NOVEMBER 17, 2003
Official newspaper of the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Oakland, California encompassing all of
Alameda &
Contra Costa counties.






Prayer for Life
The 14th Annual National Night of Prayer for Life, an effort to end abortion through Eucharistic Adoration and Prayers of Reparation, will be held Dec. 8-9 from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. at Queen of All Saints Church in Concord. The Unity Hour, which will be held across the nation, will take place between 9 and 10 p.m. in the Pacific time zone. Neighboring parishes will lead prayers each hour. Father Matthew Vellankal, parochial vicar at QAS, will lead the meditations and Benediction during the final hour, midnight to 1 a.m.

Parishes pay respects

Parishes in Oakland and Danville recently gathered to mourn and honor the lives of a local television reporter and three young people.

At Oakland’s St. Leo Church, parishioners, family members, colleagues and friends celebrated the life of TV reporter Faith Fancher who died Oct. 26 following a courageous seven-year battle with breast cancer. Fancher, 53, waged a high-profile fight against the disease with numerous television and community appearances to promote cancer awareness and education. She started the Friends of Faith organization to help low-income women with the disease.

Members of St. Joan of Arc Parish in San Ramon came together Nov. 2 to pray and support Robert and Carmen Pack whose children, Troy, 10, and Alana, 7, were killed a week earlier by an errant car while they were walking home with their mother after a barbeque. The driver, who fled the scene of the accident, was arrested the day before the funeral Mass.

Parishioners of St. Columba Parish in Oakland mourned another unexpected loss during the Nov. 6 funeral of Courtnei Jordan, 18, who died from a traffic accident in Phoenix where she was attending college. The Oakland native, a graduate of St. Augustine Elementary School in Oakland and Moreau High School in Hayward (Class of 2003) was remembered as a school athlete and an award-winning poet. In 2000 she received a Black History Month Youth Award from the diocesan African American Catholic Pastoral Center.

Among the Religious
Bishop Allen Vigneron was a guest of honor at last month’s Ordination Mass and luncheon, an annual celebration that honors recently ordained priests in the Oakland Diocese. The West Contra Costa Serra Club hosted the Oct. 11 event at Holy Names College in Oakland that included two other local Serra Clubs and the local Theresians. They each presented checks to the bishop to help support local vocations.

Bishop John Cummins, who recently retired as Oakland’s bishop, was one of three local leaders given a Community Angel Award by the New America Foundation. The Berkeley-based group promotes the long-term economic empowerment of new citizens, immigrants and refugees and encourages their full participation in the political, social and cultural growth of America.

The New America Foundation recently received a $30,000 grant from the national Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

The Cistercian nuns at Our Lady of the Redwoods Monastery in Whitethorn are selling creamed honey in special gift jars. They offer four flavors – original, cinnamon, ginger and orange. You can check out their offerings at

Names, News, Notes
Congratulations to Rachael and Jesus Munoz, members at St. Michael Parish in Livermore, on the 25th anniversary of their marriage.

The diocese’s Lay Ecclesial Ministers Council is sponsoring a convocation, “Celebrate the Gift of Lay Ecclesial Ministry,” on Nov. 19 at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Castro Valley, from 9:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. Bishop Allen Vigneron will be guest speaker.

Families can learn how to celebrate Kwanzaa, join a Las Posadas procession, hear the story of Hanukkah, and explore other family traditions during a special program at the Oakland Museum of California, Dec. 21, 12-4 p.m. The Oakland Museum is at 10th and Oak streets; admission is $8 general, $5 seniors and students with ID, free for members and children five and under.

Making strides against cancer
Ninety-eight members of the Assumption School Community in San Leandro opened their hearts and wallets for the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk,” Oct. 26 in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Mourning the recent loss of two beloved friends of the school, Cathy Chovanes and Denise Quntell, they joined with Chovanes’ husband, John and Assumption mom Barbara Roe in raising $12,000.

Students at Oakland’s Holy Names High School raised $2,226 in a six-day penny drive to support their college guidance counselor, Judi Flannery, who participated in the Avon Three-Day Walk for breast cancer, Nov. 7-9. Flannery, a breast cancer survivor, inspired the students with her dedicated training for this event.

The student council at Our Lady of the Rosary School in Union City sponsored a free-dress day and raised $170 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Around the parishes
A big salute to parishioners at Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill who made Operation Shoe Box a big success last month. They collected 16 boxes of food and personal items plus $1,132 in donations for U.S. armed forces serving in Iraq.

Following the Oct. 25 Rosary Rally for Peace at St. Jarlath Parish in Oakland, which drew about 150 people, the Legion of Mary has decided to continue the Rosary each first Saturday at 4 p.m. in Mary’s Chapel in the parish church, 2620 Pleasant St. (at Fruitvale Ave.).

“We have decided to continue our efforts to stem the violent spirits plaguing Oakland,” said Helen Fulsaar, a Legion of Mary member.

CYBERCATHOLIC ALERT: St. Michael Parish in Livermore has given its website — — a new look. Visitors can find Mass times, the parish council members, histories of some of the parish’s pioneer families, and the parish bulletin.

Around the schools
Congratulations to the student council at St. Felicitas School in San Leandro. The council sold free-dress passes and raised $700 for the Holy Childhood Association following a presentation by Thomas Awiapo of Ghana. He told the students how missionaries helped him to overcome hardships during his youth and obtain an education.

Twenty-three 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders at St. Patrick School in Rodeo exhibited their original photos at their school Nov. 15 as part of Project SAIL (Success Always Inspires Learning). Taking their inspiration from the late photographer Ansel Adams, the students used a digital camera to capture images of trees, twigs and other natural scenes on and near their campus. Then they enhanced, cropped and framed their work.

Actor and comedian Mark Curry, who graduated from Alameda’s St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in 1979, is adding more TV show credits to his already impressive resume. The former star of the ABC-TV comedy “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” can now be found on PAX-TV as host of “Animal Tails” on Sundays at 6 p.m. Curry can also be seen as host of “Coming to the Stage,” a competition for comedians on BET (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.).

Plans are underway to start a chess club at St. Clement School in Hayward with instruction for interested students.

Students at Carondelet High School in Concord along with a number of residents, businesses and nonprofit groups worked together to set up a new food pantry after another food center closed its doors. The new Monument Crisis Center at 1290 Monument Blvd. began handing out emergency food supplies to the needy last month.

What a difference a name change makes! St. Patrick’s Seminary has changed its name to St. Patrick’s Seminary and University to better reflect its mission as both a seminary and a university. The Menlo Park institution, which trains priests for the Oakland Diocese, confers Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.), Master of Divinity (M.Div.), and Master of Arts in Theology (M.A.) degrees.

The kindergarten class at Oakland’s St. Bernard School were surprised when their teacher, Megan Reese, came to class on Halloween dressed up as the mean substitute teacher, Ms. Viola Swamp, from the book “Miss Nelson is Missing.” Later the students were relieved that they wouldn’t have to follow the “sub’s” famous rules: “No smiling,” “No having fun,” and “Work all day.”

To celebrate the Feast of All Saints, St. Felicitas School in San Leandro staged a “Saints Walk” with the third graders carrying posters of saints they had colored and the first graders playing musical instruments. To keep in step, everyone sang, “When the Saints Go Marching In.”


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