New tabernacle blessed in Cape Coral

A focal point of the sanctuary of a Catholic Church is the tabernacle, a place reserved for the Eucharist which serves as a reminder of Christ’s presence that comes about in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The installation of a new tabernacle is an important moment for a Parish and was so at St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral on Jan. 23, 2021. For the occasion, Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass, during which he blessed the new tabernacle and a new monstrance.

“The tabernacle is the real center of what the Church building is and becomes, with the Real Presence of the Lord there outside of Mass,” Bishop Dewane explained. “It is appropriate, from time to time, to replace the tabernacle. Therefore, it is vital for all to recognize its significance as a dwelling place which the Lord, in the Blessed Sacrament, is reserved for worship.”

A tabernacle serves as a place to reserve those hosts that have been previously consecrated at Mass and therefore are now the true “Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity” of Jesus. Any consecrated hosts that remain after Communion are then put in a ciborium and placed in the tabernacle and locked to ensure that no one can profane the Blessed Sacrament.

In addition to the blessing of the tabernacle, the Bishop also blessed the new monstrance, which is used on a display stand to present the Blessed Sacrament to the people during Eucharistic Adoration. Both items were made by artisans in Mexico and shipped to Cape Coral. The blessing was intended to take place in mid-2020, but the COVID-19 Pandemic cause delays in shipping.

St. Andrew Administrator, Father Eduardo Coll, thanked Bishop Dewane for his presence as part of this important blessing of the new tabernacle and monstrance.

“I also want to thank all of the people we had behind the replacement of the tabernacle,” Father Coll added. “It was one large donor and a chain of good hearts who came together in support of this change. These beautiful items are part of a dream that became a reality, placing a renewed focus on the Real Presence in our Church.”

The tabernacle is gold plated with silver inlay. It has an image of the Resurrected Christ on the front, angels on the side, and a symbol of the Holy Trinity on the reverse. The two-sided tabernacle is needed as the Church is designed with the main worship space on one side of a glass wall, and a Chapel on the other side. The tabernacle is at the center of the wall behind the main altar. This dividing wall displays frosted glass images of various saints. A custom glass partition will be installed soon to complete the work in the sanctuary.

The monstrance, which is 4 feet tall, is also gold plated, with silver inlay and stones on a radiated background. The monstrance is styled as the Blessed Mother holds the Blessed Sacrament evoking the reality of Mary as the first Tabernacle to carry Jesus. Father Coll explained that this image is based upon one shared with the people of Poland in honor of Our Lady of Fatima.

Since its installation, the faithful have taken the opportunity to take images of the new tabernacle.

Gina Barnes said the new tabernacle is beautiful. She noticed during the Mass how the sun came through a side window and glowed on the tabernacle, illuminating it is such a way that nearly brought her to tears.

“It is so wonderful,” Barnes said. “It is a true dwelling place worthy of Our Lord.”

Parish Outreach Center dedicated, blessed in Wauchula

The mission of the new St. Michael Outreach Center in Wauchula is to develop each person’s recognition of their individual dignity and worth through the cultivation of their emotional, spiritual, intellectual and social development. The Center’s supportive economic, therapeutic, and educational resources are designed to provide a healthy framework for personal and social growth within families and the community.

That mission was celebrated with a dedication and blessing ceremony of the Outreach Center by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on Nov. 21, 2020. Participating in the ceremony were staff, volunteers, supporters and local government officials (including Hardee County Manager Lawrence McNaul), as well as the Servant Sisters of the Virgin Matara, the religious sisters who serve at St. Michael Parish. Among the supporters’ present were members of the Our Lady of the Angels Knights of Columbus.

The Outreach Center, purchased and remodeled by the Diocese of Venice, is designed for community outreach to low-income individuals/families and the migrant community. This includes overseeing a food bank and thrift store as well as having afterschool programming, immigration services, mental health counseling from Catholic Charities, and other classes for both children and adults.

As part of the ceremony, a prayer service, which included Bishop Dewane first incensing the exterior and interior of the building as well as blessing the building with holy water. The was followed by comments for key people involved in the Outreach Center.

Bishop Dewane praised everyone for their hard work noting that they are making a real difference in reaching out and providing needed services in this poor economically challenged community.

