Installing, confirming and campaigning

Last week I made a quick trip to San Diego for the installation Mass of their new bishop, Most Rev. Robert McElroy, formerly auxiliary bishop of San Francisco.  I was able to see some of my former students who are now priests of the diocese of San Diego.  Here I am with Bishop McElroy.
Bishops Barber and McElroy

Procession, Installation of Bishop McElroy, Diocese of San Diego

Procession, Installation of Bishop Robert McElroy, Diocese of San Diego  Photo:  The Southern Cross

divider bar for blogOn Thursday the 16th I was invited to celebrate Confirmation at Holy Spirit Newman Center in Berkeley.  Great group of young people who responded enthusiastically during the service. There was an atmosphere of joy, respect, reverence, and communion-with-the-Church.

The Paulist Fathers are doing a very good job taking care of the Newman Center and parish, which has been in their care since 1908.  Here’s the “Official Photo” of the Confirmation class:

Holy Spirit officialHere’s the more fun selfie:

Holy Spirit selfiedivider bar for blogFriday, I visited two parishes at opposite ends of the Diocese.  I celebrated morning Mass at St. Michael’s Livermore, followed by a Capital Campaign reception.

Afterward, the pastor, Fr. Van Dinh, showed me the ceiling of the parish hall, which is collapsing inward.  St. Michael’s is going to use their return on the Campaign to make necessary repairs to the historic hall.

divider bar for blogI then went from Livermore to St. Anthony’s in Oakley.  Arriving at the parish hall for a lunch Campaign reception, I found the pastor, Fr. Ken Sales, in the kitchen, personally making a “Maja Blanca” dessert.  Fr. Ken takes our Lord’s words “Feed my lambs” seriously.  He even made an extra dessert for the bishop to take home.  Here he is with Deacon Alan Layden, putting last minute touches on the cake.

St. Anthony dessert

St. Anthony campaign reception

St. Anthony Campaign Reception

Giving me a tour of the grounds before our reception, Fr. Ken showed me where the parish would like to build an Adoration Chapel with the proceeds of the Campaign.  I am sure God will bless this undertaking.

 

 

 

divider bar for blogOn Saturday morning at the Cathedral I confirmed over 125 young people from St. Paul’s in San Pablo, St. Monica’s in Moraga, and St. Ignatius in Antioch.  Again, it’s thrilling to see the Cathedral filled with young people and their families, celebrating such a special day in their lives. I spoke to the congregation about Jordan Spieth, the 21 year old golfer who just won the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.  The young man is so impressive, not only for his golfing abilities, but for his humility and care for his younger sister, who has autism.  And he is a graduate of Catholic grammar and high schools.  You can listen to my homily here:

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Photos:  James Scolamieri

divider bar for blogThat evening I celebrated a Vigil Mass at Santa Maria parish in Orinda, followed by a Campaign Reception in the parish hall.  They have a special choir at Santa Maria, composed not only of adults, but of children and teenagers.  One outstanding young fellow came to church literally right off the baseball diamond.  Jack sings in the choir with his sister and mom.

divider bar for blogOn Sunday morning I was back in Livermore, this time to visit the newer parish, St. Charles Borromeo.  I celebrated the 11:30 Mass and administered Confirmation.  Fr. Mark Wiesner, the pastor, is very tech-savvy.  He live-streams Mass on the internet every Sunday.  During his remarks at Mass, he mentioned how St. Charles’ Easter Vigil Mass had the second most hits on YouTube for an Easter Vigil after the Holy Father’s Mass in the Vatican. I would have gotten a haircut if I’d known he was going to broadcast my Confirmation all over the world.

I almost drove right by the parish.  The outside of St. Charles church looks like a Chinese restaurant.  The inside looks like a gym (the original purpose for the building).  Yet the liturgy was very beautiful.  There was enthusiastic participation at the Mass, especially from the Confirmation candidates.

Fr. Mark has done a great job here as pastor.  You can watch all or parts of the Mass here:

.  Here are the young people that were confirmed.

St. Charles Borromeo Confirmation 2015 GroupAbove Photos from St. Charles:  Clare Kalantar

Music and Oakland’s diversity in a week

Last week I traveled around the Diocese, and the Country.

st. john 1Fr. Michael Lacey invited me to St. John the Baptist parish in San Lorenzo for a Capital Campaign reception. The parish is excited because they have just bought a large parcel of property next door and can finally create a proper playground for the students in their parish school. The parish had been landlocked for years, but with the help of the diocese, the parish was able to acquire an adjoining Japanese nursery which ceased operations. The Diocesan Capital Campaign is designed for such opportunities. Strong parishes make for a strong diocese.st john SLZ cropped

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On Wednesday I flew to Washington, D.C. for a meeting at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) headquarters. I am on the “Higher Education” committee, helping Catholic Colleges and Universities strengthen their Catholic identity and mission. I stayed with the Jesuit Community at Gonzaga College High School. Founded in 1821, it is one of the oldest Jesuit apostolates in the USA. Here’s a view of St. Aloysius, the parish church attached to the school.

