JANUARY 24, 2005


Catholic school students raise
thousands for tsunami survivors
Hanna is a haven for at-risk boys
Father Crews – a life coach for Hanna boys for 20 years
Parental notification initiative continues to progress

Priest to move from Richmond
to St. Anthony Parish in Oakland

Diocese awards Medals of Merit

Teacher honored with Seton Award

Long-time employees
honored for service
Parents invited to ‘straight talk’ on teens’ sexuality on Feb. 15

Feminists for Life have proud history

School for Pastoral Ministry prepares 37 lay ecclesial ministers

Next Step Learning Center helps
teens and adults earn GED
Bay Area Catholic schools
began in 1849
Achievement honors to
two Hayward students
Lights, camera, action
for St. Agnes students
‘Thumbelina’ on stage
at St. Mary’s College
Retreat planned for
lay ecclesial ministers


• Post-tsunami challenges range from mass graves to regional conflicts


• Sr. Juanita Marie Cruz, O.P.
• Br. Harry Morgan, F.S.C.




Official newspaper of the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Oakland, California encompassing all of
Alameda &
Contra Costa counties.



Catholics respond to disaster

By Sharon Abercrombie
Staff writer

“Wherever there is a disaster around the world, the Catholic Church is always the first to respond,” said Joan Neal, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) vice president for U.S.
Operations. Agencies such as hers can be on the ground running within hours of a widespread tragedy because “all our structures are in place,” explained the official in a recent Voice phone interview

During a Jan. 5-10 fact-finding mission to tsunami-devastated India, one of the 12 south Asian countries which was severely impacted, Neal was able to see for herself how CRS’s 50-year partnership with both Caritas India, and the Indian Catholic Church has enabled it to quickly provide temporary shelter, food, medicine, water, and sanitation, to displaced people in the southeastern coastal areas of Chennai, Pondicherry and Paramnkeni. CRS is also offering intermediate resettlement assistance and treatment of psychosocial needs

More than 10,000 people were killed in India alone. Nearly 400,000 displaced persons are staying in refugee camps, schools and churches, Neal said. CRS and its local partners are supporting and managing 93 relief camps that shelter more than 125,000 people. The organization has initially committed $12.8 million in India over an 18-month period.

As some of CRS’s life-giving materials arrived on-site, Neal saw the visible effects of CRS contributions. “Catholic response is making a difference,” she told the Voice.

But contributions cannot stop six months down the road when the tsunami no longer makes front-page news, Neal cautioned. “The devastation is beyond belief. It is going to take a long time for people to recover. CRS is there in those 12 countries for the long term, anywhere from five to 10 years.”

CRS official Jim DeHarpporte, who visited the northern tip of Sumatra where the greatest devastation took place, said CRS had distributed survival kits to more than 700 families in Banda Aceh, but that efforts throughout the area will also focus on rebuilding the economy by replacing fishing boats and nets.

He told of meeting Arif Hamdani, a village chief, who knew of only 309 families who had survived among the 900 families in his village. “Every day he would go out and see what assistance he could get for his people,” DeHarpporte said.

CRS will focus its future work in Aceh province in Meulaboh and the coastal villages to the south “in keeping with our principles of serving the poorest of the poor,” said DeHarpporte. That area was the most severely affected and among the last to receive assistance.

CRS will join with other Catholic organizations in coordinating a $30 million effort for relief and rehabilitation in Aceh. Last week, CRS distributed food to 60,000 persons under an agreement with the World Food Program, DeHarpporte reported.

Miles away, another kind of Catholic response helped to make a difference as well, only on a much smaller scale — in Railay Bay, Thailand.

San Francisco resident Shelly Curran, the niece of Burlingame Mercy Sister Patricia Ryan, was vacationing with her family in Railay Bay when the tsunami struck there on Dec. 26. As a result of warnings, they fled the beach just before the giant wall of water rushed ashore.

Curran said it took a day for survivors to snap out of their dazed states, but on Dec. 27 tourists and residents alike began cleaning up the mess. “It was a great mix of Thailanders and westerners, pulling boats out of trees, and clearing broken glass and garbage from the sand.” Curran’s brother, Tom did boat duty. Curran took garbage and glass detail.

The Railay Bay Resort, the hotel where Curran’s family stayed, gave food to anyone who needed it, whether they were guests or not, she said.

“At first we didn’t understand the gravity of the situation,” acknowledged Curran, a legislative analyst in Sacramento. But when news of the disaster that has killed more than 165,000 people began arriving, Shelly Curran’s background as a social justice-minded former Jesuit Corps Volunteer rushed to the forefront of her conscience. And stayed.

Last week she spoke about her experience during a Taize service at Mercy Center in Burlingame and she plans to keep encouraging Bay Area individuals to continue their generosity to charitable organizations, such as Catholic Relief Services.

But at the same time, Curran remembers all the other tragedies in the world, all the other needy people, both home and abroad. “It is imperative that we not forget other dire situations. Our generosity to tsunami victims can’t come at the expense of other needs.”

Meanwhile, the American Catholic outpouring of generosity to CRS praised by Joan Neal is evident throughout the Oakland Diocese.

Both wealthy and not so wealthy parishes alike have stretched their financial resources in response to Jesus’ message to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless.

St. Joan of Arc Parish in San Ramon not only took up a special collection to assist the victims of the tsunami, but also donated its entire Sunday collection, said Father Fred Riccio, pastor. The total amount, which the parish has sent to Catholic Relief Services, is $59,435.

At. St John the Baptist in El Cerrito, parishioners were able to help a family of their own. They gave over $8,000 in cash to Sri Lankan natives Oneill and Delani Gunsasekara. The couple and their two daughters left for the south Asian country on Jan.18, with their parish’s second collection, plus gifts of shoes, medicine, fishing equipment, coloring books and crayons.

The family planned to pick up a jeep and head south to the remote town of Welegama with their supplies.

“I just want to help the people get back on their feet, “ said Gunasekara, a native of Colombo. The family cancelled an upcoming 10-day vacation to Portugal in order to lend a hand to relief efforts in their homeland.

Corpus Christi Parish in Fremont collected $26,135.50 for Father Richard Peiris, a hospital chaplain who says Mass in the parish. He will fly to his native Sri Lanka early next month to deliver the funds to help rebuild infrastructures around his home parish.
Some Fremont parishioners have also provided the plane ticket.

The Sisters of the Holy Family Community in Fremont stepped forward with a contribution of $5,000 to CRS.

St. Anthony Parish in Oakley contributed $4,200, and their pastor couldn’t be prouder. Said Father Bernardino Andrade: “St. Anthony’s is not a rich parish. Parishes are like people around us. Some have substantial savings accounts and others struggle daily. Some struggle to pay their daily bills. Our parish belongs to the second group, but if I could start my ministry from all over again, I would choose to serve this struggling parish in which people’s hearts have the size of the world.”

Our Lady of Mercy in Point Richmond — the tiniest in the diocese, with a weekly Mass attendance of about 100 people, collected $1,100 for CRS.

