Derek Kea Oliveira, a 30-year-old native of the East Bay and veteran of the Navy, will be ordained to the sacred order of the priesthood by the Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, bishop of Oakland. The Mass will be celebrated at 7 p.m. June 29 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St., Oakland.
The new priest will celebrate his Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving at noon July 1 at the Church of the Assumption in San Leandro.
Deacon Oliveira's parents are parishioners at Assumption. Two years ago, Deacon Oliveira spent the summer at the parish.
Rev. Vincent Scott, pastor of Assumption, recalled an event from their time together. One morning, he suggested to the seminarian: "What if we go over to the church at 10 and celebrate the Eucharist together?"
"I don't usually do that," Father Scott said.
At the church, they found they were not alone. A Filipino woman in her mid-30s was in the church and she joined in the responses. After the Gospel reading, "I motioned to go sit with her," said Father Scott.
He and his seminarian sat with the woman, and Father Scott began to offer reflections on the readings. The woman began to weep. She was a single mother, she told them. Her children were in the Philippines, being cared for by family members while she worked as a nurse in the United States.
That day, she had felt down. She had asked God for a sign. She felt that her prayer had been answered by Father Scott and Deacon Oliveira.
Deacon Derrick went to the sacristy and brought her a box of tissues.
Invited to stand with the two, she "quietly cried for the rest of the Mass."
After Mass, Father Scott said he told Deacon Oliveira, "God must really want you to be a priest, because I could not have set these things up."
Among the other lessons Father Scott said he hoped Deacon Oliveira learned was that "he could be himself and people would love him."
He has a skill that may come in handy in his future pastoral work. Deacon Oliveira is a juggler.
At an Assumption parish picnic, he regaled young and old alike. But beyond the technical skills, Father Scott said, is something greater.
"What you did is part of your pastoral ministry," he told him, reminding him that people who saw him juggling, for example, may find it easier to come to approach him when they have a need.
"Don't underestimate that."
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