St. Augustine Catholic
The Long Goodbye
Hope After Abortion
Katie's Gift of Life
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 diocesan financial report
around the diocese
Honoring the Unborn

Each year, the Catholic Church honors unborn children on the Feast of Holy Innocents, celebrated in 2005 on Dec. 28. The tradition has grown over the years to include honoring the memories of babies who have died through abortion, stillbirth or miscarriage and children’s deaths due to accidents, illness, suicide and murder.

The Respect Life Ministry of Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Jacksonville has embraced the feast day and for the last three years has invited people in the Catholic community to participate in a special Mass that honors the death of these young souls.

Father Tom Willis presides at the Mass
for Holy Innocents at Most Holy Redeemer Parish, Jacksonville.

As part of the Mass, families and couples are invited to sign the Book of Holy Innocents and light a candle in the name of their child. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the book is placed at the foot of the manger in the church.

“We encourage people to name a stillborn or aborted child because it brings some peace for a couple’s loss,” said Peg Baker, chairwoman of the parish Respect Life Committee. “It brings comfort, and hopefully some closure to families,” she said.

prayer cards
maternity home supported

When the first group of single mothers and their newborns pass through the doors of Divine Mercy House maternity home this fall, unseen prayers of support will surround them.

Parishioners and local residents gathered at the Cody Enrichment Center at St. Joseph Parish in Jacksonville to learn more about the new home for unwed mothers currently being built on Loretto Road next to the parish’s 115-year-old historic church.

Peter Prince, president of the board for Divine Mercy House provided about 100 people in attendance with an update on the progress of the home’s construction and fundraising efforts. The group was then invited to write messages of inspiration on prayer cards and walk to the construction site to attach them to the home’s wooden frame. The prayer cards will be left in place, covered by drywall as a permanent memorial for the hope of new life.

The 4,000 square-foot home will feature five mother and child suites, a master bedroom and office for the house mother, gathering area, kitchen, dining room, conference room, two-car garage and a children’s playroom.

St. Joseph parishioner Lisa Pohlgeers attaches a prayer card to the interior wall frame of the Divine Mercy House for unwed mothers currently under construction.

Divine Mercy House will be open to women 18 and older of any faith and during their six-month stay they will receive life skills training from community volunteers. Mothers will also be required to attend a weekly religious service and counseling.

The mission of Divine Mercy House “teaches the core values of Jesus Christ, helping reach out to others in need,” said Father Daniel Cody, pastor of St. Joseph Parish.

stand for life
marks roe v. wade anniversary

For 60 minutes, pro-life activists marched by the dozens in a peaceful “Stand for Life” protest around the block of the federal courthouse in downtown Jacksonville on Jan. 23. The protest march was organized to mark the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. A large Catholic contingent, led by Bishop Victor Galeone, carried protest signs – “U Can’t B both Catholic & Pro-Choice,” “Life-The First Unalienable Right,” “Pray to End Abortion” – sang hymns and prayed decades of the rosary. At the end of the rally, Bishop Galeone addressed the overflowing crowd, comparing their march around the courthouse with the Israelites siege of the walls of Jericho. To end the “culture of death” in our society, he said, we must raise our voices in protest in the hope that the laws protecting abortion will come tumbling down.

celebrating unity
annual mass honors Martin Luther King Jr.

The voices of the St. Francis of Assisi Choir from Riveria Beach, Fla. and the diocesan choir filled the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine on Jan. 15 for the 20th annual Mass for Solidarity and Unity. Coordinated by the Diocese of Saint Augustine’s Multicultural Ministry, the annual Mass was celebrated in honor of the slain civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is fitting that Father James Boddie, Jr. gave the homily for the Mass honoring Rev. King. Pastor of St. Catherine Parish in Orange Park, Father Boddie was the first African-American to be ordained a Catholic priest in the State of Florida in 1978.

Under the direction of Erskerline Favors, the Crucifixion Parish Bell Choir of Jacksonville participated in the Mass on unity. From left, Zdari Lee, Dinmond Gillard, Athina Grissith and Chandra Lee.

Father James Boddie, Jr., pastor of St. Catherine Parish, Orange Park.

“The journey of freedom for African Americans, and all people, has been and continues to be one of faith, sacrifice, dedication, persistence and a deep abiding trust in the Almighty God,” said Father Boddie. He called on congregants to remain committed to moral responsibility and to empower their brothers and sisters to “address the issues and concerns that face your parish communities, our diocese and the communities in which you live.”

The annual celebration blended the talents of several individuals and parish choirs, including the Bell Choir from Crucifixion Parish in Jacksonville.

A Living Rosary Service

They speak different languages, observe different customs and lead diverse lives. But heeding a call for a day of prayer to respect life, nearly 100 parishioners of San Jose Parish in Jacksonville joined together Jan. 22 for an outdoor living rosary service. They sang in Latin and prayed the rosary in four languages, with the soft glow of candlelight lighting their faces as they recited the five joyful mysteries of the rosary.

