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CURRENT ISSUE:  June 23, 2008
VOL. 46, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA
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Pastoral plan for cathedral unveiled
A broad spectrum of programs and services will focus on nurturing faith and practice throughout the diocese

The dedication of the new Cathedral of Christ the Light on Sept. 25 will mark the beginning of a renewed focus for the Oakland Diocese, one that is guided by a comprehensive strategic plan for worship, evangelization/catechesis, and outreach that flows from the cathedral complex into parishes and the broader community.

New cathedral seeks
‘bearers of light’

By Voice staff
The Diocese of Oakland is expecting a host of visitors to its new Cathedral of Christ the Light when it opens this September, and the diocese is seeking “bearers of light” to lead guests through the cathedral.

Leo Keegan, director of docent and ministerial services for the cathedral, will select volunteer “bearers of light,” or docents, who will learn detailed information about the cathedral’s history and features and share their knowledge with tour groups.

The cathedral has been under construction for three years at Grand Avenue and Harrison Street in Oakland, and interest in the structure has been building. “We anticipate upwards of 200,000 visitors in the first year,” Keegan said.

Docents should be “enthusiastic and people-oriented persons of faith” who will play host to the visitors, he said. Volunteers will lead one- to two-hour tours of about 20 visitors through the cathedral.

The tour groups will be diverse, Keegan indicated, and docents should be comfortable speaking to children and adults of all nationalities and educational backgrounds.

Bilingual volunteers, especially those who speak Spanish or Vietnamese, are encouraged to apply, he said.

The docents will be asked to make a two-year commitment to volunteer for eight hours per month, and they must keep a regular tour schedule.

Candidates must apply and go through an interview process, Keegan said. Those selected as docents will attend training.

Docents will receive a discount at the cathedral’s gift shop and café, opportunities to attend guest lectures and events, the option of receiving community service hours or credit, and the opportunity to work with a community of dedicated ministers, Keegan said .

Contact Leo Keegan at lkeegan@ctlcathedral.org for more information.
The plan, developed over the past year by 15 volunteers selected for their expertise and broad understanding of the Church, sets forth a series of recommendations intended to create “an additional ‘home’ parish for everyone in the diocese.”

See details of the plan below.
It calls for liturgical celebrations that promote “full, conscious and active participation” of all worshippers, a broad spectrum of faith-formation programs that embrace generational, ethnic and theological diversity, and social ministries that build community and work to break the cycles of poverty, injustice and alienation.

“As this plan evolves, it will be an agent of transformation for the diocese,” said Dominican Sister Rose Marie Hennessy, chair of the planning committee and principal of St. Elizabeth Elementary School in Oakland. She said the committee’s recommendations are meant to “draw people to the cathedral to be nourished and then to send them out into their communities to be the light of Christ there.”

The Oakland Diocese has been without a cathedral since 1989 when the Loma Prieta earthquake caused irreparable damage to St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in downtown Oakland. The building was razed in 1993. Ten years later land at the corner of Grand Avenue and Harrison Street across from Oakland’s Lake Merritt was purchased as the site of a new cathedral. Then-Bishop John Cummins announced that the new cathedral would be known as Christ the Light. Groundbreaking took place in 2004.

Last month Bishop Allen Vigneron accepted the recommendations developed by the strategic planning committee. Three separate implementation committees will work with Father Paul Minnihan, cathedral provost, to turn the recommendations into programs and activities that reflect the new cathedral’s role as a center of Catholic life.

“The planning group has delivered wonderful, broad initiatives,” Father Minnihan said, “and we will begin to deliver what they intend.”

Some of the suggestions are already taking shape. Educational materials about the role and meaning of a cathedral with specific details about the new Christ the Light Cathedral will be ready for elementary and high school teachers and parish adult educators in early September. “We are taking a multi-media approach with DVDs and podcasts as well as print materials,” Father Minnihan said.

Beginning with the re-interment of Oakland’s first bishop, Floyd Begin, at the cathedral’s mausoleum on Nov. 2, there will be Evening Prayer in the cathedral every Sunday in the late afternoon, Father Minnihan said. Any parish that has celebrated its patronal feast during the previous week will be invited to come to the cathedral for the prayer service, followed by a reception and tour of the cathedral complex.

“This is a wonderful way for parishes to be part of the cathedral without compromising their parochial identity,” he said.

Cathedral visitors will be able to tour the building with trained docents who can explain both its architecture and ecclesiology. Leo Keegan, the newly hired coordinator of docents and volunteer ministries, said he expects up to 200,000 visitors during the first year. He is currently forming the first group of docents, who will undergo a training program prior to the cathedral’s opening in September. The docents will commit themselves to at least eight hours of service each month for a two-year period.