School Blog

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Last Saturday we hosted the University of Notre Dame Glee Club at the Oakland Cathedral. They gave a Benefit Concert for FACE: “Family Aid for Catholic Education.” This is a fund that helps parents with financial aid to send their children to our diocesan Catholic schools.

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The Glee Club sang a variety of music, from sacred to barbershop quartets. We enjoyed their music, and the choir clearly loved singing in our majestic cathedral with its impressive acoustics. Notre Dame University also helps our diocese by providing “ACE teachers” (Alliance for Catholic Education) who help in our urban Catholic grammar schools.

Photos:  Jose Aguirre/FACE

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image2On Sunday we had a “Double-Header”: Morning Mass in the Cathedral in honor of St. Joseph Vaz, newly canonized saint from Sri Lanka. In the afternoon, I celebrated Mass for our diocesan Indonesian Catholic Community.

The morning Mass was preceded by a Buddhist choir who came to sing hymns of peace in honor of the new Saint. Joseph Vaz was an Oratorian Catholic priest of Indian birth who went as a missionary in Sri Lanka in the 17th century. image3He was protected by the Buddhist king from arrest by the Calvinist Dutch colonizers. Without Buddhist protection, he would not have been able to carry out his ministry. The Buddhist choir came to celebrate that connection. Although I have seen fervent Hindus venerating the tombs of St. Francis Xavier and Mother Teresa, it is the first time I have heard a Buddhist choir sing in honor of a Catholic saint in a Catholic cathedral. I was very grateful for their visit and their reverence. We had a very good turnout of Indian and Sri Lankan Catholics from our diocese. Pope Francis just performed the official canonization on his visit to Sri Lanka in January of this year.

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The afternoon Mass with the Indonesian community was held at St. Anne’s Church in Union City, thanks to the hospitality of the pastor, Fr. Geoffrey Baraan. I was intrigued by the Indonesian choir and their unusual wooden instruments. The exotic sounds reminded me of the Arthur Lyman records my parents used to listen to when I was a kid.

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Catholicism is a minority in Indonesia. The largest Muslim country in the world, only 3% of the population is Catholic. In spite of this, the Catholic Church is famous there for our Schools, where many Muslims send their children to be educated. Our Mass was preceded and followed by elegant traditional dances, which in the culture are used to welcome and honor guests. The youth who danced were reverent, respectful, and exceedingly graceful. There is so much joy and kindness in the Indonesian Catholic community, and they contribute so much to the rich makeup of our diocese.

Photos:  Darwin Sayo/The Catholic Voice

Oregon, and then into the Diocese

Early last week I flew up to Oregon and visited our three Oakland seminarians studying at Mt. Angel Seminary: (left to right) Garrett McGowan, Huong Dinh, and Jose Morales. They are studying in the college seminary there.  (Fr. Neal Clemens, diocesan Vocations Director, is on the far right.) Mt. St. Angel 2Mt. Angel

It is a beautiful spot, about an hour and a half outside Portland.  It was about 20 degrees cooler there than Oakland, that’s why the guys without coats are shivering in the photo.

divider bar for blogAlso last week I visited St. Leander’s parish, San Leandro, for a Capital Campaign reception.  One of our diocese’s oldest parishes, St. Leander’s has a great diversity of parishioners: Portuguese, Italian, Anglo, and now a large Latino congregation. We held the reception in English and Spanish.  I also got to practice my Italian.

divider bar for blogcristo rey logoOn Thursday we had the kick-off meeting to begin a feasibility study for a new Cristo Rey High School in Oakland. The former director of Catholic Charities, Steve Wilcox, is heading the project, and we were pleased to have representatives from the Chicago-based Cristo Rey Network join us.  This is a unique model, where students attend classes four days a week, and work in a business on the fifth.  The school is designed for students from low-income families who may not have the financial resources for Catholic school tuition.  Money earned by working is applied to their tuition. You’ll definitely hear more about this project in the months ahead.
divider bar for blog Friday evening brought another Capital Campaign reception, this time at St. Margaret Mary parish in Oakland. Fr. Rafal Duda scheduled a Lenten dinner following Stations of the Cross, which insured a huge turnout. St. Margaret Mary’s also attracts parishioners from the West Bay who cross bridges to attend their Extraordinary Form Latin Mass, celebrated by Canon Meney of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

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Thanks to Jay Balza for these photos.

divider bar for blogLast Saturday and Sunday I spent the weekend at St. Isidore’s in Danville.  In my almost two years as bishop of Oakland, I had not yet had the chance to pay an official visit to the parish. I made up for it by preaching at all the Masses . . . so I could literally “meet everybody.”  The pastor, Fr. Gerald Moran and his new vicar Fr. Gerald Pedrera warmly welcomed me to the rectory, as did hundreds of parishioners at coffee and doughnuts after Mass. St. Isidore’s is one of the very few parishes left in California that has a “double” Catholic school: two classes of every grade. I was happy to see so many families at Mass.

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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Altar

Altar

 

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.