| Spiritual gardens
Every church, parish and religious site has its own beauty, sometimes expressed through a spiritual or healing garden. Photographer José Luis Aguirre visited seven religious locations throughout the Diocese of Oakland to share their beauty.
||Immaculate Heart of Mary
500 Fairview Ave.
Rev. Jerry Brown, pastor
Irma Silva with her baby Iker Aceves Silva and her sister Mónica enjoy the garden at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Brentwood. The sisters are parishioners of St. Anthony's in Oakley. In addition to the meditation garden, the parish has a working community garden.
||Church of the
3200 Harbor St., Pittsburg
Rev. Rolando Bartolay,
The Seeno family, longtime parishioners, created a 2-acre park on the church property, with space for outdoor Mass and Stations of the Cross, in memory of Albert Seeno Sr.
5562 Clayton Road, Concord
Rev. Richard A. Mangini, pastor
The Meditation Garden at St. Bonaventure Catholic Community is tended by ministers who plant, water and weed. They work together at set times, or on their own. Many of the garden's elements are offered as memorial tributes.
710 Highland Drive, Danville
Rev. Raymond J. Bucher, OFM, director
Visitors are welcome to "come and pray, reflect and enjoy" the gardens of San Damiano Retreat from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, says Father Raymond Bucher. They are asked, too, to respect the silent retreats. Among the features are the Stations of the Cross on an oak knoll, a labyrinth and three fountains.
||Our Lady of Lourdes
2808 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland
Rev. Seamus D. Genovese, pastor
The courtyard between the church and the parish hall is a beautiful place for gathering and reflection. It offers a quiet space just steps away from a busy city street.
34700 Fremont Blvd.
Rev. Antony Vazhappilly, pastor
Father Antony Vazhappilly, pastor, in front of the shrine to Our Lady of Vailankanni. The statue receives many visitors, and is the centerpiece of a meditation garden, which includes flowers and statues, created by parishioners.
||Old Mission San Jose
43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont
Rev. Msgr. Manuel C. Simas, pastor
The gardens at Mission San Jose reflect native California plants, as well as the roses the friars brought with them to the mission, which was founded in 1797. Visitors to the garden must pay the tour price of $3 to enter the grounds.
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