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NOVEMBER 8, 2004

INSIDE
THIS ISSUE

Vatican accuses world
of dismissing ongoing
Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Religious leaders frustrated that
poverty went unnoticed in election

Vatican issues compendium
of social teachings
Saint Mary’s College
tells of pledge hoax

JustFaith: more than
part-time advocacy

Campaign for Human Development funds East Bay self-help projects
S.F. lawyer appointed to
bishops sex abuse review board

Holy Names U. offers MA
in Pastoral Ministries

JSTB to raise $16 million
for campus expansion

Information slated
on Pastoral Ministry
Catechetical Congress set
for Nov. 20 in Concord
Special Mass
to honor all veterans, Nov. 21
Chautauqua honors Mary,
Queen of Peace

HUD funds to benefit
local Catholic Charities

Appointments

Commentary:

•Pope John Paul leads the Church from the cross of illness

Obituaries

•Brother Thomas Levi, FSC
•Sister Mary Louise Titus, OP

 

 

 

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

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Activists campaign to free
imprisoned Haitian priest

By Barbara Erickson
Associate editor

Local activists with ties to Haiti are working to free a well-known Catholic priest who was arrested at his parish outside Port-au-Prince last month and confined to prison.

Mission San Jose Dominican Sister Stella Goodpasture, coordinator of peace and justice activities at St. John the Baptist Parish in El Cerrito, and Pierre Labossiere, contact person for the Haitian Pastoral Center, have been trying to publicize the arrest and detention of Father Gerard Jean-Juste since he was taken from his parish on Oct. 13. Sister Goodpasture met the priest during a visit to Haiti in September.

“We’ve been calling our own congressmen,” Sister Goodpasture said, “and trying to get them to have a congressional delegation.” It has been difficult to get results during the election campaign, she said, but Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) wrote to Secretary of State Colin Powell urging him to take action on behalf of Father Jean-Juste.

Margaret Trost of Albany is also in touch with Father Jean-Juste’s community, which she supports through her foundation, established after meeting the priest five years ago. Trost, a member of First Congregational Church of Berkeley, said his parish is calling for a national day of prayer and fasting Nov. 8 on behalf of Father Jean-Juste.

At her suggestion, Trost said, fourth through eighth grade students at Berkeley Montessori School wrote to the U.S. State Department urging action to help Father Jean-Juste. Trost has also invited her foundation donors to join the letter writing campaign, and she is planning to join Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit in coordinating a church-based effort for the priest’s release.

Bishop Gumbleton was a member of a Pax Christi USA delegation which visited the priest at his parish two weeks before his arrest. The organization is also lobbying on behalf of the priest.

Father Jean-Juste is known as a courageous spokesman for human rights and nonviolence. He co-founded the Haitian Refugee Center in Florida, which provided assistance to those fleeing Haiti during the Duvalier regime. His parish of Ste. Claire, in a destitute neighborhood of the Port-au-Prince suburb, Delmas, serves the poor with a variety of services, including a free soup kitchen.

The priest was feeding a crowd of children on Oct. 13, when armed men raided the church and dragged him out of the rectory. The men had no arrest warrant, but they claimed that he was involved in plans to commit violence against the government. Three children were injured in the raid.

The government later released a document stating that the priest was charged with disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine equaling 40 cents. Bill Quigley, a law professor at Loyola University in
New Orleans and a member of the Pax Christi delegation, said Father Jean-Juste’s lawyers “have been advised that no judge will hear his case because it is ‘too political.’”

Quigley, who is a member of the priest’s legal team, said Father Jean-Juste was cheered by news that Amnesty International, Rep. Waters, and representatives of human rights and church groups have taken up his cause.

But the priest is worried about his parishioners, Quigley said in a message posted on the Haiti Action website. “Take care of these people,” Father Jean-Juste told him. “Do not leave them hungry. Pave the roads to assist them. Fix the dangerous sewage problems.”

He went on, “Taking me away has hurt them. I thank God I was able to help them with scholarships, food, clothing, transportation and religious services. But now others must help.”

Labossiere said Father Jean-Juste was arrested as part of a crackdown on supporters of ousted President Jean Bertrand Aristide. Among them are other priests and community activists, and the prison population has swollen in recent weeks with the rash of arrests, Quigley said.

The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti has also reported that the government of Prime Minister Gerard Latortue has brought pressure to bear on its critics, raiding the offices of labor unions, human rights groups, political opponents and other activists. The institute has called for all concerned to write to the U.S. ambassador to Haiti, the U.S. State
Department and the United Nations to protest the moves.

Trost said she set up the What If? Foundation after visiting Father Jean-Juste at his parish as part of a church-sponsored delegation and hearing of his vision for feeding children in the neighborhood. “He shared how his heart broke that he could not feed them,” Trost said. “I decided to do all I could to make his vision a reality.”

Trost’s foundation supports the food program, which is run by members of Ste. Claire Parish and provides food twice a week to over 500 children. The organization also has an education fund.

After the priest’s arrest, Trost said, the food program came to a halt for two weeks, but “thanks to our courageous cooks,” it started again at the end of October.

Sister Goodpasture said she visited Haiti as an observer with a human rights delegation and attended Mass at Father Jean-Juste’s parish. “He’s a very beautiful person, gentle,” she said. “You could see the response of the people to him was beautiful. His homily was right out of the Gospel.”

Quigley said the priest is finding spiritual consolation in prison. “I love this experience,” he said. “I did not know this other world of prison. I thank God for the grace of placing me in this place. For the experience of knowing this other world, I forgive my accusers.”

Father Jean-Juste has asked that anyone wanting to help his community send donations to Ste. Claire Parish, c/o Margaret Trost. The information is available at www.whatiffoundation.org. The website also includes names and addresses for those who want to join the letter writing campaign on his behalf. For more information on the situation in Haiti, see www.haitiaction.net.


`Moral values’ topped voters’ concerns

By Kevin Eckstrom
and Michele M. Melendez
Religion News Service

WASHINGTON — Forget Iraq. Forget terrorism. Forget the economy. The biggest factor shaping people’s votes on Nov. 2 was moral values.

