- A Night of Love for Our Lady Posted in: Diocesan News
Three years ago Cathy Manase, a parishioner at Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Indialantic, sat before the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration with the book, “A Night of Love,” about night prayer vigils. Each time she read from it, Manase was moved to tears. She felt the Lord asking her to carry out at least one all-night prayer vigil. Last June, Manase organized her first vigil at the parish with help of friend Diane Collingsworth.
“It took on a life of its own,” said Manase. “When I walked into the church there were almost 300 people for Mass at 10 p.m. At midnight there were still 100 people.”
This year, Manase is coordinating five all-night prayer vigils, one on each first Saturday of the month leading up to the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima. The five vigils are meant to honor the five promises Our Lady made to Sister Lucia, one of the witnesses of her apparition.
On March 3 and 4, the third vigil took place at Ascension Catholic Parish in Melbourne. Confession, Holy Communion and Stations of the Cross were offered, as well as a Patriotic Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. It was called Night of Merciful Love.
Our Lady of Fatima asked Sister Lucia to tell the people, “I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation for all those who, in order to make reparation to me, on the First Saturday of five successive months, go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for a quarter of an hour, meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.”
The last two vigils will take place March 30, 6 p.m. through April 1 at 9 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist in Viera and May 5, 8 p.m. to May 6, 5 a.m. at Holy Name of Jesus, Indialantic. All are welcome to attend.
- The Wonders of the Catholic Relief Service Rice Bowl Posted in: Ace Reporter Articles
During Lent, there are many opportunities to give alms and the Catholic relief Services (CRS) Rice Bowl is one of them. Every year St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School in Altamonte and many other Catholic schools take part take in this Lenten activity.
The Rice Bowl is unique because whatever you can donate benefits the needy around the world and at home. To help, you can donate money daily into the rice bowl for the duration of Lent and all the money collected will go into the effort to make the world a better place. With this money, Catholic Relief Services gives 75% of the funds to provide food, water, and seed to those in need around the world; impoverished areas in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia will be the prime beneficiaries of the Rice Bowl.
The other 25% goes to support the needy in our own local areas within the United States. To put the Rice Bowl into perspective, a dollar a day, during 40 days of Lent, will provide three months of clean water for four families, three years of seed for a farmer, and one month of food for a family. Imagine countless families providing a dollar a day for the entirety of Lent! That is the potential of helping so many fellow humans who are in desperate need of assistance.
I interviewed a fellow peer, John M., on why he supports the Rice Bowl. He said “I strongly believe that the Rice Bowl is fully dedicated to assisting the impoverished in developing third world countries and here in our local communities. I was oblivious to the fact that the Rice Bowl has such a lasting impact in the lives that it reaches.”
The Rice Bowl is indeed an excellent way for students to satisfy our Lenten obligation of Almsgiving as well as the fourth theme of our Catholic Social Teaching: “Option for the Poor and Vulnerable.”
Article written by Henri R., an 8th grader at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School, Altamonte.
- St. Joseph Academy Celebrates Catholic Schools Week Posted in: Ace Reporter Articles
At St. Joseph Academy, Lakeland, we celebrate all the Catholic traditions, holidays, and events as a Catholic school. One particular event that we celebrate, along with other Catholic schools throughout the nation, is Catholic Schools Week. Each school has their own way of celebrating this week-long event, but I believe that St. Joseph Academy does an exceptionally good job of conveying the theme, which is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”
Each day of the week has a special theme to celebrate our parish, community, students, nation, vocations, and families. We get special dress out days, which included favorite team dress out day, crazy sock day and superhero day to name a few.
The events of the week include special collections for local charities, writing letters to veterans, a middle school retreat, listening to speakers, grandparents’ day, a family picnic, and a very exciting game of kickball between the 8th graders and the teachers. Needless to say, it was a busy week, but a good time was had by all.
Catholic Schools Week is a wonderful time to highlight all the great things we do throughout the year and to celebrate together as one.
Article written by Kaley T., an 8th grader at St. Joseph Academy, Lakeland.
- JMJ : Young Leaders of the Faith Posted in: Ace Reporter Articles
Young Disciples of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (JMJ) is a group of young people from grades four through eight who meet weekly to discuss the upcoming Gospel, share crafts, and learn how to put faith into action. Because of their love for children, Sacred Heart Catholic School teachers Suzanne Cooley and Bonnie Montgomery started JMJ to build a small faith community, strengthen them in their faith, build friendship, and to have the children be in the parish just as much as the adults.
