All posts by Maria

Catholic Charities USA presents $2 million for immediate, emergency assistance to Florida Catholic Charities agencies for Hurricane Irma

100% of funds raised goes directly to relief and recovery efforts

Sister Donna Markham, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) was at Pinellas Hope in Clearwater on Tuesday, September 19 to present $2 million to local Florida Catholic Charities agencies to assist those impacted by Hurricane Irma.  Generous people across the country donated to Catholic Charities USA and made this effort possible. Previously, Sister Donna presented $2 million to Catholic Charities agencies in Texas to be used for recovery from Hurricane Harvey.

Sister Donna was joined by:

  • Bishop Gregory L. Parkes, Diocese of St. Petersburg
  • Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Diocese of Venice
  • Mark Dufva, Executive Director, Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg, Inc.

Representatives from Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Miami, Catholic Charities of Central Florida, Catholic Charities Diocese of Palm Beach, Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida, Catholic Charities of Jacksonville, and Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice were in attendance.

The presentation took place at Pinellas Hope, a program of Catholic Charities of St. Petersburg that provides a safe living environment for homeless individuals and support to become self-sufficient.


If someone is facing an immediate emergency in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, please contact one of the four Catholic Charities locations below for assistance, based upon the county of residence.

  • Pinellas County:  1213 16th Street N., St. Petersburg, 727-893-1313
  • Hillsborough County:  2021 E. Busch Blvd. Tampa,  813-631-4390
  • Pasco County:  37733 Meridian Ave., Dade City, 352-521-1218
  • Citrus and Hernando Counties:  8370 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill, 352-686-9897

If you can help with donations of relief supplies, these Catholic Charities locations are a drop off site for donations of water food, baby supplies and basic toiletries.

  • Pinellas County:  1213 16th Street N., St. Petersburg, 727-893-1313
  • Hillsborough County:  2021 E. Busch Blvd. Tampa,  813-631-4390
  • Pasco County:  37733 Meridian Ave., Dade City, 352-521-1218
  • Citrus and Hernando Counties:  8370 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill, 352-686-9897

To make a financial donation, please visit or

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), a member of Caritas Internationalis, is the national office for the Catholic Charities ministry nationwide. CCUSA’s members provide help and create hope to more than 8 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. To learn more, please visit


First Execution in over a Year Scheduled for August 24, 2017

After eighteen months with no executions in our state, Mark Asay is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, August 24, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. The inconsistent and arbitrary application of the death penalty has only become more apparent since Florida’s most recent execution in January 2016. Defendants whose death sentences were finalized after June 2002 have been considered eligible for resentencing hearings. Yet, those, like Mr. Asay, sentenced prior to that date – but under the same unconstitutional system – have been denied relief.

In an August 21 letter on behalf of the bishops of Florida, Michael Sheedy, executive director, Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, appealed to Governor Rick Scott to commute Asay’s death sentence to a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Asay received two death sentences for the 1987 murders of Robert Lee Booker and Robert McDowell. “Indeed, Mr. Asay’s violent acts call out for justice and should be condemned,” said Sheedy. “However, life without parole is an alternative and severe sentence. We hold that if non-lethal means are available to keep society safe from an aggressor, then authority must limit itself to such means.” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2267)

All life is sacred. Even those who have committed terrible deeds and caused great pain possess a God-given dignity that is neither earned nor can it be forfeited. We are, therefore, called to be consistently pro-life, protecting life in all of its forms and all of its stages.

Prayer Opportunities in our Diocese
Please join us to pray for the condemned, his victims and their families. We also pray for all of the victims of violent crimes and their families, for people on death row awaiting execution, and for the end of the use of the death penalty.

– A prayer vigil will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Parish (4843 Mile Stretch Drive, Holiday, FL 34690) at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 23. The vigil will take place in the Chapel during the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

– A prayer vigil will be held at Our Lady of Fatima Parish (550 S US Highway 41, Inverness, FL 34450) at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 24.

– Spirit FM 90.5  will be praying on air at 5:50 p.m., Thursday, August 24 (online at

– A Rosary for Life will be prayed at Nativity Parish (705 E Brandon Blvd, Brandon, FL 33511) at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 24. The Rosary will take place at the Memorial to the Unborn, just outside the west wall of the main Church.

Contact Governor Scott:
Please send a message to Governor Scott urging him to commute Mark Asay’s death sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole and to stop signing death warrants. Click here to send your message through the Voter Voice Network.

U.S. Bishops Call for Peace and Unity after Violence and Protests in Charlottesville

“The abhorrent acts of hatred on display in Charlottesville are an attack on the unity of our nation and therefore summon us all to fervent prayer and peaceful action,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Read the full statements from the U.S. Bishops in response to the violent protest and deadly attack in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, August 12.

Statement 1: President Of U.S. Conference Of Catholic Bishops Calls For Calm Amid Violent Protests In Charlottesville

Statement 2: USCCB President And Domestic Justice Chairman Call For Prayer And Unity In Response To Deadly Charlottesville Attack

Please join us in praying for those killed and injured during the protests and for the conversion of all hearts hardened by racism and hatred. St. Francis of Assisi, make us instruments of your peace! 

Pray for Peace as Tensions Rise with North Korea

The U.S. bishops and the Korean bishops’ conference are calling for talks to secure the peaceful future of the Korean Peninsula. Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, the chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, said that diplomacy and political engagement is necessary to resolve the differences between the United States and North Korea in order to avoid a military conflict. Read more in this article from the Catholic News Service by clicking here.

