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Preparing Your Catholic Legacy
Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Are you too busy to plan for your legacy, not sure how or where to start, or have procrastinated? This seminar will help you get started or at least start thinking about important life and legacy planning for you and your family. 

Click here for the Ascension Catholic Church, Melbourne – January 20th flyer
Click here for the Divine Mercy Catholic Church, Merritt Island – January 27th flyer

Last Chance for Year-End Giving
Tuesday, December 22, 2015

There are many ways to make a special year-end gift that can benefit both you and the Church. Gifts received on or before December 31st may also qualify for a 2015 income tax deduction... read more.

 

Mass of Thanksgiving 2015
Wednesday, November 25, 2015

 

On November 7th, 2015, The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida excitedly welcomed 950 people to the Mass of Thanksgiving at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe... read more

 

Advent
Wednesday, November 25, 2015

 

 As December rolls in, the world around us begins to change.

Strings of lights could be found hugging almost every building in the city, and you yourself have found it a hassle but a pleasure to begin decorating the house for what is to come: Christmas day. But I sometimes find myself putting more emphasis on the physical nature of the Christmas season instead of what Advent does to our souls... read more

 

With All Your Heart / Con Todo Nuestro Corazón
Wednesday, November 25, 2015

 

Can a two thousand year-old Church come up with a new and unique way to form Disciples?  Four parishes in our Diocese have responded to that question with a resounding, “Yes!"

St. John the Evangelist in Viera, St. Francis of Assisi in Apopka, St. Vincent DePaul in Wildwood, and Santo Toribio Romo Mission in Mascotte, with the support of The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, are participating in a National Pilot to implement With All Your Heart/Con Todo Nuestro Corazón, a revolutionary bilingual model of Discipleship formation created by Greater Mission, a development firm serving the Catholic Church nationally... read more

Catholic Charities of Central Florida
Friday, October 30, 2015

photo and story by Christine Young On October 14, the lobby at Catholic Charities of Central Florida was filled with people waiting for their names to be called. Some waited for over an hour with their young children who sat on the floor and colored. Others sat alone reading the newspaper. Some passed the time in conversation with family or others sitting nearby. All had one thing in common: they were seeking mercy and compassion in the form of food, rent assistance and guidance. read more...

 
My Source of Inspiration
Friday, October 30, 2015

by Seminarian Juan Manuel Osorno Being in the seminary is challenging but rewarding; we are in a process of transformation or, like our rector Monsignor David Toups often says, “renovation and expansion.” In my own journey of discerning the call to share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, I’ve found that the people of God in the parish play an essential role in that transformation... read more

 

Vivos Christi Society Induction
Friday, October 30, 2015

On October 3 at St. James Catholic Cathedral, 28 new members of the Vivos Christi Society made promises that will provide for the future of the Church. Through a bequest or other planned gift, Vivos Christi Society’s now 878 members touch hearts throughout Central Florida by providing for essential ministries... read more

 

 

Pilgrimage to Washington DC to see Pope Francis
Tuesday, September 29, 2015

By Angel Garcia, Diocese of Orlando seminarian

What an honor and blessing for all the priests, seminarians, religious, and laity of the United States of America to be able to have an encounter with our shepherd. Pope Francis has truly set a great example since the beginning of his papacy, since he came unto the balcony of St. Peters Basilica, after his election, and asked the faithful to pray for him. He teaches us how to be humble and how to pay attention to the “little ones” of society. It was touching to be near the Vicar of Christ, and to listen to what he had to say to his flock here in America. This pilgrimage to Washington to meet the Holy Father was indeed reaffirming and strengthening for my vocation to the priesthood.

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Donors Join Bishop for a Tour of San Pedro Center
Tuesday, September 29, 2015

By Joe Klinker

Welcome, and rest.

That was the message of Rev. Giles Schinelli , T.O.R., pastoral administrator at San Pedro Center as he welcomed eight Our Catholic Appeal donors, along with Most Rev. John Noonan and diocesan staff, for lunch and a tour of their peaceful grounds.

San Pedro Center, located on 485 acres of protected Florida wetlands and forest, is located on Lake Howell in Winter Park and serves the people of the Diocese of Orlando, establishing a place “set apart, for human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral development.”

San Pedro Center’s remarkable history offers a richness to the experience of walking its paths and experiencing its environment. What started as a site for summer camps in the 1950’s quickly became temporary housing for some of the first young Cubans fleeing the newly established Castro-led government.

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Holy Family Catholic School is #1
Tuesday, September 29, 2015

By Linda Caldwell

Holy Family Catholic School in Orlando was named the top private school in Orlando Weekly’s 2015 Best of Orlando reader poll. The school was selected from among all private schools in the Orlando area.

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Seminarian Reflection: Alex Lambis
Thursday, August 27, 2015

 

 

Journeying along the path of discernment has led me into unexpected places, from encountering the homeless in Colorado, to speaking about chastity in the streets of New York City. After these missionary endeavors, I finally made the leap to enter the seminary. I made that leap not out of emotional excitement but rather out of trust in the Lord and my love for Him. Spending hours with the Lord in prayer, I could not deny that He was calling me to further discern the priesthood. I abandoned my desire for a full time job, a nice apartment, and a car. I wanted comfort but knew that Jesus was calling me deeper along the rocky waters of trust. Throughout the course of my life I had experienced God’s love in so many ways, that my heart knew that it could never be satisfied apart from Him...

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Summer Mission Trip 2015: Being Christ to Others
Thursday, August 27, 2015

 

 Written by Lezanee Vela, member of Holy Cross Catholic Church Youth Group

I remember how happy I was to finally be going on the mission trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was fortunate enough to have gone on last summer’s mission trip so I was looking forward to joining Holy Cross Catholic Church’s youth group this summer as well.

The bus ride was long and due to the traffic an eight hour drive turned into a twelve hour commute. Lucky for us teens, we were asleep 99% of the drive. But the moment we arrived at the school that would be our home for the next week, you could practically taste the excitement... 

