Obrero Católico de Oakland
Oakland Catholic Worker
Tom serves as our development and social outreach coordinator. This includes arranging parish presentations, writing grants and appeals, keeping the extended community informed of various programs, planning events, advocacy, and forming relationships with other organizations. He also finds donations, does our weekly shopping trip, and helps keep the house in good repair. Tom is the most experienced full-time staff member, having spent over two years at the Catholic Worker. He holds graduate degrees in theology, formative spirituality, and pastoral studies. Tom has also taught in several Catholic high schools, and served as a lay pastoral associate and a non-profit administrator. Currently, he is a regular contributor to the Oakland Voices Project of the Oakland Tribune. Tom has an uncanny talent for finding things we need on Freecycle.
Barbara serves as our house manager, living at the Oakland Catholic Worker in order to take care of the guests and the house, even after the other staff people have gone home for the night. She also co-coordinates the Thursday food distribution, and often helps with the hot meals program. Barbara has been a part of the Oakland Catholic Worker extended community since she arrived in the United States from El Salvador 25 years ago, and has also worked as a cook and kitchen manager at the Jesuit School of Theology. She is still trying to train the non-Salvadoran guests and staff members to stop eating pupusas with a fork.
Staff and Board Members
Mary Ellen Waite
Mary Ellen is the secretary of the Oakland Catholic Worker board. She worked in the older adult program of the Oakland Adult School for many years, teaching tai chi and ESL, mainly in the Fruitvale neighborhood. She has two master's degrees, one in Spanish Literature from SFSU and one in Pastoral Ministry from Holy Names University. She is a Maryknoll affiliate and is dedicated to intercultural understanding.
Molly is the newest member of our team, focusing primarily on guest accompaniment and the Christmas present distribution, while also supporting our food programs and ESL classes. In 2016, Molly graduated from the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University where she received a B.A. in Theology, Hispanic Studies, and Latino/Latin American Studies. She recently returned from a year of service with the Maryknoll Bolivia Mission Immersion program in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where she worked in the prison system. Molly is incredibly proud of her deep Minnesota roots (and vernacular); therefore, she uses the phrases "don'cha know," "ubetcha" and "uffda" as often as possible.
Marissa Ramirez Zweiger
Marissa joined the Oakland Catholic Worker as an ESL teacher in 2014 and now serves as our treasurer. She graduated in 2015 from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Mathematics and is now back at Berkeley working towards her PhD in Nuclear Engineering and Computational Science with the hopes of being a professor one day. In addition to advocating for the rights of immigrants, she is involved in a number of issues facing the Latino community, most notably mass incarceration and equal access to education. Marissa serves as a math instructor for the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison and mentors first generation, underrepresented college students in the STEM fields.
Bob is the vice-chair of the board and a member of the fundraising committee. He helped found the third incarnation of the Oakland Catholic Worker in early 1987, and recently served as it's interim director.. Bob has the good fortune to be married to Lynn Lassalle-Klein, and they consider themselves lucky to be the parents of Kate, Rose, and Peter. Bob is professor of Religious Studies at Holy Names University and recently published Blood and Ink: Ignacio Ellacuría, Jon Sobrino, and the Jesuit Martyrs of the University of Central America (Orbis 2014). Current projects include The Spiritual Writings of Jon Sobrino, S.J., (Orbis) and Jesus the Immigrant: Contextual Christology and the Signs of the Times, based on what he has learned from 30 years with Latin American migrants in and around the OCW!
Chepe is the chair of the Oakland Catholic Worker board and also helps repair our building. He lived in the Catholic Worker for several months after coming to the United States from El Salvador as a refugee in the late ’80s, and he has been involved as a volunteer ever since. Since 1999, he has worked for Habitat for Humanity East Bay and Silicon Valley, constructing houses for low-income families. Chepe considers the Catholic Worker a place where people can share, help others, and gather as community to celebrate mass and cultural events.
Among his many responsibilities here at the Worker, CJ serves as our volunteer coordinator and leads our weekly food programs. CJ holds a B.A. in Theology, a B.S. in Psychology, and a Master's degree in Social Work from Eastern University. Over the past two years, CJ served as the Retreat Director within the Campus Ministry office at Canisius High School in Buffalo, NY. CJ is a licensed clinical social worker in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsyvania. In the near future, CJ plans to enter the Society of Jesus as a novice. During his brief time in the bay, CJ has developed a deep love for San Francisco and enjoys kayaking in the moonlight with his many sea lion friends.
Julie is a board member of the Oakland Catholic Worker and works as the Assistant Principal of Student Life at Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda. Julie has a B.A. in in Liberal Studies from Holy Names University and an M.A. in Education from the University of San Francisco. She has taught history at Saint Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, and served as the women’s basketball coach at both St. Ignatius and St. Joseph Notre Dame. She enjoys outdoor activities, especially hiking, traveling, and basketball.
Luly is a board member of the Oakland Catholic Worker. She has been a volunteer teacher for our English as a Second Language program since 2014 and works as the business manager for her husband’s dental practice. Luly has a degree in Relaciones Industriales from the Instituto Tecnologico de Chihuahua, and worked HR jobs in Mexico for several years before moving to the United States. She has one daughter, is a board member for the Lakeshore Business Improvement District, and volunteers at various organizations.
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