Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Santa comes to the Santa Breakfast

Photos by Jane Winstead 
The highlight of the Cub Scouts/Knights of Columbus Santa Breakfast was, of course, Santa. Throngs of St. Raphael families turned out for the annual event. Knights prepared the delicious pancakes, eggs and sausage breakfast and Cub Scouts were the servers. The breakfast was also a successful fundraiser. Nearly $700 in proceeds will be presented to Pinellas Hope, the diocese homeless shelter.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

50th anniversary Wine and Cheese Social

Photos by Jane Winstead 
Parishioners turned out Thursday evening for the Wine and Cheese Social, celebrating the 50th anniversary of St. Raphael Catholic Church as a parish.  The social was one a series of monthly events marking the parish's half century. Next up: the 50th anniversary Gala at The Coliseum on January 26. Watch for details.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

St. Vincent de Paul Giving Tree ready

Photo by Jane Winstead
St. Raphael parishioners flocked to the Christmas Giving Tree before and after masses this weekend, choosing ornament tags for gifts for needy children in our community. You can participate in the St. Vincent de Paul project by taking an ornament and returning the specified gift, wrapped and with the ornament attached. Gifts should be returned by Sunday, December 16. Please drop gift certificates and checks into the St. Vincent de Paul Poor Box next to the Giving Tree. St. Raphael parishioners are always generous for the Giving Tree.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

50th anniversary parish picnic

Photos by Jane Winstead
Here are photos from the 50th anniversary parish picnic, one of several events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of St. Raphael parish. Parishioners had so much fun there is talk of making it an annual event. The first Mass in St. Raphael's new church was celebrated in October 1962. The church was dedicated in February 1963. The parish is marking the half century of its existence with several events. Next: a Wine and Cheese Party in December. Watch for details.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Knights Pinellas Hope dinner raises $2,000

Knights of Columbus donated more than $2,000 to Pinellas Hope, the proceeds from the third annual Pinellas Hope Dinner. Some 121 parishioners from St. Raphael and other parishes attended the event. Sheila Lopez, chief operating officer of Catholic Charities, and Angela Mosley, housing manager of Pinellas Hope gave an update on the status of the project. Pinellas Hope provides temporary shelter for homeless men and women at a facility on 20 acres in Clearwater. The project, a program of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, began in 2007.

Mass of Remembrance Wednesday

Photo by Jane Winstead
St. Raphael's Mass of Remembrance is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday. This is a time to keep in mind those who have died and pray for them. A reception will follow the Mass.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

2012 St. Raphael Festival in pictures

Relive the excitement of all three days of the St. Raphael Festival Photos by Jane Winstead 






Monday, October 22, 2012

St. Raphael's 50th anniversary celebration begins

An awesome kickoff for the 50th anniversary celebration of St. Raphael Parish. St. Raphael students and youth ministry members got together to present a parade of the coming attractions over the next six months.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Gruban booth is back! Yum!

 Editor's note: This article was published last year to introduce the Gruban booth at the St. Raphael Festival. We republish it this year for anyone who missed it and might like to try the delicious Greek and Cuban food available at the booth. Enjoy!

By Lisette Crespo Shields

When you are Latin most every big event is surrounded by food. My Cuban family is no different.

My dad, Dr. Artagnan Crespo, was the cook in our family. Exiled from Cuba in 1960, he went to live with my mom’s ailing dad who had a house on Key Biscayne in Miami.

My grandfather was quite the cook, but when he lived in Miami he was so ill he was not able to cook, so he taught my dad all the family recipes. My dad learned to love to cook and went on to add to that great pile of family recipes.

One of my dad’s most famous dishes was his black beans. Christmas Eve we would always have the traditional Noche Buena meal consisting of pork, black beans, rice and yucca. My dad did all the cooking for this meal and it was always amazing. He never followed a recipe, adding a little here or there until he liked the way it tasted.

He would often have his nurses and staff over and cook for them. I am so glad they encouraged him to put a few of his recipes in a cook book the clinic had put together.

After my father passed away in 1986 from lung cancer, family dinners were not the same. My mom, Beatriz, had to step up and start cooking all the major holiday foods. She did not enjoy it as my dad did, but she would follow the recipes my dad left and it was like he was back cooking. The meals were a great.

My mom was more than willing to pass the torch of the holiday dinners to her children. I got Christmas Eve and Noche Buena. Following my dad’s recipes to the letter, my first Christmas Eve dinner was a hit. I enjoy making the beans, and I would often make them for family parties or for friends. As my dad always said, “the flavor is all in the paste you grind together in the mortar."

When I met my husband, he bragged “wait to you taste my mom’s cooking.” Boy, was he right. His mom, Yiota, could cook!

