The St. Augustine Parish recognizes that the Body of Christ is reflected in our people. WE are the Body of Christ. Hear from some of our parishioners below!
To learn more about registering as a parishioner, please contact the Parish Office at (510) 653-8631 for more information.
2016 Pastoral Council
Jay W. J. Mitchell, Parishioner, November 30, 2014
As we enter this new period of pastoral leadership transition, I was given this opportunity to share with you what I cherish about being a member of our parish; so that as a faith community we can remind ourselves that we have an outstanding foundation to build upon with confidence.
I love that way before I was officially a member of the parish I felt welcomed, and my naive questions about Catholicism were eagerly answered. I love that our community is one of multi-faceted diversity: economic, ethnic/racial, age, religious/denomination, education, sexual preference, spirituality. I love that this parish (individually and communally) is committed to fully and actively celebrating liturgy as a conscious expression of love, life, thanksgiving, and the New Evangelization; as opposed to rote, deadly dull, obligation. I love that there are so many smart lay people committed to being the liturgical, charitable, catechetical backbone of our efforts to love Christ and make him more widely known. I love the sacramental beauty and balance of the design, art and architecture, plus furnishings of our church building. I love the people in their interpersonal warmth, hospitality, and committed friendships.
While we have a number of great characteristics existent in this parish, we have a number of places where we can improve. We are not a perfect parish and there are opportunities for numerical, stewardship, and spiritual growth. Because of our smallish numbers, a greater percentage of our community need to offer their time, talent and treasure in our liturgy/devotions, staff, mission, charity, hospitality ministries, and material support of the parish.
I continue to be a member of this worship community, despite it not being within walking distance to our apartment. I pass several Catholic parishes on my way to St. Augustine that could be an “okay” place to practice my Catholic faith. I am not alone in commuting some or great distance to stay at this parish. I do so (and suspect the same of my fellow commuters) because I choose not to be mediocre in my faith practice, but to be an inspired Catholic as a member of this extraordinary parish.
Anne Perkins, Parishioner, 2015
In the four months I have been attending St. Augustine’s Church, I have felt so strongly the experience of Falling Upwards Into God’s Community. I went to Sunday Mass four days after we moved from St. Louis to the Bay Area, and was so warmly welcomed by Fr. William and several other church members—right away I felt the loving inclusiveness of the church, and rejoiced in the age and racial diversity I saw (one of my favorite parts of Sunday liturgy is blessing the young children who gather so eagerly at the altar).
Ten days later I began attending daily Mass or Communion Service–I delight in my sturdy 15-minute walk each way and love the intimacy of this small early-morning gathering. Encouraged by Pat Nolan, I joined the choir in mid-September, along with my beautiful grand-daughter Emma, and we have both been so welcomed by our fellow choir-members.
Recently I started coming to Susan’s Taize Prayer on Friday mornings before Mass (I love its gentle chanting and long periods of silence). For the past few weeks I have attended Linda’s Small Faith-Sharing Group which meets in the rectory every Thursday afternoon (all of us women enjoy the breadth and depth of our conversations). Now I am very much looking forward to joining Fr. Freddie’s Bible-study group on Sundays, grateful for yet another opportunity to be involved in this parish (I plan to bring my Greek New Testament with me).
Just today my fellow choir member Susie asked Emma and me to help plant daffodils in front of the rectory before choir practice this coming Wednesday!
What a glorious variety of experiences I have already had at St. Augustine’s: daily liturgy, small-group faith-sharing, singing, praying, blessing young children, and soon, planting flowers and studying Scripture! And all these new experiences have been within the context of caring, with Emma’s wonderful help, for my dear spouse Mary who has been struggling bravely with various medical problems. Thank God for how supported I have felt by the loving spirit of this community—a spirit of welcome and celebration giving me light, embracing my soul, helping me to feel so at home here at St. Augustine’s.
Peter Hayes, Pastoral Council, Sunday November 24, 2014
St. Augustine Church has been here on Alcatraz Avenue a long time. And the St. Augustine community has benefited from the leadership of many wise women and men in that time. Many of those guides have been priests on one side of the altar and many have been, and are, the women and men of the community on the other side of the altar. And behind it all is the loving hand of God.
One of my favorite scripture passages is from the first letter of John. “See what love the Father has for us that we may be called the children of God! And that is what we are!” I feel that this reading is very appropriate for the St. Augustine community. We are, first and foremost, the children of God. Deeply loved by God – as individuals and as a community.
Two years ago, when Fr. William arrived, I don’t think any of us knew quite what to expect, but in these two years William has been a loving pastoral leader who has boldly proclaimed the love of God in a way that has touched our lives and energized our community. We have been so fortunate. And now the community of St. John Vianney is so fortunate as William brings his message of “Yes” to Walnut Creek. I am now excited to meet Fr. Augustine Joseph, our new pastoral administrator. This is the next part in the story of our community, the story of God’s love for our community.
This is a strong community, called to build the Kingdom of God, right here in this neighborhood, in this part of Oakland and in this part of Berkeley. I think this community has the gift of hospitality and welcome. And as we welcome Fr. Augustine Joseph, we do so knowing that we are always in the loving presence of God.
I ask for your continued prayers, for Fr. William, for Fr. Augustine Joseph, and for our community.
Andrea Coleman, Chair, Pastoral Council, October 12, 2014
Yes, there is a Pastoral Council of St. Augustine’s! On its behalf, I hope to be speaking with you in November, as the Chair of the Council, so you can put a face to a name. However, I want to take this opportunity to tell you what we are, who we are and how we function in support of the greater mission of our parish and all those who are part of the St. Augustine family.
We are 10 individuals, including Fr. William, who exist to serve our parish in three ways: first, we must be a witness to our faith in our role, and seek to find and make disciples – that is a role each and every one of us has! Second, we are to be your “voice” – to know who you are, what is important to you as a member of our community, and to seek and hear your suggestions and ideas. Our third role is to help Fr. William plan for the present and the future in more tangible terms – what ministries do we need? What facilities do we need? What is our vision that is unique to our community, and that speaks to our hearts in this place and in this time?
Let me introduce, and thank, our Pastoral Council members. Each and every one of them cares deeply about St. Augustine’s and brings gifts to all of us.
We are: Fr. William, Andrea Coleman, Ron Cadigal, Steve Miller, Pete Hayes, Tiffany Blackburn, Linda Prara-Jenkins, Alex Gerrick, and Lori Ottolini-Geno. Jen Owens is the member of the St. Augustine team who will serve with us as a representative of the staff.
Please stay tuned – in early November we’ll make a brief report on some of our activities, dreams, and plans for St.
Augustine – and you will find most of us at the various masses trying to get to know you! If any of you wish to speak
with me, my phone number is 563 508-7070 – I am happy to speak with you.