St. Francis of Assisi in Concord has given a total of $17,707 and St. Isidore in Danville has generated $29,000 for aid to the tsunami victims.

Other parishes reporting to The Voice at deadline time are:
Our Lady of Guadalupe in Fremont raised $11,304. The money was wired to Father Mathew Vellankal, parochial vicar, who is currently visiting his native India. Father John Prochaska, pastor, said that the priest will take the money directly to priests he knows, so they can purchase rice and other basic necessities for the survivors.

Santa Maria Parish in Orinda raised $12,606 from a special collection on Jan. 9.
Members of St. Bede Parish in Hayward have donated $22,000, a tremendous outpouring of generosity, said their pastor, Father Seamus Farrell.

St. Columba Parish in Oakland collected $2,454 and the praises of its pastor, Father Jayson Landeza. “With just two liturgies and no advance notice of a second collection, we collected …quite a bit, for a small, poor, inner-city parish,” said Father Jayson Landeza, pastor. “I know that amount pales in comparison to the large suburban parishes, but given our realities, I was touched by the response of our folks.”

St. Joseph Community in Alameda collected $28,300. Half of the money came from a recent Sunday collection.

St. Leander contributed $9,405.60 from a free-will offering and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Oakland sent CRS $6,027.97.

St. Michael Parish in Livermore collected $33,492.70 and Holy Rosary Parish in Antioch collected $17,644.

St. Stephen Parish in Walnut Creek has sent $5,777 to CRS and St. John Vianney in Walnut Creek has donated $12,644.42.

The Catholic Community of Pleasanton collected $47,645. St. Felicitas in San Leandro has raised $35,232.50.

Kids to raise funds for Indonesian schools by walking Lake Merritt

By Voice staff

Catholic school and religious education students are invited to join a Kids-4-Kids walk around Oakland’s Lake Merritt to raise money to help rebuild schools destroyed when the Dec. 26 tsunami hit Indonesia’s coast.

The Jan. 29 walk, sponsored by Catholic Charities of the East Bay, Catholic Relief Services and the diocese, will begin at 9:15 a.m. Participants will gather at the site of the future Cathedral of Christ the Light at the corner of Grand Avenue and Harrison Street for a blessing at 8:45, then begin the 5K walk.

The students are seeking sponsors among their families and friends. Others wishing to contribute can send their donations to Kids-4-Kids, Catholic Charities of the East Bay, 433 Jefferson St., Oakland, CA 94607. Donations can also be made at or by phone, (510) 768-3137.

Memorial Mass, Feb. 6 for tsunami victims

By Voice staff

The Indonesian and Asian Indian communities in the Oakland Diocese are sponsoring a Mass for the victims of the tsunami tragedy at 2 p.m. on Feb. 6 at St. Anne’s Church, 32223 Cabello St. at Dyer St. in Union City.

Father Larry Silva, vicar general, will serve as celebrant.

“This Mass is a token of our love and solidarity with all the communities that have lost their loves ones,” said Mass organizers. It is not a fund-raiser. Refreshments will be served afterwards. All Catholics in the diocese are invited to attend.

More information contact: Deacon Hoc Chuan at (510) 361-0189,email: dog21834@yahoo.comor Bella Comelo (510) 357-0940,


John Parulis of San Rafael protests at the entrance to San Quentin prison on Jan. 18, minutes before the execution of Donald Beardslee for the murders of two women. Death penalty opponents, including Catholic priests, prayed outside the prison for Beardslee and for an end to capital punishment in California.


Prayers outside
prison execution


Bishop Vigneron asks all Catholics to join
in prayer to heal sex abuse crisis

By Voice staff

Oakland Bishop Allen Vigneron has written an open letter to all Catholics in the diocese, inviting them to spend one hour a week in prayer for healing the sexual abuse crisis in the Church.

Although the U.S. Church and the Diocese of Oakland have responded to the scandal in many beneficial ways, Bishop Vigneron writes, “only the Lord himself can truly heal those who have been abused and our entire community.” He therefore asks local Catholics to join him in this “very important spiritual initiative.”

Bishop Vigneron invites parishioners to spend this hour in Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament or in focused prayer and to petition for specific outcomes – healing for victims, wisdom and courage for the nation’s bishops, the aid of the Holy Spirit in making “wise decisions about legal settlements,” and other intentions. Without such prayers, he writes, “our human efforts will be in vain.”

Bishop Vigneron’s letter, which replaces his regular column in this week’s Voice, appears on page 16.




Diocese considers new Catholic high schools

By Barbara Erickson
Associate editor

High school students from inner-city Oakland and the Tri-Valley area near Livermore may have greater opportunities for Catholic education if studies give the green light to two new secondary schools in the diocese.

If constructed, the schools would be the first secondary institutions built for the Diocese of Oakland in more than 40 years. The most recent are Moreau Catholic in Hayward and De La Salle and Carondelet in Concord, all of which opened in 1965.

According to preliminary plans, the Livermore school would be similar to other diocesan high schools in its curriculum and organization, but the Oakland school would be modeled after the Jesuit-run Cristo Rey High School in Chicago, an innovative school that combines job training and academics for students in low-income areas.

The diocese has been considering a conventional high school since the 1993 Strategic Plan called for research into the construction of new schools in areas of growth.
Demographic and market studies and a feasibility study completed in 2001 all showed the need for a high school in the Tri-Valley area as well as the support necessary to complete the project.

This past year, Bishop Allen Vigneron met with residents of the Livermore area to assess their support and later gave his approval to moving forward with the plans.

“Everyone wants it to happen,” said Mark De Marco, superintendent of schools for the diocese. “It’s one of the fastest growing areas.”

The new school would be built on the former Anderson Ranch, originally 122 acres, near Livermore at the North First Street exit of Highway 580. Catholic Cemeteries now owns the site.

De Marco said the land is outside the boundaries of the City of Livermore, but the diocese hopes to have it annexed to the city before beginning construction. Meanwhile, he is forming a steering committee to oversee the project and arranging for another, more current study.

The new high school would serve between 1,200 and 1,800 students, De Marco said.
The diocese has been considering a Cristo Rey high school for more than a year, De Marco said, ever since Bishop Vigneron sent him a New York Times article on the Cristo Rey Network, an organization that supports new schools based on the model of the original Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in southwest Chicago.

The original Cristo Rey school opened in 1996 to serve low-income students who cannot afford tuition at conventional Catholic secondary schools. Students attend classes on four extended days each week and work on the fifth day. Their paychecks go directly to the school to pay for a large portion of their tuition.

It is a “different type of school,” De Marco said. “There are no electives; sports are slim to none. If you don’t make it at your job, you get more training. If you can’t do it a second time, you’re gone. Academics are key. This is not just a vocational high school.”
Cristo Rey has succeeded so well that it was featured last October on the CBS program “60 Minutes.”

Primarily through the student work project, the school covers all of its operating costs, and the students are succeeding. In contrast to their peers in the inner city, a high percentage attend college, and corporate sponsors who hire the teenagers are enthusiastic about their work.

