Sunday, February 27, 2011

Heather Early becomes a Catholic

Photos by Jane Winstead
Father Tim blesses Heather Early during Confirmation Sunday.

Heather Early has been active in St. Raphael Catholic Church for the past seven years. On Sunday, February 27, she was formally received into the Catholic Church.

She was confirmed by Father Tim and received her first Holy Communion at 11:30 a.m. Mass.

She was supported in her faith formation by her husband, Mark, and her two daughters, Sarah, 5, and Kaitlyn, 4. Her sponsor was Barbara Alderfer.

In September, Heather made a Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) weekend, and with the encouragement of her husband and her CRHP “sisters” who made the weekend with her, she decided to make her commitment to the Catholic Church official.

Heather is on the team giving the next CHRP weekend, March 19-20, and is looking forward to sharing her new Catholic faith with those women who will attend.

Heather Early (center) pauses with her CRHP “sisters” to share the joy her Confirmation and First Holy Communion.

Catechumens receive a blessing

Photo by Jane Winstead
Catechumens at St. Raphael Catholic Church received a blessing from Father Dominic at the 9:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday. The catechumens are being instructed in Catholicism in Faith Formation classes. They are preparing for being received into the Catholic Church during a ceremony officiated by Bishop Robert Lynch at the Easter Vigil at St. Raphael.

Prayers at the beginning of the day

Photo by Jane Winstead
Father Dominic at 9:30 Mass on Sunday.

God's powerful words, "I will never forget you" show us how much he loves us, Father Dominic said in his homily on Sunday. No one can serve two masters, he said, so we should seek first the kingdom of God and all things will be given. Father Dominic challenged parishioners to avail themselves of the opportunities to be with God, taking time to pray in the Tabernacle Room or attending daily Mass at least once a week.

As a resource for daily devotions, he quoted morning prayers from well known clergy. Print and save:

Lord, one more day to love you. – Brother Charles de Foucauld

O Jesus, watch over me always, especially today, or I shall betray you like Judas. – St Philip Neri

My God, send me thy Holy Spirit to teach me what I am and what thou art. – St. John Vianney

May the passion of Christ be ever in our hearts. – St. Paul of the Cross

And to be more with Him, more with Him, not merely with oneself. – Pope John Paul II

Hot Havana Nights! The slide show

Photos by Jane Winstead

Here are photos from the St. Raphael Catholic School fundraiser, Hot Havana Nights, Friday night at the Mirror Lake Lyceum in downtown St. Petersburg.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Do not be anxious

By Dr. Scott Hahn

We are by nature prone to be anxious and troubled about many things.

In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus confronts us with our most common fears. We are anxious mostly about how we will meet our material needs—for food and drink; for clothing; for security for tomorrow.

Yet in seeking security and comfort, we may unwittingly be handing ourselves over to servitude to “mammon,” Jesus warns. “Mammon” is an Aramaic word that refers to money or possessions.

Jesus is not condemning wealth. Nor is he saying that we shouldn’t work to earn our daily bread or to make provisions for our future.

It is a question of priorities and goals. What are we living for? Where is God in our lives?

Jesus insists that we need only to have faith in God and to trust in his Providence.

The readings this Sunday pose a challenge to us. Do we really believe that God cares for us, that he alone can provide for all our needs?

Do we believe that he loves us more than a mother loves the infant at her breast, as God himself promises in this week’s beautiful First Reading? Do we really trust that he is our rock and salvation, as we sing in the Psalm?

Jesus calls us to an intense realism about our lives. For all our worrying, none of us change the span of our days. None of us has anything that we have not received as a gift from God (see 1 Corinthians 4:7).

St. Paul reminds us in the Epistle that when the Lord comes he will disclose the purposes of every heart.

We cannot serve both God and mammon. We must choose one or the other. Our faith cannot be partial. We must put our confidence in him and not be shaken by anxiety.

