MARCH 29, 2004



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




Passion Play to be performed at Good Shepherd in Pittsburg

The youth of Good Shepherd Parish will present a sacred drama of Jesus’ Passion on Saturday, April 3, at the 5:30 p.m. Mass; Sunday, April 4 at the 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and noon Masses; and Good Friday, April 9 at 7 p.m. The church is located at 3200 Harbor Street in Pittsburg.

This is the 12th year of the drama, the youth ministry’s largest project of the year. Over 50 youth and adults are involved in the presentation, under the direction of Debbie Lawson, youth ministry director.

A commitment to housing
St. Joan of Arc Parish in San Ramon has entered into a “covenant congregation” relationship with the Mt. Diablo Habitat for Humanity to support Habitat’s goal of providing affordable homeownership to deserving families by praying for and promoting the Habitat ministry in the local community, organizing work parties to assist in home construction and providing financial and other support. Already, the parish has agreed to contribute $20,000 to co-sponsor the construction of a Habitat home in Oakley.

Around the parishes
Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of The Christ” has been the focus of much passionate discussion since the movie premiered on Ash Wednesday. A number of parishes have offered opportunities for reflection, prayer and education in response to the film. At St. Callistus Parish in El Sobrante, Bible study leader Chris Killough led a Lenten talk on the biblical, historical and traditional understanding of the last hours of Christ. Parishioners at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Berkeley who had seen the movie discussed the film during an evening of reflection and prayer facilitated by former parishioner Beverly Terlep, an intern at the School of Applied Theology in Berkeley. Father Peter Loffredo, a parish priest at St. Agnes Parish in Concord, will lead parishioners in exploring the Passion and its importance in our faith on April 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the parish church.

Father Richard Mangini, pastor at St. Bonaventure Parish in Concord, traveled last month to Kenya with Friends Across Borders, a Maryknoll Foreign Mission Society project that educates people on the Society’s work. He visited St. Mary’s Mission Hospital to see firsthand the maternity ward built with funds raised by the parish. Some 650 babies are born there each month.

St. Agnes Parish in Concord hopes to “raise” 60 pints of blood during its Good Friday Blood Drive on April 9. This would top last year’s successful drive that brought in nearly 50 pints of life-saving blood. Can you help? Call Guy Grace at (925) 825-4127.

Members at St. Leander Parish in San Leandro gathered March 13 for a special Mass to honor their patron saint. Who was St. Leander? The parish bulletin provided a thumbnail sketch. Born into a royal family of Cartagena, Spain, Leander was the eldest brother of three other saints (Fulgentius, Isidore and Florentina). He became a monk and emerged as a preacher and teacher who defended the Spanish Church against Arianism (a heresy that denied the divinity of Jesus Christ). He was elected archbishop of Seville and is considered a doctor of the Spanish Church. He is also known for writing an influential Rule for nuns and introducing the Nicene Creed to the West. He died in 600.

Around the schools
Oakland’s St. Jarlath School is proudly applauding the efforts of three student poets: Diana Hoang, Rom-Elixis Medrano and Lawrence Okereke. Guided by their teacher, Francesca DeLuca, these authors and their 4th grade classmates participated in “Poetry Off The Page” at the Oakland Museum. Their poems were selected for the Museum’s poetry display, which is available for public viewing until April 18. Great going, kids!

Congratulations to the students at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School (SJND) in Alameda who raised $2484 for the Pennies for Patients benefitting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Another SJND achievement: last month senior Kristofer Henriksson advanced in the Lions Club Speakers Contest. Henriksson competed against other Alameda high school student orators on the topic of “Democracy – Is it for Everyone?” He earned a scholarship and now moves on to the next level to compete for additional scholarship monies.

Two thumbs way up for the students at St. Clement School in Hayward who are collecting food for the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society. The Vincentians distributes food daily to local families in need and homeless persons who come to the parish for help.

Let us all stand and applaud the 7th Grade Girls Volleyball Team from St. Joseph Elementary School in Alameda for capturing first place in their league for the second year in row! The team has also been undefeated and has had no losses for four years. Hats off to the players: Julie Anderson, Lissette Ramos, Annalise Reichert, Caroline Mercado, Kristin Schoendorf, Christen Morrison, Christina Sternberg, Lilly Smith, Allison Meins, and Mackenzie Whitton; and the coaches: Chris Anderson, Robert Ramos, Lisa Reichert and Mary Mercado. A big thank you to our special correspondent and proud parent Lina Schoendorf.

Students at St. Raymond School in Dublin are growing bushels of vegetables and flowers in the campus’ Outreach Garden and sharing their harvest with the parish and local community. The school has delivered numerous bags of vegetables and a lettuce crop to local charities. Onions grown in the garden added spice to a delicious chicken soup prepared for a recent Lenten Soup Night by Donna Watson, social committee chair. Will Rogers, garden committee chair, hopes to squeeze in one more crop before the season is over.

What a Seuss-sational celebration! Students at Antioch’s Holy Rosary School celebrated the 100th birthday of the late Dr. Seuss (aka Theodor Geisel) earlier this month by collecting more than 350 books for the East Contra Costa Boys and Girls Club.

Irish eyes were smiling

Residents and staff at Oakland’s Mercy Retirement and Care Center proved yesterday (March 28) that it is never too late to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Irish eyes were smiling broadly as the assisted living community joined family and friends in honoring the patron saint of Ireland. There was Irish music and a wide selection of favorite Irish foods including corned beef sandwiches, beer and soda bread.

Names, News, Notes
Happy birthday to Esther Owens, a member of St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Berkeley, who recently turned 106!

Congratulations to Harry and Zerri Christiana, members at Holy Spirit Parish in Fremont, who will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on April 24. The couple, who got hitched at Sacred Heart Church in Oakland, regularly attend the 7 a.m. Mass at their parish church.

Nigerian-born priest Dominican Father John Bosco Ikemeh was the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of The Serra Club of West Contra Costa County on March 22 at Gonzales’ Restaurant in Richmond.

VOLUNTEER ALERT! The Alameda County Community Food Bank needs volunteers to staff the Emergency Food Hotline, its toll-free referral service for families and individuals in need. Shifts are available Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m.. Call (510) 834-FOOD (3663) or visit for more information.

Family Connections Adoptions will hold a free information session on April 3 at 2 p.m. at its offices, 1120 Tully Road in Modesto. The non-profit agency specializes in placing waiting children from California and across the world. For more information, call (209) 524-8844.

A free workshop will be held at the Pleasanton Senior Center April 3 to provide caregivers of persons with dementia some helpful strategies and tools. Beth Logan, M.S.W., will facilitate the half-day workshop called “There Must Be a Better Way Than This.” The workshop, sponsored by the Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA), will be held from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., at 5353 Sunol Blvd., Pleasanton. To register, call FCA at (800) 445-8106.

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