B. J. Cassin, former chairman of the board of trustees of St. Mary’s College in Moraga, was so impressed after a 2000 visit to Cristo Rey and to a Christian Brothers middle school, both in Chicago, that he created a foundation to replicate the success of the two models.

With the help of the Cassin Educational Initiative Foundation, the Cristo Rey Network was formed and opened four more schools across the country. In 2003 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation joined the Cassin foundation in an $18.9 million grant to expand the network even further.

Since then, the total has jumped to 11 schools – six opened in 2004 – and more have received grants to undertake feasibility studies. Oakland is one of the recent grantees, with $35,000 from the Cassin foundation for a nine-month feasibility study.

Although the study will cost twice that amount, De Marco said, the diocese has received the go ahead from the Cristo Rey Network to start immediately while it applies for matching funds. De Marco is hiring a coordinator, who will oversee the study under the close supervision of the network.

“They have a pretty well-oiled machine in crafting and creating these new schools,” De Marco said. As a first step he and other representatives from the diocese visited De La Salle North Catholic High School in Portland, Ore., a Cristo Rey school established in 2001, and returned with an enthusiastic endorsement.

“We are convinced of the need for such a school,” the delegation report states, “and it is a compelling need.”

The feasibility study will look into the population of school age children in Oakland, income levels, gang and drug activity, local organizations, community interest, the effect the school would have on local Catholic schools and other factors. The study must include at least 100 interviews with potential parents and 300 with potential students.

Since corporate sponsors are crucial to the success of a Cristo Rey school, the study must also include interviews with at least 40 prospective sponsors and get commitments from at least 25 who agree to hire students for entry-level clerical jobs. A preliminary survey for the study grant showed many possibilities for corporate sponsors, from UC-Berkeley to BART and Kaiser Permanente, among others.

“We would like to see it close to public transportation,” De Marco said. “Corporations need to be within a 30-minute commute.”

In addition to coming up with a potential site, the study would also determine who would be in charge of the school. This could be a religious order or the diocese. Some Cristo Rey schools involve several orders.

“If the feasibility study is approved,” De Marco said, “then the (Cassin) foundation will come up with the seed money.” The Cristo Rey Network continues working with schools for three years after opening, with the aim of creating institutions that are self-supporting by the end of that period.

The diocese plans to begin the study in February, complete it by the end of October, and if the results are favorable, open the school to its first students in the fall of 2007. Cristo Rey enrollments are limited to about 450 students.

De Marco said he has shown a video of the “60 Minutes” program to various groups, and the viewers were touched by what they saw. “It’s very hard to find a dry eye after showing it,” he said.

The Cristo Rey concept also fits Bishop Vigneron’s vision for Catholic education in the diocese, De Marco said, in its emphasis on Catholic values and service to the poor and marginalized.

“It’s exciting that when we look at the situation for high schools,” he said, “you talk about two high schools, one for an affluent area of the diocese and one to serve the poor.”



Catholic school students raise
thousands for tsunami survivors

By Sharon Abercrombie
Staff writer

Parochial school children have responded to the Dec. 26 tsunami disaster with large outpourings of generosity, both financially and prayerfully.

When Veenah Francis, a first grader at St. David School in Richmond, heard about all the suffering people throughout south Asia, she knew exactly what she needed to do – dip into her lifelong savings account of $2,000, and give half of it to relief efforts in Sri Lanka. Her dad, a Sri Lankan native, had a couple of other good ideas— he would match his daughter’s contribution and enlist his co-workers at Inovis (formerly QRS Corporation) in the effort. As a result, a total of $10,000 is going to Tamil Relief organizations, to the Red Cross and to UNICEF.

Kid power at St. Felicitas School in San Leandro took an artistic, meditative path. The fourth graders gave envelopes to all the students the day before a scheduled Mass, asking them to decorate their collection envelopes with art and special messages (above). Teachers encouraged the kids to “give from where it hurts,” said principal, Jo Ann Dalnoki. Collectively, the student body along with a few parents who attended the Mass raised $3,000 for Catholic Relief Services.

Everybody was astounded. Principal Jo-Ann Dalnoki credits media coverage of the tsunami for helping raise awareness. “The kids saw for themselves what other kids their age had lost. This gave us the opportunity to take it one step further.”

Third grade twins, Onalli and Oshani Gunasekara, from St. John the Baptist School in El Cerrito collected crayons and coloring books for children in Sri Lankan refugee camps. The art supplies were part of their luggage on Jan. 18 when they and their parents, Oneill and Delani, boarded a plane for Sri Lankan, their parents’ native land.

Natalie Tovani-Walchuk, principal of St. Joseph the Worker School in Berkeley, suggested that her 147 students donate money they would ordinarily spend on their favorite snacks. She promised to personally match whatever came in during the school collection. Result: the kids gave $300, “which is amazing generosity from our financially challenged community,” Tovani-Walchuk said.

Students at Holy Spirit School in Fremont who paid for the privilege of “free dress” raised more than $5,000 in one day.

Students at St. Patrick School in Rodeo raised $1,037 by sponsoring a Denim Day. Each student paid a dollar for the privilege of taking a uniform break. They donated another $247 raised from collecting and selling used cell phones.

Contributions are still coming in at St. Jarlath School in Oakland from a First Friday Mass collection and other fundraisers, noted Kathryn Culp, principal. The sum to date is $950.11.

Other examples of school generosity: St. Raymond School in Dublin has asked kids to donate a month’s allowance or else do chores to earn money. They will continue collecting until the close of Catholic Schools Week, Feb. 4.

Our Lady of Grace School in Castro Valley raised $433 from a Jan. 14 milk and donut sale and Wells Fargo has agreed to match the sum.

Students at St. Bede School in Hayward brought in $291.85 from a free dress day.

The Student Council at St. Francis of Assisi School in Concord raised $500 during a school collection. In addition, the eighth grade decided to contribute $200 from their class funds.

Students, faculty and staff at St. Lawrence O’Toole School in Oakland held a prayer service and are planning a fundraising event for February. The students at St. Michael School in Livermore took up a collection and raised $800.

St. Jerome School in El Cerrito is calling for showers of prayers and coins throughout the month of January. Financial proceeds will go to CRS. Other planned fundraising events include a Valentine message publication, a pizza night, and a special free dress pass during Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 31-Feb. 4.

Baked goods, hot chocolate and cider sales are on the schedule for late January at St. Joseph School in Pinole. Kids can also pay $2 for the privilege of wearing jeans instead of school uniforms on Friday denim days.

Salesian High students in Richmond are donating $1 a day through January, and several kids have put together a video presentation to show during morning prayer time.

“The interesting thing about this is that the disaster has gotten diverse groups of students together,” said Salesian’s president, Father Nick Reina. “Given the opportunity, kids are ready to meet a challenge, no matter where they go to school.”


Hanna is a haven for at-risk boys

By Sharon Abercrombie
Staff writer

Somewhere in the Bay Area, the home boys in Rafael Gamez’s old gang are probably tending to their customary occupations — jumping people or plotting drivebys in enemy neighborhoods.

