Fundraiser dinner event on Saturday, April 21

The following flyer arrived in the mail the last week of March from St. Margaret Mary parish in the Oakland diocese.

This dinner is in support of the altar boys’ planned 2013 pilgrimage to Rome! They will present an Italian family-style dinner.

For centuries, the tradition of boys serving at the altar has been a rich source of vocations to the priesthood. Father Stan Zak will lead the pilgrimage to Rome in what will be primarily a spiritual journey, as the boys go to the heart of the Church to attend a papal audience, tour the North American Pontifical College, and to serve at Masses in some of the most important basilicas and churches of Rome. 

This pilgrimage promises a rich educational and cultural experience for all participants, as they witness first-hand the grandeur of the art, architecture, and history of our Church. All roads lead to Rome.

Altar service at the little parish of St. Margaret Mary is a thriving ministry. Over 55 boys from over 25 families—ranging in age from 5 to 18 years—serve the English Masses, and both Latin Masses in the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form.

Complementing the high quality music, organ, chant, and polyphony offered at each Mass, the large and enthusiastic corps of altar boys help make the parish a liturgical jewel of the Diocese of Oakland.

The pastor and parishioners of St. Margaret Mary Church extend a warm invitation to all to attend this special dinner and support the priceless ministry of our altar boys.

Where: Father Kozina Hall, St. Margaret Mary Church, 1219 Excelsior Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610.

When: Saturday,


Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 3:36 AM By jjc
There are two Latin masses on Sunday at St. MM. Each mass has about 20 altar boys. The parish has 5 choirs. When you add the number in the choir to the number of altar boys at these masses, the total exceeds 50. This total far exceeds lay participation at most churches, even though St. MM dose not use extraordinary ministers for communion. Ironically this church achieves the VII goal of increased lay participation by increased traditionalism. The number of altar boys is relatively high because of the home schooling ministry at St.MM. The parish does not have a school, but has a lot of families with four or five children. In these families, you see the future of our faith.

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 7:20 AM By Gabriel Espinosa 
God has truly blessed this parish for their fealty.

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 7:21 AM By MacDonald
What a great thing — especially the fact that this parish includes older boys also. I wish them a wonderful pilgrimage! (In some parishes, altar boys are given the idea that they aren’t “needed” after they graduate from the 8th grade, so it’s very cool that St. Margaret Mary doesn’t make this same mistake.)

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 7:34 AM By JMJ
I pray that each and every one of those lads will be touched by the Holy Spirit to become Priests. What an adventure for them to be able to meet with a very Holy Man, Pope Benedict. God bless them all and every one that helps them on this wonderful journey. +JMJ+

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 8:38 AM By Ski Ven
I wish to wish everyone a Merry Easter ahead of time.

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 8:43 AM By Gramps
The dinner is on April 21st (the date seems cut off above). The cost per ticket for the gourmet Italian meal is $40. Ticket purchases and donations can be directed to the parish. More info is at

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 9:10 AM By Leonard
That reminds me when being an altar boy was something special and was a way to allow the boys to think about the priesthood as a vocation.

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 9:33 AM By St. Christopher
Great to have altar boys. It is hoped that many decided to become priests. But, why are there NO masses at St. MM?

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 10:43 AM By pete
Wait a few years and I bet you see a vocation or two come out of this.

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 11:00 AM By Maryanne Leonard
How wonderful to read of this traditionally oriented church offering such meaningful opportunities to its boys. Is there anything made available to help the girls develop a sense of worthiness to serve God in special ways and enjoy such memorable opportunities as traveling to Rome as young Catholics as well?

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 12:54 PM By Clinton
May Our Lord Bless these young men of St. Margaret Mary. I pray that the indult allowing ‘altar girls’ is soon eliminated. It is a novelty that should have never been allowed. Bring back altar boys, and we will see an increase in the priesthood.

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 1:22 PM By Joni
There are Ordinary and Extraordinary Masses at St. Margaret Mary’s. We have the 5PM Ordinary Form Vigil in English at 5PM. On Sundays we have the Ordinary Form in English at 8:30AM , Ordinary Form sung in Latin at 10:30AM and a Extraordinary Form at 12:30. My girls sing in the children’s choir and my older ones sing in the regular choir at teh 10:30 AM Mass. The Extraordinary Mass also has a children’s choir as well. Our choirs are wonderful!

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 1:29 PM By JLS
A little insight on the virtue of altar boys is that the extra activity on the altar serves to deflect and diffuse any focus on the priest, and it serves also as a visible connection between priest and people in the pews. This may help some raise their hearts and minds above the symbolism of the TLM into the spiritual realm they point to, kind of a transition from visual to audible to intellectual to the point where man can go no further without Communion with God. For this same reason, the novus ordo type liturgy falls flat on its face.

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 2:18 PM By gk
St. Christopher…because they are following Rome and the Holy Father with both forms of the Mass…with the Ordinary Form available both in English and in Latin. This is the future of the Church. Come and see for yourself.

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 3:37 PM By Joni
The RSVP info got cut from the article. Please RSVP via email to or by mail to St. Margaret Mary’s Church – Altar Boys, 1219 Excelsior Ave.,Oakland, CA 94610 Tickets are $40 per person.

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 5:14 PM By Abeca Christian
This is lovely, come to San Diego and we will surely support you too!

Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2012 9:32 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
I love home cooked Italian food. Wish I was near there. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher