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CURRENT ISSUE:  September 7, 2009
VOL. 47, NO. 15   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Federal grant lets Catholic schools open learning centers
Auburn deacon loses home to fire,
weeks after death of teenage son
Cathedral Sunday Sept. 13:
aid sought on construction debt

Prayers fo Vietnam
More than 150 Vietnamese priests serving in parishes throughout the United States celebrate Mass at Oakland’s cathedral, Aug. 26, praying for peace and justice in Vietnam. The priests were attending a convocation of Vietnamese priests in Santa Clara.

One year after the dedication of the Cathedral of Christ the Light, the Oakland Diocese is asking parishioners to help pay off the $60 million debt remaining from the construction of the cathedral and surrounding complex at the corner of Harrison Street and Grand Avenue in downtown Oakland.

Father Quang Dong, rector of Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light, leads his brother priests in prayer during the Aug. 26 Mass for Vietnam.
Sept. 13 has been designated as Cathedral Sunday with a goal of raising $1.5 million, said Greg Bedard, development director for the cathedral.

On that day everyone attending Mass in a parish church will receive a colorful booklet on the cathedral with information on its Mass schedule, the outreach services provided at the cathedral center, as well as details on tours of the award-winning building. The booklet will contain an envelope that parishioners can use to make a donation.

Bedard said many of the cathedral’s docents will speak at churches on Cathedral Sunday, highlighting the importance of the cathedral center and asking parishioners to be generous in their gift to the cathedral. This is the second year for a cathedral collection.

The final construction cost for the cathedral center, which includes the mausoleum, a parking garage, public plaza, conference rooms, gift shop and café, administrative offices and a rectory, is $175 million, down from the $190 million estimate given in 2006. The savings, Bedard said, were due to a “concerted effort to reduce the budget, which was ultimately accomplished through very effective management by the cathedral project team.”

Bedard said he is optimistic that the remaining $15 million in pledges will be collected. When the diocese is able to complete the sale of some diocesan properties, another $12 million will be applied to the debt, he added.

Since the cathedral was dedicated on Sept. 25, 2008, more than 1,000 Masses have been celebrated there, including ordinations, marriages and funerals. The cathedral has also served as a gathering place for the civic community during concerts and ecumenical prayer services. A memorial Mass April 1 prayed for four Oakland police officers killed March 21.

The cathedral center houses the Order of Malta Health Clinic that has recorded more than 1,700 patient visits since opening in December.

The Legal Justice Center, also located at the cathedral, offers free legal advice and referrals to low-income and indigent persons living in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. It also conducts monthly informational “Know Your Rights” workshops and hosts semi-annual dinners for social justice advocates and members of the community.

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