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 December 15, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 21   •   Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

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Around the Schools
Around the Parishes
Among the Religious
Names, News, Notes



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New president at SAT
Christian Brother Stan Sobczyk (right) assumes the presidency of the School of Applied Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley on Jan. 9. He replaces Christian Brother Bernard LoCoco (left) who is retiring from the post after 10 years. Brother Sobczyk is former president of Christian Brothers University in Memphis and vice president of St. Mary’s College in Moraga. He received his doctorate from the University of San Francisco.

Community service projects

Members of the chorus at St. Peter Martyr School in Pittsburg pose for photos after singing holiday tunes at the Pittsburg Senior Center.
ABOVE LEFT: A kindergarten student at School of the Madeleine prepares a Thanksgiving card to accompany a food basket for a needy family at St. Charles Borromeo School in San Francisco. The Berkeley school prepared the baskets and delivered them to Dan Dean, their former vice principal who is now principal at St. Charles. ABOVE RIGHT: Melissa Scherer (left), Daniel Rieta and Brittany McClintock, eighth graders at Assumption School in San Leandro hold some of the baskets of food collected during the school’s annual Thanksgiving Food Drive for the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
LEFT: Julia Roberts, an eighth-grade student at St. Raymond School in Dublin, stands with Sandra Scherer, director of the Monument Crisis Center in Concord, after delivering 241 pounds of canned food collected during an eighth grade dance. ABOVE: David Republicano and Jaissen Mendoza, third-graders at St. Joseph School in Alameda, show the poster they made to promote their class “Goodies for Good” fundraiser. The class raised nearly $900 for the East Bay SPCA through the sale of cookies, muffins and fruit. A different class sponsors a monthly fundraiser for a charity they choose.

Battling asthma in kids

West Oakland has a grim history of severe air pollution. Diesel emissions from the thousands of trucks that move daily through the neighborhood on their way in and out of the Port of Oakland, coupled with the fumes released from ships visiting the port, have left residents vulnerable to asthma and related health problems.

The Prescott-Joseph Center for Community Enhancement, Inc. is bringing in a Breathmobile to help address what is being called an asthma epidemic among the neighborhood’s children. The mobile clinic will have a nurse, a pediatric allergist or pulmonologist, and pediatric nurse practitioner, who will visit area schools and other sites to help diagnosis asthma and allergy problems, provide follow-up care and referrals, and offer case management services.

The Prescott-Joseph Center is housed in the former convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet at 920 Peralta St., across the street from St. Patrick Church. The community center, now a non-profit corporation, was initially spearheaded by Divine Word Father Charles Burns, a former pastor at St. Patrick Parish, and is now directed by his brother, Dr. Washington Burns. To help support the efforts of the mobile clinic or for more information, contact Dr. Burns at (510) 208-5651, drburns@prescottjoseph.org, or visit the website at www.prescottjoseph.org.

Celebrating Simbang Gabi

Several parishes in the Oakland Diocese will celebrate Simbang Gabi, a beloved Filipino pre-Christmas tradition that consists of a nine-day novena to the Blessed Mother to usher in the birth of Christ.

Simbang Gabi, also known as “Dawn Mass” or “Misa de Aguinaldo,” was introduced in in the Philippines in the 17th century by Spanish missionaries. The Masses were held in pre-dawn hours so farmers and fishermen could take part in the devotion before beginning their work.

Among the parishes celebrating Simbang Gabi Masses are: St. Francis of Assisi Church, 860 Oak Grove Road, Concord: Dec. 16 – 24 at 5:30 a.m. Breakfast will be served.; St. Joan of Arc Church, 2601 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon: Dec. 16 – 23 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 24 at 5 a.m. All Masses are in English. Snacks and refreshments will be served after every Mass.; St. Joseph Church, 837 Tennant Ave., Pinole: Dec. 16 – 24, 5 a.m.; St. Ignatius Church, 3351 Contra Loma Blvd., Antioch, 5 a.m. followed by a simple breakfast in the parish hall; Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 500 Fairview Ave., Brentwood, 5 a.m.

Cathedral parking

Are you considering attending a liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Light and have questions about parking once you get there? The following information recently appeared in the parish bulletin:

Parking in the underground garage is free for those attending Mass at the cathedral. For all weekday Masses (Monday-Saturday morning) the free parking extends for 90 minutes from the time you enter the garage. If you stay longer, you will be charged the normal rate ($1 for 15 minutes; $4 per hour).

For the Saturday evening vigil Mass at 5:30 p.m. and all Sunday Masses parking is free for two-and-a-half hours from the time you enter the garage. If you stay longer, you will be asked to pay $5 on Saturday or $2 on Sunday — the flat rate for weekends.

Write “Mass” on your ticket and hand it to the parking attendant when you leave or tell the attendant you were at Mass when you give him/her your ticket. If you have exceeded the allotted free time you will be asked to pay the attendant for the additional time. Douglas Parking is under contract to run the parking lot as a for-profit activity of the Cathedral Center.

Around the Schools

Wesley Scoble, a senior at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, recently took part in the 2008 Junior Olympic Development Camp for trapshooting. He was one of a dozen students nationwide invited to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October to meet the nation’s top trapshooting coaches and work on fine-tuning their skills and preparing for high-level competition.

