All posts by Maria

President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Statement on the Death of President George H.W. Bush

WASHINGTON–Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement on the passing of President George Herbert Walker Bush.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows:

“We join with people across the nation as we mourn the passing of President George H.W. Bush. We remember with gratitude this great man who spent his life selflessly in service of his country. With an unwavering commitment to building bridges of peace and ensuring our nation’s freedoms, he also inspired many as a devoted husband, father and family patriarch.

On behalf of my brother bishops of the United States, we pray for the repose of the soul of our forty-first president as we remember a life well lived.

We also offer our deepest sympathy and prayers for his bereaved family and all those who mourn his passing. May you find peace and comfort in the consoling love of Jesus Christ.”

Saint Leo University Celebrating 20th Anniversary of Offering Online Classes

ST. LEO, FL – Saint Leo University on December 5 will celebrate its 20th anniversary of offering online education. Launched in December 1998, Saint Leo was one of the first institutions to embrace online education with the creation of the Center for Online Learning.

In 1996, the university faced declining enrollments and increasing deficits. Under the direction of Dr. Arthur F. Kirk Jr., then-president, Saint Leo changed its approach to strategic planning and budgeting and examined its programs and practices. The university rid itself of programs that required great capital and personnel expenditures and looked for ways to consolidate.

In a blog for the Huffington Post in 2015, Kirk wrote, “In 1997-1998, with my first budget at Saint Leo, the Board of Trustees supported a single risky initiative. We reallocated $600,000 by abandoning some activities and programs and cutting some others to develop the infrastructure, content, and services to launch online programs.

“Our total budget at the time was $26 million and tenuously balanced, at best,” Kirk continued. “Our faculty did not have university-supplied computers, every roof leaked, salaries were depressed. The need for that $600,000 could be found everywhere in the institution.”

Kirk and the board took a risk and invested in an online program for Saint Leo. Now, through online classes, students can study anywhere and anytime that is convenient for them. It was an investment that paid off for the university and especially for its students.

Saint Leo began offering classes on military bases in 1973 at the Avon Park Bombing Range and Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. Now, the university provides education for 14 bases. “Saint Leo has historically been a forerunner in the provision of distance education, primarily because of our long-standing commitment to serving the military community,” said Dr. Melanie Storms, senior vice president. “Meeting the needs of a mobile population required us to think flexibly about how we provided access to education.”

Online education was a natural fit for Saint Leo and today, most students take some or all of their courses online. With the power of online learning, students can continue their education during periods of travel or military deployment, when they might otherwise need to interrupt their studies.

True to the university’s core values

Saint Leo University is Florida’s first and oldest Catholic university, founded in 1889, north of Tampa, FL. Today, the university holds true to the Benedictine values on which it was founded. All courses at Saint Leo, including those taught online, include a focus on at least one of Saint Leo’s six core values: excellence; community; respect; personal development; responsible stewardship; and integrity. For example, students in online business courses discuss ethical behavior by national companies – what does a company look like that embraces integrity?

Another example is that in the capstone course for accounting majors, students have to complete a financial analysis project that includes two graded components related to ethics and core values. Students must describe the ethical obligations and responsibilities of the organization and discuss and explain the relevance of excellence and integrity (two of Saint Leo’s core values) in the context of financial statement analysis.

Connecting with Saint Leo

With 20 years of experience, Saint Leo understands the flexible learning experience online education can provide. The university is attuned with the unique needs of the online adult learner. One of the most critical areas in which Saint Leo distinguishes itself among other higher education institutions is its focus on connecting with students.

Students who are connected and involved in their university tend to do better academically and complete their degrees, which are offered from the associate level to the doctoral.

“Online students are no different,” said Shadel Hamilton, associate vice president of WorldWide Student Services. There may be a greater need for connection for those studying online as they don’t receive the face-to-face interaction that their counterparts, who attend class in a traditional university setting receive, Hamilton said. “We foster engagement that increases student satisfaction and success while also providing individualized support to align students’ education and career goals.”

