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Berkeley

Country: United States
State or province: California

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David Brandt
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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.

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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.