Parishioners at San Jose Parish lit candles as they recited decades of the rosary during a living outdoor prayer service, Jan. 22. Decades of the rosary were said in four languages and hymns were sung in Latin.

Candles in the shape of a cross were displayed outdoors in the portico of the church. Parishioners with candles formed an oval, each one representing a bead of the rosary. As each prayer was recited, a candle was lit. Each decade of the rosary was said in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic, reflecting the parish’s cultural diversity.

The prayer service was held in conjunction with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ call for a national day of prayer marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion 33 years ago.

Father Jim Moss, pastor of San Jose Parish, said the service “highlights community devotional prayer.”

in the news...
diocesan highlights

Sisters Celebrate 215 Years of Service Four sisters serving in the Diocese of Saint Augustine celebrated their jubilee anniversaries on Saturday, Jan. 21. Bishop Victor Galeone celebrated a special Mass in honor of the sisters at the Cathedral-Basilica in St. Augustine.

Pictured with Bishop Galeone (from left) are: Sister of St. Joseph Margaret Killilea (55 years), Mercy Sister Dorothea Murphy (50 years), Daughter of Charity Alice Matthews (55 years) and Daughter of Charity Virginia Cotter (55 years).

Notre Dame Sister Margaret Harig was surprised with the “Alice Redding Outstanding Campus Minister Award” at the National Catholic Student Coalition Leadership Convention in Chicago in January.

Sister Margaret has ministered to college students for 21 years on the campuses of Wooster College in Ohio, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and for seven years at St. Augustine Church and Catholic Student Center in Gainesville, Fla.

Sister Margaret is a Sister of Notre Dame from the Chardon, Ohio Province and the founder of the Julie House of Prayer and Discernment in Gainesville.

More than 700 people in the Diocese of Saint Augustine will become full members of the Catholic Church this Easter. But before they can receive the Sacraments of Initiation, the “elect” will join Bishop Victor Galeone for the Rite of the Election ceremony in March at the Cathedral-Basilica, St. Augustine. Bishop Galeone will formally acknowledge the readiness of the catechumens and will call them to the sacraments of initiation in their parish, which will take place at the Easter Vigil on April 15.

Catholics observe the 40 days of Lent

There are several opportunties in the Diocese of Saint Augustine to help you observe the 40-day penitential season of Lent. This year, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday – March 1. Check with your parish for scheduled services or visit the diocesan website at for upcoming events.

Fasting and Abstinence Catholics are reminded of the church’s law for fast and abstinence during Lent. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting. Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are permitted one full meal and two lesser meals per day, with no eating between meals. Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent, including Good Friday, are days of abstinence. Catholics who are 14 years of age or older should abstain from meat entirely. Soups and gravies made from meat are permitted.

Journey into the Desert Father John Tetlow, pastor of Santa Maria del Mar Parish in Flagler Beach, will lead people on a Day of Reflection for Lent on March 25 at Marywood Retreat Center in Jacksonville.

Many people look forward to spending a day during Lent in a quiet setting to reflect on the sufferings of Jesus during this Holy season. Father Tetlow calls us forth to walk with him through Jesus’ 40 days in the desert. The presentations will feature the beautiful Gospel of “The Woman at the Well.” Through the message in this Gospel, Father Tetlow will bring you into a quiet place to stir your heart to find God within. He will talk about the oasis in the desert of the “alone.” The day begins at 9:30 a.m. and ends with Mass at 2:30 p.m. The cost is $27, which includes lunch.

Stations of the Cross Create a new Lenten tradition for you and your family by attending the Sunday afternoon outdoor Stations of the Cross at Marywood Retreat Center in Jacksonville. The stations, each with its own bench, offer a special experience as you walk from station to station reliving the journey of Jesus to Calvary.

Light refreshments will be served each Sunday at the conclusion of the prayer service. Why not come early with a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful grounds of Marywood. Or call ahead and the chefs at Marywood will prepare a delicious picnic lunch for your family.

The outdoor Stations of the Cross begin at 3 p.m. on March 5, 12, 19, 26 and April 2. Marywood is located at 1714-5 State Road 13 in Jacksonville. For more information call (904) 287-2525 or toll free (888) 287-2539 or visit their website at

The Carmelite Fathers at St. Joseph Monastery in Bunnell also provide outdoor Stations of the Cross. They will be held at 3 p.m. each Friday during Lent (March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 and April 7), except on Good Friday. On Good Friday, April 14, there will be a Communion service in the chapel beginning at 3 p.m. followed by the Stations of the Cross at 4:15 p.m.

The St. Joseph Monastery is located at141 Carmelite Drive in Bunnell, Fla. They also have a beautiful rosary garden that is perfect for meditation. For more information call (386) 437-2910.