They had a lot of the same traditions as my family. Holiday and family parties were celebrated around the dinner table with one of Yiota’s amazing meals. Lamb, tzatziki sauce, Greek dolmades and avgolemono soup became part of my kids' normal dinners.

I found out that my mother-in-law's start with food was similar to my dad’s in that she was not a cook or had not always wanted to be a cook.

She married a U.S. Air Force lieutenant general and lived in a new place every few years. She tried to make American food, fried chicken to be exact, and it was disastrous.

Yiota learned how to make fried chicken from her North Carolina husband Woody. Yiota’s fried chicken is made so well now that my husband often requests it as one of his birthday dishes.

The tradition continues. I am passing my dad’s recipes on to my daughter, Kalista, who loves to cook. She often cooks with Yiota, learning all the Greek recipes as well.

The last 15 years of my life have been such a combination of Greek and Cuban food that when I heard we were going to have specialty booths at the St. Raphael Festival I suggested the Gruban booth.

Of course, I had to explain what a Gruban was. Recently we added on an addition to the back of the house. It was a room for the kids and we wanted to name it to make it their own.

My husband, Frank, said that since the kids were part Greek and Cuban how about naming it the Gruban room. The name Gruban took birth and it now a part of our regular vernacular.

I hope everyone gets a chance to come out and enjoy this wonderful festival and don’t forget to stop by the Gruban booth for some amazing food.

Photo: From left, Beatriz Crespo, Lisette Crespo Shields, Woody Shields, Yiota Shields, Frank Shields. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Parishioners sign up for 40 Days campaign

Photos by Jane Winstead 
St. Raphael parishioners signed up for the 40 Days for Life campaign to end abortion before and after Masses on Sunday. There will be an opportunity to sign up next weekend as well. Parishioners will join Catholics throughout the Diocese in a continuing 40-day vigil in front of All Women's Health Center on Central Avenue. Parishioners will participate on Saturday, October 6, and Tuesday, October 9. The vigil will be from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

K of C Pancake Breakfast was tasty

Photos by Jane Winstead 
Parishioners turned out for the Knights of Columbus annual Pancake Breakfast on Sunday morning after the 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Masses. Mmmmm! Love those pancakes drenched in syrup and those delicious sausages.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Farewell to seminarian Kyle Bell

Photos by Jane Winstead 
We bid farewell to seminarian Kyle Bell, who is leaving the parish to go back to seminary. For the last two months, Kyle has been part of the parish, participating in many aspects of parish life such as homebound and house visits with priests, visits to the nursing home, RCIA, Vacation Bible School, Respect Life ministry, not to mention Masses, funerals, weddings and much more. We wish him well and keep him in our prayers as he continues his preparation for the priesthood.

Special milestones at Sunday Mass

Photos by Jane Winstead 
Congratulations to five St. Raphael parishioners who achieved special milestones in their faith journeys at the 9:30 a.m. Mass Sunday. Timothy Bley was received into the church, received Confirmation and Communion. Melinda Othen received First Communion and Confirmation. Jessica Peterson, Aspen Hedges, and Nathan Hedges received Confirmation.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bring back your baby bottles

You can still contribute to the Baby Bottle Boomerang fund raiser this Sunday at all Masses. Bring your baby bottle full of cash (change and folding money) and put it in the collection bin in the Narthex. Proceeds go to support Foundations of Life Pregnancy Center, a ministry of Catholic Charities. One bottle equals the cost of 10 baby diapers. Bring your baby bottle back so we can help moms and babies in need. For more information on how you can help or for assistance, contact Maggie Moren, (727) 525-6873 or Rose Llauget, (727) 550-4236.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

St. Raphael VBS 2012

Photos by Lisette Crespo Shields 
Vacation Bible School at St. Raphael Catholic Church

Friday, June 15, 2012

For Father's Day, a special essay

Julie Musselman's special essay for Father's Day was originally published on her blog A Catholic Home Journal. Have a great Father's Day, everyone!

Five ways wives can help their husbands be great dads

1. Pray for your husband and with your husband

Praying for him builds him up and gives grace to him as he leads the family. Praying for him also opens up your heart to be thankful for all his gifts and talents.

Praying with your husband builds the bond of marriage and helps the two of you get through good times and bad.

To get started, trying just praying an Our Father together at the end of the day. He says the first half, she says the second half. Then share any prayer intentions.

Bob's Grampsie gave us a great prayer for married couples 26 years ago on our wedding day. It is short and covers a lot:

Prayer for Husband and Wife:

Keep us, O Lord, from pettiness. Let us be thoughtful in word and deed. Help us to put away pretense, and face each other in deep trust without fear or self pity. Help us to guard against fault-finding, and be quick to discover the best in each other and in every situation. Guard us from ill temper and hasty judgment; Encourage us to take time for all things, to grow calm, serene, and gentle. Help us to be generous with kind words and compliments. Teach us never to ignore, never to hurt, never to take each other for granted. Engrave charity and compassion in our hearts. 


