During August, Dr. Wayne Baker is traveling and we’ve invited Americans along ReadTheSpirit’s 9,000-mile reporting trip to talk about our country and core values. You can read other American voices in this special series via links in the right column.
Once each month, Gary and Cynthia Micaletti bravely take their place along Venice Beach, southern California’s gonzo tourist attraction for sand, sun and all manner of public spectacles from old-fashioned freak shows to tattoo parlors, dope-smoking paraphernalia and skin-baring beach garb. The Catholic couple and their toddler daughter Francesca volunteer one Sunday per month with other members of nearby St. Mark’s Catholic Church to distribute free rosaries on the boardwalk. As they give out up to 500 free rosaries, they pray the centuries-old prayer and talk with anyone who will pause for a few minutes about their church’s teachings. Given the over-the-top behavior often seen along the beach, the Micalettis say they’re surprised at how cordial people are as they chat with them. Here are their responses to our questions.
QUESTION: What does America mean to you?
GARY: Freedom. America should be a place of freedom particularly for our religion, our faith in God. We should all get back to our forefathers’ faith in the Bible. We’re on the wrong track now.
CYNTHIA: He’s right. People don’t feel they can trust each other anymore. We’re saying: When you feel you can’t trust people anymore, come back to your faith.
QUESTION: Are you worried about your family?
GARY: I am worried. I see too many people who are completely self serving. We’ve got to get back to a time when people weren’t just thinking of themselves.
QUESTION: What gives you hope?
GARY: Talking to people out here and praying the rosary out here gives me hope. We look forward to doing this every third Sunday afternoon each month. We’re out here doing something positive.
CYNTHIA: Back in the beginning of America, everyone believed in God and they had real faith and that gave them hope. I just want to encourage people to get back to how we used to live with respect, with faith and with love for each other. That’s what gives me hope.
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