On Sunday, February 1 I had the great opportunity of celebrating Mass for one of our Korean Catholic congregations, in Pleasanton. 240 families worship in an auditorium of a public school, and the parish rents the classrooms as well for religious education for the children. With limited facilities, our Korean Catholics do a superb job. The Mass was reverent, with 100% participation. There was a choir singing sacred music in Korean and Latin, with cellos and violins. Afterwards we had a Korean lunch in a warehouse, which the parish rents for their offices. I will be doing everything I can to help this thriving community find a more permanent home.
Photos courtesy of Tri-Valley Korean Catholic Community
Later in the week I gave the Keynote address to the annual Convocation of our Lay Ecclesial Ministers (on Friday). These good folks use their gifts and charisms in many essential roles: administration, youth ministry, religious education, evangelization, music and worship . . . to name a few. I shared with them my “take” on Pope Francis’ vision for the Church: that the parish be a leaven in the community, and not a self-enclosed community, and that we make every effort to grow our parish communities . . . and not be content to be just a “community of the saved.” Using Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Evangelii Gaudium” I encouraged our Lay Ministers to be bold and creative, and think outside the box. We had a very lively discussion. And it was apparently a Twitter sensation!
Also last week I was delighted to meet Jack and Linda del Rio. As you may have heard, Jack is the newly hired coach for the Oakland Raiders. They are coming back to the Bay Area from Denver, where Jack was coaching for the Broncos. On behalf of all of you (even 49ers fans!), I welcomed them to our diocese. They are practicing Catholics, and now members of our family. I am now praying to “Notre Dame des Victoires” (Our Lady of Victories) on their behalf.
On Saturday, Feb. 7 we had a double-header at the Cathedral. First, the annual Mass for the World Day of the Sick. Begun by Pope St. John Paul II, the Order of Malta organizes the Mass near the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. I was joined by a dozen priests, and many Knights and Dames of Malta. We administered the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick during the Mass. It was beautiful to see the faith of our people, in the midst of suffering. With a bill pending in Sacramento promoting assisted suicide for the ill and elderly, I spoke about the Christian meaning of suffering. You can listen to my homily here.
Photos: Raúl Ayrala/The Catholic Voice
Saturday evening we began our observance of The Year of Consecrated Life, proclaimed by Pope Francis. This is to honor the consecrated religious: members of religious orders, congregations and institutes, in our diocese. Holy Family Sister Mary Lange and Conventual Franciscan Father Robert Herbst organized the committee which prepared the Mass. Being a member of a religious order myself for 41 years, I joined all the Sisters, Brothers and Fathers present as we renewed our vows. I was very pleased by the turnout of dedicated religious, who represent ministries in Catholic education, social work, hospital and detention ministry, evangelization, and care for the poor. I thanked them on your behalf for their contributions to our diocese. Homily
Photos: Darwin Sayo/The Catholic Voice
Then on Sunday I was invited to join St. Peter the Martyr Parish in Pittsburg as they celebrated their Centenary. The church was packed, standing room only. The hall below the church was packed as people listened to the Mass on loudspeakers. There was an incredible energy and enthusiasm shown by the parishioners for the Faith. They have 7 Masses in Spanish each weekend, so I got to practice my Español. Fr. Ricardo Chavez, whose parents were married in the parish, and who was ordained there in 1963, gave an historical account. All our Latino seminarians served. I am hoping for great things — especially vocations — from this vibrant parish. I am proud of the Pastor, Fr. Jesus Hernandez, and vicars Fr. Salvador and Fr. Leonardo.
Photos: St. Peter Martyr Parish