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placeholder  July 16, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA
'Come, follow me'
Jubilarians reflect on years of service


BIRTHPLACE: Denver, Colorado

ORDAINED: May 26, 1962, Denver, Colorado


PAST SERVICE: Professor of theater and fine arts, University of Portland; campus ministry, University of Portland; associate pastor, St. Francis Parish, Burbank; worked with several professional theater groups in Los Angeles; chaplain to the Holy Cross Sisters, Tiberias, Israel; Director of Campus Ministry, Notre Dame High School, Sherman Oaks; hospital chaplain Veteran's Administration, Sherman Oaks; taught theater, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley; director of Holy Cross Center, the Congregation's house of studies and sabbatical house.

I wrote a play a number of years ago called "The Prophets of Baal." It was a play about priests. One of the characters, Fr. Gerry, speaks the following lines:

"It's this giant goodness that moves into your life, when you're ordained — a huge, giant, unfathomable goodness. And you have to go along with it. You have to let that goodness do whatever it wants to do. You have to let it change you. But along with the goodness is struggle. There has to be, because the goodness — that goodness — means to take over your whole life, every part of you."

Other Jubilarians
The following priests who have served in the Oakland diocese are also observing a major anniversary of ordination this year:

50 Years

Reverend Thomas DeMan, OP
Reverend Richard Peiris

40 Years

Reverend Bruce Klikunas, OSM

25 Years

Reverend Francis Goode, OP
As I celebrate this "giant goodness" approaching 50 years as a Holy Cross priest, part of the "giant goodness" is my deep awareness of the privilege of spending my life with the most amazing group of men in Holy Cross who have encouraged me, molded me, inspired me and led me down the path I began at Old College when I was 17 years old.

When I began my theology studies at Holy Cross College in Washington, D.C., I was also allowed to begin summer studies in theater at Catholic University of America. By this time, I had decided that I wanted to write plays.

I served as Director of Campus Ministry at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and later began work as a Hospital Chaplain for the Veterans Administration. I had the privilege of working with Vietnam veterans who had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress. I discovered that being a hospital chaplain was the perfect job for a playwright. The chaplain was always called at the tragic climax when everything else had failed. Being a playwright helped.

I was offered a position to teach theater at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and moved to the Bay Area where I became director of Holy Cross Center, our house of studies and sabbatical house. I continued writing and had the opportunity to teach playwriting.

Last year, Rev. Ed Obermiller, CSC, one of our assistant provincials, asked me if I could write a one-man play about Brother André to honor his canonization. I told him I would try. The result was a play called "The Lesson of Wood." The play was presented at our Province assembly. I was finally able to do for my Community, which I loved, the one thing I did best.

It is all indeed a "giant goodness."



ORDAINED: Feb. 10, 1962, Washington, D.C.


PAST SERVICE: Father Gagliardi joined the Consolata Missionary Fathers and was prepared for ordination in Fatima, Portugal, Turin, Italy, and the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He served as a missionary in Kenya, Africa, teaching physics, chemistry, mathematics and religion in high school, and celebrating Mass on weekends in the outlying missions. Vocation director teaching philosophy in the seminary; Provincial USA for the Consolata Fathers. Father received permission to join the Diocese of Oakland and served at St. Bernard Parish and St. Benedict Parish, Oakland; pastor of St. Callistus Parish, El Sobrante.

SOME REFLECTIONS ON HIS VOCATION: It is who I am. I don't think of myself as being anything other than a priest. When I'm at the altar, I feel I belong there; that's where I want to be. I love living here, where I can be next to the church, because that is who I am. It will always be the most important part of my life: to celebrate Mass and be one with the People of God. I am happiest when I am celebrating Mass.

ON THE CHURCH: The Church is the living, dynamic body of the Spirit working in his people. That is expressed in many ways, whether celebrating Mass on a mountain top in Africa, as the sun sets behind Mt. Kenya, or in our cathedral, which opens its doors to the community of Oakland, welcoming all as brothers and sisters in Christ our Lord.

I'm encouraged by the role that the Church has given to the laity, and opportunities given them to grow spiritually and to become an integral active part not only of the Church, but the ecumenical church. This is refreshing and exciting.

ON RETIREMENT: In these last or later years of my life, I have been blessed by having the time to pray, to thank God, never adequately, for the many gifts he has given me, and really to have the opportunity of giving thanks in an abundant way for so many graces that God has given me and continues to give me. Amen.


BIRTHPLACE: Phat Diem, North Viet Nam

ORDAINED: July 13, 1962, Phat Diem Church, Saigon, South Viet Nam


PAST SERVICE: Parochial Vicar, Parish Hanoi, Honai; parochial vicar, parish Saoma, Saigon; parochial vicar, parish Hoa Hung, Saigon; worked at the Tribunal of Springfield, Diocese of Missouri; worked at the Tribunal at the Diocese of Oakland.

