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Newark calling Italy . . .

A blessing for church renovation

Old Glory returns to St. Elizabeth school

9/11 concert remembers, honors

Big college fair offers selection

Mass acknowledges school leaders

CTK School turns 50; opens new amphitheater

For Spanish speakers, a post-abortion retreat

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‘Remember Them’ celebrates Heroes for Humanity — and Oakland

Saint Mary’s College establishes new museum

Youth ‘On Fire’ on Sept. 24

Music, ethnicity hallmark of Chautauqua gathering Oct. 8

New principal named at St. Paul School

OBITUARIES
• Sister M. Agnes Gough, SHF
• Father Marvin Steffes, CPPS
• Sister Mary Hyacinthe Ruggiero, OP

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placeholder September 19, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA

Altar servers who are pupils at St. Edward School gathered in the school’s technology center for a Skype conversation with their counterparts in Spoleto, Italy.
Father Jeffrey Keyes photo
Newark calling Italy . . .

Armed with a list of 21 questions, and a shorter list of helpful phrases — buona sera and grazie among them — the altar servers of St. Edward Church in Newark gathered in the school’s technology center to have a decidedly 21st-century conversation with their counterparts at St. Martha Parish in Spoleto, Italy.

With images of smiling and waving boys from half a world away projected on large screens on the technology center’s four walls, as well as on some of the computer screens in the room, more than 40 altar servers, grades fourth through eighth, took part in the call via Skype. Skype allows users to make calls over the Internet, often at little or no cost.

The connection between the two parishes is based on their affiliation with the Society of the Precious Blood Fathers. St. Edward’s Parochial Vicar, Father Jaya Babu Nuthulapati of the Indian Vicariate of Missionaries of the Precious Blood, initiated the conversation with Father Nelson Youvaraj, who is stationed in Spoleto.

Joining the Newark altar servers were Father Jeffrey Keyes, pastor of St. Edward; the school’s technology instructor, Gerardo Castro; principal Greg Fonzeno, and a special guest, Diocese of Oakland Seminarian Brandon Macadaeg.

Macadaeg, who studies at the North American College in Rome, spent a summer assignment at St. Edward, during which he directed an altar server boot camp, open to the parish’s 60 altar servers. In addition to experience altar serving as a pupil at All Saints in Hayward, he has served Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.

Altar serving is a serious ministry at the parish, which has 60 servers, including high school students, who serve at daily as well as weekend Masses.

“We love it,” said Naya Flores, 10. “It’s like you’re nervous and happy at the same time,” the fifth-grader said. “It takes practice.” Her fellow fifth-grader, Christian Evangelista agreed. “It’s not a chore,” he said.

After several beginnings, including an attempt to bring a school in Argentina into the conversation, the fits and starts may have tested but never defeated the patience of the Newark kids, some of whom were delaying lunchtime to make the call.

The students took the delays in stride. Many of them said they use Skype regularly.
“I talk to my grandma in the Philippines and my uncle in Canada,” said Naya.

And the time difference didn’t raise eyebrows. The Italian children were accompanied by parents, as it was almost 10 p.m.

It fell to Sebastian Gonzales, 11, a seventh-grader who serves at Spanish Mass, to go to the microphone to attempt contact with the Spanish-speakers.

Meanwhile, the Italian altar servers began to sing, which was barely audible but well-received in Newark.

Then two eighth-graders, Frances Magsalin and Marisa Ngbemeneh, were at the microphone, skipping to a question far down that list of 21: What kind of music do you like?

After several seconds, came the reply: Pop music.

The crowd cheered. A connection had been made.

It will not be the last.

“We are preparing students for a future that is already here,” said Castro, who directs the technology program.

 
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