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

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

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

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 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!

Boots N Bling Western Fling Saturday

Photos by Jane Winstead

Wow! Just look at that amazing collection on gift baskets. One of them could be yours if you sign up for the gift basket raffle that's part of Boots N Bling Western Fling set for Saturday, February 24 in the Parish Center.

Here's what's in those gift baskets:

The Ultimate Family Movie Night Basket: Family-friendly DVDs, a popcorn maker, candy and more!

Tennis Anyone?: This basket has ll you need to take your game to the next level, including lessons! Also includes water bottles, tennis balls, sunscreen and lunch for two.

Beautiful Wine Basket: A fabulous variety for your sipping pleasure.

Beers of the World Basket: The name says it all.

Beach Basket: Everything you need for fun in the sun with your family.

Saddle up and join us for the St. Raphael Annual Auction to benefit St. Raphael Catholic School.

The western themed gala event will include bull riding, line dancing, a silent auction and a live auction. Tickets are $55 per person. That includes dinner, beer and wine. A full bar is available with a $15 cost for each endless cup.

Don't forget to sign up for raffle tickets at $50 each for a $2,500 cash prize. Dad's Club tickets are $25 each.

Boots N Bling Western Fling runs 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, February 25 in the St. Raphael Parish Center.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Jane Winstead: What CRHP means to me

I was asked to attend CRHP weekends for several years and I made excuses not to attend. After a few years of saying, “No” I finally said, “Yes” and it was the best decision I had ever made.

I first attended a CRHP weekend in 1993. The weekend opened my eyes to a new dimension of spiritually. I realized how much God loves me and how much He wanted to heal me in every aspect of my life.

The weekend gave me an opportunity to meet wonderful women and bond with them spiritually and emotionally. God called me to continue with the formation for the next CRHP weekend. During those six months was a journey of love, healing and spiritual renewal with my CRHP team.

I also was part of the Team for CRHP in 2003 and 2005. Every time I was a part of another team, God blessed me and healed me. I was able to make friends with wonderful women.

My CRHP Sisters have touched my life in a very beautiful way. I thank God for CRHP and my beautiful sisters in Christ. The priests were also a very special part of my journey in CRHP.

-- Jane Winstead

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

Final weekend of Annual Pastoral Appeal

Photos by Jane Winstead
Deacon Peter Burns speaks at 9:30 a.m. Mass about the value of APA.

Deacon Peter Burns of St. Timothy Parish and the Diocese spoke passionately last weekend about the Annual Pastoral Appeal, which helps fund programs at the Diocese level to help people. This weekend will be the final weekend for the APA.

Here are is an explanation from Father Tim about Deacon Burns’ visit:

“Deacon Peter’s responsibilities in the Diocese put him directly in touch with the importance and value of APA. This appeal is used to help the Church reach out to those in need.

“I heartily ask you to do one of two things. If you haven’t given to APA in the past, please do so; your generosity is very important and it is used to share the goodness of God in many ways through our Diocese.

“If you have given in the past, I encourage you to increase your offering, even if only a little bit. A 5% increase will go a long way to help us meet our commitment and to benefit those throughout the area. This year our APA Assessment (amount we must send to the Diocese) and our APA Goal (amount offered directly by parish members) is $237,552. Yes, it is a lot of money, but we have come close and I know we can do it this year.”

This weekend, Father Tim will share facts about the APA and St. Raphael’s participation.

From Father Tim: “No one likes to ask for money, especially me. However, not only do your direct contributions to APA go to good use, they help relieve the parish from increasing its diocesan debt.

“This year the Diocese changed the APA Home Appeal Process. If you haven’t received your Direct Letter by now, please, please take one of the envelopes in the pews, marked for St. Raphael, and use this for your pledge and/or gift. It is important to use envelopes that have our Parish APA Number: 410. This will ensure credit is given to the parish. We are now posting the 2012 APA collection numbers in our bulletin.”

As of February 14, 43 families had given $8,575 to the 2012 Annual Pastoral Appeal.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nicole Dambroski: What CRHP means to me

I can't really say enough about what CRHP has meant to me. When I was invited to attend the CRHP weekend, I was a little hesitant because I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know anyone who was attending, and I really didn't know what the weekend was about.

I was new to Florida, and new to the parish, and although I enjoyed coming to Mass at St Raphael's, I wouldn't say that I knew very many people at all. But CRHP completely changed all of that. I got to meet so many amazing women, and make so many new friends, that I can't believe I was ever apprehensive about it at all. Everyone was so welcoming. The weekend was truly an eye-opening experience and it completely changed the way I thought about my faith. 

It meant so much to me that I even went through the process a second time! Whether you're looking to deepen your faith, make some new friends in the parish, or just take a weekend for yourself, you will not be disappointed.

The Lord knows the things that we need, and CRHP is definitely what I needed... it may be just what you need too! It's such a blessing to have this ministry at St Raphael's, and I hope you take the opportunity to be blessed by CRHP in the same way that I was!

-- Nicole Dambroski

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