Celebrating my anniversary of 50 years in the priesthood, I am very happy and I would unify with the Virgin Mary to thank God: "My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. My Spirit rejoices in God my Savior!" (Luke 1, 46)



ORDINATION: June 9, 1962, Oakland


Read an interview with Father Crespin at www.catholicvoiceoakland.org/2012/05-21/inthisissue4.htm.


BIRTHPLACE: West New York, New Jersey

ORDINATION: June 9, 1962, Oakland

PRESENT MINISTRY: Parochial administrator at Our Lady of Mercy parish in Point Richmond.

PAST SERVICE: Instructor, program director, Dominican School of Philosophy and GTU, Berkeley; established and directed Marriage Encounter movement in four dioceses; pastor, St. Mary Magdalen Church, Berkeley; associate director, Family Life office, Judge, Defender of the Bond, Marriage Tribunal, Diocese of Oakland; pastoral associate, St. Mary Magdalen; senior fellow, The Santa Fe Institute, Berkeley; COO, Domedia Productions; author of eight books, numerous articles and writer and producer of documentary.

Read more about Father O'Rourke online at www.catholicvoiceoakland.org/2012/05-21/inthisissue5.htm.



ORDINATION: March 25, 1962, Turin, Italy


PAST SERVICE: Associate pastor, Church of the Assumption, San Leandro; associate pastor, St. Michael Parish, Livermore.

Read Father Poon's story in the Aug. 6 issue of The Catholic Voice.


BIRTHPLACE: Syracuse, New York

ORDAINED: June 16, 1972, Oakland

PRESENT MINISTRY: Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology, Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Cromwell, Connecticut; Board member and doctrinal consultant, Institute on Religious Life, Chicago, Illinois; Western Dominican Preaching

Associate pastor, St. Dominic's Parish, Benicia; instructor, Daniel Murphy High School, Los Angeles; instructor in Great Books Seminars in Patristics and Medieval Thought, University of San Francisco; Instructor in Moral Theology, University of San Francisco; invited professor of Moral Theology and Thomistic Studies, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Urbe; invited professor of Philosophy, University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas; assistant professor of Systematic Theology, School of Theology at St. Mary's Seminary, University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas; adjunct professor of Religious Studies, St. Joseph's Seminary, Yonkers, New York; Campion College.

On the occasion of my 40th anniversary of ordination after living through one of the most interesting times in the history of the Church, I think that the priesthood means to me the ability to serve the Church and the faithful. This service is provided by both the sacramental ministry and as someone who has spent most of his life as a preacher/teacher in trying to find the best explanations I can for the fullness of the Catholic truth. Whatever success I have had in this area I realize is due to God. When reflecting on my ministry I realize the older I get that if I had been left to my own without grace that I could not have done most of the things I have done. Whatever failure I may have had I acknowledge as my own. As a member of a religious order, I would also have to say that the Dominican vocation is one which I have treasured. I have also been totally committed to propagate the teaching of Thomas Aquinas and hope he is proud of how I have explained him. Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomine tuo da gloriam. Not to us love, not to us but to your name give the glory.



ORDAINED: Oct. 30, 1987, Oakland

PRESENT MINISTRY: Parochial vicar, St. Felicitas Parish, San Leandro; chaplain: Oakland Police department, Oakland Fire department, Alameda County Sheriff's department, BART police, San Leandro police department, East Bay Regional Parks police, ATF

PAST SERVICE: Pastor, St. Columba, Oakland; parochial administrator, San Joseph the Worker, Berkeley; associate pastor: St. Leander, San Leandro; St. John Vianney, Walnut Creek; St. Joseph/Mission San Jose, Fremont. Diocesan College of Consultors; diocesan presbyteral council; board of directors, Catholic Charities of the East Bay; executive committee, diocesan Ministry to Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse; spiritual advisor, district council, Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County; official clergy observer for Region XI, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; chaplain, Italian Catholic Federation, East Bay District; lay ecclesial ministers' council, Diocese of Oakland; diocesan scouting chaplain to Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies, Camp Fire Girls; advisory board, African American Catholic Pastoral Centers, Diocese of Oakland.

As the only Asian/Pacific Islander priest of the Diocese of Oakland who was born and raised in the East Bay (Berkeley), I grew up appreciating the diversity of the Church of Oakland. With parents from Hawaii, my ethnic mix is Filipino, Chinese, Hawaiian, Irish and Chamorro, yet I have a brother-in-law who is African American and another who is Vietnamese. My sister-in-law is Filipino, and my older sister's children are half-Mexican. The church of Oakland is reflected in my family.

I thank God for my parents, Daniel and Frances O'Sullivan Landeza for instilling the gift of faith; for my siblings and their spouses. I'm grateful to the parishes that have allowed me to share my ministry, but most especially to St. Columba, Oakland, where I spent 10 years as pastor. I thank God for the diocesan priests who served at St. Joseph the Worker Church, Berkeley, during my childhood, and their role in my vocation: Monsignors Patrick Galvan and Bernie Moran; Fathers John Morgan, Tom Gallagher, Jim Keeley, Bob Fontaine, Pat Kearney, Harry Morrison, Patrick Duffy, and most especially Bill O'Donnell and Jim O'Connor. Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of these past 25 years.


