It’s with great joy and a tinge of sadness that we bid Deacon Matthew Hawkins a very fond ‘farewell” this weekend. His assignment at our parish for most of this year has ended, and he has come to that long-awaited and wonderful stage of his life’s journey: his priestly ordination for service in the Diocese of Orlando on May 26th. We’ll really miss him here – his kindness, his inspiring homilies, his concern for our people – especially the infants at Baptism and the sick to whom he ministered. Our teens, too, will miss his welcome presence at so many of their Sunday night events. Though his ministry here was even more extensive than I’ve mentioned, I believe he’ll be as deeply involved in his new assignment as he was here. We don’t know that assignment, yet, but when he learns of it, he’ll share it with me. I hope it leaves him some time to come back for a visit when he can offer a Mass of Thanksgiving here, perhaps on a weekend.
This past Saturday morning, April 28th, 64 children of our parish school and our parish PREP (Parish Religious Education Program) celebrated their First Holy Communion. With souls as pure white as the little girls’ First Communion dresses, they took Jesus into their hearts and were filled with His love for them. My prayer and hope for them is that their parents will see to the promises that they made at their children’s Baptism to raise their children in the Catholic faith and lead them onward to God by the constant practice of their faith and by honoring all their faith commitments.
Our middle-school students put on a wonderful show last weekend – Disney’s junior version of “Beauty and the Beast.” What talent was displayed!! The singing, acting and the overall behind-the-scenes work crew made this an outstanding production. Under the musical supervision of Music Director Eric Keiper and Drama Director Jennifer Gresh, the presentation was a “class act,” and it was obvious that the students had a lot of fun participating in it. The quality of the show was on at least a high school level – maybe even more. Thank you to all who made this possible, including some very supportive parents.
Our Boys’ school teams produced 5 Championships this year – a record!!! Our Girls’ teams also did remarkably well, with several championships of their own. Congratulations to them all, and to their head coaches. Unfortunately, our head coaches for both the girls’ teams and the boys’ teams will be leaving us at the end of this year – one because of retirement and the other because of a promotion to a high school Assistant A.D. We will truly miss Coach Beth Debrecht and Coach Chris Barulic, and I wish them every good turn for the future.
Our school also received the Green Ribbon Award again this year, which demonstrates a keen ability to understand and to address the ecological challenges affecting our planet and to deal with the problems we must face in using the earth’s natural resources wisely.
Next week, our children will crown the statue of the Blessed Virgin at the Friday 8:30 am Mass (May 4th). I invite you to join them as they salute the Blessed Virgin Mary during the month dedicated to her.
So, with all the excitement about the activities going on in our parish school these days, and with the noticeable progress in the construction of the new wings of our school building, I’m hoping that all those who have not yet pledged their support to our parish in its Capital Campaign will now reconsider their status and offer a helping hand so that we may reach our desired goal. Don’t you think that our children are worth it??!!