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  February 19, 2007VOL. 45, NO. 4Oakland, CA

articles list

St. Leo students speak out against violence

He rebuilt his life after cancer ravaged his face

Fish Fry - a popular Lenten tradition
Lenten Friday Fish Fry schedules

Parishes offer
a variety of Lenten activities

Typhoon survivors in Philippines are desperate for food

Operation Rice Bowl gives U.S. Catholics a way to show solidarity

Catholic agencies ask rich countries to prove they will increase aid

Failed economic policy in Latin America is the cause of migration

Catholic presidential candidates abound

Justice Scalia says Constitution is not a living document for justices to rewrite

Black Catholic priest retraces his own history

Nuns acknowledge
racism in their past, pledge to fight it

Media execs asked to rethink marketing
techniques deemed harmful to children

Parishes urged to improve accounting

Lenten fasting is about more than growing in self-control

Why do we use ashes for Lent?

Sister Josephine Gilbert, PBVM

Sister Anna Marie Towers, CSC



























St. Leo students speak out against violence

Matthew Challenger
Grand Prize - Grades Pre-K–2
Sylvia Allmon
Grand Prize, Grades 6-8

After the sister-in-law of St. Leo School’s principal was killed by a stray bullet while walking to a bus stop in Oakland, the parish social justice committee decided to sponsor an essay and art contest on the theme of peace and non-violence.

The entire faculty embraced the contest, working with their students in what became a “very thought provoking experience,” said Sonya Simril, principal. Students in pre-K through grade 2 created posters with a slogan. Students in grades 3-5 wrote essays with accompanying graphics and the sixth through eighth graders created powerpoint presentations.

The first place winner in each grade received two tickets to the Grand Lake Theatre and the grand prize winner in each category received a savings bond.
Grand Prize Winners:
Pre-K – grade 2: Matthew Challenger
Grades 3-5: Kayla Jones
Grades 6-8: Sylvia Allmon

First Place Winners:
Pre-K: Maria Roman Vasquez
Kindergarten: Olivia Musoke
Grade 1: Robert Wood
Grade 2: Maks Bialek
Grade 3: Mustafa Bey
Grade 4: Shakara Hooks
Grade 5: Jada Tillottson
Grade 6: Kendall Johnson
Grade 7: Leanna Bremond
Grade 8: David Thomas





















Kim Nguyen
Grade 1

Felice Luu
Grade 5

"We can work toward peace in our world by acting like Jesus. Another idea is to treat others as you want to be treated. The last thing is to treat everybody equally, as brother and sister, like a family!"
Laura Peterson
Grade 4

Have a Non-Violence Day

In my neighborhood, there is a lot of violence. Every time I step outside my house, my heart begins pounding with the fear that I could get shot, robbed or kidnapped. On every street corner in my community, I see someone either getting hurt or arrested.
In February of 2006, my brother Skylar was shot at a college party. Luckily our prayers and good doctors helped him live.
If you look at my face you will see a smiling girl almost all the time, but if you were in my shoes your heart will ache and moan with every fight I see on the street. With every tear I shed, and every heart that pounds, I pray for peace.
Therefore, our community can be must better if we do the following:
** Write a letter to the mayor asking for an end to violence in Oakland.
** Community service to help with conflicts.
**Try to raise funds for our public schools.
** Forgiveness
** Peace talks
**Town meetings
And most importantly, don’t forget to “Have a Non-Violence Day.”
Jada Tillotson
First Place, Grade 5

Jada Tillotson
First Place, Grade 5

Shakara Hooks,
First Place, Grade 4

"If every person in the world would want for other people, as they want for themselves and treat other people as they would want to be treated, then I think this would make the world a better place to live in."
Mustafa Bey Jr.
First Place, Grade 3


Challenge for a Change

Here in the community of Oakland, there is a lot of violence. Many of Oakland’s citizens want this violence to stop. People are getting hurt or killed almost every day. Some of Oakland’s citizens try to help our community. We should all try hard to stop the violence.
If I was mayor of Oakland, I would make a holiday for the citizens of Oakland. It would be called “Challenge for a Change Day.” I would have people to go to schools to educate children about violence in our world and how we can stop it.
I would say speeches during a protest on violence. On this day, I will sell shirts that say “Challenge for a Change” to raise money for children to go to school. I would do this because if children go to school and have success in their school work, they will not be caught up in gang violence or other violent things.
Kayla Jones
Grand Prize, Grades 3-5

Kayla Jones
Grand Prize, Grades 3-5

Catholic Charities forms task force
to help stop violence in East Ba

Through a task force formed late last year, Catholic Charities of the East Bay (CCEB) is bringing together parishioners and leaders from civic and community groups to discuss and brainstorm possible responses to violent crime in local neighborhoods.

The 12-member task force includes representatives from at least four parishes, the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Oakland Community Organizations (OCO), and the City of Oakland, said Solomon Belette, CCEB executive director. He formed the group with Father Jayson Landeza, pastor at Oakland’s St. Columba Parish and a chaplain with the Oakland Police Dept.

Although based in Oakland, the task force has plans to focus on issues involving crime and violence in Antioch, Richmond, Pittsburg and other cities as well. “Crime is a diocesan-wide issue," said Belette. “This group was formed because we all felt the need to do something about it.”

The group, which has already met for four sessions, has shared how violence “is affecting all of us,” Belette said. Pastors who attended the meetings have talked about how violence is impacting their parishes. The meetings are an opportunity to share the grief and anger that people are dealing with, said Belette.

“It is important that we do that. It helps us to understand where folks are coming from.”

In response to the emergence of the task force, CCEB was awarded funding from Measure Y, an initiative passed by Oakland voters in 2004 to finance violence protection and public safety programs and services. The funds are being used to directly help victims of violence in Oakland. For example, CCEB is providing grief counseling, said Father Landeza.

The task force plans to continue gathering information on local crime and compile information on programs that have been successful in violence. Their goal is to offer a diocesan-wide response to crime and violence in the East Bay.



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