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CURRENT ISSUE:  January 9, 2012
VOL. 50, NO. 1   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Eighth Walk for Life moves starting point
Oakland Standing Up 4Life walk ends with dinner, prayer service at cathedral
2011 — year in review:
Four seminarians ordained,
record participation in events

Among the highlights of 2011 were the ordination of four seminarians to the priesthood, and gatherings throughout the Oakland diocese that brought people of faith together. Here is a recap:

St. Leo the Great Parish kicked off 2011 by celebrating its centennial, while two parishes became one in Alameda as St. Philip Neri and St. Albert the Great merged. Mass is celebrated in both churches. The Diocese of Oakland had a strong presence at two pro-life events: among the 200 at the Issues4Life rally and walk in Oakland Jan. 21, as well as the next day, among the 40,000 in San Francisco for the Walk for Life West Coast.

About 600 people — caregivers, the sick, families and friends — joined for Mass and the Sacrament of the Sick on World Day of the Sick Feb. 5 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light. Later in the month, Elizabeth Lam, a parishioner at St. Edward Church in Newark, became a consecrated virgin living in the world, dedicating her life to service to God and the Church.

A relic of St. Mary Magdalene toured the Bay Area, with visits at St. Albert Priory, Holy Rosary Church and St. Mary Magdalen. The Bishop’s Appeal kicked off a campaign to raise $2.1 million. By year’s end, the goal was met.

A group from Carondelet High School participated in the Catholic Youth Advocacy Day on March 22 in Sacramento. Students throughout the diocese, including St. Mary in Walnut Creek and Assumption in San Leandro, raised funds for survivors of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Two longtime advocates for Catholic education, Barbara Bauder Cuvelier and Andrea Comporato Eubanks, were named the recipients of the 2011 St. Elizabeth Seton Awards.

The gym at Bishop O’Dowd High School was rockin’ as 1,000 high school students convened for a youth rally on April 2. Later that day, supporters of Catholic education gathered at the Blackhawk Museum for the annual FACE Gala & Auction to raise funds for tuition assistance. They met Chris Good, the new executive director. A group of 20 made the Order of Malta’s pilgrimage to Lourdes; the Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, bishop of Oakland, and the Rev. George Mockel, vicar general, were among them. An Interfaith Community Blood Drive, teaming up the members of the Diocese of Oakland and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was announced Easter Sunday evening at the Cathedral after a performance by the Mormon Temple Hill Choir and Symphony of Oakland.

Four new priests were ordained in May: Fathers Gerald Hope Pedrera, Rafal Duda, Alexander Castillo and Edilberto Castañas.
Chris duffey photo

Alexander Q. Castillo, Rafal Duda, Edilberto Castañas and Gerald Pedrera were ordained to the priesthood May 14 at the Cathedral. They are the largest ordination class in recent years. Sister Helen Prejean spoke at Holy Names University commencement on May 14, and later at St. Columba Church, where she saw the crosses that mark each homicide in Oakland. By New Year’s Eve, there were 110.

June was a time for celebration: Holy Spirit Church in Fremont marked its125th anniversary on Pentecost Sunday, while St. Raymond Parish in Dublin began a yearlong celebration of its golden jubilee. It was also a time to say goodbye to longtime leaders. Two elementary schools said goodbye to their last sisters. The Dominican Sisters of San Rafael led St. Michael in Livermore for 98 years; the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose led St. Edward in Newark since 1963. A bone relic of St. Toribio Romo, one of the martyrs of the Mexican Cristero war, began a tour of 16 parishes.

Transfiguration Parish in Castro Valley celebrated its 50th anniversary with a Mass, luncheon and a community carnival. The Rev. Kenneth Nobrega became vocations director. Longtime vocations director Rev. Lawrence D’Anjou went on sabbatical; at year’s end, he was named parochial administrator of St. Raymond in Dublin. The Interfaith Blood Drive exceeded all of its goals, collecting 1,700 units of blood.

Sisters Marie Myers and Madeline Antoskiewicz, SSJ-TOSF, who had served at St. Joachim, St. Raymond, where they opened the school, and St. Barnabas since the 1960s , returned to their congregation in Ohio. In Alameda, St. Vincent DePaul turned its thrift shop into artist studios and Redux gallery. About 300 people attended the first of three “Twilight by the Lake” events on Aug. 18.

A standing-room-only crowd approaching 2,000 filled the cathedral on Sept. 11, for a memorial, “Looking back, moving forward,” followed by a 500-rose tribute on the plaza, to commemorate 10 years after the terror attacks in New York. More than 650 eighth-graders came to the Cathedral to hear chastity advocate Jason Evert, and to attend Mass. Christ the King School in Pleasant Hill celebrated its 50th anniversary with the debut of an amphitheater.

Catholics were invited to sign up for the Catholic Legislative Network — 17,000 people in the diocese did. St. John Parish in San Lorenzo was the site of Chautauqua on Oct. 8, a festive spiritual and cultural celebration that drew 900 participants. Eight groups, including one at Oakland’s St. Anthony Parish that trains students in community leadership, received Catholic Campaign for Human Development grants.

Sandy Heinisch, a grief counselor, nurse and parishioner at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Brentwood, led a grief ministry workshop. St. Vincent Day Home, founded by the Sisters of the Holy Family, celebrated its 100th anniversary.

More than 3,000 people made the pilgrimage honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Dec. 3 event began at St. Louis Bertrand Parish, ending at the Cathedral, where Bishop Cordileone celebrated Mass, joined by two dozen concelebrants. The Filipino community gathered in parishes from Hercules to Livermore to celebrate Simbang Gabi. The celebration began with a Dec. 14 Mass at the Cathedral, followed by food and music.

Eighteen agencies that fight hunger — including 10 parish-based St. Vincent de Paul conferences — received grants totaling $15,000 from the 2011 Operation Rice Bowl.

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