AUGUST 9, 2004



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




More sad good-byes
The diocesan community recently mourned the deaths of two dedicated parish staff members, Melissa Matsuoka, administrative assistant at St. Mary Parish in Walnut Creek, and Jabari J. Mitchell, office manager at St. Lawrence O’Toole-St. Cyril Parish in Oakland.

Matsuoka, 54, died July 8 after a short battle with cancer. She had also worked in the Canon Law Department of the Oakland Diocese for a number of years and was a volunteer caregiver in the AIDS Ministry of Alameda. Survivors include a son, Thomas, and daughter, Irene, and her mother and stepfather, Anita and Tom Ogden. The funeral was held July 13 at St. Mary Church in Walnut Creek.

Mitchell, died July 20 at the age of 54. A native of Bastrop, Louisiana, he was a Union City resident. Survivors include his mother, Annie Mitchell Carter of Berkeley. The funeral Mass took place July 26 at St. Ambrose Church in Berkeley.

Honoring Father Bill
The first annual Summer Youth Leadership and Non-Violence Training project, coordinated by the Oakland-based Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Center, will honor the life and legacy of the late Father Bill O’Donnell by teaching teens, ages 14 to 19, about the root causes of violence, nonviolent communication, and local, national and international campaigns for social justice, ecological preservation, and community building. The teens will also work with organizations that focus on civil rights, cultural arts, ecology and nonviolence.

Friends of Father O’Donnell have raised funds for the training and will provide $400 to each participants who successfully completes the program.Contributions to the fledgling program can be made to the MLK Freedom Center: (510) 383-1067, e-mail:, or website:

Around the parishes
Oakland’s St. Leo Parish held its first official walk-up movie night – a free event that re-created a drive-in atmosphere without the cars – on Aug. 7. Parishioners gathered with blankets and fold-up chairs in the school parking lot to watch the classic film, “The Sound of Music,” outdoors through the magic of digital projection. The parish sold refreshments to raise funds for general and building expenses. This was the first of a four-movie series.

A group of intrepid walkers at St. Ignatius Parish in Antioch, took part in the recent 24-Hour Relay for Life and raised over $2,200 to help fight cancer.

Members at St. Alphonsus Liguori Parish in San Leandro gathered Aug. 1 to celebrate the feast of their patron, St. Alphonsus, with a picnic, games and a dinner.

St. Anne Parish in Walnut Creek gathered for a Novena (nine days of prayer) to St. Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus, from July 18-26. Unique to the novena was the blessing with a relic of St. Anne presented to the parish by the Carmelite nuns of Berkeley. Individuals were also blessed with St. Anne’s oil.

College-bound youth at St. Perpetua Parish in Lafayette gathered at the 5 p.m. Mass on Aug. 7 to receive special blessings and emotional support from the community before taking off for college campuses across the state and country.

Two thumbs way up to the good stewards at St. John Vianney Parish in Walnut Creek. Through their “Bread and Roses” program, the parish donates food items for approximately 300 families each month to their sister parish, St. Elizabeth in Oakland.

Choral singers wanted
Oakland’s St. Augustine Parish is inviting singers in the Oakland Diocese to lend their voices for a special project this fall dedicated to those who have died through violence. The Faure Requiem will be sung as a Mass of Remembrance at 3 p.m. on Nov. 7 at the North Oakland church, 400 Alcatraz Ave.

“We’ve sent out 90 letters inviting singers from all the Catholic churches in Alameda and Contra Costa County,” said Jim Gilman, director of music ministries at St. Augustine, who will conduct this new community-based chorus. A full orchestra will accompany the singers, he added. “It is sure to be moving.” Rehearsals will be Mondays from 7-9 p.m., beginning Aug. 30.

Interested singers should attend a meeting at the parish on Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. to hear about the project and to participate in informal auditions to ensure “the balance of parts and choral blend,” Gilman said. “There is no need to prepare music. I merely want to hear you sing. It will be painless, I promise you.”

Those who join the chorus will be asked to pay a $20 fee toward the cost of the rehearsal accompanist and the orchestra, plus an additional $10 for the music. Donations and sponsored ads will make up the rest of the project’s budget. Donors and sponsors should contact Susana Taylor at (925) 962-0847 or

Around the schools
Congratulations to Vanessa Valerio, an eighth grader at St. Philip Neri School in Alameda, who joined 200 middle school students from across the U.S. at the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., July 17-22.

Names, News, Notes
Molleen Dupree has left her position as pastoral associate at St. Mary-St. Francis de Sales Parish in Oakland to work in the Catholic Institute for Lasallian Social Action at St. Mary’s College in Moraga.

Congratulations to Brian Copeland, a graduate of East Bay Catholic schools and KGO AM radio talk show host, on his successful one-man stage show, “Not a Genuine Black Man.” The show recently received its fourth extension at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco. Copeland talks about growing up as an African American in San Leandro, then identified as one of America’s most racist suburbs. At least three college classes are requiring their students to see the show and write papers on its content, said Copeland.

The 16th Annual Gold Key Sponsorship Campaign, which benefits Casa Vincentia, a residence for pregnant women in need of shelter and other resources, is now underway. Each $50 donation gives the donor a chance to win the grand prize of $2,000 or one of the other prizes during a Sept. 26 event at the Casa, 3210 62nd Ave., Oakland. For tickets or more information, call Theresa Chambers or Barbara Jackson at (510) 729-0316.

AUTHOR ALERT! The Way of St. Francis magazine, published by the Franciscan Province of Saint Barbara, is accepting submissions for the 6th Annual Simon Scanlon Writing Awards. Applicants must submit an original essay or feature-length article (1500-2000 words), not previously published or presented in any form, on any theme dealing with the influence and relevance of Franciscan life, spirituality, history today. Entries must be oriented to a general reading public, not an academic audience. Submissions must be postmarked by Oct. 4. For more information, contact David Elliott by mail: 1112 26th St., Sacramento, CA 95816-5610, e-mail: ofmcaway@att.netor website:

If it is silly, send it to Oakland’s Salem Lutheran Home, which is looking for new ways of caring for older folks. One focus is on adding humor to the mix. The care center is seeking items for a “ChuckleBuggy,” a cart that will be filled with all kinds of funny stuff such as giant plastic clown shoes, slide whistles, water-squirting flowers, and magic trick props. A Polaroid camera and the actual cart are also needed. If you can help with the ChuckleBuggy project, contact Rachel Main at (510) 434-2845.

Are you an experienced singer, with a healthy voice and a great attitude? If so, consider joining Sacred & Profane, a chamber chorus rehearsing in Oakland for its 2004-2005 concert season. Its holiday concert will feature Victoria’s O Magnum Mysterium Mass and other selections of the Spanish Renaissance. The chorus’ February concert will celebrate the Song of Solomon. Concerts will take place in Berkeley, Walnut Creek and San Francisco. To schedule an audition, phone (415) 602-2492 or e-mail the director at seeman@usfca.eduor visit the website at

The Internal Revenue Service recently published two pamphlets dealing with car donations to help taxpayers avoid pitfalls when they donate automobiles to charities. Publication 4302, “A Charity’s Guide to Car Donations,” explains federal tax issues that charities need to know to properly operate car donation programs. Publication 4303, “A Donor’s Guide to Car Donations,” helps individuals making such donations. Both publications are available on the web: www.IRS.govor by phone: 1(800) 829-1040.

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