Let us resolve today to seek his Kingdom and his holiness before all else—confident that we are beloved sons and daughters, and that our Father in heaven will never forsake us.

Dr. Scott Hahn is professor of theology at Franciscan University at Steubenville, Ohio. He was formerly a Presbyterian minister who converted to Catholicism in 1986. Lighthouse Catholic Media has many of his talks on CD or for download.

The Gospel this Sunday

February 27, 2011
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples:
“No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

Read the first and second readings and the Responsorial Psalm
– United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

St. Raphael scouts receive religion awards

Six scouts from St. Raphael’s Troop 219 received awards last Sunday for achievement in religion.

Five scouts, Mark Kinzler, Matthew Kinzler, Christian Jones, Jeremy Jones and Marcus Delvecchio received the Ad Altar Dei Award.

The Ad Altare Dei (To the altar of God) program is to help Catholic Boy Scouts to develop a fully Christian way of life in the faith community. The program is organized in chapters based on the seven Sacraments. The seven Sacraments are a primary means toward spiritual growth. The award is presented to scouts in grades 7 through 12.

The most important aspect of the program is that the Scout grows in his spiritual experience of his relationship to God and the church.

Louis McBride received the Pope Pius XII Award for Boy Scouts and Venture Crew Members.

The program deals with church-related ministries and vocations––through which baptized scouts commit themselves to serve humanity in obedience to God’s call with the Catholic faith community.

The scouts were helped by Lee Ann Kinzler, the religious counselor for the troop, in preparation for meeting the requirements for the awards.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Buy your school auction tickets now

Mia Newsom, a student at St. Raphael Catholic School, wanted everyone at 9:30 a.m. Mass Sunday to know that tickets were available for the school's annual auction coming up this Friday. Mia displayed a poster promoting the ticket sale.

The fundraiser, with the theme, Hot Havana Nights, will be at the Mirror Lake Lyceum in downtown St. Petersburg. Tickets are $55 each and include dinner, beer and wine.

There will be a Live Auction and a Silent Auction, with amazing prizes on which to bid.

Among the prizes in the Live Auction: Bid on a three-night getaway to Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island. You’ll have the use of a six-bedroom, 4.5-bath luxury home less than a block from the Gulf of Mexico. It’s just one of many unusual auction items at Hot Havana Nights. Check the Live Auction page for more details.

After dinner and the auctions, a live DJ will provide music for dancing the night away. Complimentary hand-rolled Cuban cigars will be offered as well. A full liquor cash bar will remain open with all proceeds going to SRCS.

Check the Hot Havana Nights Facebook event page to learn more.

Father Tim: Please go the extra mile

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why I give to Annual Pastoral Appeal

The St. Raphael parishioner who wrote this article prefers to remain anonymous.

I have long understood the importance of giving to the weekly church collection. And I write out a check each week. But it took me longer to "get" the importance of the Annual Pastoral Appeal.

Once I began contributing, though, I began to understand the importance of needing to do this–how many people can lighten the same load. This is something that God put in my heart. This also is something that I must plan for. It doesn't mean that it will be easy. Finding extra money is never easy. Sometimes money is there and sometimes it is not.

Like last year. I came up short on my pledge. There always was too much month at the end of the money. So I turned to prayer. I asked God for the ability to write out a single check–for both this year's contribution and last year's shortage. I also took it a step further–to ask for the means to support our church collection at a higher amount. Then I handed this over to the Lord.

God is so good! This past week I received a very special bonus from a most unexpected source. An extra, very generous check was given to me for a job well done. I immediately thought of the
Annual Pastoral Appeal first. Then I thought of my savings account, which had been all but depleted in the past year.

I could hardly wait for Sunday Mass! I was so proud to write out that single check and drop it in the basket.

Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

Do you have a personal account about your stewardship and the Annual Pastoral Appeal? You may share it anonymously or signed as you wish. Send your article to

Friday, February 18, 2011

We should be as holy as God

By Dr. Scott Hahn

We are called to the holiness of God. That is the extraordinary claim made in both the First Reading and Gospel this Sunday.

Yet how is it possible that we can be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect?

Jesus explains that we must be imitators of God as his beloved children (Ephesians 5:1–2).

As God does, we must love without limit—with a love that does not distinguish between friend and foe, overcoming evil with good (see Romans 12:21).

Jesus himself, in his Passion and death, gave us the perfect example of the love that we are called to.

He offered no resistance to the evil—even though he could have commanded twelve legions of angels to fight alongside him. He offered his face to be struck and spit upon. He allowed his garments to be stripped from him. He marched as his enemies compelled him to the Place of the Skull. On the cross he prayed for those who persecuted him (see Matthew 26:53–54, 67; 27:28, 32; Luke 23:34).

In all this he showed himself to be the perfect Son of God. By his grace, and through our imitation of him, he promises that we too can become children of our heavenly Father.

God does not deal with us as we deserve, as we sing in this week’s Psalm. He loves us with a Father’s love. He saves us from ruin. He forgives our transgressions.

He loved us even when we had made ourselves his enemies through our sinfulness. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (see Romans 5:8).

We have been bought with the price of the blood of God’s only Son (see 1 Corinthians 6:20). We belong to Christ now, as St. Paul says in this week’s Epistle. By our baptism, we have been made temples of his Holy Spirit.

And we have been saved to share in his holiness and perfection. So let us glorify him by our lives lived in his service, loving as he loves.

Dr. Scott Hahn is professor of theology at Franciscan University at Steubenville, Ohio. He was formerly a Presbyterian minister who converted to Catholicism in 1986. Lighthouse Catholic Media has many of his talks on CD or for download.

The Gospel this Sunday

February 20, 2011
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 5:38-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Read the first and second readings and the Responsorial Psalm
– United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Monday, February 14, 2011

CCW Fashion Show a huge success

By Louise Barrett

Reporting: More angels around our parish.
I know for a fact, this time, that the ones I am writing about are real people, not angels in disguise. They acted like angels this past Saturday at our Fashion Show, and I thought I almost saw wings. These ladies/children will remain anonymous because their acts of charity were done from the goodness God has cultivated within them and the acts were done with no desire for recognition.

The scene: Our Parish center filled with 155 women and 3 brave men.
The tables are filled nearly to capacity with a vacant seat or two scattered and it was difficult to see where there was a vacancy. A beautiful family needing nine seats arrived looking for a table together.

The Problem: No empty table for nine
Like the ones who came to Jesus at the wedding in Cana when the wine ran out, intercessors for the family's need approached the Fashion Show Committee when the seating "ran out". It was an impossible task. There were no empty tables, never mind more then two seats at a table open, anywhere in the Parish Center. It was a moment to close one's eyes, compose one's thoughts, and then smile and say, "Of course we will find someplace to seat you, but we will have to divide your group." I assure you, there was NO PLACE to put this group and we had no idea how we would do this.

The solution: It is good to work with the Lord. There was a table with two open seats, or so we thought. The ones who belonged in the seats we thought were empty, (but weren't after all) graciously joined friends at another table and three other groups of two women at this about to be blessed table relocated to new tables, where they were welcomed warmly by people they were about to meet for the first time. Gracious, smiling faces, happy to move so others could be together. Gracious, smiling faces, happy to accept changes and meet new friends. Suddenly, there was a table available for nine. It was truly God at work through the kindness of our CCW ladies.

Icing on the cake: The Fashion show desserts were amazingly delicious.
So was this: one of the ladies who moved to another table bought opportunity tickets for the kids of the newly seated "nine group" as a special treat. One of those tickets ended up being a winning ticket: the party of nine won both a gift basket and a gift certificate from Patchingtons. The child, in turn, gave the gift certificate to the kind woman who had vacated the table earlier and given the child the ticket to begin with! At this point, the fashion show became THE place to be – so much love it was contagious!

