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placeholder October 10, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 17   •   Oakland, CA

Oct. 11: 5 p.m., Malta Clinic annual fundraiser dinner, Saint Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco

Oct. 13: Noon, Catholic Charities of the East Bay Charity lunch, San Ramon

Oct. 14: 10 a.m., Blue Mass, Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland

Oct. 15: 10 a.m., Confirmation, St. Margaret Mary Parish, Oakland

Oct. 16: 9:30 a.m. Mass, Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Point Richmond

Oct. 18-19: California Conference of Catholic Bishops, Los Angeles

Oct. 20: College of Consultors, Chancery

      Presbyteral Council, Bishop's Residence, Oakland

      Mass, dinner with ordination candidates for the Society of Jesus, Bishop's Residence, Oakland

Oct. 21: Noon, Catholic Campaign for Human Development Grant Awards luncheon, St. Columba Parish, Oakland

      4 p.m., Board of Trustees, St. Patrick's Seminary, Menlo Park

Oct. 22: 10 a.m., Ordination to the Deaconate for the Jesuit Order, Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland

Oct. 24: San Francisco Province Bishops, San Francisco

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Mass at Oakland's Bishop O'Dowd
With the entire Bishop O'Dowd High School community gathered on the Quad, Most Rev. Michael C. Barber, SJ, bishop of Oakland, along with campus chaplain Rev. Jim Sullivan, celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Sept. 8. Diocesan priests Rev. Alexander Castillo and Rev. Bich Nguyen also participated. Prior to the start of the liturgy, the Campus Ministry Team performed a skit focused on "Community in Diversity," an integral element in O'Dowd's charism and a theme for the 2016-17 school year. The school has also launched a new website, www.bishopodowd.org.

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Sweden schedule
Pope Francis' trip to Sweden to mark the beginning of a yearlong commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation will be bookended with formal state events dictated by protocol and by a time of prayer with members of Sweden's Catholic minority. Pope Francis will visit the Nordic country Oct. 31-Nov. 1.There are about 110,000 Catholics in Sweden, less than 2 percent of the population.

Examining miracles
In an effort to ensure transparency as well as historical and scientific accuracy, Pope Francis has approved revised norms for the Congregation for Saints' Causes regarding medical consultations on healings alleged to be miracles. Among the regulations published by the Vatican Sept. 23 was the requirement that the medical panel have a quorum of six experts and that a two-thirds majority is needed to approve a statement declaring a healing has no natural or scientific explanation. Previously, the declaration — a key step in a pope's recognition of a miracle attributed to the intercession of a candidate for sainthood — required the approval of a simple majority of the consultation team members present.

Pleas for Syrians
As a brief cease-fire agreement failed and Syrian government forces returned to bombing Aleppo and fighting rebels in the city streets, Pope Francis made a forceful appeal for assistance for the thousands of innocent civilians trapped in the besieged city. "I appeal to the consciences of those responsible for the bombardments," Pope Francis said at the end of his weekly general audience Sept. 28.

Anyone can be saved
The church is not just for people who are good, who think they're good or pretend to be good, it is for everyone, especially the bad because the church is mercy, Pope Francis said. No one is excluded from God's forgiveness, even the worst sinners, who only must draw near to Jesus with a repentant heart "and the desire to be embraced," he said Sept. 28 at his weekly general audience.

Integration crucial
Leaders of the World Jewish Congress said that Pope Francis told them everyone needs to speak out against brutality and help ensure that migrants are better integrated. The pope welcomed a delegation of the international advocacy organization, which represents Jewish communities in 100 countries. They met Sept. 26 in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where the pope lives.

Don't run
Don't respond to grief or anguish with pills, alcohol or avoidance, Pope Francis said in a morning homily. Figure out what is going on inside your heart, then turn to God and beg him for help, he said Sept. 27 during an early morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Make history
Christians must put their mark on history, transforming the world every day driven by the joy of proclaiming God's love, Pope Francis said. "We are not prophets of gloom who take delight in unearthing dangers or deviations," handing down "bitter judgments on our society, on the church, on everything and everyone, polluting the world with our negativity," he told catechists Sept. 25.

— Catholic News Service

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