James V. Matthews was the Rector and Dean of the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, CA. Ordained to the priesthood in 1974, Father Jay had the distinction of being the first African-American ordained in Northern California. Most unexpectedly, he passed away this year at the age of 70. In this episode of Sunday to Sunday, we pay tribute to his great witness as a preacher and his devotion to the Oakland community.
My first encounter with Jay was hearing his heartfelt homily at the funeral Mass of a deceased faculty-colleague of mine at Saint Mary’s College. Jay’s consoling words at that time stuck with me – the resonance of a great preacher. With his broad smile, Jay welcomes us into this magnificent Cathedral of light and worship. For years, he brought understanding and healing to an Oakland community sometimes faced with troubling social problems.