California Catholic Daily Exclusive.
Over San Francisco’s “Pride” weekend, Catholics offered three separate evangelical outreaches to the city of St. Francis.
On Friday, January 23, the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi hosted San Francisco’s second ‘Mercy Night.’ Teams of Catholics, mostly young, went out into the busy North Beach neighborhood, which, on a Friday night, is filled with young people looking for a good time.
The evangelizers carried lanterns out into the streets as a sort of ice-breaking device, to start a conversation and to invite those passing by to visit the Shrine. Inside the Shrine the Blessed Sacrament was exposed as Catholics knelt in prayer and meditation. Three priests were on hand to hear confessions, and passersby were invited to deposit their prayer intentions into a basket and to light a candle at the foot of the sanctuary. There were also Catholics on hand who offered to pray for the visitors’ intentions.
The outreach worked—during the second hour a group of well dressed young ladies entered the church, trying, without much success, to walk softly in their high heels as they approached the altar. They knelt at the foot of the sanctuary, with their candles, prayed for a little before leaving. Later one of the evangelizers told CalCatholic that the young women were part of a wedding party who were out celebrating, and that one of them was getting married. When they heard about Mercy Night, they decided to enter the Shrine and pray for her. Throughout Mercy Night, which lasted from 8-11PM there was an average of about 35-40 people in the Shrine.
On Sunday, June 25, 11 members of the St. Paul Street Evangelization, two people from Berkeley and a group of nine from San Francisco’s Star of the Sea Church, visited San Francisco’s AT&T ballpark. The evangelizers had prepared special rosaries with beads in the colors of the San Francisco Giants—orange, black, and white. The street evangelizers were well received—those entering the ballpark were seemed happy to see them, and were polite. One very common reaction included people saying that their mothers or grandmothers would really love these rosaries. To which the street evangelizers responded “You know what would REALLY make your Grandma happy? If you PRAYED the rosary with her!”
One evangelizer told CalCatholic “I met a young man who I spoke with for quite a while who seemed very much in pain and searching and asked many questions about where he could go to church. He was most pleased with the ‘how to pray the rosary’ pamphlet since he was looking for ways to pray.” By the time the street evangelizers left, they had given away 600 rosaries.
At the same time the street evangelizers were working the ballpark, Catholic activist and author Joseph Sciambra was at the Gay Pride Parade. Sciambra, whose work appears in LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, and his eponymous website, is a same-sex attracted ex-porn actor. Following his conversion he has become one of the strongest advocates of faithful and legitimate Catholic outreach to same-sex attracted persons, and as a corollary, one of the most powerful critics of the Church’s tolerance of those, clergy and laity, who are allowed to teach false doctrine on sodomy.
Sciambra posted a number of pictures of his efforts at the parade at www.josephsciambra.com/blog, along with the accompanying quote from St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei: “Our Lord calls us to come nearer to him, to be like him: ‘Be imitators of God, as his dearly beloved children,” cooperating humbly but fervently in the divine purpose of mending what is broken, of saving what is lost, of bringing back order to what sinful man has put out of order, of leading to its goal what has gone astray, of re-establishing the divine balance of all creation.’”