All posts by Maria

Three Men to be Ordained to the Priesthood on May 19, 2018

Bishop Gregory Parkes will ordain Deacon Kyle Bell, Deacon Lou Turcotte, and Deacon Tim Williford to the priesthood on Saturday, May 19 at 11:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg. All are invited to attend this joyous celebration! If you cannot join us in person, you are invited to watch the live video stream on and listen on Spirit FM 90.5. Please keep Deacons Kyle, Lou, and Tim in your prayers!

Read the bios for the three men below.

Click on the graphic below to share on social media or in your bulletin.

Pope Francis Releases New Apostolic Exhortation “Gaudete Et Exsultate”

New document from Pope Francis! Read the full text of our Holy Father’s new apostolic exhortation, “Guadete Et Exsultate”, which means “Rejoice and Be Glad” in Latin, here. This document is about holiness in everyday life.

Check out top five take aways from the new document as presented by Father James Martin, SJ and America The Jesuit Review magazine. Read more of their coverage of  Guadete Et Exsultate here.

Three Catholic Schools Recognized as Top Workplaces in Tampa Bay

Three of our Catholic schools made the Tampa Bay Times’ Top 100 Workplaces in Tampa Bay list. Guardian Angels Catholic School was the top employer in the small category (minimum of 50 local employees). On the list of the top 50 small employers, Clearwater Central Catholic High School was number 42 and St. Cecelia Interparochial Catholic School was number 43. Congratulations to all three schools!

Read more in the news stories below.


Watch the Chrism Mass Live Video Stream

At 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, Bishop Gregory L. Parkes will preside at the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle. All are invited to attend.

During this Mass, the priests of our diocese, along with Bishop Parkes, will renew their commitment to priestly service and the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of Catechumens are blessed and the Sacred Chrism is consecrated.

The Chrism Mass is an opportunity for us to experience a renewal and recommitment to God and the Church. If you are unable to join us in person, we invite you to pray and participate with us by watching the live video stream below or listening live on Spirit FM 90.5 (online at

Saint Leo University Makes a Difference, Ships Bottle Caps for Recycling

Close to 15,000 pounds of plastic donated for Caps of Love Project to provide wheelchairs

Heidi D’Ambrosio, organizer of the project and senior coordinator for Student Affairs; some of the students who helped with Caps of Love; Dr. William J. Lennox Jr., university president; and Dr. Jeffrey D. Senese, provost and senior vice president of Academic & Student Affairs
Photo credit: Benjamin Watters.

SAINT LEO – Saint Leo University is focused on helping others and saving the planet—one plastic cap at a time. On Thursday, March 22, the university shipped about 15,000 pounds of bottle caps for recycling.

The university again collected plastic bottle caps for donation for Caps of Love, a Florida-based, nonprofit organization. The proceeds from recycling the plastic are used to purchase new and refurbished wheelchairs for children with mobility issues. Students, faculty, and staff were joined by local organizations, schools, and businesses in the collection of plastic lids.

The tops from bottles of soft drinks, laundry soap, shampoo, prescriptions, and other items as well as peanut butter jars, yogurt cups, and more, were among the boxes loaded onto a truck and shipped to Commercial Recycling in Tampa. The stash of bottle caps were collected from April 2017 to March 2018.

The goal of the Caps of Love organization is to, “educate the public on how to identify and recycle correctly and to provide wheelchairs to the physically challenged under the age of 21,” in the United States, according to its website.

Saint Leo students and staff sorted through transparent and colored bottle caps and separated them into three types. The main types of plastic Caps of Love recycles are: Polypropylene No. 5, Polyethylene No. 2, and Polyethylene No. 4.

Saint Leo University was assisted by many community organizations, schools, businesses, and government agencies from Pasco, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Citrus counties. Supporters gathered for a send-off celebration on March 22. A fork-lift was used to move the boxes to the shipping truck. Photo credit: Benjamin Watters.

“This year we have focused on educating the community about the importance of recycling while teaching them how to sort [the types of plastic],” said organizer Heidi D’Ambrosio, senior coordinator of Student Affairs at Saint Leo University. “I went to Bishop McLaughlin High School and participated in their service day. I took student worker Joe Carney with me as well as an admissions counselor. And I was invited to speak to the Tampa Downtown Lions Club district meeting about the project.

