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 October 23, 2006VOL. 44, NO. 18Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

Benefit performance of SJND play
Joyce Henderson, drama teacher at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, rehearses their fall drama production, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” with Deonte Jones-Mims (left) and Jerusalem Cashen. A special benefit performance on Nov. 18 will honor Georgia Vlahos, who retired from teaching English, speech and drama last year after 38 years at SJND. Proceeds will go towards the Georgia Vlahos Endowment Fund to support the school’s drama program. Tickets are $50 and include a pre-performance wine and cheese reception. Purchase deadline is Nov. 2. Call (510) 814-7157.


A visit of thanks
Father Gerard Jean-Juste (left) talks with Father Brian Joyce, pastor of Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill, after thanking the parish for its financial support of the What If Foundation that provides meals to hungry children in his parish in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Father Jean-Juste was in the United States for treatment of leukemia. He was diagnosed while imprisoned in Haiti for his criticism of undemocratic practices there.

Enthusiasm for Stewardship
Children from Holy Spirit Parish in Fremont encourage parishioners to visit the parish’s ministry fair, Oct. 1, at which 49 ministries gave out information about their work. Each ministry created a banner that is on display in the church throughout October, which is Stewardship month.

Praying to end violence

Faure’s Requiem will be performed in the context of a Mass for those who have died through violence, Nov. 5 at St. Augustine Church, 400 Alcatraz Ave. in Oakland. Father Mark Wiesner, pastor, will preside at the 4 p.m. liturgy which is open to all who want to pray for an end to violence.

LAUDATE!, a community-based chorus and orchestra of spiritually aware and socially conscious musicians, will sing the music along with CANTORI, a member of the Pacific Boychoir Academy. Jason Detwiler, a baritone soloist known for his principal roles with the San Jose Opera, and John Stump, an organist and director of music at All Saints Parish in Hayward, will also participate. James Gilman, director of music at St. Augustine Parish, will conduct.

Members of Families and Friends of Murder Victims will read the names of those who have died on the streets of Oakland. A collection will be taken to benefit four non-profit groups: Families and Friends of Murder Victims in Oakland, Youth Uprising, Family Emergency Shelter Coalition (FESCO) in Hayward; and Doctors Without Borders.

Why sing in church?

The National Association of Pastoral Musicians has started an on-line survey to learn what motivates people to sing during liturgy. Anyone who is interested can complete the survey on the organization’s website: www.npm.org.

It lists, among other things, a dozen of possible motivations for singing including: “something I can sing by heart,” “familiar melody,” “easy to sing,” “enthusiasm of the congregation,” and “leadership or cantor or director.”

Votes will be taken through Dec. 31 and the results will be unveiled in early 2007 on the website and in its membership journal, Pastoral Music.

Internet safety class

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to kids and the Internet. A workshop organized by the diocesan Safe Environment Office will provide parents with ways to keep their children safer online.

The next sessions will be held Oct. 26 at St. Clement Parish in Hayward; Oct. 27 at St. John the Baptist Parish in El Cerrito, and Nov. 2 at Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill, all from 7 – 9 p.m. For more information contact the Safe Environment Office at nlibby@oakdiocese.org.

Around the Parishes

Oakland’s St. Jarlath Parish teamed up with Oakland Community Organizations (OCO) and Citibank to offer a free forum on immigration, Oct. 15. Attorneys who specialize in immigration law provided general information on recent changes in the law and gave individual consultations to those who needed it.

Leaders of CCISCO (Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization) at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Concord gathered at Concord United Methodist Church on Oct. 8 for a forum with candidates for the Concord city council to discuss affordable housing for low- and very low-income families, first-source hiring practices, and renters’ protection policies.

Speaking of St. Francis of Assisi Parish… Justus Spillner reported to ATD that his daughter heard a familiar voice on a radio commercial for a well-known Bay Area painting company earlier this month. The voice belonged to Msgr. Edward Varni, founding pastor of the Concord parish formerly known as Most Precious Blood Church. The much beloved pastor died in 1997. Spillner, a good friend of the late priest, quipped “If anyone would come back from the dead, it would be Msgr. Varni.”

