A Publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland
Catholic Voice Online Edition
Front Page In this Issue Around the Diocese Forum News in Brief Calendar Commentary
Mission Statement
Contact Us
Publication Dates
Back Issues

Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland

Movie Reviews

Mass Times

Catholic Voice
articles list
placeholder Gracious, dedicated
St. Pat's priest
reaches a milestone

Saint Mary's
College High School

Saint Mary's
College of California

Lasallian tradition
reflected in spectrum
of education


St. Leo the Great
wins girls hoops

Track season ends
with record-setting

8th-grader earns
Marty Mart
CYO scholarship

Cathedral Gardens housing opens at former cathedral site

Diocese arranging
group for World
Meeting of Families

Farewell to
Father Keyes

Jesuits ordain
28 men

Taizé anniversary commemorated at Mercy Center

Vatican exhibit to
open during meeting

Senior Living
& Resources

Retired, and now
with a renewed

'Topping off' step on
way to new day at
Mission San Jose

Just for Seniors

Descriptions of
senior services

Resetting your life
for retirement

How to write
an epic life story

placeholder June 22, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA

Father Brian Joyce faces off during an anti-military protest.
Courtesy photo

Retired, and now with a renewed purpose

Earlier this year during Holy Week, Rev. Brian Joyce finally got himself arrested, and the priest couldn't have been more pleased.

Father Joyce had joined about 120 people on April 3 for an interfaith prayer service in Livermore followed by what an event brochure called "nonviolent acts of witness." The group walked from the corner of Vasco Road and Patterson Pass Road and after reaching entrance of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, about 100 members of the group stood in front of the security gates. Several moments later they, including Father Joyce, were arrested for blocking the gates. Those arrested were cited for obstructing a public roadway and released. "It took about an hour to be processed," said Father Joyce.

Rev. Louis Vitale

Organized by the Ecumenical Peace Institute and the Livermore Conversion Project, the event was held to denounce the continuing high cost of military spending and other related actions "that destroy life rather than create or protect it."

"My tax dollars are paying for this," Father Joyce said. "I hate to see that."

For more than 50 years as a priest Father Joyce has served the Church at both the diocesan and parish levels. He has been an associate pastor, diocesan director of adult education, diocesan chancellor and pastor of two parishes, St. Monica in Moraga, for nearly 10 years and lastly at Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill for more than 26 years.

Long before he retired last year, Father Joyce said he felt that he had been called to do more despite his health issues. He is living with both the aftereffects of a mild stroke and the onset of Parkinson's Disease. Although he has trouble talking and writing, the priest is determined to do as much as he can.

The retired priest sees his later-in-life activism as another way to serve the people of God. "I think that is what Jesus did," he said.

Father Joyce wasn't the only priest of a certain maturity at the Good Friday action. His friend, Rev. Louis Vitale, OFM, a former provincial of his religious community, is well known for his many years as an advocate of social justice. Over a span of about 50 years the Franciscan friar has been arrested and put in jail more times than even he can remember in his pursuit of peace and justice.

Father Vitale has walked picket lines with farm workers and marched for civil rights legislation and against the Vietnam War in the 1960s. Recently he has been in conversation with people involved in the Occupy movement — a movement bringing together people who want to see economic and social change.

"It's good to hear that people are concerned about how other people are treated," Father Vitale said.

Father Vitale, who recently celebrated his 83rd birthday, said that the late Father Bill O'Donnell, a longtime activist who also was arrested and jailed numerous times as he fought for justice in American society, was an inspiration. "Father Bill wouldn't go to a protest if he couldn't get arrested," quipped Father Vitale.

Fathers Joyce and Vitale will likely cross paths again this year at events marking the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima at the end of World War II in August. Neither age nor ailments will deter them from trying to make a change in the world, which both men pointed out, is part of their ministry as Catholics and as priests.

"Jesus said it all — thou shall not kill," Father Vitale said.

back to topup arrow


Copyright © 2015 The Catholic Voice, All Rights Reserved. Site design by Sarah Kalmon-Bauer.