Epilogue: Everyone live happily ever after (at least for the rest of the afternoon) filled with a delicious lunch, the pleasure of being together, having watched the amazing models (our very own CCW members and some of the cutest kids in the universe and even a bride with her wedding party) and the Fashion Show made a great profit. Marty Foreman and Chris Winstead are hereby recognized for master minding the menu and cooking the food. Claudia Soucy, Rosemary Early, Roseanna Costa, and Kathy Guckenberger co-chaired the event. To the many others who attended, donated gifts, set up, helped cook, or clean up. Thank you! You make our Parish a beautiful place, and I imagine your guardian angel and mine are very happy to come with us to St Raphael.

The case for giving to the Annual Pastoral Appeal

If you've ever doubted the importance of the Diocese of St. Petersburg's Annual Pastoral Appeal, listen to the parents of St. Raphael seminarians.

Photos by Jane Winstead

Seminarians Bob and Dan Angel

Seminarians Chris McBride and Dan Angel

Father Tim's homily - 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, February 13, 9:30 a.m. Mass

Happily married 67 years

Photo by Jane Winstead
Father Dominic blessed married couples at the end of 5:30 p.m. Mass on Sunday. Jane and Tony Janicki were the longest married who were attending that Mass. They have been married 67 years. Father Dominic asked them if they had advice for a long marriage. They said, "Say yes."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hot Havana Nights! It's getting close

Hot Havana NightsGet your ticket orders in soon and join the other 190 families, teachers, and staff who are coming out for the St. Raphael Catholic School Annual Auction on Friday, February 25 at the Mirror Lake Lyceum in downtown St. Petersburg.

It will be a night of great food, incredible friends, endless fun, and phenomenal fund raising for our school.

Individual tickets are $55 each and includes dinner and beer and wine. Tickets will be available after 9:30 a.m. And 5:30 p.m. Masses this Sunday and February 20. You also can complete order forms and turn them in to the school office. You can download an order form at the Hot Havana Night Web site.

Holmes Beach weekendThere will be a Live Auction and a Silent Auction, with amazing prizes on which to bid.

Among the prizes in the Live Auction: Bid on a three-night getaway to Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island. You’ll have the use of a six-bedroom, 4.5-bath luxury home less than a block from the Gulf of Mexico. Click on the photo at right to enlarge it.

It’s just one of many unusual auction items at Hot Havana Nights. Check the Live Auction page for more details.

Among other things, the Silent Auction features a beautiful sterling silver beaded chain and pendant with the amazing "Crucifixion" artwork slide.

A full auction catalog will be published on the Hot Havana Nights Web site by next Wednesday. Check for details.

After dinner and the auctions, a live DJ will provide music for dancing the night away. Complimentary hand-rolled Cuban cigars will be offered as well. A full liquor cash bar will remain open with all proceeds going to SRCS.

There are only 11 $50 raffle tickets left. Win and you have your choice of any Live Auction item or $2,500 in cash! You need not be present to win! Only 100 tickets will be sold!

Check the Hot Havana Nights Facebook event page to learn more.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Please reflect on the new Vision Statement

Notice the new Parish Vision Statement on the front of the bulletin this week. It is shown above. Father Tim invites parishioners to take a moment to imagine the possibilities if we as a parish family had these words in mind in the day-to-day tasks and the broad functions of parish activity.

"We are not there yet, but we begin by having a vision and continually working toward it," said Father Tim in his notes in this week's bulletin. "Jesus had a vision, too, and we (the world) are still working on it. I ask you to reflect on these words and think about how you, your family members and your parish involvement, may be directed toward this vision.

