Orozco: Former Fresno priest receives scholarship

The Fresno BeeMay 2, 2014 

A former priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno is one of 18 recipients of the 2014 Military, Minority and Rural Scholarship program.

The Rev. Onyema Okorie, a native of Nigeria, was ordained as a Catholic priest at St. John's Cathedral in Fresno on Dec. 18, 1999. He then served as director of the diocesan African-American Catholic ministry.

He is serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. He also is enrolled as a graduate student in a master of science in mental health counseling program with Capella University in Minneapolis, Minn.

The scholarship program supports the National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation's mission to increase access to mental health care through professional counseling services, particularly for underserved populations. There were 278 applicants.

Mental health counseling has become a significant part of Okorie's ministry to military personnel and their families.

In a statement, Bishop Armando X. Ochoa of the Diocese of Fresno says: "Although Father Onyema's presence is greatly missed within the Diocese of Fresno, his ministry to military personnel and their families is greatly appreciated and supported through committed prayer and concern for those he serves. Reception of this scholarship is a great blessing to help advance his pastoral presence to those who are often in harm's way to protect the weak and vulnerable."

Details: (559) 488-7400.

Event celebrates Israel's Independence Day

The area's Jewish community will come together to celebrate Israel's 66th Independence Day — Yom Ha'atzmaut — Sunday, May 4, at Temple Beth Israel, 6622 N. Maroa Ave.

The family-oriented event begins at 11:45 a.m. with a ceremony and lunch. Music, games and dancing starts at 1 p.m. Featured music will be provided by Jeff Werner Enterprise. Special guest will be the Mazel Tones Band.

Admission is free. The event is presented by the Jewish Federation of Central California.

Details: (559) 432-2162.

Interfaith Alliance names new officers

The Interfaith Alliance of Central California has announced new officers.

They are:

Irfan Ali and Norman Broadbent, co-chairs.

Paul Pierce, Joe Pulido and Bryson White, co-vice chairs

Negin Tahvildary, secretary.

The IACC brings together individuals of different faith traditions and perspectives to work at creating a community where everyone can practice their First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

Meetings will be held on the third Thursdays of the month, beginning May 15. The meetings will begin at 4 p.m. at the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno.

Details: www.interfaithalliancecc.org.

Tour operator CEO is Catholic speaker

The co-founder/CEO of tour operator AmericanTours International will be the speaker at the Catholic Professional and Business Club of Fresno breakfast meeting at 7:15 a.m. Friday, May 9, at Pardini's, 2257 W. Shaw Ave.

Noel Irwin Hentschel also serves as deputy secretary general of the World Tourism Cities Federation, headquartered in Beijing. ATI is one of the nation's largest tour operators for foreigners visiting the United States.

Inspired by Mother Teresa, Hentschel also started The Noel Foundation in 1988 to help those most in need around the world. She is a Franciscan-Mariologist who is versed in the Blessed Virgin Mary, christology, moral theology, spiritual warfare and comparative world religions of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Daoism.

Cost is $15 per member or $20 per nonmember.

Details: www.cpbcfresno.org or (559) 434-2722.

Soli Deo Gloria hosts spring concert

The Soli Deo Gloria women's chorale will present its spring concert — "Soli Deo Gloria Goes Soli" — at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at University Presbyterian Church, 1776 E. Roberts Ave.

The event also will feature Canzona, a San Luis Obispo women's chorale. It will present a newly commissioned piece, "To the God of Light and Shadow," by Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo professor Meredith Brammeier.

Soli Deo Gloria and Canzona will combine to perform "I Thank You God," by Gwyneth Walker, and "She Weeps over Rahoon," by Eric Whitacre.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Tickets for students are $10.

Details: www.sdgchoir.com, www.brownpapertickets.com or (559) 473-6486.

Service focuses on mind, body, spirit

A free healing service will be offered at 2 p.m. May 10 at The Oneness Center, 1752 E. Bullard Ave.

The service will emphasize the healing power of prayer for mind, body and spirit.

Donnieau Snyder, a spiritual leader and counselor, will direct the service. Snyder also is working toward a master's degree in theology.

Everyone is welcome. Refreshments will be served after the service.

The event is sponsored by New Spirit Rising.

Details: email, priscill@mail.fresno state.edu or call, (559) 917-4614.

Sacred Heart presents parish festival

Sacred Heart Catholic Church will present its parish festival — A Circus of a Good Time — on Sunday, May 4, at the church, 2140 N. Cedar Ave.

The event begins at 10 a.m. with an open-air Mass. The festival features live entertainment, music and dancing, dancers, bounce houses, games and fun booths. There also will be American, Filipino, Italian and Mexican food as well as cold drinks.

Details: (559) 237-4121.


The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6304, rorozco@fresnobee.com or @ronorozco_bee on Twitter.

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