Next year Oakland’s St. Augustine Parish will be celebrating its 100th anniversary. Organizers of the anniversary bash need your help. They are desperately seeking photos of the old church, rectory, and school to borrow and reproduce for the event. If you can help, contact the rectory office at (510) 653-8631.

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Around the Schools

Congratulations go to Grace Anderson and Rachel Brylawski of Oakland’s Holy Names High School, who have placed among the top five percent of more than 1.4 million students who entered the 2007 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards.

The National Hispanic Recognition Program has recognized three St. Joseph Notre Dame High School (SJND) students for their academic achievements. Natalie DeLeon and Alyxandria Guzman, both seniors at the Alameda-based school, were named National Hispanic Scholars, and Christopher Meyer, also a senior, was an honorable mention finalist.

And speaking of SJND: PRISMS, the student literary-art magazine, has received a first place with special merit award from the American Scholastic Press Association. Jessica Blomstrom ’06, and Joanna Mooney ’06, served as editors-in-chief for the 2005-2006 magazine that features literary and art works by SJND students.

Two thumbs way up for students at St. Isidore School in Danville whose acts of service include helping at the Loaves and Fishes program in Concord, which serves meals to people in need. Students were also servers and part of the clean-up team during the 45th anniversary celebration at San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville. The Children’s Choir, a joint parish-school venture, provided music at the celebration.

The Yes (Youth Empowerment System) of St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland sponsored a youth violence prevention workshop on Oct. 6 with Richard Santana, an Oakland native, former gang member and Harvard graduate, as the keynote speaker. He spoke of his life as a gang member and how he was able to turn his life around. Pernell Harris, a health educator and recording artist, performed his song, “My Street.”

Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School is pleased with the success of its annual golf tournament, auction and dinner on Oct. 9. The event raised more than $40,000 to help create “technologically advanced” classrooms.

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Among the Religious

Congratulations to Pius Ojara, who was ordained to the diaconate on Oct. 21 at St. Augustine Church in Oakland. As a Jesuit seminarian Deacon Ojara visited sick and homebound members of St. Columba Parish in Oakland over the past couple of years.

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Names, News, Notes

Congratulations go to Tania and Rouben Chakalian, members at St. Isidore Parish in Dublin, who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

Berkeley’s St. Mary Magdalen Parish is remembering the life of Esther M. Owens, who died Oct. 13 at the age of 108 and left behind a legacy of service to the Catholic community. She worked as a secretary and bookkeeper at Marin Catholic High School in Kentfield before becoming secretary/bookkeeper at Corpus Christi Parish in Piedmont, a position she held until age 80. She was a volunteer at the former Providence Hospital for 13 years and earned her 4,000-hour pin. She served as a lector and Eucharistic minister at St. Mary Magdalen through her 95th year. Owens is survived by her daughter, Holy Names Sister Donna Maynard.

A Makeover Miracle recently occurred at Bay Area Crisis Nursery in Concord, which provides temporary shelter for children whose parents are under stress. The Artiflex Fortunatus company, headed by Ondrej Uma and Marketa Umova, offered to do a makeover of one or two rooms at the nursery as part of their community outreach program. When they found major structural problems they put out a call for help and attracted over 100 businesses and close to 1000 volunteers who joined the effort to demolish and completely rebuild the faulty building in about two weeks. An ecumenical home blessing and ribbon cutting for the newly rebuilt 4,700 square-foot structure was held Oct. 1.

VOLUNTEER ALERT!: Learn how you can help women facing an unplanned pregnancy at a volunteer training program sponsored by The Valley Pregnancy Center in Dublin. The training sessions will be held Nov. 13, 15 and 20 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. For more information, call (925) 828-4458.

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 Nov. 6 issue is Oct. 25.

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