All posts by Maria

USCCB Migration Chairman Endorses Proposed Senate Legislation That Gives Permanent Legal Protection to Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Holders

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration endorsed the “Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors” (DREAM) Act of 2019, S. 874 and the “Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression & Emergency” (SECURE) Act of 2019, S. 879. The DREAM Act of 2019 would provide permanent legal protection and a pathway to citizenship for qualifying Dreamers. The SECURE Act of 2019 would provide permanent legal protection and a pathway to citizenship to qualifying Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders.

“We support legislative efforts to fully integrate hard-working Dreamers and TPS holders into the United States. We need a permanent legislative solution for those who have spent their lives contributing and living in the United States, the country they know as home,” said Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration. “Dreamers and TPS holders are vital members of our community who are going to school, working to make our communities better and raising families.”

Please see the USCCB Committee on Migration letters of support for the DREAM Act and Secure Act.

More information about Dreamers and TPS can be found on the Justice for Immigrants website.

Spring Retreat Day on April 27, 2019

As Christians, we are called to be persons of hope. But how do we do this amid the gloom and doom that sometimes pervades the daily news-and our personal lives? Join us for a spring retreat to explore the nature of hope and its relation to faith and love.

Saturday, April 21, 2019 (deadline to register is April 18)
St. Mary Parish
15520 North Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33613

9:00 a.m. Mass in the Church
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Retreat in Parish Center

Cost in $15.00 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch.

REGISTER FOR THE RETREAT

The retreat will suggest practical ways to nourish hope and courage in our daily lives. Scripture, music, short videos, stories, sharing, and humor will be used to lead us deeper into the Mystery of God, the ultimate source of all hope.

The guest speaker is Melannie Svoboda, SND, a Sister of Notre Dame of Chardon, OH. She has earned M.A.’s in both English and Spirituality. She has ministered as a teacher, formation director, congregational leader, spiritual director, and writer. Her many books included Everyday Epiphanies, When the Rains Speaks, and Hanging onto Hope. Visit her blog “Sunflower Seeds” at www.melanniesvobodasnd.org.

 

Destiny Sommer and Lydia Nystrom work with their robot

Saint Leo University to Hold Summer Robotics Camps for Youths

As the United States celebrates National Robotics Week (April 6-14), Saint Leo University is expanding its summer robotics camp programs for youths. The university began offering the popular Girls Can! Robotics Camp in 2015, under the direction of Dr. Monika Kiss, professor of mathematics.

Last year, a camp for boys was added to Saint Leo’s offerings. In 2019, the university will have four camp programs:

  • Girls’ robotics camp – Monday, June 3, through Friday, June 7, for ages 10 to 14;
  • Boys’ robotic camp – Monday, June 10, through Friday, June 14, for ages 10 to 14;
  • Co-ed robotics camp – Monday, June 24, through Friday, June 28, for youths 10 to 14; and,
  • Girls’ overnight robotics camp – Sunday, June 30, through Wednesday, July 3, for ages 10 to 15.

RoboWeek in April aims to increase awareness of the importance of the robotics industry and the impact robots will make in the future. Saint Leo’s summer camp program has a similar goal of increasing young people’s interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and especially to open young girls’ eyes to the opportunities in STEM fields, Kiss said.

The campers build and program Lego EV3 Mindstorm robots in their daily sessions along with fun camp activities. As a part of programing, they will use their mathematical skills to design algorithms, their science skills to figure out what their robot can and can’t do, and their problem-solving skills to come up with excellent programs, Kiss said. In addition to the academic skills they will learn by learning to program, they will also learn a lot of soft skills, such as teamwork, communication skills, leadership skills, and improved self-confidence.

The overnight camp is for girls with prior robotics experience. They not only will have the opportunity to explore science and math, but also the chance to experience campus life by staying in a residence hall.

For more information, email Dr. Kiss at monika.kiss@saintleo.edu or call (352) 588-8836. Registration is available at http://www.totalcamps.com/SAINTLEOROBOTICS/.

Photo caption:

At a 2018 Girls Can! Robotics Camp at Saint Leo University, campers Destiny Sommer and Lydia Nystrom work on their robot. Photo by Benjamin Watters, 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. More than 93,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.

Marking 65 Years of Priestly Ministry

In 2019, 3 priests in the Diocese of St. Petersburg will celebrate the 65th anniversary of their ordination. They will be recognized by Bishop Parkes during the annual Chrism Mass on Tuesday, April 16. They are:

Rev. Jose G. GonzalezRev. Jose G. Gonzalez

He was born in Asturias, Spain and moved with his family to Havana, Cuba while still an infant.  He was ordained in Rome on December 7, 1954 for the Salesian Order.  He arrived in the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 1974 and was accepted as one of our diocesan priests in 1979.  Father Gonzalez provided ministry to the Hispanic community and was Spiritual Director for the Hispanic Cursillo.  He also assisted with Marriage Encounter for many years until his retirement in 2002, after which he continued to serve at St. Michael Parish, Clearwater and at St. Raphael Parish, St. Petersburg, where he has resided.


