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 October 20, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 18   •   Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

New preschool
Students at the new preschool at St. Catherine of Siena School in Martinez practice forming a line during one of the many activities offered in the full and half-day programs for children ages 2 years 9 months to five years. The school, licensed for 42 students, is housed in the former convent.
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Blessing of animals
Franciscan Father Raymond Bucher greets one of the 60 animals that were brought to San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville, Oct. 4, for the annual blessing of animals on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The animals included homing pigeons and chickens as well as dogs, cats and other household pets.
Dominique Ghekiere-Mintz photo
Marian Rosary Night
Right, more than 350 parishioners gather outside Holy Spirit Church in Fremont for a candlelight procession and recitation of the rosary, Oct. 4. The procession, led by float with a large statue of Mary (left), followed the praying of the rosary in 50 different languages and dialects in the church, each led by a parishioner in their own language. Participants brought more than 65 Marian statues and images to be blessed during the service, which is becoming an annual event for the parish.
Newly ordained deacons
Bishop Allen Vigneron ordained three Jesuits, Joseph Carver (left), Fernando Alvarez Lara (center) and Dat Tran, to the diaconate, Oct. 18, at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland. The three new deacons are students at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, where they are earning the Master of Divinity degree. Their diaconate ordination is the last formal step before ordination to the priesthood. The order was established in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola as the Society of Jesus. Today its 23,000 priests and Brothers are popularly known as Jesuits. They minister throughout the world. They are best known for their high schools, colleges and universities and their activities for social justice and human rights as well as intellectual research and work in evangelization.

Students honor the dead

Fifth grade students at St. Jerome School in El Cerrito, and their teacher, Mary Jo Mishork, have created a “book ofrenda” for the Dias de los Muertos exhibition at the Oakland Museum which opened Oct. 8.

“Maria y Nuestra Señora”

The class’s exhibit, called “Maria y Nuestra Señora,” honors 17-year-old farm worker Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, who died while cutting grape branches in Stockton on May 14. The young woman, who was pregnant, was working for a contractor in 100 degree heat without shade and insufficient water.

“Maria was a hero to us because she gave up her teenage years and left her family to come to the U.S. to earn money to send home to her widowed mom in Mexico,” said Lysette Zaragoza, of her class’s project. Nuestra Señora is Our Lady of the Farm Workers, Zaragoza added, noting that Our Lady wears a veil of farm produce and roses and “lovingly stands with farm worker Maria.”

The ofrenda, which means both “offering” and “altar” in Spanish, is one of many artworks created by groups, artists and school children in the community for the annual observance of the “Days of the Dead” celebration at the museum, now in its 15th year.

Observed by people of Mexican heritage in the U.S., the Days of the Dead, fall on the Catholic holy days of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. Family members and friends gather to remember and honor their deceased loved ones. They often build altars that honor the deceased.

Lynn McGeever, an art instructor and chair of the visual arts department at Hayward’s Moreau Catholic High School, developed the concept for the school project that involved over 300 students from public and private schools in the East Bay. Two classes and two teachers from Alameda’s St. Joseph Notre Dame High School and four classes from Moreau also contributed to the exhibition.

McGeever’s project, called the Books of Remembrances, is dedicated to the late Cesar Chavez who was a strong believer in education, she said.

Students from the various schools created books, ranging from pop-up books to altered books, which paid tribute to someone who inspired them or influenced their lives. The art teacher then selected the best examples — over 100 books — for display in the museum.

In addition to the exhibition, which runs through Dec. 7, all are invited to attend the popular Dias de los Muertos community celebration on Oct. 25 which includes craft activities, food, costumed performers, a market, and a ceremonial procession into the museum gardens. Admission to the event, held from noon to 5 p.m., is free.

The museum is located at 1000 Oak St. in Oakland. Visiting hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Admission: $8 for adults, $5 for students (with valid ID) and $5 seniors (65 years and older). For more information, visit the museum’s website at www.museumca.org.

Eradicating poverty

St. Mary’s Center in Oakland served as a host of local observances of the United Nations Day for the Eradication of Poverty on Oct. 17. With a focus on child poverty, the Center, known for its service to older adults, joined the Children’s Defense Fund in putting a spotlight on problems of young people of color — through personal testimonies and presentations — who are winding up on a “pipeline” to prison in increasing numbers.

Youth rally voters

More than 80 Richmond youth went door to door across the flatlands of their city on Oct. 4 and 18 to register voters and encourage residents to get out and vote. The youth, who represented various community groups and churches including St. Cornelius School and St. Mark Parish, both in Richmond, contacted approximately 900 Richmond voters and registered an additional 43 new voters.

The non-partisan campaign sponsored by the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO) focused on educating community residents about the upcoming election, registering all non-registered citizens and encouraging all Richmond citizens to vote in the Nov. 4 election.

Around the Parishes

All are invited to St. John the Baptist Church in El Cerrito on Nov. 1 for a celebration of 100 years of faith in the community with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 5 p.m. The parish’s roots go back to 1908 when Mary Buckely sold 75 acres of land to the San Francisco Archdiocese for a future church. The land served as a gathering place for local Catholics before the parish was established in 1925.

