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November 5, 2007   •   VOL. 45, NO. 19   •   Oakland, CA

articles list

Cathedral provost talks about dedication plans

Cathedral work progressing

Catholic churches, agencies reach out to wildfire victims

St. Vincent de Paul Kitchen of Champions trains would-be chefs

Laptops transform learning at St. Joachim

MacBooks become part of student life at Moreau Catholic High in Hayward

Cancer survivor advocates for Latino families

Ten East Bay groups receive grants for work to end poverty

Actor reprises one-man performance of ´Damien═

Nicaragua: the continuing struggle to remain hopeful amidst dire poverty

Guatemalan adoption reform may shatter orphan care there

Religion seen as a factor in 2008 presidential race

New LCWR president comments on future of women religious

Deacon Dennis Rivera














Cathedral provost talks about dedication plans
Bishop Allen Vigneron has announced that the new Cathedral of Christ the Light will be dedicated on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008. Father Paul Minnihan, the cathedral’s provost, is responsible for overseeing all of the dedication events as well as plans for the ministries that will take place within the cathedral complex. Last week The Voice talked with Father Minnihan about his work.

It’s been three months since you began your work as provost for the Cathedral of Christ the Light, charged with identifying and planning for the primary ministries within the cathedral. What has been your primary focus so far?

Father Paul Minnihan

It’s been an amazing three months. To start, I had to open an office that did not exist and that took more time than I ever expected. Working with Sister Rose Marie Hennessy, chairperson of the cathedral planning process, has been a delight.

I’ve been deeply involved in the planning process for the cathedral ministries and establishing the three advisory commissions to Bishop Vigneron. Once the planning group has completed its task, the commissions will serve as the bodies charged with implementation of the plan. These commissions — sacred worship, evangelization and catechesis, outreach and solidarity — will begin to meet to discuss both vision and purpose.

In conjunction with these tasks, I have been given oversight of the budget for sacred art and design. It’s been great to work with Father Ron Schmit, who has a degree in interior architecture design, and Brother William Woeger, our liturgical consultant.

Most exciting is the planning of the dedication events for the cathedral and the various celebrations that will mark this Year of Jubilee.

You mentioned the three commissions. What’s happening so far with each of these?

Two of the three commissions have been shaped and their membership identified. The Sacred Worship Commission has 22 members. We are blessed in the diocese with people of amazing expertise. The bishop has brought some of these persons together to advise him.

This commission will be divided into three committees — liturgy and rites, art and environment, and music. All the members will meet in early December to discuss the commission’s mission and purpose and to begin work on the time sensitive design of the dedication. The group will also begin to chart its long-range goals.

The Evangelization and Catechesis Commission has a membership of 22 as well. We will begin to meet in early December and begin the task of constructing tools for evangelization and catechesis that help us to enter more deeply into the identity of our cathedral as Christ the Light, to be enlightened by the union of Catholic tradition and spirituality with contemporary architectural design.

Membership on this commission is a broad cross section of persons, including directors of faith formation, elementary and secondary school teachers and administrators, representatives from higher education, and pastors.

The Commission for Outreach and Solidarity will be formed in the new year. Presently, I am in the process of meeting persons in the ecumenical and civic communities to discuss the importance of this commission and the bishop’s vision for the cathedral to be a significant contributor to build the common good, advocate for human rights, and defend the dignity of persons at risk.

Last week Bishop Vigneron announced that the cathedral will be dedicated on Sept. 25. What can you tell us about the dedication ceremony?

Yes, the cathedral church will be dedicated on Thursday, Sept. 25 at 2 p.m.

In anticipation of the dedication, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14, we will open the cornerstone of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral, which was set on 21st and San Pablo on Sept. 13, 1891. We will remember with great affection and gratitude the tremendous gift of our first cathedral and the significant role it played in our diocese, the life of the East Bay, and the entire nation for that matter.

The intensified period of dedication will culminate on Sunday, Nov. 2 — All Souls Day — with the dedication of the mausoleum and the re-interment of our first bishop, Floyd Begin, in the new cathedral.

These three events will inaugurate an entire Year of Jubilee and celebration which will link our cathedral with the whole East Bay — the ecumenical and inter-religious community, the civic community, the cultural arts community, and the community of higher education to name a few.

Are committees being formed to work on the various aspects of the dedication?

Presently, there is a dedication events planning group that continues to make recommendations to the bishop for the host of events to mark this inaugural year for our cathedral.

How can Catholics throughout the diocese get involved?

This cathedral belongs to the people of our diocese. It is our cathedral. Sister Rose Marie and I are in discussion over how best to communicate this ownership of the cathedral.

The events that will mark our Year of Jubilee will become magnets to draw parishioners from all our parishes into the light of Christ that is made manifest at the cathedral. In fact, the dedication events will involve women, men, children, youth and young adults and reflect the rich ethnic diversity that is the Church of Oakland.

The cathedral complex will include a book store and café. Have any plans been made for them?

We now have an operations officer, Dolores Robison, who will begin naming potential vendors required to operate the entire cathedral complex, which includes the management of the café and bookstore.

You mentioned that the mausoleum will be dedicated on Nov. 2, 2008. Can parishioners make arrangements now to be buried there?

Bob Mallon, chair of the Catholic Cemeteries advisory board and a member of Holy Spirit Parish in Fremont, and Robert Sellig, the head of our cemeteries, have begun to shape a pre-need program for the cathedral mausoleum.

In fact, they and everyone involved with our Catholic cemeteries are great advocates for pre-planning. If a parishioner wants to consider making burial plans at the cathedral mausoleum or wants more information, they can contact them at (925) 946-1440.

Your work sounds like a huge undertaking. How are you keeping all of the components of the planning going forward?

Let me tell you, my prayer life has never been as rich as it is now! And, I’m surrounded by wonderful people committed to our cathedral. With them, I continue to place everything into a timeline so that my focus is limited to what is in front of me. If I did not do this, then I would be in a state of absolute paralysis.

My ability to go forward is a direct result of working with Bishop Vigneron and Bishop Cummins. This has been a gift. Their excitement feeds my excitement and their vision for the cathedral complex is so fresh that the vast mission of the Oakland Cathedral will bring a newness to cathedral culture. It’s awesome . . . just awesome!

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