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.

Out in the parishes

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. 20150224_191314_resizedThese 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!”

divider bar for blogThe 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:

divider bar for blogOn 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

divider bar for blogWe 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.

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Photos:  Fr. Gus Acob

divider bar for blogLater 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.

divider bar for blogDSC00212Saturday morning I celebrated Mass for the Diocesan Confraternity of Eucharistic Devotion (CEDDO).

Knights in vestibuleWe 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

divider bar for blogThe next day, after the two Masses and receptions at St. Bonaventure, I went to St. Isidore in Danville to celebrate Mass for the Italian Catholic Federation.

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!

ICF round tablePhotos:  Msgr. Daniel Cardellidivider bar for blogMonday 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.

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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