SEPTEMBER 20, 2004



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




Understanding the Hajj
Local Catholics can learn how their Muslim neighbors put their faith into practice during an Oct. 3 interfaith program called “The Hajj: Pilgrimage of a Lifetime” at St. Michael Parish in Livermore.

The program, which begins at 2 p.m. and is sponsored by the parish RCIA ministry, includes a National Geographic film called “Inside Mecca.” The film chronicles the spiritual journey (Hajj) taken by Muslims to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina – places that only Muslims can enter.

After the film a devout Muslim family who participated in the most recent Hajj will tell the assembly what the experience of being with approximately 2.5 million other Muslims from around the world meant to them. An interfaith dialogue will follow.
The program will take place in the St. Michael Parish Hall at Maple and Third Streets in Livermore. There is no cost, but those who plan to attend are asked to call the parish at (925) 447-2925 to register by Oct. 1.

FESCO fundraiser

Celebrate and support the work of FESCO by attending “Starry Starry Night Dinner and Auction” on Oct. 2 at Our Lady of Grace Social Hall, 3433 Somerset Ave. in Castro Valley, from 6 – 10 p.m.

FESCO, a coalition of churches and other organizations established in 1986, provides homeless families with emergency shelter, comprehensive support services, transitional housing and aftercare. Tickets are $28 each or two for $50. Table and event sponsorships are also welcome. Phone: (510) 886-5473, fax: (510) 886-5814, or e-mail: FESCO@fescofamilyshelter for more information.

Boys Choir in Alameda
The Golden Gate Boys Choir and Bellringers will offer beginning level choral music rehearsals in Alameda at St. Philip Neri Church, starting Oct. 5. Auditions for boys, age 7 and older with unchanged voices, can be scheduled for Tuesday afternoons, between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Drop-in auditions are also welcome. Call the GGBC choir office at (510) 887-4311 for an audition packet and a video of choir highlights. GGBC is a member of Pueri Cantores, the official children’s choir organization for the Catholic Church.

Honoring caregivers
Although National Assisted Living Week ended days ago – Sept. 18 , it is never too late to acknowledge the important contributions of caregivers who tend to the needs of older adults.Oakland’s Mercy Retirement and Care Center will honor all its 200-plus caregivers and staff during its annual recognition event, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.

Among the Religious
Congratulations to Msgr. John McCracken, pastor at St. Anne Parish in Walnut Creek, who will observe his 60 years in the priesthood on Sept. 23.

Father Jim Schexnayder, a retired priest of the Oakland Diocese, will speak at the 11th Annual Conference of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries, Sept. 23 – 26 in Richmond, VA. Father Schexnayder, NACDLGM’s resource director, will discuss the organization’s first 10 years. Msgr. John Strynkowski, executive director of the U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat on Doctrine and Pastoral Practices, will give an address on “The Future Directions for Ministry.”

Franciscan Father Ray Bucher, vicar and director at San Damiano Retreat House in Danville, will go to his community’s Holy Name Province (headquartered in Manhattan) next month to take on the role of visitor general. He will help each of the Franciscan communities in that area prepare for the election of a provincial. This will take him away from Danville through July 2005. Plans are being made to appoint an acting director.

Speaking of San Damiano, Sister Michelle L’Allier, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, MN, joined the center earlier this year as a program associate and retreat team member. She also serves as the young adult coordinator.

Names, News, Notes
Stephen Mullin, parish life director at All Saints Parish in Hayward, led about 30 people, including law enforcement officers, in prayer during a Sept. 14 memorial service at Lone Tree Cemetery in Hayward for an unidentified teen buried there.
The teen, believed to be between 12 and 17 years of age, was found murdered last year and no relatives have come forward to claim her body. The police investigation into the case continues.

Many blessings to Josephine and Roman Ficarra, longtime members at St. Isidore Parish in Danville, who will celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary on Sept. 21.
Congratulations to Virginia and Joseph Rodrigues, members at St. Leander Parish in San Leandro, who recently marked their 63rd year of marriage; to Anne and Chester Airoldi, members at St. Patrick Parish in Rodeo, on their 60th wedding anniversary.

Congratulations also go to Lorraine and Rod Romano, St. Michael Parish in Livermore, 55 years; and Julia and Roberto Villeda, St. Joseph Parish in Pinole, 40 years on Sept. 5. and to Lori and Mike Sommers, members at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Berkeley, who are celebrating the 25th year of their union.

ATTENTION DIOCESAN YOUTH! The Church’s worldwide celebration of youth and faith will take place in Cologne, Germany, in August 2005. Although called World Youth Day, the program actually spans a couple of weeks, Aug 8- 22.

The event gathers together young adults 18 and over from parishes around the world. The Oakland Diocese will have a delegation. The cost of the pilgrimage is $3,000 per person.

Space is limited so prospective pilgrims are encouraged to register early to secure a spot. Find out more by visiting the diocesan Youth and Young Adult website: or by contacting Yvette Espinoza at or (510) 628-2182 or Grace Cassetta at or (510) 628-2188.

