On Duty with US Navy

This week I am attending the Senior Leadership Symposium for all the chaplains of Captain-rank in the Navy and Marine Corps. We’ve been briefed by the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. We’re learning not just about world affairs and US defense strategy, but also how to better provide pastoral ministry to our sailors and Marines.

Naval Sr. Leadership SymposiumThe Armed Forces are very short of Catholic chaplains.  I am one of only six priests representing the Catholic Church at such an event, where 20 years ago there would have been around thirty.  It’s a good way, though, to catch up with old friends — from all denominations — as most of us have served together in the Navy for more than 20 years.

Prayer and Sacrifice

I was happy to see such a great turn-out, nearly 100 volunteers, at a reception we held recently at the Cathedral Center.  These are some of the folks who will play vital roles to inform and educate their fellow parishioners about the stewardship needs within the Diocese.  “Reclaiming Christ’s Mission Together” is the invitation our new Capital Campaign is giving to us. For me there are two pillars of this campaign that all can participate in:  Prayer and Sacrifice.  Here is our prayer:

God the Father of mercies, Creator and Giver of all that is good: we thank You for the many blessings You have bestowed upon us. We offer You thanks and praise for the beauty of the earth, for those who have handed down our faith from generation to generation, for our work, our family and our loved ones.

Open our hearts to Your call, teach us to serve You as you deserve, as good stewards of Your many graces. With hope and trust, we ask You to send Your Holy Spirit to guide our good work and to be with us as we strive to reclaim our mission to know Christ better and to make Him better known.

We remain grateful for Your constant love, and entrust our journey into Your hands, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, Queen of the World.

St. Edward Parish was well represented.

Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, CSSP, was happy to reconnect with former parishioners at the reception.


World Cup Soccer!

Popes, flags

The last few days we have seen pictures like this one all over the place. I think they are great, especially because we know Pope Francis is a big football (soccer) fan. He even belongs to the San Lorenzo Football Club of Buenos Aires. On the other hand, Pope Emeritus is not a soccer fan, which makes the pictures even funnier!


But what is truly important is what Pope Francis tells us about the World Cup and sports in general: “It is not only a form of entertainment but also a tool to communicate the values that promote the good of the human person and help to build a more peaceful and fraternal coexistence,” especially in our world today.  I wish both teams all the best in the finals tomorrow.

Visit with Fr. Seamus Genovese

Jesus said: “When I was sick you visited me” (Mt. 25:36). Father Seamus Genovese, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Oakland, has been ill with pancreatic cancer for over a year. It is a miracle he is still with us and we are very grateful to the Lord for that. It was a pleasure to visit him, and, as you can see from the photo I helped him take his medicine. He is doing great.

Fr. Seamus Genovese, pastoral visit

Fr. Seamus Genovese, pastoral visit

A’s vs. Giants

The Barber brothers (myself and Fr. Stephen Barber, SJ) at the A’s game on July 7.  Oakland beat the San Francisco Giants 5-0.  Could be a preview of a Bay Bridge World Series – I hope so!

A's Game 7.7.14

Reaction to killing of Israeli teens

I was shocked by yesterday’s horrific news of the killing of three young abducted Israelis in the West Bank.  They were laid to rest this morning – Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel.  So soon after Pope Francis’ visit to Israel, let us pray with him that in the midst of terrible hatred and violence, God might inspire all with thoughts of compassion and peace.  The Catholic Community of the East Bay and I join with our Jewish brethren in sharing their sorrow and pain at the loss of these young men.

150th Anniversary of St. Paul Parish

What a thrill to celebrate 150 years of the Catholic faith at St. Paul’s Church here in San Pablo on Sunday, June 27. From the time of the Gold Rush the parish has been continuously offering Masses, First Communions, Confirmations, and Marriages. The whole Catholic faith has been here for all the many different immigrant groups that have come into one place, united in Christ.

I congratulate the Conventual Franciscan Friars who for the last 30 years have supplied priests and brothers here. May God bless them and the whole Parish.

St. Paul 150 years


Members of Vietnamese community

Members of Vietnamese community

Standing room only crowd for 150th Mass and celebration at St. Paul Parish, San Pablo

Standing room only crowd for 150th Mass and celebration at St. Paul Parish, San Pablo