Gamez, 16, however, is miles away from the intimidation and violence. “I’m safe,” says the tall, handsome, slender youth. Instead of prowling dangerous city streets, he lives on a quiet, green, 160-acre campus in Santa Rosa—the Hanna Boys’ Center. “It’s fun here. I don’t have to worry about anything. I get to play sports,” he adds.

A Catholic home away from home for at-risk boys between the ages of 12 to 18, the Hanna Boys Center was opened in 1949 by Msgr. William Flanagan, director of Catholic Charities for the San Francisco Archdiocese, and Father William O’Connor, his co-director. It was named after Archbishop Edward J. Hanna of San Francisco.

Hanna accepts boys from all over California and out-of-state as well. Frequently probation officers or judges who know about the school refer them there. Mostly, though, kids get to Hanna because their families have found out about it by word of mouth, said Codie Welsh, public relations and events coordinator.

Families pay what they can afford – typically anywhere from $75 to $100 per month which is 1.5 percent of the total cost of each child’s tuition. The rest of the money it takes to run the Hanna facility on an annual basis — paying for programming, maintenance, and salaries for 120 full- and part-time teachers, counselors, cooks; development, office and maintenance staff — comes from private donations and yearly fundraisers.

Hanna’s budget for 2005 is $8.7 million with 81 percent of all expenses allocated to direct services and care for the boys. The program is year-round. An abbreviated school schedule takes place in summer, mixed with recreational activities. Kids can go home for a month during summer and also have holidays at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

Success stories
Since its beginnings, Hanna has served as a haven of hope for nearly 3,000 kids, both Catholic and non-Catholic, many of whom remain in touch to this day. Bill Conley, a happily married husband and father, is a San Francisco police officer. Said Thongvanh, an art school graduate has created many works including “Could Have Been Me,” a self-portrait of himself on the ground, his hands pulled back by a police officer.

Thongvanh’s portrait speaks the story of what could have been without Hanna.
No matter where they come from, the boys arrive with similar burdens of pain from violence, neglect, abuse, poor family structure and discipline, learning problems, or anger issues.

Take Rafael Gamez, for example. One day, as a 10-year old, he asked his maternal grandparents, “What happened to my parents?” Their answer unleashed an avalanche of agony – his dad was in prison for killing his mother. “After that, I just didn’t care about anything anymore,” he said. He joined a gang, mainly for the companionship. “At first I thought it was cool. We were just chillin’”

His family, however, became worried about his involvement so they sent him to Hanna for 15 months. He returned home, but soon was back at Hanna for a month. After another month at home, he re-entered Hanna for the third time in October 2003.

But each time he rejoined the gang, it became more difficult and less cool. “I had to go do things they wanted me to do. If I didn’t, I knew they’d jump me or kill me.”

Now he is determined to stay and finish high school on the Hanna campus and then become a cop. Students attend classes on site in the lower grades, but when they reach 11th and 12th grades, they are bused to Sonoma Valley High School for math and English classes.

Intervention and prevention
John Glasky and Channcey Hines’ stories aren’t quite as harrowing as Gamez’s, but their situations could have seriously snowballed had their families not intervened.

Glasky, 13, arrived at Hanna a year and a half ago from San Leandro with a track record of poor school performance and A-plus fighting skills. His mother had sent him to live with his dad in Hayward, but it didn’t work. Hanna was the next option. This time, good things are happening. “At first I didn’t want to come here, but now I like being in a more structured environment,” he said.

Glasky, a tow-headed blond with a mischievous grin, stays busy. He works in the cafeteria serving lunch and admits to one concern – too many bologna sandwiches. As a member of the student council, the eighth grader is serving on a committee to revamp the cafeteria food lineup.

Glasky also helps to clean the cottage where he lives with 11 other boys and three adults. And every day, he feeds and grooms Jake, his 4-H project steer. When Glasky sells Jake in a spring auction, he will have some college money.

4-H is one of the many hobby choices for the Hanna boys. There is also basketball, baseball, and clubs for board game and card aficionados, movie fans, artists, budding photographers, debaters, and yoga practitioners.

In order to teach the kids responsibility, the school gives each boy chores — work in the dining room as Glasky does, serving lunches, washing dishes, or helping with filing in the business and development offices.

Glasky’s fellow student council member, Channcey Hines, 15, arrived at Hanna two and a half years ago after a rough and tumble journey through a couple of Oakland middle schools. “I got kicked out in seventh grade for bringing a knife to school,” he said.

His aunt enrolled him in another school where his discipline problems, triggered by mood swings, continued. Hines’ family found out about Hanna Boys Center on the Internet and brought him to the Santa Rosa campus.

Hines is glad they did. His mood swings are becoming less frequent. He feels more comfortable talking to people. Best of all, he has discovered a camaraderie he never knew could exist among 99 kids.

“When I was young, I never looked up to anybody my own age. But now I know I can learn from other kids.” His heartfelt wish? “To become a leader,” he says quietly.

Catholic values
Hines has made another transition during his stay at Hanna. While attending a religion and life skills class, a requirement for all students, the young man realized he wanted to become Catholic. “I saw how much fun they were having in sacramental preparation class, and how happy they were,” he said. Hines was baptized and confirmed at Hanna’s chapel in May.

“The goal of the religion class isn’t to convert kids, but to teach them reverence, and an appreciation for God and the values of Catholicism,” explains Codie Welsh.

That plan works for Rafael Gamez. Quiet time in the chapel “is better for me,” he acknowledges. It is also a world away from “chillin out” with a gang somewhere in the Bay Area.

Codie Welsh said that Hanna Boys Center currently has 99 residents, but can accommodate 107. The average stay for a youngster is one year.

Every youth who spends time at Hanna has the opportunity to participate in a special scholarship program. This past year, 23 boys received financial aid to attend parochial and Christian high schools, trade schools, community and four-year colleges.

Grants are also available to alums. A 40-year-old graduate recently received a financial assist from Hanna to help him make a career change, said Father John Crews, director.

Hanna receives from 400-600 inquiry calls each year from families. Forty-five percent of boys come from families whose annual income is $35,000 or less; seventy-five percent comes from families whose annual income is $60,000 or less.

No boy is turned away because of his family’s financial circumstances or the inability to pay tuition.

Hanna receives no state or federal funding, in order to be able to include a strong spiritual component in its program, said Father John Crews, Hanna’s director. The center makes its annual budget through private donations, fundraisers and its investment portfolio. It functions with an all-lay board of directors and receives no help from Catholic dioceses in California.

Father Crews praised San Francisco Archbishop John Mitty for setting up Hanna’s board this way in the late 1940’s. “He deserves a lot of credit.” Especially in recent years, said the priest, when there are so many sexual abuse lawsuits being leveled at dioceses that would have negatively impacted Hanna’s level of support.

For further information about Hanna’s programs, contact Welsh at (707) 933-2504. The web site is:


Father Crews – a life coach
Hanna boys for 20 years

By Sharon Abercrombie
Staff writer

As director of Hanna Boys Center, Father John Crews has acquired first-hand insights into the serious stuff which brings kids to his door: school problems, drugs, alcohol, gangs, single parent families.

