JANUARY 12, 2004
Official newspaper of the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Oakland, California encompassing all of
Alameda &
Contra Costa counties.






CYO suffers loss
The Oakland Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) League suffered a tremendous loss with the sudden death last month of Ray Freitas, 63, a longtime supporter of athletic programs for youth. He was league president in Oakland for over 25 years, athletic director for many years at St. Jarlath Parish in Oakland and coordinator of the CYO track and field program in the Oakland/West Contra Costa area.

He spent over 20 years as varsity baseball coach at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda and served as chair of the diocesan Boys’ CYO Council. He also coached the American Legion program for many years. Survivors include Sandra, his wife of 39 years, their sons, Ronald, Gary and Richard, and two grandchildren. The funeral Mass was held Dec. 23 at St. Jarlath and burial was at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Oakland.

Restore homes and lives
The East Bay Habitat for Humanity has gone into retail with last month’s opening of their new store, aptly called the ReStore, at 2481 San Leandro Blvd. in San Leandro. The store embraces the world of recycled items, with an emphasis on new and used building materials that appeal to do-it-yourselfers and small contractors.

But what makes ReStore unique is that East Bay Habitat accepts building-related donations and sells them back to the community to help finance construction of houses for low-income families. ReStore will accept recent model stoves, dishwashers, and garbage disposals, modular cabinets for the kitchen or bath, good quality doors (no hollow cores), and power and hand tools that are in good working order.

Store hours are from 12-6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For more information on material donations, how to become a volunteer at the ReStore, or directions to the store, phone: (510) 614-5656, e-mail:, website:

March for homeless youth

Strong winds and rain did not deter over 200 youth and adults last month who took to the streets of Oakland for Covenant House’s 13th annual Nationwide Candlelight Vigil for Homeless Kids. “We’re out here tonight because if you are homeless you can not just decide to go inside because it’s raining,” said Oakland Vice Mayor Nancy Nadel, one of the vigil’s featured speakers. After Nadel’s talk , two homeless youth spoke of the help they received from Covenant House, a national multi-service agency that helps homeless, runaway and at-risk youth. The agency has a center in Oakland.

Around the parishes
Starting this month St. Anne Parish in Union City is offering the Liturgy of the Hours in the church at 7:30 a.m. every day except Sundays. All are invited to join this prayer. The church is located at 32223 Cabello St. at Dyer St.

The Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra honored the late Father Bill O’Donnell, the former longtime pastor and parochial vicar at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Berkeley who died suddenly last month, at its performance of the Messiah in the parish church on Dec. 20.

Around the schools
Two thumbs way up for the students at St. John School in San Lorenzo who raised $755 for the Diocese of San Bernardino to use in helping families who lost their homes in last fall’s devastating fires. They also collected 2,252 canned goods for St. Vincent de Paul Society to use in their holiday baskets. The young people continued their outreach efforts by collecting over 190 gifts to be given during the Golden Age Dinner to individuals who have no family or are elderly or disabled.

Much applause also goes to the junior high students at Holy Rosary School in Antioch who brought Christmas cheer to a local retirement home, sorted toys for the Grannies Anonymous Toy Giveaway program and prepared Christmas food boxes with the parish St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Students at Richmond’s Salesian High School also practiced the holiday spirit through their 16th annual Project Santa. The school’s Campus Ministry spent weeks planning the free Christmas party in the campus gym for more than 500 West County kindergarten students. The party featured a carnival, entertainment, and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The high school students baked and decorated cupcakes and cookies, answered letters the kindergartners wrote to Santa and bought and wrapped gifts for the youngsters.

Names, News, Notes
Congratulations to Eleanor and James Whittaker who celebrated the 60th anniversary of their wedding on Nov. 19. The Whittakers, who have two daughters and two grandchildren, have been members at St. Bede Parish in Hayward for 42 years.

Many blessings also go to Agnes and Andy Gonzales, members at St. Joseph Parish in Pinole, who recently marked 50 years of marriage with a renewal of their wedding vows during a Mass presided by their son, Father Masseo Gonzales. The liturgy was held at St. Paul Church in San Pablo.

More best wishes go to the following long-time couples: Joanne and Edward Pitts, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Brentwood, 50 years; Angelina and Leo Luna, Church of the Good Shepherd in Pittsburg, 50 years; Marlene and Jack Dexter, Our Lady of Grace Parish in Castro Valley, 50 years; Gloria and Stephen Maricich, St. Patrick Parish in Rodeo, 50 years; Mary and Eusebio Aedo, St. Jerome Parish in El Cerrito, 50 years; Lillian and Raymond DePire, Holy Rosary Parish in Antioch, 45 years; Marietta and Lee Pittenger, St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Livermore, 40 years.

Alan Starosciak, a longtime member at St. Bonaventure Parish in Concord who was instrumental in helping the parish develop its two strategic pastoral plans, has been appointed a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) by Bishop Allen Vigneron. The DPC is a consultative body that advises the bishop.

Congratulations to Jose Perez and Walter Ruehlig for leading a 10-man delegation of Knights and Squires for the Mexico Build-A-Home Project. The boys and their mentors, along with the 62 members of Assumption Church in San Leandro, worked together to build a 15 ft. x 20 ft. home for a needy family at the Corazon Project in Tijuana, Mexico. The parish raised $14,000 for construction supplies used for the project and scholarships for the children of Corazon.

All are invited to pray the Rosary at the Monument for the Unborn at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Lafayette every Saturday at 10 a.m. Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Council 13195, the monument was dedicated in 1997 by Father Brian Joyce, pastor at Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill.


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