“My goal is to get this generation excited about recycling,” D’Ambrosio said.

The offices of Student Affairs and Residence Life started Cappin’ Thursdays, and students would come to the Student Activities Building and sort through the thousands of donated plastic bottle caps. Even Dr. William J. Lennox Jr., university president, pitched in to help sort. “We were able to offer more than 130 hours of community service,” D’Ambrosio said.

Some of the contributors to Saint Leo’s Caps of Love project include: Zephyrhills Water; Nicoletti Law Firm; Trinity Church of Wesley Chapel; Pasadena Baptist Church; Tampa Downtown Lions Club; Bishop McLaughlin High School in Shady Hills;  Wesley Chapel High School; Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel; Forest High School in Marion County; First Presbyterian Church of Dade City; Pasco County Tax Collector’s Office; Hernando County Sheriff’s Office; Domino’s; Florida Hospital Zephyrhills Wellness Center; H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center; Accuform Inc.-Brooksville (Teresa Powell); Home Depot; the Hernando County Courthouse; and Inverness Christian Academy. Lowe’s provided the shipping boxes.

Area residents and businesses also stop by the university and drop off bottle caps throughout the year, D’Ambrosio said. “We have multiple supporters who drop hundreds of caps off at Campus Safety,” D’Ambrosio said.

“It was tedious work sometimes,” said Katie Krzyzanski, a junior criminal justice major. “But the end result was worth it.”

Senior Ray Melfor, a cybersecurity major, said he enjoyed helping the community. “We’re making a difference,” Melfor said. “And we’re helping the environment.”

The Caps of Love organization, which is changing its name to Chariots of Love, has presented 79 wheelchairs to children. Last year, the Saint Leo community was able to see the fruits of its labor when Woodland Elementary School (Zephyrhills, FL) student Michael Ledford was presented with a new wheelchair from the Caps of Love program. Valerie Mathieu, founder of the program, helped present the wheelchair to Michael.

“After presenting the wheelchair in July, there has definitely been an amazing atmosphere about what and why we are doing this,” D’Ambrosio said about Saint Leo University. “The students have stated that they are making a difference, one cap at a time.”

Special Scholarship Opportunity Offered Now to Attain Saint Leo University MBA Degree Online

Students Could Save $6,000 throughout Course of Program

Saint Leo University (, a pioneer in online learning, is offering an academic scholarship opportunity for some special students: those who are intent on starting an MBA program this summer, who have the undergraduate grades to prove they can do serious work, and the commitment and discipline to study online all the way through to degree completion.

For those who qualify and apply by April 20 for admission to the summer semester beginning on Monday, April 30, the MBA tuition per credit hour will be $555, compared to the standard tuition cost of $720. What is more, Saint Leo will hold the tuition per credit hour at $555 through the time it takes the students to graduate, provided the students maintain a consistent enrollment plan and good academic standing. The per-credit scholarship represents a savings of $6,000 throughout the course of the 36-credit hour program. Additionally, qualified scholarship recipients are eligible for a waiver of the standard $80 application fee.

Prospective online Master of Business Administration students must be ready and willing to begin their studies now to qualify for the scholarship opportunity.

The scholarship will be extended only to those applicants with the required academic background: those who attained a grade point average of 3.25 in earning their bachelor’s degrees, either during their final 60 credit hours of study or over the course of their four-year degree programs. The degree also needs to be from a regionally accredited university, as Saint Leo is. Official transcripts are required. This proof of a strong academic background helps assure Saint Leo graduate admissions officers that the scholarship money is being invested in adult learners who already have strong study skills. Admission to the MBA program itself is possible without this kind of record, but the program entrant would not qualify for consideration for a scholarship.

Qualified students will find they can choose to earn either the general Master of Business Administration degree, or choose from a diverse spectrum of 10 specializations that can give graduates an edge over other job and promotion candidates in the same field. The specialization options include supply chain management, sport business, health care administration, cybersecurity, human resource management, and more.