JMJ aims to keep children active and get involved in the Catholic faith. The teachers lead the group and plan the meetings, lessons, and introduce fun crafts. Students talk about the Good News of Jesus Christ every meeting and bring it to the level of children attending. Not all the activities they do are related to faith. Some are just for fun to create community.
JMJ started with three people and now has 12-13 students. JMJ wishes to be more active in making a difference in the life of more young people.
Article written by Avery B., a fifth grader at Sacred Heart Catholic School, New Smyrna.
- Two local priests publish books on prayer Posted in: Diocesan News
Two priests of the Diocese of Orlando, Father Eamon Tobin, pastor of Ascension Parish in Melbourne, and Father David Scotchie, pastor of Most Precious Blood Parish in Oviedo are passionate about proclaiming the word of God, both in their parish communities and to people around the world. Both pastors have recently published books on prayer and are touching lives with their writing.
FATHER EAMON TOBIN
“I have no background in writing or English grammar,” said Father Tobin. “I started writing booklets for RCIA and Sister of Notre Dame Margaret Gilmore at St. Joseph’s Parish in Winter Haven encouraged me to send the booklets to Ligouri – they accepted two – Forgiveness and Reconciliation.”
That affirmation was enough for Father Tobin to expand his work on forgiveness to a book – “How to Forgive Yourself and Others” first published by Ligouri in 1983. He followed that book with another, “Prayer: A Handbook for Catholics,” first published by Ligouri in 1989, but it eventually went out of print.
The book was revised and re-released this January from Dynamic Catholic with two new chapters and new title: “13 Powerful Ways to Pray.” It is divided into two sections: Four Keys to an Effective Prayer Life and Thirteen Forms of Prayer.
“People can be frequent pray – ers, but at the same time fearful of God, judging others, with little or no compassion for the poor – so prayer doesn’t impact their lives,” Father Tobin said. “Effective prayer impacts our lives.”
The book is practical. It addresses the challenge of unanswered prayer; how prayer should help us forgive life’s hurts; how prayer helps us make good decisions; and the problem of dryness. Each chapter ends with four questions for personal reflection, small group discussion and a suggested spiritual exercise.
“I grew up in a prayerful family where I saw my father on his knees on the kitchen floor before he went out to the fields,” Father Tobin shared. “My aunts did a holy hour every mid-morning; another image is of my Aunt Daisy – stick in one hand, rosary in the other bringing the cows in from the fields and farmers in the field, caps off – stopping what they were doing to pray the Angelus. And every evening the rosary – never an exception – visitors were asked to join in and everyone had their decade. I was surrounded by that atmosphere of prayer – the image of St. Patrick’s breastplate – Christ within me, Christ before me…”
FATHER DAVID SCOTCHIE
“Writing is a hobby,” explained Father David Scotchie, who is also a contributor to the Florida Catholic. “I have a degree in physics and a doctorate in preaching. I love to read and recognize writing is a dinosaur – I really should be doing online or podcasts. I’m self-published. I spent a few hundred dollars to publish a book and it’s been a joy for me.”
Father Scotchie has written and self-published two books. His first, “A Prayer for Hope: I Can’t. You Can. I’m Yours.” is a prayer of surrender intended for people in overwhelming situations – divorce, death, addiction.
“The book is a presentation and explanation of one simple prayer of six words that a person can remember – ‘I Can’t. You Can. I’m Yours’,” explained Father Scotchie. “It’s specific to those in need of hope, embraces the grieving, ill and despairing. The prayer admits ‘I can’t handle this; God, I know you can; I trust you.’ It renews that relationship with God.”
Ordained in 1993, Father Scotchie explained that people see his collar and expect him to offer to pray with them.
“I’ve never had the words for spontaneous prayer and I felt uncomfortable praying for people publicly,” Father Scotchie explained. “I’ve learned over the years to pray with another on the spot. When we pray with someone, we do what Jesus did and invoke God’s power. Jesus didn’t say, ‘I’ll pray for you’ – he did it. As the priesthood of people we do what Jesus did. It changes the relationship from sympathy to giving witness to God in our lives.”
Thus, his latest book – “Can I Say a Prayer with You? A Beginner’s Guide to Praying with Someone” seeks to overcome the reluctance or fear of spontaneous prayer and provide the training and desire to help others become prayer for and with others.