"As I mentioned last week, I will soon be meeting with the Parish Leadership Council to help develop ways for St. Raphael to target this vision. As for now, I ask for your prayers, support and participation as we begin this vision process for the parish."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Affairs of the Heart

Sermon on the Mount, altarpiece by Henrik Olrik

By Dr. Scott Hahn

Jesus tells us in the Gospel this week that he has come not to abolish but to “fulfill” the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets.

His Gospel reveals the deeper meaning and purpose of the Ten Commandments and the moral Law of the Old Testament. But his Gospel also transcends the Law. He demands a morality far greater than that accomplished by the most pious of Jews, the scribes and Pharisees.

Outward observance of the Law is not enough. It is not enough that we do not murder, commit adultery, divorce, or lie.

The law of the new covenant is a law that God writes on the heart (see Jeremiah 31:31–34). The heart is the seat of our motivations, the place from which our words and actions proceed (see Matthew 6:21; 15:18–20).

Jesus this week calls us to train our hearts, to master our passions and emotions. And Jesus demands the full obedience of our hearts (see Romans 6:17). He calls us to love God with all our hearts, and to do his will from the heart (see Matthew 22:37; Eph. 6:6)

God never asks more of us than we are capable. That is the message of this week’s First Reading. It is up to us to choose life over death, to choose the waters of eternal life over the fires of ungodliness and sin.

By his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has shown us that it is possible to keep his commandments. In baptism, he has given us his Spirit that his Law might be fulfilled in us (Romans 8:4).

The wisdom of the Gospel surpasses all the wisdom of this age that is passing away, St. Paul tells us in the Epistle. The revelation of this wisdom fulfills God’s plan from before all ages.

Let us trust in this wisdom, and live by his Kingdom law.

As we do in this week’s Psalm, let us pray that we grow in being better able to live his Gospel, and to seek the Father with all our heart.

Dr. Scott Hahn is professor of theology at Franciscan University at Steubenville, Ohio. He was formerly a Presbyterian minister who converted to Catholicism in 1986. Lighthouse Catholic Media has many of his talks on CD or for download.

About the painting:
Henrik Olrik was a Danish painter and sculptor. He was skilled as a portrait painter and also did still lifes, landscapes, historic paintings and religious work. He painted this altarpiece at St. Mathew's Church in Copenhagen about 1880.

The Gospel this Sunday

February 13, 2011
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 5:17-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses
that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you,
whoever is angry with brother
will be liable to judgment;
and whoever says to brother, ‘Raqa,’
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin;
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’
will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin,
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife – unless the marriage is unlawful –
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
Do not take a false oath,
but make good to the Lord all that you vow.
But I say to you, do not swear at all;
not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;
nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Do not swear by your head,
for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,' and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the evil one.”

Read the first and second readings and the Responsorial Psalm
– United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Boy Scout Sunday 2011

Photos by Jane Winstead
Scouting at St. Raphael Catholic Church was started 45 years ago and is still going strong. Boy Scout Troop 219 and Cub Scout Pack 219 server dozens of boys with numerous activities, including camping, community service and character development.

Boy Scout Troop 219
There are now 36 scouts in the boy scout troop. A dozen adults volunteer and leaders and committee members. Scouts elect a senior patrol leader and patrol leaders from among themselves, giving the boys experience in peer group leadership.

The boys advance through seven ranks from Scout to Eagle, earning merit badges for achieving proficiency in various skills in sports, crafts, science, trades, business and future careers. There are more than 120 merit badges from which to choose. A boy will have earned at least 21 merit badges and completed a community project by the time he reaches the rank of Eagle Scout.

Last year, five scouts in Troop 219 became Eagle Scouts. Over the 45 years since the troop was chartered, 62 young men have become Eagle Scouts.

The troop camps once a month for a weekend and takes seven- to 10-day trips twice a year.

The troop sells Christmas trees every year as a fundraiser. The troop appreciates the support of parishioners whose donations help fund the scouts' camping activities.