2. Submit to his authority as head of household (Ephesian 5)

Don't be afraid of the word Submit-it means get under his mission, be to supportive.
Let him lead. There is a beautiful complementarity when the husband is the head and the wife is the heart. This doesn't mean women don't think. We certainly should give input, suggestions, and opinions all combined with his. But after all the discussion, stand behind his decision. Remember wives, the second half of Ephesians 5 instructions is for Husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. So he has a pretty tall order too.

3.Be united in front of the kids

Kids learn very quickly which parent is the "softy" and which one they can more easily get what they want. So as a wife, if  your husband has already said no to something, don't undermine him by saying yes. When husband and wife disagree, try to forget about right and wrong, my way, his way and work toward a solution. Ignore the little things to avoid arguments.

4. Let your husband interact with the kids in a different way than you do.

Many women who care for kids, also keep the house clean, run errands, do correspondence and many other things all at the same time. But when it's dad's time with the kids, Dad may "only" play with them, do a project with them, wrestle with them or just hang out. Accept that your husband has a different style with the children then you do.

5. Love your husband and give him time with you alone so he is fortified for the workplace and enabled to be a better dad. The marriage must always come first. As my husband Bob always says, "the best thing I do for my kids is love their mother." So be a wife that is open to that love and offering of it.

If you can't get away for an overnight, or get out for a date night, try a simple idea called "couch time." Basically, before or after dinner, husband and wife find a room, close the door and spend a little quiet time discussing the day and being alone. Bob has a great way of telling the children "OUT! I am talking with your mother." Over time the kids have learned that is non-negotiable.

God Bless all Fathers on Father's Day and Every Day! We need you, We love you.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

St. Raphael Eighth Grade graduation

Photos by Jane Winstead 
St. Raphael Catholic School Class of 2012 graduated in ceremonies in the church on Monday, June 4. Principal Valerie Wostbrock and Father Tim Sherwood presented diplomas to the graduating students after the Graduation Mass. Some 21 students are in the Class of 2012. Congratulations, grads!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The ordination of priests

Photos by Jane Winstead 
The ordination of Victor James Amorose, IV and Clement Timothy Cocoran, III, at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle on May 19. Deacon Amorose served as a transitional deacon at St. Raphael.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fr. Tim's homily – Being a friend of God

Father Tim Sherwood's homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter at St. Raphael Catholic Church in St. Petersburg, Florida. Theme music: Deliberate Thoughts by Kevin MacLeod; End tag: St. Raphael Praise Band — Amazing Love

Order Rays tickets this weekend

DIOCESE FAMILY DAY AT THE RAYS: This is this last weekend to turn in order forms and money for the Diocese of St. Petersburg Family Day on Sunday, June 3. Print out the order form and turn it in to the Parish Office or Youth Ministry with your check.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Give blood! Be a hero! Eat steak!

Florida Blood Services will hold a blood drive at St. Raphael parish on Sunday, May 20 from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. All Lifesaving Blood Donors will receive a HERO inspired T-shirt and a coupon for $5 off with the purchase of two entrees at Outback Steakhouse.

PLUS, donate blood or platelets twice between May 1 and August 31 and receive a FREE STEAK DINNER courtesy of Outback Steakhouse, plus be entered to WIN Outback for a Year and a suite package from the Tampa Bay Rays!

Be a Hero to patients and their families and your Florida Blood Services will make a $5,000 donation to Operation Homefront, which provides assistance to our troops, their families and wounded warriors when they return home.

Make an appointment!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Royals Cup Golf Tournament

Photo by Jane Winstead
Calling all Golfers!  Royals Cup Golf Tournament!  Friday, May 11 at the Vinoy Golf Club.  1 p.m. shotgun start. The cost is $120 per person and includes Greg Norman golf shirt, refreshments during registration, and dinner after the tournament in the Parish Center.  Please contact Jenn Taylor at jrtaylor24@gmail.com if you are interested in playing.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Angela Soucy: Handmaiden of the Lord

Photo by Jane Winstead

 By Christine Pelletier  

These remarks were prepared for the presentation of the Handmaiden of the Lord 2012 to Angela Soucy.

Born in England in 1920, her mother died when she was only four years old and her father gave her away to a neighbor. She grew up in a life of poverty, with no electricity or running water, only little scraps of food to eat, and just one dress to wear. Her cruel stepmother would force her to do extreme chores and beat her with a leather belt. All she felt in her miserable young life was hated and unloved.