Please join us in praying for peace!

Prayer for Peace by St. John XXIII
Lord Jesus Christ,
who are called the Prince of Peace,
who are yourself our peace and reconciliation,
who so often said, “Peace to you,”
grant us peace.
Make all men and women witnesses of
truth, justice, and brotherly love.
Banish from their hearts whatever might endanger peace.
Enlighten our rulers that they may guarantee
and defend the great gift of peace.
May all peoples of the earth becomes as brothers and sisters.
May longed-for peace blossom forth
and reign always over us all.

– by St. John XXIII

Nationally Known Chef, Author, TV Host and Priest to Showcase Tampa Bay Food and Faith

Father Leo Patalinghug of Baltimore has been blogging about food since 2007. He is a celebrated chef, faith-filled priest and TV personality. In 2010, he published his first book, “Grace Before Meals.”

Now, he is bringing his international TV program, “Savoring Our Faith” to Tampa Bay to break bread with local chefs, churchgoers, clergy and Bishop Gregory Parkes. Father Leo will be in Tampa Bay August 14-16 to record several episodes for the upcoming season.  While here, he will videotape segments at three restaurants, two churches, a retreat center and a cooking school.

He is the face behind a national movement to bring families back to the table. Father Leo’s books and TV show teach people how to prepare family meals while strengthening family relationships.  He also recently started The Table Foundation which seeks to harvest the power of good food to do good in the community. Bishop Gregory Parkes of the Diocese of St. Petersburg serves on the board of The Table Foundation.

Father Leo has appeared on the Food Network’s “Throwdown! with Bobby Flay” where he won the cook-off.  His other books include “Spicing Up Married Life,” and “Epic Food Fight.”  “Savoring our Faith” airs Thursdays at 5 p.m. EST on EWTN.  In each episode, he visits a church, a restaurant and also cooks a special recipe that reflects the area he is visiting. It’s a family-friendly, travel, food, culture and soul inspiring show that introduces viewers to a deeper insight of different areas of our country and our world through the lens of a meal served with love.  For more information, visit

Celebrating the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary falls on Tuesday, August 15 in 2017. On this holy day of obligation, we commemorate when Mary’s body and soul were assumed into heaven and she passed into eternal life.

In the mystery of her Assumption, Mary experiences immediately what we all will experience eventually, a bodily resurrection like Christ’s own. “The Immaculate Virgin . . . when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of death” (CCC, no. 966, citing LG, no. 59).

Check your parish’s bulletin or website for Mass times. Find a listing of our parishes here.



Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Visits Twin Parish in Haiti

Members of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Dunedin visited Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Acul des Pins, their twin parish, during June. They distributed 350 pairs of ‘The Shoe That Grows’ to our twin School (courtesy of the generosity of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School family). Members also visited the Mission Chapel built by the local people with funds provided by the parish. See photos from their trip below.

017 Our Lady of Lourdes Parish's Mission Trip to Haiti

Saint Leo University and Community Partners Donate Wheelchair to Woodland Student through Caps of Love Program

Saint Leo University’s core values of community and responsible stewardship were on full display on July 13, 2017, as the university presented a new wheelchair to Michael Ledford, a rising fourth-grader at Woodland Elementary School in Zephyrhills, FL. Michael’s wheelchair was purchased using funds raised by Saint Leo and its many community partners through the Caps of Love program.

Spearheaded by Heidi D’Ambrosio, senior coordinator for Residence Life, Saint Leo students, faculty, and staff along with community and business partners in five counties, began collecting plastic bottle tops in the fall.

On March 23, 12,000 pounds of plastic caps—enough to fill 21 pallets—were loaded onto a truck and shipped to Commercial Plastics Recycling in Tampa.

Founded by Valerie Mathieu, 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.

“This is the 72nd wheelchair Caps of Love has presented,” Mathieu said.

During a reception for Michael; his family; Pasco County School District officials and teachers; the Saint Leo community; and community and business partners, D’Ambrosio expressed nervousness at speaking in front of a crowd. “But I’m truly passionate about making a difference,” she said. “And we’re making a difference one cap at a time.”

Mathieu presented Michael with a new manual wheelchair that will greatly help him get around the Woodland Elementary campus and his house, his mother said. Click here for photos.

Saint Leo University had many partners in this project including Home Depot of Zephyrhills; Zephyrhills Water; Rowland Transportation; Sabrina Burton Schultz and the Diocese of St. Petersburg; Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School; Montessori by the Sea School; Pasco-Hernando State College-North campus; Southern Charm Mobile Home Park in Zephyrhills; The Rock Church in Brooksville; Trinity Church of Wesley Chapel; Highlander Café located in Crystal River; Naval Air Station Pensacola; Domino’s Pizza; and several Pasco and Hillsborough county schools and scout troops.

Healing Service for the Divorced, Separated or Remarried on October 8, 2017

Join others who may be experiencing the pain of a divorce or separation for a free mini-retreat at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 8, 2016, at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg.  Find the path to healing, answers to some tough questions, and practical ways to move forward. This event is free and no registration is required. Free babysitting will be available.

This healing service will feature national Catholic speaker and “Apostle to the Divorced”, Rose Sweet, bringing heart, hope, and even humor to her presentation. The service will feature “The Way of the Rabbi” – FOUR STEPS to finding your center, dealing with an ex-spouse, helping the children, and looking with joy to the future!

Questions? Contact the Cathedral at 727-343-8370.