“The reason Saint Leo decided to offer this scholarship benefit now is that we realize there is a pool of vast, untapped business and administrative talent that can be developed through further study, but that opportunity is beyond the grasp of some talented learners,” said Dr. Jeffrey D. Senese, provost and senior vice president of Academic & Student Affairs. “Online study overcomes some barriers, such as access to classroom programs or convenient study times. By investing first in people who have done well before in school, and by giving them an incentive to get started soon and to stay engaged, Saint Leo is attracting people who have sound study skills and the desire to seize an opportunity instead of letting it pass by. We think these students will be good peers for their fellow students in online classrooms and study groups and will continue to be valuable employees in their current and future work positions.”

Senese added that he hopes some of the scholarship applicants already will be working at companies that offer some level of tuition aid or tuition reimbursement to employees for further education. “That would be ideal, because then both the student and the company are getting the benefit of the tuition break that comes with this scholarship,” Senese said.

The MBA curriculum is taught by the faculty of Saint Leo University’s Donald R. Tapia School of Business. Tapia himself went back to school through two Saint Leo online programs well after becoming an established entrepreneur in Arizona. He needed the flexibility of a quality online program to continue to have time for his business and was reassured by the fact that Saint Leo already had an educational heritage of more than 100 years at a traditional residential campus in Central Florida, where the school was first founded. Tapia earned his bachelor’s degree in 2005 and his MBA in 2007.

More recently MBA graduates also have earned their degrees while raising families, serving in the military, or holding down jobs in places across the country or around the world.

The Saint Leo online academic calendar is available here. For more information about the scholarship, go to MBA Online Scholarship Form. For additional information, or call, toll free, (800) 707-8846. Find more information about degree requirements.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University ( is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourages learners of all generations. The university is committed to providing educational opportunities to the nation’s armed forces, veterans, and their families. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.

The university remains the faithful steward of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where its founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving more than 13,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 90,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.

Marriage Covenant Celebrated as a Witness of Life and Love

Over 250 couples from over 60 parishes from the Diocese of St. Petersburg celebrating 25, 50 or more years of marriage participated in the Marriage Jubilee Mass on Feb. 11 at the Cathedral of St Jude the Apostle. One couple was celebrating 75 years of marriage.

“You were here last year, right?” said Bishop Parkes to the couple who had been married the most number of years. “See, the blessing worked,” he said with humor.

(To view photos from Marriage Jubilee Mass, click on the image below.)

2017 Marriage Jubilee Mass

Bishop Parkes thanked the couples for being such wonderful witnesses to our community and our world.

“You stand here as witnesses that marriage when lived as a sacrament, is what God intended it be, which is a communion of man and woman, husband and wife, who come together not because of what each individual will get out of marriage, but  to form a union for the good of each other. It is in living that sacrifice that you imitate the sacrifice that our Lord Jesus Christ made for each of us,” he said.

He acknowledged that married couples can experience difficulties but he stressed that with God’s help they can overcome those difficulties.

“Marriage is not easy. It does present its own challenges, difficulties, and struggles as life presents difficulties and struggles.  That’s where the love of God and the grace of God must be present within that union of husband and wife. God’s love and grace are there for each one of us. That’s why we gather here today. To celebrate your love for one another and to celebrate your witness to the world of what it means to be in a communion of life and love for all your life.”

During the Mass, Couples renewed their commitment through this prayer:

“Blessed are you, Lord,
for in the good and the bad times of our life
you have stood lovingly by our side.
Help us, we pray,
to remain faithful in our love for one another
so that we may be true witnesses
to the covenant you have made with humankind.”

During his homily, Bishop Parkes quoted Pope Francis in his document, Amoris Laetitia (Joy of Love) #56:

“Christian marriage is a sign of how much Christ loved his Church in the covenant sealed on the cross, yet it also makes that love present in the communion of the spouses. By becoming one flesh, they embody the espousal of our human nature by the Son of God. … Even though the analogy between the human couple of husband and wife, and that of Christ and his Church, is ‘imperfect’, it inspires us to beg the Lord to bestow on every married couple an outpouring of his divine love.”

Before the Mass, four couples offered some marriage advice. Watch and hear the wisdom they shared below.