In nationwide exit polls, one in five voters said moral values were the most important issue in casting their votes, outpacing every other major topic.

Those “values” voters overwhelmingly went for President Bush over Sen. John Kerry, 79 percent to 18 percent.

The stronger-than-expected role of moral values signals that the nation’s values agenda is likely to be dominated by “social morality” concerns for abortion, gay marriage and stem-cell research — issues vital to Bush’s base.

The election also marks a defeat for progressive groups who tried to cast “social justice” concerns of poverty, war and the environment as moral issues.

Either way, the Rev. Jim Wallis, a self-described progressive evangelical, said neither blue states nor red states should try to claim a corner on the values market.

“The right wants to say these are the only moral values, the left wants to say only our issues are moral values,” said Wallis, convener of the Washington-based Call to Renewal anti-poverty group. “The truth is there are moral values across the spectrum.”

Just how did values become so important, especially in a race dominated by terrorist threats at home and abroad? Wallis faulted the Democrats for a self-inflicted wound on abortion.

Kerry’s party alienated values-driven voters who could have been wooed by his domestic policies but could not stomach his party’s ardent support of abortion rights.

In Ohio, for example, where moral values ranked second (behind the economy), Kerry lost among Catholics 55 percent to 44 percent, which may have been enough to swing the crucial state into Bush’s column.

Wallis said a “more sensible, reasonable and centrist” policy on abortion could have helped Kerry, especially within his own Church.

“There are millions of votes at stake in that Democratic mistake,” he said.
Conservatives, meanwhile, say the winning formula was a simple one.
Bush’s embrace of socially conservative values rallied his evangelical base, who turned out in record force for him at the polls.

Part of what got them there, at least in some states, were constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage. Voters who did not favor legal recognition for gay couples broke for Bush by a 2-1 ratio.

“I can tell you this,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Washington-based Family Research Council, a conservative group. “It was the values voter that ushered the president down the aisle for a second term.”

Values voters were not sequestered in Bush’s solid red states. Ohio was narrowly propelled into Bush’s column by the 85 percent of voters who ranked values as the second-most important issue. In Iowa, a sought-after swing state, 87 percent of values voters went for Bush. And in Wisconsin, where Kerry eeked out a close win, 82 percent of those whose decision was guided by moral values voted for President Bush.

One reason why values may have emerged as so important is because pollsters did not survey the topic four years ago. John Green, an expert on religion and politics at the University of Akron, said “moral values” can mean different things to different voters.

But typically, “When ordinary people think of morality, they think of traditional sexual morality. ... They don’t think of social justice.”

To be sure, other factors such as record-breaking voter registration and anti-war sentiment drew voters to the polls. But if values-oriented voters dominated the pack, Bush had a clear advantage because many of those values are reinforced when those same voters pack churches on Sunday mornings.

According to the exit polls, Bush won handily among frequent church-goers, and pulled even with Kerry among people who attend once a month or less. Bush drew 60 percent of weekly attenders, compared to Kerry’s 39 percent, while Kerry led Bush among non-church-goers, 64 percent to 34 percent.

Bush drew 75 percent of white evangelicals, 58 percent of Protestants and 24 percent of Jews, a slight rise from 2000.

Kerry had 41 percent of Protestants and 76 percent of Jews. The exit polls, conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for major media organizations, did not include Muslim voters.

Among the coveted Catholic vote, Bush held a slight edge nationally over Kerry, 51 percent to 48 percent. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said Kerry’s arms-length relationship with his Church came back to haunt him.

“Kerry said, `I will have a secular government, I will not allow my Catholic values to interfere with my public policy,”’ Land said. “The president said, `I’m a man of faith and my faith will impact my public policy’ and ... the American people took Bush’s vision over Kerry’s.”

While Bush’s values agenda seems mostly clear cut, the thornier question is what lies ahead for two groups who struggled to employ religious language to shape the values debate — Democrats and religious progressives.

Green, for one, said the challenge for Kerry’s party is to develop a language of faith that appeals to values-minded voters. “One of the lessons to the Democratic Party — they need to explore the social justice issues and their connections to faith,” Green said.

Wallis, who pushed Kerry to talk more openly about how his faith affects his policies, said it came as “too little, too late.” He also said the Democrats need to confront their own inner demons.

“The secular fundamentalism of the left is as much a problem as the religious fundamentalism of the right,” he said.

(Adelle M. Banks, Itir Yakar and Wangui Njuguna contributed to this report.)


 

Calif. bishops regret passage of Prop. 71

By Voice staff

Bishop Stephen Blaire, president of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops, said the bishops regret the passage of Prop. 71 authorizing $3 billion in state bonds for embryonic stem cell research.

In a statement issued hours after the proposition passed, Bishop Blaire said the Church “does not support the creation and destruction of human embryos that Prop. 71 authorizes.” He emphasized that the Church does support research using adult stem cells and cord blood stem cells.

He noted that the bishops also opposed the Proposition’s “diversion of California resources toward this speculative research,” saying it will “impoverish more promising research of other diseases” and keep monies away from “the state’s current and future civic and social welfare commitments.”

“Also of great concern to us is the fact that more than seven million people in our state have no healthcare insurance,” he said.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE



Vatican accuses world of dismissing
ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict

By Peggy Polk
Religion News Service

The Vatican has accused world leaders of dismissing the continuing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians with “a lot of peacemaking rhetoric.”

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican’s permanent observer at the United Nations, leveled the charge Nov. 1 during a debate on the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

Archbishop Migliore deplored the “unending cycle of violence and terrorism, military action and reaction, in effect a series of retaliations which begets more violence” between Israelis and Palestinians.

But, he said, the international community is virtually ignoring the crisis.
“A realistic analysis of the situation finds that there is a lot of peacemaking rhetoric but very little political will shown in the resolution of differences,” the prelate said.

Archbishop Migliore said that a share of blame for the lack of progress on the so-called road map to peace must go to “the reluctance of the international community to challenge the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships to negotiate in good faith.”

