Spevak: Readers respond about Rome and other columns

By John SpevakDecember 13, 2012 

It's time again to hear from the readers of this column.The first comment relates to my adventures in Rome:


We were in the papal audience at the Vatican on September 26, when we heard the announcement that parishioners from St. Joseph's Parish in Los Banos, CA, were in St. Peter's square that day; and we just about fell out of our chairs!

We were curious who else from Los Banos was in the crowd that day. Joanne Hoefer's sister Ginger told me that it was your group. How exciting!

My husband Anthony and I along with my daughter Mary Ann were at the same ceremony. We were thrilled to be there that day, I am sure that it was as special a moment for you also.

Sincerely, Diane Neves

Dianne, what a surprise and delight to get your email. It's amazing that three other people from Los Banos -- you, Anthony, and Mary Ann -- were among the thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square the same day I was there.

The world is indeed shrinking. And you are right. As I wrote in my Roman column, I felt in St. Peter's that day a strong sense of unity with people from dozens of countries around the world, all gathered in one place to express their faith and hope.

There were 16 people in our group who traveled to Italy, including Rome, but only five of us who went to see the Pope. One of the five, Betty, was from Gilroy. The other three were from Los Banos: my wife Sandy, our friend, Susan Mohr; and a kind person I had met through this trip, Gayla Moyer.

Now we know there were at least six people from our community that day in the Vatican -- 6,247 miles from Los Banos -- at the same papal event.

The next comment relates to an event sponsored by the Friends of the Los Banos Library in October:


We appreciated your column on the October Small-Art Sale and Social, sponsored by the Friends of the Los Banos Library. And we had a wonderful time at the event. Will the Friends sponsor a similar event next year?

Les and Sondra Palocsay

Thank you, Les and Sondra, for your kind words. The Small-Art Sale and Social was a success. The Friends are thinking of bringing it back next year.

The event was successful because so many people contributed: the many businesses and individuals who donated materials and money, the artists who displayed their work and donated 40% of their sales to the Friends, and the large number of people who bought tickets and purchased art works.

But the Friends are still far from their fundraising goals this fiscal year, in order to provide the books and magazine subscriptions our library needs.

To help meet its goals, the organization is encouraging more people to become members of the Friends of the Los Banos Library. For just $10 ($15 for families) a person can become a Friend and show support for the local library.

In fact, this would make a very personal and beneficial Christmas present: giving a membership in the name of a family member or friend.

Dear John,

Thank you for the column on Janet Nichols Lynch, the visiting writer who came to Los Banos last month. The students in my class at the Los Banos Campus of Merced College enjoyed listening to her. So did the high school students and adults from our community who came to hear her speak.

Meg Withers

Meg, I'm glad that Janet's talks were appreciated. Every author that has come to Los Banos as a part of the ongoing Visiting Writers series has brought an increased depth and breadth of insight to our community.

On another note: Los Banos lost a marvelous teacher and person of great spirit when Joe Martinez passed away. My children benefited from his passion for teaching Spanish at Los Banos High School.

Personally, I was impressed by Joe's endurance. I remember watching him play tennis in the heat of Los Banos summers. At noon, when the temperature was already in the 90's and all other morning tennis players had gone home, Joe was still on the courts with a bounce in his step.

(Comments on the writings of John Spevak, an Enterprise columnist for 29 years, are encouraged, and can be sent via email to john.spevak@gmail.com.)

John, We were in the papal audience at the Vatican on September 26, when we heard the announcement that parishioners from St. Joseph’s Parish in Los Banos, CA, were in St. Peter’s square that day; and we just about fell out of our chairs

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