September 16, 2019

Went to El Cerritos Piazza today and had a busy outing. The first 45 minutes I went solo while waiting for my friend Chuck to come. Here are the highlights
Met a gentleman who wanted to know what kind of questions we get, since the sign says “Got Questions?” I told him we get general questions about rules of the faith. Then I enquired about his faith tradition. He shared how he grew up with non-practicing Jewish parents and how he started a spiritual quest in his college days. He also shared about a spiritual coach or guru he had discovered who had been a great help to him. This spiritual guide claimed to have been reincarnated and was once Jesus. I gave him a Divinity of Jesus pamphlet which he accepted willingly.
Before we could finish our conversation, another man came up named, Daniel. He gave us his testimonial about how he was disowned by his family for leaving his Catholic faith. He had attended a large Fellowship meeting of some sort where he encountered Christ. His family scorned him for this because it was not Catholic. He then went on to share the struggles he has had since his wife had passed away leaving him with his 7 year old daughter (now 11). He had moved up north to live with more supportive family members. He had also been clean and sober for 1 year and had a job. He has not found a church since moving and I recommended St. Jerome’s. At some point, the first gentleman realized that the discussion was going to take too long to continue where we had been interrupted and road off on his bike.
Now that I was one on one, I told him that his experience with the fellowship was very genuine and that the church would recognize it as so, and that his family did not have the tools to recognize this and redirect him lovingly back to the Church. I then used an analogy to demonstrate the difference between Catholic and non-Catholic Christianity. “Imagine that you are a builder and that you are being asked by two different people to build a deck in their back yard. Both people are going to provide the tools, but one is going to provide you a hammer, a hand saw, a level and some nails, and that’s it. The other is going to provide you with a nail gun a table saw nails and a bunch of other equipment. Now in both cases, you are going to get the job done, one is going to be easier than the other. The Catholic Church just gives you more tools.” He really liked this explanation having been a builder himself.
I asked him if there was anything in his life we could pray for. He told me that he and his daughter would like to have their own home. Before you read another word, please just say a “Hail Mary” for this man.
OK thank you. Anyway, I gave him a Rosary which he with an instruction piece and he went gratefully on to the rest of his day.

Next I met a woman named Charlotte. Her first comment was, “Is this what the church has been forced to resort to?”  My response, “No, it is what it has been doing from day one.” She had left the church and said she was thinking about coming back and that she needs to go to confession. I gave her Reasons to Return to the Catholic Church” and “Confession” pamphlets. I asked her if she had anything we could pray for for and she asked for prayers for her son Patrick, who is experiencing a lot of struggles in his life at the moment; also for her other children Peggy, Colman and Reman, who are experiencing some struggles and Nick, for whom life is going well, that this may continue. So please, before reading any further, say a prayer for each of her kids individually. . . . . Thanks.

She then shared how she could not reconcile a merciful God with the existence of hell. How could there even be a hell if God loves us all; how could He send someone there? She also was uncomfortable with the idea that Church council or councils that concluded that those who died in a state of mortal sin, go to hell, and whether such councils could be infallible, because after all these men were all human. I asked if this question negated the role of the Holy Spirit. She openly questioned if those in the council were properly disposed to the movement of the Spirit. Then she asked me point blank, “Do you believe all the counsels were infallible?”. I plainly answered, “Yes.” She winced a this answer. My challenge to her was to consider if it was just for God to allow someone into Heaven who intentionally committed horrific evil which caused much unnecessary pain, death and suffering. We kind of left things at that and she went on her way.

SPSE Team Photo

Chuck in action. “Care for a free rosary?”

Just about this time, Chuck showed up. We sezzzt our selves in better position and worked another hour. Chuck met woman who accepted a Rosary even though she was not Catholic. He gave he a Rosary instruction pamphlet and she asked if she was allowed to have any other pamphlets. Of course he let her shop the table for whatever she wanted and she took a handful of pamphlets including “Why be Catholic,”

I met a woman who was willing to accept a Rosary in honor of her grandmother. At this point I just had to give her a Catholic Radio card and a Pope Francis Million dollar bill. She was quite tickled by million bucks.

