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 November 7, 2005 VOL. 43, NO.19Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

A Gift of Sweets
Jessica Dailo, Catherine Battaglia, Leah Moranvile and Natalie Power, seventh graders at St. Mary School in Walnut Creek, prepare 150 bags of Halloween candy for children at the St. Vincent de Paul Visitation Center in downtown Oakland. Over the past five years, the school has donated more than 3,000 bags of candy to the center for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter as well as Halloween. More than 500 families are served by the center, staffed by the Daughters of Charity.


Class of 1952
The 1952 graduates of St. Mary School (now St. Leander) in San Leandro gather on the school steps with their former folk dance teacher, Millie VonKonsky, during a reunion that included relearning a folk dance. They are: bottom row, from left, Tom Gularte, Julie Dipaola, Janet Muren Fleer, Cindy Matthews Darbo; second row, Mrs. Vonkonsky, Lori Grammatica Canario, Sonja Dalcin Marino, Rose Mamone Boddington, Marge Jaegel Potestio; third row, Rita O’Neill Hill, Martha Langen Bratton, Sandy Berman Hershenhouse, Pat Heeg Devitt, Al Gonsalves, Ron Bosetti, Ron Sobrero; top row, Anone Salel, Jack Hill, Mike Egan, Frank McNamara. The school will celebrate its 125 anniversary on March 25.


Convocation of priests
Priests of the Oakland Diocese gather with Bishop Emeritus John Cummins and Bishop Allen Vigneron (middle row, center) during their convocation in Clear Lake last month. They spent a week reflecting on their priestly vocation, strengthening their bonds of friendship, and developing support in their ministries.

Operation Restoration
Leaky roofs. Hungry termites. Falling stucco. Like many older homes, aging parish buildings need work, too. And for St. Leander Parish in San Leandro, where a number of buildings are not only showing their age but accumulated wear-and-tear, that means major renovations.

So the parish has launched a three-year, $750,000 capital improvement campaign.

Created in 1864, St. Leander is the mother church of San Leandro’s Catholic community. Its first church, built in 1864, was enlarged, electrified, received a new steam heating system and was repainted all for a cost of $20,000 – in 1912. A larger church was built in 1957 and now it needs exterior stucco repair and painting. And the parish school and convent, built in 1926, are in constant need of repairs.

For more information on St. Leander’s revival, call (510) 895-5631.

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Priest turns author again
Father Ricardo Chavez, pastor of St. Peter Martyr Parish in Pittsburg, has done it again. He has published a new book, “A City By Any Other Name,” documenting the colorful history and names of the town known today as Pittsburg. This is a sequel to his first book, “From Ashes to Fire,” which chronicles the history of the Catholic Church in the city.

Father Chavez knows Pittsburg. A self-described Pittsburg native (he was only born in San Francisco because there was no hospital in Pittsburg), he was raised in Pittsburg and ordained at St. Peter Martyr Church in 1963. He has been pastor there since 1997.

In his new book, he shares personal memories and traces the city’s history from local settlers to the Sicilian fishermen in the last century to modern times. Want a copy? The book costs $20 and is available at the parish office, 740 Black Diamond St., during regular business hours. Phone: (925) 432-4771.

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Post-abortion ministry
Pastoral ministers, mental health and medical professionals, spiritual directors and retreat leaders will gather at San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville, Nov. 13-18, for an international conference on post-abortion ministry, sponsored by Rachel's Vineyard Ministries and hosted by the diocese's After the Choice Outreach.
Numerous professionals involved in the ministry will lead workshops ranging from the emotional and spiritual roots of abortion to ministry to post-abortive men. Theresa Burke, founder of Rachel's Vineyard, will give a keynote address.
For registration information, email Monika Rodman at mrodman@oakdiocese.org. Conference details are available at www.rachelsvineyard.org

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Shakespeare in Sign
This week the University of San Francisco presents Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” in American Sign Language, one of the few times Shakespeare has been performed in ASL anywhere in the world. The performances will take place, Nov. 9 – 12, at USF’s Presentation Theatre at 2350 Turk St. in S.F. The cost is $12 for the general public and $5 for students.

It took Peter Novak, the play’s director and a USF professor, and a team of deaf and hearing artists 16 months to translate “Twelfth Night.” Because sign language is presented in three dimensions, it is difficult to notate on paper. Novak had to record the sign language using a video camera, and students learned their parts by watching a DVD copy.

During the performance, the play will be translated in English by hearing interpreters/actors on the side of the stage so that the play is accessible to both hearing and deaf audiences.

For more information, go to www.usfperformances.com, or call Monica Leifer at USF at (415) 422-2697.

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Bishop visits O’Dowd
Oakland Bishop Allen Vigneron made his first visit to Bishop O’Dowd High, Oct. 27, to celebrate Mass, meet with students and tour the campus. “You aren’t babies,” he told the students during his homily. “You are moving on the bridge toward adulthood.”

He encouraged them to let the love of God blossom in their hearts and souls.
In keeping with the All Saints theme of the liturgy, members of the campus ministry team shared stories of the saints in their lives. Senior Matt Hearns praised his mother for the sacrifices she has made on behalf of him and his sister. Senior Andrew Prince told about the positive influence of O’Dowd history teacher Tony Green and Senior Tiffany Hardy spoke of her grandmother who taught her how to appreciate life.

Bishop Vigneron promised a return visit to the school next year.

