Reaching Out | From the Desk of the Pastor | August 2023

Dear Parishioners,

As you might have noticed from my absence at Mass, I was on vacation for a few weeks to close out the month of July. My brother and his partner arranged last minute plans for us to embark on a cruise of several European countries, as part of a celebration. In May 2022, my brother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Over the past year he has had surgery and several rounds of chemotherapy. In June, all his test came back negative for the cancer. To celebrate this wonderful news, he decided for us go on a trip. The location wasn’t important. It was being with my brother.

Now back at the parish, I am excited for the busy month ahead of us. The friars will provide an official blessing of our new Bikes from the Heart ministry at the North Campus later this month. This ministry provides repaired and restored bikes for the homeless and transportation challenged within our community. It may seem a small thing, but these bikes are an opportunity which can help change their lives, giving them easier access to additional assistance and work. If you have an old bike or even parts of a bike that you no longer have use for I encourage you to get a hold of our ministry leaders with Bikes from the Heart. You can learn more here.

Members of the Bike ministry will also be on hand at our next Giving from the Heart, on Saturday, August 12, collecting specifically for our neighbors at Tampa Hope, in addition to the needs lists you’ll find here in the bulletin. This next Giving from the Heart drive also supports the teachers and students of our neighboring parish school at St. Peter Claver. As you may be reading this on the weekend of August 5-6, we are in the final days of our tax-free week here in Florida. If you are able to assist, be it that you are already shopping for supplies for your own children, or are simply looking for a more economical way to donate at this next drive, please consider grabbing an item or two from their needs lists when out shopping this weekend. We look forward to seeing you at the North Campus next Saturday.

At 6 p.m. on August 24, we invite all ministries and their representatives, as well as any interested parishioners to a parish-wide ministry outreach meeting. This meeting is a time for our ministries to gather together and looks at ways we can collaborate to fulfill our collective community outreach goals. This meeting will also feature an opportunity for our ministries and parishioners to view new parish mission, vision, statements, as created by our Parish Advisory Board. These statements come after careful consideration of the recent parish survey, and serve as a new guidance for our parish following the many changes brought in recent years. Members from the PAB will present these to the ministries. It is my hope that each ministry will take these statements on board, and work to see how their groups can individually and collectively embody them.

Largely, the August ministry meeting will be a discussion led by our Parish Outreach Committee. This committee is the conduit from which all parish ministries’ outreach goes through. This structure was created to ensure we are not duplicating efforts or constantly asking for support.  We understand our parishioners deep desire to live the Gospel through action, donations, and outreach, but I wish to ensure you do not feel burnout from any simultaneous asks. The Outreach Committee will also cover the ministry event approval process. Ideas for potential upcoming parish-wide outreach events include Soxtober (collection of socks throughout October for the benefit of our local homeless), the Advent Giving Tree (or an alternative toy drive), the Reverse Advent Calendar food drive, and the Lenten 40 Cans/40 Days food drive. In order for these drives to remain successful, we need the help of all ministries acting together. These drives may be a large undertaking for an individual ministry, but collectively, several ministries coming together can make these easier to accomplish. We will also have additional opportunities to address different needs through Giving from the Heart, which continues on the second Saturday of every other month.

If you are not part of a ministry, but would like to be a more active participant in our parish’s outreach events, please reach out to the Outreach Committee. My mother always said, “many hands make light work.” With your help, I know that we can do so much more.

Parish Advisory Board: Larry Bevis, Cindy Burnett, Sarah Daniels, Fr. Zack Elliott, OFM, Sam Ferlita, Fr. Mike Jones, OFM, Dr. Stephen Krist, Helen Lukavec, Lynda Marsh, Tony Miranda, Laura Prather (Chair), and Felix Vega. Meets quarterly.

Parish Outreach Committee: Larry Bevis (Chair), Rob Boelke, Cindy Burnette, Suzanne Collins, Susan Coppin, Hank Cramer, Sarah Daniels, Angela Erb, Fr. Zack Elliott, OFM, Mike Fabianski, Tom Henry, Fr. Mike Jones, OFM, Dr. Stephen Krist, Shannon Leigh, Jennifer McElroy, Robb Mercado, Tony Miranda, Don Murray, Patty Oliver, Fran Provenzano, Jim Rossman, and Olga Siegenthaler. Meets monthly.

Peace and All Good,
Fr. Mike