Monday, October 17, 2005

Welcome to the Fall 2005 Edition

In looking out my window, I see the beginning of fall - one of my favorite seasons. I've had the rain gutters cleaned out and replaced the wreath on my door with one covered with gold and red leaves and pumpkins.

There is a respite now before we head into the dark days of winter and the news lately has been dark as well. We have seen the terrible pictures and heard the devastating stories from those suffering in the gulf region of the United States, and now, we hear of the devastation in Latin America following Hurricane Stan with flooding and mudslides and the earthquake in Pakistan. And, yet, in spite of all the suffering there are also scenes of courage and resilience. New Orleans is slowly beginning to emerge from the flood waters. Signs of life are arising from the darkness.

In our area, as throughout the world, the response has been remarkable. In San Jose, Habitat for Humanity volunteers are joining others in the gulf region to begin the rebuilding effort. PACT, a local faith-based organizing group, has sent organizers to the area to assist other groups in insuring that the poor are not left out of the rebuilding process. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is supporting projects that are committed to helping people create permanent solutions to the problem of poverty and is working with local agencies to make sure that the poor have a voice and a role in the longer-term rebuilding effort. Catholic Charities is working tirelessly to help with the relief efforts, supported by the generous donations of Catholics across the United States.

In our diocese, the work of justice continues. There many opportunities for involvement. Habitat for Humanity has begun a new housing project in San Jose and is looking for volunteers to support the effort. The Justice for Immigrants Campaign has been launched in our diocese to work towards comprehensive immigration reform. A meeting will be held on November 3rd to learn more about the local effort and to discover ways to participate. There a number of voter education forums being offered on propositions critical to families and workers. The diocese is co-sponsoring an informative conference on domestic violence. There are many ways in which we can be informed and become involved. I invite you to look at the calendar of upcoming events and some of the articles which follow to learn more about them.

In this issue...

Upcoming Events - Fall and Beyond

Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22

"The Eucharist: The Joy of Belonging to God/La Eucarista: La Alegria de Pertenecer a Dios," Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove St., San Francisco. This faith formation conference is co-sponsored by the Diocese of San Jose, the Diocese of Monterey, and the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Join hundreds of catechists, liturgists, and lay leaders and come away inspired and renewed by the nationally-known speakers, the music, the prayer and the many exhibits. For registration material call 408-983-0127 or download a brochure and schedule at $30/day at the door registration. Save the date for 2006! Faith Formation Conference, November 10 & 11, 2006, Santa Clara Convention Center.

Saturday, October 22

Citizenship Day, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, Most Holy Trinity, 2040 Nassau Dr., San Jose. Participants will receive a FREE orientation on how to become a U.S. citizen, including requirements, concerns, and benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen. For more information and schedules in English/Spanish, call 408-453-3017 or in English/Vietnamese, call 408-453-3013. Workshops will be offered in eight languages! Sponsored by the Santa Clara County Citizenship Collaborative.

Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23

Amnesty International Weekend to End the Use of the Death Penalty. Join members of the faith community at two ecumenical prayer services: Saturday, October 22, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm, Lytton Plaza, Emerson & University Ave., Palo Alto and Sunday, October 23, 3:00 pm, St. James Park, 1st and St. James, San Jose. See also information for the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty.

Sunday, October 23 - World Mission Sunday

World Mission Sunday, organized by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith is a day set aside for Catholics worldwide to recommit themselves to the Church's missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice.

Sunday, October 23

Traditions of Peace: Gathering in the Sukkah to Break Fast Together, 5:30 - 7:30 pm, Congregation Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Ave., Palo Alto. Under the Sukkah (harvest hut), our Jewish sisters and brothers will share their tradition of Sukkot and provide a break the fast for Muslims and a light meal for everyone else. RSVP if possible to or 650-948-7498. Sponsored by the Multifaith Voices for Peace. Free and open to everyone.

Wednesday, October 26

Candlelight Vigil for Domestic Violence Awareness Month to Remember the Suffering of Victims, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm, Campbell City Hall, Orchard Green, 70 N. First St., Campbell. Contact Julie Lind at 408-282-8920 for more information.