Religious leaders frustrated that
poverty went unnoticed in election

By Kevin Eckstrom
Religion News Service

WASHINGTON— Father Robert Vitillo has heard a lot of talk about swing states, blue states and red states, but the one state no one is talking about this election year is what he calls America’s “51st state”—the 36 million Americans living in poverty who, grouped together, would outrank California as the nation’s largest state.

“When we listen to what poor people tell us about their experience, time after time they talk about feeling invisible, forgotten and ignored by everyone,” said Father Vitillo, director of the anti-poverty Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

“It’s almost as if they didn’t exist.”

The priest’s frustration is shared by other religious leaders who say poverty went mostly unnoticed by both the Bush and Kerry campaigns. In an election year dominated by terrorism, Iraq and the economy, they say the “least of these” got the least amount of attention.

The Rev. Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, got so fed up he told both camps in a rare public rebuke that terrorism wasn’t the only issue facing the country.

“President Bush and Sen. Kerry both claim to be people of faith, and they can differ on doctrine, they can differ on personal morality, but it seems to me that if you read the Scriptures, what unites them is the prophetic call that God expects the people of God to stand alongside those living in poverty,” Hanson said in an interview.

In a campaign where both sides vied for the attention of religious voters, critics say both campaigns battled over piety while ignoring a mandate to care for the poor that is central to all faiths.

Poverty, Father Vitillo said, “barely warranted a passing notice or reference” from either side.

In the Catholic Church, where some questioned Kerry’s credentials because of his support of abortion rights, others say the controversy has overshadowed their Church’s rich history of social concern for the poor.

“It’s so easy to make abortion the only issue because you don’t have to spend a penny on it,” said Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister. “You don’t have to be generous, you don’t have to give alms, you don’t have to be moral. You can just be loud.”

To their credit, both campaigns addressed poverty indirectly, with Bush’s call to “unleash the armies of compassion” through his faith-based initiative, and Kerry and running mate Sen. John Edwards bemoaning the “two Americas” of the haves and have-nots.

Both campaigns said they talked about the issues Americans care most about — terrorism, the war in Iraq and the economy. They also chided the media for being consumed by decades-old war records and horse-race polling numbers.

Surveys show that voters do care about poverty, although usually less than other issues.

In a national poll commissioned by Vitillo’s office last January on the biggest “problems” facing the country, most Americans ranked poverty 13th, well behind government, the economy and terrorism. Among low-income Americans, poverty was No. 4, behind jobs, health care and education.

In a separate national survey by the anti-hunger group Bread for the World, 78 percent of people said they wanted to hear a candidate’s plan for ending poverty, while just 15 percent wanted to hear a position on gay marriage.

“As God looks at U.S. politics, what we know is that God has a special interest in what’s in this for the ‘least of these,’” said the Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, referring to Jesus’ mandate in the Gospel of Matthew.

John Fox, a tax attorney who teaches about poverty at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., said politicians have pandered to the middle class with promises of tax cuts that make it hard to think about poverty.

“Once you say to the broad middle class that you’ve been given short shrift, then it’s not hard for you to think I’ve got to look after myself before I look after somebody else,” Fox said.

As poverty rates continue to rise—to nearly 36 million Americans last year—concern seems to be growing. In Vitillo’s poll, the portion of people who were worried they might one day be poor rose from 49 percent in 2000 to 56 percent in 2003.

While some religious leaders have not made poverty a priority, some faith groups, frustrated by what they see as little attention to poverty, have responded by launching a coast-to-coast effort to raise awareness.

The Washington-based Call to Renewal sponsored a 12-city bus tour in six battleground states that urged voters to consider poverty policy on Election Day. “How a candidate deals with poverty is a religious issue,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, convener of Call to Renewal.

Vatican issues compendium
of social teachings

By Peggy Polk
Religion News Service

VATICAN CITY—In an authoritative new collection of pronouncements on social issues, the Vatican on Oct. 25 condemned wars of aggression as “immoral” and said it is “a profanation and a blasphemy” for terrorists to call themselves martyrs.

The 525-page “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” offers moral and ethical judgments concerning the family, labor, economics, politics, international relations, the environment, war and peace. It labels abortion “a horrendous crime” and rules out same-sex marriages.

Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the council, told a news conference that the compendium “contains a series of indications for the use of social doctrine in the Church’s pastoral field and in the life of Christians, the lay faithful above all.”

But Cardinal Martino and other officials refused to apply the pronouncements directly to controversies over the decision by President Bush to invade Iraq or the support by Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, for abortion rights.

Asked if the compendium’s statement that “a war of aggression is intrinsically immoral” means that the Vatican would consider the attack on Iraq “illegitimate,” Cardinal Martino referred the questioner to a statement by Pope John Paul II to Bush at a Vatican audience June 4. There, the pope said the Vatican’s opposition to the Iraq war was “unequivocal.”

The compendium upholds the “right and duty” of a state under attack to defend itself “even using the force of arms.” It reiterates the Church’s concept of a “just war” as a response of last resort to “lasting, grave and certain” damage and as an action that does not “produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.”

In an apparent reference to Iraq, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and other acts of violence done with religious justification, the compendium asserts that “no religion may tolerate terrorism and much less preach it.” The document denounces suicide bombers.

“It is a profanation and a blasphemy to declare oneself a terrorist in God’s name,” it says. “To define as ‘martyrs’ those who die while carrying out terrorist attacks distorts the concept of martyrdom, which is the witness of a person who gives himself up to death rather than deny God and his love. Martyrdom cannot be the act of a person who kills in the name of God.”

The compendium, in preparation for five years, draws on the Bible; writings by early Church fathers, saints and scholars; rulings by ecumenical councils; the messages of seven popes; and other documents issued by the Vatican over the centuries. It has a detailed 166-page index by topic.

It rejects sterilization and abortion as “morally illicit” and says that abortion “in particular is a horrendous crime and constitutes a particularly serious moral disorder.”

