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 December 14, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 21   •   Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

Bringing holiday joy
The pre-K class at St. John School in San Lorenzo display some of the 73 holiday cards they made and donated to the family of Gavin Marquez, a four-year-old battling Tay-Sachs Disease in San Diego. The family will sell the cards to raise money for Gavin’s care and for the Tay-Sachs Foundation. The students are, bottom row from left, John, Mackenzie, Julian, Joshua, Waileia, and top row from left, Nicolas, Rolina, Adrianna, Elai, Michelle and Luke. Their teacher is Jen Nucum-Reyes.
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FACE Founder’s Award
ABOVE: Anne Rynders, former director of FACE (Family-Aid Catholic Education), stands with her husband Fred after receiving the Founder’s Award at a ceremony at the Cathedral of Christ the Light honoring major FACE donors. FACE raises money for tuition grants to low-income families wanting their children to attend Catholic schools in the Oakland Diocese.
A convent Santa
LEFT: Santa Claus (Sister Charlotte Shea) and her elves (Sister Florence Cumbelich, left, and Sister Patricia Rielly, right) wait outside the Mission San Jose Dominican Sisters motherhouse for the Fremont Fire Dept. to pick them up for a ride to the Mission San Jose Chamber of Commerce tree lighting ceremony, Dec. 5. The trio greeted visitors — both children and adults — at the annual event

$250,000 grant for CCEB

The Chevron Corporation has awarded Catholic Charities of the East Bay $250,000 to support a job training program they operate with West Contra Costa County. The grant will support the expansion of the Project Access Job Training Program which helps low-income Richmond and West County residents with limited English skills obtain employment as clinical medical assistance, a high-demand occupation in the East Bay.

Mourning CYO champion

The diocesan CYO community has lost one of its most faithful supporters. Frank Kemp, a CYO volunteer for 45 years, died Nov. 29 at the age of 90. Kemp was an athletic director and basketball coach at St. Leander Parish in San Leandro for over 30 years and continued to be involved in the program into his late 80s.

Prior to joining St. Leander’s, he coached at St. Louis Bertrand School in Oakland. He served as president for both the SAC Boys CYO League and the Metro Girls CYO League. He also coached at Bishop O’Dowd High School and Holy Names High School in Oakland.

Shortly before his death, the diocese awarded him the “Companions on the Journey” award of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry

“Because of his dedication and ministry through coaching, he touched the lives of thousands of young people whom he coached and mentored, and the many adults whom he quietly inspired,” said Bill Ford, diocesan CYO director.

Kemp is survived by his wife of 64 years, Grace, and one son, Chris. The funeral was held at St. Leander’s on Dec. 9.

Perfume for Christmas

Jayne Fleming, director of the Legal Justice Center at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, will be spending Christmas in Guatemala City and she is collecting perfume as gifts for the Guatemalan women who make their living recycling items they find at the local garbage dump.

The notion of taking perfume to Guatemala City seemed strange to Fleming, but a friend who works with these women explained that they are surrounded by ugliness all day and would love to have something beautiful. The women can keep the perfume for themselves or share it with a sister or daughter or mother, Fleming said.

Fleming is collecting perfume between now and Dec. 23 at the cathedral parish hall, 2121 Harrison St. in Oakland. There is a special drop-off box in the reception area at the parish office. (Donors should indicate that the donation is for the Legal Justice Center Guatemala Project.) For those who simply “cannot fathom” sending perfume to Guatemala, Fleming is collecting pajamas in sizes 0-5 for youngsters who live at the dump. Dominican Sister Stella Goodpasture is also accepting drop-offs at St. Elizabeth Convent, 1555-34th Ave in Oakland; she can be reached at (510) 261-2349.

Around the Parishes

The Legal Justice Center at the Cathedral of Christ the Light hosted a “Breaking Bread for Social Justice Dinner and Holiday Program” on Dec. 10, hosted by Father Paul Minnihan, cathedral provost. Dennis Archer, former justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, Mayor of Detroit, and president of the American Bar Association, delivered the keynote address. Minh-Tram Nguyen, principal of Encompass Academy in Oakland, was honored as a “community hero.”

To commemorate World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, the Catholic Community of Pleasanton (CCOP) displayed two panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at both of the parish’s churches, Nov. 28-29. Each of the quilt’s 12’ x 12’ panels represents eight lives lost to AIDS.

Tonight (Dec. 14) at 7 p.m. St. Augustine Parish in Oakland is hosting the fourth annual memorial service for friends and family members of murder victims.

Newark’s St. Edward Parish will be hosting a visit by Tim Staples, a popular Catholic apologist and evangelist, on Jan. 9. The day will begin with Mass at 9 a.m. and includes a continental breakfast and lunch. The cost is $35 for a single admission or $60 for two people. For more information, call Frank or Vanessa at (510) 791-6436.

St. Jerome Parish in El Cerrito has been collecting new and gently used clothing for GRIP (Greater Richmond Interfaith Program), which provides food and shelter to the area’s homeless.

Members of St. Patrick Parish in Rodeo are taking part in a toy drive for the annual Christmas Coalition, which will distribute items to over 250 low-income families in Rodeo, Hercules, Pinole and Crockett.