Volunteers will also be needed to help with major diocesan liturgies at the cathedral, such as the Chrism Mass, the Rite of Election, the Blue Mass for police and firefighters, and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. These volunteers will help the Christ the Light Parish community with numerous tasks associated with hosting large events, but they will not replace participation by its parishioners, Father Minnihan said.

Sister Hennessy said the planning committee will meet with Father Minnihan three or four times a year to review the progress of the plan’s implementation.

(Members of the strategic planning committee were: Solomon Belette, executive director of Catholic Charities of the East Bay and a member of Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill; Patricia Treacy Black, St. Isidore Parish, Danville; Jim Briggs, St. Mary Parish, Walnut Creek; Sean Bryan, Holy Spirit/Newman Parish, Berkeley; Father Quang Dong, rector of the Christ the Light Parish, Oakland; Julie Hadnot, St. Benedict Parish, Oakland; Dominican Sister Rose Marie Hennessy, St. Elizabeth Parish, Oakland; Kevin Lancaster, Christ the Light Parish, Oakland; Father Richard Mangini, St. Bonaventure Parish, Concord; Father Paul Minnihan, provost of the Cathedral of Christ the Light; Eunice Park, Franciscan School of Theology, Berkeley; Joanne Parrilli, Holy Spirit/Newman Parish, Berkeley and Corpus Christi Parish, Piedmont; Jesuit Father Thomas Scirghi, Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley; Victor Valenzuela, St. Joseph Basilica, Alameda; Gwen Watson, Christ the King Parish, Pleasant Hill.)

Plans envision cathedral as more than worship center

Workers raise a 35-foot by 20-foot cross into position at the front of the new Cathedral of Christ the Light, June 16. The cross is made of galvanized steel inlaid with IPÊ, a Brazilian hardwood. The cathedral will be dedicated on Sept. 25.
José luis Aguirre photo

By Voice staff

Diocesan ministries at the new Cathedral of Christ the Light will be guided by a strategic plan developed over the past year and accepted by Bishop Allen Vigneron last month.

The plan addresses the cathedral’s three main missions — worship, evangelization/catechesis, and solidarity and outreach — in the context of the cathedral’s core values to celebrate the immeasurable presence, strength and love of God in the Church’s liturgy and sacraments; to be a place of welcome and inclusivity that embraces the diversity of faiths, peoples and cultures; and to be a highly visible sign of God’s presence in the community.

Below is a brief summary of some key recommendations of the plan. The full plan is available at www.oakdiocese.org and www.ctlcathedral.org.

• Plan diocesan and episcopal liturgies for major feasts, significant ethnic devotions, Catholic organizations and spiritual movements, and particular populations such as young adults and workers in downtown Oakland.

• Host ecumenical and interfaith prayer services and liturgies celebrating civic events and holidays
• Offer non-Eucharistic worship experiences such as Liturgy of the Hours and Taize prayer.

• Hire a coordinator of liturgy and a music director to ensure excellence in the planning and celebration of liturgy.

• Integrate the liturgical life and ministries of the Christ the Light Parish with those of the cathedral.

• Create programs that honor the generational, ethnic and theological diversity within the diocese and that embrace the broader civic community with Jesus’ message of love for all people
• Develop procedures for use of the cathedral complex, including a calendar process that gives priority to Catholic liturgical events and is respectful of parish activities.

• Establish an atmosphere of prayer at all times within the cathedral sanctuary and designate some of the outdoor space for silent meditation and reflection.

• Host diocesan-wide catechetical celebrations and non-sacramental observances that honor various cultural traditions.

• Promote the cathedral complex as a venue for lectures, concerts and cultural festivals.

Solidarity and Outreach
• Establish a central database of resources, information and ministries related to Catholic social teaching.

• Offer lectures and seminars on faith, social justice and Catholic social teaching.

• Offer retreats for young adult Catholics and create programs that bring together youth for faith sharing and community service.

• Develop prison and detention ministries including a program to assist ex-prisoners with assimilation back into the community.

• Provide support to the elderly through home visitation, emergency food and shelter and community/public resource assistance.

Also, part of the cathedral’s outreach will be a health clinic operated by the Order of Malta’s Western Association. Scheduled to open in October, the clinic will be located on the first floor of the diocesan office building at the corner of 21st Street and Harrison Street. It will provide no-cost health services for uninsured children and adults.

This clinic is modeled on one that the Order of Malta has operated in Los Angeles for nearly 30 years.

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