The thing which we focused on that made the day special was offering to pray for people’s intentions. We wrapped up our session praying for each intention we had written in our intention notebook. I would ask all the readers to keep these prayer intentions on your prayer list if you can.


Evangelizing at the Plaza Again

September 16, 2019

Overall, it was a quiet day. We gave away about 15 Rosaries and 10 Million in
Pope Francis bucks. It was new team member Tina’s first outing. She initially started out observing and then plunged right in. We were in a discussion with a a security guard who is on a spiritual search. I gave him a Rosary and gave him my Rosary talk which goes something like this- “Most people who we give these to put them around their neck, but this is not a necklace. These are prayer beads. The prayer is a mediation on the life of Christ. The Rosary works so well for me because it’s the perfect prayer for people with a wandering mind (this usually perks people up who can relate to this issue in prayer). And you will find that if you do this, you will have revelations about Christ that you have never thought possible.” Without missing a beat, Tina handed him the Rosary pamphlet. Then she asked him about his spiritual journey and shared with him some personal testimony about the value of RCIA.

Today’s best was a young man who I offered a Rosary to. Putting his hand on my shoulder, he informed me that I had already given him one on a previous day and that meeting us inspired him to go back to mass after a two year absence. This was shocking (in a good way of course) since we literally have no expectation of getting to see any of the results of our work. How can you not want to keep doing this when you know this kind of result is possible? Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ!


God Finds a New Way to Speak

September 16, 2019

We worked El Cerrito Plaza again. Previously, we had some Chinese speakers that we could not interact with. This time, we had our new member Anthony, who could speak Chinese. Here are some stories:

Anthony engaged with a number of Chinese Speakers. His energy and enthusiasm were very uplifting. He really locked into the challenge of getting folks matched up with the right pamphlets. He thought it would be great if the pamphlets could be translated into Mandorine or Cantonese and that he may know some people capable of doing so.

SPSE Team PhotoSPSE Team Photo

Chuck met a young woman and brought her to our table while on her way into work. “I am so glad you’re here.” She went on to tell us the story of a series of suicides that had occurred in her family which were weighing on her heart. She took a rosary and some pamphlets and went to work. We told her that we would pray for her and her deceased family members. After wrapping up, we offered a prayer of thanksgiving and kept our promise to pray for this young woman and her family. You can pray for them too.

Another woman wanted a blue Rosary because it was Mary’s blue. She got very excited about the apostolate and wants to help out.

Met with a woman and her young son of about 5. He took a green Rosary. His mother said “Your grandma will like sharing that with you,” (indicating she no longer participated in the faith). I gave the little boy a prayer card with a color photo of Pope Francis. I asked him if he knew who it was. He said no and I told him his grandma would tell him. His mother proceeded to take him into the grocery store while he openly carried his Rosary and Pope picture with the assignment to find out who the man was. Tick, tick, tick . . .

We gave out about 20 Rosaries and $30,000,000 in Pope money. Those are so fun and easy to give out.


Reaching Out in El Cerrito

September 16, 2019

Today three member team from the Berkeley chapter of St. Paul Street evangelization (Dave, Chuck and John) worked at the El Cerrito Plaza in El Cerrito California right next-door to Berkley. They stationed their selves at the center of a cross between three buildings in a parking lot and had quite a busy day. Here are some hi lights.

Gave out Bout 30 Rosaries and How to Pray the Rosary pamphlets.
Met quite a few people who expressed gratitude that we were out there.

-Interesting approach by two Chinese women one of whom spoke english whose mother had been Catholic, father Buddhist. Took a rosary and several pamphlets and inquired about a Chinese language Mass. I had left my Diocesan Directory at home so could not help.She did say that while she wanted to believe in many gods her mother instructed her “only ONE GOD”!
-One woman described herself as Episcopal but took a rosary and pamphlet on how to pray the rosary. On her way back she said “thanks for being here and Godbless you”.
– One man, described himself as Catholic took several pamphlets and a Rosary because he had family members who had fallen away to evangelist church. He was very animated and enthusiastic spiritually.

Overall I felt the El Cerrito soil was more fertile than other places we had been.

