St. Augustine Catholic
The RCIA: Forming New Catholics This Easter
A Lost Boy’s journey from the Sudan to America
Life After Retirement
in this issue... 
saint of the month
editor's notes
bishop's message
from the archives
in the know with Fr. Joe
work life
theology 101
your marriage matters
the parenting journey
spiritual fitness
parish profile
around the diocese
catholic news from around the world
calendar of events
2005 catholic foundation report
around the diocese
St. Paul’s School celebrate India

In India, Kalakars are folk artists whose tradition of extraordinary artistry, creativity and craftsmanship date back hundreds of years. At St. Paul’s school in Jacksonville Beach, India was the featured country in a daylong cultural immersion for teachers and students.

Stephen Mikes of Miami demonstrates the art of making music with a sitar to a group of third grade students at St. Paul’s School in Jacksonville Beach.

Each year students choose a country and learn its customs, cuisine, arts and religion to celebrate the annual art festival held during Catholic Schools Week. The gymnasium was transformed into a bazaar with exhibits on display presented by volunteers from the Hindu Society of Northeast Florida. Throughout the day, students were able to taste Indian food, dress in native costumes and have mehndi, a temporary body art, applied to hands and forearms.

Sitar player Stephan Mikes sat cross-legged in front of the altar inside the church playing for groups of students. Inside the school, Sangeetha Subramanian performed an Indian classical dance to Ganesh, the elephant-face god symbolizing intellect and wisdom. Guest lecturers gave presentations to the older students on the history of the Hindu religion and the culture of their country for a day.

It was a gamble
St. Francis High School is a winner

St. Francis High School in Gainesville held their second annual Casino Night and Mardi Gras Carnival fundraiser on Jan. 28 at the Reitz Ballroom at the University of Florida. It was a great evening of fun and fellowship as more than 200 people gathered to test their skills and luck at blackjack, roulette, craps and a Texas Hold’em tournament.
More than $12,000 was raised for the school. Ten percent of the funds raised were donated to the rebuilding of Holy Cross and Cabrini high schools in the Diocese of New Orleans.
St. Francis High School raked in more than $12,000 during the second annual Casino Night and Mardi Gras Carnival fundraiser on Jan. 28.

From Souper Bowl to Service Blitz

It was Super Bowl weekend, but the youth group at Sacred Heart Parish in Green Cove Springs followed a script closer to the popular television program Extreme Makeover. The youth group wanted to help someone from their own parish in addition to the cans of soup and money donated over the Souper Bowl of Caring weekend. Youth ministry director Kathy Yoakley came up with a “Service Blitz,” a daylong project that would clean and repair an elderly parishioner’s home.

Tommy and Tara Coletti of Sacred Heart Parish in Green Cove Springs tear down a termite-infested fence at the home of Walter Heath during the Service Blitz on Super Bowl weekend.

Armed with tools, paint brushes and cleaning supplies they braved the cold weather, overcast skies and ponds of standing water to help parishioner Walter Heath. Working with donated materials from local businesses and members of the local Knights of Columbus providing supervision, the group replaced a wood fence, trimmed trees and bushes, applied a fresh coat of powder blue paint to the outside of the home, cleaned and redecorated the interior. At the end of the day, a new home awaited Walter.

awakening the spirit

With hands raised, frequent joyful shouts of praise and voices uplifted in song, worshippers packed Rooney Hall at St. Catherine Parish in Orange Park, Feb. 10-12 for the 2006 Charismatic Conference.

The weekend was devoted to gathering in community, praising God and taking a spiritual journey with the Holy Spirit.

The annual conference brings together several Catholics from the area in a celebration of testimonies from speakers that included Father Scott McCaig, an associate pastor from Ottawa, Canada and a member of the Society of the Companions of the Cross, to missionary Greg Trainor from West Palm Beach, who spoke of his world travels providing schools of evangelization and offering spiritual and physical healing at charismatic gatherings. Lloyd and Nancy Greenhaw from Grace Ministries led a retreat for teens and young adults.