The American Scholastic Press Association recently presented its first place award to “Clatter,” the St. Elizabeth High School student literary magazine. This anthology is a blend of writing, art and photography produced under the direction of Michael Schooler, student adviser.

Scott Hugo, a 2005 graduate of Concord’s De La Salle High School, was named a Rhodes Scholar last month, Hugo, 22, was among 32 men and women to be selected for the prestigious award to study at Oxford University.

Students at St. Mary’s High School in Berkeley have been busy with Christmas outreach projects including a canned food collection for the Alameda County Community Food Bank and a new toy drive for Catholic Charities’ Project Joybells. The students are also celebrating the girls’ cross country team second place finish at the California Interscholastic Federation (C.I.F.) Division IV State Championships in Clovis on Nov. 29.

Holy Names University in Oakland recently underwent a virtual makeover. Highlights of its new website (www.hnu.edu) include hundreds of photos and multimedia tools highlighting the achievements of students, faculty, alumni and staff. The campus has also launched a new online community for HNU alumni called HNALink. Alums can update their contact information, renew friendships, and track upcoming alum events. Visit www.hnu.edu/alumni to register.

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Around the Parishes

At Danville’s 27th annual Mayor’s installation and community service awards event, Dec. 3, Brian Dunn and Bea Bustamante of St. Isidore Parish received awards of merit from Councilman Mike Doyle for their tireless efforts on behalf of the orphans of Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos. They direct Father Frank’s Kids, an organization run by St. Isidore parishioners, to support orphans in Latin America. In September, the group raised nearly $100,000 from a dinner/auction. The proceeds provided clothing for children in El Salvador, dormitory provisions and a mini-bus for an orphanage in Guatemala, and medication, clothing, a new water system, a family program and radio communication equipment for sites in Nicaragua.

Last month Dominican Father David Farrugia, pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Berkeley, joined 12 other East Bay religious leaders at a meeting with top staff of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein in San Francisco to seek their support for a ban on the use of torture by U.S. agencies. The interfaith group asked the congressional leaders to urge President-elect Barack Obama to make the ban one of his first acts after taking office in January.

Former parishioners, students, family and friends of Oakland’s Sacred Heart Parish are invited to join the parish community for a celebration of the 25th year of their annual Mardi Gras Dinner and Dance at Oakland’s Colombo Club on Feb. 22. This is the parish’s biggest fundraiser and social event of the year. For information and tickets, contact Gilda Costa at (510) 652-2855 or Kim Mikus at (510) 653-4392.

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Among the Religious

After many years of service in the East Bay, Holy Names Sister Thomasina McMahon recently moved to her religious community’s retirement residence in Los Gatos. In her 60-plus years of religious life, she has been an impassioned advocate for the outcast and voiceless. In addition to her years as a teacher, she worked as a hospital chaplain at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley and arranged for proper burials for stillborn infants whose parents could not afford this expense. She has also promoted the “Get On The Bus” program enabling children to visit their incarcerated mothers on Mother’s Day), shipped boxes of clothing and supplies to her community’s outreach center in Tutwiler, Mississippi and served at a local soup kitchen. Letters can be sent to Sister McMahon at the Sisters of the Holy Names, 200 Prospect Ave., Los Gatos, CA 95030.

The Northern California region of the National Religious Vocations Conference sponsors a monthly discernment group for men and women interested in religious life. The group meets in a relaxed setting where participants can ask any and all questions about becoming a Sister, Brother, or priest. There are Scripture readings and other materials to assist in the discernment process. The next meeting will be held on January 4. For information contact Sister Beth Quire, O.P., (510) 449-7554, sbquire@hotmail.com.

The Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose in Fremont opened the doors of their motherhouse and invited the community in to take part in the annual olive harvesting on Dec. 6.

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Names, News, Notes

The Diocesan Council of Catholic Women recently hosted its annual Woman of the Year Mass and lunch at which 16 women were honored for outstanding community service. The honorees, nominated by their parish or organization, are: Angie Arcidiacono, Good Shepherd, Pittsburg; Lena Biasotti, Catholic Ladies Aid, #9, Berkeley; Betty Brown, St. John the Baptist, El Cerrito; Rolly Mary Dobbins, St. Paschal, Oakland; Theresa Ellerbusch, St. Jerome, El Cerrito; Jackie Fonkin, St. David of Wales, Richmond; Sheila Gibson, St. Jarlath, Oakland; Joyce Gressel, St. Joseph the Worker, Berkeley; Conchita Guzman, St. Bonaventure, Concord; Fatima Mendoza, St. Anthony, Oakland; Ann Nelson, St. Mary Magdalen, Berkeley; Norma Orly, St. Callistus, El Sobrante; Diane Siegmund, Our Lady of Mercy, Pt. Richmond; Susanna Song, St. Andrew Kim Korean Pastoral Center, Oakland; Beverly Walsh, Our Lady of the Valley, YLI; Esther Yee, Holy Spirit, Fremont.

Congratulations to Cathy and John Bedecarré of St. Agnes Parish in Concord, who recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. The Bedecarre’s were married at St. Jerome Church in El Cerrito on Sept. 25, 1948. They have six children and 17 grandchildren.

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