The blessing was delayed because of the COVID-19 Pandemic and participants wore masks as a precaution. Programming at the Center began several months ago but are limited due to social distancing requirements as well as the ongoing urgent need for supplies.

The afterschool program for kindergarten through fifth grade is supplementing the student’s education by providing small group teacher-led instruction to bring them up to grade level. This is necessary because many are simultaneously learning a second language. Teen helpers assist with homework and provide other guidance for the younger children. Included in the afterschool effort is handwriting and cursive instruction, character formation, as well as outdoor developmental playtime.

Chantelle Garcia, who is an elementary school teacher, assists with the afterschool program as tutor and program coordinator. Garcia explained that in the first three weeks of the program the children made great strides. “It is amazing to see the difference that was made in such a short period of time. Imagine how they will be in three months or longer. There is a wait list because families are learning how well those in the program are doing.”

While the Outreach Center is making a positive impact, there are urgent needs. These include basic school supplies (construction paper, card stock, paints/pastels, crayons, educational games, books) for younger children (K-5). There is also a demand for children’s underwear, socks, shoes and sneakers to help the poorer families provide necessities. Another need is for metal supply cabinets with locks, as well as shelves for storage.

“We are just getting started and we don’t have a lot of money in the community, so our needs are great,” explained Erika Wood, Outreach Center Coordinator.

Another example of a need is that of musical instruments. Thanks to a donation of a grand piano, the Outreach Center does offer piano lessons. However, only a few children are learning to play, while other music lessons are limited to teaching basic notes and rhythm. The wish list includes Yamaha electric pianos (with headphones) as well as other instruments, so as more children can learn at the same time.

Sister Gema Ruiz, who is the Director of Religious Education at St. Michael Parish, said it is a blessing to have the Outreach Center and for Bishop Dewane to be present for a blessing and dedication.

“We are providing needed services in this community and it is good to have the Bishop here to see our work and to inform the Diocese of the blessed work we are doing here in Wauchula,” Sister Gema said.

To learn more about how you can help the St. Michael Outreach Center, you can reach Erika Wood at 863-832-6904, Erika.wood@stmichaelwauchula.org, or you can send donations to: St. Michael Outreach Center, 317 N. 6th Ave., Wauchula, FL 33873.

Pet blessings abound

For the past six months Eleanor Warring has relied on her best friend more than ever.  Sammy, a 7-year-old terrier poodle mix was one of more than a dozen dogs present for the annual Blessing of the Animals on Oct. 3, 2020 at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch.

Warring lost her husband of 58 years in 2016 when Sammy was nearly 3 years old and the two have been nearly inseparable since. The companionship has been valued more since the pandemic began, which is why Warring wanted to be certain Sammy received a proper blessing with Holy Water from Deacon Jack Milholland.

Sammy remained still throughout the prayer service which consisted of readings from Scripture, prayers and intercessions followed by a general blessing and then individual blessings as Deacon Milholland worked his way through the crowd.

“I would bring him to Mass if I could,” Warring explained. “That is why this blessing is so special. I find great comfort with Sammy and find great comfort in the Church.”

The Blessing of the Animals traditionally occurs on Oct. 4, the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of animals and the environment. St. Francis loved the birds near his hometown and even allowed himself to be displaced from a place of shelter in deference to a donkey. The Saint wrote a Canticle of the Creatures, an ode to God’s living things, “All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures.”

The celebration of the Blessing of the Animals celebrates the sacredness of all God’s creation. In the spirit of Saint Francis, the celebration honors animals that share our lives and touch our hearts. It also acknowledges and encourages respect for all of creation.

With requirements of social distancing, many of the blessings throughout the Diocese were on a smaller scale than in the past, but their importance seemed just as crucial. At St. Columbkille Parish in Fort Myers, Father Lorenzo González held a drive-thru blessing, as did Father Casey Jones at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples. Meanwhile the blessing at St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples by Father Gerard Critch was held in a courtyard.

In the wake of the pandemic, many became much closer to their pets. Whether the pets are furry, feathered, scaled or finned, they helped their owners cope with the isolation and loneliness brought on by the quarantine, or the need to remain home for work and/or school.