Susan D’Aulerio is a parishioner at Most Precious Blood who read both of Father Scotchie’s books and took action.
“I was at Dunkin’ Donuts and overheard a young man phoning various social service agencies,” D’Aulerio explained. “His wife kept going outside crying. She told me that they were living in their car and trying to get some help. I remembered from reading Father David’s book that we should pray on the spot. I asked them if I could pray for and with them. I have never been comfortable praying out loud for someone, especially strangers, in the middle of Dunkin Donuts. It was truly the words of the Holy Spirit that flowed from my lips. I held their hands, we embraced, I bought them something to eat and explained the concept of: I can’t. You can. I’m yours. Both of Father David’s books have impacted my life, which in turn impacted this young couple’s life as well.”
“I encourage people to write their own books,” Father Scotchie said. “You don’t have to be a published author. Everyone has a story and why not share it? It’s my message.”
- God Calls Everyday People Posted in: Diocesan News
In a time when the noise and busyness of the world gets in the way of time set aside to grow in faith, hearing God’s call is getting harder than ever. To enable youth to hear that call, this year Focus 11, an annual diocesan vocations awareness event, offered almost 600 students the opportunity to learn about vocations to religious life, the priesthood and marriage and how to discern to which one God is calling them. The two-day event was held Feb. 14-15 at Holy Family Parish in Orlando.
Students made rosaries, participated in a scavenger hunt and listened to vocation stories. Each day began with Mass, reminding them that Christ accompanies them in this journey and created each person with a particular vocation in mind.
Bishop John Noonan pointed to the question Jesus asked the blind man in Mark 8, “Do you really want to see?” This is the key, explained Bishop Noonan. “It’s the same with us,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t want to see. And Jesus is encouraging us to see the truth.” He referred to the difficulties people have letting go of personal plans in order to follow the truth in which Jesus wants everyone to share and live.
Referring to the story of Noah he said, “God asked Noah to build an ark. This was a monumental task, but God helped him. Noah was open to God’s help and guidance. Sometimes God asks great things of us and we are afraid.”
Father Josh Swallows, parochial vicar at Annunciation Parish in Altamonte Springs, related his experience. “There was this part of my calling that’s attractive and terrifying.” Through prayer and discernment, he was able to come to terms with it and overcome his fears.
The day was spent unpacking those two precepts: truly wanting truth to be revealed and then having the trust to surrender and embrace God’s will for our vocation.
The panel of sisters, priests and seminarians’ vocation stories was as diverse as squares on a patchwork quilt. From Servant of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary Sister Rachel Gosda hearing an inner voice that would not rest to God’s helping Third Order Regular Franciscan Father Anthony Aarons find a coconut, leading to his discovery that God answers prayers— each witness was a testament to God’s desire to meet us where we are.
Speaking for the call to marriage, Regina and Dan Boyd shared the story of their courtship and how God revealed his will for them. Their journey led them to a long period of patient waiting, discernment and prayer before they embraced God’s will.
“It’s all very personal for each individual,” said Servant of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary Sister Christine Hernandez. “For me, I was working in my car and I felt a voice, way above me telling me, ‘You should be nun.’ It was a strong voice, not a scary voice. And I knew that it was something bigger than me, outside of me because I had never thought of it. I didn’t even know nuns existed.”
Everyone agreed that discerning their vocation required asking God what He wanted for them. Father Benjamin Lehnertz, parochial vicar at Holy Family Parish, said, “When I did, I started asking: Lord, help me to want what you want. Help me to desire what you desire. Help me to choose what you choose. And that is when I started to be drawn with a desire to the priesthood.”
Daniel, a sixth grade student from Holy Family Catholic School said what most impressed him was, “What they (religious) actually go through to achieve this beautiful thing and that they can do this all through trusting in God.”
His take away was, “God will do anything for you, from really big things to small things, like just giving you a coconut. It helps me listen more to God instead of what I want to do. I learned to pray to God before I make a big decision that might impact peoples’ lives.”
In closing, Father Swallows said, “We are all called to follow Jesus in a radical way, no matter what your vocation is. How do you want to give your life?”
- Resurrection Catholic School Celebrates Catholic Schools Week Posted in: Ace Reporter Articles
National Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States, taking place since 1974. The annual observance starts the last weekend in January and runs all week. This year’s theme is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”
Resurrection Catholic School (RCS) students started Catholic School’s Week by attending Mass as a family. Students showed pride by greeting parishioners and wearing the school’s Mass uniform to church during Saturday and Sunday Masses.