SPSE Team Photo

Chuck and our first sezzzt of visitors

Dave met a young woman who said that she is Catholic but ever since she came out to UC Berkeley to go to school and just stopped going to Church. She had no answer to why. “Can I take one of each of these?” she asked about the pamphlets. ” Of course, help yourself.” I told her. “Reading the Bible is just too hard.”, she told me. Of course agreed and helped her pull out pamphlets. Looks like somebody is a little hungry.

SPSE Team Photo

Hungry young woman stocking up

John met a woman who after a first pass and some window shopping, returned to talk. She was a non-Catholic and had a tremendous worry for her relatives in Nepal and the earth quake they had just experienced which she thought was of a magnitude 8.4. He realized her distress and offered to pray with her. She was reluctant at first. He ask God in that moment of need that for those who are in different parts of the world experiencing calamity, war, misfortune are never too far away from your loving hand to be helped, especially those who were in the tragic earthquake in Nepal. He prayed that they may be filled with faith and especially hope in this time of need. She was appreciative and left in a hurry.
“I almost felt like I was a fast food version of a prayer service. But, this showed me that others are willing to pray that have no understanding how to. Thank you Jesus for showing us the way!”

More from John-
“I often make a prayer for the misjudged and misunderstood. Today, I can see that even the most hardened appearing person also needs Jesus. There were two men in their early twenties who would wear saggy pants and appeared rough enough to be in a gang. I reached out to them and they were willing to take a rosary. They did not know how to pray it, so I gave them a brochure. I wanted them to also have a miraculous medal and told them even if they don’t wear it keep it in their wallet. ‘The Blessed Virgin will bestow you with graces if you have the faith.’ They didn’t know of Catholic Radio, so I gave them Immaculate Heart Radio cards and gave them a brochure on why to become Catholic. They were ever so thankful, and I think even more so because of the extension of generosity we have because of the love of Jesus. I want to thank Jesus for allowing me reach out to even the most intimidating individuals.”

I met what I thought was a homeless man who was a Catholic but was waiting for his wife. As we spoke, I realized he had “The Spark” while giving him the rosary and miraculous medal. He explained he goes to church at St. John the Baptists and his name was Damien. He complimented me on my name (John), that it was in-line for the work that I was doing. As we continued our dialogue I could tell he had been struck before by Jesus and had a conversion experience at some point in his life. I came to realize that he was not only struck by Jesus but by a car that nearly terminated his earthly existence. He explained that he had died in the hospital for a period of time that wasn’t clear to me. He said that, while he was ‘asleep’, he had seen his loved ones, grandmother and relatives before him in a place with pure radiant light. He said there is no pain suffering or hunger there, just pure joy in this place.” I exclaimed you are a walking living testimony and you can make an impact in other people’s lives for Jesus. He was happy to exchange phone numbers with me since he found interest in our ministry. By this time, his wife had joined us. She wanted extra miraculous medals after taking a rosary. I gave them all they wished for because Jesus was going to use them as instruments of his divine will. I finally gave them approximately 10 Immaculate Radio cards so they could help propagate the Lord’s message to the world. Thank you Jesus for validating my sense of hope today!

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Dave & John


Fourth Street

September 16, 2019

SPSE Team Photo

Today we had a wonderful outing on a beautiful Saturday morning on Fourth Street in Berkeley. Here are few of things that happened.

  • We met a woman who used to be a practicing Catholic, but thought that she could not participate in the church because she was divorced. We informed her that it is not divorce but divorce and remarriage that was what the Church teaches is sinful. She said she was divorced and not remarried. We invited her to come back and then gave her a pamphlet on the Eucharist and one one Confession and a Catholic Radio card to go with her rosary.
  • Another woman said no thanks to a free rosary because she was Catholic. She then wanted to know why we were out on the street giving them out. We told her we were answering the Pope’s call to evangelize.
  • A woman with her daughter said us she was not raised Catholic but her husband was. When asked if she what ever thought about becoming Catholic, her face lit up as she said yes. She took a Rosary, some pamphlets and a Catholic Radio card.
  • We met a young man named Brian, who is a former Evangelical. He had been attending an Episcopal church because he enjoyed the sound tradition. We gave him some pamphlets on Catholicism including one on the Eucharist and the Confession. I shared with him some of my personal experiences of growth that have come through the confessional. He said he liked the fact that we are extremely radical for being willing to evangelize in Berkeley.
  • We met a woman who writes for the The Catholic Voice (the local diocesan newspaper). She took some notes and pictures and gave us her contact information. While she was at the table, another woman came up to see what we had to offer. She had grown upuestions. in 3 churches and likes the Catholic Church. Chuck was able to share some of his insights having been a convert.

