When Oscar and Ximena Calabi moved to Clearwater in 2010, they found a spiritual home at Light of Christ Parish in Clearwater. Today, the Calabis are involved in ten ministries at their parish strengthened by amazing grace! They are answering the call to Courageously Live the Gospel by using their gifts to serve as missionary disciples, jumping in wherever they see a need, be it physical or spiritual. They say it is a call given to each of the faithful.
“Jesus invites his disciples not to be afraid and to be brave in announcing the gospel,” said Ximena. “The call is for each one of us that, faithful to his mission and guided by the Holy Spirit, we will be servants and witnesses of the Jesus and the Gospel.”
Oscar and Ximena serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and Lectors. When they noticed their parish didn’t have a Hispanic Ministry they took the matter to prayer through a weekly Spanish Rosary Group. With courageous trust and openness to the Spirit, they started a new Hispanic Ministry and many more ministries have grown from it. They also helped to launch the church’s devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“Jesus, through Mary, allowed us to have the first Hispanic Mass in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, 2013,” said Ximena.
Since the first Spanish Mass five years ago, the parish has celebrated an Hispanic Mass each week at 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Father Bill Wilson celebrates Mass in Spanish Monday through Friday at 6:30 p.m.
The Calabis also felt called to bring the Emmaus Ministry to the parish, a retreat program for men and women seeking to grow their relationship with Christ. They were the presidents of Emmaus Interparochial for three years leading the group of eight parishes serving together under the umbrella of the Diocese of St. Petersburg. The couple also got involved in outreach ministries, supporting a group of crime survivors and helping to feed the homeless.
“The best part of the service has been to meet Jesus through the needy, to be better Christians, to reflect the face of Christ in our actions, and to train people to do the same,” reflected Ximena. “Jesus was the best example of service and we rejoice in Him in our service. Our inspiration is Saint Teresa of Calcutta. She was a woman who became famous throughout the world for dedicating her life to helping the poorest. She is known for her kindness, for her charitable soul and for her desire to help those who had nothing.”
Their pastor feels blessed by the couple’s faith and in awe of their dedication!
“It is beautiful, inspiring and exciting to see both their overwhelming personal commitment to God and to the wider community,” commented Father Bill Wilson. “I am frequently surprised, although I shouldn’t be, at the number of people who they have helped, counseled, guided, and inspired.”
That number continued to grow in 2019 as the Calabis organized the first-ever Hispanic Women’s Conference at the parish after seeing the need for women in the community to have the space and time to fill spiritual gaps and receive formation.
“We want better Christians, mothers, daughters. wives and servants in our parish,” explained Ximena.
The couple’s dedication to ministry seems extraordinary, but they say it is all possible thanks to a loving community and a supportive pastor.
“Father Bill and the community have formed a family that shines with the light of Jesus Christ,” said Ximena. “The community works together and there is no difference in nationalities. We are all there to support and help our parish. Father Bill has been a true blessing to us that as parishioners we feel his support in all the projects we have done. He is a priest with much charisma, love of God and neighbor.”
The Calabis are recipients of the 2019 St. Jude the Apostle Medal Award.