June 30, 2017: Dominican Friars Withdrew from St. Mary Magdalen Parish

Timeline of Events:

On December 6, 2016, the Provincial Council of the Western Dominican Province wrote a letter to the parishioners of St. Mary Magdalen informing them that, after nearly 94 years of service, they would withdraw all their priests from the parish at the end of June, 2017.

On December 9, 2016, the Most Reverend Michael C. Barber, S.J., Bishop of Oakland, addressed a letter to the parishioners, promising to “make this transition as smooth as possible, with our ultimate goal being to keep St. Mary Magdalen the vibrant community of faith it is today.”

Fr. Carl Schlichte, O.P., delivered these letters in the course of his homily on Gaudete Sunday during the weekend of December 11th/12th. The event was reported in an article by Michele Jurich in the Diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Voicethe following month.

Fr. Mark Padrez, O.P., the Prior of the Western Dominican Province, held a Town Hall meeting with St. Mary Magdalen parishioners after the last two Masses of Sunday, January 15th.  He explained the process behind the Dominican Council’s decision, and promised to work with Bishop Barber to ensure our smooth transition to the status of Diocesan parish.

At the end of January, Pastor Fr. Carl Schlichte, O.P., composed a prayer for Bishop Barber (and his advisers) as they were choosing the first diocesan pastor of our parish.  The congregants of St. Mary Magdalen recited this prayer at the conclusion of every daily Mass, from the weekend of January 28th/29th through Palm Sunday.  (Fr. Carl called it a “temporary” prayer because the Parish Transition Study Team was to compose a “definitive” prayer; however, the new pastor was selected before a new prayer could be produced.)  The prayer cards were located in front of the hymnals in all the pews.

On March 29, 2017, the Parish Transition Hospitality Team met for the first time. Team members are Sharon Henthorn-Iwane, John Stewart, Mike Walmsley, Kristen Linsley, Mark De Sousa, John Storella, and Florence Wahl. They chose June 11th at the date that the parishioners will say “Farewell to the Dominicans”.  See notice:

Please see the announcement in the April 16, 2016 Bulletin about the Farewell Celebration for the Dominican Friars, enhanced by a cute cartoon-image of a dark-skninned Dominican friar.

Announcement in the April 16, 2016 Bulletin about the Farewell Celebration for the Dominican Friars

In the meantime, the Transition Study Team has also begun to meet and discuss the future of the parish.  Denis Ring moderated a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday evening, April 26th, along with Parish Pastoral Council member Patricia Hurley. The topic: “St. Mary Magdalen — Looking Forward.” Other members of the Transition Study Team include Ann Fitzgerald (chair), Paula Rice (Recording Secretary), Jim Pawlak, Chris De Rosa, Andy Canepa, Ken Willers, John StewartFlorence Wahl, and Parish Pastoral Council member Mary Hurd.

Poster text [partial]: "Town Hall Meeting for All Parishioners and School Parents! "St. Mary Magdalen - Looking Forward". Wednesday, April 26, 20176 @ 7:30 pm in the Parish Hall. Moderated by Parishioners & School Parents, Denis Ring & Trish Hurley.

Poster for the Town Hall Meeting on April 26th

On the weekend of April 22-23, 2017, Fr. Carl announced that Fr. Nicholas Glisson, currently pastor of St. Lawrence O’Toole – St. Cyril of Jerusalem, would become our new pastor, beginning July 1st, 2017.  An article about Fr. Nicholas was published in the Bulletin for the weekend of April 29-30, and repeated (at Fr. Carl’s request) in the Bulletin for the weekend of April 6-7.

On Pentecost weekend, June 3rd & 4th, our future pastor, Fr. Nick (as he likes to be called), preached at all the weekend Masses, even celebrating the Vigil Mass, as was reported in the Bulletin.

At the 11:00 Mass on the following weekend, June 11th, the parish bid farewell to 194 years of Western Dominican leadership with a celebratory Mass, followed by a dinner in the Parish and Norton Halls attended by nearly 350 people.  Here are a few photos of the dual event. Staff writer and parishioner Michele Jurich Schreck wrote a feature about it for the June 26th edition of the Catholic Voice. 

On Friday, June 30, 2017, Fr. Carl Schlichte, O.P., celebrated the final Mass of a Dominican pastor at St. Mary Magdalen church. Fifty parishioners turned out for the event (of which a few photos can be found here).

On the weekend of July 1st and 2nd, Fr. Nicholas Glisson celebrated all five Masses as the first diocesan pastor of St. Mary Magdalen. Some details are found in the Bulletin of July 9th.

On Sunday, July 9th, Fr. Nick invited all parishioners to a potluck reception in the Rectory, organized by Parish “Food Wizards” Sharon Henthorn-Iwane, Lourdes Guzman, and Elizabeth Jacob.  Photos available here.


Fr. Carl’s Homily of Gaudete Sunday (December 11th/12th, 2016)

Letter from the Provincial Council of the Western Dominican Province

Letter from the Most Reverend Michael C. Barber, S.J., Bishop of Oakland

Article by Michele Jurich in the January 9, 2017 edition of the Catholic Voice

Text of the “temporary” Prayer for Our New Pastor.

Poster (pdf) for the Town Hall Meeting on April 26, 2017.

Announcement (jpeg) for the “Farewell to the Dominicans” on June 11, 2017.

The bio of our future pastor, Fr. Nicholas Glisson, as found on the website of his current parish school, St. Lawrence O’Toole, on High Street in Oakland.

The introduction of Fr. Nicholas Glisson to our parish (compiled by Laura Morland, Bulletin Editor).  Published as Page 4 of the Bulletin of April 30, 2017.

Report on Fr. Nick’s first opportunity to preach at the Masses of Pentecost weekend.

Our then-future pastor, Fr. Nick preaching at the 11:00 a.m. Mass on Pentecost Sunday as our then-pastor, Fr. Carl Schlichte, O.P., looks on.

June 11th Farewell event: photos & Catholic Voice article by staff writer and parishioner Michele Jurich Schreck.

June 30th, 2017: Last Mass by a Dominican pastor at St. Mary Magdalen: photos.