This sounds like a lot, but it did not feel like it at the time. We had plenty of folks saying no to the free rosaries along with some surprised looks and snickers at the offer. Even if that was all we did get, I know we would have walked away blessed.

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.


More Stories From the Berkeley Marina

September 16, 2019

SPSE Team Photo

I felt the need to step up my intensity so I prayed to Jesus to help me reach out more deeply to another passerby. A short while after I presented a free rosary and miraculous medal to a fallen away Catholic who clearly was at discord with Catholics. She stated more than once people in general were nicer than Catholics as if it was rehearsed. Her bias was based on the impression of Catholics as a whole. She believed the church is money greedy and driven. That with the combination of the poor care her mother received while at a Catholic elderly home for retired priests run by nuns, she was at an impasse in her belief. She believed the organization did not display the appropriate charity one would expect to be given from such an organization. I explained to her that we all have our trials, especially I, being a fallen away Catholic for more than 18 years. It was for painful reasons and also that I thought I wasn’t a sinner. I explained I came back after I learned more about Jesus and forgiveness. She wasn’t aware that we now have a radio station. I gave her a Catholic Radio card and she was impressed with my ability to reach out in a friendly way. After some reflection I realize, the discussion was approximately 15 minutes long and was a true test for me to invest into another’s account of how fragile the faith can be shaken for some. I am thankful for Jesus and forgiveness in my life after speaking with her. Thank you Jesus!

Two women wanted to donate money and refused at first to take a free rosary. I explained I do this out of the love of Jesus Christ. What I offer is free and of no charge. They were astonished, as one would trade looks with the other. The other wanted the blue rosary, but the first woman was still reluctant until she realized how freely I gave her the rosary. After a small chuckle she switched to Spanish saying to her friend “Without shame I want to trade him for the black”, and then in English “Can I have the black one instead?” I exchanged it freely. Then the first woman says “Can I have the pearly colored one?” Each now had their rosaries and they revealed they were Catholic. I offered them a miraculous medal and a card of the Catholic Radio station, Immaculate Heart. They were both surprised and couldn’t be thankful enough for the display of generosity as they resumed walking their path.

One gentlemen holding a fishing rod and some tackle crossed by and accepted a free rosary. He was catholic and was very enthusiastic about his faith. I found it the perfect opportunity to give to him the miraculous medal. Since he had such a devotion to our Blessed Mother and I, being part of the Militia Immaculata, offered him a brochure about the organization. He wondered why we were doing this. I explained it was to reach out to those people who may need Jesus. He was unaware that Immaculate Radio is our new Catholic Radio station. I gave him approximately 20 Immaculate Heart Radio cards for him to help spread the word and he took them graciously. This is another good example of the way the faithful help propagate the Lord’s message and good works. Thank you Jesus for making my job easier!

When asked if she had ever considered becoming Catholic, a bus driver on her brake chuckled and told me how as a baptist in her childhood, she loved spending the night at her friend’s house and attending Mass with her family because it was only an hour. She circled back later and said she also really liked the Eucharist. She expressed gratitude for the question about becoming Catholic and seemed anxious to check out Catholic Radio.

I met a Presbyterian who admitted that he goes to Mass on Christmas. He really enjoys the sensory and reverence of the Mass. We were in strong agreement in our admiration and love for Jesus. He accepted a Rosary along with a pamphlet on how to pray it. I emphasized how it was a meditation on the life of Christ and also shared how praying to saints is just like asking your own mother to pray for your family.