Wednesday, October 26

Special Election 2005 Forum, 7:00 - 9:15 pm, Avila Hall, Santa Teresa Church, 794 Calero Ave., San Jose. Sponsored by the Santa Teresa Social Justice Committee and the League of Women Voters. For more information, contact John Love at or Dave Krenek at

Thursday, October 27

"Why Should People of Faith Care About the Special Election?," A Voter Education Forum, 7:00 pm, Holy Cross Church, 580 E. Jackson St., San Jose. In Spanish and English. Protect our Schools, Health Care, and Public Safety. Learn how to make a difference. For more information, call Carol Been 408-269-7872 x 577. For Spanish, contact Elly 408-269-7872 x562. Sponsored by the Interfaith Council on Religion, Race, Economic and Social Justice.

Thursday, October 27

A Voter Education forum/Un Foro Educativo Para Votantes, Sobre la Eleccion Especial del 2005 en California, 6:15 - 7:45 pm, Biblioteca Latino Americana, 921 S. 1st St., San Jose. Sponsored by SIREN (Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network). For more information, call 408-928-2434 or 408-928-2433. In Spanish and English. For a Voter's Guide and Palm Cards in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, or Vietnamese, see

Tuesday, November 1, Solemnity of All Saints

Wednesday, November 2

"Teaching the Spirit of Mission Ad Gentes: Continuing Pentecost Today," 9:30 am - 2:30 pm, Holy Redeemer Center, 8945 Golf Links Rd., Oakland. Join Bishop Daniel Walsh, chairman of the USCCB Committee on World Mission, at a Mission Symposium to discuss the recent challenge by the U.S. Bishops to renew the missionary zeal that on Pentecost propelled the community into the streets to proclaim the Good News. How do we bring an effective missionary spirit into our diocesan and parish ministries and programs? Lunch provided. $10 donation requested. Click here: for more register on line.

Thursday, November 3

Kick-Off Meeting for the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform: Justice for Immigrants, 6:00 - 7:30 pm, St. Julie Billiart Church, 366 St. Julie Dr., San Jose. The meeting will be held in the church. Find out how you can be part of this important national campaign in the Diocese of San Jose. Pizza will be provided.

Friday, November 4

Embracing Families in Need: A Day of Training for the Faith Community, 7:00 am - 5:00 pm, Center for Employment Training, 701 Vine St., San Jose. The goal of the training is to support the continuing efforts of faith communities to prevent family violence and respond effectively to families experiencing violence. Cost $20 includes full day of training, continental breakfast, lunch, resource material, parking and door prizes. Sponsored by the Santa Clara County Superior Court, the City of San Jose, the Diocese of San Jose, and other members of the faith community and domestic violence groups. For questions or scholarship information, contact Marian Brown at 408-808-7007.

Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5

"Spirituality, Discipleship & Justice," 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Villa Holy Names, 82 Prospect Ave., Los Gatos. A course sponsored by Spirit Site, the Catholic spirituality Center in collaboration with the Loyola Pastoral Life Center of Loyola University in New Orleans. Participants will reflect on the challenges associated with linking Christian spirituality and discipleship with the Gospel call to justice, action, and peacemaking. Fee $135 non-credit/$195 credit. See on-line registration at or contact Rosemarie Peoples at 408-778-3595 or

Tuesday, November 8 - Election Day. REMEMBER TO VOTE!

Friday, November 11 - Veteran's Day - Diocesan Offices Closed

Saturday, November 12

3rd Annual Multi-Cultural Dinner and Entertainment, 6 PM, Queen of Apostles Church, 4911 Moorpark Ave., San Jose, in the Community Center. There will be food from over 20 countries and entertainment from Sudan, Mexico, Costa Rica, Vietnam, and China. Last year it was sold out so get your tickets after Mass on the weekends of Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 or call the Rectory for information at 408-253-7560. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children 5 thru 12. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Sunday, November 20 - Solemnity of Christ the King, Last Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, November 20 - CCHD Collection Sunday

Annual collection date for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. CCHD works to alleviate the root causes of poverty by supporting local self-help groups and by through transformative education. Speakers are available. Contact Linda Batton at 408-983-0158 or

Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25 - Thanksgiving Holidays, Diocesan Offices Closed

Sunday, November 27 - First Sunday in Advent, Beginning of Jubilee Year for the Diocese of San Jose

Tuesday, November 29 - Death of Dorothy Day, 1980

Thursday, December 1 - World AIDS Awareness Day

For liturgical and informational HIV/AIDS resources, see the website for National Catholic AIDS Network, Information will also be available soon on the CRS Website, You can follow the HIV/AIDS work of CRS on the Africa Campaign at

Friday, December 2 - Deaths of Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and Dorothy Donovan, 1980

Monday, December 5

Layette Celebration, 7:00 pm, Sacred Heart Church, 13716 Saratoga Ave., Saratoga. Contributions of new or gently used infant clothing (sizes 0-3 months) are accepted all year. For more information, contact Lucile Bianco at 408-730-4672. Drop-off of clothing for the celebration begins at 6:30 pm. The Layette ministry in the diocese provides layettes to needy families through public health nurses. This year, they will be celebrating their 50th anniversary. The evening includes entertainment and delicious cookies.