Year of St. Joseph proclaimed

Bishop Frank J. Dewane has announced that the Diocese of Venice will celebrate a “Year of St. Joseph” from March 19, 2020 to March 19, 2021.

 

Stained glass window at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Moore Haven.

“Particularly in this time of uncertainty in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is appropriate to seek the intercessions of the saints for guidance and protection,” Bishop Dewane said. “St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus Christ, is the Patriarch of the Universal Church. He is also guardian and protector of the Church and Her faithful. Therefore, I declare that the next year be a ‘Year of St. Joseph’ as we join in heartfelt prayer and devotion, encouraging all to take his life as our model for fulfilling our personal call to holiness.”

This “Year of St. Joseph” also coincides to commemorate the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph being solemnly declared Patron of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius IX in his decree Quemadmodum Deus.

“St. Joseph is a figure who lead by example, while also offering powerful prayer and protection,” Bishop Dewane said.

In the coming months there will be announcements as events are planned, as well as prayer petitions, and other items. A prayer card will also be distributed students in the Diocesan Catholic Schools, encouraging the students seek the intercession of St. Joseph to pray for all fathers.

Masses and special events will also take place at each of the locations in the Diocese named after the saint: St. Joseph Parish and Catholic School in Bradenton; St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Moore Haven; San Jose Mission in Fort Myers and Campo San Jose Retreat Center in Lake Placid.

Mooney field and press box blessed

The new Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School press box and bleachers have been officially named for long-time Athletic Director, Bill Donivan, during a blessing and dedication ceremony of the Athletic Complex Feb. 21.

Donivan spent 40 years at Cardinal Mooney, first as a coach and then athletic director and coached a number of teams before taking over as director of athletics. During his time at Mooney, Donivan coached boy’s basketball for 21 years, started and coached the track and field program, coached cross country and JV football and did so much more to promote athletics at the school.

“We are excited to unveil the new name of the press box to the Carinal Mooney community,” said CMHS Athletic Director Larry Antonucci. “Honoring this individual with the naming of the press box was a foregone conclusion due to the vital role this person played in having the athletic complex come to fruition.”

The blessing was led by Mooney Chaplain Father Eric Scanlan on a cold and windy night. Present for the blessing were Donivan and members of his family, as well as students, faculty and staff and alumni.

The new press box and stands, now centered on the 50-yard line, are part of the comprehensive renovation of the Cardinal Mooney Athletic Complex that also includes a new regulation track and turf field. A second story viewing balcony of the new press box allows unobstructed views of the field for video.

When the new turf field was installed this summer, the field itself was moved north by 15-feet, thus allowing room for a regulation track but causing the old stands to be off center. The new bright red bleachers and press box now stand prominently on the 50-yard line allowing unobstructed views. The regulation track is also complete and ready for the Cougar’s track and field season. The renovations to the fields, press box and stands are part of the ongoing Mooney IGNITE campaign and has included updates to the media center and classroom.

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School is currently celebrating its 60th anniversary. For more information about Cardinal Mooney www.cmhs-sarasota.org.

 

Mooney learning center named, blessed

A blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Jan. 15 in Sarasota for the new Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Gail Baird Learning Center.

The Learning Center is a cutting-edge, multi-media facility where students can gather to work independently or collaboratively in a flexible environment which includes work tables with charging stations and portable power banks for student’s personal digital devices. Students use the Learning Center to study in a collaborative learning environment that provides educational resources and technology integrated into the curriculum at Cardinal Mooney.

The center was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Gail Baird Foundation. Gail Baird was an entrepreneur who had a thirst for knowledge and who believed that anyone could achieve their dreams with support and guidance.

“She would be very proud to have her name on this Learning Center, an enhanced learning space for students,” said Eric Baird, Foundation Founder.

Mooney Sophomore Delaney Lento spoke on behalf of her classmates and noted that she believes that “it is crucial to emphasize the importance of having a modern and comfortable learning space that allows room for research and to do projects.”

Lento said student choose Cardinal Mooney for a learning experience that will help them to prepare for a bright future in college, and the extensive use of technology is a big factor in that decision. With the new Learning Center “Cardinal Mooney has now upped the ante… I thank the Baird family and the Gail Baird Foundation for renovating this facility and for bettering the quality of our learning environment.”

