DECEMBER 15 , 2003
Official newspaper of the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Oakland, California encompassing all of
Alameda &
Contra Costa counties.






Deacon Dave lights up Livermore and cable TV
The diocese’s own Deacon Dave Rezendes, whose annual Christmas lights displays have delighted thousands of visitors to his Livermore home for the past 20 years, will soon light up the small screen as well. Later this month Deacon Dave’s home will be one of seven in the U.S. to be featured in a cable TV special on the Home & Garden (HGTV) channel.

The special, called “Christmas Extreme: Bigger and Brighter,” will be aired on Dec. 21 at 9 p.m., Dec. 22 at 1 a.m., and Dec. 25 at 7 p.m.

A Tri-Valley tradition, Deacon Dave’s Christmas display at 352 Hillcrest Ave. consists of more than 230,000 lights. This year, under the theme “One Nation Under God,” each light represents a prayer for the safety of U.S. men and women in military service and for world peace. The display can be viewed nightly, beginning at 6 p.m. and closing at 9:30 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays, and at 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. There is no charge.

Advent celebrations
Expectant parents were invited to the chapel at St. Bonaventure Parish in Concord on Dec. 1 for an evening of prayer and reflection in the spirit of Mary and Joseph. The parish also hosted a birthday party for Jesus for elementary grade students on Dec. 6. Children brought non-perishable food items for the parish’s food pantry.

Concord’s St. Agnes Parish will present “What in the World is Christmas?” on Dec. 18. Children participating in the 7 p.m. event in the parish church will dance and sing songs from countries around the world.

At St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Livermore, parishioners came together to reflect on “Advent and How to Simplify Christmas,” with prayer and journeying with Mary and Joseph on Dec. 7 and 9. The parish also hosted a Dec. 12 concert featuring Dominican Sister Rebecca Shinas, pastoral associate.

Members at St. Leander Parish in San Leandro held their annual Christ Child Shower Dec. 13-14, bringing gifts for families in the parish area who are less fortunate.

The students at St. Leander School loaded a Christmas tree with pencils, pens, notepaper and erasers, then on Dec. 10 they held a tree blessing with students reading prayers in Portuguese, Dutch, Tagalog, French, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish and English, all languages spoken by the students. The school supplies will be sent to St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana.

Among the Religious
Deacon Bob Dowling, who marked the 21st anniversary of his ordination to the diaconate on Dec. 4, will retire from active ministry on Dec. 31. The deacon, 78, assigned to Our Lady of Grace Parish in Castro Valley, spent 10 years as a volunteer chaplain in jail ministry at Santa Rita County Jail in Dublin and worked to resettle Vietnamese refugees with Catholic Charities of the East Bay.

Sixty women religious leaders gathered recently in Redwood City to expand their collaboration with others for a just and peaceful world. During the Region XIV meeting of the Leadership Conference of Religious Women, Social Service Sister Simone Campbell, a lawyer and executive director of JERICHO, an interfaith social justice lobby in Sacramento, urged the Sisters to continue their focus on health care reform.

Classes for older learners
The Concord campus of California State University (CSU), Hayward, which offers low-cost courses to mature learners, will present a course in January that explores new perspectives in science and spirituality.
“Science and Spirituality: New Stories of Life and the Universe,” will be taught by Paul W. Rea, a lecturer at St. Mary’s College in Moraga. The class will meet Jan. 8, 15, 22 and 29 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at 4700 Ygnacio Valley Road in Concord, site of Scholar-Olli, an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute sponsored by CSU Hayward and the Bernard Osher Foundation. Annual membership in Scholar-Olli is $35 and the course fee is $40.
For additional information call (925) 602-6776.

A time to mourn…

At only nine years of age, Nicole Goulart, a member at Holy Spirit Parish in Fremont, had already touched the lives of many people. An honor student at Glenmoor Elementary School in Fremont, she was considered as their best friend by many students. Recently she had been named sergeant at arms – the equivalent of president – of her class. Brian Zamora, her CYO basketball coach, said she was “always smiling, always helpful, always friendly and always a hard worker.”