In her 20s, she had to suffer through nights of terror in shelters while the war raged on, and had to dodge shrapnel as it fell from enemy planes when bombs were dropped. She eventually met one of the American soldiers who lived in the tents in the park, and not only fell in love with him, but with our religion that was established by Christ more than 2000 years ago. She became a Catholic, a “war bride,” and lived through the war, with bombings, death and destruction all around them. Life was never easy and money always scarce, yet they managed to lovingly raise four children amidst it all, and the children never realized how poor they really were.

During the course of 30 years in the Air Force, this family had the burden of moving 38 times! Upon retiring from the Air Force, our Handmaiden’s husband enjoyed a job with the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, until he was suddenly called home to God. The pain of losing him after 36 years of marriage was deep; two bishops and 13 priests concelebrated his Christmas Eve funeral in 1980. The one thing that always keeps this angel going is her profound abiding faith. Even during extreme times of devastation, she turned to Our Lord, and still does to this day. This woman of God has lived her life being an angel to others.

Upon moving to Florida in 1992, she quickly embraced the community of St. Raphael’s. Over these past 20 years, she has been Celeste’s right hand in the kitchen for all the church functions, including CRHP. She has been an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at church, to the home bound, and at the nursing home.

A daily Mass communicant, she is a CCW member who is still involved in many other ministries as well, including baking for a function whenever called upon, making a meal for someone in need, caring for elderly neighbors, helping with coffee and doughnuts, working in the gift shop, mending the priests’ vestments, knitting for babies at the shelters, cleaning the church at Christmas and Easter, being the “official cleaner of the brass,” filling the open slots at weekly Eucharistic Adoration, and making literally thousands of rosaries! She also prays unceasingly for anyone who asks, and especially for her family, for peace and reconciliation among all, so that they can be together again in heaven.

In this world of materialism, she is proud that her largest material possession in this life is her car. She is not ashamed that she has no other assets, no investments, no properties, no money in the bank, and that she only shops for herself at garage sales or Salvation Army. Her ONLY income, her monthly Social Security check, barely lasts through all her monthly bills, and if there are ever a few dollars left over, she gives it to the church, a favorite charity, someone in need, or one of her 13 grandchildren or 18 great-grandchildren. She may be poor by the world’s standards, but her legacy of faith makes her wealthy beyond measure.

She is always reminding her children and grandchildren to “never lose sight of God and that we are nothing without Him, but with God all things are possible.” This woman lives by God’s plan, loves God and our Catholic faith, and loves our church community. She truly is a handmaiden of the Lord, always of service to others, and always living out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

Please join me in congratulating our 2012 Handmaiden of the Lord, Angela Soucy!

The deadline is coming soon

Music by Kevin MacLeod: Aitrack | Endtag music by St. Raphael Praise Band: Amazing Love

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fr. Tim's homily — A Sense of Spiritual Direction

Father Tim Sherwood's homily for the Third Sunday of Easter at St. Raphael Catholic Church in St. Petersburg, Florida. Theme music: Deliberate Thoughts by Kevin MacLeod; End tag: St. Raphael Praise Band — Amazing Love

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bob Angel interview: Seventh in a series

SEVENTH IN A SEVEN-PART SERIES: While he was home at Easter, seminarian Bob Angel took time out for an interview with the Saint Raphael Messenger. This segment (7) is on Bob's plans for the summer and beyond. Watch all seven segments of Bob Angel's interview. Music by Kevin MacLeod: Tea Roots; Music by St. Raphael Praise Band: Amazing Love

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bob Angel interview: Sixth in a series

SIXTH IN A SEVEN-PART SERIES: While he was home at Easter, seminarian Bob Angel took time out for an interview with the Saint Raphael Messenger. This segment (6) is on his advice for anyone considering the religious life. Watch all seven segments of Bob Angel's interview. Music by Kevin MacLeod: Tea Roots; Music by St. Raphael Praise Band: Amazing Love

Bob Angel interview: Fifth in a series

FIFTH IN A SEVEN-PART SERIES: While he was home at Easter, seminarian Bob Angel took time out for an interview with the Saint Raphael Messenger. This segment (5) is on support from the parish community. Watch all seven segments of Bob Angel's interview. Music by Kevin MacLeod: Tea Roots; Music by St. Raphael Praise Band: Amazing Love

St. Raphael Rays Tailgate Party Saturday

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bob Angel interview: Fourth in a series

FOURTH IN A SEVEN-PART SERIES: While he was home at Easter, seminarian Bob Angel took time out for an interview with the Saint Raphael Messenger. This segment (4) is on the hero of his life. Watch all seven segments of Bob Angel's interview. Music by Kevin MacLeod: Tea Roots; Music by St. Raphael Praise Band: Amazing Love

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bob Angel interview: Third in a series

THIRD IN A SEVEN-PART SERIES: While he was home at Easter, seminarian Bob Angel took time out for an interview with the Saint Raphael Messenger. This segment (3) is on his visit to Africa last summer. Watch all seven segments of Bob Angel's interview. Music by Kevin MacLeod: Tea Roots; Music by St. Raphael Praise Band: Amazing Love

Fr. Tim's homily – "My Lord and my God!"

