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A summary of Bishop Barber's upcoming schedule
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placeholder January 6, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 1   •   Oakland, CA

Jan. 4: Malta Medical Clinic of Northern California Auction Dinner, Cathedral Rectory

Jan. 5: 10 a.m., Solemnity of the Epiphany, Mass, cathedral

Jan. 6-12: On duty with the Navy.

Jan. 14: Meet with Vicar for Clergy

       Meet with Catholic Charities of the East Bay chairman of the board

       Dinner and meeting: Capital Campaign Priests Advisory Council,
       Cathedral Rectory.

Jan. 16: Visit and distribution of food at Catholic Worker Community, International
Boulevard, Oakland.

       Prayer and dinner with representatives of Women's Religious Communities of the
       Diocese of Oakland, Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose Motherhouse, Fremont.

Jan. 17: Memorial Mass for the late Mrs. Annie Schultze, mother of Father George E. Schultze, SJ, St. Joseph's Church, Mountain View

       Dinner for Major Donors, Cathedral Rectory.

Jan. 18: Talk, Holy Hour and Confessions, 2014 University of California Students' Conference, cathedral

Jan. 20: Mass and Homily, Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life, Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

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New assignments

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, announced these changes in assignment:

Very Rev. Robert Herbst, OFM Conv., will become moderator of the curia effective Jan. 6.

Very Rev. George Mockel has been confirmed as vicar general for the next five years and is appointed pastor of Santa Maria parish in Orinda effective Feb. 15.

The chancellor, Sister Glenn Anne McPhee, OP, is retiring. Father Herbst will be acting chancellor until a new appointment is made.

Rev. Alexander Castillo will become secretary to the bishop and episcopal master of ceremonies effective Jan. 6.

Arlene Beaman will become administrative assistant in the Deacon Formation Department of Clergy Services effective Jan. 6, replacing Peggy Maurer, who has retired.

Bishop to bless musicians

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, will address and give a special blessing to all liturgical musicians from throughout the diocese at 7 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St., Oakland. All are welcome to attend and pray with Bishop Barber for these musicians.

Diocesan Choir Festival

Choirs from throughout the diocese are invited to participate in a Diocesan Choir Festival at the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St., Oakland at 8 p.m. Feb. 8.

Celebrate the unique voices of each of our parishes, as well as the diversity of talents and cultures we are blessed with. Each parish is invited to register one choir for participation this year, and the choir can range from a full choir, to unison choirs, to small vocal ensembles, children's choirs, youth choirs, adult choirs, senior choirs, etc. Each choir is invited to sing a piece/song they know really well and would normally sing during Ordinary Time.

Support immigration through prayer, action

WASHINGTON, DC National Migration Week will be observed in dioceses around the country Jan. 5-11. The theme is "Out of the Darkness," and echoes the figurative darkness undocumented immigrants, children, refugees and victims of human trafficking must face when their ability to live out their lives is severely restricted, often due to violence and exploitation.

During the week, Catholics are called to participate through prayer and action to try and ease the struggles of immigrants, migrants and vulnerable populations and to reflect on the Church's obligation to welcome the stranger.

"It is our call as the Church to bring the light of Christ to these populations, banish the darkness, and help to bring them from the margins of society to its center," said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration. "During National Migration Week, we should not only pray for those who are marginalized but also advocate that protections are provided to them, for they need them most."

Planned activities for National Migration Week include mailing postcards to Congress on Jan. 7, a call-in day to Congress on Jan. 8 and a social media action day on Jan. 9. Information on how Catholics can join Migration and Refugee Services' efforts to call on Congress to pass fair and comprehensive immigration reform can be found at www.justice forimmigrants.org.

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Pope blesses sick child
Pope Francis blesses a sick child as he arrives to visit the Bambino Gesu children's hospital in Rome Dec. 21.
Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters, cns

Popes visit for lunch

Three days after Pope Francis paid his predecessor a visit on Christmas Eve, retired Pope Benedict joined Pope Francis for lunch at the Vatican guesthouse. The two shared the meal Dec. 27 at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where Pope Francis lives. According to a report by Vatican Radio, the pope and the retired pope were joined by their personal secretaries and by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's secretary for relations with states, and U.S. Msgr. Peter B. Wells, assessor in the Vatican Secretariat of State.

