Parish Staff Autobiographies


Meet our Staff

Msgr. Manuel C. Simas - Pastor Emeritus (in residence)

Reprinted from: The Catholic Voice ~ October 18, 2010 ~ VOL. 48, NO. 18 by Kevin Wing

Msgr. Manuel Simas first realized he wanted to become a priest while in grammar school. That desire continued to grow during his years at Berkeley High School. “I remember in high school that I expressed my thoughts to a pastor at the time,” he recalled. “But it wasn’t until my third year in college (UC Berkeley) that those thoughts became very strong.”

Msgr. Simas, born in Oakland on August 17, 1933, and affectionately known as “Father Manny” – was four years old when he and his family moved to Berkeley. “I was blessed with a strong faith family,” he says of his parents, Manuel and Angeline. “For me, my parents were a very good example of Christian living.”

Following his graduation from Cal in 1955 with a degree in political Science, Father Simas entered St. Patrick’s Seminary. He was ordained by Bishop Merlin J. Guilfoyle at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco on June 10, 1961.

August 2011 also marks Monsignor’s 21st year as pastor of St. Joseph Parish/Old Mission San Jose in Fremont. Founded in 1797 as the 14th in a chain of 21 California missions stretching from San Diego to Sonoma, St. Joseph/Old Mission San Jose is the oldest parish in the East Bay.

His first assignment was to St. Mary’s Parish, Walnut Creek from June 1961 to February 1967, when he was assigned as associate pastor at St. Felicitas Parish in San Leandro. In 1970 he joined the chancery office of the Oakland Diocese as part of the marriage tribunal, remaining in residence at St. Felicitas until 1971 when he moved to Corpus Christi Church in Piedmont. In 1975, Oakland Bishop Floyd Begin named him Diocesan Director for the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, which focuses on the Church’s mission on a global scale. On April 24, 1977, in a ceremony held at Corpus Christi Church, Father Simas became vested as a monsignor in the Oakland Diocese. Two years later he was named pastor of St. John Vianney Parish in Walnut Creek, where he remained until becoming pastor in Fremont in 1990. During his 21 years at St. Joseph, Msgr. Simas has seen much change in the parish community, including a growing diversity and the expansion of ministries.

“I’ve experienced life with people in the parish through good times, through sad times. The community has been there for me as well.” The parish community rallied around the priest recently when his only siblings, sisters Elsie and Marlene, passed away within four months of each other. The most important aspect of Msgr. Simas’ prayer life is the celebration of the Eucharist. “Everything centers around that,” he said, “To gather around the Lord’s table. Everything is there. People, past and present.” But, I still encourage them to follow their heart.”

Vanessa Barrett - Communication & Mission Administrator

I was born in Los Angeles and in 1987 I moved to Fremont to be part of the booming computer industry.  That’s how I met my husband of 28 years, Ed.  I was fortunate enough to stay home and raise our children, Ned and Kathleen.  When it was time to re-enter the workforce, I felt God was calling me to work in His vineyard.  I’ve been blessed to work at various parishes around the Diocese of Oakland:  Holy Spirit, Divine Mercy and the Cathedral of Christ the Light Parish.  I’m so excited to be back home here in Fremont at St. Joseph.  (Our daughter Kathleen graduated from St. Joseph school class of 2013.) I’m looking forward to serving the Lord in this beautiful community.

Andrew Nguyen - Pastoral Care Ministry Coordinator

Before coming to St Joseph, I lived in a parish and worked at Stanford Hospital as a chaplain resident for a year then following that I worked at Sequoia Hospital for ten months until I found that hospice work was more of what I felt called to do even though I was not sure how it would work.
I have been a full time hospice chaplain for five years now. The ministry of presence has been most rewarding in that I get to participate in the care and comfort of patients and families simply by being fully present and acknowledge people’s pain, grief, but also hope and joy and of course hear many interesting stories of lives well lived.
When I am not working, I enjoy playing tennis, hiking, or spending time with friends. I am glad to have found St Joseph to be a place of worship and community to help me grow in faith, hope, and charity. I also sing in the Vietnamese choir and this year, has been helping with RCIA English and Vietnamese.

Helen Campbell - Pastoral Care Ministry

An only child, I was born and raised in Oakland, educated through high school by the Sisters of the Holy Names. In 1963 Douglas Campbell and I married, settled in Fremont, and raised our family first in St. Leonard Parish, moving to St. Joseph Parish in 1975. I’ve been involved in St. Joseph’s parish life ever since.  

Attending Holy Family College, I graduated with a degree in Ministry and Theology. In 2003 it was my joy and privilege to join St. Joseph’s staff, serving Our Lord and my brothers and sisters through ministry to the elderly, frail and bereaved members of our parish.

This ministry has included social events for senior parishioners, preparation for various liturgies, Holy Communion and visits to parish homebound, interaction with families during illness, funeral preparation and attendance, oversight of funeral hospitality, family follow-up during bereavement and, when requested, presiding at vigils, chapel services and committals. I also assisted in the formation of a deanery bereavement group which functioned for 7 years prior to COVID and was responsible for parish participation in Abode rehousing.

I thank our loving Father daily for allowing me to serve Him and our parish family in this vital, evolving and interesting ministry.          

Sr. Marcia Krause, OP - Coordinator – Adult Spirituality

I was born the fourth of five children and baptized 19 days later, Marcia Diane.  I had three older brothers Donald (teacher), Kenneth (priest, educator and director of the Diaconate for the Diocese of Orange, California) and Robert (Dentist).  My brother Stephen (Accountant) came along a year and 11 days after my birth.   My mother, Dorothy, was a native of Minnesota.  My father, (George Krause) was the youngest of four children, a son of immigrant parents.  They met and married and located the family in Los Angeles area where we were members of St. Michael’s Parish.  All my brothers and parents are deceased.

On Easter Sunday of my senior year of high school, I made the decision to enter the Dominican Sisters with whom I had spent 12 years of education.  After my period of postulancy, novitiate and during my years of temporary vows I began my 33 years of teaching ministry in various elementary schools and high schools of our Mission San Jose Dominican Congregation in Los Angeles and northern California areas.  My preparation included a Bachelor and Master’s in mathematics education and a Masters in Religious Education.  After classroom teaching, I moved into Campus Ministry at San Jose State as member of the Catholic Community and director for seven years.  I moved into pastoral ministry at St. Joseph Parish/Old Mission San Jose for two years , leaving the ministry to be Director of Vocations for the MSJ Dominican Sisters for the next six years.  After vocation ministry, I returned to St. Joseph Parish where I became coordinator of Adult Faith Formation, providing parish retreats, ministry gatherings and working on other support ministries such as hospitality and ministry faires.  During this time of pandemic, I continue to bring our Bible Study and Lectio Divina virtually to all who desire to come and provide these resources on our parish website.  I am so grateful for what has been and hopeful for what lies ahead for our St. Joseph Parish community!