DECEMBER 13 , 2004



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




Men of Faith
The St. Bonaventure Men’s Spiritual Network, a ministry of St. Bonaventure Parish in Concord, has been sponsoring a men’s weekend retreat for the past seven years where attendees can check their hat at the door and enjoy being brothers in Christ. Participants spend time in prayer, contemplation, reflection and friendship. Father Mark Wiesner, administrator at Oakland’s St. Augustine Parish, will facilitate the group’s 8th annual retreat, Feb. 18 – 20, at San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville. For more information, contact Rich Gierak at (925) 673-0504 or

Around the parishes
Bishop Allen Vigneron and Bishop Emeritus John Cummins will join members of St. Ignatius Parish in Antioch on Dec. 19 for a noon liturgy and the 1:15 p.m. groundbreaking ceremony for the parish life center.

At the invitation of the student council, St. Nicholas visited Our Lady of Grace Church in Castro Valley yesterday (Dec. 12) after the 9 a.m. Mass. The beloved saint also took to the stage in the parish’s Stack Center and passed out his famous “gold coins.” Before leaving, he collected donations of new children’s books for children in shelters and group homes.

Two thumbs raised way up for the teens at St. Bonaventure Parish in Concord who have a special relationship with St. Anthony’s Dining Room in San Francisco. The young folks spend a weekend there each month serving those in need.

Choir members from St. Joseph Parish in Fremont sang Christmas carols at a tree-lighting ceremony Nov. 29 in the Mission San Jose district. The ceremony marked the start of the annual Tree of Angels campaign to raise funds and boost awareness of hospice care.

Christmas and classical music filled the air yesterday (Dec. 12) during the Winter Concert at Pittsburg’s Good Shepherd Parish. Featured performers included Shaw Pong Liu on violin, soprano Carille Bruno, TSQ (The String Quartet) and the Good Shepherd Choir and Instrumental Ensemble.

Members at St. Agnes Parish in Concord provided dinners for homeless families living in shelters in Martinez and Concord the week of Dec. 6 – 10.

Around the schools
Catholic sports fans have had a lot to cheer about this fall. Among the highlights: The De La Salle High School football team in Concord played through a difficult season – the murder of former Spartan standout Terrance Kelly and the end of their national 151-game winning streak – to win their 13th straight North Coast Section (4A) championship Dec. 4. Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School football squad took the NCS section 2-A title that same night.

Kudos also to both the boys and girls cross country teams at Moreau High School in Hayward who qualified last month for the state finals for the first time in the history of the school. And the girls golf team at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland proved they were among the best by taking fourth place overall in the CIF/Women’s Southern California Golf Association state championship in Rancho Cucamonga.

Let’s raise the roof for the students at St. Jarlath School in Oakland for their wonderful enthusiasm in providing Christmas cheer for the three convalescent hospitals within the parish’s boundaries. Following in the footsteps of the parish’s Legion of Mary, who visit the residents on a regular basis, each student at the school is “adopting” a resident and will give that person a cuddly stuffed animal and a handmade card.

Congratulations to Moreau High School students Jennifer Christo and Vickor Robinson who were honored at the City of Hayward Volunteer Recognition and Awards Dinner on Oct. 28. Christo, a senior, has contributed more than 300 service hours to All Saints School in Hayward and FESCO, a family shelter. Robinson, a junior, volunteers with Hayward Unified School District, the Hayward Senior Center (HARD), Volunteer Hayward, Hayward Boys and Girls Club, and the City of Hayward.

A standing ovation to the many students at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda who showcased their talents in art, drama, choral and music during the school’s annual Winter Festival of the Arts on Dec. 2.

Among the Religious
Salesian Father George Alengaden, pastor at St. Ambrose Parish in Berkeley and a native of Kerala, India, will lead a 16-day pilgrimage to India Jan. 2-21. The travelers will journey to Singapore, New Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore, Mysore, Ootty, and Kerala. The tour includes pilgrimages to the tombs of Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi, and the shrine of St. Thomas, the Apostle.

Names, News, Notes
Congratulations to Maria and Miguel Villegas, members at St. Michael Parish in Livermore, who recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

Best wishes and many blessings to Debra Pryor, an alumna (1979) of Holy Names High School in Oakland, who was recently named Berkeley’s new fire chief. The former Holy Names High student body president becomes the second African American woman and the 22nd female fire chief in the nation.

RU Blogging? Voice reporter would like to talk to local parishioners and other Voice readers who are maintaining an online journal, aka weblog or blog. Contact Carrie McClish at (510) 419-1074 or

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