Parish Pastoral Council

 
 
Gerry Barañano

Gerry Barañano

President

Although a long time resident of Piedmont Avenue, I am a relatively recent member of St. Leo’s Parish. A baptized Catholic who had not been confirmed, I joined RCIA and received Confirmation at St. Leo’s in 2014. I have been blessed with a beautiful wife, Cynthia and our wonderful marriage produced a son who is now living and working in Chicago. In the first three decades of my career after earning a BA from Yale and an MBA from Stanford I worked primarily in sales and marketing for large high tech companies, starting with AT&T. Constitutionally unsuited for large corporations, I joined progressively smaller companies and finally started my own consultancy where I launch my clients’ technologies and products into the marketplace. In addition I am Entrepreneur in Residence for the Tech Futures Group where I mentor several start-ups and nascent businesses. And, I am having the time of my life! I look forward to using my talents in the service of St. Leo’s Parish.

Donna Schmitt

Donna Schmitt

Vice President

I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York where I began my lifetime educational journey “exclusively” in Catholic Schools. I attended St. Casimir (grade K-8); Mount Mercy Academy (High School); and Trocaire College, Sisters of Mercy, (RN and AA). As a new RN I worked at Roswell Park Memorial Institute, a cancer research hospital as an Oncology Nurse.
After the Blizzard of 1977 I left Buffalo and moved to San Diego where I earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a Master of Science in Nursing Administration (MSN) from the University of San Diego, (USD). Please note that USD is a “Catholic” University.
I moved to Piedmont in 1991 for a position at Alta Bates as the Director of Nursing for the new Cancer Center at the Herrick St. Campus. Not long after I arrived I found my new parish home at St. Leo the Great. The rich cultural diversity of our parish family continues to be an important aspect of my life and a true blessing.
At St. Leo’s I serve as a Eucharistic Minister, Lector, Money Counter, and most recently helping with fundraising activities. I am also a member of the Divine Mercy Prayer Group.
I now look forward to serving on the Parish Council and working to help St Leo respond to the needs and concerns of our members while striving to establish God’s reign of love on earth as it is in heaven.

Matt Gallagher

Matt Gallagher

Secretary

Matt Gallagher has been a member of St. Leo the Great's 11 a.m. choir since September 2013 and began attending Mass at St. Leo's in 2010. He works in magazine publishing and is an assistant editor at Mix magazine, a monthly publication that covers the professional audio industry for producers, audio engineers, sound designers and composers who work in music production, live sound reinforcement, and sound for picture. Matt is also a part-time drummer; in 2008 he co-founded Latin-jazz quintet Calle 49, which is named after 49th Street in Temescal, and has played with several local bands. He is joining the Parish Council because his experience at St. Leo the Great has been especially meaningful in the context of his life as a Catholic, deepening his faith and commitment, and because he wants to serve and help this very supportive and special parish community.

Judith Sumida

Judith Sumida

Judith Sumida formerly Andrews, was born in the United Kingdom and baptized in the Free Church. At fourteen she joined the Anglican Church and at fifteen was confirmed. After several life changing events Judith felt called to Religious life. After about seven years, Judith felt led to take what she had learned as a novice to the outside world. Judith married Brian Sumida in 1989. They have two beautiful daughters, Saskia and Kiera. Judith was received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in 2005 at St. Leo’s. Judith is currently coordinator of our Senior Ministry, takes weekly Communion to the residents at The Point at Rockridge as is a member of the Lay Missionaries of Charity, Missionaries of Charity, St. Paul’s, San Francisco.

Diane Dobson

Diane Dobson

I am excited to be joining the St. Leo’s Parish Council, as I have been a member of the parish since moving to Oakland in 2009. I’ve served as a Lector for the past 3yrs, so getting more involved just feels right. I’m originally from the Detroit area, which has quite a different lifestyle than the Bay Area, but at the same time I also find there are a lot of similarities between Oakland and Detroit ~ one being our love of sports! I’m a HUGE Detroit Tigers fan! I definitely make sure to get to O.co Coliseum whenever they are in town playing the A’s. I’m also a lover of music and play the violin in the Oakland Civic Orchestra. My friends are a huge part of my life, out here, being so far from “home” –which makes me appreciate the warm community of St. Leo’s that much more.

