Monday, March 13, 2006

San Jose's Silver Jubilee

The Silicon Valley diocese marks its 25th anniversary this weekend:
Joyful voices in several languages filled the ornate Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, as Catholics from all over Santa Clara County gathered last week to welcome more than 100 candidates for baptism into their faith.

Engineers and laborers, sales reps and homemakers, they arrived after work on a chilly Tuesday evening, dressed in Sunday suits and frocks, bluejeans, flannel shirts and the occasional flowing ao dai gown. Inside the downtown San Jose cathedral, they sang hymns and joined in prayers that shifted seamlessly from English to Spanish to Vietnamese.

``It's the spirit of the community. It's kind of cool,'' said Raoul Rossel, whose family usually worships at St. Maria Goretti parish in southeast San Jose. ``Even though we don't always understand all the words, it's like we're all in this community together.''...

Population shifts and strained budgets have forced Catholic leaders in some major cities, including San Francisco, to close and consolidate parishes. But church leaders say Silicon Valley's Catholic population has doubled in the past 25 years, fueled in part by an increase in Latino and Asian residents who tend to be Catholic in higher numbers than other groups.