Encountered a young man with two school aged children and a Pit-bull. We discussed the challenges of getting to church with a busy life. He and his son and daughter all accepted Rosaries and a Rosary Pamphlet.

Adjacent to us was a mini-catering trailer. The gentleman was selling food and drinks to folks who were fishing off the pier. He accepted a Rosary and informed me that he was Muslim. In addition he asserted that it was all the same. He was referring to religions. He went on to describe how he performs charitable acts and that it is part of his faith. I asked him if he had been to Mecca and what that was like. He was somewhat dismissive about the experience. I asked him if he had an active prayer life, to which he readily agreed. I gave him the Rosary Pamphlet and he later read it with great interest.


Sharing the faith at the Berkeley Marina

September 16, 2019

SPSE Team Photo

John & Dave on the water front

It was a beautiful day for meeting people and sharing God’s word. We (John & Dave) sezzzt up our table at the entrance to the pier at Berkeley Marina. Here are the highlights-
We started with a prayer to St. Paul. As we looked up at the end of our prayer, a woman was at the table making the sign of the cross with us. She wanted to know about what we were about. She was very excited and took a SPSE apostolate pamphlet.

Met a young couple who said they were going to church a lot lateley. They had been attending different churches, so we encouraged them to try praying the Rosary together and also gave them a Catholic Radio card.

Met a women and two kids who were very interested in the Rosaries and Miraculous Medals. I gave the daughter a Rosary instruction pamphlet and the mom promised her children that she would show them how to pray it tonight.

It was John’s first time out. Here were his impressions:
“As a novice evangelist from the Militia Immaculata, I found a gentle and invigorating experience in reaching out to the Berkeley Marina and Pier community. All the passersby, were congenial in nature and never hostile. Our key method was based on mutual respect for the nature of the event and those engaged. At times, some of the pedestrians were not interested. Eyes shift quickly away as you track them in their path. They do avoid you if they are not interested. But, those that did reply and engage in our hospitality were ever so grateful. I must say, that I am surprised of the outcome. As many as 20 rosaries and 15 miraculous medals had been handed out among 80 or so the people engaged, along with many brochures. We had only spent but one hour or so out there in the battlefield. One family even expressed the will to perform the rosary this evening.”

We debriefed over beers. Our waitress was fascinated by a miraculous medal laying out on the bar. We told her she could have it and she was thrilled. A great way to wrap up a great outing. Thank you Lord.


El Cerrito Evangelization

September 16, 2019

Mistakes to Learn By
Team members Dave & Betty worked in El Cerrito Plaza today. We had a gentleman who wanted to debate about the Church’s stance on contraception. I unfortunately took the bait. We went back and fourth about 3 times saying the same thing to each other in different ways. After some reflection, I thought of a more constructive ways to handle it.
Share with him my personal regrets about the problems that artificial contraception created in my marriage.
Invite him to state his position fully
Complement him on his deep caring for the state of human welfare
Give him my contact info and ask him to send me the statistics he was sighting and invite him to help me see the light, hence creating a friendship AND a long term dialogue/debate in a non-combative sezzztting.

I also had another gentleman explain to me how there cannot be a God because there is so much evil in the world. I blankly stared at him and said,”OK” and watched him march off. After I came home, I realized that there was a pamphlet for that issue and suffered the ole’ “Darn, I should have given him one of those!” Next time, I will be ready.

On another up note, Betty met a woman who wanted to know if we worked for the Diocese. Betty explained what we were up to and the woman told her that she does a lot of work with fallen away Catholics and took some pamphlets.


A crisp day for Evangelizing in Berkeley, California

September 16, 2019

We evangelized in downtown Berkeley today. Here are some high-lights.
We are not alone.
Met a gentleman named Tim who was happy to see us. He was helping a distressed young woman who needed new glasses. He is discerning about joining a monastery as a monk. He did the courtesy of taking our picture.

