In May 1965, to serve the 350 Catholic families in San Leandro Marina District, Star of the Sea Mission was opened and placed under the administration of Father Michael McGinty, pastor of St. Felicitas. Looking toward the eventual creation of a parish, this mission was given an offcial boundary as follows:

  • North: From Bay along Davis Street to Nimitz Freeway.
  • East: From Davis Street, southeast along the freeway to West Avenue 137, then west along West Avenue 137 to Merced Street, then south along Merced Street to intersection of Wicks Boulevard and south along Wicks Boulevard to Grant Avenue.
  • South: Grant Avenue from Wicks Boulevard to the Bay. WEST: The Bay from Davis Street to San Leandro Creek.

Within a year, however, it became apparent that a parish rather than a mission was needed. On July 1, 1966, Bishop Begin created the parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel and assigned to it the territory previously ascribed to the Star of the Sea Mission.

Appointed pastor of this new parish was Father James P. Keane, who came directly from his teaching position in Bishop O’ Dowd High School. Property was secured at Doolittle Drive and Farallon Avenue in San Leandro and plans prepared for a church. Father Keane took up his residence in a tract house around the corner from the church site. Pending erection of the church, Sunday Masses were offered in Peluso’s Blue Dolphin Restaurant on the Marina.

The church was opened in September 1969 and dedicated formally by Bishop Begin on March 14, 1970, at which time he also confirmed a class of 40. The church was a Rheem-Dudley pre-fabricated building and seated 450 people. The land on which it rested was low, and before placing the church on it, the site was filled to a height of four feet so as to avoid flooding from heavy winter rains. It is a multipurpose building and the sanctuary may be closed off completely when other than liturgical functions are being held. Movable chairs and kneelers facilitate this function. The organ was obtained from St. Felicitas Church. Over the altar hangs a mosaic depicting Our Lady of Good Counsel obtained from the School of Mosaics in Vatican City. Effective October 5, 1972, Father Keane was transferred to the pastorate of Our Lady of Grace, Castro Valley, succeeding Monsignor Patrick J. Stack who had retired.

A beloved youg priest, Father Joseph Ferreira, succeeded Father Keane as pastor.  Under him the building program continued, and a year after he took office, ground was broken for a new rectory adjacent to the church.  Thus this parish now had a working parish plant which may be enlarged as future development may require.

Father Ferreira was born in Ribeira Grande, St, Miguel, Azores, December 31, 1935.  At an early age he entered the seminary at Angra but having been accepted by the  Archdiocese of San Francisco, he transferred in 1955 to St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park and completed his courses in 1958.  At that time he was below the canonical age for ordination to the priesthood but was made a deacon and assigned as a teacher of Latin and religion in Bishop O’Dowd High School.  Archbishop Mitty petitioned for permission to confer the priesthood on him, and this was granted.  On January 6, 1959, he was ordained by Bishop Donohue in Five Wounds Portuguese National Church in San Jose.  During the next thirteen years he served as an associate pastor in several churches: St. Louis Bertrand and St. Paschal, Oakland; St. Leander, San Leandro; Queen of All Saints, Concord and finally St. Leonard, Fremont.  He was a very popular and beloved priest.  In 1973, he received the Community Service Award from the newspapers of San Leandro.  In 1973, the city of San Leandro issued in his honor a proclamation, “We love you, Father Joe.” It read:

“San Leandro, a city with a strong old Portuguese Tradition of its own, is proud of Father Ferreira, too. So proud in fact that Mayor Jack Maltester and the city council recently voted a proclamation, “We love you Father Joe” on the occasion of Father Ferreira’s being honored by the San Leandro Eagles Aerie with the “Cardinal Spellman” and “Hometown” awards for his contributions to the city. At that time he also received Commendatory Resolutions from the United States Congress, The California State Assembly and Alameda County.”

The succession of pastors:  Fr. James F. Keane (1966-72), Fr. Joseph Ferreira (1972 – 83), Fr. Joseph K. Autard (1983 -92), Fr. Alexander N. Snyder (1992 – 98), Fr. Thomas Duong Binh-Minh (1998 – 2001), Fr. Dominic Thuong Hoai Nguyen (2001- 11), Fr. Jan Rudzewicz (2011-  )

Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish

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