By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Sister Ann & Co. spreads Christmas cheer
pic sister-ann-xmas-2a
A group of folks from The Commons in Manteca performed a hand bell-ringing concert at the special function. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
Bishop Stephen Blaire was the special guest at Tuesday’s Christmas luncheon hosted by Sister Ann Venita Britto and her Ministry of Caring.

He’s head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton.

Bishop Blaire, who was born Dec. 22, 1941, was in Manteca a day shy of his birthday.

No matter.

“It’s great having a birthday so close to Christmas,” he said. “That way you can celebrate it with everyone.”

At the luncheon, Sister Ann led in singing Happy Birthday to Bishop Blaire. She was joined by over 240 seniors and guests in attendance. Most came from Palm Haven Care Center, Prestige Senior Living, Merrill Gardens, The Commons, Valley CAPS, Almond Blossom, and other care facilities.

Sister Ann and her Ministry of Caring have been conducting the free sit-down lunches to folks regardless of religious affiliation for the past eight years.

Most are held to celebrate holidays such as Easter, Halloween, Fourth of July, and, of course, Christmas.

Entertainment was part of the event.

The band, JRP and Company, played various holiday tunes to the lunchtime crowd.

Kim Boccia, activity director at The Commons, has spent the past year working with residents there on performing with handbells.

She directed the group in playing several familiar Christmas tunes, including ‘We Three Kings.’

“If they make a mistake, it’s only because they’re nervous,” Boccia said beforehand.

Harmony Flores-Rebeiro of Dance Stars brought members from her competition team to entertain those in attendance. They danced and performed several numbers.

Bishop Blaire, meanwhile, took time to meet the people.

“Catholic or not, you will be remembered in prayer at Midnight Mass (at the Cathedral of the Annunciation),” he said.

As for Sister Ann, Bishop Blaire added, “I saw Santa earlier – but you’re the real-life Santa Claus.”’