One of the ways Saint Leo students connect is via virtual clubs and associations, offered through Saint Leo WorldWide’s Student Services department. Online students may join a club or association without leaving their home or workplace. Clubs focus on specific topics such as the Military Family or the Student Communications Clubs, which produces a monthly newsletter created by online students located around the world. The associations are degree-specific, and offer students a chance to connect with other students in their respective majors. The number of students who participate in clubs and associations has increased 300 percent over the past four years, and there’s data to indicate this increase has had a positive influence on retention, Hamilton noted.

“I believe Saint Leo has succeeded in online education because we take a proactive approach to serving online students and invite them to be part of a virtual community,” said Nancy Cheek, associate director of Career Services. “This involves so much more than providing a remote classroom platform. As I network with many higher ed professionals in the state of Florida, I see that many are only reacting to online student needs on an as needed basis. We are unique in the established programs and services we offer, to allow students to receive the assistance they need, and become more involved if they choose to, and also introduce these resources and options to them before they even begin their first term.”

For Tim Robinson, an active duty sailor in the U.S. Navy, Saint Leo was a great choice. In addition to be a sailor, he also is a husband and father, so he is balancing all aspects of his life.

“I was getting ready to transfer from an operational command to shore duty, which meant I wouldn’t be deploying for a while, so I thought getting back to school would be a good idea, and going online seemed like the best way to balance family, work, and school,” Robinson said. “I am able to set my own schedule to complete my work on time. I also found going to school online actually helps me learn more.

“When I was in a classroom, we would have discussions, but it was mostly just based on what you knew, or what you read in your text,” continued Robinson, who is in the graduate criminal justice program “At Saint Leo WorldWide, in our classes, we use discussion posts, but instead of just basing it off what we think we know, or what we read in our text, we have the opportunity find additional scholarly research to support our ideas. As a result, we often learn more about a topic because in addition to our research, our classmates are posting research they found so I think it greatly enriches collegial learning.”

Moving toward careers

Saint Leo’s online students also receive assistance from Career Services. The goal is to make it as convenient as possible for adult online students, who are juggling multiple responsibilities in their lives to receive the professional development support they need.

They receive help with employer research, networking, resume reviews, and interview preparation, among other services. In addition, Career Services provides several career-related webinars each month, which are recorded for the students’ convenience. The monthly Leaders in the Industry interactive webinar series offers students the opportunity to explore career fields with working professionals. Past speakers included Kate Friedman from PwC and DeShan King from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as well as Saint Leo alumnus Jason Linkes of Jason Linkes Speaking, to name a few. The most recent webinar, held November 27, featured Brandy Pollicita, instructor of health and wellness at Saint Leo University. Pollicita was a corporate wellness manager for three Fortune 500 companies in Arizona and Florida prior to her focus in academia. She shared her own story and career path to teaching in higher education, and invited those who wish to pursue their own career in higher ed to connect with her.

“My advice to students would be to make connections with other online students,” Hamilton said. “Create a support system of peers, and reach out to your student advisors and faculty members. They can offer suggestions and support you in ways you may not be aware of.  At Saint Leo, we offer an online peer mentoring club for students to make these types of connections.”

Many of the connections made at online meetings and networking sessions allow students to develop key relationships needed for career opportunities or letters of recommendation.

“I think the future of online higher education is limitless,” Cheek said. “The need for convenience in every aspect of our lives is becoming more and more obvious, and advances in technology are allowing for things we never imagined.”

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University (www.saintleo.edu) 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 nearly 12,000 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 93,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.

Corpus Christi Catholic School Students Volunteer in the Community

Corpus Christi Catholic School’s mission is to develop in their students a passion for the Gospel and building a just and compassionate world through service to God and others. Each year, students participate in different service opportunities throughout the community.

Eighth grade students volunteered at Metropolitan Ministries, Best Buddies and St. Vincent De Paul, amongst others. Younger students recently created care packages for the poor and homeless. These care packages included items such as toiletries, cold weather gear and non-perishable snacks. See photos of the students in action below.

To learn more about Corpus Christi Catholic School in Temple Terrace, please visit their website.

2018 Corpus Christi Catholic School Students Make a Difference

Saint Leo University Begins Christmas Season With Blessing of Nativity, Tree

ST. LEO, FL – Saint Leo University kicked off the Christmas season at the university’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the main campus on November 27.