Rev. Robert Schindler

He was born in Hollywood, Maryland and was ordained on May 8, 1954 for the Diocese of Monterey, California.  In 1969, he became a priest of the Diocese of Campeche, Mexico.  Father Schindler moved to the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 1993, where he ministered as a Chaplain at James A. Haley V.A. Hospital, Tampa until 2002, after which he has provided assistance in several parishes, including with the Traditional Latin Mass at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle.


Rev. Robert Velten, O.S.B.

He first professed as a Benedictine Monk in 1949 and was ordained on May 27, 1954.  He is a member of the American Cassinese Congregation of Benedictines and resides at Saint Leo Abbey, where he formerly served as Local Superior.  From 1959 to 1964, Father Velten was Headmaster of Saint Leo College Preparatory School (now Saint Leo University).


Requiescat in pace– May he rest in peace:

Rev. Emeric Szlezak, O.F.M. would have celebrated his 75thanniversary of ordination to the priesthood for the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor on June 11th.  A native of Budapest Hungary, Father Szlezak served for many years in New York and Connecticut before moving to St. Anthony Friary, St. Petersburg, where he remained active while in retirement frequently offering Masses for Hungarian-speaking Catholics.  Father Szlezak died on March 16, 2019 at the age of 101.

Celebrating 60 Years of Priestly Ministry

In 2019, 3 priests in the Diocese of St. Petersburg will celebrate the 60th anniversary of their ordination. They will be recognized by Bishop Parkes during the annual Chrism Mass on Tuesday, April 16. They are:

Rev. Msgr. Antonio Diez Rev. Msgr. Antonio Diez

He was born in Robledo de la Valduena, Spain and was ordained for the Diocese of St. Augustine on June 21, 1959, becoming a priest of our diocese shortly after its establishment in 1968.  He was the founding pastor of Resurrection Parish, Riverview, where he served from 1983 until his retirement in 2011.


Rev. Thomas Jones, O.F.M.

He was ordained for the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor on April 25, 1959.  Among his various assignments, he worked as a missionary in Brazil.  He came to the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 2014 after serving as a pastor in the Archdiocese of New York.  He resides with his Franciscan brothers at St. Anthony Friary, St. Petersburg and currently assists with the Brazilian community in St. Paul Parish, Tampa.


Rev. Raymond C. Mann, O.F.M.

He was born in Buffalo, New York and was ordained for the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor on April 25, 1959.  He also resides at St. Anthony Friary and came to our diocese in 2014, after serving in various capacities, including as a missionary priest in Bolivia.  Father Mann has authored several different articles, including a 2008 submission in Commonweal magazine entitled: “The Empty Box: Why Catholics Skip Confession.”

 

Half a Century of Priestly Ministry

In 2019, 8 priests in the Diocese of St. Petersburg will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their ordination. They will be recognized by Bishop Parkes during the annual Chrism Mass on Tuesday, April 16. They are:

Rev. James Gordon, I.C.Rev. James Gordon, I.C.

He is originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland.  On June 9, 1969, he was ordained as a priest of the Institute of Charity (Rosminian Order).  In 1973, he was appointed as Parochial Vicar of Blessed Sacrament Parish, Seminole and would be appointed as Pastor in 1978, serving the community as its leader for 39 years before his retirement in 2017.  Today, Father Gordon continues to provide assistance to the parish.


Rev. Msgr. Patrick Irwin Rev. Msgr. Patrick Irwin

He was born in Limerick, Ireland and was ordained for the Diocese of St. Petersburg on June 8, 1969.  Among the parishes where he served as pastor are Holy Cross, St. Petersburg, St. Stephen, Riverview and St. Cecelia, Clearwater, from where he retired in 2012. Monsignor Irwin still offers assistance to the busy community of St. Cecelia.


Rev. John Kane

He is retired and living in Phoenix, Arizona.  He was born in Boston, Massachusetts and was ordained for the Society of Mary (Marist Order) on November 8, 1969.  He came to our diocese in 1974 and was later accepted as a priest of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, serving the communities of Most Holy Redeemer, Tampa, St. Vincent de Paul, Holiday and Espiritu Santo, Safety Harbor.


Rev. Patrick J. Lloyd, S.C.J.

He was born in Glenolden, Pennsylvania and was ordained for the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on August 31, 1969.  Among his assignments, he served in Texas, South Dakota and Wisconsin, before retiring to the Sacred Heart Residence, Pinellas Park in 2015.


Rev. Richard Maloney, S.D.S

Rev. Richard Maloney, S.D.S.

He is a Philadelphia native, who was ordained on September 8, 1969 for the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorian Order).  He came to the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 2013 and though retired, he provides ministry in both English and Spanish, primarily assisting at St. Cecelia Parish, Clearwater.


Rev. Steve Pujdak, S.C.J.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York and was ordained for the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on August 31, 1969.  He served for many years as a professor and in administrative roles for his province, as well as in a parish community in Raymondville, Texas.  Father Steve is skilled in American Sign Language and has provided ministry to hearing-impaired Catholics.  He currently resides with his fellow Sacred Heart priests in Pinellas Park.