Fifty candles for Oakland church
This weekend (Sept. 25-26) Oakland’s St. Jarlath Parish will celebrate the 50th birthday of its church at 2620 Pleasant St. This building replaced the parish’s former wooden frame church that stood for more than 40 years in what is now the Long’s Drug Store parking lot.. The first Mass in the “new” church was said on Sept. 12, 1954, after priests and parishioners walked in procession from the old church into the new one.

Several events will mark the parish milestone. On Sept. 24, a 7 p.m. concert in the church will tell, through narration and song, the story of days gone by and hopes for days yet to come. A reception will follow in the parish hall.

Bishop Allen Vigneron, who is expected to attend the concert, will join the community at the 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Masses on Sept. 25. He will celebrate the sacraments of Baptism, the Anointing of the Sick, and Reconciliation that same day.

He will also be the principal celebrant at the 11 a.m. anniversary Mass on Sept. 26. The conclusion of the Mass will mark the beginning of the parish festival with ethnic food, entertainment, a silent auction and a raffle. All are welcome to attend. Free parking under the freeway. For more information: (510) 532-2068.

Lectures on Murray, Lonergan, Rahner
The Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley is celebrating two anniversaries this year: its 70th birthday and the centenary births of three influential Jesuit theologians of the 20th century – John Courtney Murray, S.J., Bernard Lonergan, S.J., and Karl Rahner, S.J. Four lectures will commemorate the anniversaries.

On Sept. 30, Jesuit Father Donald Gelpi, professor emeritus at JSTB, will discuss “Learning to Live with Lonergan,” at the Graduate Theological Union Library, Berkeley, at 7:30 p.m.

Father George Griener, JSTB associate professor of historical and systematic theology, will talk about “Karl Rahner: Pastoral and Contextual Theology,” on Oct. 14 at the Bade Museum at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. Franciscan Father Joseph Chinnici, academic dean and professor of church history at the Franciscan School of Theology, will explore “The Problem of John Courtney Murray,” on Oct. 21, also at the Bade Museum.

David Tracy, professor of Catholic studies at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, will examine “Reason and the Turn to the Mystical: On the Centennials of Murray, Lonergan and Rahner,” on Nov. 4 at the chapel of the GTU’s Pacific School of Religion. Each lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a reception. All are open to the public; no reservation is required. Additional information: (510) 549-5000.

Jesuit peace network
The Ignatian Solidarity Network, a new web-based network to promote social justice activities among Jesuit schools, parishes and organizations, is encouraging participation in the annual Ignatian Family Teach-In, a weekend event on social justice that also commemorates the lives of six Jesuits murdered in 1989 by military officers in El Salvador. More than 3,500 participants are expected this year in Columbus, Georgia, Nov. 19-21. If you’re interested, contact Gary McDonald at the University of San Francisco, where the network is based: (415) 422-2699.

Around the parishes
Father John Maxwell, pastor at St. John the Baptist Parish in El Cerrito, will be returning this week after a 10-day visit to the community’s sister-parish in Haiti. He planned to celebrate Mass at St. Elizabeth Parish in Fond-Tortue, meet with the teachers at the parish school, and deliver much needed medical supplies.

The four deacons at Holy Spirit Parish in Fremont – Rudolph Brazil, William Drobick, Stephen Taylor and Richard Yee – will conduct the annual blessing of the animals on Sunday, Oct. 3, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The prayer service and blessing will take place in the parking lot outside the church at 3 p.m.

The various ethnic communities that make up St. Mary-St. Francis de Sales Parish in Oakland will gather Sept. 26 to honor the memory of San Lorenzo Ruiz, the first canonized Filipino martyr. The liturgy will start at 10:30 a.m. Filipino food and entertainment will follow.

St. Patrick Parish in Rodeo is also honoring St. Lorenzo with a nine-day novena that began on Sept. 16 and will conclude with a Mass on Sept. 25 at 11 a.m. in the parish church.

Every Friday evening (7-8:30 p.m.) St. Mary Parish in Walnut Creek hosts a Rosary for World Peace. All are welcome to attend this prayerful gathering.

Around the schools
Congratulations to Daphne Batoy, Michael Ezeh, Andy Nguyen, and Solomon Su, four freshmen at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, who each received a $625 Principal’s Scholarship for their academic record in 7th and 8th grades and their placement in the top 10 percentile on the entrance exam.

The Student Leadership Team at Antioch’s Holy Rosary School led the first school Mass of the Year with the theme, “Down with Rejection, Up with Acceptance.”

No, that was not an earthquake centered in San Leandro. The rumble of music and dancing that occurred there, Sept. 17-19, were part of the annual Assumption School Festival. In addition to live music from jazz and rock bands, festival-goers saw performances by several dance troupes and martial art teams.

Jerome Baggett, assistant professor of religious and society at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, will give the keynote address Oct. 2 at the workshop, “Prophets On the Way to the Election: 30 Days to Become An Election Prophet,” at St. Julie Billiart Parish, 366 St. Julie Dr., San Jose. Donation: $10 or $15 for two. Check-in: 8:30 a.m.

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