Principal Ben Hopper said that it is “exciting for what this center will mean, not only for our current students, but for many years to come for what it is going to do for the teaching and learning that takes place here at Cardinal Mooney.”

In order to prepare students for college and beyond, every student at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School currently utilizes a personal iPad and teachers conduct classes using Apple Televisions, all great resources that help lead the way in the integration of technology and learning in the classroom.

As part of the ceremony of the event, School Chaplain Father Eric Scanlan led a blesses of the new learning center before the unveiling of the “Gail Baird Learning Center” sign. This was followed by ribbon-cutting ceremony which include numerous members of the Baird family including current Mooney student McKenzie.

News briefs from around the Diocese

Cathedral celebrates Feast Day

On Jan. 5, the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, the Feast Day of Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, Bishop Frank J. Dewane presided over a tri-lingual Mass (English, Spanish and Polish). This annual tradition includes the different language communities that are based at the Cathedral. At the beginning of the Mass, Bishop Dewane blessed the Cathedral where it is inscribed 20+C+M+B+20 (the year and the initials of the three magi) above the main interior entrance to the Church.

Senior apartments available in Arcadia

Brand new apartments are move-in ready at St. John Paul II Villas of Catholic Charities in Arcadia. The senior community (55 years and older) has a community center and numerous activities throughout the year. Rents start at $459 for a one bedroom and $626 for a two bedroom. Income restrictions apply. All units include washer/dryer, microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and some units have a walk-in shower. If you are interested, please contact the leasing office at 863-884-2123 (TTY711).

St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store opens in East Naples

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

After nearly two years, the Naples District Council of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul has completed its recovery from Hurricane Irma with the grand opening of its new Thrift Store in East Naples opposite the Town Center Mall.

The anticipation for the opening was so strong that a line of people was ready to peruse the wide selection of merchandise in the store nearly two hours before the scheduled grand opening on Nov. 9.

“The response has been wonderful,” Kim Schul, Executive Director of the Council, said. “This is big deal for us. It has been a long process for us to get here. We found the right space in the right location, right on U.S. 41.”

With a selection of items from armoires, recliners, couches and other types of furniture to clothing for all occasions – a day at the beach or even a wedding – the new store has just about everything one can ask for in a thrift store.

Judging by the long lines at the check-out, good bargains could be found. Each of the first-day patrons were given a cookbook as a special gift.

Father Timothy Navin, Pastor of San Marco Parish, blessed the new store and participated in the ribbon-cutting. “This is very impressive.”

Candice Burke, who found a shawl, lamps, bookends and a door decoration, said she loved the new store. “It is so welcoming and inviting,” Burke said. “The prices were great, so I know I will be back again soon because I am always looking for a bargain.”

With the funds generated through the thrift stores and generous individual donations, the Council provides a variety of services while working closely with eight area parishes. Those services include emergency family assistance to about 18,000 per year and can consist of financial support and vouchers for items from the thrift stores. In addition, the Council operates Meals on Wheels – serving more than 250 people each day, as well as a Choice Food Pantry – which helps about 70 people daily.

It was in September 2017 when Hurricane Irma destroyed the previous thrift store on Davis Boulevard, leaving a single store in Bonita Springs the only steady source of income for the Naples District Council to operate.

Jose Granda, President of the District Council, said the destruction of the former Davis Boulevard store caused a significant decrease in revenue that was sorely required to further the aid to the needy in the Naples area which the Council provides.

“We can now put that behind us with this beautiful new location,” Granda said.

It is hoped that the new store will enable the Council to “ramp up” aid to the needy through expansion into new programs and restoration of others which were cut back in response to the revenue losses, Granda explained. “I am hopeful the store will help provide some of this needed income so that we can continue our many programs to aid the poor in our area,” he said.

The new facility, located at 3810 Tamiami Trail E., is open for business in the Sherwin-Williams plaza, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday. The location will also serve as a drop-off point for donations which will be cataloged, sorted and out on the sales floor as quickly as possible, Schul said.

“This location is great, but we are also limited in how much we can store, so turnover of items will be key,” she explained.

The Council also operates a thrift store at 3725 Bonita Beach Road in Bonita Springs and a Boutique store in Unit 7 at the same address.