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Fr. Vilaire Phillus: His personal story
Thursday, August 27, 2015

 

I grew up in a loving family that promoted and instilled Christian values, morals, and principles. I admired my parents’ marriage because it was rooted in faith, strengthened by prayer, and manifested by laughter and a sense of grandeur. In my early years I daydreamed about a variety of options: military service (I thought I would look good in a uniform); soccer coach (love the game!) or a CPA; and of course of a wife and children.

God had other plans for me... 

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Changes Ahead
Wednesday, July 29, 2015

By Zachary Parker, newly accepted seminarian for the Diocese of Orlando  

Growing up as an Army child, I got used to plans changing. And as I get closer to entering the seminary this fall, the more I begin to wonder just how did I ever end up here?

Throughout my childhood I always had an affinity towards the priesthood. However, I never thought about it too much. But one day in seventh grade after Mass, I knew that I was going to follow Jesus wherever he needed me. I wish I could explain how I knew better. A line from a great poem by G.K. Chesterton comes pretty close to describing how I felt “Here ends my previous existence. Take it: It led me to you.” I just knew at that moment that nothing would or could compare to the love I was being given.

However, things usually don’t turn out the way we think. Someone had asked my parents something along the lines of “wouldn’t it be nice if your son became a priest?” And I just remember them saying “No.” When it came down to it, I was just too scared to disappoint them...

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Summer is Busy Time for Catholic Schools
Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pictured above are the 81 individuals from the Diocese of Orlando that participated in a four-day summer institute June 16-19 at the University of Notre Dame.

By Linda Caldwell, Director of Marketing for the Eastern Region of the Diocese of Orlando, Office of Catholic Schools

Classes may not be in session in the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Orlando, but faculty, staff and students remain busy all the same.

With the classrooms empty, summer offers the perfect time to spruce up the environment. All of the schools take this opportunity to paint walls, wax floors and do a thorough cleaning. Some take on substantial projects, such as installing new energy-efficient windows, enhancing security and sound systems, replacing and/or repairing gym floors, roofs, and air conditioning units, while others remodel classrooms to accommodate new technology and media centers, art rooms and even a demonstration kitchen and café (Morning Star Catholic School). Playgrounds and campus grounds are also enhanced with new equipment and landscaping.

At the same time, faculty and administration are taking this time to prepare for changes in the classroom and curriculum. For example, beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, all of the classrooms at Blessed Trinity Catholic School in Ocala will be equipped with the latest iPads. The school also installed a 3D printer as part of the expansion of its Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, Math (STREAM) program. St. James Cathedral School in Orlando added a new, dynamic theatre program to its curriculum.

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The Gift of Planned Giving
Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lois Mills, a parishioner of St. James Cathedral, has chosen to make a planned gift to several ministries. In her own words, she shares with us what moved her to make this gift:  

I have included my parish and diocese in my estate plans because to me it is an expression of my commitment to my community that will endure after I am gone. I chose three ministries that have special meaning.

First, I have always admired the work of our St. Vincent de Paul Society. I have been personally acquainted with some of their volunteers and with the work they do. I believe that social justice and helping those in need are important spiritual practices and essential elements of Catholic teaching. I consider being able to help this ministry to be a gift.

The other ministries I chose were the Morning Star Catholic School for developmentally disabled children and Bishop Grady Villas which is a residence for disabled adults. I believe they perform great service to people who are all too often marginalized. I also chose them to honor my late son, James Henry who was developmentally disabled and who unfortunately survived for just a few days less than two years.

 

Hearts Give Hope at Catholic Campus Ministry
Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Written by Darcey Dinh  

The Hearts Give Hope event on June 12 was a wonderful display of appreciation for groups and individuals that have served the community over the past year in a big way. My husband and I were honored to attend the event as guests of one of the award recipients, Mr. Kevin Hagan. We enjoyed meeting other supporters of Catholic Charities, tasting foods from different restaurants and catering companies, touring the new Catholic Center at UCF, learning more about the Refugee Youth program, and how our donations are being used. We loved being able to hear some of the ways that Catholic Charities has served our community through its programs, with the help of fundraisers and supporters.

Mr. and Mrs. Hagan have been our good friends for years. They are models of Christian service to us personally and to our community at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Winter Park. It was a huge privilege to be part of Kevin’s cheering section that night! My husband and I felt it would be important to support him and St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in their efforts with Catholic Charities because it shows us how to be better stewards of God's gifts, and encourages us to reach out of our comfort zone and give of ourselves.

Later that evening I had the opportunity to speak with an art vendor Yanisa Tores and hear her personal story. 

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A Young Priest's Reflection
Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Written by Father Joshua Swallows  

More than any other experience I have ever had, my ordination to the priesthood is difficult to express using words. The whole event was exhilarating, joyful, peaceful, and incredibly humbling. There were several moments during the Mass that I will treasure.

The first of these was directly following the Election of the Candidates in which my classmate Chris and I had our names called and were then brought into the sanctuary. It was there that we sat and listened to the homily from our bishop, directed to us. I remember thinking that just like the early disciples would have gathered around the Apostles and received instructions on the Faith, here we were, being guided by our Apostle.

The next moment that stands out was lying prostrate during the Litany of Saints. Here the entire Church prayed for us, both the Church of Orlando and all the Saints! It was amazing to realize that while I lay there desiring to offer myself to the Church, the Body of Christ, that the whole Body of Christ was praying for me. I remember thinking during this time and after the Litany as the Bishop prayed over us that, “The Lord is forming a priestly character in my heart right now…”

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Father's Day Has Special Meaning to Father from Haiti
Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Written by Christine Young  

Innocent Ulysee is a father and businessman who was planning to run for political office in Haiti when his family began to receive life-threatening messages. Fearing for their safety, he fled the country to seek asylum for his family.

