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December 11, 2006VOL. 44, NO. 22Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese


New parish center
bustling in Moraga

Above, Father Paul Minnihan, pastor of St. Monica Parish in Moraga, leads a parish meeting in one of the six dual-use classrooms of the new Parish Education and Activities Center (PEACe). The facility, dedicated in October, provides much needed space for parish ministries. The project began under former parish administrator Cath McGhee (right) seen outside the building with Father Minnihan.


Papal honor
Mary Carmen Batiza, an employee of the Oakland Diocese for 43 years, shows the Benemerenti Medal she received last month for her long and meritorious service to the Church. Bishop Allen Vigneron conferred the medal, a papal honor last conferred in the diocese 10 years ago. Batiza began working for the San Francisco Archdiocese in 1958 and transferred to the Oakland Diocese in 1963. She served as secretary and office manager in various departments including the offices of the vicar general and chancellor. She was appointed diocesan archivist in 1989. A self-described history buff, she is co-author with Deacon Jeffrey Burns of “We Are the Church: A History of the Diocese of Oakland,” published in 2002 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the diocese.

State champions
Carondelet High School’s cross country team recently won the Division II state championship. They are: front row, from left, Nicole Rumore, Erin Mulligan, Sara Aliotti, Nicole Hood, Kelly Houser, Heather Cerney; back row, from left, Coach Mary Ann Grubb, Coach Katie Himsl, Andrea Guthrie, Arianna Nelson, Ashley Chavez, Coach Nate Meyer, and Coach Erin Davis. All the students are former CYO cross country or CYO track and field participants. The Concord team was one of 20 invited to the Nike Team Nationals where they placed 16th and took home “team of the future” recognition.

HNHS honors excellence

Oakland’s Holy Names High School recently awarded its highest honor, the Durocher Medal, to Karen and Ross Scroggs and Cornell Maier for their support of the school.

Karen and Ross Scroggs, alum parents, were cited for their generosity of time and talents, including setting up for school events or cleaning up after, driving and coaching track, traveling with the school’s athletes to the International Track Meet, designing and troubleshooting the school’s computer systems and networks.

Cornell Maier, retired CEO of Kaiser Aluminum, is a longtime friend of the Sisters of the Holy Names. He has provided financial assistance for many students at HNHS, at the Next Step Learning Center and Holy Names University.

The honors were given during the Food for Thought Dinner that raised over $74,000 for tuition assistance to the 49 percent of HNHS students who receive financial aid.

The Durocher Medal is named for Marie Rose Durocher, founder of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. The Sisters established Holy Names High School in 1868 and continue as its sponsor.

Parishioner’s new book

Letters that a Berkeley parishioner wrote to her mother while working in the Peace Corps in Brazil helped provide the inspiration of her new book, “Provocaciones: Letters From the Prettiest Girl in Arvin.”

Rafaela Castro, a member of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Berkeley, spent part of her youth in Arvin, a town in the San Joaquin Valley. In 1964 she joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in Brazil where she worked on public health issues, including vaccination campaigns and nutritional education. During that time she wrote many letters to her mother.

Shortly before her death in 1997, Castro’s mother returned the letters to her. “There were 125 letters altogether, and many of them were very extensive,” Castro said. After reading them again she decided to write a book based on her experiences.

The book is a compilation of essays that reflect the life of a traditional Mexican family in which ethical, moral, religious, and cultural values are revealed through a small girl educated in a Catholic home. The essays cover the years from the late 1930s, when her parents married and came to California from New Mexico, to the 1990s when their lives ended.

“It is a very personal work and it has much history,” said Castro, who began to work on the book in 1998.

Castro, who has lectured in Ethnic Bibliography and Chicano Studies at UC Berkeley, recently retired from the Humanities/Social Services Department of the Shields Library at the University of California, Davis. For more information about her book, visit www.Chusmahouse.com.


Around the Schools

The student council at St. Peter Martyr School in Pittsburg has raised $883.76 for students at Kasimu School in Malawi’s Manyesa Village. The original goal of the fundraiser had been $400.

