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 December 13, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 21   •   Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

SJND freshman makes history
Gabe Arias-Sheridan (second from left), a cross country runner for Alameda’s St. Joseph Notre Dame High School, took first place in the Bay Shore Athletic League championships in the three-mile race at the Point Pinole Regional Shoreline course on Nov. 4. Arias-Sheridan, who had a time of 15:45, became the first runner in BSAL history to win the championship as a freshman. (From left: SJND Pilot runners Nick Ratto, Gabe Arias-Sheridan and Louis Rodrigues.)
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Educator honored
The American Cancer Society recognized educator Cynthia LeBlanc with its highest national honor, the 2010 St. George National Award. The award recognizes volunteers who have made significant contributions toward achieving the organization’s mission to save lives. LeBlanc, pictured with David Veneziano, CEO of the American Cancer Society, California division, assumed the leadership role of volunteer chair of the American Cancer Society’s national Board of Directors last month.
St. Elizabeth seniors help seniors
Cierra Bivens and Juanita Bell help prepare plates. They were among 36 seniors from St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland last month who prepared a full lunch for the United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County at St. Mary’s Center, also in Oakland. The high school students, under the direction of campus minister Patrick Landeza, presented the seniors with a menu of pasta with meat sauce, salad and dinner rolls. The class, which raised the money to buy the food, took charge of the clean-up.

St. Mary’s High students visit kindergartners
Ishmael Edson (left) and Trevon Newman (second from left), both French-language students from Berkeley’s St. Mary’s High School, taught the kindergarten class at St. John the Baptist in El Cerrito to count to 10 in French during a visit just before Thanksgiving. A total of eight high school students participated in the kindergartners’ prayer circle. The high school visitors also taught the younger students a brief prayer in French, while the kindergartners brought money they had collected for Haiti relief to the prayer circle.
Catherine Mahoney, St. Mary’s High School

Giving takes team work
Students from St. Clement School in Hayward happily welcomed a generous donation from R.F. MacDonald Co. for the school’s Christian Action Food Drive and the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Thanksgiving food baskets. Many volunteers, including the second grade St. Clement Blue CYO boys’ basketball team (above) helped to sort and package. This donation along with others from the school community enabled SVDP provide Thanksgiving dinners for 40 families in need.

Pianist turns fundraiser

Omar Abdul-Rahim is a 13-year-old with a mission — make the world a little better one note at a time.

Abdul-Rahim, an eighth-grader at Corpus Christi School in Oakland, will hold a piano concert on Jan. 9 to benefit the George Mark Children’s House, a unique hospice facility for youths and their families in San Leandro.

Last year, the teen discovered his love for music could help others. After a representative for Empower the Children came to the parish church seeking donations, Abdul-Rahim approached the speaker, noting that, while he didn’t have money, he could hold a concert on behalf of the charity. The concert raised $2,200 for the organization. The musical humanitarian also organized a schoolwide fundraiser for UNICEF.

The concert begins at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 9 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 114 Montecito Ave., Oakland, across the street from Fairyland. The suggested donation is $20 per person. Doors will open at 2 p.m.

Around the Parishes

St. Augustine Church in Oakland hosted its Fifth Annual Memorial Service on Dec. 7 to remember those who died by violence in the greater Oakland area. Family and friends of murder victims attended the interdenominational service.

The Divine Mercy Ministry at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Brentwood organized a conference on “Eucharistic Miracles” on Dec. 3 and 4 featuring Ricardo Castanon, president and investigator of International Group for Peace. Castanon, who has written more than 14 books, delivered his presentations in English and Spanish.

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Around the Schools

For the third year CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) referees for boys basketball in Southern Alameda County, known as the ZebraCrew, are raising money to help those in need during the Thanksgiving-Christmas season through its One Game, Many Meals (OGMM) campaign. Each referee voluntarily donates one game’s pay toward the campaign. The ZebraCrew, which is composed of young adults and mostly teens from Catholic and public schools in the Oakland/San Leandro to Union City corridor, is also collecting new socks to be provided to homeless children and adults.

St. Mary’s College in Moraga recently recognized 40 influential female graduates with a gala celebration called “40 Years/One Night” on Nov. 6. The gala was held to mark the 40th year anniversary of the admittance of the first female students on campus. The featured speaker was Kristine Carlson, co-author of the “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” series. Among the alumnae honored by the College’s Women in Philanthropy Committee were California labor leader Maria Elena Durazo ’75, NBC Bay Area television news anchor Laura Garcia-Cannon ’91, San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer ’97, and social entrepreneur and filmmaker Dr. Lauren Speeth ’89.

Oakland’s St. Leo the Great School recently earned recognition as the 2010 nominee for “best grade school (pre-K)” in Oakland by Best of the Bay TV, a television program that airs on KRON4. The show’s producers selected the nominees based on criteria that included industry research and only one nominee per category from a geographical area, city or county.