Catholic Charities of Central Florida welcomed Ulysee to Central Florida in 2011 before the rest of the family could arrive. Case managers helped him to begin a new life here where barriers of language and culture could have otherwise been insurmountable. As a refugee, he was eligible for housing assistance so he could a have safe place to live during this difficult time of transition. With the goal towards self-sufficiency, case managers connected him with opportunities for employment.

"We referred him to an employment services agency where he quickly found work in retail. We also helped him apply for benefits for his family through the Florida Department of Children and Families," said Renel Mompremier, Comprehensive Refugee Services (CRS) Case Manager at Catholic Charities of Central Florida.

It took two years before his three children could arrive in Orlando to join him. However, before they could be reunited, his wife fell sick to lung disease and sadly passed away in Haiti. Despite suffering the loss of a home and a homeland, the family also suffered the loss of their loving wife and mother.

Catholic Charities was there to help them pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.  

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Love Has No Language
Friday, May 29, 2015

A first person story written by Elizabeth Post, UCF student and member of Catholic Campus Ministry at UCF  
 

This past Spring Break instead of going to one of the local beaches and playing volleyball with a group of friends, I decided to go to Honduras for a mission trip with a few of my fellow CCMers (Catholic Campus Ministry-ers) at the University of Central Florida. The idea of going on this mission trip to Honduras really appealed to me because in the summer of 2014 I had traveled to the Dominican Republic on a mission with my home parish and taught English in impoverished schools. However, I knew that this mission trip was going to be different. I couldn’t exactly explain why but my heart knew that great things were going to be happening out there.

Read more

Students with Special Needs Shine at Morning Star Catholic School
Friday, May 29, 2015

Written by Brittany Heidemann of The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida  
 

On the afternoon of April 24, Bishop John Noonan and 16 guests were given a tour of Morning Star Catholic School located in the College Park area of Orlando. In the words of Selby Prince, a parishioner of Annunciation Catholic Church, Morning Star is a “beautiful little place.”

With a total of 4 classrooms and 50 students, this school is in fact a “little” place but in so many ways, a beautiful place. Situated on a small property next to Bishop Moore Catholic High School, Morning Star School is surrounded by trees and shaded greenery that provide a scenic environment for students to learn, grow and socialize throughout the day.

As guests arrived for the tour, elementary school students were seen in their organic vegetable and herb garden giggling and laughing as they learned to pick the vegetables they had planted months before. The students radiated pure joy as they proudly showed off their prized picks.

Made possible by a grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation and with assistance from My Yard Farm, students are learning about healthy eating in a very hands on way as they plant, harvest, and eat the food they are helping to grow themselves. Since the garden’s beginning in February, students have already taken home a crop of kohlrabi with a suggested recipe card. They are also growing collard greens, kale, cabbage, herbs, and Swiss chard.

 Read more

 

An Encounter with Christ is at the Heart of Stewardship and Evangelization
Thursday, May 28, 2015

Written by Linda Caldwell of the Florida Catholic Staff  
 

Nearly 300 people, including priests, educators, and communication leaders in the Diocese of Orlando, gathered May 5 at Holy Family Parish for the 2015 Diocese of Orlando Stewardship and Communications Day. The day-long event, sponsored by the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, Inc. and the Diocese of Orlando Office of Communications, featured keynote talks and a myriad of Spanish and English breakout sessions centered on stewardship and communications within a parish. The event culminated with the celebration of Mass with Bishop John Noonan.

“Stewardship and communications are about our relationship with God echoing through our daily lives as we share our encounter with his son, Jesus Christ,” Bishop Noonan said. “During this gathering, may you discover the joy of stewardship and the richness of communications which flow from God’s love. May today’s efforts bring an encounter so full of promise that we leave these halls to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

The event kicked off with a morning keynote presented by Father Tom Gentile, pastor of Mary Queen of Peace Parish in the Archdiocese of Louisville, who spoke about “The Spirituality of Stewardship.” He said that stewardship is based on discipleship, and discipleship is based on people truly believing in God’s ownership in the gifts and blessings of their lives.

Click here to visit our 2015 Stewardship & Communications Day page where you can listen to all of the keynote and breakout sessions, as well as download presentation slide-shows and handouts.

Click here to read more of the above Stewardship and Evangelization story

 

 

Chrism Mass Celebration Unites Priests and Bishop
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Co-written by Teresa Peterson & Linda Caldwell

At the start of the Chrism Mass, Bishop John Noonan joked that it had been a long time since he had seen so many priests at church. In fact, nearly 200 priests of the Diocese of Orlando were seated at St. James Cathedral the evening of April 1. For 15 minutes they processed into the church two by two stopping at the altar to genuflect before taking their seats.

Also in the congregation were more than 1,000 of Christ’s faithful including parishioners, religious sisters, deacons and seminarians. So many people participated that the church was standing room only with the overflow chapel also filled to capacity.

St. Clare Parish of Deltona brought two busloads of parishioners to the Chrism Mass, and St. Timothy Parish, Lady Lake and St. Jude Parish, Ocala each brought one busload.

What brought so many people to this annual Chrism Mass celebrated during the Holiest week of the Church year? The chance to witness the blessing of the sacred oils — Sacred Chrism, the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of Catechumen —that will be used for sacramental purposes at parishes and the diocese throughout the year and to celebrate, pray for and honor the priests who serve them. The Mass was also live streamed so others who could not travel to the cathedral could see these ancient rituals that still have such significance to the Catholic faith.

Traditionally, the Chrism Mass is noted by two poignant moments – the blessing of the oils and the priests’ renewal of their commitment to serve Christ and his Church as they profess the promises they made at their ordinations to the priesthood. In addition, 11 priests celebrating 25, 50 and 60 years anniversaries were honored.

 “Tonight, you the people, we come to celebrate a day of priesthood,” Bishop Noonan said. “We come to give thanks for our priests, and we come especially to pray for our priests. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful priests, so many dedicated priests, so many priests who wish to give their lives in service in the Lord’s name.”

