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.

Naples Parish Life Center dedicated and blessed

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

3/29/19

The new Pulte Family Life Center at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples was dedicated and blessed by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on March 16.

The building is dedicated to the memory of Bill Pulte, a builder of homes who passed away in 2018. Representatives of the Pulte family were present for the ceremony and led the ribbon-cutting.

Bob Pulte, Bill’s son, said the legacy left behind by the Family Life Center is something the Parish community will use and enjoy for years to come. “Please know what this place and this community meant to my father,” Bob Pulte said.

Bishop Dewane described the Pulte Family Life Center as a place where all will come to know the presence of Christ, to experience friendship and joy, and to grow in Christ’s love.

Following the dedication ceremony, the Bishop, joined by St. John the Evangelist Parish Pastor Father Tomasz Zalewski, blessed the building with holy water.

The Center is 29,277 square-feet and encompasses a café, two fitness rooms, a gym with courts for basketball, volleyball and more, as well as a community room that can be subdivided. In addition, there are offices and maintenance areas. There is also a playground and two bocce ball courts. The front lobby has a large cross and a quote from St. Ignatius of Loyola: “Teach us to give and not count the cost.” The facility was designed by Studio+ Architects and the construction done by Gates Construction.

This new space is home to the growing Catholic Youth Organization – which focuses on engaging younger parishioners; and the new Catholic Adult Organization which is a set of programs to enrich and engage every age of adult, from 18 to 118, in body, mind, soul, and spirit.

Following the blessing, the Bishop celebrated the Mass in the gym, which is serving as a temporary overflow worship space while hurricane repairs on the Parish Church continue.

New Church Dedicated and Blessed in Lakewood Ranch

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Richard and Monica Rice have been going to Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch since Mass was held in a nearby Lutheran Church where just a few dozen people initially attended.

Those days are long in the past as the Parish now has 5,133 individuals and 1,946 families. To accommodate the growth, a new 21,060-square-foot Parish Church was built and on April 22 Bishop Frank J. Dewane dedicated and blessed the people and the building, proclaiming it to be a sacred space from this day forward.

The Rice’s, and many others, were impressed by the Dedication Mass itself which has many parts that are unique and rich with tradition. “It was beautiful,” Monica Rice said. “It was really emotional at times. To have the Bishop come here for this was a special blessing. It is truly wonderful for the whole Parish Community.”

Bishop Dewane explained that a Church dedication and blessing has many parts the purpose of which is to solely and permanently dedicate the building as a sacred space. However, the more important part of a Church is the people who worship there. “I have a distinct advantage point to see the true beauty of this church today,” the Bishop said from the altar. “I don’t have to look up, but it’s right in front of me. It’s here. It’s all of you.”

The Bishop also noted that several hundred people were watching the Mass from the former church. “You simply outgrew it. And that’s a good thing!”

At the conclusion of the dedication and blessing, Parish Administrator Father Scheip, who has been at the Parish since early 2017, proclaimed: “Bishop we made it!” Father thanked the many people who were involved in the vision and contributions necessary in making the new Church possible. He also made a special point of joy to note that the Mass was the first time the parish had kneelers and everyone knelt.

“This is just the beginning. This is all for you. Priests come and go. Bishops come and go. But the people of God remain faithful and steadfast,” Father Scheip said.

The memory of previous Administrator Father Dan Smith, who died in 2016, was present throughout, as major aspects of the design of the Church were part of his vision. In addition, the chalice used during the consecration was Father Smith’s personal chalice.

The Dedication of a Church was done as part of a Mass and began with a procession from the former church to the new building of concelebrating priests, escorted by the Color Corps of the Knights of Columbus. Gathering outside of the Church, the Rite began with prayer and a hymn. Parish representatives then presented the Bishop with a certificate of dedication, copies of the architectural plans, and a ceremonial key.

The Bishop then said: “Go within His gates giving thanks, enter His courts with songs of praise.” The opening procession then began. Once inside, the next part of the Rite included the Bishop blessing the water in the Baptismal Font and then he, along with Father Scheip and Parochial Vicar John Haong, blessed the people with Holy Water as they are the spiritual temple of the Lord and so as to recall their Baptismal promises and repentance. 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 provide a sacred designation for the altar and Church. Next was the incensation of the altar to signify Christ’s sacrifice, and then of the nave of the Church and of the people throughout symbolizing “prayers rising up to the Lord.”

