Yesterday we celebrated the feast of St. Joseph, the patron saint of my parish in Alameda. St. Joseph, Jesus’s stepfather, is considered the protector of the Catholic Church.
Family Day was quite the event, with a packed mass, celebrated by Bishop Michael Barber. Our church has been around for 133 years since 1885!
If you ever get a chance to listen to Bishop Barber, he is such an inspiration. His main point was about creating environments where we feel a connection to Jesus. He also talked about the Bishop’s Annual Appeal and how the funds go toward Catholic services, education, and the care for sick or retired priests. He promised that whatever you give is rewarded 100-fold.
Specifically for the Oakland diocese, he talked about how he had to make the difficult decision to close St. Elizabeth high school and how he asked neighboring Catholic high schools to take in the stranded students. St. Joseph (my alma mater) took on the majority of the students.
After a lot of prayer and fundraising, Bishop Barber will be reopening St. Elizabeth as Cristo Rey, a Catholic high school serving inner-city youth. The kids will go to school four days a week and one day a week they will work a white-collar job to help offset their tuition.
The mass was a long one (90 minutes) with so many different groups involved including kids from the elementary and high schools, lots of singing, and everyone needing to get communion. Afterwards, there was a bountiful international feast with food from 12 different countries. I was so stuffed! They even had to-go boxes for people to take leftovers home.
I’m so proud to be a part of this active, diverse Catholic community.