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 December 17, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 21   •   Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

Safeway aids FACE
The Safeway Foundation made a $5,000 contribution to Family Aid — Catholic Education (FACE) for tuition assistance supporting low-income families attending Catholic schools in Contra Costa and Alameda counties. Pupils joined with adults at St. Elizabeth Elementary School in Oakland at a contribution ceremony: from left, back row: Teresa Ascencio, Dyana Arteaga, Patrick Nwaukoni, Emily Abundis; middle: Steve Burke, FACE executive board chair; Jim Blumling, Safeway; Sister Kathleen McAvoy, OP, principal; front: Fernando Montoya, Alessandro Hernandez, Mark Miller, Laura Palacios. For the 2012-13 academic year, FACE will make grant awards benefiting 549 grammar and high school students from low-income families, including over 90 new families.
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Around the Parishes

For the past couple of weeks (Dec. 3-17) St. Monica Parish in Moraga participated in Winter Nights, a program in which different congregations and faith communities take turns providing shelter to homeless families. This month the parish hosted 31 guests, including 10 families with several children under 10 years of age. The youngest guest is a newborn baby, Cindy Gindy, pastoral associate, told The Voice. Explaining that the parish has participated in this program for a number of years, Gindy sadly noted that there are many more young children among the guests this year than in years past. In addition to offering a safe and warm place to stay, parish members volunteer for various tasks ranging from serving meals to the guests to tutoring the school age children of the visitors. Hosting homeless families during December has added a special dimension for parishioners as they observe the obvious connection to the Holy Family's search for shelter prior to the birth of Jesus.

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Around the Schools

A new biomedical sciences program is expected to begin in August 2013 at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, according to the school's December 2012 newsletter. This is great news for future college-bound students who are interested in pursuing careers in such areas as veterinary medicine, laboratory technology research and laboratory technology. The addition of this program is quite timely, noted Kristina Taylor, chair of SNJD's science department in the newsletter article. She said that scientists are in demand and "it's expected those fields will experience 37 percent job growth by 2018."

The 10 members of the Holy Names High School Speech and Debate Team may have been small in number compared to the other teams, but they made a big noise at a league competition Dec. 1 in Santa Rosa. First place in the Oratorical Interpretation Program went to Jahslyn Whitelock-Chensee, '13, who presented the commencement address by Ursula LeGuin about women living in a man's world. Munah Kaye, '13 took second place with her interpretation of a speech by Jean Kilbourne called "Killing Us Softly," which examines damaging images of women in advertising and the media. Maya Bello, '14, offered a memorable presentation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Kaye and Bello both placed first in the early matches of the competition.

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John P. McGarry

Names, News, Notes

Loyola High School of Los Angeles, the oldest secondary school in Southern California, recognized Rev. John P. McGarry, SJ, '80 with the prestigious Cahalan Award during the 11th annual Alumni Awards Dinner at Xavier Center on the Loyola campus. Father McGarry, former provincial of the California Province of the Society of Jesus, is the rector of the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley. The Cahalan Award is presented annually to Loyola alumni to honor the enduring contributions of former President Patrick J. Cahalan, SJ, during his 27 years of service at the high school. He is now chancellor at Loyola Marymount University.

Attention Single Catholics! The Catholic Alumni Club International is looking to expand into the Oakland area. The group offers "social, cultural, civic and spiritual relationships in a Catholic setting." For more information, contact Steve at valksr@yahoo.com or visit www.caci.org.

Jefferson Award recipients
Four students at Carondelet High School in Concord received Jefferson Awards for their outstanding community service Nov. 20. From left, two recipients for Continuous Service are Shannon Manhoso and Vivian Vo, and the two recipients for Special Project are Jackie Bueno and Molly Norris. Shannon volunteers at Alameda Hospital, and Vivian tutors six young violinists every Friday at a local school. Jackie started "Clothes for Confidence" to aid the young men and women of the Contra Costa County Foster Care Services, and Molly started "Molly's Miracle Mutts" which is a team of handlers and their therapy dogs who visit convalescent hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals and veterans' homes.
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Scout project honors slain teacher
For his Eagle Scout project, Casey O'Neal, 15, former student St. Patrick School, Rodeo, spent hundreds of hours building a prayer grotto, including waterfall and statue of Mary, at the school entrance to honor former teacher Susie Ko, who was killed in her home earlier this year. Members of the Ko and O'Neal families joined Rev. Larry Young and parishioners at the dedication after Mass Dec. 9. From left in front of the grotto, Casey's brother Sean O'Neal, also a St. Patrick's graduate, Scouts Austin Wisherop and Alexander Marrone, Casey and dad Mike O'Neal.
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De La Salle High School lacrosse players line up the turkeys they donated.
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De La Salle lacrosse team helps deliver Thanksgiving

De La Salle High School's lacrosse team provided a timely assist to needy families in Concord last month by providing 150 turkeys for their Thanksgiving dinners.