Car and furniture donation pickups can be arranged by calling 239-775-2907. Donations of clothing and other items may be dropped off at any of the Council stores.

New Church Dedicated in Immokalee

Dream comes true for Parish Community

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

A Church building, dating from the ancient times, has been given the name – the Temple of the Lord. Because of this, a dedication of a new Parish Church permanently makes the building a sacred and holy place where the faithful come to hear the Word of God, to pray together, to celebrate and receive the Sacraments, and most precisely to celebrate often the Eucharist at the Table of the Lord.

A Church, as a building, is destined solely and permanently for the gathering of the faithful to give Glory and Praise to God, Bishop Frank J. Dewane stressed when he dedicated the new Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church during a Mass on July 20 in Immokalee before a joyous assemblage of several thousand.

A huge and enthusiastic throng of people were there to witness the next chapter in the life of their beloved Parish. While the Church is a visible building, Bishop Dewane said it is nothing without the faith-filled people of Immokalee. “You are the ‘living stones.’ You are the why we build this Church – to come to gather as a community to adore Christ… It fills my heart with joy to see so many here for this important moment.”

Fittingly, the dedication began in the old church, which was built in 30 years ago, in 1989. Present for the dedication were Our Lady of Guadalupe Pastor Father Carlos Reyes-Ramirez, CS, Missionaries of St. Charles (Scalabrinians), Parochial Vicars Father Wilner Durosier, CS, and Thobias Sariar, M.o.C., as well as Father Moacir Balen, CS, Regional Provincial Superior of the Scalabrinians, and priests from the Diocese, the religious order. A special concelebrant was Father Isaia Birollo, CS, who served at Our Lady of Guadalupe for four years and was present for the 1989 dedication of the old church. “It is amazing how this community has grown. Wonderful!”

Led by the cross bearer, the priests and Bishop then processed to the front doors of the new, but empty church. There the building was symbolically handed over to the Bishop and he said: “Enter the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving, his courts with song and praise.” Pastor Father Reyes then opened the door and all entered.

During his homily, Bishop Dewane explained the different parts of the Rite of Dedication, but he also reemphasized the purpose behind the new church by citing the Gospel of Matthew (16:13-19), which was proclaimed during the Mass. In Matthew, Jesus questions the disciples about who other people say He is. When their answers are unsatisfactory, Jesus challenges Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” The Bishop noted that each one of those present answers that question by the life that they live.

Here in Immokalee, we set about to build this new Church so that every one of you can answer that question,” Bishop Dewane continued. “It is not just for the Fathers to answer it, or for those who are here often…  We put up this Church so that no one will have the chance to say: ‘Let someone else enter there.’ Let it be – in this Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe – where everyone begins their response to the Lord of ‘Who do you say that I am?’ and they end with their response by carrying the Lord with them throughout their daily life.”

Reactions and post-dedication celebration

Yolanda Medina brought her young children, Daniela, 6, Elena, 4, and Jose, 3, Manuel, 2, into the new church following the dedication and pointed out the key interior features. These included the crucifix, the tabernacle, the baptismal font, the statue of St. Juan Diego, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a statue of St. Michael the Archangel.

The Medina family first knelt in the pews and prayed for a time before exploring their new Parish Church. “They were in such awe of the whole dedication and wanted to see everything up close. It was amazing to have the Bishop here because we know he helped us build this beautiful place. This is a day Immokalee won’t soon forget.”

This may be an understatement as the new nearly 15,000-square-foot church, which seats nearly 1,200 comfortable was overflowing out the doors and into the parking lot. Everyone wanted to be present for this historic moment in the life of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.

Tents were set up in a field on the back of the Parish property, seating 3,500 for a post-dedication fiesta complete with food, performances by musicians and dancers as well as a huge cake. There were so many people that some were content to participate standing up. Cooking of the food began about 6 a.m. and the menu include barbeque chicken, pork, rice and beans as well as cake. While it rained off and on during the Mass and the fiesta, no one complained as the celebration lasted well into the evening.

The Rite of Dedication

Following the opening procession and entrance into the empty church, the faithful followed and the next part of the Rite began with the Bishop blessing the water in the Baptismal Font, and then he, along with Father Reyes, blessed the people with Holy Water further as a symbol of the spiritual temple of the Lord so as to recall their Baptismal promises. This was followed by the sprinkling of the walls of the Church, marking the Church as a holy place from that day forward — before finally blessing the altar and the sanctuary.

