Look back at Rome visit, September 2014

141006_jesuFrom September 22-30 I was in Rome for a planning session for the next International Eucharistic Congress, to be held in the Philippines in 2016.  My trip coincided with the 200th anniversary of the re-constitution of the Jesuit Order, which was observed by Pope Francis in The Gesu (the mother-church of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits) – and I was able to attend that, as well.  I wrote about those activities in my column for the Catholic Voice on October 6.  Here are some photos that were not in the paper, and also a video that some of you may have already seen.

Catholic Voice Column

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A Big Gift from the Little Ones

I am moved to joy and tears at the generosity of the students of St. Francis of Assisi School in Concord. They have pledged the amazing sum of $6,000 spread over four years toward “Reclaiming Christ’s Mission Together”, our capital campaign.   They even made a glass church and put our Mission goals on it.

This is so inspiring. It shows that our Faith and the message of Jesus in our diocese is being received and acted upon, even by the little ones, and reminds me of Christ’s words: “Unless you become like this little child, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 18:3)

Thanks to our youngest donors.  Thanks also to Sr. James Marien, principal of St. Francis School.   You are an absolute inspiration to us all! May God reward you!

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Blue Mass

Today we celebrated the annual Blue Mass for police, firefighters and all first responders. The mayors of Oakland and Hercules joined us, other elected officials, district attorney representatives, as well as numerous personnel in uniform.  I am glad we had this opportunity as a Catholic community to show our appreciation for all who risk their lives for us on a daily basis.  May God send His angels to protect them! Our hearts go out to the families of all who have lost their lives in the line of duty.  Give them eternal rest O Lord.

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Pilgrimage to Molokai

Bishop, Molokai

Last week Bishop Larry Silva invited me to join him on a group pilgrimage to Kalaupapa, Molokai, site of Father St. Damien’s famous parish for patients with Hansen’s Disease (leprosy).  We celebrated Mass for the pilgrims at Fr. Damien’s Church, and then visited his gravesite outside.  We then went to visit the site of Mother St. Marianne Cope’s convent and Home for Girls.  She was the Franciscan nun who came with eight Sisters to act as nurses for the patients.  Unlike Fr. Damien, neither she nor any of her Sisters contracted leprosy.

Not only is this part of Hawaii extraordinarily beautiful, it is filled with the presence of two saints, and memories of the mercy they poured out on the 8,000 patients who died in their care.  There are still 17 patients living in Kalaupapa, all elderly, receiving medical care for the same disease.  Some of them attended Mass with us. Praise God for His mercies.