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Around the Parishes

As the weather takes on a decidedly chilly turn, the Justice and Peace Committee at All Saints Parish in Hayward is launching it annual blanket drive for the homeless. The committee hopes to distribute 500 blankets. They are accepting clean or new blankets or sleeping bags as well as monetary donations. Every $5 equals a blanket for a needy person. During the past seven years the group has given out 5,000 blankets to various homeless and rehab centers, battered women’s shelters, the St. Vincent de Paul Visitation Center in Oakland and Oakland’s St. Mary’s Center. If you would like to help, contact Bette at (510) 538-5447.

Red was the theme at St. John Vianney Parish in Walnut Creek last month when 250 parishioners gathered to celebrate the parish’s 40th anniversary with a dinner/dance at the Contra Costa Country Club in Pleasant Hill. Fourteen pictorial displays on red poster boards captured the transformation of 10 unruly acres of a former horse farm into a thriving Catholic community. Other anniversary activities included a Founders’ Mass with more than 150 of the original founding families as guests along with Msgr. William Mullen, the first pastor, and Bishop Emeritus John Cummins.

The Women of St. Joseph at St. Joseph Parish in Fremont hosted a highly successful baby shower that yielded 908 diapers, 65 blankets, 53 bootie/sock sets and a host of other items for St. Rose Hospital in Hayward and Pregnancy Choices in Union City. The women also sent many items to help parents affected by Hurricane Katrina. The first, second and eighth graders at the parish school collected canned food and kitchen items to add to the gifts for hurricane survivors.

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Around the Schools

Over 100 students, alumni, parents and friends of St. Mary’s High School raised $65,000 for the Berkeley school through their participation in the 21st Olympic Club Foundation Golf Classic and Grand Auction on Oct. 17. The money will be used for the much needed renovation of the campus’ track and field.

Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOA Watch (School of the Americas), visited Oakland’s St. Elizabeth High School, Oct. 13, to talk to the assembled student body about U.S. foreign policy in Latin America and its relationship to the School of the Americas, a combat training school for Latin American soldiers at Fort Benning, GA. SOA graduates have been associated with assassinations, including that of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero.

Congratulations to four seniors at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda who were recently named National Merit Semi-Finalists — Diego Flores, Nwabueze Ken Umeh, Gerard Chapot and Peter Matarese.

Through a variety of games and activities during the first ever Red Ribbon Week (Oct. 24 – 28) students at Assumption School in San Leandro learned about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. On Oct. 25 all students tied a red ribbon to the school fence and took a pledge to remain drug-free.

The student council at St. Felicitas School, also in San Leandro, sponsored two outreach programs simultaneously – collecting warm coats, blankets, and money for victims of the recent earthquake in Pakistan and collecting items for the “Get On The Bus” program, which enables Bay Area children to visit their mothers who are incarcerated in central California prisons.

Although impressive numbers have been posted all season by Louis Arnold, running back at Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School, all were awed when Arnold racked up a mind-blowing 415 yards on 41 carries during the Dragons’ 48-14 win over San Lorenzo on Oct. 15. In doing so he captured the Hayward Area Athletic League record for the most rushing yards in a single game, eclipsing the previous record of 325 yards set in 1991 by San Leandro’s Donavin Britt in a game against Dublin High.

Speaking of sports and Bishop O’Dowd High – Regan McMahon, mother of sophomore Kyle Jackson, is writing a book about youth sports and the impact on young athletes and their families. The book is an extension of an article McMahon, an assistant book editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote for the Chronicle Magazine on the subject. Her focus will be on elementary and middle school youth who are involved in team sports like baseball and soccer. McMahon is currently interviewing young athletes and their parents. If you’d like to contribute, you can contact her at (415) 777-8459 or rmcmahon@sfchronicle.com.

Bob Ladouceur, coach of Concord’s De La Salle High School football team, reached his milestone 300th win when the Spartans defeated Pittsburg 35-13 at Pirates Stadium on Oct. 21. He reportedly also reached the mark faster than any other high school coach in U.S. history.

St. Francis of Assisi School in Concord will hold its Taste of Kindergarten open house, Nov. 15 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. Future kindergartners can explore the kindergarten classroom while their parents attend the informational session with the pastor, principal, and kindergarten teacher and reading specialist. Reservations required at 925-682-5414.

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Names, News, Notes

Congratulations to Nell and Walt Klas, longtime members at Transfiguration Parish in Castro Valley, who will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Nov. 22, and to Marilyn (Lynn) and Rollin (Van) Van Cantfort, longtime members at St. John Vianney Parish in Walnut Creek, who recently marked the 60th year of their marital union.

Rita and Al Bucher will be celebrating 50 years of marriage, Nov. 19, at St. Elizabeth Parish in Oakland. The Buchers met at the Franciscan Club at St. Elizabeth in 1953 and their roots in the parish are deep. Four generations of Buchers have attended the parish schools, including the couples four children and five of their nine grandchildren. Al was the president of the first parish council in 1971 and Rita received the Mother Seton Award (1984) for her service to local Catholic schools.

Bishop Allen Vigneron has appointed RoseMarie Mullins as his Liaison for Charismatic Catholic Renewal in the diocese. She succeeds Charlie Peissner, who stepped down from the position earlier this year.

Mary Tan is the new coordinator of alumni relations at the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, coming to the East Bay from St. Paul Parish in San Francisco where she was pastoral associate for worship and ministerial development.

She has also served as associate director of religious education for the San Francisco Archdiocese and principal at St. Mary’s Chinese Day School.

John Fox, a certified poet therapist, and Francis Weller, a psychotherapist, have been added to the faculty at the Sophia Center, which offers a Master of Arts degree in Culture and Spirituality, at Holy Names University in Oakland. Fox is author of two popular books that discuss poetry as a healing art: “Poetic Medicine” and “Finding What You Didn’t Lose.” Weller is director and founder of WisdomBridge.

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