Original Goal: Each deanery will launch a Catholic Impact Initiative that addresses one local community issue and mobilizes cross-parish creativity to establish desired outcomes. Initiate implementation by December 31, 2019.
Why this goal is essential for our future: Compassion for our brothers and sisters who are facing numerous challenges motivate us to bring the love of Christ to a hurting world. Through these Catholic Impact Initiatives, we are creating a stronger, more relevant and connected Church, Courageously Living the Gospel calls for nine Catholic Impact Initiatives that will change lives in our communities. These new initiatives are led by the nine vicars forane (deans) of the Diocese of the St. Petersburg. The deans are appointed to serve as liaisons between the bishop and a group of priests in a certain geographic area of the diocese known as a vicariate (deanery). In many ways, they are the bishop’s representatives for coordinating regional collaboration.
What We Accomplished: Each deanery identified one area to address through collaboration and sharing of resources, time, talent and treasures. Specific projects are listed below.
Renovate Youth/Family Cabins
Original Goal: Update the 12 camper cabins at Our Lady of Good Counsel Camp, including the insulation of cabins, new doors and windows, air conditioning/heating and new bunk beds
What We Accomplished: The first step has been completed; the insulation of the cabins. All six parishes in the deanery agreed to contribute a combined total of $33,000 per year. This project will take five to six years to complete.
Location: Citrus County (Northern Deanery)
Host Multi-Parish Youth Events
Original Goal: Host two youth events to increase faith and the community’s broader sense of Church and host an annual major youth event at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School.
What We Accomplished: St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish held a Youth Retreat entitled “Risen” in April of 2019 with nearly 100 participants from the northern part of the deanery. The second event was a Youth Rally on March 7, 2020 at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish with 85 participants from the southern part of the deanery. These events helped to inspire teens to understand their call to holiness and to grow closer to Christ and to be open to God’s plan for their lives. The major event planning was paused due to COVID-19.
New Goal: Plan and host a major youth event at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School during the 2021/2022 school year. The hope is that all nine parishes in the area will participate in the event.
Location: West Hernando County and West Pasco County (West Central Deanery)
Expand Services to the Hungry
Original Goal: Relocate and expand the area Food Bank (Nativity Outreach) in order to better serve the hungry in southeast Hillsborough County.
What We Accomplished: A 12,000 square foot food bank is under construction in Dover, near a major food supply distributor in Lakeland. The project started in January of 2021 and should be completed by October 2021. To help support this endeavor financially, parishes have made a specific financial commitment over three years to offset a portion of the $1 million mortgage.
Location: Southeast Hillsborough County (Southeast Deanery)
Establish Youth Soccer League
Original Goal: Establish a Catholic youth soccer league with multiple parish participation with the hope of attracting families and instilling values of faith on the field.
What was accomplished: The first season kicked-off September 7, 2019 and was enormously successful. Parish teams were formed at Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Mark, St. Timothy, St. Mary, and Most Holy Redeemer. At the end of the season, a championship tournament was held and the winner in each division played for the “Catholic Cup” trophy. Half-way through the second season, all games were canceled because of the pandemic.
New Goal: The league plans to resume play this fall. Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Mark, and St. Mary will participate. Other parishes in the area will be encouraged to participate.
Location: North Central Hillsborough County and South Central Pasco County (North Central Deanery)
Develop Campus Ministry at UT
Original Goal: Develop comprehensive Campus Ministry at the University of Tampa.
What we accomplished: Weekly Mass was offered in the campus chapel and regular confessions were also offered on campus. Plans were in place to offer faith enrichment, Eucharistic Adoration and retreats. All that came to a stop with COVID-19. The University is now permitting clergy on campus and the plan is to restart a robust program for the fall semester. About half the parishes in the deanery have sent at least one priest to celebrate Mass or hear confessions at UT.
Location: South Central Hillsborough County (South Central Deanery)
Offer Educational Workshops
Original Goal: Collaborate to provide an array of educational classes across
the parish communities that will be geared to spiritual growth and common needs encountered in daily life.
What We Accomplished: Over 1,200 parishioners responded to a survey soliciting feedback on topics of interest. Based on those results, several offerings were scheduled. The first workshop, “How to Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointment” was offered in the fall of 2019 at three parishes. Other presentations that were scheduled for Spring of 2020 were canceled due to COVID-19. The deanery shifted to a virtual format and workshops were offered on understanding Medicare and coping with loss and grief. Participating parishes were Sacred Heart, St. Anthony the Abbot, St. Joseph, St. Mary Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Rita.
Location: East Pasco County and East Hernando County (East Central Deanery)
New Goal: Educational offerings will be planned for the fall of 2021 using a mix of in-person and virtual sessions.
Provide Food for the Homeless
Original Goal: Every parish in the deanery will provide a meal to Pinellas Hope Residents at least monthly, provide financial support to Pinellas Hope and raise awareness about Pinellas Hope and the issue of homelessness.
What We Accomplished: Parish volunteers have prepared and delivered meals to residents of Pinellas Hope throughout the pandemic. After a COVID-19 interruption, Mass or a Communion service is offered at Pinellas Hope each Sunday once again, supported by parishes in the deanery. COVID-19 has prevented the level of awareness and fundraising that was originally envisioned. However, the commitment to Pinellas Hope remains strong.
Location: Central Pinellas County (Southwest Deanery)
Increase Access to Counseling Services
Original Goal: Create opportunities for counseling, especially regarding marital problems, divorce, family challenges, adolescent difficulties, grief, anxiety and depression.
What We Accomplished: Parishes joined togetherto create a network of counselors able to assist parishioners and promoted ways to access counseling, grief support and spiritual direction services.These services have continued virtually throughout the pandemic and provided much-needed support as people suffered personal, physical, financial and spiritual difficulties.
Location: North Pinellas County (Central Deanery)
Minister to Students on College Campuses
Original Goal: To reach out in ministry to the Catholic students at Eckerd College and USF, St. Petersburg
What We Accomplished: Parish priests started visiting the campus at Eckerd College for Sunday Mass, meals and faith sharing. Parish priests also started visiting the St. Pete campus of USF for Bible study and fellowship. COVID-19 paused these efforts but the hope is that activities will resume in the fall of 2021 and continue to grow.
Location: South Pinellas County (Southern Deanery)
- Northern Deanery – Plans Announced to Renovate Good Counsel Camp
- North Central Deanery – Catholic Youth Sports League is Established
- Central Deanery – Local Parishes Provide Counseling Referral Services
- Southern Deanery: New Campus Ministry is established at USF St. Pete Campus
- East Central Deanery: Parishes Join Efforts for Community Education Project
- Southeast Deanery Explores Building a New Food Bank