New families were invited to an Open House to share RCS’s outstanding academic programs, religious education, and service opportunities.
On Monday, the community was celebrated. RCS Student Government members joined with four other Catholic schools to volunteer at the Agape Food Bank packaging meals and sorting food items in an effort to reduce hunger in our community. Baby bottles were also distributed to students to collect money for Options for Women. In addition, each homeroom chose a different service project in which to participate to benefit the community.
Tuesday was a day for celebrating students and their accomplishments. Each student had the opportunity to dress out for a cause as money was collected for the Catholic Charities Adoption Center. All students took part in participating in a Go-Take-a-Hike Walkathon.
On Wednesday, National Appreciation Day, Catholic schools are recognized for the contributions they make to their communities and the role they play in preparing students to be faith based citizens. This is also a day RCS celebrated grandparents and what they mean to us.
Thursday was a day for celebrating vocations. Students in grades three to eight joined Father Luis Salazar and Father Tim Murphy as they shared their journey on how they were called to the priesthood.
On the final day, Resurrection Catholic School honored its teachers, administrators and staff who support students in their education journey. In addition, parents, grandparents, alumni, parishioners and school board members were also recognized for their volunteer service.
It was a great week to appreciate the privilege of a Catholic education, support our community, learn something new, and of course – have fun!
Article written by Samantha L., a 7th grader at Resurrection Catholic School, Lakeland.
- Korean Veterans Share and Teach St. Paul Students Posted in: Ace Reporter Articles
Veterans from the Lake County Korean War Association, Chapter 169 came to speak at St. Paul Catholic School in Leesburg last month. There were four presenters, three of whom served in the war. The fourth presenter was the wife of a soldier who served the United States in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
The veterans spoke to students in grades four through eight, and students were eager to ask the brave veterans about their experiences in Korea. St. Paul students have a close relationship with the Korean War veterans as they visit the school each year. This year, the students were lucky enough to meet a two-star general who used to build bunkers for other generals. What is learned from these veterans is then applied to a research project based on the Korean War.
The veterans have used St. Paul student work in their presentations to other schools. The students always look forward to seeing them again next year.
Article by Christian G., an 8th grade student from St. Paul Catholic School, Leesburg. Photos by Mrs. V. Pfahler
- Soaring into Catholic Schools Week Posted in: Ace Reporter Articles
The students at Saint Joseph Catholic School in Winter Haven enjoyed celebrating Mass with Bishop John Noonan on Friday, January 27th. During the homily, he asked many children if they enjoyed being at school and what they do for Valentine’s Day. Then he said, “The best way to show love on Valentine’s Day is to show God your love.”
After Mass, middle school students performed “Let Your Light Shine” for the Bishop. They sang “Running in Circles” and signed the words. The song reminded the students that Jesus is always with them and brings them peace.
Following the middle school’s performance, class pictures were taken with Bishop Noonan. The day the bishop visited our church was a special day for everyone to enjoy. Bishop Noonan was the light of our day.
Article written by Kaydence S., a 6th grader at St. Joseph School , Winter Haven.
- Catholic Schools Week at St. Joseph Catholic School Posted in: Ace Reporter Articles
On Tuesday, January 31, 2017 St. Joseph Catholic School students participated in stations consisting of fun activities to celebrate Catholic Schools Week. At one of the stations, students walked toiletries that they had collected over to Catholic Charities of Central Florida with their little buddies. It was a great experience for the little ones to see all the donations collected.
Making rosaries out of pipe cleaners and beads was another activity. Students made their own rosaries and the younger children received help from the older students. It was a great way to tie in religion with arts and crafts.
An unusual activity was buddy reading in a dark hallway with flashlights. At our school we have older students who help mentor and guide younger students. We call them buddies. The older buddy read to the younger buddy, and then they switched roles. Buddy groups played games together. There were Dominoes, Monopoly, and many other interesting games that were generously donated by different families.
Parents had a chance to visit and have lunch with their children, picnic style. Any students whose parents could not make it ate with the other students and their teachers.
To end the day, the children went to their homerooms for a movie and popcorn. It was a fun-filled day full of religious experiences.
Article written by Caroline J., a 6th grader St. Joseph Catholic School, Winter Haven.