In the midst of these problems the priest has also managed to appreciate the quirky and even humbling side of the youth he serves. He has experienced all of it during some 20 years as director of the center, where he arrived in 1984, a year after he was ordained for the Diocese of Santa Rosa.

Since then, Father Crews has only been away once – two years ago, when he was called up as a Navy Reserve chaplain in Pearl Harbor for 12 months. And even though he received a hiatus from dealing with the hard realities of his boys’ lives, Father John Crews missed those kids of his.

“There’s an energy around young people. It’s like being in a family. And, as we all know, kids keep you humble, cut you down to size.”

After Father Crews called home to say that he wouldn’t be back for quite awhile, a member of his staff reported the news to the kids in chapel. “There was a silence,” the staff member said, “Then one kid asked, ‘Who’s gonna take us out and buy us Slurpees?’”

“Believe me, questions like that keep you grounded,” the priest said. But he responds to the casual as well as the more challenging questions with the homespun southern bluntness of a South Carolina native who defines himself as “an Air Force brat – the original nerd.” He grew up in a military family.

As a reserve chaplain, Father Crews has drawn on those experiences to frame the agenda of Hanna Boys’ Center. He compares the Hanna experience to a “boot camp” with nicer living quarters.

When a boy arrives with his family on Hanna’s doorstep, one of the first pieces of information he receives from Father Crews is “You will not like your roommate. And you’re going to have to figure out new ways to express your anger.” What new military enlistee hasn’t discovered these realities, he asks.

Right up front, every youth is also greeted with a significant ritual. Not only do his parents sign a year-long commitment agreement, but so does the boy. So does Father Crews.

“For these families, it is a way of getting across to them the important step they and their sons are taking. For the boys it reinforces the idea that they have to have fire in the belly in order to be ready, able, willing and eager to change.”
For Father Crews, the sign-in symbolizes to the newcomers how seriously he takes his responsibilities towards them. He tells them, “You are witnessing that I promise to give you the best I’ve got. I’m a collaborator with you. I promise that you will have food, shelter, and a safe place. That means I need to know where you are 24-7. No quick trips to the 7-11. And I want you to know that you are not safe if you do drugs.”

Hanna’s director takes a jaded view of northern California’s propensity towards casualness, which manifests itself in some schools when teachers and students calling each other by their first names. That doesn’t happen at Hanna. “Sir,” “ma’am,” “please,” and “thank you” are required vocabulary.

When boys ask why, Father Crews tells them, “Language sets the tone. It establishes boundaries.” And then he delivers his final verbal now-hear-this. “You are an adult in training.”

So what happens if the initial fire in the belly goes out, and a boy leaves before the year is up? “If they don’t stay, they’re still a success. It’s all relative,” replies Hanna’s director.

Codie Welsh, media spokesperson, elaborated. “For each boy, the Hanna experience is so different. Some might just be coming here to help facilitate their learning. Others come to save their lives,” she explained.

“A kid who comes for school problems and doesn’t finish high school, but repairs his relationships with a family member while at Hanna could be considered a ‘failure’ in the school category, but we consider his time spent here as successful,” she said.

Quantifying either failure or success into a statistic is near impossible, she elaborated. It’s all relative to the boy’s issues and what he takes away from his experience here, said Welsh.

Sometimes the success can be doubled-edged, carrying a heavy note of sadness with it. Father Crews recalls a 14-year-old boy from East Los Angeles. The youth had recently left Hanna after a successful stay. One day, the priest received a call from his family. He had been fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting. “He wasn’t involved. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said the priest.

At her son’s funeral, the mother told Father Crews, smiling between her tears, “The year and a half that he was there was the most orderly, peaceful time of his life.”

“The boy had just written a letter asking to come back to Hanna,” said Father Crews. “He wanted to get away from the violence in his neighborhood.”

Parental notification initiative
continues to progress

By Roberta Ward
Editor, The Valley Catholic

Parental notification prior to an abortion to be performed on a minor child could become a ballot initiative in California.

The proposed measure, being sponsored by the group, “Parents Right 2 Know” (, is seeking signatures from qualified voters in California in order to place it on an upcoming ballot.

The basics of the measure would provide for parental notification of a pending abortion of a minor child and record keeping of minors’ abortions so that an annual report could be made.

The measure would amend the California State Constitution to bar abortion on unemancipated minors until 48 hours after the physician notifies the minor’s legal parent or guardian. An exception would be for a medical emergency or with a parental waiver.

The initiative would permit judicial waiver of notice based on clear and convincing evidence of a minor’s maturity or best interests.

Titled “Termination of a Minor’s Pregnancy, Waiting Period and Parental Notification” initiative constitutional amendment, the measure’s backers are seeking 598,105 valid signatures to qualify for the next general election or at any statewide election held prior to the general election or otherwise provided by law. The deadline for acquiring the signatures is April 14.

Ned Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference in Sacramento, in a Jan. 10 media statement said although the state’s bishops support the basic concept of parental notification, the current initiative in circulation contains flaws that make its passage unlikely.

“Unfortunately, the sanctions, record-keeping and reporting requirements in the initiative put the focus on the abortion, not parental choice, allowing opponents to characterize it as an attack on the ‘right to choose,’ and making its passage unlikely,” he said. “In addition, our lawyers have warned us that it may be successfully challenged on legal grounds.”

Dolejsi said a second parental notification initiative, titled the “Parental Notification and Child Protection Act,” is pending in the state attorney general’s office and will also soon be circulating for valid voter signatures.

The language of this initiative is “the result of a consensus among pro-life affinity groups,” including the California Catholic Conference and its lawyers, all of whom met six months ago, Dolejsi said.

“Its political prospects appear positive,” Dolejsi said, “but given that it could be competing with a similar subject initiative – thereby dividing and confusing the electorate – its passage becomes problematic.”

Dolejsi added that the Catholic Conference’s analysis is that “the attempt to put one or both of these initiatives on the ballot at this time will do little to advance either the cause of life or family. In order to prevail politically, we need unity of effort and purpose.”

He said that in the event of the qualification of one or both of the parental notification initiatives for an upcoming ballot, the Catholic Conference will issue a statement.

The parental notification initiative currently in circulation requires the following:
•The physician or physician’s agent must provide written notice to a parent or guardian and a reflection period of 48 hours must elapse after personal delivery of notice.

•Notice shall be in English and Spanish and in each of the other languages in which the California Official Voters’ Guide is published.

•If a judge finds that notice of a parent or guardian is not in the best interests of the unemancipated minor, a waiver of notice may be issued and, if based on evidence of physical, sexual or emotional abuse by a parent or guardian, the court shall notify the appropriate child protection agency.

•The Department of Health Services shall prescribe forms for the reporting of abortions performed on unemancipated minors by physicians, and shall compile an annual report.

•Punitive damages could be sought in the form of civil action to be brought by a minor or by her parent or guardian if there is negligence regarding notification.