The troop meets Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Parish Center. Boys 10-17 are invited to join the group. Please call Scoutmaster Michael McBride at (727) 525-0187, if you have questions or would like to volunteer.

Cub Scout Pack 219
The cub pack now has 37 scouts and nine leaders. Everything in Cub Scouting is designed to have the boys doing things. The boys are organized into dens according to age.

The pack has nine Tiger scouts (1st grade), nine Wolf scouts (2nd grade), eight Bear scouts (3rd grade), five Weblo I scouts (4th grade) and six Weblo II scouts (5th grade).

Cubs come from St. Raphael Catholic School, Shorecrest Preparatory School, Shore Acres Elementary and Home School.

Cub Scouts earn achievements and awards, camp out a couple times a year with their families, have a pinewood derby, sailboat regatta, biathlon races and much more.

The pack also has an annual Popcorn sale as a fundraiser. Community projects include placing food collection bags to collect food for the needy.

"Busy scouts are happy scouts," says Cubmaster Bill Condon. "The Cub Scout Motto is "Do Your Best" and our scouts work hard to live up to this motto."

The pack appreciates the support of St. Raphael Catholic Church and its parishioners.

Please call Cubmaster Bill Condon at (727) 480-5658 or Assistant Cubmaster Mike Smith at (727) 420-6327 if you have questions or would like to volunteer.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mayor Foster visits St. Raphael Catholic School

Photo by Jane Winstead
St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster came to St. Raphael Catholic School on Monday to read his official proclamation for Catholic Schools Week.

Each year our school observes Catholic Schools Week along with Catholic schools throughout the country. Catholic Schools Week celebrates the fact that Catholic schools are an added value for the nation. Catholic schools and their students make positive contributions to their communities.

Traditionally they have high academic standards and high graduation rates. They are supported by strong moral values. Students undertake many service projects thus giving back to the community. Such values are instilled in every Catholic school student. Catholic Schools week began in 1974.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Light breaking forth

By Dr. Scott Hahn

Jesus came among us as light to scatter the darkness of a fallen world.

As his disciples, we too are called to be “the light of the world,” he tells us in the Gospel this Sunday (see John 1:4–4, 9; 8:12; 9:5).

All three images that Jesus uses to describe the Church are associated with the identity and vocation of Israel.

God forever aligned his Kingdom with the Kingdom of David and his sons by a “covenant of salt,” salt being a sign of permanence and purity (see 2 Chronicles 13:5, 8; Lev. 2:13; Ezekiel 43:24).

Jerusalem was to be a city set on a hill, high above all others, drawing all nations towards the glorious light streaming from her Temple (see Isaiah 2:2; 60:1–3).

And Israel was given the mission of being a light to the nations, that God’s salvation would reach to the ends of the earth (see Isaiah 42:6; 49:6).

The liturgy shows us this week that the Church, and every Christian, is called to fulfill Israel’s mission.

By our faith and good works we are to make the light of God’s life break forth in the darkness, as we sing in this week’s Psalm.

This week’s readings remind us that our faith can never be a private affair, something we can hide as if under a basket.

We are to pour ourselves out for the afflicted, as Isaiah tells us in the First Reading. Our light must shine as a ray of God’s mercy for all who are poor, hungry, naked, and enslaved.

There must be a transparent quality to our lives. Our friends and family, our neighbors and fellow citizens, should see reflected in us the light of Christ and through us be attracted to the saving truths of the Gospel.

So let us pray that we, like St. Paul in the Epistle, might proclaim with our whole lives, “Christ and him crucified.”

Dr. Scott Hahn is professor of theology at Franciscan University at Steubenville, Ohio. He was formerly a Presbyterian minister who converted to Catholicism in 1986. Lighthouse Catholic Media has many of his talks on CD or for download.

About the painting: Light of the World by Charles Bosseron Chambers was the most popular American religious painting of the early 1900s. It was painted in New York while the artist was associated with Carnegie Studios. Chambers grew up in St. Louis, the son of a British Army captain who converted to Catholicism and a French mother whose family had deep roots in St. Louis.

The Gospel this Sunday

February 6, 2011
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 5:3-16

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.”

Read the first and second readings and the Responsorial Psalm
– United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Thursday, February 3, 2011

St. Raphael Catholic School open house

Photos by Jane Winstead
For Catholic Schools Week, St. Raphael Catholic School held an open house Sunday for parents, students and anyone interested in Catholic education. The Children's Choir and flute ensemble performed at 9:30 a.m. Mass.

Feast of St. Blaise and Blessing of the Throats

Photo by Jane Winstead

Today is the feast of St. Blaise and the annual Blessing of the Throats. Father Tim blesses a tiny visitor named Dominic during 8 a.m. Mass today. Dominic, held by his mother, Francesca, is the godson of St. Raphael seminarian Bob Angel. Although she is a parishioner at St. Paul parish in downtown St. Petersburg, she and Dominic attend daily Mass at St. Raphael. Few facts are known about St. Blaise. He is believed to have been a bishop in Armenia (now Turkey). He died in 316. A legend that he healed a boy with a fishbone stuck in his throat gave rise to the tradition of the Blessing of the Throats. You can read more about the tradition of St. Blaise at

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

'St. Raphael’s totally prepared us'

Photo by Jane Winstead

Emily Pingleton graduated from St. Raphael Catholic School in 2010. She is a student at St. Petersburg Catholic High School. She gave this talk at Mass recently in advance of Catholic Education Week.

Hi, my name is Emily Pingleton and I was asked to speak to you today about my experience at St. Raphael’s Catholic School. I started at St. Raphael’s in the middle of kindergarten when I moved here. I made a lot of great friends that I’m still close with today. The teachers were amazing and I made so many memories.

I participated in all the sports available for girls in middle school including: volleyball, basketball, soccer, tennis, and track. I’ve been in the school choir since fourth grade and I was in student council for two years.

All these activities helped get me more involved in the school and better prepared for high school. I also played the clarinet in the school band since fourth grade. St. Raphael’s has an excellent band program that allows each student to learn more than one instrument and perform twice a year in the school concerts. By going to Catholic school, you grow closer to God as well as your classmates. Each grade has only one class so you become like brothers and sisters over the years.

Every Thursday at St. Raphael’s, Mass is celebrated with the whole school. I really enjoyed going to mass with my classmates because we celebrated the liturgy together. At Mass, I always sang with the school choir and that was one of my favorite things about the school. Sometimes at mass I would altar serve or be a lector. I also enjoyed religion class a lot because I got to learn more about Catholicism and how to grow closer to God.

In second grade I received my first Reconciliation and Communion at St. Raphael’s and currently I am preparing for my Confirmation.

St. Raphael’s provides so many opportunities for students to get involved, whether it is sports, choir, or just meeting new friends. It also presented me with the opportunity to go to President Obama’s Inauguration in Washington, D.C.

Eighth grade was probably my best year at St. Raphael’s. My graduating class became so close that we were really sad to be going our separate ways.

I’m now at St. Petersburg Catholic High School and I really like it a lot. St. Raphael’s totally prepared us for the transition to high school. They guided us the whole way through the long process of applying, testing, and waiting.

St. Raphael’s great academics helped me get into all honors classes at SPC. I also had a lot of confidence going into high school that I probably wouldn’t have had without going to this school. I am involved in many activities at SPC like: I’m on the basketball and volleyball team, Excel club (which is a service club), and I am the secretary-treasurer of the freshman student government.

Without having gone to St. Raphael’s I probably wouldn’t be who I am today. The school has changed my life. Even though I love St. Pete Catholic, I would do anything to come back and spend another day with my graduating class of 2010 and remember all the memories I’ve made at this school. I now appreciate how much St. Raphael’s has done for me.

Thank you.