Thursday, December 8 - Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Friday, December 9

Vespers for Our Lady of Guadalupe, 6:00 pm, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 2020 E. San Antonio St., San Jose.

Saturday, December 10 - International Human Rights Day, Death of Thomas Merton, 1968

Monday, December 12 - Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Sunday, December 25 - Feast of the Nativity of the Lord

Friday, December 30 - Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

Monday, December 26 - Monday, January 2 - Diocesan Offices Closed for Holidays

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Hurricane Katrina and Catholic Social Teaching

Note: An excerpt from the Statement of the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, September 14, 2005. All Rights Reserved.

A Way Forward: Catholic Social Teaching
Beyond the stunning outpouring of money, food and water, volunteers and welcome to thousands upon thousands of displaced persons, the Catholic community has something more to contribute to the ongoing response and recovery. This is a set of principles, a moral framework to assess what has happened and to guide what must be done. Along with others of every faith and background, we offer our Catholic tradition of teaching about the challenges we now must face together. These principles offer moral direction and guidance for continuing response, recovery and rebuilding:

The Life and Dignity of Every Human Person:
Human lives have been destroyed and human dignity has been assaulted. At times respect for life and dignity was lost in the midst of this disaster. Our faith and what we have seen call us to insist that every aspect of recovery, every plan for rebuilding should be measured by how it protects human life and how it threatens or enhances the dignity of all those touched by this catastrophe, especially the weakest and most vulnerable.

The Option for the Poor and Vulnerable:
Our faith insists that the poor and vulnerable should have first claim on our common efforts. They cannot be left behind once again. We should assess this disaster, the response, and the future recovery for how it touches the lives of the least among us (Mt. 25). In light of what we have seen and heard, this is a time for constructive dialogue to address how poverty and race divide our society and challenge our nation.

Katrina demonstrates the wisdom of this traditional principle, which specifies the appropriate responsibilities and limitations of institutions in their common duty to protect human life and dignity. It warns against larger institutions overwhelming smaller ones but calls on larger institutions to act when smaller ones are unable or unwilling. Where families cannot meet their own needs, the larger community is called to assist them. When community institutions cannot or will not act, local and state governments have obligations. Where they cannot respond adequately, the national government must act to safeguard human life, dignity and rights. The continuing and future response should reflect these realities so the challenges ahead do not once again overwhelm the institutions of our society.

Katrina is teaching us we are all members of one human family. “Loving our neighbor” has new meaning in the aftermath of Katrina. Wherever we live, what ever we have or don’t have, whatever our race or background, we are all God’s children and are worthy of respect and care.

Family, Community and Participation:
The storm has torn apart families and communities. The recovery and renewal must unite families and restore communities, not just as physical realities, but as fundamental moral building blocks for the future. “Participation” of those most affected must be at the center of the recovery and planning for the future.

Human Rights and Responsibilities:
Our social tradition begins with the right to life and extends to those rights which make life truly human – faith and family, work and education, housing and health care. Restoring institutions of faith, work, education and health care and providing shelter and decent housing are not just signs of generosity; they are required by justice.

Care for Creation:
The renewal and recovery which is to come must seek to acknowledge and repair the damage the storm and the floods have done to God’s creation along the Gulf Coast. The recovery efforts to come should seek to protect and safeguard that environment in the future.

Dignity of Works and Rights of Workers:
In the aftermath of the storm, people not only lost their homes, they lost their work and their ability to support their families. Recovery requires more than food, water, and a place to live, but also a chance to make a contribution, to have decent work, wages and working conditions.

Common Good:
The storm brought out the best and worst—heroic efforts of service and abandonment of duty, sacrifice for others and evil acts of opportunism. Renewal and recovery should not become a battle over blame, or a contest of interests, or an opportunity for the well connected to overwhelm the weak. After Katrina, we have all learned once again that we are in this together and a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

For Christians, this is not just a work of humanitarian outreach. When we help those whom this storm has ripped from their homes and livelihoods, we are helping Jesus in our midst. We cannot be the Church of Jesus Christ unless we reach out in persistent and powerful ways to serve “the least of these.” (Matt. 25) Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, bringing drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger are not simply acts of generosity, but acts of faith. These traditional works of mercy are not options, but obligations for each of us and the entire Catholic community.

