Dear St. Anthony The Abbot Parishioner,
In an effort to keep us all spiritually close while we are physically apart, we will begin livestreaming Fr. Pecchie's private Mass from St. Anthony The Abbot, daily at 8:00 a.m. EDT starting on April 2nd and every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. EDT thereafter.
Click Here to Access our YouTube Channel and don't forget to Subscribe!
Please remember that your continued financial support is still needed, especially during these unprecedented times. While Masses are suspended until further notice, our operating costs remain mostly unchanged. If you haven't already done so, please consider a one time or recurring offering through My Own Giving, by clicking on the link below:
Thank you all. Please continue to keep safe and well, and may God bless you!
St. Anthony The Abbot
My Dear Friends in Christ,
RESURREXIT SICUT DIXIT!
He Is Risen, Just As He Said ~ Alleluia!
For the ancient Jews, Pentecost was one of the top three religious holidays. It had two important meanings. First, on Pentecost, 50 days after the Passover (the word "Pentecost" comes from the Greek for "fifty"), the first fruits of the spring grain harvest were offered to God in a special sacrifice at the Temple. In this sense, it was highly appropriate that God sent the Holy Spirit to His Church in a public way on Pentecost.
The Holy Spirit is the first fruit of the harvest of the New Covenant. The New Covenant is Christ giving us a new, redeemed life of grace. This life begins here on earth under the action of the Holy Spirit, but it will only reach its fulfillment - the full harvest - in heaven. But there was a second meaning to the Jewish festival of Pentecost.
It commemorated God giving Moses the Ten Commandments on Mt Sinai. Soon after the Israelites had miraculously escaped from Egypt, God sent them the Law, a guide for how they should live now that they were freed from slavery to Pharaoh. In this sense too, it was appropriate that God sent His Church the Holy Spirit during that Festival.
The Holy Spirit is the bond of unity between the Father and the Son. And the Law of the New Covenant, the Law of the Church, is unity. As St. Paul says, the Church is a body with many parts, but it remains one, united body. It is the Church's mission to reunite the human family that has been torn apart by sin. That's why all the visitors in Jerusalem heard the Apostle's words in their own languages. That's why as soon as the risen Jesus breathes on His Apostles, He instructs them to forgive sins.
Most of us remember the events surrounding the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005. Those extraordinary few weeks gave us a brief glimpse of this work being done by the Holy Spirit through the Church, this work of gradually uniting all of mankind. More than three thousand foreign journalists descended upon Rome as John Paul II was dying. Almost overnight hundreds of media broadcast tents sprang up on the outskirts of Vatican City. Worldwide media gave around-the-clock coverage to viewers across the globe, of every age and ethnic group.
During the week before the funeral, 2 million pilgrims paid their last respects in person to the pope as he lay in state. Some of them waited in line for 24 hours to do so. On the night before the funeral, more than 800,000 pilgrims spent the night praying and waiting in the streets and plazas of Rome. Most of these were young people who had come from all five continents. All night long you could see them waiting in line for confession at makeshift, outdoor confessionals that Rome's priests had set up on doorsteps and under lamp posts.
The funeral itself was followed closely by millions via television and radio. The amount of world leaders who actually came to be physically present was extraordinary. It included four queens, five kings, seventy prime ministers or heads of government, and more than 100 other recognized dignitaries. Dozens of Orthodox, Protestant, and Jewish leaders joined them. It looked and sounded like the first Pentecost. The whole series of events was like a living symbol of what God is doing, has been doing, and will continue to do through His Church until the end of time: making one family out of a divided world.
We are members of this Church, and so we have all benefited from its mission of unity - the Church has reached out to each of us and brought us into God's family. But as members, we are also responsible for carrying this work forward. One way to do so is by breaking down barriers. Barriers are things like fear, misunderstanding, prejudice, jealously, envy, resentment, grudges. These are at the root of all the conflicts that threaten world peace. But all those large scale conflicts can always be traced back to conflicts in individual hearts. If we learn to break down barriers in our own hearts, we will become more effective builders of unity in the world around us.
One of the barriers that comes up most frequently in our daily lives is that of misunderstanding. This is also known as "lack of communication" or "miscommunication". An international business consulting firm did a study a few years ago about the most common obstacles to productivity. They concluded that over 85% of problems in the business world stem from miscommunication. In family relationships, I would estimate that the percentage is even higher.
Jesus has given us the method for breaking down this ubiquitous barrier. Before allowing ourselves to pass judgment on someone, we should make an effort to see things from their perspective. Until we can express the other person's point of view even better than they can, we should refrain from passing judgment on it. That's what Jesus did.
Instead of passing judgment on sinful humanity, He came down from heaven and lived among us. He showed that He knew our perspective. And so He was able to break down mankind's misunderstanding of God and open the way for a renewed relationship of trust.
Today we will receive Jesus in Holy Communion. When we do, let's promise that this week we will follow in His footsteps, doing our little part in this great Pentecost mission of uniting a divided world.
Miriam Melfy, our Director of Religious Education, has retired after nine years of serving the Lord at St. Anthony’s, and over forty years of ministry to the children of God.
Miriam is an inspiration to many and has touched the lives of countless children and families. She is a woman of great grace, love, humor, and creativity. She has always gone above and beyond to spread the Love of God!
Some people come into our lives and quickly go; others stay awhile, make footprints in our hearts, and we are never, ever the same. Thank you, Miriam, for the ‘spiritual footprints’ you have made in the hearts of so many. You will be greatly missed!
