A decision several years ago to plant vineyards to beautify vacant cemetery land and produce wine for Mass has proven to be a win-win for the diocese of Oakland and its parishes and schools.
After more than four years of negotiations, the Catholic cemeteries of the Oakland diocese have reached a 10-year agreement with Local 265 of the Service Employees International Union representing their 23 groundskeepers. The agreement includes a no-layoff provision, a buyout of the union-managed pension, and health care with no lifetime cap. It was ratified by a 22-1 vote.
Jasmine Munoz could have met Mickey Mouse at Disneyland, but the 12-year-old leukemia survivor would rather see the Vatican and meet Pope Francis.
In a joyful celebration that incorporated the many gifts of the diverse communities that make up the Oakland diocese, Bishop Michael Barber was ordained and installed as Oakland's fifth bishop May 25 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
With his brother Jesuit Fr. Stephen Barber and another brother, Kevin Barber, serving as lector, Bishop Barber, 58, became the first Jesuit to become the bishop of Oakland. He also is the first priest to be named bishop of Oakland. All previous bishops had already been ordained bishops.
The new bishop of Oakland, Calif., will assume leadership of a large, multi-cultural diocese with a $114.7 million debt and clergy who are frustrated.
Every Sunday morning for the last three years, Tim Stier, former pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Fremont, Cailf., has stood outside Oakland's Cathedral of Christ the Light to call attention to the need for what he calls "structural reform" within the church. Sometimes he is alone, holding a large sign that reads, "Include the Excluded: Women, Gay Persons, Abuse Survivors." At other times, a handful of supporters joins him in the two-hour vigil.