The De La Salle student-athletes teamed with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Conference at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, which in addition to the Thanksgiving food basket program, operates a food pantry Monday through Friday. The pantry distributes food to more than 12,000 Concord residents each year. Additional assistance was provided by the SVdP volunteer members at St. Francis of Assisi Church and the St. Francis of Assisi Youth Group.

"I honestly believe that the SVdP Food Pantry would have had to discontinue our annual Thanksgiving distribution, due to the high cost of turkeys, if we hadn't been rescued by the DLS lacrosse team, coaches and parents," said Jane Streich, food pantry director at St. Francis of Assisi. "This is the fourth year that they not only purchased and delivered 150 turkeys to the St. Francis gym, but also provided invaluable help in the distribution of the food to some very grateful families in need. They are truly an outstanding group of young men!"

The Thanksgiving donation of 150 turkeys began four years ago when Coach Bob O'Meara contacted St. Vincent de Paul wanting to find a project where the lacrosse players could assist the poor and needy in their community.

"It is gratifying for our young men to help the hungry in our neighborhood, especially at this time of year," O'Meara said. "De La Salle is only a few blocks from St. Francis, and until we started helping out four years ago, we were unaware of the significant need in our community."

In addition to the food programs at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Concord, St. Vincent de Paul operates additional safety- net programs throughout the county, including 21 other food pantries and a free medical clinic in Pittsburg.

Class helps with earthquake preparedness
The sixth-grade class at Assumption School in San Leandro is conducting a project to educate families and the community about being prepared for a major earthquake. First, they are learning about earthquakes and other natural disasters and how they affect people's lives. Then, they will assist with Assumption's Disaster Drill, build models of shake tables and evaluate how different structures stand up to earthquakes, create public service announcements to educate others about how to prepare for an earthquake and hold meetings with their own families to come up with an earthquake plan. They also visited the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, above, to learn more about earthquakes.
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Coat drive in Danville
All 650 pupils at St. Isidore School in Danville eagerly sought coats from their closets, neighbors and relatives, collecting more than 1,100 coats for the school's "One Warm Coat Drive" to aid St. Vincent de Paul. Laura Castillo's first grade class donated the most, more than 140 coats, earning a cookie and milk party hosted by Student Leadership members.
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St. Michael food drive
Pupils at St. Michael School in Livermore demonstrated their solidarity with the needy of their community by participating in a Jeans Day fundraiser. In exchange for donating a dollar, pupils wore blue jeans and an autumn-colored shirt as a sign of unity in choosing to stand up for the poor. Members of the Student Leadership Team then shopped at Grocery Outlet to purchase extra canned goods for the school's St. Vincent de Paul Thanksgiving collection. Nearly 300 additional food items were purchased on top of the 500 already donated. Pupils from every grade actively contributed to the success of this outreach project. St. Michael School is also preparing for its Centennial Celebration in the spring.
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St. Leander helps food bank
Eighth-graders Kaylynn Lum, Natalie Alldridge and Nyla Lewis shopped for those in need before Thanksgiving. The eighth-graders at St. Leander School in San Leandro volunteered time and food to Second Harvest Food Bank.
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Interesting find inside tree trunk
Contract workers removing a fallen pine tree at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Lafayette were surprised to find the image of what appears to be a cross in the rings of the trunk. Mainstream media outlets speculated about any religious connotation. "There is no better known symbol of Christianity than the cross," Rev. George Mockel, vicar general of the Diocese of Oakland, said in a statement. "Whether constructed with the God-given genius of human hands, or forged with molten steel in the midst of great tragedy, as in the World Trade Center, or even by accident of nature, it can be a useful symbol if it leads us to think about and reflect upon the deeper reality it symbolizes. If we focus merely on the symbol or how it came to be, it will become a distraction. If however, this cross leads people to more intense prayer and reflection on God's great redemptive love for us that He willingly sent his Son Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins and to teach us by word and example how to love one another, then this cross can be another beautiful sign of God's immense love for humanity and our need to respond to that love by the way we lead our lives."

Opera comes to St. Felicitas
Third- through eighth-graders St. Felicitas School in San Leandro enjoyed the performance of "The Pirates of Penzance" with 11 eighth-graders, the school choir and three professional singers in the cast. The classes and cast were prepared by their music teacher prior to the performance of the abridged version of the comic opera by the famous English composer and lyricist team Gilbert and Sullivan. San Francisco Opera's Department of Education provides this program to introduce opera to schools all over the Bay Area and provides a script that includes a number of students as characters in the story. This is the first year for St. Felicitas to take advantage of this opportunity and the eighth-graders amazed the audience as pirates, police, nursemaid, Major General and his daughters and a narrator to introduce the scenes.
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