Corpus Christi Parish in Piedmont hosted “A Matter of Justice,” one in a series of community issues dialogues sponsored by Genesis on Oct. 6. Father Jay Matthews, pastor at Oakland’s St. Benedict Parish, talked about truancy and its effects on society while parishioner, John Claassen and others posed possible solutions and specific actions to help make local neighborhoods safer.

St. Agnes Parish in Concord is preparing for the establishment of Perpetual Eucharist Adoration in the parish by hosting a mission the weekend of Oct. 25 — 26. Father Victor Warkulwiz, a member of the Missionaries of The Blessed Sacrament who has visited hundreds of parishes to talk about the spiritual benefits of this devotion across the U.S. and Canada, will speak at the weekend Masses. The priest, who resides in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, will make additional presentations on the topic of prayer Oct. 27 and 28 at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. The mission is open to all.

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Around the Schools

More than a dozen seniors at Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School were recently named commended students in the 2009 National Merit Scholarship Program. They are: Zosha Adam, Eileen Anzilotti, Maxwell Anzilotti, Jonathan Bernadel-Huey, Tina Bernadett, Helen Ganski, Toby Gay, Colette Keane, Sophie Liu, Tyler Parrott, Arianna Parsons, Karin Petrites, Annalise Reichert, Simone Sept, Jordan Ye and Liam Zarri.

Students at Salesian High School in Richmond launched a food drive earlier this month to help the Richmond Emergency Food Bank which has critically low food supplies. Through the so-called “Feast-tastic Four Food Drive” freshmen are donating tuna, sophomores are contributing peanut butter, juniors are giving jelly and seniors are bringing cereal.

An award-winning video created by three seniors at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda debuted on public television on Oct. 13 as part of KCSM’s Spotlight! program. The video, called “Converse-ation,” by Dashielle Nye, Jesse Swatling-Holcomb, and Gabe McDowell, uses comedy and parody to show how youth often use fashion like Converse All-Stars, to fit into the mainstream. The video, which earned the students $500 scholarships, won the best original screenplay/story adaptation at this year’s Annual High School Filmmaking Festival sponsored by KCSM, which is located on digital channel 43 and cable channel 17 in most local communities.

Looking for classmates! Alumni of St. Patrick School and St. Martin de Porres Regional School, both in Oakland, are planning a celebration and are seeking to reunite with their classmates for a Mass and reception. Contact Mary at (510) 532-5003, or Leticia at (510) 832-1757 and leave your name, address and phone number.

The alumni committee at Our Lady of Grace School (OLG) in Castro Valley is also hoping to reconnect with its graduates in anticipation of next year’s 50th anniversary of the first OLG graduating class. Every OLG graduating class is invited to join in planned events, connect with one another through alumni@olgschoolorg, or assist in the forming of next year’s events. To help or for more information, contact Principal Colleen Wahl at (510) 581-3155 or alumni@olgschool.org.

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Names, News, Notes

Many blessings and best wishes to Shirley and Ray Devany, long-time members at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Livermore, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Oct. 17.

Congratulations also go to Madeline and Don Scullion, members at St. Michael Parish in Livermore, on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary.

Rawn Harbor, pastoral associate and liturgy director at Oakland’s St. Columba Parish, will be the featured speaker at the Fifth Annual Catholic Liturgy Music Workshop at Christ the King Catholic Church in San Diego, Nov. 13 — 16. Harbor, a nationally-recognized liturgist, composer and musician, will speak on “Praising God Through Psalm and Song.” For more information, contact Robin Dillard at (619) 723-9219 or rdillard_4@yahoo.com or Christ the King Church at (619) 231-8906.

The North American Forum on the Catechumenate will gather for its 2008 International Convocation on Christian Initiation Nov. 6 – 8 in Cleveland, Ohio. The event brings together catechists, pastoral ministers, liturgists and theologians who are involved with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Session topics include evangelization, catechesis, liturgy, liturgical music, children and initiation, young adults and initiation, and initiation ministry in Hispanic/Latino communities. For more information visit the website: www.naforum.org; phone: (202) 687-8015, or e-mail: liturgy@georgetown.edu.

What’s new on EWTN? “Into Great Silence,” a documentary by Philip Groning, is this month’s featured special on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). Filmed without narration and very little dialog at the Monastery of the Grand Chartreuse in France, it focuses on the every day lives of Carthusian monks and their vow of silence.

The documentary airs Oct. 26 at 6 p.m., Oct. 30 at 11:30 a.m. and Nov. 1 at 12 a.m. (Three hours.)
Also new is a children’s program called “The Friar,” where young viewers learn about Christ’s parables and the lives of the saints with the help of Father John. The series airs Fridays at 1:30 p.m. All times mentioned are Pacific Time.

EWTN is carried 24 hours a day on Comcast Ch. 229, DISH Satellite Ch. 261, and DirecTV; in Alameda on Comcast Ch. 30 and Alameda Power Ch. 26. For more information or updates visit: www.ewtn.com.

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