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 March 10, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 5   •   Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

Quilt for a wounded soldier
Brownies in the third grade at Christ the King School in Pleasant Hill pose with the quilt they made for a wounded U.S. soldier being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Gifts of compassion
Kindergarten and third grade students at St. Joseph School in Alameda spent three months collecting new stuffed animals and creating beautiful cards for young victims of violence in Oakland. They presented the gifts to Michael Redding (left), program director for Catholic Charities of the East Bay, for CCEB’s Crisis Response Support Network. They also donated money to CCEB’s program for families who relocated here after Hurricane Katrina. Holding the check are third graders Lily Regnier and Dominic Moore.

Minsk archbishop visits Oakland
Archbishop Thadeush Kondrusevich of Minsk, capital of Belarus, blesses a new outdoor shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes at St. Margaret Mary Church in Oakland, Feb. 16. With him is Father Stanislaw Zak, pastor, and an altar server. Archbishop Kondrusevich formerly served as archbishop of Moscow.

A young Catholic leader

Kristopher Okialda, a freshman at Moreau Catholic High in Hayward, has been named one of 12 of America’s top young Catholic leaders by Catholic Digest and QSP/Reader’s Digest. A graduate of St. John the Baptist School in San Lorenzo, where he held every elected position on the school’s student council, Okialda is now a freshman class senator at Moreau.

More than 100 students nationwide were nominated for the leadership award, which recognizes students for service, academic excellence, leadership and witnessing to faith. Each of the 12 honorees receives a $2,000 scholarship.

Sweaters for Baghdad

DoOneNiceThing.com, a website that encourages people to do one nice thing every Monday, is lending its support to a project that is bringing sweaters to needy people in Iraq.

Called “Sweaters for Baghdad,” the campaign was launched out of concern by U.S. soldiers who wanted to help Iraqi families make it through the cold winter. “Most of us have an extra sweater or sweatshirt that we can spare,” said Debbie Tenzer, founder of DoOneNiceThing.com. The sweaters are sent to chaplains who give them to soldiers to distribute to needy families.

“Handing out our sweaters will help soldiers strengthen bonds of trust with the local people. Plus, Iraqis will know that people all over America care about them,” Tenzer said.

Donated sweaters do not have to be new, but must be clean and in good condition. Packages should be sent directly to the Chaplains in Iraq at: MNC-1 Chaplain, Attn: Hearts for Baghdad, Unit 42014, APO AE 09342.

Free tax services

Catholic Charities of the East Bay (CCEB) is providing free tax services through its VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Services. If you earned less than $42,000 in 2007 and are not self-employed, you are eligible for VITA’s free tax services, including free e-file services. VITA centers are located at 3540 Chestnut Ave. in Concord (Monday and Wednesday nights, 4 – 8 p.m., through April 9) and 433 Jefferson St. in Oakland ((Tuesdays, 4 – 8 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., through April 10). Participants should bring their ID card, Social Security number (or ITIN number or ITIN letter) for each family member, all W-2’s, 1099 forms and/or other income forms, landlord information, childcare provider information, bank routing and account numbers (for direct deposit) and last year’s Federal and State returns. Phone in Concord: (925) 825-3099, ext. 302. Phone in Oakland: (510) 768-3113 or (510) 768-3128..

Around the Parishes

The youth at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Pittsburg, at 3200 Harbor St., will present a Sacred Drama of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ during Palm Sunday Weekend, March 15 and 16, and on Good Friday, March 21. The March 15 presentation will be at the 5:30 p.m. liturgy; at the 8 a.m., 10 a.m., and 12 noon liturgies on March 16; and at 7:30 p.m. on March 21.

Bishop Allen Vigneron joined members at Antioch’s St. Ignatius Parish at the blessing and dedication of the parish’s new altar stone. The occasion was preceded by the arrival on Feb. 16 of relics of Pope St. Leo I, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Gemma Galgani, St. Maria Goretti, and St. John Neumann. The relics were placed in a wooden reliquary for veneration.

Antioch’s Holy Rosary Church hosted a free foreclosure workshop on March 1 to help area residents facing or in the process of losing their home. The event was organized by members of the Holy Rosary Organizing Committee which worked with CCISCO (Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization). Nearly 20 percent of homes in Antioch are reportedly in foreclosure.

Members of the Catholic Community of Pleasanton gathered for the Anointing of the Sick at the 5 p.m. Mass on March 8 and at all Sunday Masses on March 9.