BIRTHPLACE: Buenos Aires, Argentina

ORDINATION: Oct. 24, 1987, Buenos Aires, Argentina

PRESENT MINISTRY: Parochial vicar, St. Joachim, Hayward

PAST SERVICE: Missionary experience as a seminarian-3 years in the RDC(Democratic Congo, Africa); conclusion of the Theological Studies and Ordination, Buenos Aires; pastor, Catholic Mission of Dumba, Diocese of Kole, RDC(Democratic Congo, Africa); pastor, St. Felix Parish, Archdiocese of Kinshasa, RDC(Democratic Congo, Africa); SVD communication coordinator, RDC(Democratic Congo, Africa); SVD communication coordinator, SVD Pan American zone; parochial vicar at Blessed Kateri Tekakhwita, Banning, Diocese of San Bernardino.

Since the beginning of my vocation, I felt called to be a missionary in other cultures and peoples. In those years, one of the slogans of my congregation, the Divine Word Missionaries, was "My parish is ... the world" and we felt that was really true. That's why I participated for three years in a program for having a missionary work experience overseas. As a seminarian, I was assigned to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. There I worked as a pastoral animator for three years, a period of time that may seem quite long but it was necessary because of the need to manage three different African languages, besides French.

After that experience, I returned to Argentina in 1985 to resume my theological studies and prepare my priestly ordination. Let me share with you what I felt at that time, returning to my homeland.

I really felt the need and deep desire to be ordained to shepherd better my African brothers and sisters to Christ, the Lord. My superiors said my pastoral work as an animator had been excellent. I had learned several languages ??and educated catechists in their local dialects, with words and examples well adapted to their African culture. But it was not enough. I could feel the need to preside the Eucharist for them. I felt the deep desire to forgive their sins and help them to be reconciled with God the Father. I wanted to anoint them with the Holy Oil to give them the gift of the Spirit. Though I had been a good evangelist, inculturated to the African mentality, I needed "something more" as the young man rich of the Gospel. I needed to complete that process plenifying my missionary vocation, celebrating the Eucharist in order to give to my brothers and sisters the bread of heaven.

Once in Argentina, I concluded two years of Theological studies, but I had focused better on my future mission. I was focused and motivated. I knew why was I studying and for those I wanted to be a priest of the Lord.

My Priestly ordination was the culmination of all this process of inner growth and grant to Christ. That day, I was ordained priest in the Church in my hometown by the hands of Monsignor Justo Laguna. My pastor, who knew me since childhood, was in heaven. My father, who had died while I was in Africa and had mentioned that he offered his life as an offering for my ministry, was there..., more present than if he had been physically present.

Then I went back to Congo and was pastor at several parishes for 17 years. I was able to verify what I had experienced before, that it was necessary to return as a priest to complete my mission with my fellow Africans. They also were happy and I celebrated my first Mass as if I were a member of their own families.

Years passed and I was performing other pastoral ministries, always with the joy of living my priestly and missionary vocation. I even majored in communications and in recent years, I was editing videos and updating web pages for mission, but always kept me feeling priest and pastor of God's people in the digital world of communications, where the mission is still vast and wide. May Jesus help us continue to nurture and encourage the people of the seekers of God, his Word and the Bread of Life.


BIRTHPLACE: Ayavana, Kerala, India

ORDAINED: Jan. 5, 1987, Randar, India

PRESENT MINISTRY: Pastor, Holy Spirit Parish, Fremont

PAST SERVICE: Assistant parish priest, St. John Bosco Shrine, Cherrapunjee; assistant headmaster, St. Anthony's High School, Shillong; director, Don Bosco Youth Mission, Guwahati; director, North Eastern India Youth Commission, Guwahati; international chaplain, International Movement of Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth, Brussels; parochial vicar, Queen of All Saints, Concord; parochial vicar, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Fremont.

God's goodness and mercy have been amazing and incredible all through my life and I feel so very blessed with my priestly vocation. I am immensely grateful to Him for all the manifold blessings that I have received in my life. I feel very privileged with the opportunity to serve God and His people as a priest in different continents and now in the Diocese of Oakland.

Priesthood is a vocation — a vocation to be 'other Christ'. As in any vocation, I have experienced joy and sorrow. It is the good Lord that gives me joy and fulfillment in priesthood. For me the celebrations of the various sacraments and preaching the word of God are very rewarding and give me much satisfaction. It is very important to me to be a joyful priest and when there is true joy, there is the presence of God.

My true joy comes when I am able to give my time and talent for the people to whom I am sent to minister. I do like the servant leadership style. It is significant for me to be available and be present to the community. Following Christ who came to serve and not to be served, I like to be of service to the people of God to the best of my ability. I truly believe that I am who God wants me to be and am doing His mission.

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