•Any minor who is coerced through force to undergo an abortion may apply to juvenile court for relief.

Priest to move from Richmond
St. Anthony Parish in Oakland

By Carrie McClish
Staff writer

When Father Jesus Nieto-Ruiz becomes pastor at St. Anthony Parish in Oakland on Feb. 1, he will draw heavily on his experiences over the past five years as a first-time administrator and pastor at Richmond’s St. Mark Parish. It was there that the priest honed his most valuable pastoral skill – being present to members of the community.

“I only did what I felt a priest is supposed to do, and that is walking with the people,” said the priest of his tenure in Richmond’s high-crime “Iron Triangle.”
“There is a lot of crime here – but that is true in a lot of places,” Father Nieto-Ruiz said.

The violence was counterbalanced by “a lot of good people” who worked hard to help one another and to make needed improvements in their community, he said.
The parish was already involved the Contra Costa Interfaith Sponsoring Committee (CCISCO), a federation of faith-based organizations addressing crime and safety, when he arrived. During his tenure, he added his support to the parish’s growing involvement in community organizing. Together they waged campaigns urging the city to develop more affordable housing and calling upon public school officials to provide quality education to its students.

“I have learned so much from every single parishioner, their compassion for the poor and how to live our faith,” the priest said. “They helped to shape me.”

A native of Aguascalientes, Mexico, he studied for the priesthood for five years, but left the seminary to take a job in Norman, Oklahoma, to help support his family, which included six younger siblings.

Deciding to resume his studies for the priesthood, he moved to the Oakland Diocese in 1987 and studied English at the American Language Academy in Berkeley. He then enrolled at St. Joseph’s College in Mountain View, followed by studies at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated with a master of divinity degree in 1994.

Oakland Bishop John Cummins ordained him that same year in Mexico.

Father Nieto-Ruiz, 40, spent five years as parochial vicar at St. Bede Parish in Hayward before he was appointed administrator at St. Mark Parish in Richmond in 1999. He was named pastor last summer.

Father Nieto-Ruiz will succeed Father Joseph Duong Phan, parochial administrator at St. Anthony since 2002. Father Duong Phan is going on study leave in Rome.
“I don’t have a special agenda,” Father Nieto-Ruiz said of this new assignment.
“Just one of doing ministry with passion and conviction.”

Diocese awards Medals of Merit

By Voice staff

An outgoing college president, two priests, a long-time diocesan lay employee and a lay leader have been awarded the Medal of Merit for outstanding service and dedication to the Oakland Diocese.

The medalists are: Christian Brother Craig J. Franz, outgoing president of Saint Mary’s College in Moraga; Father Michael Norkett, outgoing director of clergy services for the diocese and pastor of St. Paschal Baylon Parish in Oakland; Father Paul Schmidt, outgoing diocesan director of clergy personnel and administrator of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Oakland; Angie Sinnott, diocesan controller for more than 20 years; and Charles Peissner, retiring as the bishop’s liaison for Charismatic Catholic Renewal.

During his seven-year tenure at Saint Mary’s, Brother Craig implemented Vatican directives to introduce “Ex Corde Ecclesiae” academic principles into the college’s religious studies department. He created forums for faculty, staff and students and worked to improve administrative services for students. He also instituted a new enrollment services division and supported the restructuring of the college’s information technologies.

Brother Craig, who received his medal on Dec. 14, has been named president of St. Mary’s University in Minnesota and will assume that post on June 1. He resigned as president of St. Mary’s College in September, following revelations that pledged donations for a recently constructed science building were based on a real estate scam.

Father Michael Norkett has served as director of clergy services since 1995. He will continue as pastor of St. Paschal Baylon Parish in Oakland, beginning there as administrator in January 2001. A Chicago native, he studied at St. Procopius Seminary in Illinois for three years. He completed his final year at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park and was ordained in Joliet, Ill. in 1968.

Father Norkett is former pastor of St. Columba Parish in Oakland, St Joseph Parish in Fremont, and St. Bonaventure Parish in Concord. He also served as co-pastor with Father James Keeley of St. Mary-St. Francis de Sales Parish in Oakland. Prior to his first pastorate, he was an associate pastor at St. Theresa and St. Cyril parishes in Oakland.

Father Paul Schmidt served as diocesan director of priest personnel after leving as pastor of St. Agnes Parish, Concord, in 1991, and as parochial administrator of St. Margaret Mary parish from 1999 until last month.

Father Schmidt, who was ordained in 1964, has also served as diocesan director of both CCD and CYO, as administrator/pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Concord, and as dean of the East Contra Costa Deanery.

He has worked in campus ministry at Mills College in Oakland and as a columnist for The Catholic Voice.

Both Fathers Norkett and Schmidt received their medals at the annual diocesan employees’ Christmas lunch on Dec. 21.
Angie C. Sinnott, honored with a medal on Jan. 13, began her service in the diocese as accountant for Hayward’s St. Joachim Parish and School in 1968. In 1982, she became the diocesan accountant and in that capacity led the development of the first finance and investment committees. She also labored to establish the diocesan lay employees retirement program and wrote the first handbook for parish bookkeepers.

Bishop John Cummins, speaking at her retirement party earlier this month, called her service “ministry well done.”

Charles Peissner has served as bishop’s liaison for Catholic charismatics for the past 13 years. A member of Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill, Peissner has coordinated over 40 prayer groups throughout the diocese.

He and his wife, Betty, plan to continue their ministry by conducting weekend prayer meetings and seminars throughout northern California.

Peissner received his medal on Dec. 18.

Teacher honored with Seton Award

By Carrie McClish
Staff writer

Marilyn Domin cheerfully claims the title of being the first and only kindergarten teacher at Assumption School in San Leandro, but she recently admitted with a laugh that she initially balked at the idea of taking on a class of kindergartners.

“It’s babysitting, you’re not doing any real teaching,” she told her principal. But when she gave it a try, she fell in love with her students. “They are just adorable,” she said.

The students are the reason she has remained a kindergarten teacher for 20 years. “There is so much curiosity there, there is so much life there, there is so much enthusiasm there, they are so close to God. You cannot work with a young child and not feel the presence of God,”
Domin said. “It has just been such a wonderful life.”

For her dedication to Catholic education, Domin is being honored with this year’s diocesan Mother Seton Award, given to a Catholic school graduate who embodies the spirit of Mother Elizabeth Seton. Mother Seton (1774-1821) established the first free Catholic school for girls staffed by Sisters in the U.S. and is credited by historians with laying the foundation of the American Catholic school system. She was canonized in 1975, the first U.S.-born person to be declared a saint.

The Mother Seton Award will be presented to Domin on Feb. 3 at 5:30 p.m. at her alma mater (’69), Holy Names High School in Oakland.

The entire school community at Assumption is “happy and excited” that Domin is the honoree, said Jean Schroeder, the school’s current principal who nominated Domin for the award.
Domin taught at St. Patrick School in Oakland for five years before joining the Assumption faculty in 1980 as a third-grade teacher.

