In response to the statements, which have placed the Church in a negative light, Bishop Parkes has approved the following statement, which has been provided to the Times for publication.
In the midst of these challenging times, we in the Diocese of St. Petersburg feel blessed and grateful to have participated in the Paycheck Protection Program, which is providing much-needed funds to essential workers. During the shutdown and to this day, we have worked hard to continue serving our community. The novel coronavirus has only intensified the needs of the people we serve and the demand for our ministries. The loans enabled our essential ministries to continue to function in a time of national emergency. The work of Catholic Charities in the community during this critical time would not have been possible without this support. The funds that were loaned to our diocesan entities are being used to support teachers, staff and others who serve our community in various ministries and outreach programs.
Close to 80 of our parishes, schools and charities associated with the Diocese of St. Petersburg applied for the loan program. These are all separate employers with fewer than 500 employees. Shutdown orders and the economic fallout associated with the virus have affected everyone, including Catholic ministries. The Paycheck Protection Program loans were on average about $220,000 per employer and kept employees on the payroll so they could afford housing and medical expenses, food and other household bills.
We are proud of our employees and what they do in and for our community. It is our responsibility as employers to try to protect them and their families. The funds are being used to do just that during this difficult time in our community.
News for the Pews
My Dear Friends in Christ,
I am writing this letter to inform and to keep you up to date on what is happening here at the Parish. By now you know that Churches are open and we are back to our regular Sunday Schedule. However, with social distancing requirements we can fit 90 individuals or about 130 families (since individuals sit apart and families can sit together). We have been having 50-80 at the various masses. Masks are recommended but not required! As a community of believers united in Christ, we are one in Christ and therefore do not shame people for the choice they make. Between masses we have volunteers who sanitize the pews and doors. However, some are still uncomfortable being out or are in the vulnerable category and so the bishop continues to lift the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday. But remember it should still be kept holy. To that end we continue to livestream through Facebook daily masses at 8am and the 10am Sunday Mass for those not able or ready to join us in church.
I want to thank all of you for your continued financial support to the offertory in person, by mail or online giving. Your generosity has been a true blessing for us in this difficult time. I am grateful to all, especially those who donated their stimulus check to the parish. As our offertory has remained healthy, all is not financially exciting news. BINGO, our principal fund raiser (brings in $20,000 a year) has been closed since the shut down and it's doubtful it will return until the fall at the earliest or maybe even January. This presents a challenge. But with the Knights of Columbus and the Parish Council we are looking into other possibilities to raise monies toward the deficit.
Lastly, Miriam Melfy, our Director of Religious Education for the past 9 years, has decided to retire. We are grateful for her commitment, joy, creativity and dedication to St Anthony, but also to her 40 year commitment to the Church both in Florida and in Pennsylvania. It is sad to see her go, but we pray she will enjoy her well-deserved retirement. I am happy to announce Lois MacFarland will be taking over as the Coordinator of Religious Education for K-6 grades and we are still in search of a Coordinator for grades 7-12. Important to note: Religious Education will no longer be on Wednesday evenings!! When the new religious education year begins classes will be on Sundays @ 8:30-9:45 am. This will allow you to attend the 10 am Mass after classes. We are looking for volunteer catechists and aides. If you are interested call Lois.
First Holy Communion will be July 12, 2020 @10 AM Mass
Confirmation will be July 19, 2020 @ 10 AM Mass
Oremus Pro Invicem!
Saturday, August 1st
8:00 a.m. Susan Ronning (L)
4:00 p.m. Miriam Melfy (L)
Sunday, August 2nd
8:00 a.m. Living and Deceased Members of St. Anthony the Abbot Parish.
10:00 a.m. Dan Latendra (D)
Monday, August 3rd
8:00 a.m. Living & Deceased Members of Deboard & Mattingly Families
Tuesday, August 4th
8:00 a.m. Brandon & Stephen Ronning (L)
Wednesday, August 5th
8:00 a.m. Edward L. Beyer, Sr. (D)
Thursday, August 6th
8:00 a.m. Holy Souls in Purgatory
Friday, August 7th
8:00 a.m. Larry May (D)
Saturday, August 8th
8:00 a.m. Teresa Ivenaskas (D)
4:00 p.m. Jeannie LaCicero (D)
Sunday, August 9th
8:00 a.m. Living and Deceased Members of St. Anthony the Abbot Parish.
10:00 a.m. Ellsworth W. & Bruce Thomas (D)
11:30 a.m. Lawrence & Jennie Carsillo (D)
Every Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
Every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
Dear St. Anthony The Abbot Parishioner,
In an effort to keep us all spiritually close while we are physically apart, we are livestreaming Mass with Fr. Pecchie from St. Anthony The Abbot, daily at 8:00 a.m. EDT, and every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. EDT.
