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October 9, 2006VOL. 44, NO. 17Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

SPRED retreat
After presiding at the closing liturgy of 29th annual SPRED Labor Day retreat, Bishop Allen Vigneron (back row center) joined some of the participants and catechists: Back row (from left), Bill Turner, Laura Dwight, Dolores Vargas, Tony Vargas, Marguerite Chatigny; middle row (from left), Holy Family Sister Aurora Perez (SPRED director), Cindy Chua, Gina Damerell, Maggie Orozco; front row (from left), David Louisell, Monica McHugh, John Paul Alston. Sixty-seven adults with developmental disabilities and 33 helper catechists from 40 parishes in the Oakland Diocese spent the weekend at San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville reflecting on the theme “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Monument dedication
Father Mathew Vellankal, parochial administrator at Holy Spirit Parish in Fremont, blesses a new monument of the 10 Commandments, Sept. 10, in front of the parish center. The dedication took place after a Mass celebrating the 50th anniversary of Holy Spirit School. Father Bob Mendonca, a member of the first graduating class, presided. The George A. Coit Council #2692 of the Knights of Columbus paid for the monument.

Visit of Kmhmu bishop
Bishop Louis Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun (right), the first Kmhmu bishop in the long history of his people, receives the Kmhmu community’s Blessing of the Strings after a recent Mass replete with many native ceremonies at St. Paul Church in San Pablo. Bishop Ling’s apostolic vicariate borders Cambodia, Thailand and Laos.

Women in God’s Spirit

Are you a woman seeking to deepen your faith? Women in God’s Spirit (WINGS) may be the group for you. WINGS gathers Christian women for spiritual growth through small group discussions, prayer, Scripture study, life sharing, and other activities.

One group meets at Our Lady of Grace Parish, 3433 Somerset Ave., in Castro Valley, twice a month from 9:15 – 11:20 a.m. in Stack Hall. Childcare is available by reservation. Contact Wendy Pasadas, (510) 538-7951.

Another WINGS group meets weekly – from 9:10 – 11:10 a.m. – at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, 1315 Lomitas Ave., in Livermore. Franciscan Father Rusty Shaughnessy from San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville will be speaking before this group on Oct. 12 (see the Datelines page for more information.) Childcare is provided for a nominal fee. Registration fee to join, $25/year, includes materials. Mary Fair, (925) 447-4549 or bob.mary.venter@comcast.net.

Gala for senior program

AlmaVia Assisted Living in Union City is observing its first year anniversary this month and is organizing a party to celebrate, Oct. 26, from 4 – 6 p.m. at 33883 Alvarado-Niles Road.

The celebration, which is free and open to the public, will include tours of the facility, entertainment and a selection of ethnic foods. Guests can also enjoy healthy and refreshing sugar-free “Jump for Joy” smoothies.

AlmaVia Assisted Living is part of the city’s senior village, which also includes two senior apartment projects and the Ralph and Mary Ruggieri Senior Center. It serves those those in need of assisted living and dementia care services. AlmaVia of Union City is part of Elder Care Alliance, a nonprofit faith-based organization. More information at (510) 489-3800.

EBSC helping immigrants

The East Bay Sanctuary Covenant in Berkeley, which provides legal assistance and advocacy for low-income and indigent refugees and immigrants, recently helped its 700th client receive political asylum. It has also helped over 1,000 Salvadorans renew their temporary protected status (TPS) in the U.S. EBSC is supported by several Catholic parishes and religious communities in the East Bay. Franciscan Sister Maureen Duignan is its executive director.

Catholic-Jewish dialog

The Catholic and Jewish communities in Pleasanton are jointly sponsoring a special six-session program, “Walking God’s Paths: Christians and Jews in Candid Conversation,” beginning Oct. 18. Designed to stimulate real dialog between Jews and Christians, the program will explore the evolving history and relationships of Judaism and Christianity.

Rabbi Richard Winer of Temple Beth Emek, Father Dan Danielson of the Catholic Community of Pleasanton, and Gustavo Nystrom of Pax Christi will serve as facilitators.

The serie is of part of the observance of the 40th anniversary of the historic declaration of the Second Vatican’s “Nostra Aetate.” Although the program is free and open to the public, advance registration is required. Contact Mary Schneider at (925) 484-9013 or mary0531@comcast.net.

Around the Parishes

St. John Parish in San Lorenzo will present “Late Nite Catechism 2,” on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. to raise funds for the Presentation Sisters Retirement Fund. The one-woman play by Maripat Donavan will feature Kimberly Richards, who grew up in Oakland and is an alumnae of Holy Names High School in Oakland. Tickets are $35 per person. Doors will open at 6 p.m. To purchase tickets in advance call Pat at (510) 333-4809 or Debby at (510) 581-6277.

St. Ignatius Parish in Antioch will host the Winter Nights Program next week (Oct. 16 – 23). The program provides emergency shelter for families with children during the winter months by rotating among participating communities in central and eastern Contra Costa County.

Members of St. Anne Parish in Union City gathered on Oct. 1 to pray a Rosary at the “Unborn Memorial” in the church courtyard to mark Pro-Life Memorial Day.