Father Tim Sherwood's homily for the Second Sunday of Easter at St. Raphael Catholic Church in St. Petersburg, Florida. Theme music: Deliberate Thoughts by Kevin MacLeod; End tag: St. Raphael Praise Band — Amazing Love

Bob Angel interview: Second in a series

SECOND IN A SEVEN-PART SERIES: While he was home at Easter, seminarian Bob Angel took time out for an interview with the Saint Raphael Messenger. This segment (2) is on his favorite class at school. Watch all seven segments of Bob Angel's interview. Music by Kevin MacLeod: Tea Roots; Music by St. Raphael Praise Band: Amazing Love

Divine Mercy Sunday — Holy Hour

Photos by Jane Winstead

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bob Angel interview: First in a series

FIRST IN A SEVEN-PART SERIES: While he was home at Easter, seminarian Bob Angel took time out for an interview with the Saint Raphael Messenger. This segment (1) is on his progress so far and what he has left. Watch all seven segments of Bob Angel's interview this week. Music by Kevin MacLeod: Tea Roots; Music by St. Raphael Praise Band: Amazing Love

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Watch the Bob Angel interview

When he was here for Easter, seminarian Bob Angel took time out to talk about his progress at seminary, what he learned last summer in Africa, his plans for this summer and more. The brief video clips will be posted all week. Watch for them.

Easter Mass – 11:30 a.m.

Photos by Jane Winstead

Easter Mass -- 9:30 a.m.

Photos by Jane Winstead 

Father Dominic's family visits.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Don't miss the final Fish Fry

Fish Fry 3-23-12
Photos by Jane Winstead 
The final Fish Fry of the Lenten season gets under way tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the Parish Center. Here are some scenes from previous weeks.
Fish Fry 3-16-12

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St. Raphael Mission: Fr. John Lipscomb

Photo by Jane Winsead
Fr. John Lipscomb shared prayers, scripture and stories at the first night of the St. Raphael Mission on Monday. He conducted a question and answer session at the end of the evening. Parishioners had questions about faith, evangelization and his personal journey in the church. The Mission continues tonight and Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Raphael Mission this week

Photos by Jane Winstead
Fr. John Lipscomb spoke about the St Raphael Parish Mission at the 9:30 a.m. and the 5:30 p.m. Masses on Sunday. The mission will run Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (March 19, 20 and 21), beginning at 7 p.m. Fr. Lipscomb is spiritual director of the Bethany Retreat Center in Lutz. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Boots, bling and big bucks!

  Photos by Jane Winstead 
St. Raphael parishioners turned out for Boots N Bling Western Fling on Saturday, February 25 in the Parish Center. The St. Raphael Catholic School fundraiser had a western theme, complete with a bucking mechanical bull, which daring would-be cowgirls and cowboys could try their luck at riding at only $10 a buck. Other activities included line dancing and live and silent auctions.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Courtney Kubala: What CRHP means to me

Courtney Kubala
CRHP has been a new way for me to grow in my relationship with Christ. He has provided me with beautiful, strong women that I can relate to who want to get closer to God just as I do.

That weekend filled me with overwhemling joy that I had never felt before, and can still feel even a year later. Not only was it emotionally healing and empowering, it was also fun as well.

Laughing, singing, and praising Jesus in a comfortable environment was something that I really needed to help me through my hard times and not feel alone.

We all emotionally connected as daughters in the Lord, I had never been so high on God! I am now on the formation team and even here God keeps blessing me with miracles. Every meeting I feel that my relationship with God is stronger, and so is my relationship with my sisters in Christ.

-- Courtney Marie Kubala

INTERESTED?: The St. Raphael Catholic Church Women's CRHP Weekend will be March 10 and 11. If you would like to participate, please send an email to Jocelyn Pedalino at jocelynp619@gmail.com

Come to the Lenten Fish Fry

Photo by Jane Winstead (2011)
Come and join the fun Fridays in Lent. The Lenten Fish Fry is sponsored by the St. Raphael Youth Ministry. All proceeds go to support Youth ministry activities. Bob Musselman, fry guy extraordinaire, is cooking! Fish Fry is 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Parish Center.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pat McGuire: What CRHP means to me

Pat McGuire
CRHP has been an instrumental part of my spiritual journey.  I was born a cradle Catholic and was a good Catholic through my first 12 years of Catholic education.

