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Country: United States
State or province: California

Team Leader
David Brandt

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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.

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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.