While asserting that “homosexual persons are to be fully respected in their human dignity,” it says that God’s plan calls for them to exercise chastity and does not justify “a right to marriage between persons of the same sex and its being considered equivalent to the family.”

“If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good,” it says.

The compendium says that traditional Church teaching does not rule out capital punishment, but it points to the growing number of countries abolishing or suspending the death penalty as proof that “cases in which it is absolutely necessary to execute the offender are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”

Saint Mary’s College tells of pledge hoax

By Barbara Erickson
Associate editor

It is all on the web site for St. Mary’s College in Moraga – the sad story of fake identity, phony signatures, a scam that left investors with empty pockets, and a science building constructed on millions in pledges that never appeared.

St. Mary’s, the victim of an elaborate fraud and its own faith in a trusted donor, has acknowledged what went wrong by publishing a full report of the hoax on the Internet. The document is a blow-by-blow account by San Francisco attorney Neal Stephens, hired by the Board of Trustees to investigate the seven-year series of events.

Officials at the college learned only this past August that some $112 million in written pledges, as well as $9 million offered verbally, were based on an elaborate scam and would never materialize. They then appointed a committee to investigate and hired Stephens to prepare the report.

The college president, Christian Brother Craig Franz, announced his resignation in September, saying the revelations would make it difficult for him to recruit support for the college.

By that time the college had already constructed the $30 million J.C. Gatehouse Science Center, counting on the pledged money to cover the costs incurred. St. Mary’s dipped into college funds, took out a loan and issued bonds to build the center and design a sports complex.

Because of the pledges, the college built a more elaborate science center than it had originally planned. It also failed to pursue other funding sources, basing its hopes on an “anonymous” donor.

The donor was Conrad Colbrandt, a Walnut Creek real estate broker who was acting on behalf of a convicted felon, John Banker, 84-year-old nephew of the co-founder of the Coldwell-Banker real estate company. Banker said he was counting on making millions in a real estate deal to buy land for fast food restaurants that would be leased to PepsiCo.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is searching for Banker, who appears to have fled the country with $9 million from more than 100 investors who bought into his fraud. PepsiCo itself had no knowledge that its name was used in the hoax.

Colbrandt was acting as broker for Banker, helping him find investors. He told St. Mary’s that he would pay on his pledges when the PepsiCo transaction was completed. He insisted on anonymity for himself and Banker, who backed up some of the pledges.

Investigators were unable to interview Colbrandt for the report. His attorney claims that he did not know that Banker’s deal with PepsiCo was a scam.

Because Banker and Colbrandt insisted on anonymity, only a handful of St. Mary’s officials knew their names, and these took Banker at his word when he said that they must never get in touch with PepsiCo except through him. If they did, he said, PepsiCo might abandon the deal to prevent speculation on its stock price.

It was a trusted donor, Ed Ageno, who paved the way for Colbrandt and Banker. Ageno had already donated funds for campus buildings, and he was one of the first investors duped by Banker in the PepsiCo scheme. He invested $2 million in the scam and loaned Banker $400,000.

When Ageno died in 1997, Colbrandt asked the man’s daughter-in-law, Barbara Ageno, a member of the Board of Trustees, to introduce him to college officials. It was that year that Colbrandt made his first pledge.

He continued to make written pledges up to June 2001, for a total of $112.56 million. The money would be delivered when the PepsiCo deal was completed, and the pledges designated funds for a variety of projects – the science center, a sports and recreation complex, a performing arts hall and a new business and economics building.

Banker and Colbrandt attended the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new science center in November 1998, construction began the following April, and the building was dedicated in October 2000. Colbrandt chose the name J.C. Gatehouse, using the initials of his and Banker’s first names. “Gatehouse” apparently represents the door to the future through science.

The two men, meanwhile, received special benefits from the college. Because of his involvement, Banker received a papal blessing; Colbrandt was assigned to the Board of Regents; the men received gifts from the science department; and Colbrandt was given special seating at 2002 and 2003 graduation ceremonies.

Colbrandt and Banker promised officials that the money was forthcoming, saying that the PepsiCo transaction was held up for a number of reasons – the company wanted to hold off on the deal for tax purposes, international transactions were delayed because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks or because of the war in Iraq, lawyers were fine tuning the details.

To assure the college of their legitimacy, the men produced phony signatures and even an impostor assuming the identity of a real PepsiCo employee, Patrick Flanagan, whose son had attended St. Mary’s. Ed Ageno had introduced the fake Flanagan to St. Mary’s, and he attended Mass with former St. Mary’s president Brother Mel Anderson.

The impostor of Flanagan said officials should only contact him through Banker. He signed forged PepsiCo lease documents and attended college events, including the formal dedication of the Gatehouse Science Center. The real Patrick Flanagan told investigators that the business card his impostor produced was fake and the logo did not match the actual company logo.

To reassure officials, Colbrandt produced a letter signed by Leonard Schutzman, a former senior vice president and treasurer of PepsiCo. The signature was a forgery, and the letter stated that “all funds necessary to close these transactions are on deposit in trust accounts at the title company.”

St. Mary’s also received lease documents over the forged signature of Robert Beritzoff, who had connections with Banker and St. Mary’s in the past but had never worked at PepsiCo.

The college ran a check on Colbrandt but never looked into the background of Banker or Flanagan. Barbara Ageno, however, became concerned when she learned that her father-in-law’s attorneys had warned him that Banker had been convicted of real estate fraud in 1980. He dismissed these concerns, and she never passed the information on to college officials. She did, however, try to telephone the real Patrick Flanagan but never made contact with him.

If more college officials had known about Banker, someone might have recognized him as a felon, but he had insisted on anonymity, saying that he didn’t want any of his five ex-wives to learn about the real estate deal and count on getting some of the money.

According to “numerous interviewees,” the college failed to investigate Banker, Colbrandt and the PepsiCo connection further, because “the inherited lore of the donors’ business connections to Ed Ageno provided them with instant credibility.”

“It is clear that there were failed opportunities by St. Mary’s officials and others to detect or disclose information that might have helped uncover the pledge scam sooner,” Nicholas Moore, chairman of the Board of Trustees, wrote in an Oct. 15 letter.

