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placeholder March 14, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 5   •   Oakland, CA
Sister Joanne Gallagher to retire
from Christ the King ministry

Sister Joanne Gallagher, CSJ

Rev. Paulson Mundanmani, pastor of Christ the King Church in Pleasant Hill, announced the upcoming retirement of longtime staff member Sister Joanne Gallagher, CSJ.

Sister Joanne served in many capacities in her 12 years there as pastoral associate directing multiple ministries, including Grief Ministry, Pastoral Council and volunteer coordinator, Hospitality and Ministry Faire.

A mid-April retirement celebration is planned to honor her dedication, ministry and friendship. To join the celebration, contact the parish office at 925-682-2486 or follow updates through the parish website, www.CTKph.org.

Father Mundanmani reiterated remarks on women religious by Pope Francis during his recent New York visit: " 'I would like to express my esteem and gratitude to the religious women of the United States," the Pope said to resonating applause throughout St. Patrick's Cathedral. "What would the Church be without you?' Then, I ask myself that question today. What would Christ the King Parish and School be without our wonderful nuns? I have always enjoyed working with nuns in ministry, and their lives and faith have enriched my own life and faith. After nearly 12 years of ministry at CTK, we are grateful Sister Joanne will continue as a member and friend of our Church community."

An Oakland native, Sister Joanne's first exposure to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the order she later joined, was throughout elementary school at St. Jarlath School. After Holy Names High School and undergraduate at Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles, she completed graduate work at Santa Clara University, Holy Names and Saint Mary's colleges locally.

As a member of the Sisters of CSJ for 63 years, she served in Catholic education throughout California, and has shared her educational, administrative and pastoral skills, plus her religious community experience with many California Catholic organizations and communities.

Sister Joanne's teaching career began in Fresno; 33 years as an elementary school principal followed in several Los Angeles and Orange diocesan schools, and in the Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco dioceses, including nearby Vallejo and Lafayette, before coming to Christ the King in 2004.

Rev. Vince Cotter, parochial vicar, describes "All Things Irish" as "Sister Joanne's special legacy here in our parish and in our diocese. Her many tours of Ireland and her many stories of her Irish heritage have marinated her ministry and her wonderful contributions to the life of CTK."

Rev. Brian Timoney, also from CTK, reflected, "Sister Joanne is a people person. She loves meeting people and interacting with them. She loved being outside church on Sunday greeting people before and after every Mass. This resulted in it being impossible for anyone to say "No" when asked by Sister Joanne to volunteer for ministry."

Principal Chris Caban fondly recalled his first visit to CTK from his home in Chicago, during the interview process for his job. "I attended Mass on Palm Sunday to discreetly get a feel for the parish community. I walked through the front doors and immediately had a 10' palm thrust into my hand. Startled, I was informed that I was going to be part of the Palm Sunday procession. Over my objections that I was just a visitor, I was told, 'Nonsense, you are part of the family when you are here!' and was gently pushed into the church. Sister Joanne had no idea who I was nor why I had come to Mass that day. But it didn't matter to her and through this simple gesture she convinced me CTK was the right place to make my new home."

Parishioner Honey O'Leary summed up the community's sentiment with, "Go with the joy of having provided a life-giving ministry to a grateful community."

In her true ministerial spirit, Sister Joanne plans to continue as a parishioner living just two miles from the parish with other CSJ religious, and volunteer at CTK post-retirement, after a much needed knee replacement.

 
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