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.”

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!

Jimmy Jimenez Garcia - Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministries

I am Jimmy Jimenez-Garcia, the eldest of three boys, and a native of Oakland. In High School, I was a mess, an undisciplined and rebellious teen with no interest in my Catholic faith. This, coupled with bad friendships, led me to make many regrettable mistakes. In 2013, after many years of prayers from my parents, the good Lord decided it was time I encountered His mercy. I received an invitation through a friend that recently had started going back to church to come with him to a church retreat. After much hesitation, I begrudgingly decided to go. After the first night, I thought the event to be so boring that I made up my mind to leave, but at that moment one of the retreatants who was sleeping in the bunk bed next to me suddenly started to speak to me. In short, he said “You have tried many things. I take it from what you have told me, but you have not yet tried God!” After which he went to sleep, and I became unrestful and spoke to God that night with a sincerity that I had never spoken. I said, “If you have a plan for me, then let me know on this retreat, or I will not be coming back to the church!” I must confess I knew then and there that He would answer. It’s a crazy thing to speak to God but a crazier one when you speak from the depths of your heart in sincerity (Psalms 51:6). The rest is history, but if you want more details ask me what followed next. 

 
 I am a former seminarian for the diocese of Oakland, where I studied for five years. The first two years were spent in Oregon and the remaining three in Colorado. I graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Regis University. I married shortly after leaving seminary and am expecting my firstborn son who is due soon (November 13, 2021). I have been working in young adult ministry for over seven years and I see the vital need for this ministry increasing in recent times. Please pray for me and this ministry. For as Jesus said “I  have come to give you life and life to the fullest!” (John 10: 10).