The college removed Colbrandt as a regent and accepted the resignation of Barbara Ageno as trustee, he said, adding, “It is clear that the planning and construction process lacked adequate board oversight” and sufficient communication between staff and trustees.

He continued, “Just as the report affirms that St. Mary’s was a victim of deception, it also makes clear that we could, and should, have done many things differently…The unrealized pledges represent a near-term loss of many hopes and dreams.”

The report, however, found that the college did not deviate from its own written policies. It met the standard set by the trustees in 1990, to have “all funds necessary to complete the project…committed to in writing or otherwise available” before beginning construction. The written pledges meet that standard, but the college broke with past practice by breaking ground before at least some of the money was in hand.

Now, however, the college is reviewing its policies and considering the recommendations of Neal Stephens’ report: to keep more complete records, to inform the board of trustees of donors’ names, to retrain the trustees, to adopt tighter standards and to consider renaming the J.C. Gatehouse Science Center.

JustFaith: more than part-time advocacy

By Sharon Abercrombie
Staff writer

Three years ago, Eartha Newsong didn’t imagine herself “having the guts” to publicly ask the Orinda City Council to provide a building for a winter homeless shelter. Today, however, after graduating from a 30-week intensive social justice study course, she is part of a team of church people who did just that.

JustFaith, the social justice program she joined at Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill last year, “has made a radical out of me,” the 70-year old woman proudly professes.

Though Newsong and her associates weren’t able to change strong public opposition to the use of a vacant Orinda library building as a shelter, they are not deterred. They are recruiting Contra Costa County churches and congregations to become part of a revolving shelter scheduled to begin Nov. 15, while they search for a permanent location.

Newsong is just one of many new justice advocates in the Oakland Diocese as a result of JustFaith. Christ the King, St. Isidore Parish in Danville and St. Bonaventure Parish in Concord are offering JustFaith for the fourth year. Corpus Christi in Piedmont, St. Leo in Oakland, St. Joseph in Fremont, and All Saints in Hayward began the program in mid-September after hearing Jack Jezreel, JustFaith founder, speak last summer at the Sisters of the Holy Family Motherhouse in Fremont.

To date, 280 U.S. parishes and 3,000 people have gone through the program, which stresses the Church’s social teachings and focuses on empowering and expanding parish commitment to social ministry.

Jezreel designed JustFaith in 1989 after he was hired as full-time minister of social responsibility at Church of the Epiphany in Louisville, Kentucky.

Aware that many parish social justice groups lose steam after a time, Jezreel set out to create a model which would motivate people to stay involved for the long haul.

Drawing upon his own experience as a divinity school graduate, as coordinator of an Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults program, and as a former member of an intentional community based upon the Catholic Worker model, he crafted an intensive 30-week program that included college-level readings about Catholic social teaching, hard-hitting videos, “urban plunges” and in-the-streets activism.

Its goal: personal, radical transformation to Jesus’ Gospel message. “So that working on behalf of the poor becomes more than just a part-time hobby,” Jezreel explained during a phone interview.

JustFaith went national five years ago, after coming to the notice of an official at Catholic Charities USA. Catholic Charities USA sponsors JustFaith through its division of parish social ministry, a resource office that awards grants to dioceses wanting to deepen their social justice programming and outreach.

Jezreel has spoken several times in the Oakland Diocese, the most recently in July when he addressed over 100 people from four dioceses. The workshop was co-sponsored by the Holy Family Sisters and Corpus Christi Parish in Piedmont.

JustFaith is designed for small groups – 10 to 18 — because of the deep sharing, and intensive interaction that take place. Individuals quickly begin building a sense of solidarity, said Raph Martin, Corpus Christi’s facilitator.

Martin and other facilitators don’t have to agonize over lesson plans for the weekly sessions. Jezreel provides a complete script with reading lists, discussion formats and where to access videos. “All you have to do is follow directions,” notes Joan MacIntyre, who is participating in St. Leo’s group.

The curriculum is anything but dry. Jezreel changes the focus yearly, adding new videos and books which challenge and provoke, often triggering highly charged emotional reactions, note several participants and facilitators.

Janet Glubtich, a member of St. Joan of Arc Parish, who went through JustFaith last year at St. Isidore Parish, recalls the night her group viewed “When Did I See You Hungry?” a video on world hunger narrated by Catholic actor Martin Sheen.

“When it was over, there was dead silence in the room,” said Glubtich.
Refreshments were included in every session, but that particular time “there was no way we could eat anything,” she said.

“Some of the videos move you to tears,” adds Bob Slyker, a member of St. Isidore’s group last year. Slyker said JustFaith has made him “aware of local needs.” He is now involved in homeless issues and volunteers with the Hope Conference, a St. Vincent de Paul Society-sponsored project which gives one-time grants to people with housing, food and utility emergencies.

After serving as a facilitator for Just Faith at Christ the King Parish, Esther Garrotto also looks at the world through different eyes. Instead of standing apart from the poor, “I started looking at our similarities instead of our differences,” she said.

Last summer when Garrotto vacationed in Hawaii she remembered the hotel employee who used to polish the brass banisters at a hotel she often visited. But this time, Garrotto noticed that the banisters had been replaced with low maintenance varieties that didn’t need constant polishing. “Suddenly I found myself wondering what happened to the person who had had the polishing job.”

Bur deep connections and high emotional intensity do not necessarily mean that everyone in a JustFaith group agrees one hundred percent on all the issues. Bob Slyker worked for an oil company before he retired and lived in a Third World country for a few years.

During group discussions, he took issue with JustFaith materials that depicted agribusiness in Mexico as the “bad guy” all of the time. While some American firms do disrupt local economies by hiring people to grow broccoli instead of corn, thus forcing them to buy their staple food from America at higher prices, he said, there are also instances when giving farmers the opportunity to grow food crops instead of cocaine, is beneficial. “I’m a liberal but not extreme.”