Kick-Off Meeting for "Justice for Immigrants" Campaign - November 3

On Thursday, November 3 a Kick-Off Meeting for the CCIR (Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform) Program in the Diocese of San Jose will be held from 6:00 to 7:30 at St. Julie Billiart Church, 366 St. Julie Dr., San Jose. We will be meeting in the church. At this meeting, you will learn more about the Campaign and ways in which you and others throughout the diocese can participate. Pizza will be provided.

To learn more about the national campaign, visit the website at For more information about the local effort, contact Fr. Jon Pedigo at 408-629-3030 or Linda Batton at 408-983-0158 or

CRS Responds to Natural Disasters in Latin America and South Asia

Central America & Mexico:
On October 1, Tropical Storm Stan made landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico bringing with it heavy rains resulting in severe flooding and landslides throughout El Salvador, Guatemala, southern Mexico, Nicaragua and Honduras.

El Salvador has been the hardest hit as it was also impacted by the eruption of the Santa Ana volcano and earthquakes. The current death toll is 69 and 72,000 people have been evacuated. In Guatemala, the rains caused massive mudslides and flooding along the Pacific coast and in the Southwest region. The death toll currently stands at 652 with hundreds more missing and 107,000 people have been evacuated. In Mexico, approximately 2.2 million people have been affected with 23 confirmed deaths. In Nicaragua and Honduras, the damage has not been as extensive but more than 1,500 people have been affected with damage to their homes and crops.

CRS has been working with Caritas and local partners to provide emergency relief including blankets, mattresses, hygiene kits, food and potable water and shelter.

South Asia:
On October 8, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake was recorded in the mountains of Pakistani Kashmir. Massive destruction has been reported and many villages have been completely destroyed. Current estimates place the death toll at between 35,000 and 40,000 but the numbers are expected to rise as rescuers reach additional areas that are not yet accessible.

The impact was also felt in Indian Kashmir with 1,300 confirmed deaths and 5,800 reported injured. Dozens of villages, home to 12,000 people remain inaccessible, so it is expected that the death toll will rise. About 30,000 homes have been destroyed or significantly damaged.

CRS has committed $2 million to the relief efforts in Pakistan and India. In the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, CRS staff were on the ground at the time of the earthquake and were among the first conducting assessments as well as providing blankets, tarps, and water-cans.

  • Continue to keep all people affected by this crisis in your prayers.
  • CRS is seeking cash donations that will be used to provide immediate relief and to assist in the long-term rehabilitation of the areas. Contributions can be sent to: Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21203-7090. Checks should be clearly marked either "Latin America Severe Weather" or "South Asia Earthquake."
  • To keep abreast of the most current information about relief efforts, visit

"Break the Cycle of Poverty - Build Community" - Support CCHD

Nearly 36 million Americans--one in eight--live in poverty. For 35 years, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), has helped to bring permanent solutions to poverty in communities across our country. CCHD works effectively with poor and low-income people to build solidarity, foster self-sufficiency, and strengthen communities.

In the Diocese of San Jose this year, seven local self-help community organizing groups received grants totaling $90,000.

On Sunday, November 20, 2005 all parishes in the diocese will take up an annual collection in support of CCHD. This collection is the primary source of funds for CCHD.

For materials to support this collection and for detailed information about poverty in America and CCHD's nationwide efforts, visit the websites at and For information on the local activities of CCHD or to obtain a speaker for the collection weekend, contact Linda Batton at 408-983-0158 or

California Uninsured Help Line Offers Referrals and Free Materials

Current information on health care coverage options is available through The Foundation for Health Care Coverage Education at 800-234-1317. This referral service offers public and private health insurance eligibility information in order to help more people access coverage. Information specialists are available 24 hours per day and seven days a week and Spanish-speaking specialists are available during regular business hours.

Also available are very useful booklets including "The Health Care Options Matrix" and "Finding Health Care Coverage in California." To order free samples, call 800-234-1317. For large quantities for your parish or organization, contact the Foundation at 650-762-1928 or email

This is great stuff!

For more information, see

Saturday, October 15, 2005

"The Good News Through CRS" - An El Salvador Experience

This article and reflection is generosly contributed by Judy Swazey, Liturgy Director at St. Martin of Tours Parish. Judy traveled in June this year with a CRS delegation to El Salvador.

