|May 8, 2017 • VOL. 55, NO. 9 • Oakland, CA|
Catholic Volunteers Tribute
Who are our unsung heroes?
Maria Aranas, Jackie Mora and Claire Elmore
Steven Borg is the embodiment of what it is to be a person of faith and servant leader. As a parishioner of Corpus Christi Parish, Piedmont, since 1998, he has held many leadership roles, such as Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, Pastoral Council President, Finance Committee Chair, and Capital Campaign Strategy/Communications Lead. His community and diocesan service includes being a regent of the cathedral, and vice chair of the Holy Names University Board of Trustees. Borg also sits on the Board of Directors for OSA in Oakland's Uptown district.
His constant call to lead, serve and mentor is unwavering. He brings constant insightfulness, honesty and drive as he serves. With tireless effort and dedication to his parish family and organizations while being a loving husband, father, son, brother and friend is to be commended. Borg always tries his best to motivate others to find their happiness and worth, all without seeking acknowledgment or the spotlight. His countless hours of work and dedication not only as a business professional, but also as a Catholic Christian are inspiring. It's is an extreme pleasure for me to honor Steven Borg with this nomination for his humility to servant leadership.
— Chory Banez
Patricia "Pat" Brown has been a member of St. John the Baptist Parish in San Lorenzo for more than 50 years. One of her outstanding features, beside her constant smile, is her "hugs"! Anyone and everyone she comes in contact with get a hug and, for me, I look forward to it. In her 80-plus years of age, she is a very active and helpful servant of God and His church.
She has been an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. She is an Associate of the Presentation Sisters, who used to teach at St. John School; she is a past president and current photographer for St. Gerard Women's Club of St. John's Church, as well as the author and publisher of our monthly newsletter, the Majellan; she facilitates a prayer group in her home. Once a year, she runs a Mystery Bus Trip and has a waiting list for people who want to go with her because you will be guaranteed of a fun time; she remembers everyone's birthday with handmade cards and/or remembers you with a card if you are sick. On Fridays, she visits the sick and homebound members of St. Gerard Women's Club, a ministry she used to do weekly with Sister Joan, who now resides in Ireland.
Brown attends and supports events at St. John Church and is the most positive, happy and giving person. Through an illness recently, we thought we were going to lose her, but, after anointing and many prayers from her many fans, she got well and is off running and doing God's work — that being St. John Church. She is the force, strength and go-to woman of this parish.
— Ernestine? Moir
Bette Burns is an Oakland resident, mom and dedicated, longtime member of the St. Benedict Church community. In her years of service to St. Benedict, she sung with the Gospel Choir for many, many years and also sings with the Oakland Community Choir. Bette works tirelessly with the St. Benedict chapter of St. Vincent de Paul Society, she is a member of the Ladies Court of St. Peter Claver as well as a lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.
Ms. Burns has helped to keep the Louisiana spirit and tradition alive in our Church community while working as a member of the Mardi Gras social group. For years she supported, behind the scenes, the St. Benedict Youth Center and its activities. Bette loves working with seniors and has been a light to many as she visits senior centers helping the ladies maintain life and dignity by providing special beauty sessions. She is a retired employee of the Oakland Fire Department.
— Rev. Jayson Landeza
Marlene Costilla has been a member of St. Felicitas Parish since its founding in 1952. She is a tremendously hard-working, dedicated parishioner who cares deeply for her church.
Years ago, under our former pastor, Rev. Wayne Campbell, she helped to organize and establish the Loaves and Fishes ministry in the parish that serves the families of the deceased of the parish. To this day she organizes the volunteers and the receptions after funerals for this ministry.
She was a lector and is now a Lead Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at Sunday Masses. She helped to establish the parish's Catholic Daughters chapter and remains an active member and adviser to it.
She is a volunteer who will not say "No" when asked by the parish to organize or help at events. She welcomes all to the parish, makes everyone feel at ease and supports the pastors assigned to the parish. She runs circles around younger volunteers and is always one of the last to leave church events. She is another volunteer who is treasured and loved by the church community.
— Irene Hagebusch
Col. Leo Galloway
Col. Leo Galloway, ret., should be recognized for his generous service to St. Benedict Parish, Oakland, and to the larger community as well. For many years, he has helped to count the weekend collection every Monday morning along with a team of equally dedicated volunteers. He has served as the treasurer of the parish St. Vincent de Paul Conference for as long as anyone can remember. He is an active member of the local chapter of Southern University Alumni Association, which is based out of St. Benedict Parish.
Galloway is a proud veteran of World War II, having served in the U.S. Army in an all-African American anti-aircraft artillery unit. At Sunday Mass every Memorial Day and Fourth of July, Galloway would make a presentation honoring those who served our country in uniform, and would connect St. Benedict veterans with others in Oakland who served.
He is also very generous to various causes within the parish and the Oakland community. Galloway turned 93 years young on May 7. For these and many other reasons, I am happy to acknowledge Colonel Leo Galloway for his incredible volunteer service to St. Benedict Parish here in East Oakland.
Galloway worked tirelessly in the Oliver Lanaux Youth Center for many years. He went above and beyond with the kids. Ask any one of them who attended then, what is one thing you were taught by Mr. Galloway at OLYC, and they will say today, "If it is to be, it's up to me."