In his homily, Bishop Noonan said priesthood is a very special gift.

“Some call the priesthood a covenant of love because God loves his priests so much that priests are obliged to repay God for his special love for them.”

“Priests are called constantly to improve and to grow in communion, in holiness, in wisdom in order to carry out God’s mission,” he added.

Bishop Noonan reminded the priests that the priesthood of Jesus Christ is a priesthood for all.

“We are blessed with our priesthood,” he said. “We have up to 14 different nationalities [of priests in our diocese]. We are so grateful for each and every one. It is because we are one that truly makes the gift of priesthood so powerful and so important in our lives.”

 “God’s love never ends,” he continued. “It is poured into our hearts to bear all things, to believe all things, to hope all things and to endure all things because the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and he has anointed you to bring glad tidings.”

Share Your Good News with Central Florida
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

By Lisa Calpey

Our Catholic Diocese is comprised of 79 parishes, 12 missions, two basilicas, 37 schools, more than twenty-seven ministries plus Catholic Charities of Central Florida, Hope CommUnity Center, San Pedro Spiritual Development Center and Bishop Grady Villas. Clearly, there is a lot for which we are thankful!

The Diocese of Orlando has been blessed with extraordinary growth over the years, providing new opportunities to continue Christ’s work in our world. As the beneficiaries of God’s great abundance, it is our responsibility to ensure that we have the facilities and resources needed to proclaim the Gospel for years to come.  

The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, a ministry of the Diocese of Orlando, works to grow the Kingdom of God by providing individuals with opportunities to invest in the life of the Church – for today, and for all time. We are committed to engaging the faithful in a lifelong commitment to Catholic stewardship.

Fruits of our labor are evident in every parish, school and Diocesan entity and we invite you to share your good news stories.  The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida encourages you to highlight how God is blessing your community! What good is being done? How is your community growing and making a difference? What stories can you share with us and our faith community? We hope to hear from you!

If you have a story to share about the many wonderful things going on within our Diocese as a direct result of the Catholic Foundation’s support and ministry, we invite you to visit http://goo.gl/forms/JmPFOzUqy6 and complete the form online. Each month, we will choose a story to be featured in our monthly “Sharing the Promise” newsletter.

If you have any questions, please contact Don Du Chateau at the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, at 407-246-4887 or dduchateau@cfocf.org. We look forward to hearing from you!  

Fr. David Vivero Shares St. Therese of Lisieux’s Alive in Christ Story
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (January 2, 1873 – September 30, 1897) was a French Discalced Carmelite nun. She is popularly known as "The Little Flower of Jesus" or simply, "The Little Flower.” She is also the patron saint of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Belleview. Below, their pastor Father David Vivero shares some of his most inspirational St. Therese quotes and how they relate to their Alive in Christ Capital and Endowment Campaign. The parish has a church building project underway and he gives thanks to God for allowing the parish to meet and exceed their campaign goal. 

“Everything is a Grace…”  St. Therese

Trending across the spectrum of our Church building project, I remember the early days of our Alive in Christ capital campaign. Our parish was given a goal of $790,000; with this large number, fear crept into our confidence. Yet within 5 years as we concluded our campaign, despite all odds, the community surpassed all of our expectations.  The Catholic Foundation gave us the only report I ever wanted to know - we raised $1,634,483.00 in pledges and planned gifts…we exceeded our goal! 

“God sees me loving my littleness and my poverty…”  St. Therese

There is something to be said for flying under the radar and standing out uniquely amidst challenges. Here in a small community of believers in Belleview, we pride ourselves as being “the little church with a big heart.” Our new Church project took 15 years to reach this moment.  In about 10 to 12 months the construction will be completed, and we will be ready to dedicate our new Church. 

“When we do not give up praying confidence works miracles…”  St. Therese

How did we do it?  Lots of prayer, perseverance and re-positioning…a mantra I repeated throughout our capital campaign. We learned that God’s ways are at work and real. We also learned that when we together contemplate and work on the living the character of the sacrificial and resurrected life of Christ, to whom we are called to imitate and follow, confiding in Him, our true experiences are of Faith, Hope, and Love in Christ, our Lord. 

Always,

Fr. David V

St. Theresa Catholic Church, Belleview

Unity among Bishop Moore, Morning Star School, and St. Charles Catholic School Students
Thursday, March 26, 2015

     A first person story written by BMC freshman Jacob Calpey (class of 2018)

Just like any other Mass at Bishop More Catholic High School, hundreds of students poured into the gym looking to find a seat within their homeroom class. Only this day wasn’t an ordinary day. Catholic Schools Week was upon us. The students of BMC were feeling a sense of pride and joy and the feeling grew stronger as the week progressed.

As cliché as it might sound, the air and aura of the gym felt different as I walked into the building that day. One could only walk a couple of feet before stumbling into a chair that wasn’t usually on the court, or help to notice the enormous amount of St. Charles Catholic School students entering the space. From my seat within the freshman class, I saw more and more students funnel into the room from Bishop Moore, St. Charles, and eventually Morning Star Catholic School and I knew right away this wouldn’t be an ordinary day. The more children and young adults that came into our packed gym, the greater the atmosphere and expectation grew and it didn’t disappoint. This was the first time all three schools had joined together to celebrate the Liturgy as one. What a privilege to experience this happening right before my eyes.

As Bishop John Noonan processed into the gym, Father Ralph DuWell shared his usual jokes about how we, the congregation, didn’t sing loud enough, but this time I could truly feel the unity in the room. The gym crackled with electricity. The students were focused on participating in the Mass, whether singing, clapping, or reciting prayers. Through this newfound energy, students, teachers, and people of all ages joined into one cohesive unit with the specific goal of getting to know God through the Mass and the Eucharist.

Catholic means “universal.” I hear this all the time in school. For once, this teaching went outside the classroom, and during this Mass, I could feel the true meaning of being Catholic and all the love and unity that came from it.

