Getting to Know Some of the Religious Communities in the Diocese of...

Getting to Know Some of the Religious Communities in the Diocese of San Jose

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By Liz Sullivan

Like patches on a quilt, each is unique, yet sharing a common thread: such are the religious communities of women and men in the Diocese of San Jose.

In addition to the Diocesan priests and deacons who live and work here, there are 29 religious communities of women and 13 of men who either live or work in the Diocese of San Jose.

Among the many communities ministering in the Diocese are: Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest; Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Canon Raphael Ueda, along with a seminarian, are the representatives of the Institute of Christ the King and works at Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory at Five Wounds Church in San Jose.

Here’s a description of his congregation and the ministry they are serving in the Diocese.

“The priests of the Institute of Christ the King, a society of apostolic life of Pontifical Right, have since 2013 been entrusted by Bishop Patrick McGrath to staff the Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory at Five Wounds Church, which serves as the center of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite for the diocese,” said Canon Ueda. “We offer a Mass and confessions every weekday and offer three Masses on Sundays. Our community is a decent size of about 200 people, but I believe it is very alive and prayerful. To foster the necessary harmony between the spiritual, social and cultural life of the faithful, we offer catechism classes for children, teenagers’ groups, a young adult group, and the Sacred Heart Society for lay Catholics. 

We also have regular coffee social hours and monthly Birthday celebration on Sundays. Silicon Valley is known for its diversity of cultures, and the people of the Oratory come from all over the diocese and are composed of very diverse ethnicities.” 

For the 11 Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in the Diocese of San Jose, the connection to the Santa Clara Valley goes back more than 150 years to the early days of California.

The order of Institute of Brothers of the Christian Schools has three religious men who call San Jose home.

According to Brother Chris Patiño, FSC, Director of Vocation Ministry, District of San Francisco New Orleans:

“The De La Salle Christian Brothers are a religious order composed solely of vowed Religious Brothers dedicated to the “human and Christian education of the young, especially the poor,” he said.  “With more than 3,000 Brothers worldwide, the Christian Brothers are the largest order of religious brothers in the Catholic Church.”

Brother Patiño continued: “The Lasallian Catholic educational mission is present in 78 countries around the world, with Brothers and their Lasallian Lay Partners serving more than 1 million young people.  Founded in 1680 by Saint John Baptist de La Salle, Patron Saint of Teachers, these vowed religious men live their consecration in community and through their evangelizing educational mission.  In the East Bay/San Jose area, the Brothers and Lasallian mission are present at the following educational ministries: Cristo Rey De La Salle East Bay High School (Oakland), De La Salle High School (Concord), Saint Mary’s College High School (Berkeley), Saint Mary’s College of California (Moraga), and La Salle Vietnam House (San Jose).”

On February 16, the Diocese held its annual Celebration of Consecrated Life Mass at Bellarmine College Prep. More than 40 men and women religious celebrating jubilees were honored by Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, Bishop Oscar Cantú and Bishop Carlos Sevilla.

Stay tuned for the March 5 issue of The Valley Catholic for pictures and a report from the Mass.