When I got out in the world I slipped into a cultural Catholic mentality due to my arrogance and  "I know what's best for me" attitude.  Clearly, I did not know what was best for me and I neglected the spiritual nourishment of my roots, which lead me to became a fallen Catholic.

Once I had children, I realized the need to revisit my faith because it was such an important aspect of my own upbringing.

I started on the road of recovering Catholic at this point and was beginning to come home.  But, it was not until I did my first CRHP weekend that the real healing of my hardened heart began.

Today I can call myself a devout Catholic and I am immensely grateful to the CRHP program and the many wonderful men and women in it who have taught me the meaning of true Christian community.

I recommend CRHP to anyone who wants a closer relationship with Jesus, with their family and with their community.

-- Pat McGuire

The St. Raphael Catholic Church Women's CRHP Weekend will be March 10 and 11. If you would like to participate, please send an email to Jocelyn Pedalino at jocelynp619@gmail.com

Monday, February 27, 2012

Barbara Alderfer: What CRHP means to me

 I made my weekend September, 2010.  I had made many other retreats and had given retreats for years and, to be honest, I avoided going on retreats because I felt burned out.  When Earl and I joined St. Raphael’s we realized that we felt that we were “home” for the first time in our lives.  I felt drawn by God to make a CRHP weekend.

The weekend was life changing for me.  I made life-long friends.  I was blessed to become the Godmother to one of those precious women, as she entered the church! I gained a boldness to serve God. 

Since the weekend, I have looked for ways to serve Jesus.

I do alterations in my home, so I assume that anyone who comes to see me is sent by God and I minister to them and offer to pray with them and for them.

I cared for a precious little baby for eight months … something I thought I would NEVER do! I found that the “yes” that I said to Jesus on my weekend has opened me up to opportunities to love and serve and has brought me more joy than I could imagine.

Before CRHP I had a strong prayer life, but since my weekend, I have put my prayer life into action. I’m glad my 93-year-old mother (who made her weekend when she was only 83) encouraged me to go.  She was right.

-- Barbara Alderfer

INTERESTED?: The St. Raphael Catholic Church Women's CRHP Weekend will be March 10 and 11. If you would like to participate, please send an email to Jocelyn Pedalino at jocelynp619@gmail.com

Knights of Columbus collect for handicapped

Photo by Jane Winstead
Parishioner Tom Doyle, of the Knights of Columbus, collects donations and gives out Tootsie Rolls after 9:30 Mass Sunday.

The Knights of Columbus St. Petersburg council is collecting donations at Masses and in front of Publix at Northeast Shopping Center and elsewhere in the community to support citizens with disabilities in the community. Proceeds go to organizations serving handicapped citizens. The council will select the organizations when the drive is completed.

In the past, the St. Petersburg Knights of Columbus Council has raised $2,000 to $3,000 during the drive. Some of the organizations selected in the past include: Morningstar School, Special Olympics, Pinellas Association of Retarded Citizens (PARC), Summer Camp for Handicapped Children run by the Diocese, and others.

More than a dozen St. Raphael Knights of Columbus members participated in the drive.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Overview of the Gospels of Lent

Temptation of Christ by Duccio
By Julie Musselman
Last year the rector of our Cathedral, at the beginning of Lent,  gave me an overview of Lent. He summarized each of the gospels for the six weeks. In all my life I had never looked at the whole of Lent. It really helped me see the bigger picture of this beautiful time that we can grow in holiness. And so here is my attempt to share that birds-eye view. This year we use the B Lectionary cycle for the gospels. Year B focuses on the gospel of St. Mark, but the Sundays in Lent include passages from the other gospels as well.

The first Sunday of Lent: The Temptation in the Desert. The temptation of our Lord takes place at the beginning of His 3 years of public ministry. Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days. Then he set out to be about the business of His Father. Just as Jesus fasted and was tempted for 40 days, we share that journey on a lesser scale during Lent.

 The Transfiguration
The second Sunday of Lent: The Transfiguration. The story of the Transfiguration, Mark chapter 9, takes place towards the end of the three year public ministry before Jesus goes up to Jerusalem to be crucified. The Transfiguration was to show Jesus' closest friends and followers, Peter, John and James, a glimpse of His glory. They would sure need it during the darkness of this trial, crucifixion and burial.

The third Sunday of Lent: The Cleansing of the Temple. This event took place early in Jesus' public ministry as recorded in the gospel of St John, chapter 2. In this reading Jesus says "destroy this temple and in three days I will rebuild it." This is to foretell his death and resurrection. In this story Jesus is talking to His own people, the Jews.

