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December 15, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 21   •   Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

'Faith families' build spirit, community
Pupils comprising one of Assumption School's 30 "faith families" strike a pose before embarking on a banner-making project together earlier this month. Each family's banner celebrates a saint honored by the faith families, and the banners decorate the pews that the faith families sit in when attending weekly liturgies together. The faith families at Assumption School in San Leandro are composed of one pupil from each grade, first through eighth, and their weekly convocations provide pupils from all grades with a chance to connect, explore faith and build community.
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Goal: Thanksgiving dinner
The De La Salle lacrosse team has once again come through in the clutch, helping the St. Vincent de Paul-St. Francis of Assisi Food Pantry provide more than 150 Thanksgiving baskets on Nov. 22 to those in need. Over the past five years, the De La Salle lacrosse team members and their families have provided more than $14,500 in donations and more than 400 hours of volunteer time. When asked what it means to his team to participate in the food drive, Coach Bob O'Meara said, "It's a big deal for us. We have to get on it. We have to order the turkeys. We have to commit to it." More than 600 people benefited from their generosity. "For us, it's one day of service a year," O'Meara said, expressing appreciation for the "people who provide for these families and the elderly 365 days a year." The food pantry at St. Francis of Assisi provides more than 12,000 meals each year.
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Hayward Knights net award
The Knights of Columbus of St. Joachim Council 15317, Hayward, earned the international distinction of Triple Star Council for the fraternal year 2013-2014. Hayward District Deputy Romeo Cabrera presented the award at Parish Family Night on Oct. 25. Receiving the award is quite an honor, for which the council is extremely proud, said Immediate Past Grand Knight Ron Ytem and Grand Knight Ian Ytem, head of the St. Joachim Council.
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Learning what service means
More than 40 invited guests — including grandfathers, uncles, cousins and fathers — of students at St. Isidore School shared stories from their military years at a Nov. 12 assembly at the Danville school. Their war experiences included World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Iraq wars. They shared their stories to give the 640 students a deeper understanding of what it means to be a war veteran and to serve our country. An opening flag procession of 40 students (grades 1-5) from St. Isidore Cub Scout Pack 804 and the Pledge of Allegiance led by the fifth grade Webelos Den were part of the festivities.
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Help for the homeless
Pupils at St. Michael School in Livermore learn mercy is a virtue that influences one to show compassion and to alleviate another's misfortune. In an effort to practice the corporal works of mercy, the students are collecting gently used blankets and sleeping bags for the Livermore Homeless Shelter. The Leadership Team will sell Rice Krispie Treats providing cash for the shelter to purchase other items that are needed. Neighbors, parishioners and community friends are encouraged to join school families in this collection.
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Around the Parishes

Collecting turkeys
The cheerleaders at St. Francis of Assisi School in Concord collected 100 turkeys for the Monument Crisis Center. The cheerleaders are, alphabetically: Ysabel Aguirre, Monica Antonio, Daniela Balestreri, Kaitlyn Bamford, Selena Bernal, Isabella Campos, Maddy Carmon, Katie De Guzman, Camila Escalante, Lauren Fong, Dani Guieb, Isabella Halsey, Zoe Heilmann, Madeleine Maestas. Angel Martin, Kayla Mendoza, Delaney O'Connell, Gianna Ottati, Abby Rosillo and Jackie Valdepenas.
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There's a long list of thank yous following the first annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Concord. Coordinators John Herrmann, Lucy Herrmann, Norman Horn, Vicki Sagustame and Lisa French offer thanks to cooks Norman Horn and Marta Rocha, and helpers who included Marina Hyde and Anna Maruri; the Brazilian group, which made the flan; the Knights of Columbus Council 13179, which helped fund the event; Sister James Marien Dyer, CSJ, who arranged the donation of turkeys; the Filipino Ministry for the pies; and the parish Hispanic group who helped with the setup, prep work and cleanup, including delivering meals to the day laborers on nearby Monument Boulevard. All parishioners, especially those who live alone or do not have family nearby, were invited to the dinner, which drew about 150 guests. Among those sitting down with the guests were Father Ismael Gutierrez, parochial administrator; parochial vicar Father Leandro Tajtaj; and Father Carl Arcosa, former parochial vicar now stationed in Pittsburg.

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Around the Schools

Abby Rosillo reports from St. Francis of Assisi School: "SFA cheerleaders have sponsored a Turkey Drive for five years under the direction of Parent/Coach Julie Ottati. Now that I am in sixth grade and a cheerleader, I get to be a part of this activity. Our Turkey Drive collected at least 100 turkeys, which were given to the Monument Crisis Center. Those turkeys filled up two cars! The drive also raised $1,100 in cash and gift cards, which were given to the parish food bank, and St. Vincent de Paul. It was a huge success! Besides the turkey drive, SFA Cheerleaders work all year to help others in need, which is a very good lesson to learn for all. Our school is happy that those families who are less fortunate got a true Thanksgiving meal. The cheerleaders were able to show others what the giving and sharing of Thanksgiving is about. I think that was a message to send to the younger kids at our school as well."

Father Jayson Landeza, Saint Mary's High Class of 1979, blessed the newly dedicated Brennan Hall on the Saint Mary's campus on Nov. 7. The fully renovated 1952/1959 classroom building that once housed Saint Mary's Grammar School is named for Brother David Brennan, FSC, teacher and administrator at the high school 1971-1979, CEO and chairman, Mont La Salle Vineyards, 1987-1989, and visitor of the Christian Brothers District of San Francisco, 1995-2003. Brother David resides at Mont La Salle in Napa.

Students at Holy Rosary School in Antioch — all 520 of them — dressed in red, white and blue, read poetry and sang patriotic songs to honor veterans in their community at a Nov. 7 assembly at the school. Among the veterans honored was Captain Christopher Johannsen, whose son, Lars, is a third-grader at the school. Sixth-grader Luke Norris sang the National Anthem, and Rick Flood, of the Air Force, was among the honorees.

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