Concord’s St. Bonaventure Parish hosted a fundraiser for Amigos de El Salvador (Friends of El Salvador) last month, to raise money for victims of flash floods that killed some 200 people in El Salvador.

Pregnant women attending Mass the weekend of Dec. 5 — 6 at St. Isidore Church in Danville received a special blessing after the homily.The blessing asked God to protect the mother during her delivery and for the birth of a healthy child.

Members of St. Leo Parish in Oakland will be singing Christmas carols in front of the church at Piedmont Avenue and Ridgeway from 3 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 19.

Speaking of singing, the choir from Oakland’s St. Columba Parish sang last month at St. Leander Church in San Leandro.

Members of St. John the Baptist Parish in El Cerrito gathered Dec. 6 to celebrate the 35th ordination anniversary of Father Raymond Ogbemure, who has been in residence at the parish for several years. The celebration began with Mass at 12:30 p.m. in the parish church, followed by a pot luck luncheon in the community center.

St. Anne Parish in Union City honored Hawaii’s newly canonized St. Damien de Veuster of Molokai with an evening of spiritual and contemporary Hawaiian Christmas music, dance and prayer, Dec. 11.

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Around the Schools

Natalia Giles and Ellen Cannon, seniors at St. Mary’s College High School in Berkeley, have both earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts, equal to the Boy Scouts Eagle Award. Natalia is the daughter of Sherre and Nathaniel Giles of El Sobrante, and Ellen is the daughter of Joan and David Cannon of Oakland.

Results from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test are out and Concord’s Carondelet High School couldn’t be happier. Christine Connolly, Adrienne Johnson, Danielle Ryba, and Katelyn Williams have been recognized as semifinalists. Semifinalists are the highest scorers in each of the 50 states and represent less than one percent of each state’s high school seniors. Meghan Cooney, Megan Dunning, and Christine Tormey are recognized as National Merit Commended Students for having placed in the top 5 percent of all test takers. Kathryn Teixeira is being honored by the National Hispanic Recognition Program as a Scholar and Adrienne Johnson, who scored in the top 1,600 of Black American high school students, is recognized as a National Achievement Scholarship Semifinalist.

Congratulations to the staff of The Explorer, the monthly student newspaper at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward, who recently won two major awards — a Gold Medal in the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Critique and the Pacemaker Award from the National Scholastic Press Association. The Explorer can be viewed at mcexplorer.com.

Applause also go to the staff and contributors of PRISMS ’09, the student literary magazine at Alameda’s St. Joseph Notre Dame High School (SJND), for once again winning first place with special merit from the American Scholastic Press Association.

Students at SJND have also demonstrated their skills in the area of virtual economics. The economics class logged onto an Internet game called “Virtual Stock Exchange” and were each given 100,000 virtual dollars with which to do virtual trades. Students are awarded $300, $150 and $75 respectively for win, second and third places. This semester’s winners are Breeanna Decker at +18.19 percent, Lee Hutton at +18.15 percent, and Alfredo Gonzalez at +17.33 percent.

Couldn’t get up early in the morning for those “door-busting” Christmas sales? If you are still looking for a Christmas gift that would make a difference, the folks at FACE (Family Aid-Catholic Education) would like for you to consider the gift of a Catholic education for a child whose family is unable to pay full tuition. Some Friends of FACE are offering matching funds of $50,000 for contributions made this Christmas season. For more information, contact FACE at (510) 628-2169.

Oakland’s St. Theresa Elementary School
is seeking all alums as the school plans for an alumni newsletter and a reunion. If you wish to re-connect, contact Karen (Bozzone) Raven (Class of 1982) at kr_sttheresaschool@yahoo.com or call (510) 547-3146, ext. 30.

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Names, News, Notes

The Legal Justice Center at Oakland’s cathedral and the Cathedral Parish are hosting a free holiday soup kitchen, Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Reservations are not required. Anyone wishing to volunteer to help should contact Deacon Rey Encarnacion at rey@ebmud.com or (510) 832-5057. Donations of holiday baked goods cab be delivered to the parish hall, 2121 Harrison Street, on or before Dec. 18. Financial contributions are also welcome.

Bishop Salvatore Cordileone hosted the 33rd Annual Dinner honoring the Catholic faculties of the University of California and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, on Dec. 9 at Holy Spirit/Newman Hall Parish in Berkeley.

In a creative twist to the Mercy Sisters’ tradition of offering a cup of tea to guests, Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland (MRCC) recently invited donors to a phantom tea party. Each invitation included a tea bag to enjoy without having to leave the comfort of one’s home. Organizers hope each “guest” will make a donation to the Center.

If you are doing some online Christmas shopping, you can donate a portion to Birthright of San Lorenzo, a non-profit crisis pregnancy center, by going to Goodshop.com and selecting Birthright of San Lorenzo as your charity. Then shop on Amazon, eBay, Drugstore.com, etc., and a percentage of what you spend goes to Birthright. For more information, contact Birthright of San Lorenzo at (510) 481-9677.

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