Besides her excellence in the classroom, Domin is known for providing a helping hand throughout the campus. For the past several years she has served as religious coordinator, making sure her co-workers have taken the courses they need to remain informed about their faith. Domin is also part of the team leading the school’s WASC evaluation process.

In accepting the Seton Award, Domin insists on sharing the spotlight with her co-workers. “I work with a wonderful group of people and all are equally deserving.”

Long-time employees
honored for service

By Voice staff

Ardith Lynch, executive director of St. Joseph Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Hayward, and Father Anthony Phan Lam, defender of the bond in the diocesan Canon Law/Tribunal department, were commended for 25 years of service to the Oakland Diocese during the annual diocesan employee appreciation event, Jan. 18.

Nearly 50 other employees were also honored for 1 - 15 years of service.



Parents invited to ‘straight talk’
on teens’ sexuality on Feb. 15


By Voice staff

Pam Stenzel, a nationally known speaker on teen sexuality, is coming to the Oakland Diocese, Feb. 15-16, to address students at five Catholic high schools. She will give them some “straight talk” about the consequences of sexual activity outside of marriage.

She will also lead an evening of dialog on “Sex, Love, Relationships and Your Teen,” for parents on Tuesday, Feb. 15, from 7:30-9 p.m. at Carondelet High School in Concord. That session is open to all parents of teens in the diocese. It will focus on parents’ crucial role in fostering their teens’ physical, emotional and spiritual health.

Stenzel is the former director of Alpha Women’s Center, a counseling center for women undergoing crisis pregnancies. She gave up her counseling job to speak full-time to teens and their parents about sex and sexuality.

Her presentations are marked by a passion for the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of teens and a compassion for their past mistakes, said Rita Billeci, family life ministry resource specialist for the diocese.

Stenzel is known to punctuate her message with humor, credible statistics on the consequences of sexual behaviors, and a Christian understanding of sexuality.

In an interview with The Voice during her visit to the diocese in November 2000, Stenzel said she makes it her job to tell teens about the dangers of sexual activity outside of marriage. “One in four of our teenagers is infected with a STD, most of them incurable,” she said. “Infertility in women – increasingly linked to STD infection—has risen over 500 percent between 1990 and 2000.”

She cited the media for much of the misinformation about sexuality. “The media, quite frankly, is not telling the truth about what is going on out there,” she said.

“When was the last time you saw someone on ‘Friends’ get the human papilloma virus and end up with a hysterectomy?” she asked.

“It is a major cause of cervical cancer in women and yet most women are totally unaware.”

Much of Stenzel’s presentation is drawn from her experiences as a counselor and pregnancy center director in Minneapolis. Every day she met teens who were in anguish over the consequences of their sexual activity. They told her that “nobody had told them” about the risks they were taking.

She believes strongly that teens would make better choices if they understood the values of abstinence.

Stenzel’s presentation to parents is free of charge. For more information, contact Rita Billeci at (510) 893-4711 or John Cardoza at (925) 686-5353.

Feminists for Life
have proud history

By Sharon Abercrombie
Staff writer

If Susan B. Anthony, the 19th century proponent of women’s voting rights, were alive today, she might have marched in San Francisco Jan. 22 with her co-suffragette organizer Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Then, the duo would perhaps have flown to Washington D.C. to take part in the massive March for Life rally there on Jan. 24.

Both Anthony and Stanton, you see, were feminists AND pro-life.

Surprised? Read on. Feminists for Life, the national grassroots organization founded 33 years ago in Columbus, Ohio, have compiled a web site, which lists famous women who opposed abortion. The group, in fact, was inspired to organize around Anthony and other pro-life feminists. Today, Feminists for Life continues to support the tradition.

As the web site points out, Anthony, Stanton and their colleagues did not waste words concerning the evils of abortion. Anthony credits Mary Wollstonecraft, author of “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” in 1792 for shaping her pro-life philosophy. Wollstonecraft decried the sexual exploitation of women and warned that “Nature in every thing demands respect, and those who violate her laws seldom violate them with impunity.”

In the July 8, 1869 edition of her own publication, “The Revolution,” Susan B. Anthony followed Wollstonecraft’s feminist model line of reasoning: “Guilty? Yes. No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death.”

But she didn’t let men off the hook either. “Thrice guilty is he who drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime.”

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, founder of the women’s rights movement, called abortion a form of “infanticide.” Writing in the Feb. 5, 1868 edition of “The Revolution,” Stanton said: “When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.”

Pushing for a remedy to do away with “such a crying evil,” she concluded that the beginning of the answer was in the “complete enfranchisement and elevation of women.”

Mattie Brinkerhoff, another feminist writer for “The Revolution,” predicted that abortion would continue unless there were radical changes in societal structures.
“When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong in society – so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged.”

Other feminists would continue to make similar arguments.

Victoria Woodhull, the first female presidential candidate, was a strong opponent of abortion. “The rights of children as individuals begin while yet they remain the fetus,” she said in an 1870 magazine article.

Emma Goldman, a Russian immigrant to the U.S. who became a radical feminist and anarchist, deplored the frequency of abortions. Even in 1911, they were rampant, she noted.

“The custom of procuring abortions has reached such appalling proportions in America as to be beyond belief…so great is the misery of the working classes that seventeen abortions are committed in every one hundred pregnancies,” she wrote in an article for Mother Earth.

In more recent times, Alice Paul, the author of the original Equal Rights Amendment (1923), took a pro-life stance. Later, when Ms. Magazine editor Gloria Steinem and the second wave of feminists took up the cause of the ERA once more, Paul opposed their linking the proposed amendment with abortion rights.
One colleague recalls her saying, “Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.”

Similar arguments continue to make the media rounds, but they’ve been largely ignored, points out Anne M. Maloney, a professor of philosophy at St. Catherine’s College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Maloney is a former treasurer of Feminists for Life.
But the truth of the matter, notes Maloney, is that the term “feminist” refers to anyone who is dedicated to the idea that men and women have equally valuable and valid contributions to make to the world.

The term, “pro-life” refers to the position that human life is intrinsically valued: in other words human life ought to count in society, regardless of whether it is useful, convenient or pleasant.

School for Pastoral Ministry prepares
37 lay ecclesial ministers for diocese

By Voice staff

Thirty-seven women and men graduated from the Diocese of Oakland’s School for Pastoral Ministry on Jan. 22 during a Mass at the Church of the Transfiguration in Castro Valley. Bishop Allen Vigneron served as celebrant.
They join 300 other graduates now serving as lay ecclesial ministers in the diocese.

The new graduates and their parishes are:
Rosario Aceves, St. Joachim, Hayward; Elenita and Ramon Agbayani, Holy Spirit, Fremont; Laureen Aguayo, St. Clement, Hayward; Jorge Angel, All Saints, Hayward; John and Julie Ashmore, Holy Rosary, Antioch; Linn Bautista, St. Anne, Union City; Julie Ann Calderon, St. Joachim, Hayward; Travis and Rebecca Cox, St. Raymond, Dublin.