Note: On October 1, tropical storm Stan made landfall
on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico bringing with it heavy rains resulting in severe flooding and landslides. El Salvador has been the hardest hit as it was also impacted by the eruption of the Santa Ana volcano and earthquakes. CRS is responding with disaster relief. For current information and to see how to offer help, see the website at CRS stands ready to offer direct assistance following this disaster and also to continue the redevelopment efforts that Judy describes in her article.

"Our second collection today will be for Catholic Relief Services." For the majority of Catholics, all they know about Catholic Relief Services is that it is one of the many second collections in church. They may also remember that it was one of the leading relief organizations after the tsunami in Southeast Asia. However, they may not know that CRS was so effective in these kinds of crisis because it has been working with impoverished communities throughout the world for a long time.

In June, I had the opportunity to travel to El Salvador with a delegation from California and saw, first hand, the work of Catholic Relief Services. In a country where most of the people live in poverty, CRS is working with the poorest of the poor and the outcasts of El Salvador.

We met with a group of women in the countryside, who were so poor that they borrowed chairs and a table for their meeting with us because they didn't have such "luxuries" in their homes. These women sold tortillas and hand-made clothes on the streets of San Salvador but were able to receive a loan through Enlace, a CRS-sponsored organization that has recently become independent. Although they had nothing they could present as collateral they were able to receive a "solidarity loan" as a group. Since it is in the interest of the group to see that each person pays their share, they all work together in achieving their goals.

In Aguilares, we met with the mayor, Chief of Police, and gang members who were participating in a CRS program of "restorative justice," so that the youth could become productive members of the community once again by doing community projects to help repair the damage they had formerly done. It was interesting to see how each group viewed the other, and we were surprised at how young these "notorious" gang members seemed to be.

We met with community "animators" in Soyopango, who were doing education and accompaniment work with people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. They were also engaged in "peace building" as they gathered together people who had been on opposing sides during the war to begin working together for the good of their community. They trained people in the ways of peaceful resolution of conflict, which one woman said had been a life-altering experience after having spent years as a guerilla during the armed conflict. We were grateful that the people of this war-torn nation have the legacy of Oscar Romero, who spoke out against violence, upon which they can build.

We met with a group working with immigration in the city (CARACEN) and a coffee cooperative in the country (COMUS) and all of these organizations extended their work beyond any one single cause into all areas of the community's life, such as education, human rights, health care, empowerment, etc. In the face of overwhelming obstacles, we saw people working with great strength, courage, intelligence and hope to better the life of the community. People who had little in material possessions but much in spirit, shared them with us wherever we went.

We spent an afternoon listening to the stories of Don Lito, a wise old catechist, who told us how the campesinos had been empowered when the Jesuits first taught them to read the Bible, and they learned that the poor were loved by God and had dignity. The authorities perceived this radical word of God as a threat to their authority and being a catechist was considered a subversive activity, so many catechists were killed. These stories helped us to remember the power of scripture and of our shared faith.

At the beginning of our immersion experience, we had met with Dean Brackley, S.J., who had come to at the University of Central America in 1989 following the deaths of the six Jesuits there, along with their housekeeper and her daughter. He told us to "let them break your hearts," referring to the people of El Salvador, and they did. Our lives have been changed by the experience.

These are just some examples of the people in El Salvador that CRS is empowering, and the scope of their work extends throughout the world. At a time when many people are discouraged or apathetic about the Catholic Church, we can all be proud of the work that Catholic Relief Services is doing in the world. For more information about CRS, check out their website at They also offer Action Alerts and many ways to get involved at

World AIDS Awareness Day - December 1 2005

World AIDS Day was established on December 1, 1988 by the World Health Organization to raise awareness about the pandemic's impact on communities around the world. This observance is also a way to express solidarity for people in different regions of the world suffering the effects of the disease. The 2005 theme is Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.

Today the global picture on HIV/AIDS is bleak: in the two decades since the epidemic began, over 20 million people around the world have died. In 2004, 39 million people were living with HIV/AIDS. Sub-Saharan Africa is hardest hit, with 25 million people living with this disease. Other regions including Asia and Latin America are seeing a rapid increase in new infections. Women are infected at about the same rate as men. They account for nearly half of those living with the disease around the world. On the up side, since 2001, global funding for HIV/AIDS has increased from roughly US$ 2.1 billion to an estimated US$ 6.1 billion in 2004.