Students, faculty, staff and parents at St. Joseph School in Pinole joined representatives from the City of Pinole to celebrate, remember and honor the nation’s veterans at the city’s Veteran’s Day in the Park event on Nov. 11.

The Queen of All Saints Schools Children’s Choir in Concord, under the direction of Terry Davis, sang at the Annual Concord Tree Lighting Sing-a-long on Dec. 4.

Members of the senior class at St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland cooked lunch for some 300 senior citizens who were attending a Nov. 18 conference at St. Mary’s Center in Oakland (see photo below). The senior class raised the money to buy the food and took charge of the clean-up.

Five students from Concord’s De La Salle High School (DLS), who had started out as Cub Scouts 10 years ago at St. Isidore School in Danville, all recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout. The young men, all seniors at DLS and currently members of Boy Scout Troop 236 of Community Presbyterian Church, are Cameron Bauer, 18; Sam Beering, 17; Reid Bryon, 17; Mike Reigelman, 17; and Nick Watkins, 17. Each performed a leadership project and gave back to the community. Bauer made a promotional video for St. Isidore School to show to prospective famillies; Beering planned and led a group to distribute, collect, clean and organize clothing for Wardrobe for Opportunity; Bryson’s project consisted of planning, organizing, designing, constructing and installing of two large planters and the associated irrigation in the main parking lot at St. Isidore School; Reigelman worked with the San Ramon Valley Fire Prevention District defining and managing five teams that marked more than 25 fire trails in the suburban neighborhoods of San Ramon Valley; Watkins planned and organized a neighborhood collection of toys, books and school supplies for Books for the Barrios.

Speaking of DLS: Members of the school’s lacrosse team, with their coaches and families, organized a Thanksgiving celebration for local families by buying more than 300 turkeys. “The kids had the idea and got the project together and I’m proud of them for carrying it through,” said Coach Bob O’Meara. Half of the turkeys were distributed to the Monument Crisis Center and St. Francis of Assisi Church, both in Concord, on Nov, 22 and 23.

Curtis Conti, a member of the class of 2010 at Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School (BOD), recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout. A member of Boy Scout Troop 876 in Hayward, Curtis completed the re-landscaping of two large planter boxes at BOD. The award was presented to him at an Eagle Court of Honor on Nov. 27 at Our Lady of Grace Church in Castro Valley. Curtis is currently a freshman at U.C. Davis

During the season of Advent, the student body of Carondelet High School in Concord conducted a drive to benefit several local charities including the Bay Area Crisis Nursery in Concord, St. Martin de Porres Regional School in Oakland, and the George Mark Children’s House in San Leandro.

Twenty-six students at St. Mary’s High School in Berkeley hunkered down in the school library for the annual 24-Hour Read-A-Thon on Nov. 10. They raised over $1,000 for BuildOn after school programs. Berkeley’s Gioia Pizza and Peet’s Coffee sponsored this year’s competition. Winners of the $100 Amazon gift cards were freshman Barbara Montano and junior Elizabeth Chipman, each of whom read for 19.5 hours.

The St. Mary’s High Library guest speaker series featured Auschwitz survivor Susan Greenwald on Nov. 17. Greenwald shared her life experiences with a standing-room-only audience of students and faculty who came to witness her first-hand account of the Holocaust.

Margaret Trost, a St. Mary’s High parent and founder of the What If? Foundation in Berkeley, spoke to students and faculty on the Berkeley campus as they volunteered their help with her year-end foundation mailing. What If? provides support for the children of Haiti, and St. Mary’s supported her work through a fundraising project after the devastating Haiti earthquake in January.

The men’s cross country team at St. Joseph Notre Dame (SJND) High School in Alameda placed 7th — up from 15th place last year — in the California state championships held Nov. 27 in Fresno. (See photo above.) The team was the only school in Northern California represented in the top seven. Individually Nick Ratto, a sophomore, placed fifth in the 3.1-mile race, to finish with a 16:09, followed by Gabe Arias-Sheridan, with a 16.11 time. Seven SJND runners finished in the top 200 at the state championships. They are: Louis Rodrigues, James LaFollette, Sam Levy Wendt, Brendan Chai, and Mitchell Mein.

SJND students will help spread the holiday spirit on Dec. 18 when they raised their voices in song as carolers in downtown Alameda. The group will meet at the fire station on Encinal Avenue and Park Street at 11 a.m. Singers of all ages are welcome to join them.

Eighth-graders from St. Francis of Assisi School in Concord assembled Samaritan Purse shoe boxes that were filled with donations from the entire student body. Samaritan’s Purse provides relief and aid to children suffering from war, natural disaster, famine, disease and poverty.

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Among the Religious

Adrian Dominican Sister Corinne Florek, director of Mercy Partnership Fund and the Religious Communities Investment Fund, received the third annual Ned Gramlich Lifetime Achievement Award for Responsible Finance from the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) on Nov. 4 during OFN’s annual conference in San Francisco. Sister Florek, the Oakland resident who has worked in the field of economic development as a manager, educator, consultant, financial administrator and strategic planner for 30 years, was honored for her long dedication to community investment.