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Around the Schools

Holy Rosary School in Antioch hosted members of the Cal basketball team and associate head coach Louis Reynaud during the school-wide Dr. Seuss Read Across America Day, Feb. 27. The day began with a Green Eggs and Ham breakfast with guests The Cat in the Hat and Thing One and Thing Two. The Cal team read Dr. Seuss books and the 8th grade sponsored a carnival.

The St. Joseph School Community in Pinole collected a trunk load of special gifts for Child Life Services at UCSF. Child Life helps children and their families adjust to hospitalization and make their stay as positive as possible. The school also raised over $1016 for Smile Train Organization, which funds surgeries to repair cleft lips of needy children.

Cecily Stevens, a junior at Salesian High School in Richmond, captured first place honors in the California Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest. The competition encourages youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. Stevens’ recitation of “anyone lived in a pretty how town” by ee cummings earned her first place in the county competition and a place at the upcoming state contest.

Salesian High will dedicate the campus’s new track and field arena on April 10 at 10:45 a.m.

Philip Rudolph, a sixth grader at St. Jarlath School in Oakland, won the grand prize in the National Dental Society of the Bay Area’s poster contest. The contest theme was “How Cavities Form.” The contest was co-sponsored by the Eastmont Wellness Center.

Sean Eberhard, a senior at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, placed first among the senior entrants at the 50th Annual Santa Clara University High School Mathematics Contest. Eberhard, who has a 4.14 overall grade point average, was recently accepted to Cambridge University’s Gonville and Caius College, where Stephen Hawking, the renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist, is a professor.

All Saints Elementary School in Hayward is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. To mark this milestone the school is searching for anyone who attended the school between 1947 and 2007. In addition to alumni, all parents, teachers and staff are invited to the school for an afternoon and evening celebration on May 17. For more information, contact the school at (510) 582-1910 or the parish office at (510) 581-2570.

Steve Phelps, president at Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School, appeared along with several students on a segment of the CBS Evening News with Katic Couric on Feb. 26. The news story explored whether the students of the digital generation can compete intellectually with earlier generations of students.

Students from four Catholic elementary schools – St. Joseph and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Fremont, St. Edward in Newark, and St. Elizabeth in Oakland – participated in “Joyful Noises,” an evening of music at the Ohlone College Smith Center on March 7. Proceeds benefited the Dominican Schools Music Project, a music education program founded by the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose.

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Names, News, Notes

Many Blessings and Best Wishes to Bishop Emeritus John Cummins who celebrated his 80th birthday on March 3.

The Diocese of Oakland recently recognized more than 40 employees for their years of service to the diocese. Among the honorees were: Roy Hammond, director of office and school counseling at Catholic Charities of the East Bay, 20 years; Alex Hernandez, diocesan director of facilities planning and services, 20 years; Roberto Lemus, CCEB immigration counselor, 15 years; Gloria Espinoza, diocesan associate director of human resources, and Sharon Abercrombie, staff writer at The Catholic Voice, both 15 years.

Cate Steane has been named the new executive director of FESCO (Family Emergency Shelter Coalition), the Hayward-based ecumenical coalition that serves homeless families. She succeeds Nancy Schluntz who retired last year.

Ray Orrock, a former columnist and illustrator for The Catholic Voice in the 1960s and 1970s, died March 3 following a long battle with emphysema and cancer. He was 79.

Adopt a Special Kid (AASK) is sponsoring two free informational workshops in April on adopting children from foster care. The workshops will be held April 1 at 7 p.m. and on April 19 at 10 a.m. at the AASK office, 8201 Edgewater Dr., Suite 103, in Oakland. The April 19 workshop will be in Spanish and English. For more information, contact Nann at (510) 553-1748, ext. 12, or nann@aask.org.

The California Association of Natural Family Planning is hosting a two-day conference celebrating the 40th anniversary of “Humanae Vitae,” April 11-12 in San Bernardino. Speakers will include Janet Smith, consultor to the Pontifical Council on the Family, speaking on the theology of the body; Dr. Mary Davenport, an East Bay physician, on Natural Family Planning; and Theresa Notare, assistant director of the NFP program for the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops. Auxiliary Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Diego will be the guest speaker at the Friday evening banquet. Registration information at: www.CANFP.org or 1-877-33-CANFP. Discounts available prior to March 23.

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