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 October 8, 2007   •   VOL. 45, NO. 17   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

Saturday Night with Jesus

I became a Catholic at St. Raymond Church in Dublin in 1996. Today, my husband and I are members of the spirited Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill. I have attended possibly over 1,000 Masses in the 11 years of being a Catholic. Each one of them, Sunday or a weekday Mass, is so holy and beautiful.

The Mass I attended recently at St. Elizabeth Seton in Pleasanton was extraordinary. Bishop Allen Vigneron presided. It was a “Saturday Night with Jesus” and it happens once a month in our diocese. This particular Mass lasted about 2 hours, full of music and singing.

It was also my sixth wedding anniversary. My husband and I were especially blessed when Bishop Vigneron laid his hands on both our heads at the same time and prayed. He did this for everyone — blessing us all, late into the night.

I know I am sealed in Christ. I know I belong to a very special diocese. I encourage anyone to seek out special this Mass, when it’s offered.

Mary McCarthy
Via email

Correct the misperception

Most Catholics have watched with sadness and perhaps puzzlement in recent years as inner-city Catholic elementary schools have been closing and high schools have, as a natural result, been struggling to survive.

Yet the number of Catholic children in the very same inner-city areas in our diocese has simultaneously been increasing. This increasing population is primarily Hispanic. Why aren’t more of these traditionally Catholic families sending their children to what are often the best educational, not to mention religious formation, opportunities available?

A common answer — or “cop out” — is that Hispanic immigrants viewed Catholic schools in their countries of origin as limited to the privileged class. Some seem to accept that perception as a view that we are powerless to change. Whatever the reality in other countries, that should not and need not be the case here.

All of us — but especially parish, diocesan, and school staff — need to work both on correcting this misperception and augmenting financial aid for economically struggling Catholic families.

In addition, we need to convince those families that a Catholic education is worth financial sacrifices on their part. If we fail, we will continue to see our remaining inner-city elementary and high schools either close or become simply private, as opposed to Catholic, schools.

Combined with our failure to build more schools where we have large financially well-off Catholic populations, this problem poses serious questions about the future of Catholicism. With the steady decline in priests and religious, we can not afford to lose these training grounds for future leaders of the Church.

Bob Norris

Defending marriage

Western cultural and legal history has never thought of marriage as anything but the union of a man and woman. But just as most abortion proponents want to skip the debate about when life begins and argue about “choice,” most homosexual activists want to skip the argument about what marriage is.

Instead, they argue about “rights” or “discrimination.” But the fact is, the law already restricts who can or cannot marry. Marriage is restricted by age, by previous marriage status, and by kinship, for starters. Marriage necessarily has to be “discriminatory.” Its definition has to exclude other pairings (roommates, brothers and sisters, etc.) from claiming the benefits given to married couples.

Marriage performs crucial functions — the propagation and protection of children, and conforming sexual relationships to morality. Homosexual “marriage” would do none of those things.

There is also an inconvenient truth that few are willing to mention: homosexual lifestyles are not healthy — physically, emotionally or morally. During my 30-year career as an Inspector in the Sex Crimes and Homicide Details of the San Francisco Police Department, I witnessed this fact firsthand.

Doctors advertise heavily in homosexual publications because male homosexual sex routinely injures its participants. Even in countries where homosexuality is accepted, the evidence is irrefutable that homosexuals suffer higher rates of depression, drug and alcohol addictions, and suicide than the general public.

Children are bound to suffer if their parents are part of the homosexual scene. From the Village People song “YMCA” to the Showtime television show “Queer as Folk,” homosexual culture has long celebrated sex with teens.

Marriage is the permanent sacred bond uniting a man and woman who desire to constitute a family and face life’s trials together. Marriage entails selfless dedication, devotion and sacrifice. Marriage and the family are sacred institutions that foster the common good of society.

The legalization of same-sex “marriage” and its placement on equal footing with traditional marriage subverts and destroys the latter.

Jim Crowley
Walnut Creek

Holy Cross connections

I enjoyed reading the article about Father Basil Moreau, founder of the Holy Cross religious community of priests, Brothers and Sisters, and his beatification ceremony (Voice, Sept. 3). Since Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward is named after him, the emphasis was great.

However, there were and are other Holy Cross connections in the Oakland Diocese.

The Holy Cross priests served St. Clement Parish in Hayward from 1980 until 2001. The Sisters of the Holy Cross taught at St. Bernard School in Oakland from 1930 until 1980. The Holy Cross priests currently have a house in Berkeley.

Agnes McGee

Notice to seniors

Some seniors 62 and older and people who are blind or disabled are eligible for a $340 cash refund from the state of California, even if they did not file a tax return last year.

This unusual benefit is called the 2007 Homeowner and Renter Assistance.
To be eligible, you must have paid $50 or more per month for rent in 2006, or you owned and lived in your own home; your total household income for 2006 was $42,770 or less; you are a U.S. citizen or qualified alien.

The claim form is 9000H/9000R. It is simple! Free assistance is available at (800) 868-4171, or go to www.ftb.ca.gov and search for HRA, or call your Assemblymember’s office.

You must file form 9000H or 9000R by Oct. 15, if you want a quick refund.

Ron Deziel
El Sobrante

Latin unifies

It seems odd somehow that the “catholic” Church has completely separate Hispanic ministries, Vietnamese ministries, and everyone-else ministries. In a town where everyone speaks English, it might be perfectly reasonable to have the Mass in English. In a town where people speak a number of different languages, celebrating Mass in all those different languages can be a good thing in some ways, but it also tends to reinforce the divisions in the community.

Here in the multi-cultural Bay Area, I think the Latin Mass could be a wonderfully unifying experience. Because Latin is a foreign language for everyone, it is one thing we can easily share, even if most of our studying, working, and socializing have to be separate.

I would like to be able to pray along with my neighbors, even if I cannot speak with them.

Nancy LeBlanc

The opinions expressed in letters to Reader's Forum are the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Voice or the Oakland Diocese.

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