December 4, 2011

Did you know that we purchased a convent for St. Margaret Parish in Clewiston five years ago?  The convent is a single family home located near the parish which houses Sr. Maria Zoila Acereto, M.H.M.L. and Sr. Thelma Nicholson, M.H.M.L.  Sister Maria is the Director of Religious Education and Sister Thelma is the Director of Hispanic Ministry.  They also serve other interior migrant parishes in the immediate area.  The Diocese of Venice approached us in 2006 to ask that we assist St. Margaret by purchasing the convent.  Due to the fact that St. Margaret is a mainly migrant parish, they were unable to purchase the convent.  Our regular offertory during the winter months averages around $44,000.00 weekly.  This amount is what St. Margaret recognizes annually in offertory contributions.  The purchase price of the convent was $250,000.00 and many of our parishioners made generous contributions to help defer the cost.  The shortfall (approximately $125,000) was held as an interest free loan with the Diocese of Venice since that time.  All payments toward the convent were applied as a credit towards our Catholic Faith Appeal assessment at a rate of 30%.  I am proud to announce that as of November 30, we have successfully met our obligation and retired the debt for the convent.  Thank you to all of our parishioners who gave so generously to provide adequate housing for these two very deserving sisters.

Please join us this Sunday following the 9:00 a.m. Mass for the dedication of the Paniccia Prayer Garden.  Immediately following Mass, Fr. John will lead a procession from the church to the Prayer Garden to celebrate this momentous occasion.  Refreshments will be served in the courtyard outside of the main entrance to the garden.  We have poured a tremendous amount of hard work into the Prayer Garden and the end result is truly magnificent.  We should all be very proud of this new addition to our campus.  Thank you once again to Frank and Sandi Paniccia for their vision and to all of our parishioners who made the Prayer Garden a reality.

Did you notice the Royal Palm trees at the entrance to our campus have been beautifully wrapped in lights for the holidays?  After several feeble in-house attempts over the past few years, we decided to enlist the help of professionals this time around.  We hope you enjoy this illuminated addition to the campus.

Molter Landscaping has been hard at work beautifying our campus for the winter season.  Splashes of color are evident throughout the grounds with the addition of flowering annuals.  You will see annualsimpatiens, New Guinea impatiens, pentas, vincas and many more.  The Buildings and Grounds Committee has been annualsworking diligently with our landscaper to ensure that the campus will be full of color all winter long.  Historically, the color palate on campus only consisted of green and brown.  This year, we will have a rainbow of colors enhancing the grounds.

Our parishioners are making a real difference in the lives of the less fortunate at our sister-parish, St. Pius X in Kingston, Jamaica.  The second collection held on November 12 and 13 totaled $19,295.00.  This was an increase of 22.6% over the same period ($15,738.00) last year.  Housing donations since November 1 have totaled $19,100.00.  This includes the pocket change collection which totaled $5,900.00, just short of building two additional homes.  It is amazing what a little pocket change can do when combined with the change of hundreds of others.  On behalf of those in Jamaica, thank you to our amazing parishioners for your extreme generosity.

In addition to making a difference in the lives of those in Jamaica, you are also making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate locally.  The collection for St. Vincent De Paul on Thanksgiving Day totaled $11,303.00.  This was in increase of 28.56% over the same period ($8,792.00) last year.  As there are no administrative costs associated with St. Vincent De Paul, every penny of your contributions will be used to assist families in our local area who are struggling to get by.

After raving about your extreme generosity, I must now break the unpleasant news.  With only one month remaining, we are still $88,000.00 shy of our goal for the 2011 Catholic Faith Appeal. I know that it is much more glamorous to give to the Jamaica Outreach Program or St. Vincent De Paul as you can see first hand the tangible results of your gifts.  With that said, without the support of the parish, neither of these programs would exist.  It is imperative that we support the CFA so that we can remain solvent and not have to dip into operating income to make up the shortfall.  If you are able, please consider making a gift to the CFA by the end of December so that we can extend our streak of success to four years running.

In His work together,

Scott Schlossberg, MBA
General Manager

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