A Publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland
Catholic Voice Online Edition
Front Page In this Issue Around the Diocese Forum News in Brief Calendar Commentary
Mission Statement
Contact Us
Publication Dates
Back Issues

Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland

Movie Reviews

Mass Times

Catholic Voice
articles list

Schools are vital part of Church's mission

New standards lead
to acheivement

National standards offer criteria for
school excellence

From students to students, with love

further mission at
Berkeley school

De La Salle football turns a page in its storied playbook

Saints project a gift
to the neighborhood

A dream goes up
at St. Jarlath

Chaplain brings spiritual presence

School arts festival
set for Feb. 24

Puppet show
teaches pupils

Saint Mary's
students hit the road
in Enrichment Week

Apply for tuition assistance

SJND students give back in the community

Bringing Barcelona
into the classroom

Salesian announces
1-to-1 iPad Program

Players, coaches
give back to Gridley students

Focus on faith
at St. Clement

Students learn
about peace

St. Francis pupils
help out

Holy Names singers

St. Elizabeth
get boost

environment at
St. David

Roundup of student sports, volunteer and learning efforts

placeholder  January 21, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA

Father Gerald Pedrera offers communion to a student during the opening school Mass at Bishop O'Dowd High School last fall.
Courtesy photo
Chaplain brings spiritual presence

In one of his last acts before leaving Oakland for San Francisco, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone named Rev. Gerald Pedrera chaplain of Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland. Father Pedrera served as a high school teacher and principal with the Claritians in the Philippines before coming to the Diocese of Oakland. He was ordained in the Diocese of Oakland in May 2011. Here are some of his experiences:

A typical day

Starts at Mass. Father Pedrera celebrates Mass in the campus chapel daily at 7:45 a.m. It is attended mostly by faculty, staff and parents, he said, as many O'Dowd students are in class or in sports practice before the school day begins. He teaches the Catholic Experience, a class for sophomores. He usually teaches first and third period. After the lunch break, he prepares for Mass, activities and classes. He also writes reflections to post in the school's e-newsletter.

On getting to know the students at the 1,100-student campus

"For me, right now, the opportunity to teach is one of the best doors to be opened," Father Pedrera said. He teaches 50 students in the two classes, and the interaction in the classroom provides the chance for students to ask questions.

Give us an example of a question.

Why can't priests get married?

On what he's learning

"Last semester I talked about the Mass with freshmen as a way to prepare for the class Mass," Father Pedrera said. The students' response was both interesting and practical, he said. Some students said they found Mass boring, with homilies too long and music that wasn't speaking to them. He found that he could "slowly adjust to their level." Homilies, he said, are not longer than 10 minutes. Some, at class Masses, are a few short reflections, he said, "a few sentences."

On hearing from parents of students

Emails from parents "opened up possibilities for prayer intentions for All Souls Day," he said. Email from alumni has also been reaching him.

On the school's senior-parent Mass last fall

"It was the first time I had to celebrate Mass for the community," he said. Father Jay Matthews, pastor of St. Benedict Parish and O'Dowd board member, celebrated the opening Mass, which Father Pedrera attended. "It was an opportunity for me to be with them all."

On learning to be a chaplain

Despite his experience as a teacher and principal in his native Philippines, Father Pedrera said, "I'm still a baby priest." He said he is "getting to know slowly the community and integrating myself into the community."

back to topup arrow


Copyright © 2013The Catholic Voice, All Rights Reserved. Site design by Sarah Kalmon-Bauer.