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March 10, 2010 > Dedication in memory of Helen Everitt

Dedication in memory of Helen Everitt

By Simon Wong

Parishioners of St. Anne Catholic Church, Union City, members of the Everitt family, friends and supporters and Mayor Mark Green gathered for the Dedication of the St. Anne Payer Garden and the Holy Family Memorial Garden in memory of Helen Everitt on Saturday, March 6, 2010.

Fr. Geoffrey Baraan (parish priest), Fr. Rick Boyle (parochial vicar) and Bishop John Cummins (Bishop Emeritus of Oakland) conducted an hour-long Mass, with standing-room only for late-comers, until 6 p.m. before dedicating the religious landscapes. The Knights of Columbus Union City St. Anne Council 8627 were also in attendance.

Helen Everitt worshipped at St. Anne for many years and was respected as a stalwart of the church community and benefactor. Fellow parishioners fondly remember her kindness, support and generosity. She bestowed a gift of $100,000 upon the church.

Two years ago, Fr. Baraan received a letter from one of Helen Everitt's nephews broaching the subject of a memorial in her honor. Discussion led to the design and approval of two gardens at the church.

The ecclesiastical statuary was commissioned in China and the Dedication was originally scheduled for last year's Feast of the Holy Family, which usually falls on the Sunday after Christmas and celebrates the family unit and the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Unfortunately, delays prevented this but the granite figures eventually arrived safely.

The St. Anne Prayer Garden on Dyer Street proudly displays an effigy of St. Anne, mother of Mary, atop a polished granite plinth from Bras & Mattos Monuments, Hayward. She is accompanied by the Virgin Child at her knee.

The Holy Family Memorial Garden, on the other side of the church building, contains three statues - Jesus of Nazareth, his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and foster-father, St. Joseph, as a family. Bras and Mattos produced the polished granite marker.

"I met Helen Everitt many times before I became a priest here. Helen loved this church; she loved this community; she served with love," stated Fr. Baraan.

"The gardens, landscaped with walled flowerbeds, are places where people can gather more often to pray or gather as families for a moment's contemplation and relaxation. They will change the landscape of Union City. The statue of St. Anne clearly identifies our building as a church and also honors her. She watches over our community," he added.

"This is one of our community's proudest moments. Be proud, celebrate your faith, celebrate your life. Thanks be to God. We must thank the Bishop and the Everitt family for being with us today," concluded Fr. Baraan.

St. Anne Catholic Church
32223 Cabello Street, Union City
(510) 471-7766

Mailing Address
St. Anne Catholic Church
PO Box 292
Union City, CA 94587

Blessings by Bishop John Cummins, Bishop Emeritus of Oakland
First Blessing:
"O, Holy Father, we give thanks and praise with the blessings you have given to us. In your goodness you have given us this garden. We ask you now to bless the St. Anne Prayer Garden [and Holy Family Memorial Garden] and to bless your people gathered here today and, as they use this place to pray and reflect on your great love, grant that they may also strive to be transformed into the likeness of Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you for ever and ever. Amen."

Final Blessing:
"May God, who has revealed his glory to us in Christ, bring your lives into conformity with the image of his Son so that you may reach the vision of his glory. May the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, come upon you, remain with you for ever. Go in the peace of Christ. Amen"

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