Have you been livestreaming Sunday Mass through Facebook and wishing you could join in singing the music? Well now you can. Just pick up a Pew Missal at the church (open during the day), and follow the Planning Sheet below that shows the page numbers for the music. Please, only one Pew Missal per family, and return it to the church once able to attend Mass in person again.
(Can also be used for the YouTube replay.)
DIOCESE OF ST. PETERSBURG
Office of the Bishop
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Sunday is the Lord’s Day, but for over two months, we have been observing this holy day at home to be safe and to protect human life, especially the most vulnerable among us.
After prayer and consultation with government and public health officials and our priests, I have decided to grant permission to pastors throughout the Diocese of St. Petersburg, at their discretion, to resume the public celebration of Sunday Masses as early as the weekend of May 30-31, 2020.
We are called to be good stewards of our health and to take practical steps to avoid spreading illness. Therefore, restrictions will be in place since we are still in the midst of a pandemic. For now, we will need to limit the number of people at church for social distancing and to continue the practice of frequent sanitizing.
However, since the risk of coming into contact with coronavirus remains, individuals and families should take personal responsibility to protect themselves.
Please know that all Catholics remain dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until further notice. Therefore, if you are at greater risk due to age, illness, or other health conditions, please do not come to Mass. For those who are able to attend Mass, I urge you to follow CDC guidelines and parish procedures. Also, let us show charity, patience and kindness as processes and plans are developed.
Pastors and parish staff may face challenges because of the health and/or age of priests, deacons, staff members and volunteers. This means that every parish may do things a little differently and some parishes might require additional time to safely resume Sunday Masses with the public.
May 30th and 31st will indeed be days to rejoice! Not only will public Masses on Sunday resume, but we also celebrate Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and graced them with gifts to courageously live the Gospel.
This same Spirit lives in us! We have been given the gifts of fortitude, wisdom and understanding. Let us rely on the Spirit for guidance and knowledge.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love.
May God bless and protect you and your loved ones!
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Gregory Parkes
Bishop of St. Petersburg
FR. PAUL WILLIAM PECCHIE
Paul William Pecchie was born May 1, 1968 in Flushing, New York to Italian-Irish parents, the first born son with three older sisters. Later the family was blessed with another younger brother. His confirmation name is Michael, and his early education was provided by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood Long Island, and high school was with the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn.
In 1990, Paul. Pecchie received his Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John University in New York, majoring in Philosophy and Literature. Then in 1991, he graduated Summa Cum Laude with his Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies-Catechetic from Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College. While attending the college, he received instruction and motivation from Fr. John Hardon.
Also in 1990, Paul moved with his parents to Florida and transferred to the Seminary in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. With Magna cum Laude honors, he received a Master’s degree in Moral Theology in 1994. Then he received his Master of Divinity in the Academic Study of Theology in 1995, again with Magna cum Laude honors.
During the month of November 1994, Paul Pecchie became Deacon Paul Pecchie as he was ordained a Transitional Deacon by then Archbishop-elect John C. Favalora. His comment on this, “I feel a great joy and excitement about serving the Lord and his church as an ordained minister. I’ll be able to give homilies now, and I look forward to that very much.”
Then on May 20, 1995, Deacon Pecchie was ordained for the diocese of St. Petersburg by Bishop W. Thomas Larkin and became Father Pecchie, a fully ordained Roman Catholic priest. He was assigned to Holy Family Parish in St. Petersburg where he taught freshmen and junior classes in Theology, Old Testament, Church History and Morality at St. Petersburg Catholic High School.
Fr. Pecchie became the Parochial Vicar (Associate Pastor) at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Valrico, Florida in July 1999. Here he also served as Director of Liturgy and School Chaplain, while teaching 5th and 6th grade Honors, and Religion Classes for 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students.
October 24th 2004, Fr. Pecchie was formally installed as Pastor of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Largo, Florida, by then Bishop Robert Nugent Lynch. He now had his own church to lead. He also oversaw Catholic school functions, while performing his other duties.
Brooksville, Florida became Fr. Pecchie’s new home when he was transferred and installed as Pastor of St. Anthony the Abbot’s Catholic Church in July 2014, again, by then Bishop Robert Nugent Lynch (now retired). Today, Fr. Pecchie blesses this parish with his by-the-book powerful homilies based on God’s Word, and teachings of the Church. He is a great on-point spokesman and makes no apology for sharing God’s truth, saying, “My job is to get you to Heaven.” When preaching the gospel, Fr. Pecchie is truly in his element, and one would never know he’s a self-proclaimed introvert. His passion for God is apparent.
He found his true calling. May 20th, 2020, Fr. Pecchie celebrates his 25th anniversary as a priest.
Some things of interest about Fr. Pecchie:
Fr. Pecchie with Pope John Paul II (now St. John Paul II) April 29, 2003
Young Deacon Pecchie November 1994
Receiving blessing from Bishop Thomas Larkin during Ordination May 20th, 1995
Newly ordained Fr. Pecchie with Bishop Thomas Larkin May 20th, 1995
Fr. Pecchie with his family and Bishop Thomas Larkin May 20th, 1995
Sources: LinkedIn, Children of God for Life website, Facebook, Family
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Fellowship with friends
The cooks with Fr. Pecchie
Blackjack with friends
The games were a hit
A touch of the Irish stood out at our annual St. Patrick's Day Dinner. Lots of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots were had by all...with cake & ice cream for dessert.
St. Anthony the Abbot's Altar Server of the Year