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 December 12, 2005 VOL. 43, NO. 21Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

Remembering our Baptism
Each first grader at St. Felicitas School in San Leandro holds a bottle of Holy Water as a symbol of Baptism after studying about the sacrament. The water was blessed by Father Andrews Amritharaj, who lives in the parish.

Thanksgiving project
These students at St. Lawrence O’Toole School in Oakland decorate one of the many boxes the school filled with food for their annual Thanksgiving service project.

A good steward
Father John Maxwell, pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in El Cerrito, presents parishioner Joe Orr (right) with a certificate naming him as Good Steward of the Year. Orr is active with GRIP (Greater Richmond Interfaith Program), helps with the parish’s blood drives, sings in the church choir and participates in Bible study.

Musical pilgrimage

The Golden Gate Boys Choir will participate in the International Boy Choir Congress Dec. 28 to Jan. 1 in Rome. The choir will see Pope Benedict XVI when he addresses their Dec. 28 rehearsal. They will sing at the New Year’s Day Mass celebrated by the pope.

About half of the singers on this musical pilgrimage are from the Oakland Diocese. Linda Knox, principal at All Saints School in Hayward, will accompany the group as educational chaplain and Father Fernando Cortez, pastor at St. Albert Parish in Alameda, will be the spiritual chaplain. Another local face will be Neil Sugay, music teacher at St. Clement School in Hayward and St. Felicitas School in San Leandro. He is the tour manager.

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Councils to meet bishop

Bishop Allen Vigneron will meet pastoral council members, offer a “state of the Church” address, and respond to their previously submitted questions on Jan. 17 at the St. Isidore Parish Center, 440 La Gonda Way in Danville at 7 p.m. To register for the event and submit questions, contact Nora Petersen at 2900 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, CA 94610 or npetersen@oakdiocese.org.

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A time to mourn

Diocesan Chancery employees joined the deacon community last month in mourning the tragic death of Kevin Gardere, Jr., grandson of Deacon Thom and Deanie McGowan and nephew of Casey White, who works in diocesan Propagation of the Faith office.

Gardere was just 21 years of age when he became the victim of a random shooting in Richmond on Nov. 19. Survivors also include his parents, Patricia Fletcher and Kevin Gardere, Sr. and a brother, Kourtland Fletcher. The funeral took place Nov. 29 at Peniel Missionary Baptist Church in El Sobrante.

Deacon McGowan, who assists at St. John the Baptist Parish in El Cerrito, is director of the diocese’s services and administration division. Deanie McGowan retired last year after many years as an administrative assistant for Chancery staff.

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Around the Schools

The Cadette Girl Scout Troop 2351 at St. Joseph Elementary School in Alameda is sponsoring their Operation One Warm Coat Drive through Dec. 16. New or gently used coats can be dropped off at 1910 San Antonio Dr in Alameda during school hours. For more information call (510) 357-2616. The school also participated in the annual Toys for Tots Drive with the U.S. Marine Corps, Nov. 28-Dec. 9.

The third grade students at St. Joseph School in Pinole celebrated Veterans Day with two special guests – Lloyd Parry, a veteran of World War II, and Richard Parry, a Vietnam veteran – who answered the students’ questions. The students prepared a book to send to the Veterans’ Home filled with letters of praise for those who served in the military. They also made U.S. flags out of popsicle sticks and sang patriotic songs.

All the youth of St. Bede Parish in Hayward joined together for a Thanksgiving prayer service, led by Father Seamus Farrell, pastor, that included the collection of food for Thanksgiving baskets and the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul food bank. The Confirmation classes collected and stored the food.

Congratulations go to Julena Gonzales, a sophomore at Holy Names High School in Oakland, who won the top prize in a T-shirt contest sponsored by ELLEgirl magazine. Her anti-smoking message and design earned the Richmond resident a trip to the Fashion for a Cause fashion show in Tampa, Florida. Her T-shirt was sold at the fashion show, which raised funds for hurricane relief.

Bonnie Sussman, a social studies teacher at Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School, traveled to Vilnius, Lithuania, last month to help secondary school teachers develop a Holocaust education curriculum. Sussman is one of 17 teachers nationwide named to the Regional Education Corps of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. As auxiliary members of the museum staff they conduct programs at the museum’s request. Sussman has been teaching an elective Holocaust semester course at the Oakland campus since 1995.

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Sports round-up

Let’s raise the roof for the many student-athletes and teams that earned league titles, championships and honorable mentions during the last weeks of the fall sports season:

Concord’s De La Salle High School football team earned its 14th straight North Coast Section 4A championship Dec. 3 at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland. The Spartans defeated the previously unbeaten Pirates of San Leandro High team 14-0.

The football team at Salesian High School in Richmond rallied from a 10-point deficit to win the North Coast Section Class A championship, the first ever NCS football title in the school’s history. The Chieftains defeated the Ferndale Wildcats 35-31 Dec. 3 at Orinda’s Miramonte High School.

Despite outstanding play, the St. Mary’s High Panthers of Berkeley lost the California Interscholastic Federation Division IV girls volleyball title Dec. 3 to the Lancers of Francis Parker of San Diego 26-24, 25-20, 25-9, at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.

