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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