Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, blesses the ground on which the Mother Teresa Center will rise at St. James Church. With the bishop is Father Antony Vazhappilly, pastor of the Fremont parish, and altar servers Nicolas Bontempo and Allan Cantoria. The shawl worn by the pastor was presented to him during the groundbreaking ceremony by the chief priest of the Sikh Temple. A sign of love and friendship, it is the highest honor given to a guest who is accepted into their community.
MARK GALAN/COURTESY ST. JAMES PARISH
Ground is broken for Mother Teresa Center
With poetry, public officials, parishioners and prayer, the long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony for the Mother Teresa Center of St. James the Apostle Catholic Church in Fremont, took place Sept. 13.
Joe Parrish, a longtime parishioner, took the audience down memory lane with a history of St. James and the events that led to the dream of building the Mother Teresa Center. While the process was long and tedious, the students and volunteer catechists carried on with their faith formation classes and remained steadfast in their hopes of having a learning center one day.
A poem entitled "A Tribute to Mother Teresa," composed by Father Antony Vazhappilly, the pastor, was sung by the St. James Youth Choir, through the musical arrangements of Brother Manny Havana.
In a message of hope and promise, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, acknowledged the leadership and efforts of the pastor and the community. Children held their shovels with excitement as the groundbreaking ceremony and blessing took place.
The event was well-attended by the parishioners, who enjoyed entertainment by The Dream, a band led by parishioner Rex Sarmiento. Mary Alamparambil delivered a heartfelt performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner." The God Our Father Praise & Worship Ministry led the congregation into a joyful rendition of the St. James theme song.
In addition to Bishop Barber, guests included Very Rev. George Mockel, vicar general of the Diocese of Oakland, and public officials from Union City, Fremont and the surrounding community.
The cities of Fremont and Union City declared a month-long celebration of the Mother Teresa Center. When it is completed next fall, the center will provide classrooms for faith formation classes and a kitchen, and can be converted into a hall.
back to top