Kennette Hoke of Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School recently completed her Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. Hoke, a Girl Scout for 11 years, organized a “Healthy Kids Healthy Minds” fair at the Reach Academy School in Oakland. She gathered a group of volunteers and local organizations to provide informational and entertaining messages about health and safety to the young students who learned about properly using crosswalks, the importance of staying away from alcohol and drugs, and selecting healthy foods.

More news from BOD: John Bowler recently became one of three local student-athletes to win a 2006 East Bay Football Officials Association (EBFOA) Scholarship. A professional organization that provides officials for several Bay Area athletic leagues, the EBFOA offers scholarships to local student-athletes to help them to pursue a college education. Each student-athlete received a $1,000 scholarship.

Jahvid Best, a running back at Salesian High School in Richmond, turned in a performance on the field last month that was his personal best and then some. In a game against the visiting King’s Academy-Sunnyvale he rushed for 421 yards and eight touchdowns, helping his team to a 63-34 victory and earning himself a place in local record books. Best completed the regular season with 35 touchdowns and a single-season rushing record of 2,612 yards, according to CalHiSports.com.

Some 300 educators from around the nation gathered in San Francisco for the annual Huether Lasallian Conference, Nov. 30 – Dec. 2. Educators who work in schools and colleges sponsored by the Christian Brothers, including St. Mary’s High School in Berkeley, De La Salle High School in Concord, and St. Mary’s College in Moraga, explored “Roles and Movements in the Lasallian Educational Mission.”

Speaking of St. Mary’s College: Hisham H. Ahmed, an expert on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, joined the faculty this fall after teaching at Birzeit University in Palestine; Professor Robert Gardner has been made an affiliated member of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christians Schools, the highest honor the order bestows on individuals who embody the mission of the Brothers; Professor Paolo Sensi-Isolani and alum Lisa Pieraccini organized and are curators of an exhibit at Fort Mason’s Museo Italo-Americano, “Planting Roots, Reaping the Harvest,” which details the contributions of Italian immigrants to the Napa/Sonoma wine industry. The exhibit runs through Jan. 28.

Students at Wood Rose Academy, an independent Catholic school in Concord, participated in the school’s annual Charity Walk on Dec. 8. A group of seventh and eighth graders along with some parents walked three miles together in honor of “Cath,” a cystic fibrosis patient, and Sean Sanders of Concord who has autism. Students also held a raffle before the walk to raise funds to buy, wrap and deliver toys to patients at Children’s Hospital in Oakland for Christmas.

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Names, News, Notes

Many blessings and best wishes go to Monica and Bob Foley, members of St. Monica Parish in Moraga, who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

The Seldom Seen Acting Company, made up of low-income and homeless men from the Champion Guidance Center sponsored by Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County, will perform Dec. 16 at St. Catherine of Siena Church, 1100 Estudillo St., in Martinez, at 1 p.m. A freewill offering for the acting company will be accepted.

The first Spanish language retreat for those who are healing after abortion will be held Dec. 15-17. It will be offered by a bilingual, bicultural team and will include various exercises that will help move participants toward healing. The cost is $150 per person or $200 per couple. For confidential information and an application, contact Monika at (510) 267-8335 or MRodman@oakdiocese.org. Also see www.rachelsvineyard.org.

Single, Catholic men ages 21 years and over are invited to attend a Discernment Retreat, Jan. 26-28 at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park. It is designed to help those who have thought about or wish to explore the possibility of becoming a priest. For more information, contact the diocesan vocations office at (510) 267-8356.

Our Lady of Guadalupe T-shirts with the message “Pro-Vida, Por Vida” are on sale for $5 each. Created by a San Francisco graphic artist, the shirts bear an original design in blue, gold and red on a white shirt. Contact Monika at (510) 267-8394 or MRodman@oakdiocese.org.

Next Voice: Jan. 8. Send submissions, by Dec. 28 to Carrie McClish, 3014 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, 94610; phone: (510) 419-1074; fax: (510) 893-4734; e-mail: cmcclish@oakdiocese.org.

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