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placeholder Lent

Lent is the annual catechumenate for all

Lent begins with
Ash Wednesday

Lenten Events

Invitation to a Roman Lent pilgrimage

Jubilee of Mercy

24 Hours for the Lord at the Cathedral

What does the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy mean to me?

Pope's plea: Stop death penalty

Year of Mercy Events

Franciscan Friars elect new leadership


Sister Anne Baxter, OP

Msgr. Fred Bitanga

Sister Margaret Spiller, SNJM


Spirits high in girl's CYO Volleyball Tournament

St. Lawrence
O'Toole student awarded Marty Mart volleyball scholarship

Influence of intelligent evil growing in our culture

KoC conducts formation ceremony in Menlo Park

Vocation dinner nets $10,000

Knights distribute coats to schoolchildren


Centers able to offer personal or private retreats

Rachel's Vineyard retreat step toward post-abortion healing

Lively day of music, song at youth retreat

Bay Area retreat centers


Pilgrimage reveals little known history at Holy Land sites

Pilgrimage reunion

Bishop's Vineyard wines win awards

Ten couples win Voice anniversary drawing

placeholder February 29, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 4   •   Oakland, CA


Sister Anne Baxter, OP

Sister Anne Baxter, an educator who served in the Diocese of Oakland for nearly a dozen years, died Feb. 6 at the Dominican Life Center in Adrian, Michigan She was 83 years of age and in the 66th year of her religious profession in the Adrian Dominican Congregation.

Born in San Francisco, Sister Anne was baptized Barbara Ann Baxter. She was also known as Sister Amata Marie Baxter. After graduating from Holy Cross School in Santa Cruz, she was graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English from Siena Heights College (University) in Adrian, followed by a master of teaching degree in American history and a master of arts degree in school administration/supervision from the University of San Francisco and a master of arts degree in spirituality/counseling from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She was also certified as a level III chemical dependency counselor in Colorado.

She ministered for 17 years as an elementary school teacher in California, including at St. Lawrence O'Toole School (1952 to 1956) and St. Louis Bernard (1968 to 1974), both in Oakland.

She also taught in elementary schools in Detroit, Michigan; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Chicago; Bisbee, Arizona; and Pueblo, Colorado. Sister Anne served for two years as a community organizer in Denver; 15 years as a counselor and psychotherapist in Pueblo and in neighborhood ministry in Beulah, Colorado, for 14½ years.

Sister is survived by a cousin, E.J. Bowler of Kentfield, California.

The funeral Mass was held Feb. 13 in Holy Rosary Chapel followed by the Rite of Committal in the Congregation cemetery in Adrian, Michigan.

Msgr. Fred Bitanga

Msgr. Fred Bitanga, who served as a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and in the Philippines for more than 50 years, died Feb. 3 while vacationing in the Philippines. He was 82 years of age and a resident of Pinole.

Monsignor was born in Pampanga, Philippines. He entered Mary Help of Christians Seminary in Binmaley in 1956. Two years later he entered the Immaculate Conception Major Seminary in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Philippines. Ordained in 1964 in Dagupan City, he traveled to the United States for post-graduate studies and completed his master's degree in school administration, supervision, guidance and counseling at the University of San Francisco. He was incardinated into the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1974.

He served in several parishes in the San Francisco Archdiocese and was named a Prelate of Honor, with the title of monsignor, by Pope John Paul II in 1989. He was appointed pastor at St. Patrick Parish in San Francisco in 1994. After 42 years of active ministry, he retired in 2006. At the time of his death he was living with his sister in Pinole.

In the Diocese of Oakland he assisted with ministry support at St. Joseph Parish in Pinole, St. Anne, Union City, and St. Patrick Parish in Rodeo.

Msgr. Bitanga is survived by his sister, Elizabeth, and two brothers, Rudy and Cesar. He also leaves behind 21 nieces and nephews, 51 grand nieces and nephews and 12 great grand nieces and nephews.

The funeral Mass was held Feb. 18 at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco. The Rite of Committal was at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma.

Sister Margaret Spiller, SNJM

Sister Margaret Spiller, an educator who served at her congregation's schools in California, died Feb. 6 in San Gabriel. This spring she was to celebrate her 50th anniversary as a member of the Sisters of the Holy Names. She was 72 years of age.

A native of Wilmington, North Carolina, Sister Margaret, also known as Sister Jonathan Mary, served in the Diocese of Oakland briefly. Her ministry includes one year as a teacher at St. Augustine Elementary School in Oakland, and as teacher and vice principal at Holy Names High School in Oakland and St. Monica High School in Santa Monica.

She served for 29 years at Ramona Convent Secondary School in Alhambra. There she was a teacher, principal and most recently director of innovation and technology.

She served in countless positions at both the provincial and congregation levels. Within her religious community she was provincial leader of the Sisters in California before the province merged with another province in 2006.

Sister Margaret will be remembered "very affectionately" by the Sisters of the Holy Names and their Associates, according to the obituary written by her religious community. The obituary also noted her insatiable curiosity of the world and her desire to travel, camp and "explore our world." That curiosity also led to her love of computers and any kind of technology. "Her sense of adventure, play and delightful spirit was contagious," reads the obituary.

Sister Margaret is survived by her sister, her brothers and their spouses, and many nieces, nephews and other relatives.

The funeral Mass took place Feb. 15 at St. Anthony Church in San Gabriel. A second Mass of the Resurrection was held Feb. 21 at Holy Spirit Chapel in Campbell. Her burial took place the following day at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward.

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