Finding a searcher
Met a young man who is a Philosophy major at the University of California at Berkeley named Carlyle. He was open minded enough to want to sit down and share his current state of indecision about God’s existence and subsequently, if God exists, what faith path gets us to Him. He asked me directly why I believe. I started with Jesus being fully God and Fully human. I then shared how impressed I was at how counter Jesus was to the expectations of the Jews of his time by being a sacrifice for sin, instead of a military/political hero. I also shared how I have experienced Christ so directly through confession at absolution.
He was extremely intrigued by the fact that Jesus was fully God and fully human. He wanted to know how Christ’ humanness still exists. This lead to a discussion about the Eucharist. He went off with a Does God Exist and Why Be Catholic.

Mentally Ill, But I Need God too
Met a woman named Karen. She was clearly was somebody who had struggled in life. She was not homeless, but she had been disconnected from her family for years and appeared somewhat disconnected in general. I gave her a Rosary and a Rosary pamphlet. She said she thought it would help her. She promptly sat at a close by bench and started reading the prayers out loud, therefore blessing the manny passers by.

SPSE Team Photo

John, Dave & Chuck by the Berkeley BART station.


Chuck and Dave work in downtown Berkeley

September 16, 2019

SPSE Evangelists Dave and Chuck worked in downtown Berkeley a week ago. They met their share of homeless folks as well as the Sunday strollers and shoppers.


Met a young man who is into chanting. He said that sometimes when doing this he will say the name of Jesus. Gave him a Rosary and asked him to try it out. Told him it’s just like chanting but it includes meditating on the life of Jesus.

Met with thee adults who wanted to know, “What’s the catch?” And we’re surprised that there was not one. Little do they know that THEY were the catch.

Met a college student who played football for Cal. He was new to Berkeley and said he needed to know a place to go to Mass. Directed him to the Newman Center.SPSE Team Photo

Chuck offering Rosaries on Shattuck Avenue near Berkeley BART station.


Getting Things Going in the East Bay

September 16, 2019

SPSE Team Photo

Evangelist Dee helps a Mormon on a break from a bike ride.

Today, we went evangelizing at a place called El Cerrito Plaza in the town of El Cerrito, near Berkeley, California. Each time we go out, we get a little more comfortable. We had some good interactions and some misses.
In hind sight, I recognized at least 3 opportunities I had to ask the opening “threshold” question from Sherry Weddell’s book, Forming Intentional Disciples. That question is “Can you describe your relationship with God to this point in your life?” I am not beating myself about this, I just mean to acknowledge the misses so that next time, I will be more conscientious about recognizing those opportunities when they come.
Good Interactions-

We shifted from a free Rosary give away (which by itself is good) to engaging people more; finding out who they were, asking them some questions about their faith life.

  • For example, one woman who said no to a free Rosary suddenly stopped and said, “On second thought, I think I WILL take one.” We found out that she was a fallen away Catholic. we discussed where she went to Mass when she did go and how great it is to be able to go to Mass when you travel.
  • We also met a woman who lives in walking distance of St. Jerome’s, a local Catholic Church who had no faith tradition but wanted one. Dee gave her a couple of brochures and she thanked us and went to finish her lunch break
  • Another young woman we met was wearing a Rosary and had no idea how to use it. She received a How to Pray the Rosary pamphlet.

Being Choosy with Responses
There were a lot of temptations to answer back the over the shoulder comments folks make as they walk away. For example, we ad one person tell us she thinks the Church was evil because of the sex abuse scandal. This individual was a good 15 yards away and turning the corner by they time their diatribe was through. What can you do but pray?

The one I could NOT resist was a man with his family who said, “No thanks, we’re Christians.” to which I answered, “We’re Christians too.”


First Meeting Held

September 16, 2019

Tonight we held our first chapter meeting at St. Joseph’s Parish in Pinole.  Three attendees were present.  We are shooting for working at an upcoming hot rod street fair. I am going to shoot for hosting two more meetings prior to the event.  I will be updating and publishing the meeting times on Friday June 6th.  We are very excited.


Brand New Chapter

September 16, 2019

The Berkeley Chapter of St.Paul’s Street Evangelization was formed to share the good news of the kingdom of God with residents and visitors to the East Bay through working at various large gatherings such as street fairs. We are in the infantile stages of forming our identity and look forward to this Holy work with joy and anticipation.