Parishes throughout the Diocese of Oakland are embarking on ambitious “Divine Renovation” plans to re-energize themselves and grow.

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, established three priorities to revitalize and evangelize the Church: improving the Sunday Mass experience, emphasizing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and forming the people into Missionary Disciples.

At St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Martinez, said Rev. Anthony Huong Van Le, parochial administrator, that involved “taking an assessment of where we were.”

Church records indicate in 1962, 2,000 people attended Sunday Mass. There were no Spanish- language Masses and Martinez’s population was 8,000. Now, 450-500 people attend weekend Masses, while the city population has grown to 40,000.

“We had to question, what has gone wrong,” Father Le said.

“Our church is still amazing and beautiful after 80 years,” he said, “but we realized, we’ve had no major improvement of the church in 50 years.”

So to bring the parish from preservation mode to an active missionary community, a five-year plan was adopted in December, beginning with an upgrade to the church building.

As parishioner Tom Greerty wrote in the Aug. 25 bulletin, the church “has needed to be cleaned and shined for a long time.”

During the $300,000 renovation, Masses are held in the Parish Hall.

Full story at The Catholic Voice.