This year join people around the world in planning World AIDS Day activities at your school, parish or diocese to spread the word about the devastating impact of this disease on individuals and communities. CRS will soon unveil a World AIDS Day web portal with resources you can use to plan your events, including a fact sheet, prayer resources, lesson plans, Church statements and profiles on the HIV/AIDS situation in four countries. Information to download these resources will be available in the next issue of the Advocate.

You may also keep up with the work of CRS on HIV/ AIDS in Africa by visiting CRS Africa Campaign website. Information is also available on the website of the National Catholic AIDS Network, The next national NCAN Conference will be on July 12-16, 2006 at Loyola University in Chicago.

United Farmworks Union Mark 40th Anniversary of Delano Grape Strike

The United Farmworkers of America recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike. In a letter to Arturo Rodriguez, President of the Union, Bishop Mc Grath said:

On behalf of the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of San Jose, I would like to convey my congratulations and best wishes to the United Farm Workers of America AFL-CIO on the 40th Anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike. Called by Cesar Chavez, this strike was the beginning of the union that has been so successful in its efforts to attain justice, equality, and decent working conditions for the farm workers in California.
Because it was here in San Jose that Cesar Chavez learned the principles of Catholic social teaching as they apply to unions, and then developed his organizational skills to a level of expertise, this anniversary celebration is especially meaningful to me...With every best wish and kind regard...Patrick J. McGrath, Bishop of San Jose.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Immersion Trips Available for High School Students

The Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry is sponsoring three Immersion trips to Tijuana Mexico and to St. Anthony's in San Francisco. These exciting programs are geared to Sophomores and Juniors in High School and will take place during the summer of 2006. Young people will do meaningful volunteer work, learn about the social implications of the Gospel and will interact with people of diverse cultures. This link to the Youth and Young Adult web page contains more information and applications for this program. Simply copy and paste this address in your browser.

Young Adult Native American Experience

The Office of Youth and Young Adults and the Missons Office of the Diocese are sponsoring a Native American Experience for young adults.

Join young adults (ages 21-39+) from various parishes in the Diocese of San Jose to serve, learn and experience Native American culture on the White Mountain, Hopi and Navajo Indian Reservations.

For more information, contact Steve Herrera at or 408-266-2287 or download the application by clicking on the link below.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

"Building Houses and Changing Lives"

Submitted by David McCreath, Faith Relations Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity

People of faith know they are stewards of God’s creation, and that stewardship includes the communities in which they live. Their faith and commitment to justice prompts them to make provision for people who cannot participate fully in human communities, whether from economic distress, physical handicap, or other living situation. By participating in Silicon Valley Habitat for Humanity, congregations of Santa Clara County provide resources for one of the most basic of human needs—decent, safe, affordable housing.

Habitat for Humanity International and its regional affiliates (such as SVHFH) understand that providing affordable housing is a ministry of faith. Building houses becomes a way of changing lives; children do better in school, adults gain new self esteem as they learn skills of home ownership, and families become neighbors.

Silicon Valley Habitat for Humanity is a major agency in Santa Clara County working to eliminate substandard housing since 1986. The Board of Directors of SVHFH has taken the bold step of planning to build thirty new and restored houses in the next three years. That represents approximately six million dollars of investment by corporations, public agencies, and voluntary contributions. In addition, many hours of volunteer time spent in construction will be necessary.

Congregations in Santa Clara County will have many opportunities to join people of all faiths to meet some of the needs for affordable housing. We will need mission funds to add to corporate and public contributions. We will need volunteers for a wide range of tasks, including construction, family support, office work, landscaping, and preparing lunches and snacks for the construction crews. Persons of all ages, from youngest to oldest, can join this important community ministry, some folks working at the build sites and some folks providing other support.

For more information David McCreath, Faith Relations Coordinator, is available to answer questions, to assist in planning Habitat mission projects for all age groups, and to present programs outlining the work of Silicon Valley Habitat for Humanity and efforts to increase affordable housing in Santa Clara County. David is a pastor with experience in ecumenical and social ministries and congregational education. He may be reached at the SVHFH office, and by writing

513 Valley Way + Milpitas, California 95035 + 408-942-6444

Habitat for Humanity Builds Houses in San Jose


Silicon Valley Habitat for Humanity is an agency committed to providing safe, decent, affordable housing for low income families in Santa Clara County. The strategic plan of the agency includes thirty new housing units in the next three years. The following are the projects under way during Fall, 2005.