Christ instructing Nicodemus, Hendricksz 1604
The fourth Sunday of Lent: Jesus tells Nicodemus in John chapter 3 that just as the bronze serpent was lifted up, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that all who believe in Him might have eternal life. Perhaps the most well known verse in all of scripture is John 3:16 "for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." Here again, Jesus is predicting His crucifixion.

The fifth Sunday of Lent: The Hour has Come. John 12:20 begins with the fact that some Greeks (non-Jews) also came to worship and they wished to see Jesus. And at that request Jesus says "the hour has come." Now that people outside of the Jews are seeking Jesus, it is time for very purpose of His life, His death and resurrection, to save the entire world.

Entry into Jerusalem
by Pedro Orrente, 1620
The sixth Sunday of Lent, Palm Sunday: The Triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Mark 11:1-10 is read at the beginning of the mass. Then at the usual time of the gospel in the liturgy of the word, we read the full passion narrative from Mark 14. Jesus is received in Jerusalem for the Passover feast as the King He truly is, and less than a week later, all the tables have turned and He has been crucified.

The Church in her wisdom gives us these precious six weeks to ponder the events of Jesus' life. Consider meditating on each weeks gospel during the week to more fully to become conformed to Christ.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday at St. Raphael parish

Jane Winstead 
Parishioners at St. Raphael parish marked the beginning of Lent by attending Ash Wednesday Mass at 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. and a noon Liturgy of the Word. Lent is a time of preparation for Easter. 7 p.m. Mass.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Women’s CRHP Volunteer Opportunities

 By Heather Early 
Any woman who has participated in a CRHP weekend knows how vital volunteers are for ensuring the weekend runs smoothly and creating the perfect effortless environment for our participant’s spiritual renewal.  There are numerous volunteer opportunities for the next St. Raphael’s Women’s CRHP Weekend on March 10-11. 
Please check your calendars and schedule some time to come welcome our participants to St Raphael’s and support CRHP in any way that you can!!
I am looking for volunteers to assist with:
Meal preparation and/or serving on both Saturday and Sunday.  
Approximate Meal Serving Times-please come early to assist with meal preparation!!
Saturday 3/10

8 a.m.
1 p.m.
6:45 p.m.
Sunday 3/11
7:45 a.m.
3 p.m. —the feast
Making beds on Saturday morning — 8:30 a.m.
Deflating beds and tidying up the Parish Center on Sunday morning — between 8:15-9:30 p.m.
HELP envelopes on SaturdayAny time
 Sunday morning — Before 10:30
• Break down witness room and assist with final clean-up on Sunday — Around 3:30 p.m.

• If you are unable to donate your time on the weekend, perhaps you will be able to write HELP letters to the participants and drop them off at the church.  Boxes will be available outside the Parish Center doors (by the playground).  A list of participants will be compiled and distributed as soon as possible. 
Please let me know if you are available for any of these volunteer opportunities or if you have any questions.  You may email me at heatherlearly@gmail.com

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Make this the best Lent of your life

By Julie Musselman

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. It is not a Holy Day of Obligation, but do make every effort to be at Mass and hear the call to repentance. The three pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. A combination of these three helps us lose ourselves and find our Lord. Let’s take time before Lent begins to really think and pray about how we want to grow spiritually and what our Lord is calling us to do this Lent.

Many people will give up their beloved coffee or soda or chocolate. But I really want to recommend that you “take on” something and not just “give up” something. “Taking on” any or all of these things will change your life and make this the best Lent of your life. I like to think of these as "holy habits." Just imagine if you started a new holy habit every Lent, and kept it going throughout the year!

Confession — Begin the Lenten season with the best confession of your life. If you have not been to confession in a while, go! Give yourself the gift! If you go now and then, but not regularly, consider getting into a weekly or bi-weekly schedule. Precede any confession with a thorough examination of conscience and a firm purpose of amendment. Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind as to the sins that are weighting you down. St. Raphael confession times are Saturday 3:45-4:15 or call the office for an appointment.

Encourage your children and spouse get to confession but also step out in faith and invite a friend or neighbor to join you. Many parishes have a Lenten penance service and this is a great chance to bring someone home to the sacrament. Whatever your past experience with confession has been, consider starting anew.

Daily Mass — Add one or more weekday Masses into your life for Lent. The grace of the Eucharist is transforming. Most daily Masses are only 30 minutes. If the Mass time at our own parish is not convenient, go to www.masstimes.org and find a close parish with a Mass time that will work. Take your family with you, if possible, or meet a friend there to build accountability and help keep up the habit. St. Raphael has daily Mass at 8 a.m. and Wednesday evening at 7 p.m.