 

Launch of Regional Life Planning Seminars
Thursday, March 26, 2015

On Thursday, March 12, St. Ann Catholic Church in Haines City, partnered with The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, Inc. to host the first regional Life Planning Seminar for the Diocese of Orlando. Over 50 individuals from five parishes attended this event. Professionals in their field were on hand to provide important information to help Catholics to make important decisions about end of life.

Dan Pilka, from Pilka & Associates spoke about Wills and Estate Planning. He told parishioners that trusts are not just for the wealthy. Everyone should have at least a simple will and review it every three to five years for legal and life changes. Rick Trasport, from Voya Financial discussed Financial Planning, and investing across securities, equities and cash equivalents, depending on one’s stage in life. Deborah Stafford Shearer, from the Diocesan Office of Advocacy and Justice reviewed End-Of-Life Medical Matters, laws and Catholic teachings on life and death.  She touched upon the importance that everyone, no matter what age, should have a Living Will and a Health Care Surrogate who can speak to doctors on their behalf during a health crisis.

Father Robert Mitchell, Pastor of St. Ann, discussed the Vigil Service (Wake), the Funeral Liturgy (Mass) and Rite of Committal (Burial) which make up Catholic Funeral Rites. He also talked about Catholic teaching on cremation.  Finally, Jimmy King from Oak Ridge Funeral Care touched upon Funeral Planning, providing insights on the financial considerations of a funeral.  

Many attending had already made their wills and financial investments, but received new information that will help them with their future plans.

These regional Life Planning Seminars are open to all parishioners in our diocese.  To find out dates and locations for future seminars, please email us at plannedgiving@cfocf.org.

 

Top 10 Reasons to Attend the 2015 Diocesan Stewardship & Communications Day:
Thursday, March 26, 2015
 
  • YOU (Catholic clergy, lay leader, parish staff member and/or volunteerwill be joined by Bishop John Noonan and brothers and sisters from our diocese!
  • As Disciples we are called to “serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace”
    1 Peter 4:10.
  • Excellent Speakers!: Learn from the best with more than 11 topics to choose from!
  • Learn About On-demand Technology! : “Keeping the doors of our churches open also means keeping them open in the digital environment so that people. Whatever their situation in life, can enter, and so that the Gospel can go out to reach everyone” Pope Francis, Message for World Communications Day, 2014.
  • Learn About Stewardship! : Discover practical ways to implement A Stewardship Way of Life. Hear from brother priests and adult leaders from our diocese and across the nation.
  • Great Networking Opportunities!: Meet with church leaders, passionate educators, and global experts in stewardship & communications.
  • Exhibit Areas: Visit bustling spaces that feature a Showcase of amazing projects and organizations filled with resources and services.
  • It’s Affordable! : Low registration cost that offers 2 keynote speakers, 3 breakout sessions, meals and memories to last a lifetime.
  • Don't just talk about it — take action! : See what meaningful projects and ideas our parishes have about stewardship and evangelization.
  • Both The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida and the Diocese of Orlando Office of Communications: Have joined together to help nurture an enduring culture of evangelization and self-giving in our communities.

There is only one month left to join Bishop John Noonan and register online at www.cfocf.org/StewardshipDay.

 

Student Experiences Heart of Christ through Catholic Campus Ministry
Friday, February 27, 2015

- A first person story by UCF Student Vanessa Carrillo

I knew in my heart at the end of each day looking in the mirror, there was something more I wanted that I never could name. It didn’t take long for me to look towards the only hope I knew at the time that seemed to have what I needed: I looked to the media. I followed the reality shows on TV, listened to the latest songs about the next high off drugs, sip of alcohol, or getting together for another intimate night with a new partner. I was sure these would be the moments that would finally fill that void I felt.

As I came to UCF as a freshman, this was still all I knew, and my plan was to continue this search for fulfillment especially with this new freedom from being in college. I found myself with even emptier moments of loneliness, dissatisfaction, and sadness the more I tried to fill my void with more worldly pleasures. I knew I wasn’t satisfied! 

Read more

 

Your Support Funds Important Ministries
Friday, February 27, 2015

How might our lives change if we do everything for the glory of God?

In first Corinthians, 10:31, St. Paul encourages each of us to stay focused on living as God’s faithful people and to do everything for the glory of God.

Supporting  Our Catholic Appeal is one way to respond to this calling.  

Annual gifts to Our Catholic Appeal are the only source of funding for 28 ministries that benefit every Catholic parish, school and family in Central Florida.  From training parish leaders to forming future priests to offering Christ’s love to the suffering, your gift is essential to transforming lives for the greater  glory of God.

Please join your fellow parishioners of the Diocese of Orlando by making your 2015 gift to Our Catholic Appeal today, if you have not done so already.  If you have not participated in Our Catholic Appeal in recent years, consider starting today with a small, manageable commitment. The size of the gift is less important than your willingness to say “yes,” which is essential to bring about the glory of God on earth.  Just visit www.cfcfl.org/OCA/give to make your pledge quickly and securely.

Read more

 

At-Risk Families Celebrate Success
Friday, February 27, 2015


- By Debra Tomaselli, Florida Catholic correspondent

Saturday, January 17, might have seemed like any ordinary Saturday. But inside a conference room at Catholic Charities of Central Florida, it was anything but mundane.

Here, a celebration was taking place for the progress made by families in our community to become financially independent. The event was hosted by Catholic Charities of Central Florida’s Family Stability Initiative Program.

A numerical figure was written on the whiteboard at the front of the room: $24,821. Adriana Santos, MSW, Case Manager of Family Stability Initiative (FSI), was quick to explain.

“That’s the collective amount that our families saved in 2014,” she said. 

Read more

 

Campus Ministry students bring Christmas cheer to refugee families
Thursday, January 29, 2015

Crackling wood from a warm fire, Yuletide carols, and gifts hiding under a tree: in the minds of many Americans, these images capture the joy and hopefulness of Christmas. But for refugee families who are fleeing from the horrors of war and religious persecution, they resemble anything but reality. Often these families arrive in the United States empty-handed, leaving behind their homes, possessions and livelihoods.

