Fort Myers Parish celebrates 10 years Print this post

Exciting future ahead for vibrant community

By BOB REDDY

FORT MYERS – Built on the idea that the faith community at Blessed Pope John XXIII Parish would be a beacon of light in the community, much has happened in 10 short years. As the parish community marks a milestone with its 10th Anniversary, the planning for the future has already begun.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass on Jan. 15 to kick off the year of celebration for the parish. Father Robert Tabbert, Pastor of Blessed Pope John XXIII, and current and former priests of the parish concelebrated the Mass.

“This is a parish community built up from individuals,” Bishop Dewane explained during his homily. “We are all called to follow the Light of Jesus Christ and go out to evangelize and preach His message of love and peace. Take that challenge; follow the light and help your parish grow not only in numbers but in faith.”

Among the concelebrating priests was the first pastor, Father Charles Sullivan. Bishop Dewane commended Father Sullivan for his leadership but also credited the faithful who were willing to make sacrifices to help the parish become a reality. The community quickly grew out of its temporary home at Noonan Academy before the new church was dedicated in 2005. The church holds 1,650 people, one of the largest churches in the Diocese. The parish includes a balance of young families, older couples and seasonal members with an active outreach into all segments of the community.

The parish regularly reaches out the needy in the community through food drives and gift drives. Blessed Pope John XXIII Villas, an apartment complex for low-income seniors is currently under construction, sits on the parish property and will be a new outreach program for the parish. The parish thrift store also raises money to help send young parishioners to Catholic schools as well as supporting other needy in the area.

Father Tabbert said the 10th Anniversary is a great chance to celebrate what the community has done together as it looks to a bright future.

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