|January 6, 2014 • VOL. 52, NO. 1 • Oakland, CA|
Diocese of Oakland's 51st year a memorable one
It was quite a year for the Catholic Church in general, and for the Diocese of Oakland in particular.
After the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI — a pope hadn't resigned in almost 600 years — the cardinal electors chose the first pope from the Americas, the first Jesuit pope and the first pope to name himself Francis. Three firsts in one swoop, and there was more to come.
One of his first appointments of a bishop in America came to Oakland, where Pope Francis asked Rev. Michael C. Barber, a 58-year-old Jesuit who had served at places as diverse as Oxford University and the tiny island of Chuuk, and in seminaries and as a Naval Reserve chaplain, to become the fifth bishop of Oakland.
Oh, and he had been baptized at Mission Dolores by a young priest named John Cummins, who would become the second bishop of Oakland two decades later.
The see had been vacated when the Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone had been seated as archbishop of San Francisco in October 2012. Retired Seattle Archbishop Alex J. Brunett served in Oakland as apostolic administrator until the new bishop was seated.
The bishop's installation Mass in May 25 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light marked the first time a bishop had been ordained for the diocese. Each previous bishop had already been ordained a bishop before his arrival at the top post in Oakland.
At the end of the Mass of ordination and installation, in just a few minutes, he offered his vision of being bishop of Oakland: "I would like to do what Pope Francis is doing for the whole church. The priests take care of the people. The bishops take care of the priests. And we all take care of the poor, the sick, and the suffering."
In addition, in 2013 five priests were ordained in May, and a class of 15 deacons was ordained in November, marking the first time Bishop Barber conferred Holy Orders.
In other news, during the year:
On Jan. 6, the Diocese of Oakland's 50th anniversary celebration came to a close with a dinner dedicated to the service and ministry of the laity at the Oakland Marriott. Father Jerrold Kennedy died at the age of 72, and was fondly remembered in the parishes in which he had ministered as a priest for 46 years. The achievements of the elementary schools and high schools of the diocese were celebrated during Catholic Schools Week.
The news Feb. 11 that Pope Benedict XVI would resign at the end of the month "demonstrates his courage and wisdom in preparing for a new chapter of our Church," said Archbishop Alex J. Brunett, apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Oakland. Scouts gathered at the Cathedral of Christ the Light to receive awards. The Bishop's Appeal kicked off with a goal of $2.5 million. The sick and their caregivers attended the annual Day of the Sick Mass Feb. 9 at the cathedral.
The election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires was greeted by Archbishop Brunett: "This man is popular because he's a humble man." Father Mario Olea, SVD, parochial vicar of St. Joachim Church in Hayward who worked with Cardinal Bergoglio in Argentina said, "The memories I have of the cardinal are those of a very humble person, intellectually well prepared but at the same time with the simplicity and humility of a highly sensitive human being."
FACE — Family Aid Catholic Education — celebrated its 35th year with a spring gala that included testimonials from grateful recipients, and an evening's total of $450,000 to help families send their children to Catholic school.
On May 3, Pope Francis named the Rev. Michael C. Barber, SJ, the fifth bishop of Oakland. Five new priests — Revs. Thi Van Hoang, Brandon E. Macadaeg, Leonard Marrujo, H. David Mendoza-Vela and Benedict Pradit Wonganant — were ordained May 18 by Archbishop Brunett. On May 25, Father Barber was ordained Bishop Barber in a festive celebration at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
Fifteen candidates for confirmation were presented by the Special Religious Education Department in a beautiful ceremony, presided by Bishop Emeritus John Cummins, at St. Leander Church on June 4.
Seminarians, teenagers — including leaders from St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland — and chaperones spent a week on a Bay Area Mission to San Francisco's Tenderloin district.
Five ACE — Alliance for Catholic Education — teachers, including the first high school teacher to be assigned to the diocese, arrived. The students in the University of Notre Dame program are serving at St. Elizabeth High School, and at St. Elizabeth Elementary, St. Jarlath and St. Martin de Porres schools.
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward — the final resting place of 80,000 — marked its 100th anniversary. Eighth-graders from diocesan Catholic schools were welcomed by Bishop Barber at a Mass at the cathedral.
On the Feast of the Guardian Angels, police, firefighters and first-responders gathered for a Blue Mass with friends, family and supporters. Chautauqua returned, with the ethnic missions and ministries gathering at first-time host St. Jarlath Church in Oakland. The collection at the Mass benefited the surviving members of a Kmhmú family that lost the parents and one brother in a Fourth of July fire in Richmond. Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Lafayette marked its 50th anniversary, while St. Mary's Cemetery in Oakland commemorated 150 years.
Fifteen men were ordained to the diaconate, marking the first time Bishop Barber conferred Holy Orders. People throughout the diocese were invited to respond to a survey on topics of marriage and family life. Parishes and organizations quickly came to the aid of the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan.
The annual procession to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe provided a visible sign of the faith of the people of Oakland during a 7.5-mile procession from St. Louis Bertrand parish in Oakland to the Cathedral of Christ the Light. The annual crèche festival at the cathedral drew entries from more than 55 parishes. Creations ranged from elaborate artisan scenes, to a confection in gingerbread and fondant, to a baby Jesus made from a child's sock.
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