Slyker acknowledged that he gained a deeper awareness of corporate greed when his group studied the problem of U.S. clothing manufacturers setting up sweat shops outside the country.

Another participant, Michael Manning said his heart “caught fire” after being exposed to the JustFaith materials at Christ the King in 2002. He resigned his job as an insurance adjuster to join the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. He spent a year on the staff of a non-profit community center in Atlanta, Georgia, working with low income families on budgeting and health issues.

Manning completed his stint in August and is now searching for another job in Atlanta’s non-profit sector. Some of the initial missionary fervor which drew him south has dissipated, but Manning says if he had it to do all over again, he would.

JustFaith’s greatest strength is informing Catholics about the Church’s espousal of social justice that “they’re not exposed to at Masses,” said Manning. “All this information makes me think that finally, after 2000 years, the Church is getting it right.”

Cass Candell has similar thoughts. He wishes JustFaith’s messages could go mainstream, especially during weekend liturgies. “Some priests are missing the boat by not preaching on the social encyclicals and the Church’s message about taking care of the poor and less fortunate. Why? Because caring for the poor is our responsibility as Christians. It’s the justification for our existence,” he said.

Candell and his wife, Marlene, are members of Holy Spirit Parish/Newman Hall in Berkeley and have a history of social activism dating back to the 1960’s. They decided to participate in Corpus Christi’s JustFaith program after meeting Jack Jezreel last summer. “He’s a powerful speaker,” said Candell, board president of the Multicultural Institute, a social justice collaborative sponsored by the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley.

Since September, the Candells have been energized by the readings and videos they’d discovered. Cass Candell is especially drawn to the book, “Doing FaithJustice,” by former Catholic Charities USA director, Father Fred Kammer.
“I’ve got four kids, and three have drifted away from the Church,” said Candell. “I feel if they were made aware of this tremendous body of social teachings, they would begin to respect the religion they were brought up in.” Candell says he’s planning to give each of his offspring a copy of Kammer’s book for Christmas.


JustFaith founder testifies to power
of personal transformation

By Sharon Abercrombie
Staff writer

Jack Jezreel’s work as founder and teacher of JustFaith keeps him on the road at least three times a month, introducing parishes throughout the country to his intensive nine-month social justice immersion program.

But when he’s back in Louisville, Kentucky, Jezreel doesn’t take a break from his ministry. JustFaith goes with him to the family dinner table.

“We have an ongoing conversation about priorities …why we wear older clothes, drive older cars. We help the kids see why these values have some legitimacy,” he said during a phone interview.

Maggie, his wife, recently signed on as a participant in a parish JustFaith group one more time. His oldest daughter Fielding, 17, has visited Haiti twice and volunteers regularly at a local homeless shelter. Chey, 16, spent two weeks last summer working with Louisville’s poor and homeless. Hannah, 12, is still deciding how she wants to practice JustFaith.

It is probably safe to say that social activism is embedded in the kids’ genes. Their parents once lived at an intentional community in Colorado Springs for five years while Jack Jezreel directed RCIA and social justice groups in several parishes.

The intentional community was based on the Catholic Worker lifestyle, “and integrated prayer, simple living and faith all in the same package,” said Jezreel. When he and Maggie moved to Kentucky, they took the three-pronged package with them, passing its concepts on to to their daughters.

So, years later, when their dad decided to devote his life to organic farming, the kids didn’t bat a collective eye, even when he moved them into a straw bale house with no electricity. During this stint as a farmer, Jezreel directed a community-supported agricultural enterprise sponsored by the Sisters of Loretto in Nerinxx, Kentucky, a religious community located 40 miles from Louisville.

Although he wanted to buy an organic farm, one factor stood in the way: no money. So Jezreel opted for practicality. He reluctantly returned to parish ministry work – and accepted a position as full-time director of social responsibility at Church of the Epiphany in Louisville’s East End with the plan to save for a down payment on land of his own.

Jezreel recalls being “intrigued” that a parish would be willing to hire a full-time director of parish social ministry, So he went to work creating a social justice program worthy of this cutting edge church.

As he struggled to put together a workable model he hoped would keep people engaged, Jezreel drew from his own life-work experiences, and wove them into a 30-week project. “A fellow staff member told me that I had just planned the most demanding parish program ever offered,” he said. But to their astonishment 12 people signed up. For the next seven years, people kept joining.

Since JustFaith went national five years ago, the numbers have reached into the thousands.
Jack Jezreel’s dream of owning a farm has come true, too. But he doesn’t work the land as much as he had anticipated. He is too busy working at the parish level – a vehicle he had at one time dismissed as “an ineffective tool for social transformation.” Now Jezreel knows differently. “The parish is the most potent possibility that I know.”

 

 

 

 

Campaign for Human Development
funds East Bay self-help projects

By Voice Staff

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development, a domestic anti-poverty social justice program sponsored by the U.S. Catholic bishops, has awarded $228,000 in grants to 16 self-help groups in Alameda and Contra Costa counties this year

Seven of the projects are recipients of national grants and nine projects received local grants, said Maurine Behrend, CCHD director for the Oakland Diocese. The monies come from the yearly CCHD collection taken up in parishes across the United States the weekend before Thanksgiving. This year the collection will take place on Nov. 20-21.

In 2002 Catholics from the Oakland Diocese gave a total of $89,909. One-fourth of the funds remain in the diocese to fund local projects. The remaining three-fourths go into a national pool for distribution to projects throughout the country.

East Bay groups receiving national grants this year are:
PICO California, $35,000. The grant will assistant local organizations in developing local and statewide strategies to help working families.

St. Mary’s Senior Center, $30,000. Some of the funds will be used to help St. Mary’s Senior Advocates for Hope and Justice sharpen their organizing skills so they can speak out on issues that directly affect the quality of their lives. The remaining funds will be used to build a coalition to prevent cuts in healthcare/human services in the California budget.

California Partnership for Working Families, $28,000. Funds will help build a statewide movement to change the current economic development process so that it focuses on good jobs and community benefits instead of profits and sales tax income.

Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action, $25,000. The money will be used in leadership training for youth at Berkeley High School and member congregations to address ongoing community problems.

Congregations Organizing for Renewal, $25,000. COR will use the funds to conduct in-depth research with housing experts and public officials at state, county and local levels, to identify new sources of revenue for affordable housing.

Contra Costa Interfaith Community Organizations, $25,000. Grant will train 100 community leaders to resolve issues around the preservation and development of affordable housing in Concord, El Cerrito, Richmond, Brentwood and Pittsburg.

East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, $20,000. Funds will be used to train low-wage workers in leadership skills to bring about economic justice for themselves and others.
Local grant recipients are:

Central American Refugee Committee, $5,000, to train staff, volunteers and parents at Elmhurst School in Oakland in leadership skills for community organizing.

Centro Legal de La Raza, $5,000, to provide leadership training for low-income day laborers in Oakland’s Fruitvale District so they can press for economic and human rights for all workers.

Community Recovery Services, $5,000, to provide peer training for youth so they can create a Crime Prevention Report Card to improve the quality of life in their Oakland neighborhoods.

Ecumenical Association for Housing, Contra Costa, $2,500, to support the Youth Civic Engagement Project, which educates 18- to 24-year-old Richmond youth on the importance of voting and becoming involved in the political process.

Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights, $5,000, to educate the Burmese community of Fremont about their rights, responsibilities and opportunities.

Jubilee Restoration, $5,000, to train homeless youth in leadership skills and to develop a peer mediation program and advisory board for homeless and at-risk youth in West Berkeley.

Raan Kan Cultural & Educational Center, $2,500, to assist the Kmhmu community in Richmond in gaining leadership skills to forge relationships between families and community organizations

LIFETIME, $5,000, to help CalWORKS parents lead a statewide campaign to expand low-income parents’ opportunities for higher education/training and living wage jobs.

United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County, $5,000, to survey Oakland Housing Authority tenants and develop strategies to hold OHA accountable to its elderly and disabled tenants.

The United States Conference of Catholic bishops founded CCHD in 1969 to address the root causes of poverty in America through promotion and support of community-controlled, self-help organizations and through education. Its pastoral strategy is empowerment of the poor.

S.F. lawyer appointed
to bishops sex abuse review board

By Voice staff

A San Francisco attorney is one of five new appointees to the U.S. bishops’ National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Belleville Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, named Joseph Russoniello last month to a three-year term on the NRB. Russoniello is senior counsel in the San Francisco office of Cooley Godward, LLP, and dean of the San Francisco Law School.

Russoniello’s law practice has concentrated on the representation of clients who are targets of criminal investigations. He also assists in the development of internal control and security programs for business and institutional clients.

From 1982 to 1990, he served as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California. He personally prosecuted Larry Layton of the People’s Temple for his part in the murder of Congressman Leo Ryan in Jonestown and has tried several other high profile criminal and civil cases.

He currently serves as a legal analyst for KTVU-TV channel 2 and has appeared as a legal commentator on several other national and local television and radio stations.

Other appointees are: Patricia O’Donnell Ewers, an educational consultant who served as the first woman president of Pace University in New York City; Dr. Angelo Giardino, vice president of clinical affairs at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia; Ralph Lancaster, Jr., a Portland, Maine attorney who has specialized in civil and criminal litigation in state and federal courts throughout the country; and Judge Michael Merz, a United States Magistrate Judge from Dayton, Ohio.

“As a gifted member of the church, your concern for the protection of children and for strengthening our response to that protection is both gratifying and admirable,” Bishop Gregory told the new members.

Bishop Gregory also named Nicholas Cafardi, a current board member, to the chairman position through June 2005. Cafardi is dean of the Duquesne University Law School in Pittsburgh.

The all-lay board was established by the U. S. bishops in June 2002 to provide an independent review of U.S. Catholic dioceses in their dealings with sexually abusive priests and their victims. The board also monitors the policies and programs set up by dioceses to create a safe environment for children.

Bishop Gregory said that the NRB has been “vitally important in assisting the bishops of the United States in dealing with the crisis of the sexual abuse of minors within the Church.”
The new appointees fill the positions opened up by the departure of several board members: Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, the first NRB chair; Justice Anne Burke of the Illinois Court of Appeals and interim chair of the NRM; Robert Bennett, a Washington, D.C. attorney; William Burleigh chair of the board and former CEO of the E.U. Scripps Compnay; and the Hon. Leon Panetta, director of the Leon and Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy in Monterey.

Holy Names University
offers MA in
Pastoral Ministries

By Voice staff

Holy Names University in Oakland is now accepting students for its Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministries program, beginning in January.

The students will form a cohort that follows an identical course of studies that integrates theological and Scripture studies with spiritual formation and development of ministerial skills.

Holy Names Sister Delores Rashford, chair of the program, said it is one of the first in the country to embody the new competency-based standards for pastoral ministers developed by the National Association for Lay Ministry and approved by the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops.

The program is a partnership between the university and the Oakland Diocese and is designed to meet the educational needs of full-time lay ministers.

Classes will meet every Monday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Further information is available at www.hnu.edu (click on Academic Program, Pastoral Ministries) or contact Sister Delores Rashford at (510) 436-1121 or rashford@hnu.edu.

 

JSTB to raise $16 million
for campus expansion

By Voice staff

The Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley has initiated its first capital campaign to raise $16 million for major expansion projects.

Jesuit Father Joseph Daoust, JSTB president, said $14 million has already been secured and the school hopes to raise the additional $2 million in the next 12 months.

Ten U.S. Jesuit provinces have pledged to match the funds, replacing the annual subsidies they have traditionally given the school.

The funds will support: creation of a new chapel and renovated academic center, endowments for student scholarships and faculty and staff development, endowed faculty chairs, and endowments for spiritual formation of students.

Father Daoust said he hopes the renovated campus and new chapel will be completed by Fall 2005 in time for the school’ls 70th anniversary celebrations.
JSTB prepares Jesuits for the priesthood and lay men and women for professional ministry within the Church.

