FEBRUARY 21, 2005



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




A LIGHT production
Again this year, the St. Joan of Arc LIGHT Youth Ministry Team is working with area teenagers to bring the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," to San Ramon. The production, which opens March 12 and runs for two weekends at St. Joan of Arc Church, San Ramon, is a follow-up to a sold-out run of "Godspell" last March.

The enormous response to last year’s production encouraged Craig Heiting, director and founder of the program, and his adult production team to continue to produce musicals with wholesome messages, using area high school aged students.

"‘Joseph’ is a fun musical, based upon a story from the Old Testament, with lots of dancing, colorful sets and costumes. The kids are having a great time preparing the show," Heiting said.

With help from 20 adult volunteers, the teens are producing "Joseph" with 30 area high school students in the main cast, another 20 grade-to-middle-school youth in the choir, 15 high school musicians and 15 high school crew members.

Performances of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" will be March 12 at 8 p.m.; March 13 at 6 p.m.; March 18 at 8 p.m.; March 19 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and March 20 at 6 p.m. Ticket donations are $15 for the evening performances and $10 for the matinee on March 19.

Proceeds from the performances are tax deductible and will go directly to the support of all LIGHT Youth Ministry programs. For more information: (925) 984-5906 or

Among the Religious
Sunday children’s Liturgy of the Word and lesson plans are the newest features added to the website of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, which can be found at The international congregation of Catholic religious women includes Sister Toni Longo, who is based in Alameda.

Each Sunday’s lesson includes readings from the Lectionary for Masses with Children – available nowhere else on the Internet – plus prayer, background information and a reflection, discussion questions and activities that are available for children in grades kindergarten through third grade. Catechists will find three or more lessons posted each week to permit planning. The pages can be found under "Children’s Liturgy" on the home page.

Knights help WYD pilgrim
The St. Francis Knight of Columbus Council 13197 in Concord is hosting a dinner and concert on March 5 to raise funds to send David Bettencourt, who will represent St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Concord and the Oakland Diocese, at the World Youth Day event this August in Germany.

World Youth Day will bring together Catholic youth between ages 16 and 30 from dioceses across the world for a pilgrimage of prayer, worship and encounter with Pope John Paul II, who launched WYD as a way to reach and evangelize youth. Bettencourt, a 2004 graduate of Concord’s Ygnacio Valley High School, is a freshman at UC Davis and is active with the Newman Center there.

The event, dinner by Outback Steakhouse, will be at the St. Francis of Assisi Family Center, 860 Oak Grove Road. It begins with a no-host bar at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner and entertainment by the Great Harvest of the Lord Gospel Choir and St. Francis of Assisi Youth Choir. Tickets: $25 for adults; $20 for children 12 and under. Contact Basil Fedynyshyn, (925) 977-9381 or

Housing for Habitat

Livermore’s St. Charles Borromeo Parish recently served as a temporary home to 31 young men from the Joshua Program at Hume Lake Christian Camp who were part of the interfaith crew building 22 homes at the Livermore Habitat for Humanity project on a two-acre lot at East and Hayes avenues.

The young men, along with 28 young women based at First Presbyterian Church, worked the site by day and ate their evening meals and bunked at the two churches.

St. Charles is one of several local congregations that make up the Tri-Valley Inter-Faith House Sponsorship Initiative, a full house sponsor of East Bay Habitat for Humanity’s Livermore project. Besides providing financial support, members of the Livermore parish’s social concerns committee have been involved in all aspects of the project -- helping to acquire the land, obtain approvals from the City of Livermore, and building the homes.

Around the parishes

Father Jayson Landeza, pastor at St. Columba Parish in Oakland and interim administrator at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Berkeley, has been selected as chair of the Region Eleven Conference of Presbyteral Senates (RECOPS). Each of the 15 dioceses of California, Nevada and Hawaii send priests from their Priest/Presbyteral Councils to represent the concerns of priests in their dioceses. Father Landeza, who also serves as chaplain to the Oakland Police and Fire departments, serves as the official representative of the priests of the three states to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C. He also gives bi-annual reports to the bishops of this region and he represents priests to the California Catholic Conference in Sacramento.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Concord is starting a Gregorian chant schola to sing monthly. All ages are welcome. No previous chant experience is necessary. Practices will be held on Monday evenings. For more information call Beth Hockel at (925) 939-2919.

A support group for divorced and separated Catholics meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at St. Augustine Parish, at Alcatraz near College, in Oakland at 7 p.m. Lynn McLoed, a licensed therapist, is the group facilitator.

Around the schools
Two thumbs way up for the students at St. Agnes School in Concord who have raised $5,000 to help the victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami that devastated parts of South East Asia. The students took up collections at children’s liturgies, held weekly classroom collections and used the school’s recycling program to raise the funds. The money will be sent to Jesuit Refugee Service.

Let’s raise the roof for the first grade class at Berkeley’s St. Joseph the Worker School. The class set out to read 100 books so that Scholastic Book Publishers would donate 100 books in St. Joseph’s name to children in need. Not only did the class read the 100 books, they read 300 – that’s right 300! – in one month. Following the initiative of the first graders, the book publishers donated 300 new books to some special kids.

The newly formed forensics team at Alameda’s St. Joseph Notre Dame High School (SJND) is already earning top honors at competitions. At the team’s first competition, three members -- Joanna Mooney, ’06, Russell Holz, ’06 and Charles Caison, ’08 --earned points toward membership in the National Forensics League (NFL), the national speech and debate honor society. Diego Flores, ‘06 earned a plaque of distinction for placing fourth out of 19 competitors. By the end of the team’s second competition, Flores had earned membership in the NFL. Last month, Emily Gray, ’06 and Flores took first and second place at the American Legion High School Oratorical Contest. Gray moved to the competition’s second level and took first prize again for her speech on the U.S. Constitution. She will compete at the area level this month for a place in the state championship.

Congratulations also go to SJND seniors Paul Geiger, Rolando Kirknis, Morgan McWhorter, and Michael Priest who scored in the top five percent of over 120,000 Black Americans who entered the 2005 National Achievement Program through the 2003 Preliminary SAT (PSAT) test. The National Achievement Program, conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, is an academic competition that honors Black American high school students.

Names, News, Notes
Mary Ellen Sherry, a member of St. Mary-St. Francis de Sales Parish in Oakland, was recently featured in an exhibit called "California’s Remarkable Women" at the California State History Museum in Sacramento.

The story of Joan of Arc, an icon of medieval history and martyred saint, comes to television in "Joan of Arc: Child of War, Soldier of God," an original special that premieres exclusively on the Hallmark Channel, March 21 at 10 p.m. The Faith and Values Media docudrama was directed and produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Pamela Mason Wagner, who earlier brought the lives of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Patrick to television.

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