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 September 7, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 15   •   Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

Two new sisters
Oakland Bishop Salvatore Cordileone stands with Sister Gloria Marie Jones, congregational prioress of the Mission San Jose Dominicans, and two newly professed members of the congregation, Sister Mary-Han Ncog Nguyen (left) and Sister Dulce Sari Aguilar Rodriguez (right). The bishop presided at the multicultural Mass on the feast of St. Dominic during which the Sisters professed their first vows.
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Entrepreneurs for charity
Henry Taylor of the George Mark House in San Leandro thanks Jack Saylor, 7, and his brother Charlie, 6, students at St. Agnes School in Concord, for the $446 they raised for the House, which cares for seriously and terminally ill children. The boys used a $100 donation to build and stock a lemonade stand that brought in the funds in three hours, July 18. Each customer received a copy of a story about George Mark that appeared in the June 8 Voice. Monica Saylor, a member of funeral ministry at St. Bonaventure Parish in Concord, accompanied her sons to George Mark House for the presentation of the check.

Interfaith prayer wall
Students and alumni of Saint Mary’s College in Moraga brave record heat Aug. 29 to build an interfaith prayer wall in the campus’ Legacy Garden. Between the stones they placed wildflower seeds which they hope will scatter to the surrounding hillsides. The 3-foot high wall extended about 20 feet and is expected to become a gathering space for reflection, meditation and celebration.

Honored for compassion

Father Jayson Landeza, now on a year-long sabbatical, was presented the Medal of Merit by Howard Jordan, acting Chief of Police of the Oakland Police Department, for his service to the OPD.

The citation, dated July 6, noted that: “During these times you have always demonstrated yourself to be a calm, caring and compassionate pastoral presence in the midst of chaos. Whenever there is a need of a chaplain’s presence you are one of the first to be called.

“Your service as chaplain has better enabled the men and women of the Department to perform their duties in spite of the grief and tragedy they may endure.”

Among his many chaplain duties this year, Father Landeza provided support to police officers after four of the members were slain in March. He also played a pivotal role in the development of a civic funeral for the men.

Gabriel Project training available in S.F. Sept. 12

A daylong training in how to support women in difficult pregnancies through the Gabriel Project will take place at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, Sept. 12.

Cathy McConn, founder of the Gabriel Project in Houston, will train attendees in “every aspect” of the ministry, which provides spiritual, material and emotional help during pregnancy.

The Gabriel Project uses signs, pamphlets, bumper stickers and a toll free hotline to alert pregnant mothers that help is available. Callers to the hotline are referred to the local Gabriel Project coordinator who connects them to a trained mentor. The mentor is responsible for ongoing contact with the mother throughout her pregnancy.

The conference will begin with a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 2:30 p.m.

Volunteers from all dioceses in northern California are welcome to attend, said conference organizers. Information is available from the archdiocesan Respect Life Program of the Office of Public Policy & Social Concerns, which is organizing the gathering. To register, call Vicki Evans at (415) 614-5533 or e-mail her at evansv@sfarchdiocese.org.

Mt. Diablo hike-a-thon

Catholic Charities of the East Bay is sponsoring a youth hike-a-thon on Mount Diablo Oct. 17 to benefit its Emancipated Foster Youth, and Youth Community Violence Prevention programs. The event is open to youth ages 10 to 17.

The grand prize — a Sony 5.0 Webbie HD Camcorder with Swivel 2.5 LCD Display — will be awarded to the youth or youth group collecting the most pledges of $150 each. Participants will be able to earn community service hours and a free t-shirt.

Contact sbiagas@cceb.org or call (510) 768-3147.

Around the Parishes

Assumption Parish in San Leandro reports that their Vacation Bible School was a tremendous success with a record 165 children attending Aug. 3-7. Coordinated by Brian and Siobhan Cushing, with the help of many adult volunteers, the program offered daily Bible lessons through drama, crafts and games. This year’s VBS included a Kid-to-Kid Project supporting Building Futures with Women and Children, a non-profit organization that operates two shelters in San Leandro and two in Alameda for underserved homeless and abused women and children.

Congratulations to five members of St. Ignatius Parish in Antioch who reached their 2nd Degree as members of the Knights of Columbus. They are: Peter Degl’Innocenti, Leo Garcia, Steve Morris, Alex Solano and Armando Vasquez. Congratulations also go to Rich Confetti, who was selected as “Knight of the Year.” He will be honored at a Sept. 19 luncheon at the Lone Tree Golf and Community Center in Antioch along with the Police Officer of the Year and Firefighter of the Year recipients.

The Ministry of Mother’s Sharing (MOMS) group of the Catholic Community of Pleasanton will host a fall workshop for moms of all ages. The six-week workshop, begins Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Seton Church. Moms of all denominations are welcome. For more information, contact Kim Rice-Masek, (925) 462-2088.

Good Shepherd Parish in Pittsburg hosted a Life Line health screening for members of the local community on Aug. 26. This is the third time the parish has hosted the screening.

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Around the Schools

Bishop Salvatore Cordileone will celebrate Bishop O’Dowd High School’s opening liturgy on Sept. 8. The 10 a.m. liturgy will be held outdoors in the Oakland school’s Quad, the first time in nearly a decade that a liturgy has been held there.