It is one of three Catholic theological schools affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

Information slated
on Pastoral Ministry

By Voice staff

The diocesan School for Pastoral Ministry is holding four information sessions this month for persons interested in enrolling in the three-year program which begins Jan. 29.

The program is designed for lay ministers, catechists and Catholic school teachers, and men interested in the permanent diaconate. Classes on theology, church teachings, and ministerial skills are held one Saturday each month at Holy Names University.

The information sessions will be held:
Nov. 9 (7p.m. - 8 p.m.) – St. Elizabeth Seton Church (Room A), Pleasanton
Nov. 13 (11a.m. - noon) -- Holy Names University (Brennan Hall), Oakland
Nov. 16 (7 p.m. - 8 p.m.) – St. Mary Church (conference room), Walnut Creek
Nov. 18 (7 p.m. - 8 p.m. – All Saints Church (auditorium) Hayward

Further information available from Mary Lue Daniels, registrar, at (510) 273-4997.

 

Catechetical Congress set for Nov. 20
in Concord

By Voice staff

The annual diocesan Catechetical Congress, scheduled for Nov. 20 at Carondelet High School in Concord, will feature workshops on Sacred Scripture, a keynote address by Bishop Allen Vigneron, and speakers known for their work in family spirituality, youth ministry, and “whole community” catechesis.

Father Warren Holleran, a professor of Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, will facilitate an all-day workshop on the Gospel of Matthew. Over the past three decades he has given numerous Scriptural courses, workshops and retreats for laity, religious and clergy in the United States, Canada and abroad. He is the author of “The Synoptic Gethsemane: A Critical Study” and various other articles.

Father Martin Tran, a former professor of Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s, will facilitate the same workshop on the Gospel of Matthew, but in Vietnamese. He is currently serving as parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Santa Ana.

In addition, the Congress will feature catechist and writer Bill Huebsch, author of “Whole Community Catechesis in Plain English.” He will give a two-part session on faith formation that includes youth, adults and children.

Kathleen O’Connell Chesto, a leader of parish retreats and a speaker at catechetical congresses throughout the United States and Canada, will present two one-hour sessions on family prayer and ritual.

Brian Singer Towns, author of “The Catholic Youth Bible,” and senior editor at St. Mary’s Press, will offer two sessions for catechists working with Catholic youth.
There will also be other workshops in English and Spanish on catechetics, liturgy, culture, youth ministry, Scripture, family spirituality and social justice.

Congress 2004 will provide free shuttle buses from the Pleasant Hill BART station to Carondelet High from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and returning to BART from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Additional information is available online at: www.oakdiocese.org/pastoral/catechetics/Congress2004. Or by phone at (510) 267-8370.

Brochures for the Congress are now available in parishes. For information call Melissa Hyatt at (510) 267-8370. For information on the programs in Spanish, call Jessy Lira at (510) 267-8352.

 

Chautauqua honors Mary,
Queen of Peace

Malra Fatai carries a statue of Mary, Queen of the Heart of the Tongan People.

By Voice staff

Hundreds of Catholics gathered at St. Anne Church in Union City to honor Mary during the 12th annual Chautauqua celebration, Oct. 9. This year’s theme was Mary, Lead Us to Peace.

During a procession prior to Mass, members of the diocesan ethnic pastoral centers carried images of Mary revered by their communities while singing Marian hymns.

Bishop Allen Vigneron and Bishop John Cummins concelebrated the liturgy. Following Mass, the communities provided cultural entertainment and sold a variety of ethnic foods.

The diocesan pastoral centers – African American, Asian Indian, Brazilian, Chinese, Filipino, Haitian, Indonesian, Latino, Kmhmu, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Tongan and Vietnamese – sponsors Chautauqua each year to celebrate the ethnic diversity in the Oakland Diocese.

A member of the Indonesian community holds a statue of Mary.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, is held aloft by members of the Hispanic Pastoral Center.

Korean Catholics sing their praise of Mary during the Chautauqua procession.

 

 

CHRIS DUFFEY PHOTOS

Morris Soublet Jr. proudly displays an image of Mary as an African woman.

HUD funds to benefit
local Catholic Charities

By Voice staff

With funds from a $1.97 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Catholic Charities of the East Bay will double its efforts to help low income residents meet their housing needs.

The housing counseling program, run out of the Concord Family Service Center, will receive about $45,000 of the grant money, according to Solomon Belette, CCEB director of programs. This is more than twice the $20,000 the program received in HUD money last year, he said. The funds come through Catholic Charities USA, which distributes the HUD grant to programs nationwide.

With the increase in funds, Belette said, CCEB will be able to hire a full-time case manager to advise residents on housing issues. In the past, it has had a half-time staff member devoted to the program. Funding from the CCEB annual appeal and the City of Concord supplement the HUD funds for staffing.

 

 

Communications post
Father Mark Wiesner is the new communications director for the Oakland Diocese. He will act as official spokesperson and guide media relations. He will continue as parochial administrator at St. Augustine Parish in Oakland. Father Wiesner has a degree in communications from UC Davis and is founder of the Ruach Players, a traveling theatre company doing value-based productions.

CCEB interim director
Deacon Thomas McGowan has been named interim director of Catholic Charities of the East Bay, replacing Barbara Terrazas who has left the post after 10 years. McGowan will continue as director of the services and administration division of the Oakland Diocese.

Special Mass to honor all veterans, Nov. 21

By Voice staff

The Lamorinda Deanery is sponsoring a special Mass to honor all veterans on Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. at St. Monica Church, 1001 Camino Pablo in Moraga.

Organizers say the purpose is to salute all veterans, whether living or deceased, and their family members. Branches of service include the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine during World Wars One and Two, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and any UN-sponsored actions in which the United States has played a role.

Although the primary focus will be on veterans from the three sponsoring parishes — Santa Maria in Orinda, St. Perpetua in Lafayette, and St. Monica – all veterans are encouraged to participate.

For further information contact Vince Anzilotti at (925)-376-5675, or Bill Dick at (925) 376-3462.