Rev. Kenneth E. Ridgeway, S.M.

He first came to the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 2012, along with other members of his community.  He was born in Danbury, Connecticut and was ordained for the Society of Mary (Marist Order) on November 8, 1969.  While in retirement, Father Ridgeway lives in residence at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Tampa.


Rev. John Vakulskas Rev. John Vakulskas

He is a native of Portsmouth, Virginia and is a retired priest of the Diocese of Sioux City.  For nearly 50 years, he has provided ministry to carnival workers and their families and was honored for his service by Pope Francis in 2016.  Since arriving in the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 2014, he has provided assistance to English- and Spanish-speaking Catholics in parishes throughout eastern Hillsborough County, most frequently at St. Anne Parish, Ruskin.

Marking 40 Years of Priestly Ministry

In 2019, 3 priests in the Diocese of St. Petersburg will celebrate the 40th anniversary of their ordination. They will be recognized by Bishop Parkes during the annual Chrism Mass on Tuesday, April 16. They are:

Rev. Michael T. O'Brien Rev. Michael T. O’Brien

He is a St. Petersburg native and was baptized at nearby St. Paul Parish.  He graduated from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boynton Beach and was ordained for our diocese on May 19, 1979. “Father Mike” previously served in college campus ministry and as diocesan Vocations Director.  He is currently Pastor of St. Clement Parish, Plant City.


Rev. Richard Pilger, I.C. Rev. Richard Pilger, I.C.

He was born in Canton, Illinois.  On June 2, 1979, he was ordained for the Institute of Charity (Rosminian Order). In 1995, he was assigned as Parochial Vicar of Blessed Sacrament Parish, Seminole, where he worked alongside the now-retired Father James Gordon, I.C. for 22 years after which he was appointed as Pastor of the parish in 2017.


Rev. Edward Reiter, M.S.A.

He is a native of Flushing, New York.  He was ordained on September 29, 1979 and is a priest of the Society of the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles.  Since 2011, he has resided in Spring Hill, where he regularly provides assistance to local parishes.

Celebrating 25 Years of Priesthood

In 2019, 8 priests in the Diocese of St. Petersburg will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their ordination. They will be recognized by Bishop Parkes during the annual Chrism Mass on Tuesday, April 16. They are:

Rev. Erwin Belgica Rev. Erwin Belgica

He was born in Malinao, Philippines and was ordained for the Diocese of Sorsogon on July 15, 1994. He came to the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 2008 and later became a priest of this diocese.  Father Belgica currently serves as Pastor of Our Lady of Grace Parish, Beverly Hills.


Rev. Joseph P. Chacko 

A native of Kozhichal, India.  On October 22, 1994, he was ordained ta priest of the Diocese of Monalhavady.  He has resided in our diocese since 2014, after being accepted as a Chaplain at James A. Haley V.A. Medical Center, Tampa, where he currently works.


Rev. Salim Joseph, O.F.M.

Rev. Salim Joseph, O.F.M. 

He came to the Diocese of St. Petersburg in September 2018.  He was born in Karimkunnam, India and ordained for the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor on April 5, 1994.  Father Joseph serves as Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish, Tampa.


Rev. Joel M. Kovanis Rev. Joel M. Kovanis 

He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and completed his seminary studies at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary, Boynton Beach.  He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of St. Petersburg on May 21, 1994 and has served as Pastor of Prince of Peace Parish, Sun City Center since 2008.


Rev. Emery N. Longanga Rev. Emery N. Longanga 

He is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where his family still lives.  He was ordained for the Diocese of Tshumbe on August 21, 1994.  After completing studies at Notre Dame University, he began working in the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 2011.  Now a priest of our diocese, he is Pastor of Holy Cross Parish, St. Petersburg.


Rev. Brian J. McColl

He grew up in Hamilton, Ontario and was ordained for the nearby Diocese of Peterborough on May 27, 1994.  Now retired from his diocese, he provides assistance to Prince of Peace Parish, Sun City Center, during the fall and winter months.


Rev. Clement Oyafemi

He was born and raised in Nigeria and ordained for the Diocese of Oyo on August 13, 1994.  He came to our diocese in 2017, after being hired as a Chaplain for St. Joseph Hospital, Tampa, where he continues to serve.


Rev. Robert H. Young

He was born in Schenectady, New York. His family later moved to Florida, where he was ordained a priest of the Diocese of St. Petersburg on May 21, 1994.  After serving in parishes of our diocese, he completed doctoral studies in Rome. Father Young is retired and living in New York, where he cares for his mother, who recently celebrated her 101stbirthday.

Pro-life Movie UNPLANNED in Movie Theaters Now

The pro-life movie Unplanned is now out in movie theaters! The movie is a dramatization of Abby Johnson’s life – following her as she becomes the youngest clinic director in the history of Planned Parenthood, then through the life-changing experience that turns her into an anti-abortion activist.

View the trailer below and learn more about the movie here.

Watch a movie review from Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities here.

Please note that content of this movie is only suitable for mature audiences and there are graphic images.