Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic
St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and stepfather of Jesus Christ, serves as an example for us all as he responded to the call of the Lord each time and with his heart and soul.
The Feast of St. Joseph took place on March 19 and Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated two Masses to mark the occasion. The first Mass was at St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton where the Bishop told students in the upper grades of the Catholic School that the most important trait of St. Joseph had was his obedience.
“He was willing to listen to the Lord in his life and do what the Lord asked of him,” Bishop Dewane added. “You must listen and strive to do the will of the Lord so that you can be even more Christ-like as you live your faith. You must be humble in your own way so as to do – not always what you want – but to do what the Lord asks.”
Later in the day, the Bishop celebrated the Mass in Italian at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. Organized by the Italian-American Club of Venice, the Mass was followed by a procession, with an escort of a statue of St. Joseph with the Knights of Columbus Color Corps in the lead, to the Parish Hall.
There, Bishop Dewane blessed a St. Joseph’s Table which was piled with bread made by members of the Italian-American Club of Venice. A celebration followed with many personally thanking the Bishop and other priests present, including presenting them with loaves of bread, for their participation in the Feast Day Mass.
The tradition of the “St. Joseph Table” of food (“la tavala di San Giuseppe”) has its origins in Sicily as part of a Middle Ages celebration of the ending of a drought where food – bread in particular – is brought to be shared among the townsfolk.
By Bob Reddy
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.