Murphy Avenue, San Jose: The first two of three sites on Murphy Avenue are now under construction. These two sites will have a total of five houses. The third site, with construction scheduled to begin in 2006, will include six houses. With a total of eleven houses, the Murphy Avenue project is the largest group of houses attempted by Silicon Valley Habitat for Humanity. Construction began in August, 2005, anticipating that the houses will be under roof by the time the winter rains begin. Volunteer groups are scheduled for these sites through November.

Julian Street and 13th Street: These two Victorian houses have been divided into rooming houses. They originally sat where the new San Jose City Hall has been built. When the city cleared the land, these houses were moved, and Silicon Valley Habitat for Humanity was asked to renovate them as condominiums.

The renovation began in October, 2005. All of the extra partitions, along with plumbing and electrical systems, will be removed, and the houses will be restored to their full Victorian appearance. The interiors will be renovated to include two condominiums in each building. The work will include extensive de-construction, then building in contemporary services and appliances.

Volunteering for construction: Silicon Valley Habitat for Humanity is able to provide housing at low cost because of the dedication, time, and energy of volunteers. There is a constant need for regular volunteers working one to three days each week, and day volunteers—groups and individuals who occasionally work for a day on the build sites.

Day volunteers are on site from 8:30am until 4:00pm, with a half-hour for lunch. Silicon Valley Habitat for Humanity provides tools and equipment. Young people between the ages of 14 and 17 are welcome on the site when accompanied by an adult.

For more information regarding construction or other volunteer possibilities, contact Mary Lou Ireland, 408-942-6444, or

Monday, October 10, 2005

Justice Symposium II Scheduled for June 24, 2006

Mark Your Calendars! The next Justice Symposium will be held on June 24, 2006 at Santa Clara University in Benson Hall. We will have inspiring speakers, music and prayer, informative workshops, and plenty of resources and exhibit tables. More information will follow.

If you would like to help with this event, contact Linda Batton at 408-983-0158 or

Citizenship Day/Dia de Ciudadania

This event has been a tradition in Santa Clara County. Last year, over 2,000 people attended and learned valuable information on becoming a U.S. Citizen. All are welcome.

Saturday, October 22, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, at Most Holy Trinity Church, 2040 Nassau Dr., San Jose. Participants will receive a FREE orientation on how to become a U.S. citizen, including requirements, concerns and benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen. For more information and schedules in English/Spanish 408-453-3017 or in English/Vietnamese 408-453-3013. The Santa Clara Citizenship Collaborative sponsors this event. Please come. Do not miss this event!

Sábado 22 de octubre, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, Iglesia de Santísima Trinidad, 2040 Nassau Dr., San Jose. Participantes recibirán una orientación GRATIS, sobre como obtener la ciudadanía de los Estados Unidos, incluyendo los requisitos, preocupaciones y beneficios de ser ciudadanos. Para mas información y horarios de orientaciones llame al 408-453-3017. Evento partrocinado por el Colaborativo de Ciudadanía del Condado de Santa Clara. ¡Venga, no falte, tome ventaja!

Justice Speakers' Forum to Be Offered at Ascension Parish in 2006

Beginning in January and concluding in June, a monthly Justice Speakers' Forum will be held at Ascension Parish in Saratoga. Topics will center on the justice teachings of Pope John Paul II. Included in the series will be panel discussions and informational tables. Watch for further announcements as plans are developed and dates are established.

This activity is being coordinated by Fr. Charlie Dougherty at Ascension. If you can help with this effort, contact him at or 408-725-3939. This is a wonderful opportunity for Just Faith alums to get involved!

"Spirituality, Discipleship & Justice" - New Course at Spirit Site

A new course, "Spirituality, Discipleship & Justice" is being offered by Spirit Site, the Catholic Spirituality Center in collaboration with Loyola Pastoral Life Center of Loyola University on Friday, November 4th and Saturday, November 5th from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm at Villa Holy Names at 82 Prospect Ave., Los Gatos.

Participants will reflect on the challenges associated with linking Christian spirituality and discipleship with the gospel call to justice, action, and peacemaking. Essential Church teachings and Church documents on personal and social justice and Christian social responsibility--particularly to the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed, will be examined and discussed. Practical implications for daily spiritual life, plus models for individual and corporate social action will be considered.

The instructor will be Rev. Gilberto Cavasos-Gonzalez, OFM, S.T.D. Rev. Cavasos-Gonzalez is an Assistant Professor of Spirituality at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

To register or for more information, contact Rosemarie Peoples at or 408-778-3595. $135/non-credit, $145/credit.

Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Domestic Violence

The month of October has been designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Join Assemblymember Rebecca Cohn and members of the community for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of those who have suffered from domestic violence on Wednesday, October 26th from 6:00 - 7:30 pm at Campbell City Hall, Orchard Green, 70 N. First St., Campbell. For more information contact Julie Lind at 408-282-8920.

Domestic Violence Resources

Note: These references are published for information only and are not necessarily recommendations.

  • Asian Women's Home - (Mandarin, Cambodian, Korean, Filipino, Farsi, Vietnamese) 408-975-2739. Maitri (South Asian languages) 888-862-4874.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline - 800-799-SAFE,
  • Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence - (English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and other languages) 408-279-2962,
  • Support Network for Battered Women - (English and Spanish) 800-572-2782, The Spanish line: Centro de Apoyo Para las Mujeres Maltratadas, 800-57-BASTA.

"Embracing Families in Need" - Diocese Co-Sponsors Conference on Family Violence

Note: The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has resources in Spanish and English for pastoral ministers on domestic violence; including a booklet, "When I Call for Help" with the accompanying card and also prayers. See Copies can be ordered at 800-235-8722.

"Embracing Families in Need: A Day of Training for the Faith Community" will be offered on Friday, November 4 from 7:00 am - 5:00 pm at the Center for Employment Training, 701 Vine St., San Jose.

The goal of the training is to support the continuing efforts of faith communities to prevent family violence and respond effectively to families experiencing violence. Participants will find out how faith communities, advocacy community, and the Court System can increase collaboration with outreach efforts, education, support services and spiritual guidance.

Workshops include: Importance of Taking Action, Domestic Violence, The Batterer and the Faith Community, The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children and Interventions That Help, Teen Dating Abuse and Solutions, Domestic Violence and Abuse in Later Life, Mandated Reporting: What Happens After You Report?, and Family Violence and the Courts.

Co-Sponsored by the Diocese of San Jose, Santa Clara County Superior Court, City of San Jose, the Interfaith Council on Religion, Race, Economic and Social Justice as well as other faith communities and domestic violence organizations.

Conference Cost $20 includes full day of training, continental breakfast, lunch, resource material, parking and door prizes.

Send registration fee to Judge Sharon Chatman, Santa Clara Superior Court, 191 N. First St., San Jose, CA 95110, Attn: Embracing Families. Make check payable to Building Peaceful Families. For questions or scholarship information, contact Marian Brown at 408-808-7007.

California Catholic Bishops Issue Statement in Support of Proposition 73

On September 1, 2005, the California Catholic Bishops issued a statement in support of Proposition 73: Parental Notification Prior to Termination of a Minor's Pregnancy.

This proposed law would require notification of the parent(s) or guardian(s) of a minor 48 hours before she obtains an abortion, unless a judge determines that such notification places the minor in danger.

In their statement, the bishops say, "We hold that both the young woman's welfare and society's common good are best served when family communication is promoted in public policy...we strongly encourage Catholics in our state to offer their full support in promoting Proposition 73 as good public policy, and in exercising their citizenship in voting for it in November."

For the full statement and parish resources such as bulletin announcements, homily notes, talking points, and a Backgrounder with essential information, see the website for the California Catholic Conference, Materials are available in Spanish and English.

California Voters Consider 8 Propositions in Special Election

On Tuesday, November 8, California voters will be asked to consider 8 propositions in the Special Election.

The California Catholic Conference has prepared a brief summary and report of the arguments for and against the propositions on the November ballot. They have also included quotations from relevant Catholic Social Teaching on each proposition. The report is downloadable from their website at The Human Concerns Commission of the Diocese of San Jose is in full support of this document.

In addition, several informative voter forums are being held in the community and in parishes:

Wednesday, October 26
7:00 - 9:15 pm
Santa Teresa Church, Avila Hall
794 Calero Ave., San Jose
Sponsored by Santa Teresa Social Justice Committee and the League of Women Voters

Thursday, October 27
7:00 pm/In Spanish and English
Holy Cross Church
580 E. Jackson St., San Jose
Sponsored by the Interfaith Council for Religion, Race, Economic and Social Justice

Thursday, October 27
6:15 - 7:45 pm/Spanish and English
Biblioteca Latino Americana
921 S. 1st St., San Jose
Sponsored by SIREN (Service, Immigrant Rights and Education Network)
For a Voter's Guide and Palm Cards in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, or Vietnamese, see