FEBRUARY 7 , 2005



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






150 years of service

Presentation and Mercy Sisters serve Sunday dinner, Jan. 16, at St. Mary’s Center in Oakland as part of their congregations’ celebration of 150 years of service in the Bay Area. Top left, Presentation Sister Gloria Loya offers food to a guest. Top right, Presentation Sister Una Murphy serves a guest seated at the same table as Father Ernest Brainard. Right, Mercy Sisters Melanie O’Brien (left) and Patty Creedon prepare ice cream and cookie deserts.

Throughout the year parishioners across the diocese help to prepare and serve meals at the community
center that reaches out to and cares for low-income seniors, families and preschool age youth in downtown and west Oakland.


Sportsmanship award
Hayward’s St. Bede girls volleyball team took home the RC Camp Sportsmanship Award in the 7th grade division at the Jim Negri Girls CYO Volleyball Tournament held Jan. 16 at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward. Twenty-one girls CYO volleyball teams from around the diocese participated in the annual tournament sponsored by the diocesan CYO office. Two teams, St. Barnabas in Alameda and St. John from San Lorenzo, tied for the sportsmanship award for the 8th grade division.

Lenten tradition hits 30
Operation Rice Bowl, the Lenten program sponsored by Catholic Relief Services that exhorts to “pray, fast, learn, give” celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
Begun in the Diocese of Allentown, PA in 1975 and adopted nationally the CRS in 1976, the program encourages Catholics to add fasting, global education and sacrificial giving to their Lenten prayer and practices.

Families are given a cardboard rice bowl to place in their dining room or desk as a reminder of the meager food, often rice, that many people subsist on. They are encouraged to fast from snacks and other foods and place the money saved into the rice bowl. At the close of Lent, participants forward their donations to CRS.

Annually Operation Rice Bowl raises about $8 million. Seventy-five percent of the funds support international CRS projects; 25 percent remains in dioceses to fund local hunger and poverty alleviation projects.

CRS is also offering weekly Lenten e-mails — a prayer, information about CRS’s work, a challenge statement for the week, and an idea for a sacrificial donation. For more information, visit the website:

Charismatic Renewal
After 13 years at the Bishop’s Liaison for Catholic Charismatic Renewal Charlie Peissner stepped down from the post on Dec. 31, but he has not stepped far away. He will continue to run the office until someone new steps in.

Peissner, who has 10 children with his wife Betty, said he and Betty hope to expand their personal ministry through seminars or a web site. For now they will continue to hold weekly prayer meetings and Bible Study sessions at the CCR office, which they operate out of their large home in Pleasant Hill. Peissner has been honored with the Diocesan Medal of Merit.

Free tax preparation
Catholic Charities of the East Bay has teamed up with the United Way of the Bay Area to offer free tax preparation assistance to low income people.

Individuals with a gross annual income of $36,000 or below are eligible for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

The VITA program of Catholic Charities of the East Bay will be available through April 9 at these locations:
433 Jefferson St., Oakland
Wednesdays, 4 – 8 p.m. and Saturdays,
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

2350 Pacheco St., Concord
Tuesdays, 4 – 8 p.m. and Saturdays,
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

An appointment can be made by calling (510) 768-3100 for the Oakland site and (925) 825-3099 for Concord.

Around the parishes
St. Bonaventure Parish in Concord will host six homeless families as part of the Contra Costa County Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter Program next week (Feb. 14-21). Parish volunteers will prepare and serve evening meals and help the children with homework and arts and crafts projects.

Yesterday (Feb. 6) several members of St. Isidore Parish in Danville returned to Oakland’s St. Mary Center to serve dinner to 100 senior citizens.

Let’s hear it for members of Berkeley’s Boy Scout Troop 19 chartered by St. Mary Magdalen Parish and the School of the Madeleine – who have pledged $1,000 to help survivors of the Dec. 26 tsunami that devastated parts of southeast Asia. The troop is planning to raise the funds by organizing car washes. If you want to help, visit the troop’s website at

Acclaimed monologue
Much applause for Brian Copeland, graduate of Hayward’s Moreau Catholic High School (1982). His critically acclaimed one-man show, “Not A Genuine Black Man,” has been extended for the 11th time through the month of February at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco.

In his monologue, Copeland discusses what happened when he and his African American family moved to San Leandro, then considered one of the most racist suburbs in the U.S. Copeland, now a radio talk show host (KGO Newstalk 810) and stand-up comedian, recently closed a deal to develop the show as a series for HBO with actor-activist Rob Reiner and has signed a book deal with Hyperion to produce a print version.

Around the schools
Fremont’s Our Lady of Guadalupe School celebrated the peacemakers in their midst during a Peacemaker Mass on Jan. 18. The honorees were: Cole Ferrell, kindergarten; Nick Hess, grade 1; Athena Pham, grade 2; Julia Meller, grade 3; Mina Baldovino, grade 4; Alexandria Banner, grade 5; Adrienne Reyes, grade 6; Julia Guerra, grade 7; and Chelsea Tiong, grade 8.

A rousing “Way to Go” to Rena Chanco, a 6th grader at St. Joseph the Worker School in Berkeley, who won the school-level competition of the National Geographic Bee on Jan. 14 and a chance at a $25,000 college scholarship. The school-level Bee, at which students answered oral questions on geography, was the first round in the 17th annual National Geographic Bee, sponsored by the National Geographic Society.

Congratulations to the 7th grade Girl Scout Troop at St. Theresa School in Oakland who made scarves, soaps and candy for a school holiday boutique. They raised enough money to purchase a water buffalo through Heifer International’s program for impoverished farmers and to contribute to the school’s endowment fund.

Let’s salute the successful boys and girls water polo teams at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland who recently earned distinction as ACCAL (Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League) champions. Kudos to Jenny Knutson, a junior, who was named girls ACCAL MVP. She was also selected first team for the 2004 All East Bay/North Bay Girls Water Polo Team. And cheers for senior Patrick Bobb who was co-MVP for the boys squad and named to the third team of the 2004 All East Bay/North Bay Boys Water Polo Team.

Two thumbs up for Matt Tinnon, an 8th grader at St. Philip Neri School in Alameda, who won the school’s top award in the National Mathematics Association of America’s annual competition. A perpetual plaque bearing Tinnon’s name will be displayed in the school.

Names, news, notes
February programming from the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) includes a special program on Lourdes and its miraculous healings on Feb. 10 at 10 a.m. and repeated on Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. Another special focuses on Father Augustine Tolton, the first recognized African American priest, will air Feb. 15 at 3:30 p.m. Also appearing on Sundays at 4 p.m.: a new weekly call-in show with the popular Father Benedict Groeschel, who tackles timely and eternal topics.

VOLUNTEER ALERT: The Salem Lutheran Home at 2361 East 29th St. in Oakland is seeking volunteers to share special talents in musical, cooking, sewing and related skills with its senior residents. Other volunteers are needed to take seniors on walks or to spend time reading to them. There is also a need for drivers with a Class B driver’s license to escort residents on group outings once a month. Salem Lutheran Home is affiliated with Elder Care Alliance and co-sponsored by the Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Sisters of Mercy Regional Community of Burlingame. To volunteer, phone: (510) 534-3637.

RU Blogging? Voice reporter would like to talk to local parishioners and other Voice readers who are maintaining an online journal, aka weblog or blog. Are you using a blog as a form of spiritual expression? Are the blogs you are reading refreshing your spirit? Contact Carrie McClish at (510) 419-1074 or

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