The new Church has a seating capacity for 1,074 people, doubling the seating capacity from the previous worship space, where weekly Masses have been held. The cruciform design comprises a hybrid pre-engineered steel building frame with a steel roof, and concrete masonry structural walls with cementitious stucco finish system and aluminum window systems.

The exterior design style borrows from Italian Renaissance and Spanish Mission Revival archetypes. There are prominent gold domed towers and central gold domed cupola with a cross frame central entrance gable. Both an interior and exterior focal point is a 11-foot 4-inch diameter rose window of Our Lady of the Angels, the patroness of the Parish, the beauty of which drew a great deal praise. It is located above a triple arched entrance canopy. Another lovely element is an oculus between the narthex and the nave which offer views of the rose window at the exterior wall. The church design features 68 exterior windows, which will soon display colorful stained glass.

Located on the west side of the Church, there is a Daily Mass Chapel, which will seat an additional 194 people. To preserve the history of Parish, all the Sanctuary items from the now Parish Hall, which has previously served as the worship space, will be placed in the Daily Mass Chapel, including the altar, tabernacle, cross, presider and assistant chairs, along with statue of Our Blessed Mother, as well as 18 of the stained-glass panels. On the south side of the Church is Adoration Chapel which will accommodate 30. The multipurpose building used as the church will now become the Parish Hall and undergo future renovations to include the installation of a new kitchen.

All construction was respectful of the natural habitat of the eagle’s nest, which made its home on Church property several years ago. There is a permanent 100’ protection zone around the nest, which was in place during construction of the new Church and required monitoring and certain restrictions to construction times.

McIntyre, Elwell & Strammer, of Sarasota, is the contractor, George F. Young, Inc., of Lakewood Ranch, is the civil engineer. The architect is parishioner John J. Holz of Plunket Rayisch Architects, LLP, of Sarasota.

Our Lady of the Angels Parish was first established in 1999 as a Mission Church of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish was led by Third Order Regular Franciscan priests sharing worship space with a nearby Lutheran Church. The original church was opened in 2003 and has more than doubled the number of registered families in the past 10 years.

Ray and Robbie Phaneuf have been parishioners for four years and are impressed with the new Church, pleased that the hard work has paid off. “What a special day,” Ray said. “This has been a long time coming. With so many people moving to the area, we were crammed into the old church,” Robbie said. “Now we have a big open space to worship. Just perfect.”

Two of the newest parishioners, Julia Barreda and Kellen Braren, parishioners for just a few months, are excited to see the new Church. The couple is engaged to be married next February and Julia even remarked that the new Church is so beautiful that little will need to be done for the wedding. “It is already so wonderful. I don’t know if I would change anything.”

Parish Spirit Center blessed

By Bob Reddy

Florida Catholic

In a celebration worthy of a Feast Day, the new Spirit Center of St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples was blessed.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated a Mass on Feb. 21, the Vigil of the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle, and then presided over a prayer service and blessing ceremony for the new Spirit Center, which is the result of a multi-year effort for this rapidly growing community.

The Spirit Center is part of a multi-phase effort to handle the rapidly growing Parish which has seen a 54 percent increase in registered parishioners between 2008 and 2014 alone. Today the Parish has more than 8,000 families with Mass celebrated in three languages: English, Spanish and Creole.

The Bishop congratulated the gathered faithful for responding to the call of Jesus Christ with their support of the project and their presence as people of faith.

“You have helped move St. Peter the Apostle Parish forward in its history,” Bishop Dewane added. “Never forget the blessings the Lord has provided to bring your entire Parish Community to this point as you take the next step forward into a bright future.”

The 13,000-square-foot Spirit Center can easily accommodate more than 600 people, triple the previous center. In addition to a full kitchen, the space has movable partitions to allow the sectioning off areas for many different uses. Stained-glass windows from the old hall – which was the original church – were converted for use as free-standing works of art on either side of the stage. The structure also has a canopy which extends to the Parish Church.

St. Peter the Apostle Pastor Father Gerard Critch credited the people of the parish for the long-term commitment and sacrifice of many people to make the new Spirit Center possible.

“St. Peter’s is a true community parish, with everyone coming together and reflecting the Light of Christ here in Naples,” Father Critch said.

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