Alexi Pappas, a sophomore at Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High, placed fourth in the Division III girl’s race at the California Interscholastic Federation State Cross Country Championships on Nov. 26. She covered the 5K course in 18 minutes, 19 seconds. The BOD girls team placed 13th at the meet.

Ben Gutierrez and Ariel Wright , both seniors at O’Dowd, took individual men’s and women’s cross country Division III titles at the NCS championship meet, Nov. 19 at Hayward High.

Frances Leung, an O’Dowd senior, captured the Hayward Area Athletic League singles title on Nov. 5 by defeating Amanda Decoulode of San Leandro High 6-1, 6-2. Leung advanced to the NCS championships where she fell 6-1, 6-2 to No. 4 seed Noel Eades of Carondelet High of Concord on Nov. 15.

Meanwhile the annual Diocesan Cross Country Meet at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland marked the close of the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) Cross Country season. Over 500 young people ran at the meet, representing 27 parishes in the Oakland Diocese. St. Mary Parish in Walnut Creek won the team awards in three divisions: 3-5 grade girls, 6-8 grade girls and 6-8 boys. St. Joseph in Alameda won the 3-5 grade boys division. Individual grade division winners were: Linda Lu (St. Joan of Arc, San Ramon), 5th grade and under girls; Cameron Berkins (Corpus Christi , Piedmont) 5th grade and under boys; Nicole Hood (St. John Vianney, Walnut Creek) 6-8 grade girls; and Greg Harper (St. John Vianney) 6-8 grade boys.

The CYO winter sports season has begun, and now it’s raining volleyballs and basketballs. This year there are 118 girls CYO volleyball teams and 1,041 CYO basketball teams, boys and girls. This means over 11,000 young people in 63 parishes will be playing.

According to Bill Ford, diocesan CYO director, 2,042 basketball coaches and 217 volleyball coaches were certified this year after attending a diocesan-sponsored workshop that includes the philosophy of coaching young people, coaching as a Christian and youth ministry, diocesan-mandated safe environment training and CYO policies.

All CYO coaches are checked through Megan’s Law.

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Among the Religious

For 23 years Deacon Dave Rezendes and Christmas spirit have walked hand in hand – and this year is no different. The jolly deacon has once again orchestrated his annual display of Christmas lights – more than 250,000 lights to be exact – for all to see and enjoy in his very own front yard at 352 Hillcrest Ave. in Livermore. The display will be open 6 – 9:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and will be open an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays. No admission is charged, but donations will be accepted for Santa’s Secret Service, which brings Christmas cheer to local hospitals, nursing homes, and shelters. The display will power down on Jan. 1 at 9 p.m.

The Adrian Dominican Sisters, a congregation of over 900 vowed members, unanimously adopted a public resolution last month asking Congress to support a policy to withdraw all U.S. military troops and bases from Iraq. The resolution, “A Sensible Transition to an Enduring Peace,” was crafted by the Friends Committee on National Legislation and will be sent to each congressional representative where the Adrian Dominicans reside. In the Oakland Diocese, the Sisters maintain a convent at St. Lawrence O’Toole Parish in Oakland and several members have individual residences in the East Bay.

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Names, News, Notes

Congratulations to Loreto and Salve Almazol, affectionately known as Al and Betty, who recently celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary. They have been members of St. Joseph Parish in Pinole since 1965.

Many blessings also go to Mary and Tony Adami, members at St. Leander Parish in San Leandro, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Nov. 22.

Best wishes and continued happiness to Michael and Mary Ann Morrisroe who marked the 50th year of their marriage on Nov. 19. The Morrisroes were members of St. Elizabeth Parish in Oakland from 1955-70. They have been parishioners at St. Clement in Hayward from 1970 to the present.

Also celebrating 50 golden years of matrimony are Arturo and Rosemary Grajeda, members of St. Michael Parish in Livermore. We applaud you!

The University of San Francisco School of Law has named Judith P. Epstein, a
Piedmont resident and a Review Court Judge for the California State Bar Court, its Alumna of the Year. Epstein, who was honored Dec. 2, was one of the first women to be named a partner at Crosby, Heafy, Roach and May (now Reed Smith), where she specialized in First Amendment litigation and media law.

Heather Lawrence, a member at St. Bonaventure Parish in Concord, traveled to Columbus, Georgia, to participate in the annual protest at the former School of the Americas.

Local residents joined city officials and community leaders Dec. 7 for the 15th annual Candlelight Vigil for Homeless and At-Risk Youth in Oakland. Coordinated by Covenant House California, which has a community service center, a crisis shelter and a transitional living program in Oakland, the vigil included a march from two Oakland locations to city hall where participants called for action on issues plaguing troubled young people.

Attention student artists! The Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC) of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is sponsoring an art contest for children in 1st through 6th grades. The contest’s theme is “How the Good News Gets Around.” The young artists are invited to draw a picture of how Jesus would tell the Good News today. For entry information go to the CCC website at www.CatholicCommunicationCampaign.org. The deadline for submission is March 1. Contest winners will be announced May 1.

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