Even though he has been retired for nearly 10 years, Father Frank Zammit still helps out at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Daytona Beach on weekdays and at St. Peter’s Parish in Deland on weekends. “I find in my life the more you give to the Lord, it comes back to you 10 times more,” said Father Zammit. “When I’m gone I want to keep helping people.”
He will be able to “keep helping people” by making a provision for the Church and its ministries through planned giving. Father Zammit and 22 others with the same vision were inducted into the Vivos Christi Society during a Mass celebrated by Bishop John Noonan on September 27 at St. James Cathedral.
This is the first year that the Vivos Christi induction ceremony has been held at St. James, and Bishop Noonan plans on continuing to schedule this annual event on or around the feast day of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the patron saint of the Vivos Christi Society. “It’s a way of remembering her mission in life to bring Christ to others,” said Bishop Noonan, who noted that before her death at the age of 24, St. Therese of Lisieux “showed the world the way to the Lord through inspiration, simplicity and example.”
Addressing the new inductees, Bishop Noonan said, “By your membership in the Society, you have shown your willingness to live your lives in such a way that others cannot help but be drawn to you, because they recognize God in you. He is made visible through your willingness to give to others the fruits of your life’s work.”
After receiving a medallion from Bishop John Noonan at the induction ceremony for the Vivos Christi Society, each new member received a Vivos Christi lapel pin and a yellow rose that symbolized the saint known as “The Little Flower of Jesus.” At a reception at the St. James Parish Hall afterwards, Vivos Christi Society members mingled with priests and principals representing the parishes and schools that will be provided for in their wills, trusts and estates.
Ed Wardle, Director of Donor Relations for Planned Gifts at the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, explained that Vivos Christi was an outgrowth of the Alive in Christ campaign. “We realized that through age or circumstance, some people were unable to make an outright pledge to Alive in Christ but they ended up doing so through their estate,” he said. “It is their final statement to the world and we are very respectful of their wishes and intentions.”
Like Father Zammit, other Vivos Christi Society members have found a way to let their life’s work carry on after they are gone. As a former president of the Morning Star Auxiliary, Patricia Schloot will be providing for Morning Star Catholic School, the only school in the diocese for developmentally disabled students. “Morning Star is very dear to my heart and I always felt very supportive of the school—they do wonderful work,” said Schloot, who is a parishioner at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Winter Park.
For more information about planned giving, visit the Catholic Foundation’s website at www.catholicfoundationcfl.org.