Christian Brother Jack Henderson, a graduate of De La Salle High School in Concord, has been named the 2010 Distinguished Lasallian Educator for the District of San Francisco. The award honors exemplary educators from each of the religious community’s four districts in the U.S. and Toronto. During his 24 years as a teacher, Brother Henderson, known for his ability to make science — particularly biology — come alive for his students, taught at several schools in the San Francisco Bay Area including DLS, his alma mater, St. Mary’s High School in Berkeley and Justin-Siena High School in Napa.

Permanent Deacon Dave Rezendes presided at his House of the Dove Christmas Display and Annual Blessing of the Christmas Lights and Procession on Dec. 3 at 352 Hillcrest Ave. in Livermore. The display will be open nightly from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and will close at 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The display is subject to close in adverse weather. For more information visit the website: www.casadelpomba.com.

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Names, News, Notes

Edward A. Murray, a former director of Catholic Cemeteries for the Diocese of Oakland, died Nov. 7 in Walnut Creek at the age of 90. A native of San Francisco, Murray had a 50-year career in administration for Catholic Cemeteries. He started as a clerk and later served as director of cemeteries from 1979-1990. Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Irene; his children, Peter, Paul and Ann and their families. The funeral Mass was held Nov. 12 at St. Rose Church in Crockett; burial was at St. Joseph Cemetery in San Pablo.

Congratulations and Many Blessings to Mike and Joy Geronimo, members at St. Ignatius Parish in Antioch, who recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of their marriage.

The YLI (Young Ladies Institute) Laurentian group of Oakland will start the new year with a new mission — foster care. The new campaign was sparked by a conversation with the regional manager of the Family First program for Alameda County who encouraged the women to raise funds for Target store gift cards for each child coming into the public assistance program. The campaign comes about as the group welcomes its grand president, Lana Hanney, to its Dec. 18 meeting at Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland. Those interested in helping the YLI in their campaign are encouraged to contact Sister Roberta Carson at (925) 457-7355.

“Our Daily Bread: Faith, Work and the Economy” is the title of the 110th Earl Lectures, which will take place Jan. 25-27 at the Pacific School of Religion. Robert Reich, public policy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, will be a featured presenter. Other presenters include Kim Bobo, executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice, a non-profit organization based in Chicago, and Bishop Yvette Flunder, founder and senior pastor of City of Refuge United Church of Christ in San Francisco. IWJ and Clergy and Laity for Economic Justice will be among the organizations hosting workshops at the three-day event. The Earl Lectures, which also offer lectures and workshops, are free and open to the public, and require no registration. For more information, go to PSR’s website, psr.edu/earllectures or dial (510) 849-8218 or (800) 999-0528, ext. 8218.

VOLUNTEER ALERT! Oakland Elizabeth House is seeking a volunteer website designer who can help the organization update and redesign their website. Elizabeth House is a transitional program for women and children who have experienced homelessness, violence, addiction or poverty. For more information contact Lori Ottolini Geno at lori@oakehouse.org or (510) 658-1380, ext. 204.

High school singers, who will be entering grades 10, 11 and 12 in fall 2011, are invited to apply to the 2011 National Catholic Youth Choir which will be June 14-28 at Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minn. Last summer three singers from the Oakland Diocese participated in the NCYC. The cost for the prospective singers is $900 and scholarships are available. For more information or to apply online go to www.CatholicYouthChoir.org. Applications are due by March 7.

The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the Catholic TV network, will offer a number of Christmas programs from Rome and Washington.

These include a live broadcast of Pope Benedict XVI presiding at Mass on Christmas Eve from St. Peter’s Basilica at 1 p.m. Dec. 24.. It will be rebroadcast at 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. Dec. 25.

ETWN will also air the pope’s blessing to the city and world, “Urbi et Orbi,” live at 3 a.m. Dec. 25, with rebroadcasts at 7 p.m. Dec. 25 and at 6 p.m. Dec. 26.

The First Vespers of Thanksgiving, presided by the Holy Father, will be shown live from St. Peter’s Basilica at 9 a.m. Dec. 31, with an encore broadcast at 2 p.m. Dec. 31.

Other Christmas programming includes the rebroadcasts of the “Life Is Worth Living Series,” in which the late Bishop Fulton J. Sheen discusses timeless Christmas themes. “Superman and Christmas” will air at 7 a.m. Dec. 23 and at 8 a.m. Dec. 27. “The True Meaning of Christmas” will air at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 25.

All times are Pacific. EWTN is carried 24 hours a day on Comcast Channel 229, AT&T Channel 562, Astound Channel 116, DISH Satellite Channel 261 and Direct TV Channel 370; in Alameda, Comcast airs EWTN on Channel 30. For more Christmas programming, visit www.ewtn.com.

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