Romans included

Ordinary members of parishes in Rome will be able to attend Pope Francis' private morning Masses in 2014. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said the cardinal vicar of Rome would tell local pastors how to apply on behalf of their parishioners beginning in January, according to a Dec. 27 report by Vatican Radio. The pope celebrates Mass every morning in the Vatican guesthouse, where he lives.

Experience peace

Celebrating the first Christmas since his election, Pope Francis preached the goodness and tenderness of God and prayed that men and women around the world would allow God's grace to transform them into peacemakers. "Let us allow our hearts to be touched, let us allow ourselves to be warmed by the tenderness of God; we need his caress," the pope said Dec. 25, standing on the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica and addressing an estimated 70,000 people in the square below.

Prayer for martyrs

Observing the feast of the church's first martyr, Pope Francis prayed for Christians suffering persecution and discrimination around the world, even in countries that nominally honor religious liberty. The pope made his remarks Dec. 26, the feast of St. Stephen, before praying the Angelus from his window overlooking St. Peter's Square.

Birthday breakfast

As part of a low-key celebration of his 77th birthday, Pope Francis had breakfast with three people who live on the streets near the Vatican. A small dog, belonging to one of the homeless men, was also on the guest list.

Peter Farber sainthood

Pope Francis issued a decree declaring one of his favorite Jesuits, Blessed Peter Faber, a saint. The decree is what the Vatican terms an "equivalent canonization," in which the pope inserts the name of the new saint in the universal calendar of saints without verifying a miracle performed through his intercession and without holding a formal canonization ceremony. The Vatican announced Dec. 17 that the pope formalized the church's recognition of the 16th-century priest, who with St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier, was a founding member of the Society of Jesus, by "inscribing him in the catalog of saints."

Third 'Time' pope

Pope Francis is not seeking fame or accolades, but being named Time magazine's Person of the Year will make him happy if it helps attract people to the hope of the Gospel, said the Vatican spokesman. The choice of Pope Francis "is not surprising, given the wide appeal and huge attention" to his pontificate so far, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, said in a written statement Dec. 11, shortly after Time announced it had named the pope for the annual feature. Blessed John Paul II was named Person of the Year in 1994 and Blessed John XXIII in 1962.

Consultants hired

In an effort to streamline and modernize its communications structures and bring its accounting practices in line with international standards, the Vatican hired two international consulting agencies. The global management-consulting firm McKinsey & Co. and the Netherlands-based financial and administrative consultation firm KPMG were hired after a "bidding and selection process," the Vatican said in a written statement Dec. 19.

Bishops' congregation

Nine months after his election, Pope Francis has reconfirmed Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, seen as one of the most powerful offices of the Roman Curia, and expanded the international membership of the congregation. Among the new members named Dec. 16 were Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington; Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, England; Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega of Guadalajara, Mexico; and Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota, Colombia. The departing members of the congregation include U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signature, the church's highest court; Cardinal Justin Rigali, retired archbishop of Philadelphia; and 70-year-old Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, president of the Italian bishops' conference. Confirming Cardinal Ouellet as prefect Dec. 16, Pope Francis also confirmed 18 current members of the congregation, including Australian Cardinal George Pell of Sydney and U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Besides French Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris, the other 15 members reconfirmed are officials or recently retired officials of the Roman Curia.

Israel visit in May

Latin-rite Patriarch Faoud Twal of Jerusalem told reporters he expected to host Pope Francis on a visit to the Holy Land in May. Listing "upcoming events for next year," Patriarch Twal began with "the pope's visit to the Holy Land planned for next May, first in Jordan, then in Israel-Palestine." At his Dec. 19 meeting with the press, the patriarch did not give specific dates for the trip.

Extend concern to poor

Christians cannot hope to abolish abortion and euthanasia unless they live out their faith, extending their concern for victims of such practices to those who suffer from poverty, illness and oppression, said the preacher of the papal household. "The first Christians, with their morality, helped the state change its laws," Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa said Dec. 20.

— Catholic News Service

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