— Rev. Jayson Landeza
Diane Gilfether, a parishioner at St. Isidore Parish in Danville, is the founder and volunteer director of the Blackhawk Chorus, 130 singers strong. This year, the chorus is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a gala and fundraiser. The chorus entertains thousands of audience members locally in twice-a-year performances. Audiences have heard their music in Spain, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Austria, the Czech Republic and Italy, where the chorus sang at the High Mass in the Vatican, and in New York City's Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. The Blackhawk Chorus started a music scholarship program; more than $82,000 has been given to local schools in support of their music programs.
In this anniversary year, the chorus recognizes Gilfether's dedication and volunteer efforts. She has received Alumni of the Year at Holy Names University; Comcast/Bay Area News Group's Hometown Heroes; and the Contra Costa County Arts Recognition Award. The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors has honored the Blackhawk Chorus with a proclamation.
Diane Gilfether has given the gift of music to all the followers that attend our concerts. She also has demonstrated the model of service to others by supporting the music programs in the local schools.
— Denise Clark
Ursula Gordon arrived at Santa Maria Parish, Orinda, in 1999 and her volunteering began when it was suggested she join our parish adult choir. Shortly thereafter she became an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and was asked to be a lector at Mass. She also became one of the cantors for the adult choir.
About four years ago, she volunteered to drive another parishioner around so she could accomplish her errands and to bring this parishioner to daily Mass. One day while she waited for the parishioner to enjoy some social time at a local restaurant, Gordon came up to the parish and noticed that the planted areas needed to be landscaped. Again she remedied the situation by making sure the areas were in tip-top shape. This endeavor continues to this day.
Gordon also divides her time as a member of the Art & Environment team and the Liturgy Team. She helps direct the Children's Choir, she trains the youth ministers of the Word, and, if that isn't enough, she also helps in the parish office.
Finally, she also found time to audition and be accepted as a member of the Installation Choir when the Cathedral of Christ the Light was being built and she even now sings with the adult choir for special events. In the past she volunteered to help Rev. George Alengadan to set up files in the new offices when the chancery office was moved to 2121 Harrison St. This task led her to help him in the ongoing education of priests and deacon formation.
— Linda Zunino
One of the parishioners of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, San Leandro, who has been giving her time and talent to the church, is Beth Garcia. For the last 20 years she has been involved in the church in one capacity or other. Presently, she is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and the Coordinator of Altar Servers, but her forte is in the area of fundraising.
Besides being a member of the Finance Committee, she has been the chairperson of the fundraising committee for church festivals and other events. The committee has raised funds to help finance much-needed church projects such as a new roof for the church, a new heating and cooling system, paving the area in front of the church, etc. She and her husband, Leo, and mother-in-law have been spreading the devotion to the Black Nazarene by transporting the statue on Sundays to the homes of different families stretching from Sacramento to San Jose. They have been doing this for the last 30 years. She is a model for volunteers.
— Bella Comelo and Rev. Jan Rudzewicz
Peter and Gloria Muskopf
This husband and wife have been members of St. Felicitas Parish in San Leandro almost since its beginning. They attend daily Mass. They never answer no when asked by the priests and nuns in the parish to help with any event or task around the parish.
Both are involved with the parish's Young@Heart Senior luncheon each month. Peter is one of the main cooks for the luncheons and Gloria manages the volunteers and setup for the luncheons.
They both have helped with many, many hospitality events of the parish. Peter is famous for his pineapple fruit boats that he makes for the various events.
They assisted many years in the decorating of the church at Easter and Christmas. The word "No" is not in their vocabulary when it comes to helping their beloved parish. They watch out for widows who may need rides to various events. They are both much beloved by many parishioners.
— Irene Hagebusch
Frances Porter is a 93-year-old retired public servant who served as the Agency Director of Alameda County's Social Services. She has served as a director on several boards of private social services agencies providing services to children and adults. She was appointed and served as a commissioner on Oakland's Commission on Aging. She served for 20 years as an art docent at the Oakland Museum.
Porter served for 10 years on the pastoral council of St. Louis Bertrand Parish in Oakland and on several small Christian ministries. Currently, she is an active parishioner at St. Benedict Parish where she participates in weekly Bible studies.
As a member of the African American Quilt Guild of Oakland, she is a nationally acclaimed quilter and fiber artist. She created three art quilts that conveyed in cloth, the personality, history and social complexity of the city of Oakland. Her quilts were featured in a yearlong (2016) citywide exhibition that also featured other quilters, and have received national recognition, being discussed in print and television.
Porter has made and donated fiber art pieces for auction with the proceeds donated to needy families. She has supported non-profit organizations and helped to raise funds for worthy causes via the Quilt Guild, scholarship fundraisers via a college alumni group, St. Louis Bertrand Church, St. Benedict Church, Assumption School, St. Leo the Great School, an AKA Foundation and dresses for African girls via Africare, a nationally recognized program.
Frances is married to her husband, Carl Porter, and is the mother of one daughter, Lisa Porter-Thompson.
— Rev. Jayson Landeza
Buzz Sherwood is a dedicated parishioner of St. Perpetua Parish in Lafayette. He spearheads a program that brings hot meals once a month to the homeless in People's Park in Berkeley. His group feeds more than 150 people a month. In addition, Sherwood is the detention ministry site coordinator at the Juvenile Hall in San Leandro. As a former high school teacher, he is able to bring his many years of teaching experience to help transform the lives of incarcerated youth. Sherwood is an important part of our daily Masses, serving as a lector. We are blessed to have him as an active participant in our St. Perpetua Church Community and the greater community at large.
— Katherine Korsak
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