In one corner of the hall, there was a prayer tent with the Eucharist for worshippers to pray in quiet reflection. Bishop Victor Galeone was on hand to celebrate Mass that concluded the conference.

Pam Edwards of St. Augustine raises her arms in celebration during a song at the 2006 Charismatic Conference at St. Catherine’s in Orange Park.

reopens hearts to love

Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria will be the keynote speaker at the third annual National Family Honor Conference in Jacksonville on July 21-22 at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront Hotel. Family Honor is a non-profit Catholic organization founded in 1987 to teach parents and children better communication skills on important life values, with an emphasis on sexuality and chastity. The theme of the conference is “Theology of the Body and the Mercy of God: Reopening Hearts to Love.”

Brenda Cerkez, executive director of Family Honor, says the goal of the conference is to provide participants a better understanding of Theology of the Body; a collection of 129 homilies Pope John Paul II delivered between 1979 and 1984. In these addresses, “theology of the body” refers to the subject of human sexuality as written in the Scriptures.

“This unique two-day event will offer participants a chance to hear and interact with speakers on a variety of topics relating to chastity and virginity, family life, marriage, forgiveness, infertility and the teen brain while they enjoy fellowship with Catholics from across the country,” Cerkez said.

Pope John Paul II named Cardinal Arinze Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, one of the nine congregations of the Roman Curia through which the pope conducts regular administration of the church.

For more information, visit the Family Honor website at or call toll free: 1-877-208-1353.

Gainesville’s “Spirit of Charity”

Mardi Gras came to Gainesville on Feb. 25 as Catholic Charities hosted their 20th annual “Spirit of Charity” gala at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center. More than 380 patrons dressed in black tie and gowns attended the sold out event. The evening began with a silent auction, followed by a dinner and dancing as a jazz ensemble played into the evening. A live auction, emceed by two local radio personalities, helped raise $55,000 that will benefit emergency services outreach provided by the Gainesville Regional Office of Catholic Charities. Special recognition was given to Ken and Linda McGurn, who donated property where new offices for the regional office will be built.

Nita and Charles Cunningham got in the “Spirit” for needy families in the Gainesville area.

good samaritans volunteers honored

The St. Augustine bureau of Catholic Charities recognized four volunteers for their outstanding service at the 12th annual Good Samaritans Awards Dinner at the Casa Monica Hotel on Feb. 9. (In photo, from left) Jack Knee was honored for his service with Community Hospice, Margaret Ackland for her many years of work with the Council on Aging, Cathy Karlak for her service with the St. Johns Welfare Federation and Nan Corrado, for her work with St. Anastasia youth group. Bishop Victor Galeone presented the awards.

in the news...
diocesan highlights

Father Keith Brennan, rector of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla. was named a “Chaplain of his Holiness” or “Monsignor,” Feb. 24 in a special ceremony at the seminary. Father Brennan, former chancellor of the Diocese of Saint Augustine and pastor of Blessed Trinity Parish in Jacksonville was appointed rector of the regional seminary in 2005 for a five-year term. “I congratulate Father Keith on receiving this honor and want to express my deep gratitude for his excellent performance as rector. He is an outstanding role model for our future priests,” said Bishop Victor Galeone on hearing the news last December.

Charleston’s Bishop Robert J. Baker combines fact with fiction to present the tale of Florida’s Potano Indian Chieftains and their relationship with Spanish Franciscan missionaries in his new novel from Saint Catherine of Siena Press, Cacique: A Novel of Florida’s Heroic Mission History.

Bishop Baker was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Saint Augustine in 1970. He was ordained the Bishop of Charleston in 1999.

Cacique can be purchased by logging on to or by calling 1-888-544-8674. The 288-page paperback retails for $14.99.

 The Silver Anniversary Red Rose Ball, held Feb. 3 at the Marriot at Southpoint in Jacksonville, raised more than $225,000 to fund St. Vincent’s Hospital Terri and Mac McGehee Women’s Surgical Center. Red Rose Ball Chairs (l-r): Patty and Dr. Don DeStephano, Lindsay and Bob Helms and Bill and Judy D’Antignac.