As a way to fulfill Christ’s call to lift up our struggling neighbor, members of Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Central Florida joined with Catholic Charities in December to bring Christmas cheer to more than 22 children from refugee families.

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Catholic Charities annual report shows how your gifts change lives
Thursday, January 29, 2015

The 2013-2014 Annual Report for Catholic Charities of Central Florida is now available. Read more to learn how your sacrifical gifts feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, and welcome the stranger.

As Bishop Noonan said: "This annual report of Catholic Charities of Central Florida is not a report of words; rather, it is a report about you, the holy people of God, who roll up your sleeves and prefer to give, than to receive."

Read the report
 

Winter Haven parish marks first Alive in Christ success story of 2015
Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Donna Harned can still picture the inside of the Parish Center at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Winter Haven, from her childhood in the 1970s.

It is an easy memory to recall because up until a few months ago, the interior simply had not changed.

“We still had the same restrooms that we had when I was student at St. Joseph Catholic School, and that is a long time ago,” she joked.

On January 3, Harned and her son, Zach, were among the parishioners who joined Father Cromwell Cabrisos, Pastor, and Bishop John Noonan for Mass followed by the blessing of the newly renovated Parish Center. To support the renovations, the parish raised nearly $1.1 million in gifts and pledges during the Alive in Christ Capital Campaign.

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Leaving a legacy for social justice
Monday, December 29, 2014

Lois Mills doesn’t need to see the world to recognize the places where it is broken.

Homelessness. Economic injustice. Poverty. Prejudice. For Lois, these are the tragedies that afflict the world, not the vision loss that left her blind at a young age.

“I think about the homeless, diabetic man who used to spend every night huddled by St. James Cathedral,” said Lois, a longtime parishioner at the Cathedral. “He would come to Mass every morning.”

The Christian vision of a more just and equitable society led Lois to include St. James in her will. The terms stipulate that the bulk of the gift will be used to support the Cathedral’s partnership with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a lay Catholic organization that reaches out to the needy and suffering.

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"Faith News Online" lets students witness to their faith
Monday, December 29, 2014


If you haven't already, please check out "Faith News Online," a web publication written exclusively by young people known as “ace reporters” in the Diocese of Orlando.

The Ace Reporter program allows students to write about their faith and the special events taking place at their Catholic schools or parishes. In addition to timely news articles, regular features include Saint of the Month, Ask Father Faith, and Fun Facts about the Catholic faith. 

A service of the Diocese of Orlando Office of Communications, "Faith News Online" is made possible through annual gifts to Our Catholic Appeal.

Read Faith News Online
 

Groundbreaking fulfills dream for parishioners
Monday, December 29, 2014



On Sunday, November 30, nearly 400 parishioners and clergy gathered under sunny skies and the cloak of live oak trees to watch Father David Vivero, pastor, turn over the first spade of dirt, marking the future site of a new and larger church for the people of St. Theresa.


Parishioners pledged just under $1.6 million to Alive in Christ to support the construction.

Read more
 

Diocese gives thanks to Catholics who share the love of Christ
Monday, November 24, 2014



After 25 years of serving the community from a small, rented space in a commercial plaza, the Prince of Peace “Like New” thrift shop in Ormond Beach has a new home – a 6,400 sq. ft. facility on parish grounds. The shop was built thanks to parishioners who gave generously to the parish’s Alive in Christ Campaign.

On Nov. 15, Gretel Abad, parishioner and director of Social Services at Prince of Peace, thanked the parish’s benefactors during the Mass of Thanksgiving, celebrated by Bishop John Noonan at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe in Orlando. Supported by the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, the annual Mass of Thanksgiving is celebrated to honor those families who faithfully support Our Catholic Appeal and give generously to Alive in Christ.

Read more
 

Alive in Christ renovations highlight St. Augustine celebration
Friday, November 21, 2014

St. Augustine celebrationAt St. Augustine Catholic Community in Casselberry, the annual “St. Augustine Day” celebration, held on November 1, was marked by the blessing and historic rededication of the Parish Center.

The beloved building, which had gone nearly three decades without significant repairs, was treated to a major renovation that began in 2013 and continued throughout 2014.

The results: new energy efficient windows and flat panel lighting, new carpet and tile, renovated restrooms, roof and ceiling repairs, and improvements to the walls and movable partitions.

Parishioners raised more than $690,000 in cash and pledges through Alive in Christ to support the effort.

Read more >>

 

Save the Date for 2015 Diocesan Stewardship Day
Friday, November 21, 2014



The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida invites you to “Save the Date” for the 2015 Diocesan Stewardship Day, to be held on May 5, 2015 from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm at Holy Family Catholic Church in Orlando.

Open to all Catholic clergy, lay leaders and volunteers, this special retreat will explore the theme of stewardship as an essential element of our spiritual journey. Enjoy a day filled with opportunities to share resources, exchange ideas, and learn new ways to promote joyful stewardship in our parishes and schools. Registration is $15 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch.

For more information or to register, please visit www.cfocf.org/StewardshipDay or contact Doris Quinones at Dquinones@cfocf.org or (407) 246-7191.

To register or learn more >>
 

Chancery "open house" reveals a house of ministry
Monday, October 27, 2014


Father Jorge Torres greets Corpus Christi Society members Huguette and Selim Ayoub.

If Robin Neel, a parishioner at St. James Cathedral, had to choose one word to describe the difference between the offices of the Diocesan Chancery and a traditional office environment, that word would be “love.”

Robin was one of 14 guests who joined Bishop John Noonan on October 20 for a “behind the scenes” tour of the Diocesan Chancery, where the Bishop and nearly 120 diocesan employees minister and serve.

“What goes on here? Quite simply, a life of service,” explained Bishop Noonan.