Father Kyle Smith, university chaplain, read the Christmas story from gospel of Luke:

“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.

This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.

And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Smith blessed the Christmas tree and the university’s Nativity, leading the Saint Leo community in prayer as it prepared for Advent.

Music was provided by students Olivia Callahan and Allie Losee and Dr. Cynthia Selph, director of the university’s music program. Lucas Nocera, music minister for University Ministry, played keyboard and led everyone in Christmas carols.

On a chilly night, students, faculty, and staff enjoyed Christmas cookies and treats to cap the evening.

Photos by Cameron Wallace, The Lion’s Pride Media Group

2018 Blessing of the Nativity and Tree at Saint Leo University

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University (www.saintleo.edu) 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 nearly 12,000 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 93,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.

Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, Presidents of Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Legal Immigration Network Issued Statement Regarding Their Deep Concern About Restricting Access to Asylum

WASHINGTON— Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, Sister Donna Markham, OP, Phd, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, Jeanne Atkinson, Executive Director of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, and Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services issued an statement reiterating that it is not a crime to seek asylum and urging the Administration to seek other solutions that will strengthen the integrity of the existing immigration system.

On November 9, 2018, President Trump issued a proclamation barring people arriving to the U.S./Mexico border from receiving U.S. asylum unless they request it at a U.S. port of entry, a direct contradiction of existing U.S. asylum law (see here)

The full statement follows:

“While our teaching acknowledges the right of each nation to regulate its borders, we find this action deeply concerning. It will restrict and slow access to protection for hundreds of children and families fleeing violence in Central America, potentially leaving them in unsafe conditions in Mexico or in indefinite detention situations at the U.S./Mexico border. We reiterate that it is not a crime to seek asylum and this right to seek refuge is codified in our laws and in our values. We urge the Administration to seek other solutions that will strengthen the integrity of the existing immigration system, while assuring access to protection for vulnerable children and families. The Catholic Church will continue to serve, accompany and assist all those who flee persecution, regardless of where they seek such protection and where they are from.”

Ecumenical and Interfaith Leaders Ask Congress to Repeal the “Parking Lot Tax”

WASHINGTON—  Today, leaders of diverse faiths and religious nonprofits asked Congress to repeal a recent change to the Internal Revenue Code in Section 512(a)(7) that threatens to tax nonprofit organizations—including houses of worship—for the cost of parking and transit benefits provided to their employees. Many have referred to this provision as the “parking lot tax”.

Leaders representing a broad range of institutions, including houses of worship, primary and secondary education, higher education, and faith-based nonprofit organizations sent a letter to House and Senate chairmen and ranking members.

The letter states: “We write with serious concerns about how a little-noticed provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would tax parking and transit benefits provided by nonprofit organizations and churches. Unless repealed, this provision will require tens of thousands of houses of worship to file tax returns for the first time in our nation’s history and will impose a new tax burden on houses of worship and nonprofit organizations.”

The letter continues: “Perhaps worst of all, this provision will hopelessly entangle the IRS with houses of worship, simply because these houses of worship allow their clergy to park in their parking lots. For good reasons grounded in the First Amendment, houses of worship are not required to file tax returns each year. This policy allows houses of worship to operate independently from the government and shields houses of worship from government interference and intrusive public inspection into their internal, constitutionally protected operations, as nonprofit tax returns are available to the public.”

Signatories from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, The Jewish Federations of North America, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, Agudath Israel of America, Islamic Relief USA, Indian American Muslim Council, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church of Scientology National Affairs Office, The Episcopal Church, National Association of Evangelicals, Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty, Catholic Charities USA, and many other organizations concerned about this new tax joined Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Frank R. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, in signing the letter.

A link to the letter can be found here: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Letter-on-Parking-Lot-Tax-November-13-2018.pdf

U.S. Bishops Approved “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love,” A Pastoral Letter Against Racism

BALTIMORE— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved today, during its November General Assembly, the formal statement, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love,” A Pastoral Letter Against Racism. The full body of bishops approved it by a two-thirds majority vote of 241 to 3 with 1 abstention.