The community of Moreau Catholic High School gathered at the Hayward campus on Aug. 20 to celebrate the transition of leadership during a reception for President Terry Lee and Lauren Lek, who was appointed principal effective July 1. Lee previously held the dual role of president and principal. Holy Names Sister Barbara Bray, superintendent of schools for the Oakland Diocese, and Kathleen Radecke, assistant superintendent of schools for the diocese, were among those attending the event.

Catherine Cook has joined the faculty at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda as assistant principal of academics. Originally from Canada, Cook has been a high school English, AP (Advanced Placement) and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher for over 10 years. She previously held an administrative position at the Contra Costa County Office of Education, helping students achieve their college goals. Cook is in her third year of a doctoral program in educational leadership at St. Mary’s College in Moraga.

Congratulations to Semhal Gessesse and Dana Morales of St. Leo the Great School in Oakland, and Niko Wells of Assumption School in San Leandro, recipients of the United States Achievement Academy (USAA) National Journalism Award for 2009. The graduates are three of six students nominated for the award by Joe Leo, technology coordinator at both schools, for their commitment to each respective school’s newspaper and/or yearbook.

Kathleen Parra, who graduated from St. Isidore School in Danville in May, received the Young Ladies Institute Scholarship Award from the Young Ladies Institute of the Valley . Parra is now a freshman at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward.

This summer, fifth-grade students at St. Jerome School in El Cerrito, with help from their teacher Mary Jo Mishork and teaching assistant Joan Olivero, exhibited their art work in the City of Oakland Craft and Cultural Department’s “Many Faces of Frieda” show, July 13-Aug. 28. All 22 students worked with artist-curator Rachel Anne Palacios on the project that included drawing replicas of Frieda Kahlo’s art, transferring the images to transparent shrink plastic to resemble stained glass, and hanging the pieces from the branches of a painted tree decorated with bright orange flowers and jewel-toned feather butterflies.

Since 1983, the YMI (Young Men’s Institute) American Council #8 has presented a scholarship to a graduating 8th grade student of St. Lawrence O’Toole School in Oakland. This year scholarships were awarded to Hedda Nguyen and Luis Arturo Ramirez. The scholarship checks were presented to the winners and their parents at the council’s Aug. 11 meeting.

Andrew McIntire, a junior at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward and a parishioner at St. Bede Church in Hayward, participated in Lance Armstrong’s “Livestrong Challenge” on July 12. McIntire rode his bike 100 miles and raised $1595 to help the fight against cancer. Last year McIntire rode 65 miles and raised $1295.

Laura Johnston, a student at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, is one of 15 Catholic students across the country to receive a fellowship from the Fund for Theological Education. The ecumenical organization annually grants more than $1 million in awards to undergraduates, seminary and doctoral students across the United States and Canada who demonstrate potential as future church leaders. Johnston plans to use her $10,000 fellowship to develop a summer project to issues outside the curriculum of her master of divinity program.

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Among the Religious

The Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose in Fremont welcomed Hermana Julieta Puente at the first chapter of the Sisters newly formed province in Mexico when she received the Dominican habit in July. Two candidates, Laura Concepcion Ramirez Sanchez and Ursula Abigail Perez Neri, were also welcomed into the congregation by the new regional prioress, Josefina Rodriguez Silva.

Three permanent deacons and their wives share the same wedding anniversary – Sept. 5. They are Deacon Noe Gonzalez and his wife, Silvia, members at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Berkeley, who are celebrating 22 years of marriage; Deacon Tim Moore and his wife, Phyllis, who are celebrating 39 years of marriage; and Deacon Burt Rigley and his wife, June, who are celebrating a union of 55 years. The Moores and Rigleys are members of the Church of the Transfiguration in Castro Valley.

The Sisters of the Holy Cross will install their nearly elected congregational leadership team on Sept. 27 in Indiana. Sister Joan Marie Steadman, president, is a native of San Jose who has served as associate director of health care ethics at Santa Clara University.

Congratulations to Joseph Macaluso of Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill, who, after nine years of formation, professed final vows of chastity and obedience to the St. Elijah Community of the Discalced Carmelite Seculars.

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Names, News, Notes

Only 10 days remain in Casa Vincentia’s Annual Gold Key Sponsorship Campaign, the organization’s major fundraising event. Casa Vincentia offers a residence in Oakland and other services to homeless and at-risk young mothers. For each $50 donation, donors have a chance to win a grand prize of $1,000 and other prizes. The drawing will take place on Sept. 27. For tickets or more information, contact Barbara Jackson at (510) 729-0316.

Birthright of San Lorenzo, a crisis pregnancy center, recently raised more than $640 through a raffle of tickets to the Aug. 3 Jonas Brothers concert at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.

The Golden Gate Boys Choir and Bellringers (GGBC) held its annual summer music camp at the Oakland Diocesan Youth Retreat Center in Lafayette on Aug. 8. The camp included music instruction, choral rehearsal and athletic activities. Members of the GGBC represent all cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds, including a number of participants from local Catholic schools.

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