The social concerns committee at St. Joan of Arc Parish in San Ramon will show the global warming documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” on Oct. 22 in the multipurpose room at 7 p.m. Discussion will follow. The parish is located at 2601 San Ramon Valley Blvd.

Much applause goes to the softball team at St. Joseph Parish in Alameda who won their third consecutive league championship in the Alameda Interfaith Athletic Association (A.I.A.A.). The team, coached by Tim Morse, defeated Calvary Christian 22 – 12.

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Around the Schools

Congratulations go to Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School, which has been cited for academic excellence in the recently announced Catholic High School Honor Roll. The Honor Roll is an independent project of the Acton Institute, an international research and educational organization. For the past three years the Michigan-based organization selects the best 50 Catholic secondary high schools in the U.S. as well as the top 25 schools in three categories: academics, Catholic identity and civic education. Other northern California schools that received recognition are Cardinal Newman High School and Ursuline High School, both in Santa Rosa, for Catholic identity.

Speaking of O’Dowd, Sandra Phiri, a native of Malawi, visited the Oakland campus last month to thank students for their contributions to the non-profit Malawi Youth Fund, which had been started by Anna Key, an O’Dowd alum who visited the African country in 2005. The students raised $13,000. Phiri told them much of the money will go towards digging a well that will provide clean water while some of the funds will help bring electricity to a maize mill operated by women in Blantyre, Malawi. Some of the money has already been given to a women’s Malawi Football Association team, reflecting Key’s love of soccer. (Currently Key is the goalkeeper on the women’s soccer team at the University of California at Berkeley.)

Congratulations go to Cristina Chainey, a senior at Salesian High School in Richmond, and to Joseph Marrama, a senior at Bishop O’Dowd High School, recently named semi-finalists in the 2007 National Merit Scholarship Program. Both can compete for one of the 8,200 Merit Scholarship awards offered in the spring.

Salesian High can also claim bragging rights for two athletes who snagged second and third places at the Sacramento State 5K Cross Country Jamboree on Sept. 16. Lora Marchini, a senior, ran the course in 20:27, and Katherine Shelton, a sophomore, turned in a time of 20:58, which was a personal best.

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Among the Religious

Last month Bishop Emeritus John Cummins returned to Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, where he once served as a teacher and dean, to preside at the school year’s opening Mass and to dedicate the former rectory as the Bishop John S. Cummins Center. The Center now houses the campus’ Office of Institutional Advancement and the President’s Office.

Christian Brother Robb Wallace and Deacon Noe Gonzalez will continue the work of the late Christian Brother Chris Bassen as co-directors of The LEO Center. Brother Bassen, who was a founder of the neighborhood learning and tutoring center that served junior high and high school students and adults in north and west Oakland, died of cancer in July.

The California Province of the Society of Jesus recently unveiled a new state-of-the-art web site at www.jesuitscalifornia.org. The site provides a comprehensive overview of the Province’s history, ministries and current activities and serves as a virtual storehouse of spiritual resources as well as information on volunteer opportunities for laypersons in Jesuit ministries. There are audio podcasts on inspirational topics, blogs by Jesuits and laymen working in pastoral and social ministries, and discussion boards on topics such as parish life, education and social ministries.

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Names, News, Notes

Let’s raise the roof with applause for Rachel McGee, a longtime member of St. Elizabeth Parish in Oakland, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday. Born in Lancashire, England, she came to the U.S. in 1920 and settled in the Fruitvale area of Oakland. She married Patrick McGee in 1939, raised five children, served as a homemaker and was an active member in the Mothers Clubs at St. Bernard School, St. Elizabeth School and St. Elizabeth High School. Widowed in 1988 after 49 years of marriage, Rachel McGee continues to reside in the family home. Family and friends surprised her with a birthday luncheon at the Hilton Hotel in Pleasanton.

Many Blessings and Best Wishes go to Clara and Daniel Apodaca, members of St. Edward Parish in Newark, who celebrated the 50th anniversary of their wedding last month. The couple, who married at St. Patrick Church in Oakland, started “going together” when they were 15 and married at age 19. They have five children, 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, nearly all of whom were on hand to celebrate the long union at a Mass where the golden couple renewed their vows. Following the Mass, presided by Precious Blood Father Jeff Finley, the couple were guests of honor at a reception in Alameda organized by their children.

Congratulations also go to Karen and Frank Draschner, members of St. Michael Parish in Livermore, who are celebrating 30 years of marriage.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County (SVDP), along with Pro Arts, Inc., is sponsoring “Recycled Beauty,” an installation by artists-in-residence, Sandy Drobney and Daphne Ruff. The exhibition, which opens on Oct. 13 at noon at the Pro Arts Gallery, 550 Second St, in Oakland’s Jack London Square, will run through Nov. 5. SVDP’s artist in residence program, launched earlier this year, gives artists access to SVDP’s warehouse of donated goods and use of its art studio to create artistic products from otherwise unusable items, which are then sold at SVDP thrift stores.

Got news? Send your school news, anniversaries, parish activities, individual achievements and other happenings in the Catholic community to Carrie McClish at The Catholic Voice, c/o Around The Diocese, 3014 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, Ca 94610; phone: (510) 419-1074; fax (510) 893-4734; e-mail: cmcclish@oakdiocese.org. The deadline for the Oct. 23 issue is Oct. 11.

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