The Mass then proceeded with some minor adjustments, such as the Litany of Saints replacing the general intercessions. Following the Litany, the rites of anointing, incensing, covering and lighting the altar followed. During the anointing, Bishop Dewane spread Sacred Chrism Oil – blessed at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week – first on the altar and then in the sign of the cross at four points on the walls of the Church. This is done to mark, through sacred designation, the altar and Church. Next was the incensation, symbolic of the “prayers rising up to the Lord, not just for today, but for generations to come” of the altar and then of the nave of the Church.

Next was the lighting of the altar and the Church. Bishop presented Father Reyes with a lighted candle, who then proceed to light the candles on the newly anointed altar while the lights of the building were turned on. With the Rite concluded, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass continued.

At the end of the Mass, Scalabrinian Provincial Father Balen read a congratulatory letter from the Superior of the Order in Rome to the Parish which included his gratitude to the Bishop and faithful for their continued support to the religious order. Father Reyes also expressed his gratitude to Bishop Dewane for helping to make a reality the long-held dream for a new Church.

It was in January 2017 when Bishop Dewane and Father Reyes used an excavator to start the work of clearing space for the new Church. Unforeseen delays, plus Hurricane Irma made the project take much longer than anticipated.

Bishop Dewane thanked the faithful for their patience during the delays. “I know everyone would agree that it was worth the wait.” A large roar of approval and applause responded to this statement.

The new church doubles the size of the old building while utilizing masonry and metal in its design. Features include a drive-through porte-cochere and exterior fountain with a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Following Mass, Bishop Dewane blessed the neighboring 5,000-square-foot Father Richard Sanders Pastoral Center which features eight meeting rooms. The existing Church will eventually be converted into a Parish Hall.

Contractors

Architect: Patrick M. Pillot Architect, Inc.;

Civil Engineer, Spectrum Engineering, Inc., engineer: R. J. (Buck) Ward;

Contractor:  Anderson & Ellis, Inc., owner:  Steve Anderson, project superintendent:  John Augeri;

Exterior Fountain:  Jackson Pools, Inc., owner: Tom Fritz;

Pew manufacturer:  Imperial Woodworks, Inc., contact: Michael Correa;

Interior designer:  KDL Interior Design, LLC, designer: Kristin Lyons;

Church bells: The Verdin Company.

Parish offices dedicated and blessed

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Gathered in faith and prayer, the faithful of St. Peter the Apostle Parish celebrated the dedication and blessing of the new Parish offices with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration in Naples on June 21.

The celebration was a culmination of a nearly 10 years plan to upgrade the Parish facilities and this project coincided with an urgent need because of damage from 2017’s Hurricane Irma.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane presided over the dedication and blessing offering prayers of thanksgiving that this project has come to fruition. The celebration reflected the cultural diversity of the Naples Parish with the readings, petitions and music in three languages: English, Spanish and Creole.

The new offices are adjacent to the Spirit Center, which was dedicated by Bishop Dewane in March 2018. The offices are 4,095 square feet with a bright reception area and meeting room at the center of the building, replacing an original building that was constructed in 1986.

Bishop Dewane and Father Gerard “G” Critch, Pastor of St. Peter the Apostle, made the first official cut of the ribbon. The other priests, deacons and members of the building committee also cut and then received small commemorative pieces of ribbon.

As part of the dedication and blessing, Bishop Dewane proceeded through the new offices and blessed them with holy water. This was an important moment for the Parish and the staff and volunteers as many spend most of their waking hours in the offices and important business is done there. A blessing is also an important way to bring faith and protection to the office.

Father Critch thanked everyone for their sacrifice to make the new offices possible. The offices are a culmination of a lengthy effort by the Parish starting with the expansion of the parking lot, the new Spirit Center, the offices and more. The project was the result of small increments making an impossible dream, possible.

“Now we can take a breather and enjoy what we have accomplished,” Father said.

After the dedication and blessing, tours of the new offices were offered to the delight of the faithful and a potluck celebration followed in the Spirit Center.

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