Last Tuesday (Feb. 24) we had meetings of the Confirmation Program Coordinators/ teachers from our parishes. I led the morning session at the Cathedral and Fr. George Mockel addressed the evening meeting in Walnut Creek. These folks do a fantastic job preparing our young people for the Sacrament. We all get to see a beautiful ceremony and the kids all dressed up, but our Confirmation teachers do a lot of work behind the scenes to get the candidates ready. We owe them a big “thanks!”
The next day I visited Transfiguration Parish for a Capital Campaign reception. Great turnout, and good questions. Fathers Mario Borges and Terry O’Malley cooked a dinner for me beforehand. Saved me from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when I got home. These evenings provide the opportunity for me not only to explain the mission and direction of our diocese, but to get feedback and answer all kinds of questions. I enjoy being able to have time to meet, pray, and share with so many people of our diocese. Here are a few of my remarks:
On Thursday we had a Campaign reception dinner at St. Bonaventure in Concord. I went back on Sunday for two Masses, and two receptions: one in English and one in Spanish. Thanks to Fr. Mangini and his outstanding leadership staff for making all the arrangements.
Photos: Anthony Arteaga
We had over 90 priests and deacons come together for a bible study day Friday, on the Lectionary readings for Lent and Easter. Fr. Michael Castori SJ, serving at All Saints in Hayward, was our speaker and teacher. I’ve known Fr. Michael since the 1980s when he was working as a Jesuit Volunteer Corps lay missionary in Micronesia, and we’ve been friends ever since. He has since become a Jesuit priest, and got his doctorate in Biblical Hermeneutics at Cal Berkeley. It was absolutely enlightening to hear Fr. Michael open up the scriptures for us.
Photos: Fr. Gus Acob
Later that day we had a lovely pot-luck dinner Campaign reception at Santa Maria in Orinda. I met some very kind parishioners, many of whom have been in the parish since the 1940’s and built the present church and school. Fr. George Mockel pastors this parish, as well as serving as our Diocesan Vicar General.
We had a full honor guard from the Knights of Columbus, and the Cathedral Children’s Choir sang the Mass, dressed in their new robes. I have never seen choir members so happy to be singing at Mass as these young people. Our CEDDO group, through their prayer and adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, intercede for us all, and call down many graces from heaven on our diocese. Thank You, CEDDO members!
Photos: Courtesy CEDDO and Knights of Columbus
Following Mass we had a wonderful (dare I say “Italian”) dinner: salad, pasta, roast pork, roast potatoes, green beans, and for desert …………………… Tiramisu! (I gave everyone a dispensation). The ICF presented me with a Spiritual Bouquet which included over 2,800 Masses offered for my intentions, plus two checks for our Seminary fund. Thank you!
Photos: Msgr. Daniel CardelliMonday is supposed to be my day off, but the Naval Order of San Francisco had repeatedly invited me to be the speaker at their monthly meeting. The Naval Order is composed mainly of retired Navy and Marine Corps officers and senior enlisted leaders. I served on duty with many of the members who are from the East Bay when I was assigned to the Navy Reserve Center in Alameda in the 1990’s.
I spoke about the changes taking place in the military to accommodate religious practices: e.g. Sikh members of the US Army now have permission to wear their turbans in lieu of berets or campaign covers. Lots of heated discussion followed.
Photos: Bill & Kathleen Mero