Brad Gilliatt

Brad Gilliatt

I was born and raised in Detroit MI. I'm fortunate to be from a large family of 8 children! And super fortunate to have 14 nieces and nephews and there are even 2 great grandchildren. Catholic education has been a huge part of my life. I went to 8 years of grade school and 4 years of high school and even 3+ years of graduate school. All of these schools and universities are Catholic. Professionally I have not worked since November, 2011. In November, 2011 I was in a near fatal motorcycle accident.  I was hospitalized for about one year. I'm still not 100% but I'm getting a touch closer every day. I'm thrilled to start a term on the Parish Council. I joined the Parish about a year ago. The thing I like the most about the Parish is the welcoming spirit which I feel whenever I walk in the door. There are several other little things which highlight the welcoming spirit! When the lector welcomes everyone to the start of mass and asks us to introduce ourselves to our neighbors around us, when the Priests and Deacons bless us with a "peace be with you", and clapping at the end of mass. Little things which I really like which I don't remember from my previous parishes.

Alejandra Gutzeit

Alejandra Gutzeit

Alejandra originally hails from sunny southern California, but for the last five years, has made her home right here in Oakland, just around the corner from St. Leo’s. Born in Santa Barbara, she decided to venture away from her home state and attend the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. She studied architecture and anthropology, and received her Professional Bachelor’s of Architecture degree in a five-year program, which included one year in Rome in which the students traveled all over Italy and Europe studying classical and traditional architecture. She also spent two summers working for a renowned traditional architect in Parma, and because of these experiences, Italy, its language, people, and culture have an extremely special place in her heart. Since graduating, she has been working as an Associate and Designer at a firm in Emeryville, and is currently testing for her architectural license. Outside of architecture, Alejandra has a great love for other cultures and languages (she speaks three fluently! English, Spanish, and Italian), especially since her mother and extended family are from Chile and Spain. Alejandra loves travel, good food, good wine, and good art – she enjoys drawing and painting in various media, especially pen or pencil, charcoal, pastels, oil, and watercolor. She also has always had an immense love for horses, and has just recently begun taking riding and horsemanship lessons. Faith is extremely important to Alejandra, and it continues to grow in the love and friendship of those in her life and in her experiences, as Christ continues to become more and more of a real and true presence for her, both in joy and in suffering. She looks forward to sharing this experience of love, faith, and service in any way she can!

Richard Kochenburger

Richard Kochenburger

I am a "Cradle Roman Catholic", New Jersey native, Montclair resident and East Bay resident continuously since 1989.  After being introduced by a mutual friend to Father Ignas Kilolelo in early 2011, I happily transferred to St. Leo's Parish.  Since then, my enthusiasm for embracing Catholicism and participating in Parish life has progressively blossomed.  For the past 23 years, I have maintained a solo, old fashioned style Obstetrics/Gynecology medical practice in Alameda. I can frequently be found working at nearby Summit and Alta Bates Medical Centers.  I actually engaged in my antecedent, grueling Obstetrics/Gynecology residency "right down the street" at our neighbor, Kaiser Hospital.  My "small business experience" will hopefully assist me in being a creative, effective Parish Council member.  I am very honored to be given this assignment.

Besides attending Mass and practicing our faith, I derive great joy from sharing life with my two young Piedmont-based grandchildren, and riding/caring for my 13 year-old Draft Horse named Odin (whom I refer to as my "nearly one ton son")!

Ex Oficio Members

Fr. Joseph Nguyen

Fr. Joseph Nguyen

Parochial Administrator

I have been a priest almost ten years already; I frequently reflect on the gift of priesthood that God has given me and I know nothing can replace it. Deep down from the core of my being, I know for certain that my heart cannot find rest and personal fulfillment in anything other than in God and in being a servant of Christ and a steward of the mysteries of God (1 Cor. 4:1-2). I thank God every day for such a holy privilege.

Sonya Simril

Sonya Simril

School Principal