Read more >>
 

Dunnellon parish celebrates Alive in Christ renovations
Friday, October 17, 2014


Bishop Noonan blesses baptismal font at newly renovated St. John the Baptist Church in Dunnellon.
PHOTO BY AUGIE SALZER.

Celebration was the theme of the evening at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Dunnellon, on Friday, October 10 as parishioners gathered for the first time in their newly improved worship space.

“This is God’s home, where you come to be nurtured by scripture and the gift of the Eucharist, where you come to encounter your savior,” Bishop Noonan told parishioners. “The Lord has given you the gift of being able to take care of His house.”

Parishioners pledged more than $644,000 to Alive in Christ to help fund the effort.

Read more >>
 

Catholic Foundation honored for stewardship communication.
Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida has been recognized by the International Catholic Stewardship Council for excellence in promoting the theology of Christian stewardship through written publications and other media.

This marks the third consecutive year that the Foundation has won first place honors under the category of “Total Foundation Effort” and the second consecutive win under the category of “Total Planned Giving Effort.” The Foundation was also named co-recipient of the “Total Appeal Effort” award for materials created to communicate Our Catholic Appeal.

Read more >>
 

Parishioners share the joy, satisfaction of leaving a Catholic legacy
Thursday, October 16, 2014

Vivos Christi Society

For Isabel Benitez, the decision to name Resurrection Catholic Church, Winter Garden, as a beneficiary of her life insurance policy was one step in a journey that began with a quarter.

As a child she was taught to place that quarter in the offertory basket, so it could help others. It’s a lesson that sparked a lifelong enthusiasm for Christian stewardship.

During the International Catholic Stewardship Council’s Annual Conference on October 7, Isabel was one of three parishioners from the Diocese of Orlando who led a panel discussion that explored how and why faithful Catholics choose to make the Church a part of their legacy plans.
 

Read more >>
 

Vivos Christi Society members bless others with legacy of love
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Faithful leave legacy of generosity
Lois Mills (center) is among the 20 newest members of Bishop Noonan’s Vivos Christi Society.

St. Therese of Lisieux once said “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth.” The twenty new members of the Vivos Christi Society, which claims St. Therese as their patroness, have made that same promise by providing for the future of the Church through a bequest or other planned gift.

At a morning prayer and induction ceremony on September 6, Bishop John Noonan thanked the new members for their gift to the Church saying, “Today we honor you and we thank you…you too are following the footsteps, not only of a saint, but of someone who truly came to know the Lord in life.”

Use this link to view photos from the Ceremony.

Read more >>
 

Golf fundraiser to benefit the St. Thomas Aquinas Free Medical Clinic
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

St. Andrew youth ministry

St. Thomas Aquinas Medical Clinic is holding the 5th annual charity golf tournament “Links For Health” on November 1, 2014 at Kissimmee Bay Country Club to raise much needed funds for the clinic. This scramble tournament is a fun way to support the clinic, a ministry of Catholic Charities of Central Florida. There will be a raffle, auction, lunch and awards following play.

St. Thomas Aquinas Medical Clinic, in partnership with St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, provides free primary healthcare to qualified residents of Osceola County. Since opening in 2008, the clinic has offered compassionate care to more than 5,400 patients

Register online >>
 

All invited to pray with Pope Francis for the success of Synod on the Family
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sunday, September 28 has been dedicated as a worldwide day of prayer for Third General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will focus on “Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” Pope Francis has provided a prayer to encourage the faithful, especially families, to pray for the work of the Synod.

As stated by the Holy Father there are “three main areas under discussion in the Church: how the Gospel of the Family can be preached in the present-day; how the Church’s pastoral care program for the family might better respond to the new challenges today; how to assist parents in developing a mentality of openness to life and in upbringing their children.

Read the prayer>>
 

Jewish philanthropist receives Papal honor
Friday, August 29, 2014

Alan Ginsburg

Jewish philanthropist Alan Ginsburg was recently awarded the Benemerenti Medal, a papal honor bestowed by Pope Francis, for his vision in creating a space where Catholic and Jewish students can fulfill their spiritual needs, side by side, while attending the University of Central Florida.

Bishop John Noonan and Allan Keen, chairman emeritus of the Board of Directors for The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, surprised Ginsburg with the medal and scroll from Pope Francis during a private luncheon, attended by about 75 family, friends and colleagues, on Tuesday, Aug. 26 at the Catholic Campus Ministry Center.

Read more >>
 

Gifts of treasure spark the flame of youth ministry
Friday, August 29, 2014

St. Andrew youth ministry
Youth Minister Kathy Morgan, third from right, with members of St. Andrew’s High School Youth Ministry.

When Fr. Leo Hodges watched a team of young parishioners perform the living Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, 2014, he knew he was witnessing something special at his parish.

St. Andrew Catholic Church, located in Orlando’s Pine Hills community, had gone without an organized youth program for years, until a parishwide Offertory Enhancement Initiative in fall 2013 enabled Fr. Hodges, Pastor, to invest more resources in the ministry.

Read more >>
 

'Thank you so much for making our dreams come true'
Friday, August 29, 2014

St. Vincent de Paul

Feelings of happiness, gratitude and joy filled the sacred space of the St. Vincent de Paul Parish during the dedication and blessing of the community’s new larger church on August 27.

“This is a special day,” said Maryann Otradovec, who has been a parishioner since 1995. “We have been waiting for this new church for a long time. But now we are here and we are really enjoying it. It is a blessing.”

Read more >>
 

Trading new toys for God's work
Thursday, July 31, 2014

Trading new toys for God's work

Car enthusiast L.J. “Van” Van Lancker still remembers the 1978 Camaro he was driving when he met his wife, Joan, at a Florida beach in 1985. Today the Ormond Beach couple enjoys a classic 1978 Corvette pace car.

The Van Lanckers are part of a generation that is coming to terms with a lesson learned over six decades of post-war prosperity marked by periods of severe economic decline: the things you have are a part of you, but they don’t define you.