Charles Donald, Transfiguration, Castro Valley; Jean Easterly, All Saints, Hayward; Tom Farris, St. Joseph, Alameda; Anne Marie Fourre, St. Joseph, Alameda; Margaret Govednik, Santa Maria, Orinda.
Cynthia Greely, Good Shepherd, Pittsburg; David Hahn, Holy Spirit, Berkeley; Charles Kennedy, All Saints, Hayward; Ann Kishimori, St. Joachim and St. Clement, Hayward.

Marty Leach, Transfiguration, Castro Valley; Stephen Lo, Chinese Pastoral Center, Union City; Laura Martinez, St. Anthony, Oakley; John McGhee, St. Monica, Moraga; Ruby Munoz, St. Clement, Hayward; Eldred & Orland Nethercott, Holy Spirit, Fremont; Lupe Nodal, All Saints, Hayward; Gorgonio Perez, St. Joachim, Hayward ; Ben Polando, St. Anne, Byron; Lisa Promani,St. Anne, Byron.

Byrne Sherwood, St. Monica, Moraga; Suzann Silva, St. Albert, Alameda; James Smith, St. Joachim, Hayward; Shari Sulkes, St. Anne, Byron; Janette Thompson, St. Clement, Hayward; Michael Tonsing, Corpus Christi, Piedmont.
Noe Tuason, Our Lady of Good Counsel, San Leandro ; Rosemarie Vance, St. John, San Lorenzo; Lance Vivet, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Fremont; Kathleen Vortriede, Corpus Christi, Piedmont.

The School for Pastoral Ministry began in 1995 to assist Catholic adults to learn more about their faith and to discern their gifts for ministry and how best to utilize these gifts. It offers programs in both English and Spanish.

The program meets one Saturday per month at Holy Names University in Oakland for three years, with summers off.

Classes cover theology of ministry, spirituality and prayer, Hebrew Scriptures, New Testament, Catholic faith and practice, Catholic social teaching, pastoral skills and parish life and ministry.

For more information about the diocesan School for Pastoral Ministry/Escuela de Ministerios, contact the director, Kelly Dulka, at (510) 273-4964.


Next Step Learning Center helps
teens and adults earn GED

By Voice staff

Ten years after it was established in 1994, Next Step Learning Center has found many reasons to celebrate – dedicated volunteers, hard-working students, partnerships with Oakland businesses and hundreds of young people and adults on their way to careers and college studies.

The program is under the sponsorship of the Sisters of the Holy Names.
They created the program in response to West Oakland residents, who said the community needed an educational program for teenagers and adults who had not finished high school. With the support of the Sisters, help from two foundations and the work of volunteers, Next Step opened at 2222 Curtis St. in Oakland in October 1994.

Next Step provides instruction in basic literacy, pre-GED preparation and GED instruction free of charge. It has served over 2,000 Oakland residents and helped some 300 high school dropouts earn full GED certification. It counts more than 200 East Bay residents among its volunteers and includes local businesses – such as APL Limited, Dreyers, the Port of Oakland and the Clorox Company – among its sponsors.

Staff members include Holy Names Sisters Cynthia Canning and Rosemary Delaney.

Bay Area Catholic schools
began in 1849

By Voice staff

St. Elizabeth Seton is often credited with laying the foundation for the Catholic parochial school system in the United States. In 1808 she opened a school for girls in Baltimore. The following year she established a school for poor children in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Below is a brief review of the founding the some of the Bay Area’s early Catholic schools:
1849 St. Francis parochial school is founded in San Francisco by Father Anthony Langlois.

Joseph Sadoc Alemany, O.P. comes to San Francisco as bishop of the Diocese of Monterey; Mission Dolores School opens.

Santa Clara University admits students.

Sisters of Mercy and Presentation Sisters arrive from Ireland to begin educational and medical ministries.

Saint Mary’s College High School is established in San Francisco.

Holy Names High School opens in Oakland.
The Christian Brothers assume administration of Saint Mary’s College.

St. Anthony School in Oakland begins.

The Presentation Sisters establish St. Joseph School in Berkeley.

St. Joseph Parish in Alameda establishes schools for boys and girls now known as St. Joseph Notre Dame High School.
St. Leander School begins in San Leandro

1893 St. Elizabeth School is founded in Oakland.


Achievement honors to
two Hayward students

By Voice staff

The Hayward Education Foundation recognized students from two Hayward Catholic schools last month for their outstanding accomplishments both inside and outside the classroom.

Mericien Venzon, an 8th grader at St. Bede School, and James Hartono, a 7th grader at All Saints School were honored at a Dec. 2 luncheon.
Venzon, student body president at St. Bede, has a 4.0 GPA, competes with the U.S. Figure Skating Association, and has done volunteer work in the community.

Hartono, also a straight-A student, swims competitively, plays the viola, piano and trumpet, and is in the school’s honors band and bell choir.

HEF is a business group that awards grants to both private and public schools in Hayward.


Lights, camera, action
for St. Agnes students

By Voice staff

About 60 students from Concord’s St. Agnes School recently received an on-air education in TV Production 101 at the studios of the Catholic Telemedia Network (CTN) in Menlo Park.

The students, cast as angels, elves, and a melting snowman, were there to film “St. Agnes Rocks the World,” a parody of Oscar night and the chaos on the red carpet that precedes the event. The video premiered at the school’s Christmas party.

In addition to the students in front of the camera, others worked behind the scenes in the roles of director and camera operator.

Exposing Catholic school students to the world of video production is part of CTN’s mission to enhance their educational experiences through the use of technology. St. Agnes School is one of 150 Catholic schools in the San Francisco Bay Area that subscribe for CTN services that include virtual field trips to the NASA Space Center in Houston and training for teachers.


‘Thumbelina’ on stage
at St. Mary’s College

A stage adaptation of the classic children’s story “Thumbelina” will be performed in LeFevre Theatre at St. Mary’s College on Jan. 27 at 4 p.m. The fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson tells of a girl, no bigger than the size of a thumb, whose spirit soars.

The one-hour production, developed by St. Mary’s students enrolled in a children’s theatre class, is suitable for children in grades K through 3. Tickets are $6. Call (925) 631-4670 for details.



Retreat planned
for lay ecclesial ministers

By Voice staff

Christine Straessle, director of adult faith formation at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Berkeley, is this year’s facilitator for the annual Lay Ecclesial Ministers’ retreat scheduled for April 12-14 at Villa Maria in Santa Cruz.

Straessle was trained in retreat and spiritual direction at the Center for Spiritual Development in Orange and at the Institute for Retreat and Spiritual direction through the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

She served as a spiritual director and retreat leader for over eight years in several southern California dioceses. She will be joined by Sacred Heart Father Rich Danyluk, pastor of St. Joseph Community in Alameda, for a reconciliation service and closing liturgy.

The cost is $225 for a single room or $205 for a double. If individuals register before Feb. 1, however, there is an early bird special of $210 single or $190 double. To register, contact Susan Gindy at St. Monica Church in Moraga at (925) 376-0500, or e-mail her at