The USCCB Cultural Diversity in the Church Committee, chaired by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, of San Antonio, Texas, spearheaded the letter’s drafting and guided it through the voting process. Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, of Houma-Thibodaux, Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and Chair of the Sub-committee on African American Affairs within the Cultural Diversity Committee, issued the following statement:

“The entire body of bishops felt the need to address the topic of racism, once again, after witnessing the deterioration of the public discourse, and episodes of violence and animosity with racial and xenophobic overtones, that have re-emerged in American society in the last few years. Pastoral letters from the full body of bishops are rare, few and far between. But at key moments in history the bishops have come together for important pronouncements, paying attention to a particular issue and with the intention of offering a Christian response, full of hope, to the problems of our time. This is such a time.”

Initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in August 2017, the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism was created to address the sin of racism in our society and Church, to address the urgent need to come together as a society to find solutions, and to support the implementation of the bishops’ pastoral letter on racism.

“Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love,” is a Pastoral Letter from the full body of bishops to the lay faithful and all people of goodwill addressing the sin of racism.

The pastoral letter asks us to recall that we are all brothers and sisters, all equally made in the image of God. Because we all bear the image of God, racism is above all a moral and theological problem that manifests institutionally and systematically. Only a deep individual conversion of heart, which then multiplies, will compel change and reform in our institutions and society. It is imperative to confront racism’s root causes and the injustice it produces. The love of God binds us together. This same love should overflow into our relationships with all people. The conversions needed to overcome racism require a deep encounter with the living God in the person of Christ who can heal all division.

“Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love,” is not the first time the U.S. Bishops have spoken as a collectively on race issues in the United States, but it is the first time in almost 40 years.

In 1979, they approved “Brothers and Sisters to Us: A Pastoral Letter on Racism in Our Day.” Among the many things, they discussed was the fact that “Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father.” The newly approved “Open Wide Our Hearts” continues the message that “Brothers and Sisters to Us” sought to convey.

The full text, as well as many accompanying pastoral resources, will be posted at http://www.usccb.org/racism. Resources will include a bulletin insert, homily help, prayer materials, background information on systemic racism, and activities for primary, secondary, and higher education classroom settings.

U.S. Bishops Conduct Canonical Consultation on Cause for Canonization of Sr. Thea Bowman, F.S.P.A.

At their annual fall Plenary Assembly in Baltimore, MD, the U.S Bishops participated in a consultation on the cause for sainthood of the Servant of God Sr. Thea Bowman, F.S.P.A.

Bishop Robert P. Deeley, Chairman of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, and Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, Bishop of Jackson, Mississippi, the petitioner of the cause, facilitated the discussion. By a voice vote, the bishops indicated unanimous support for the advancement of the cause on the diocesan level.

A self-proclaimed, “old folks’ child,” Bowman, was the only child born to middle-aged parents, Dr. Theon Bowman, a physician and Mary Esther Bowman, a teacher. At birth she was given the name Bertha Elizabeth Bowman. She was born in 1937 and reared in Canton, Mississippi. As a child she converted to Catholicism through the inspiration of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity who were her teachers and pastors at Holy Child Jesus Church and School in Canton.

At an early age, Thea was exposed to the richness of her African-American culture and spirituality, most especially the history, stories, songs, prayers, customs and traditions. At the age of fifteen, she told her parents and friends she wanted to join the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and left the familiar Mississippi terrain to venture to the unfamiliar town of LaCrosse, Wisconsin where she would be the only African-American member of her religious community. At her religious profession, she was given the name, “Sister Mary Thea” in honor of the Blessed Mother and her father, Theon. Her name in religious life, Thea, literally means “God.” She was trained to become a teacher. She taught at all grade levels, eventually earning her doctorate and becoming a college professor of English and linguistics.

In 1984, Sister Thea faced devastating challenges: both her parents died, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sister Thea vowed to “live until I die” and continued her rigorous schedule of speaking engagements. Even when it became increasingly painful and difficult to travel as the cancer metastasized to her bones, she was undeterred from witnessing and sharing her boundless love for God and the joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Donned in her customary African garb, Sister Thea would arrive in a wheel chair with no hair (due to the chemotherapy treatments) but always with her a joyful disposition and pleasant smile. She did not let the deterioration of her body keep her from one unprecedented event, an opportunity to address the U.S. Bishops at their annual June meeting held in 1989 at Seton Hall University in East Orange, NJ. Sister Thea spoke to the bishops as a sister having a “heart to heart” conversation with her brothers.