Adoration — Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is the practice of placing ourselves before the Lord either in the tabernacle or in the monstrance. It is a time of quiet, prayer. Often, instead of doing all the talking or repeating memorized prayers, I try to just sit and listen. A holy hour is the usual amount of time to spend in adoration, but even if you can only go for 10 minutes, Our Lord will fill you peace and joy. Wednesday 8:30 a.m. -6:30 p.m. St. Raphael has adoration and any day, the tabernacle room is open to come and sit quietly and pray.

Daily Prayer — Commit to a regular prayer time. Morning, afternoon or evening, allocate 5 to 10 minutes to pray or read spiritual material each day. The family rosary would be a marvelous practice for lent. Start out with just a decade if the children are very young. As far as spiritual reading material, I highly recommend the In Conversation with God series by Francis Fernandez, published by Sceptre. You can read each day’s meditation in about 15 minutes. St. Raphael prays the rosary daily at 8:30 a.m. in the church and on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. in the tabernacle room

Catholicism Series — St Raphael will host 5 nights of Father Robert Barron's Catholicism series, Monday evenings 7 p.m. beginning February 27. Plan on coming and bring friends. Middle school parents, drop of the kids at Youth Group and come to the parish hall. This series is fantastic. Father Barron created it to reveal the truth, goodness and beauty of our faith. For many years now Our Story has been told by the secular press with disdain. It's our time to tell the 2000-year-old story!

Stations of the Cross — Tuesdays at 2 p.m. with the school children. Friday evenings at 7 p.m. This is a traditional Catholic practice that is a short but powerful way to walk with our Lord from the moment He is condemned to death until He is crucified, died and is buried. When we enter into the passion of our Lord and see all that He suffered for us, we cannot but grow in our love for Him.

Almsgiving — Giving alms is giving of money in addition to the amount you tithe. During Lent a powerful way to give alms would be to support our Annual Pastoral Appeal. The larger church, the Diocese, needs our support. Deacon Peter Burns did a great job last week outlining just a few of the ministries that depend on our support. Father Tim told us Sunday that he needs each family to participate in some way. It is easy to say “I have too many bills” or “I sure hope other people give.” But have we asked ourselves a different question: “What if I give a big gift?” “How much could I give?” “What if I gave sacrificially, meaning out of my want, not out of my excess?” I really want to challenge all of us to think up a number we could give, and then ask, could I double that? Could I add another zero on the end of that? Let's think Big! This is our church, our diocese, our friends and families and neighbors that the local church serves. God can never be outdone in generosity. When we give cheerfully, we know that all our needs will be met and the great good will be served. The APA can be paid in installments and that can really give us a chance to make some impact. Maybe we can’t write a big check today, but could we write 12 monthly checks or four quarterly checks?

Fish Fry Fridays — No meat on Friday during Lent can be fun at the Fish Fry Fridays. Beginning the second Friday of Lent, March 2, let the Youth Group and KOC cook for you. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., come and eat, kids can play and adults have fellowship, Then at 7 p.m. we can head over for stations of the cross.

Parish Mission — Evenings, March 19-21 by Father John Lipscomb, former Anglican Bishop and convert to the Roman Catholic faith.

Even with taking on a new holy habit for Lent, we are still called to Fast & Abstinence — On Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays through Good Friday during Lent, we are asked to abstain or not eat meat. There are two days of fasting: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting means one main meal, with two smaller meals, no meals in between and all the water you can drink. Some people fast on just bread and water for the day. No meat is eaten as these are also days of abstinence.

Fasting and Abstinence is for adults 18-59. But children under 18 can certainly participate too. Just to give up the snacks might be a way for children to fast, or have smaller portions. If ever a person has health reasons and cannot fast, other mortifications can be substituted.

Then throughout Lent, Holy Mother Church invites us to grow in personal holiness by fasting from things we like. Some ideas can be fasting for eating out or fast food. How about giving up sugar or salt in your food. Sometimes smaller portions or giving up second helpings can be a fast, or eating more foods like fruits and vegetables and giving up the fats and sweets.

In addition to fasting from foods, there are other forms of fasting. For instance, have you ever fasted from having the last word? How about fasting from shopping? My children like to fast from vegetables, but I generally encourage them to fast from electronics (TV, video games, texting, computer games.)

Another idea is to fast from clutter. Detach yourself from all those clothes that you ‘might wear someday’ and give them to the poor. Clean out a closet or the garage and share the things you really don’t use. If it is hard for you to de-clutter, start very small with just one drawer or one shelf in a closet. Five minutes each day is doable and will create a habit. Consider cleaning out one kitchen drawer every time the phone rings. Have pleasant phone conversation while you organize one little area.

Whatever you decide to do, offer all your sacrifices and any failings to our Lord. May we all grow in holiness this Lent.

It’s our Catholic Faith ~ Let’s live it in Lent!