Click Here to Access our YouTube Channel and don't forget to Subscribe!
My Dear Friends in Christ,
Let's put ourselves in this scene. After a long day, the exhausted and exasperated disciples try to get Jesus to send away the hungry throng. But Jesus looks at them, so preoccupied with their own selfish concerns, and says, "Feed them yourselves." Imagine their shock. Five thousand men, with another few thousand women and children, and the Master wants the apostles to give them a meal. They look at each other in confusion and apprehension. They point out that they have barely enough food even for themselves, let alone to feed thousands of hungry hangers-on. But Jesus insists, and finally they hand over their little stash, and Jesus works wonders.
The most obvious lesson hidden in this scene is about Christ's heart. Jesus' compassion leads Him to put aside His own plans for the sake of the needy crowds. And then it overflows in a miracle so awe-inspiring that it is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels. This is our God! He is always thinking of us! He fills us with good things and is preparing even better things for us in heaven.
But there are other lessons here too - like the lesson about how Jesus works. After blessing and breaking the bread, He gave it to His apostles and told them to distribute it, and the miracle only occurred when they obeyed him. This is still how Jesus works today. He's a team player, not a solo act. He feeds each one of us with His Word and His sacraments through the Church. And He feeds those outside the Church with the light of His truth through each one of us. At least, He wants to - but it's up to us to let Him.
Ultimately, this is why missing Sunday Mass on purpose is a mortal sin. At baptism, we became members of God's family, and that membership is the source of our salvation. But the DNA of this family is not in our blood, it's in Christ's blood, it's in God's grace. A family, in order to stay healthy and strong, has to gather together for family meals and activities. Just so, God's family, to stay strong in grace, has to gather around the altar where Christ's body and blood is offered in the Mass.
Imagine that a family is having an important gathering - maybe for the parents' 50th wedding anniversary. And imagine that one family member refuses to show up. Not because he's sick, or because it's too far to travel, or for any other legitimate reason, but just because he doesn't want to be there. What does that decision say about his heart? It says that his heart is no longer with his family; that he no longer cares about his important role in that community.
When we gather here on Sunday to celebrate the anniversary of our Lord's passion, death, and resurrection, to participate in that great event through the sacrament of the Eucharist, it says something about our hearts. It says that we recognize our dignity as children of God and don't want to lose it. It says that we know who we are, and that, in spite of our difficulties and failures, we want to continue striving to live out our Christian mission. How glad it makes Christ's Sacred Heart when we come to Sunday Mass! And how it pains Him when so many of His children refuse to come! Christ's team is the winning team, but only willing, active members can share in the victory.
Jesus is a team player, and we are on His team. The goal of Christ's team is nothing less than eternal life and everlasting happiness. To achieve that goal, each of us needs to fulfill three basic team responsibilities.
First, we need to keep our eye on the ball - on Christ, that is. We need to stay close to our team leader, getting to know Him better every day, learning to see all things as He sees them. This we do by prayer, by reading and studying Church teaching, and by conversations with other people who know Christ well.
Second, we need to play good defense. Good defense means avoiding unnecessary temptations. We are all vulnerable to temptations that come from our own selfish tendencies, from the devil, and from the self-centered world around us. God gives us enough grace to resist temptations, but we cut ourselves off from that grace when we purposely put ourselves in dangerous situations, like wasting time surfing the Internet, going to parties centered on destructive behavior, distancing ourselves from family relationships and healthy friendships, or even just being lazy.
Third, we need to play good offense. Good offense is simply doing God's will. 90% of the time, God's will is easy to identify. It means following the commandments, obeying our conscience, fulfilling well our normal responsibilities, and striving to love our neighbor as ourselves. 10% of the time, God's will is hard to see - then we need extra prayer, patience, and the advice of a priest or other wise person.
Jesus is eager for us to discover the joy and satisfaction that comes from being more active members of His team. If we keep our eye on the ball, play good defense, and play good offense, we won't let Him down.
Oremus Pro Invicem!
Doors open at 8:30 AM
Early Bird starts at 10:30 AM
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Call our office for more information
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
Ladies, join Fr. Pecchie for WINE and the WORD
7:00 pm 3rd Thursday each month
(MEN, join Fr. Pecchie 7:00 pm 2nd Thursday each month for FAITH and ALE)
Gathered around the fire for fellowship
and Fr. Pecchie's teachings
Fr. Pecchie helping us better understand our faith
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