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placeholder March 14, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 5   •   Oakland, CA

March 14: Catholic Conference of Bishops Education Committee, LMU, Los Angeles

March 15: Day of recollection, St. Patrick's Seminary and University, Menlo Park

March 16: Presbyterate of the diocese meets

      6:30 p.m., Chrism Mass, Cathedral of Christ the Light

March 17: College of Consultors, Chancery

      Presbyteral Council, Chancery

March 18: Meeting, Hispanic priests of the diocese, bishop's residence

      5 p.m., Mass with Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi, Bishop of Tonga,
      and the Tongan Community, Cathedral of Christ the Light

March 19: Blessing of the new Chapel, Jesuit Novitiate, Culver City

March 20: 10 a.m., Palm Sunday Mass, Cathedral of Christ the Light

March 22: Priests Personnel Board, Chancery

March 24: Holy Thursday

      3 p.m., Mass of the Lord's Supper, Mercy Center, Oakland

      7 p.m., Mass of the Lord's Supper, Cathedral of Christ the Light

March 25: Good Friday

      12:10 p.m., Celebration of the Passion of the Lord, Cathedral of Christ the Light

March 26: 8 p.m., Solemn Easter Vigil, Cathedral of Christ the Light

March 27: 10 a.m., Easter Sunday Mass, Cathedral of Christ the Lighte

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Bishop updates faithful
Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, greeted most of the 50 people from West Contra Costa County who attended a kickoff meeting for the annual Bishop's Appeal fund raising effort at St. Callistus Parish in El Sobrante the evening of March 2. The bishop gave the attendees an update on some of the major works the diocese has undertaken, including establishing a safe house for young victims of human trafficking and encouraging parishes to help settle refugees. Similar meetings took place at St. John Vianney, Walnut Creek, Feb. 18 and at Immaculate Heart of Mary, Brentwood, on March 3.

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Vatican chapel design
The interior of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in Rome is the only building at the Vatican designed by an American. Pittsburgh architect Louis Astorino used triangles throughout the design to symbolize the Trinity. Since he was elected in 2013 and decided to live in the Domus Sanctae Marthae instead of the apostolic apartments, Pope Francis has said daily Mass in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit located just next to the modest hotel. Astorino's work includes critically acclaimed PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

More Catholics

The number of baptized Catholics worldwide has grown at a faster rate than that of the world's population, according to Vatican statistics. Although the number of priests has increased globally, the number has decreased slightly in Europe and Oceania, according to the Vatican's Central Office for Church Statistics. The figures are presented in the "Annuario Pontificio 2016," the Vatican yearbook, and will appear in the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, which gives detailed figures on the church's workforce, sacramental life, dioceses and parishes as of Dec. 31, 2014. The number of baptized Catholics reached 1.27 billion or 17.8 percent of the global population.

Mother Teresa consistory

Pope Francis will preside over a consistory to approve the canonization of five men and women, including Blessed Teresa of Kolkata. The March 15 consistory will also determine the approval of canonization of Argentine "gaucho priest," Blessed Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero and Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, a 14-year-old Mexican boy martyred for refusing to renounce his faith during the Cristero War of the 1920s, the Vatican said March 7. The meeting of cardinals and promoters of the sainthood causes, also known as an "ordinary public consistory," formally ends the process of approving a new saint.

'Martyrs of charity'

The four Missionaries of Charity murdered March 4 in Yemen "are the martyrs of today," Pope Francis said. "They gave their blood for the church." After reciting the Angelus with thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square March 6, Pope Francis publicly offered his condolences to the Missionaries of Charity and prayed that Blessed Teresa of Kolkata would "accompany to paradise these daughters of hers, martyrs of charity, and that she would intercede for peace and a sacred respect for human life."

Free to err

The Gospel parable of the prodigal son presents the image of God, the father, who gives people the gift of freedom, even to make mistakes, Pope Francis said. When it comes to our God-given freedom, "it is up to us to put it to good use. This gift of freedom that God gives us always amazes me," he said March 7 before reciting the Angelus with visitors gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Confession heals

Exercise a little courage and go to confession, turn away from selfishness and sin and back to God during the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis urged people at a Lenten penance service. "When our desire to be healed becomes more courageous, it leads to prayer, to crying out fervently and persistently for help, as did Bartimaeus: 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me,'" the pope said, quoting from the Gospel of St. Mark.

Saint causes advance

Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes of 12 men and women, including paving the way for the canonization of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, a French Discalced Carmelite mystic and writer. The pope also approved a second miracle needed for the canonization of Blessed Manuel Gonzalez Garcia, a Spanish bishop known as the "bishop of the tabernacle'' because of his devotion to eucharistic adoration.

Catholic News Service

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