When she died suddenly Nov. 28 from a brain hemorrhage, her grieving parents, Tony and Teresa Goulart, honored their daughter’s spirit by donating her organs to patients in need. According to local news reports, seven of Nicole’s organs were transplanted into patients, some of whom were near death. The funeral Mass was held Dec. 5 at Holy Spirit Church.

Two Concord school communities are mourning the death of Linda Gaber, 56, a secretary at St. Agnes School in Concord for nearly 20 years, who died Nov. 22. A member at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Concord, Gaber was also a volunteer in the classroom and school office of the parish school. The funeral Mass was held Nov. 26 at St. Bonaventure Parish in Concord.

Bridging social barriers
Students at Oakland’s St. Elizabeth High School participated in the nationwide observance of “Mix It Up Day” last month. Organized by the student council, the observance encouraged students to interact with someone they didn’t know, for example, by eating lunch with someone new.

“We’re lucky – we’re a small school and there’s not much prejudice here, but still, segregation is in every school in some way,” said Tianna McCoy, student body president. “Seniors sit with seniors, football layers sit with football players.” Roxana Landeverde, a student body commissioner, described the day as a success. “It was cool to see a senior talking to a frosh, or a football big guy talking to the librarian. It’s nice to make new friends. I think we should do this more often.”

Around the schools
Congratulations to Amy McDowell, a senior at Oakland’s Holy Names High School, who was one of 628 high school seniors selected by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) as an outstanding writer. Recipients of the annual NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing are recognized for writing excellence based on students’ samples of their own best prose or verse, and on impromptu themes that are written under supervision.

Let’s raise the roof for the students at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Fremont for their enthusiastic participation in several outreach programs, including the purchase of school supplies for St. Anthony School in Oakland, working with the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society to supply non-perishable food items and new toys for the needy of the parish, and a stuffed animal raffle held during Advent to raise funds for Mission San Jose Dominican schools in Mexico. The 4th grade collected 350 coats to contribute to the St. Mary’s Interfaith Coalition in Stockton.

Reaching out to others is also a staple at Holy Spirit School in Fremont where the student body recently raised $1500 for the victims of the Southern California fires. In one fundraiser students brought a donation for the privilege of “free dress” and in the other fundraiser, they sold lumpia and pancit.

At St. Raymond School in Dublin, the PTG collected $178 in donations and 363 coats for the less fortunate during its sixth annual “Community Service Pasta Dinner and Coat Drive.”

St. Martin de Porres Regional School in Oakland is seeking volunteer tutors to help Middle School students with their language skills, art and math (particularly on Friday), homework helpers for their after school program from 3:30-5:30 p.m., and office help.

Contact Sister Barbara Dawson at (510) 832-1757.

Around the parishes

Two thumbs way up to St. Joseph Parish in Pinole, which along with six non-Catholic churches, practices ecumenical stewardship by collecting and distributing food for the Share-Manna Basket program. The Contra Costa County Social Services Office in Hercules refers needy recipients to this program throughout the year. Honorable mentions: Ann Snyder, the St. Joseph Parish volunteer coordinator, and Anne Prescott, who provides able assistance.

Five gold rings to Our Lady of Grace Parish in Castro Valley which for over 30 years has shared 10 percent of the proceeds of its annual Fall Festival with local East Bay charities. This year, with input from the parish’s social justice commission, staff, and festival chairpersons, the parish distributed $6,600 to 11 charities including FESCO (Family Emergency Shelter Coalition) in Hayward, St. Mary’s Center in Oakland, East Bay Crisis Nursery in Concord, and SPRED (Special Religious Education Department) of the Oakland Diocese.

The Filipino Catholic Federation of America, Inc. recently presented a $500 check to Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Brentwood towards the construction of a new parish church.

Members of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Union City recently welcomed the addition of a new organ at their church. Bishop Allen Vigneron presided at the blessing ceremony on Nov. 30. The $36,000 instrument was donated by The Fremont Bank.


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