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 December 17, 2007   •   VOL. 45, NO. 21    •   Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

Songs for the season
Students at Corpus Christi School in Piedmont sing in the parish church during the annual school Christmas concert, Dec. 10.   CNS PHOTO/GREG TARCZYNSKI
Sounds of Joy
Students from St. Peter Martyr School in Pittsburg bring the message of Christ and a cheery helping of Christmas joy to the City of Pittsburg during its Christmas festival.  ST. PETER MARTYR SCHOOL PHOTOI

Offering comfort
Lauren Williams, a student at Oakland’s Holy Names High School, adds words of encouragement for those living with HIV and AIDS during the school’s observance of World AIDS Day.

Cheers for school teams!

A big round of applause to the football team at Oakland’s St. Elizabeth High School — winless in 2006 — which pulled off a dramatic turnaround to claim the title of Class B champions on Dec. 1! The Mustangs defeated St. Vincent High 12-0 in the North Coast Section Class B championship game at Santa Rosa High to earn the first section title in the school’s history.

High-fives to Fred Sims and his coaching staff who kept the team focused and eager to move past an injury-ridden 2006 season that ended the Mustangs’ three-year run of post-season appearances. “From nothing to something — that was our motto this year,” said sophomore running back Dave Douglas, who missed six games with a broken collarbone and declared that when he returned he would lead St. Elizabeth to the title. “We just worked,” said Harry Jamerson, senior lineman. “For the seniors, it’s our last year. We had to hurry up and get this done.”

To no one’s surprise Concord’s De La Salle continued its winning ways when the top-ranked Spartans earned a return spot at the Division I state bowl game. De La Salle, which is enjoying an undefeated season (12-0), defeated California High School 37-0 in the North Coast Section 4A championship game at Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum on Dec. 8.

With this game DLS, which ran up the national 151-game winning streak between 1992 and 2003, claimed its 16th consecutive NCS title. The mighty Spartans will meet Centennial-Corona (Riverside County), the Southern California champs with a 13-1 season, on Dec. 15 at the Home Depot Center in Carson. The Division I game will be shown live on FSNBA..

Joybells rings again

Thanks to the generosity of donors throughout the East Bay, more than 500 children will receive toys this Christmas through Project Joybells. Founded 20 years ago by Dorothy Buckley, Joybells provides gifts to families served through Catholic Charities at its Brentwood, Concord, Oakland and Richmond sites. This year 300 families were given toys with a total value of more than $5,000.

Generosity in Danville

Danville Council #4060 of the Knights of Columbus is now in its 27th year of providing holiday food baskets to needy families in the East Bay. What started out as the Knights preparing 10 boxes for poor families in Oakland has grown to 400 boxes with enough food in each to feed a family of four for one week. The contributions come from parishioners and members of the parish school and CCD communities. Each student brings a child’s gift to include with the boxes. Yesterday (Dec. 16) there was a breakfast to thank the parish for its support.

Around the Parishes

St. Margaret Mary Parish in Oakland has Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every Friday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., every Saturday from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. and on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. followed by benediction at 8 p.m. The church is located at 1219 Excelsior Avenue.

Oakland residents involved with Oakland Community Organizations (OCO) have offered an alternative proposal to Pacific Thomas Capital’s plan to build the 810-unit Fruitvale Gateway condominium project. The OCO design has the same number of units but with buildings up to nine stories, instead of 16, and with more affordable housing. OCO also proposes more open space, a larger community facility, more construction jobs for local residents, and a plan to protect the community’s health during construction. OCO proponents include members of several Catholic parishes, and parents who send their children to St. Jarlath Elementary and St. Elizabeth Elementary and High schools, which are near the proposed development.

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Around the Schools

Five gold rings to the third grade class at St. Philip Neri School in Alameda who supported UNICEF for their service project and raised $1,113. During October the class had a bake sale, earned money doing chores at home, and participated in Trick or Treat for UNICEF.

Cheers also go to third graders at St. Theresa School in Oakland who led the parish community at the All Saints liturgy on Nov. 1. The liturgy opened with a parade of paper bag puppets, accompanied by a lively version of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Last month the 7th grade class at Assumption School in San Leandro learned the basic skills of CPR in a pilot program offered by Alameda County EMS. The class received a DVD, practice mannequin, booklet on CPR and some survey pamphlets. The students watched the DVD, practiced with their mannequin, and in just 22 minutes learned the basic CPR principles.

