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 April 21, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 8   •   Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

Concord dance squad champions
Carondelet High School’s varsity song and pom teams took national honors last month during competition in Anaheim. The seven-member small varsity song team won first place in the dance competition and the 15-member large varsity pom team placed third in their division. The girls cheer throughout the year for their school’s volleyball and basketball teams as well as the football and basketball teams of neighboring De La Salle High. They maintain a team GPA of 3.4.
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Service learning
LEFT: the second-grade class at St. Felicitas School in San Leandro recently visited three nursing homes to bring a little sunshine into their day with the joy of singing. The class sang several songs and at the end of their performance handed each resident a special flower made by a child. RIGHT: sstudents at Salesian High in Richmond work to transform a bleak patio at a long-term care facility into a garden during the schoolÍs April 4 annual Day of Service. All 620 school members engaged in community projects at various work sites.

Blessing mothers in need

When Kathleen Clarke and her husband, Mike, members at St. Ignatius Parish in Antioch, welcomed their first child into the world in December 2007 they realized how fortunate and blessed they are as a family. “There isn’t a moment that goes by that our Mary doesn’t have whatever she may need within arms reach. We know it isn’t this way for many new moms or newborn babies,” said Mrs. Clarke. After some thought the new parents decided to reach out to at-risk and low-income moms and their newborns.

With the blessing of Father Robert Rien, parochial administrator at St. Ignatius, the Clarkes and other parishioners are launching The Mary Project, a parish-wide baby shower at all Masses during the Mother’s Day Weekend, May 10-11. Donations of new and gently used items will be given to the Birthright office in Brentwood. Those who wish to donate clothing or money prior to the baby shower can drop off their contributions at the parish, 3351 Contra Loma Blvd. in Antioch. For more information call: (925) 778-0768.

Moving toward citizenship

Over 100 people attended the citizenship drive and educational workshops hosted by St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Concord and organized by the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO). The April 5 gathering offered opportunities for immigrants to have a voice on issues that affect their community.

“We are here to establish clear goals — we want to participate in our democracy, learn English, and vote in elections,” said Roberto Pena, a CCISCO leader.

As part of its the citizenship drive, trained volunteers, lawyers and local non-profit organizations have joined PICO Bay Area in facilitating the citizenship application (N-400) process to ensure a free, quality-controlled service. Applicants are also connected with local civics and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.
Local youth played a major role in organizing the event’s educational workshops. “We want a community where young people can dream and reach their goal of attending a university. A community where your legal status or your economic background isn’t a barrier to success,” said Kleydis Rodriguez, a CCISCO youth leader

Around the Parishes

The Catholic Community of Pleasanton held a special Mass of Hope and Gratitude last month at St. Elizabeth Seton Church for breast cancer survivors, their families, and friends. Father Padraig Greene, CCOP’s parochial administrator and the celebrant for the Mass, administered a special blessing and anointing of Holy Oils for the approximately 60 cancer survivors in attendance. Survivors Mary Merucci and Helen Wirtenson launched the parish’s prayer and support group five years ago to provide a faith-oriented support group. Since then the group has given comfort and hope to many women who were newly diagnosed with breast cancer. The group meets at 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at St. Elizabeth Seton Church, 4001 Stoneridge Dr. in Pleasanton.

St. Perpetua Parish in Lafayette
recently sent a large truckload of food to the Monument Crisis Center, a non-profit community center in Concord that assists at-risk families, children and senior citizens in central Contra Costa County. The contributions came from collections made to the parish’s March Food Basket.

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Around the Schools

St. Joachim School in Hayward is celebrating its 50th anniversary, May 3 and 4. Founded in 1958, the school was built primarily by parish volunteers who took time after work and on weekends to construct the building. The first order of Sisters to staff the school were the Benedictines of Mt. Carmel, Oregon. Benedictine Sister Regina Rausch (formerly Sister Scholastica) will be one of the anniversary’s honored guests along with former principals Sister Marie Meyers and Angela Schenone and former pastor, Father Ray Zielezienski. The festivities will include a return of the once popular “Fun Festival” on both days, and a gala dinner on May 3 from 7 – 10 p.m. Bishop Allen Vigneron will join the community for Mass at 11 a.m. on May 4. For more information, contact the school office at (510) 783-3177 or alumni@stjoachimschool.org.

Thirty-six students at the Dominican Kindergarten in Fremont will be jogging laps along with some Dominican Sisters on May 2 during the school’s annual “Kinderjog” fundraiser. Proceeds will help pay for improvements at the school, provide tuition assistance at the kindergarten and nearby St. Joseph School, and add to St. Joseph’s Build-a-Church Campaign, the Sisters’ Vision of Hope fund, and Internationality Fund of the Mission San Jose Dominican Sisters. To make a tax-deductible donation or to participate in the raffle, contact Marianna Tarantino at (510) 791-7782 or dk2008kinderjog@yahoo.com.

