|April 22, 2013 • VOL. 51, NO. 8 • Oakland, CA|
Rev. John Malloy, SDB
Rev. Theo Palis
Rev. Theo Palis, a retired priest of the Diocese of Oakland who served as pastor at Our Lady Queen of the World Parish in Bay Point for more than 30 years, died Feb. 7 at the Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland. He was 93 and had been a priest for 67 years.
Father Palis was a young seminarian when World War II broke out in his native country of Lithuania, which along with the other Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia, were annexed and occupied by the Soviet Union. He was forced to leave Lithuania to continue his seminary education in Germany where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1945. One of his first assignments as a priest was as a chaplain at a displaced persons camp.
He eventually made his way to the U.S., serving for a time in Michigan and Oregon before moving to the Bay Area in 1953. He served in parishes in Santa Rosa, Menlo Park and San Anselmo prior to the establishment of the Oakland Diocese in 1962. In the East Bay he had been assigned to St. John the Baptist Parish in San Lorenzo, Queen of All Saints in Concord, the Oakland parishes of St. Cyril and St. Leo, and St. Perpetua Parish in Lafayette before becoming pastor at Our Lady Queen of the World Parish in what was then called West Pittsburg in the late 1960s.
A number of former parishioners paid tribute to Father Palis on the online Legacy.com community. Jim Elder of Tuscon, Arizona, recalled meeting the priest while living in Concord as an active member of the military. He and his family attended Mass at the Naval Weapons Station where Father Palis had served for many years. "I truly enjoyed the friendship and helpfulness of Father Palis. May he rest in peace," he wrote.
"Father Palis was humble, devout and dedicated," wrote Dennis Caracciolo. "I have known many priests in my life, but Father Palis serves as the role model."
Nancy Boyd of Petaluma had many fond memories of the priest when he was at St. John's in San Lorenzo. "My Mom cherished your friendship and visits to her in Petaluma. May you rest forever in peace," Boyd wrote.
The funeral Mass was held Feb. 15 at Our Lady Queen of the World Church, followed by commital services at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Lafayette.
Sister Maria Goretti Eder, O.P.
Sister Maria Goretti Eder, 89, who cooked for and served as kitchen director for Dominican friars at St. Albert's Priory in Oakland for nearly 40 years, died March 4. She celebrated the 60th anniversary of her profession last year.
Born in Altötting, Germany, Sister Goretti had planned to become a Carmelite Sister and devote her life to praying for the priests. Instead she joined the Mission Congregation of Dominican Sisters of Oakford in February 1951 in Neustadt, Germany. After she made her first profession in November 1952, she was assigned to Caritas Wohnheim, a hostel for young, working women in Frankfurt, Germany, where she ministered for three years in the kitchen and Porter's Office.
When asked to go to South Africa, where the congregation was established in 1890, Sister Goretti applied for a visa but was denied three times. She never made it to South Africa, however, in 1956 she was sent to Oakland, California, to minister with the Dominican Friars at their House of Studies at St. Albert's Priory. Sister Goretti began work in the laundry before being assigned to the kitchen as cook. She cooked and oversaw the kitchen for nearly 40 years.
Her tenure in the kitchen was memorable for young novices, like Rev. Reginald Martin, OP. Father Martin vividly recalled many tasty meals in a reflection posted on the St. Albert's Priory website last year (http://sap.opwest.org/news-and-events/priors-newsletter/may-2012.html) on the occasion of Sister Goretti's profession anniversary.
"Sister Goretti was in charge of the kitchen, and there was nothing she couldn't cook, and cook well," recalled Father Martin. "As I look back, I think her favorite things were desserts, which were masterpieces, but I fell in love with her stews and short ribs," he wrote. "When I was growing up both of my parents worked so we frequently went out to dinner or ate steaks or other things that could be quickly prepared at home. Dinner for the first night of my novitiate was pot roast; I couldn't believe my good fortune. The next night we had fried chicken. On Thursday, I marveled.'"
After she retired her utensils in 1995, Sister Goretti began visiting the homebound in her Oakland neighborhood, knitting hats and socks for the homeless, and spent many hours in prayer.
In a tribute posted on the province's website, (http://sap.opwest.org/news-and-events/recent-news/saying-goodbye-to-sister/) the Dominicans also marveled at the many gifts Sister Goretti brought to them. "As many of the friars will tell you, she was a gracious presence in the community. Long before talk about the New Evangelization, she witnessed to her encounter with the crucified and risen Lord, ministering to the brothers and every visitor who entered the doors at St. Albert's. Although she will be missed, she will never be forgotten."
She is survived by her older brother, Johann Eder, and her younger sister, Annie Plankl, who both live in Germany.
Her services were held at St. Albert's Priory and she is buried in St. Dominic Cemetery, Benicia.
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