Members of Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School community donated $700 to the Mother of Peace Orphanage in Zimbabwe during the campus’ Nov. 27 “Dollar Day” event. The founder of the orphanage was present to receive the donation and talk with students.

Speaking of BOD . . . Ellie Anzilotti, a junior, and Savannah Fisher, a sophomore, both took to the stage earlier this month in the Berkeley Ballet Theater’s production of “The Nutcracker.” Anzilotti reprised her role as an Arabian princess and danced the principal role of Snow Queen while Fisher danced in the battle scene and in the Russia Corps.

Last month’s production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” at Oakland’s Holy Names High School received rave reviews, entertaining parents, friends and the public. The story, written by Barbara Robinson and directed by Holy Names drama teacher, Christy Arington, is about six unruly children and their transformation as they are given a chance to act in the school’s Christmas pageant. The campus continued its celebration of the holiday season with its annual Christmas concert on Dec. 7.

Students at Salesian High School peppered Wardell Connerly with probing questions about affirmative action during his recent visit to the Richmond campus. The controversial former University of California regent also shared with students the story of his upbringing in the Jim Crow South and the emphasis his family put on education.

Also at Salesian, students welcomed several hundred kindergartners to the school’s annual Project Santa, coordinated by Salesian’s campus ministry. Each youngster received a Christmas gift donated by a Salesian student. Kindergartners from St. Paul School in San Pablo and St. Cornelius School in Richmond were among the invited guests.

The 60-member Model United Nations Team at Concord’s Carondelet High School brought home six awards from the Contra Costa County Competition Nov. 2 and 3.

Science students and faculty members at Berkeley’s St. Mary’s High joined the local Urban Creeks Council during November and December in a major restoration project underway at Berkeley’s Codornices Creek, which runs along the edge of the school campus.

A recent exhibition of aboriginal art from Australia at the Hearst Art Gallery at St. Mary’s College in Moraga has led to a special kind of art appreciation. Gallery intern Alexandra King and others working the show, “Dreaming in Color: Aboriginal Art from Balgo,” invited visitors to make donations for Luurnpa Catholic School where many of the children and grandchildren of the artists study. Their efforts resulted in a gift of $1,710 to the school.

Bishop Allen Vigneron presided at the 31st annual dinner honoring the Catholic faculties of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Graduate Theological Union. The Nov. 27 event was held at Holy Spirit/Newman Hall just south of both campuses.

The student council at Our Lady of Grace School in Castro Valley recently displayed the campus’ talents as good stewards. The council organized a Turkey Coin Drop in which each class contributed coins that totaled $725. The money was given to the parish to assist the faith community’s Thanksgiving outreach.

Brian Copeland, a 1982 graduate of Moreau Catholic High in Hayward, will return to his alma mater to perform his one-man play, “Not a Genuine Black Man,” on Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the school’s theater arts department. Tickets: $20 (high school and college students), $25 (Moreau alums), $30 (general admission). Contact Diana DeFrance, (510) 881-4330 or ddefrance@moreaucatholic.org. Reservation deadline is Jan. 3.

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Names, News, Notes

Pax Christi Fremont will once again host the International Prayer for Peace on Dec. 31. The local service begins at 4 a.m. at St. Joseph Church in Fremont and is part of a worldwide effort among people of all faith traditions to pray simultaneously for peace. Last year more than 100 people gathered at St. Joseph’s to be part of the international prayer, now in its 27th year.

Best wishes and many blessings to Patricia and George Cardis, members at St. Anne Parish in Walnut Creek, who celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary last month.

The San Leandro-based Maryknoll Eastbay Affiliates collected educational toys for CRECE, the Central American Refugee Committee of the East Bay, for schools in El Salvador, during their annual Christmas Around the World Celebration on Dec. 11.

Are you looking for a unique Christmas gift? Have you tried a monastery? Through its website and catalog, Monastery Greetings offers a wide variety of Christmas cards, music, books, soap and body care items and food — from fudge to fruitcakes — from monasteries throughout the U.S. and the world. In addition to filling your gift list, buying goods produced by these religious communities helps them to support themselves. Visit the website at www.MonasteryGreetings.com or call toll-free at (800) 472-0425.

Yesterday (Dec. 16) Our Lady of Grace Parish in Castro Valley celebrated the season with their annual Christmas pageant. Festivities included volunteers who represented dancing angels, shouting shepherds, seasonal music, and songs by members of the parish folk group.

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