Congratulations to three 7th grade students from St. John the Baptist School in El Cerrito who took awards in the 55th Annual San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair, March 31-April 3, in Golden Gate Park. Jacob Shafer won a second place award for his experiment on “How Fresh Is That Flower on the Counter.” John Pugliesi earned a fourth place for study on “How Flight Angle Affects Trajectory.” Marcos Molinar took fourth place award for his experiment on “Teeth Whitening: What Products Really Make Your Teeth White?” The students competed with 91 other Bay Area 7th graders.Kudos also go to Cindy Lopez, the students’ science teacher.

Students at Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School focused on the struggles of the people in Darfur and the Sudan during their weeklong “Mission Drive” earlier this month. The religion classes showed a Frontline video on the situation in Darfur and created posters on Darfur that were placed around the school. Students also organized a number of fundraising events from a peanut butter eating contest to a barbecue (which brought in over $2,000 alone) as well as a public school vs. private school basketball game (the public school team won). The campus raised over $14,000, which was donated to Catholic Relief Services.

The first graduation class (1968) of St. David Elementary School in Richmond is planning a 40th year reunion for late August or early September. Reunion organizers are seeking: Mary Klock, Sylvia Juarez, Pam Bittick, Tony Pasion, Cynthia Orton and Rick Capps. Those who have information to share or are interested in organizing should contact Jerry Bowen at (925) 956-9557 or Carlos Delgado at (209) 607-8370.

The diocesan School Department is holding a Teacher Job Fair (Grades Pre-K through 12) on Saturday, April 26, from 9 am –12:00 pm at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School Gym, 1011 Chestnut Street, Alameda. For information, contact the diocesan Department of Human Resources at (510)-267-8381.

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Among the Religious

Congratulations to Father Augusto “Gus” Acob, parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Pinole, on the 28th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on April 13.

Where in the world is Father Jayson Landeza? The energetic pastor at Oakland’s St. Columba Parish — who is also chaplain to the Oakland Police and Fire Departments — is on the road this month. First he traveled to New York City last week for the first U.S. visit of Pope Benedict XVI. He was asked to distribute Communion at the Yankee Stadium Mass and to participate in the pope’s meeting of the priests of the Archdiocese of New York. This week he went to Orlando, Florida, to attend a “National Ministry Summit” organized by the National Federation of Priests’ Councils.

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Names, News, Notes

Congratulations to Robert Haas, who won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for his latest book, “Time and Materials.” The former U.S. poet laureate earned his bachelor’s degree at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, His wife, Brenda Hillman, also a poet, holds the Olivia Filippi Chair in Poetry at St. Mary’s College.

Children and adults who participate in the diocesan SPRED (Special Religious Education Department) program gathered April 6 for their 30th annual liturgy. Bishop Allen Vigneron celebrated the Mass at St. Paschal Baylon Church in Oakland, where the SPRED office is located. You can support this ministry by attending the “SPRED the Word XVII” fundraiser on April 26 at St. Mary Parish, 2039 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Walnut Creek. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. with liturgy and includes dinner and silent auction. For more information, call (510) 635-7252.

Congratulations to Mary Lou and Lew Gregory, members at St. Michael Parish in Livermore, who are celebrating 57 years of marriage.

Two couples at Oakland’s Sacred Heart Parish are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this month — Herminia and Lucas Villezar and Margaret and Arthur Neville.

Ruth and Marvin Picha
will mark their 50th wedding anniversary on April 26. They are members at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Castro Valley.

The Hearst Art Gallery at St. Mary’s College in Moraga will stage the largest public exhibition of work by University of California, Davis, faculty members Robert Arneson, Roy De Forest, Manuel Neri, Wayne Thiebaud and William T. Wiley, beginning May 3. The exhibition can be viewed in the Hearst main gallery on Wednesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. — 4:30 p.m. A $3 donation is requested. A panel discussion about the exhibition will be held May 4 in the campus’ Soda Activity Center from 2 — 3 p.m. Admission is $5, free to members of the Hearst Art Gallery and St. Mary’s College faculty, staff and students. For more information, call (925) 631-4379.

An informational presentation on dementia will be offered April 22 at 6:30 p.m. at AlmaVia of Union City at 33883 Alvarado-Niles Road. Dr. Elizabeth A. Landsverk, a double-certified geriatrician and internist with extensive experience in medical and psychosocial issues in older individuals, is the guest speaker. For more information, call (510) 489-3800 or visit the website at www.almavia.org.

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