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.