She explained what it meant to be African-American and Catholic. She enlightened the bishops on African-American history and spirituality. Sister Thea urged the bishops to continue to evangelize the African-American community, to promote inclusivity and full participation of African-Americans within Church leadership, and to understand the necessity and value of Catholic schools in the African- American community. At the end of her address, she invited the bishops to move together, cross arms and sing with her, “We Shall Overcome.” She seemingly touched the hearts of the bishops as evidenced by their thunderous applause and tears flowing from their eyes.

During her short lifetime (52 years), many people considered her a religious Sister undeniably close to God and who lovingly invited others to encounter the presence of God in their lives. She is acclaimed a “holy woman” in the hearts of those who knew and loved her and continue to seek her intercession for guidance and healing.

Today across the United States there are schools; an education foundation to assist needy students to attend Catholic universities; housing units for the poor and elderly, and a health clinic for the marginalized named in her honor. Books, articles, catechetical resources, visual media productions, a stage play, have been written documenting her exemplary life. Prayer cards, works of art, statues, and stained-glass windows bearing her image all attest to Sister Thea’s profound spiritual impact and example of holiness for the faithful.

St. Cecelia Interparochial Catholic School Celebrates Veterans Day

The students of St. Cecelia Catholic School of Clearwater, Florida gathered by the school’s flagpole where they honored the courageous of our country, the veterans. A prayer service and flag raising to God Bless America was a very touching sight to behold. The students were asked the question, “Who are veterans?”  Among the answers that were given by the students was that veterans are people who selflessly lay down their lives for freedom, liberty and ultimately peace in the world. Thank you veterans for all your sacrifices.

2018 St. Cecelia Interparochial Catholic School Celebrates Veterans Day

Notre Dame Catholic School hosted its 2nd annual Field of Honor®

Notre Dame Catholic School was proud to host its 2nd annual Field of Honor® ceremony on Friday, November 9, 2018 at 9 am. It was attended by over 200 people, not including the student body. The Field of Honor® flag event payed tribute to our veterans and service men and women with a moving display of American flags.

2018 Notre Dame Catholic School Celebrates Veterans Day

The amazing, patriotic display consisted of over a hundred American flags, each in honor or memory of an individual. Each year, Notre Dame is pleased to have members of the Hernando county community present with our school families. Mrs. Florence Buono, school principal, shared the following during her opening remarks at the ceremony. “This event, paying tribute to our veterans and honoring our country through the representation of our American flag… the Flag of our great country…. this United States of America…. Once again comes at an important time in history… At a time when there is still much controversy in our country over our flag, we feel it is important for our children to know that this should not be a political issue…. it is an American issue! It’s an issue of patriotism! It is all about what it means to have pride in your country and the people who serve it. As President Kennedy once famously said… “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!”

Notre Dame Catholic School vows to teach our students… using a strong, rigorous, academic curriculum within a Christ centered environment. Moreover, we teach our children what it means to be a valued citizen of this great country, the United States of America. We believe in teaching our children what it means to have good citizenship. We believe in our country, and the freedoms our ancestors fought to secure for us. These flags…. on our front yard today…. remind us of the flag that flew over Fort McHenry over 200 years ago.” 

The students in grades 3rd-8th participated in an essay contest, while the younger grades had a flag drawing and coloring contest. The winners from all contests were announced at the morning ceremony.

Notre Dame’s 8th grade winner, Olivia Shields, started her essay speech with the following words, “BOOM! The bullet roaring through the air hitting the back of the soldier; the instant shock of pain trickling down his back. Throughout time people have been fighting for something greater than themselves. What does the American Flag mane to me? The flag symbolized the lives people have given to fight for our country and the ones who are still fighting for our country today.” What Olivia went on to share in her essay was the purpose of our ceremony; remembering and honoring all veterans and service men and women of our great United States of America.

The ceremony also consisted of a Memorial Salute, a Flag Folding presentation, and many other moving tributes.

The Hernando County community is invited to save the date for next year’s Field of Honor® ceremony, which will be Friday, November 8, 2019.