Read more >>
 

Spend 11 months giving hope
Thursday, July 31, 2014

Spend 11 months giving hope
Notre Dame AmeriCorps volunteer Mariana Romero gathers corn for a local food bank

Notre Dame AmeriCorps is accepting applications from people interested in offering 11 months of service to the Lord by assisting low income, marginalized youth and adults through Hope CommUnity Center, a ministry of the Diocese of Orlando.

The 2014-2015 service year begins September 2, 2014. Accepted candidates can expect to serve about 40 hours per week for 11 months in exchange for a $12,100 living stipend, health insurance for themselves, and a $5,645 education award.

Read more >>
 

Volunteers make a difference one pancake at a time
Thursday, July 31, 2014

Volunteers make a difference one pancake at a time

After raising five children of their own, Harry and Julie Arthur have no trouble whipping up a large breakfast, even if that breakfast needs to feed a group nearly four times the size of their family.

On the first Sunday of each month, the Arthurs, who are parishioners at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Winter Springs, spend the morning making scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and pancakes to serve the residents at Pathways to Care, a ministry of Catholic Charities of Central Florida.

Read more >>
 

Catholic Foundation 2013 annual report now online
Thursday, June 26, 2014

Catholic Foundation 2013 Annual Report

The 2013 Annual Report for The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida is now available online.

Please use this link to learn about the many ways our faith community is answering Pope Francis' call to "be protectors of God's gifts," through Our Catholic Appeal, the Alive in Christ Campaign, and other stewardship opportunities.
 

Spirit of God inspires big dreams in small parish
Thursday, June 26, 2014

St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Bushnell

With fewer than 350 registered families, St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Bushnell is among the smallest parishes in the Diocese of Orlando, but other numbers tell an inspiring story of renewed energy and growth.

To date the parish has seen a 32% increase in year over year offertory revenue, the largest of 23 parishes that participated in an Offertory Enhancement Initiative conducted in 2013 by The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida.

Read more >>
 

Date set for annual Vivos Christi Society Induction Ceremony
Thursday, June 26, 2014

Vivos Christi SocietyBishop John Noonan will celebrate the annual Vivos Christi Society Induction Ceremony on Saturday, September 6th at St. James Cathedral in Orlando. This special event recognizes faithful Catholics who provide for the future of the Church through a will or other estate gift.

The ceremony will begin at 10:00 am with Morning Prayer followed by a reception in the St. James Social Hall. All members and their families are invited to attend.

If you have included your parish or another ministry of the Diocese of Orlando in your will but have not yet joined the Vivos Christi Society, Bishop Noonan would be honored to welcome you as a member. Please use this link for more information and membership forms.
 

Mission project invests in future of Dominican Republic's poorest students
Friday, May 30, 2014

shepherd and sheep

It is a long-standing joke among many American parents that they once had to walk to school "uphill, both ways."

For the families of Las Lomas in the Dominican Republic, what passes for a humorous exaggeration in the United States is instead a fitting description of real hardships.

"Some of our middle school students walk more than an hour to school, across very rugged terrain," said Amanda Livermore, Assistant Director for the Diocese of Orlando Mission Office.

Construction is now underway on a residential complex that will open a new possibility for the people of Las Lomas: the opportunity to live and study at the Diocese of San Juan de la Maguana's Catholic high school in the closer town of Azua.

Read more >>
 

St. Luke Clinic named "hidden hero" of Lake County
Friday, May 30, 2014

St. Luke's Free Medical and Dental ClinicIn observance of National Public Health Week, April 7th - 13th, the Florida Department of Health in Lake County named St. Luke's Free Medical and Dental Clinic, Eustis, as a 2014 recipient of the "Hidden Heroes of Public Health Award."

A ministry of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, St. Luke's Free Medical and Dental Clinic is funded primarily through individual contributions as well as support from St. Mary of the Lakes Catholic Church in Eustis and St. Patrick Catholic Church in Mt. Dora.

Read more >>

 

 

 

One mother's journey to empowerment
Friday, May 30, 2014

Trasy NelsonTrasy Nelson knows what it is like to be a single mother struggling with the demands of motherhood and work, but she also knows something that many of her colleagues do not: she knows what it is like to be homeless.

Until she discovered Shepherd's House, a ministry of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, Trasy and her son were living in their car and sleeping at parks. Today Trasy operates a commercial cleaning franchise and is on her way to self-sufficiency.

"I owe the blessings, the tough love, I owe it all to Shepherd's House and Catholic Charities," said Trasy. "This program gave me hope and a new look at life."

Read more >>
 

Giving Wall celebrates generosity at Catholic Campus Ministry Center
Friday, April 25, 2014

Giving Wall

Bishop John Noonan and Fr. Ben Berinti, Director of Catholic Campus Ministry, hosted a special ceremony on Friday, April 11, to unveil and dedicate a Giving Wall, the latest addition to the new Catholic Campus Ministry Center, located at the NorthView student housing complex near the University of Central Florida.

Among those present was Jeff Messner, whose daughter will attend UCF in the fall. "For my daughter to be able to have access to this ministry is a true blessing," noted Messner, a parishioner at St. Joseph in Winter Haven. "When I was a student, so few of these opportunities were available."

Read more >>
 

Donors witness Hope in action
Friday, April 25, 2014

Hope Community Center

The feeling that one has no home, no identity, and no source of comfort is an all-too-familiar condition, particularly for young people from economically disadvantaged families.

On Wednesday, April 2, eleven guests joined Bishop John Noonan for a tour of Apopka-based Hope CommUnity Center, where they had the opportunity to hear firsthand from those who drifted -- socially, intellectually, and spiritually -- until they found hope and a home.

Read more >>
 

The Shepherd's Fund aids Bishop in caring for his flock
Friday, April 25, 2014

shepherd and sheep

The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida invites the faithful to assist Bishop Noonan in his ministry by participating in The Shepherd's Fund.

Launched in January, this new fund is intended to serve as a resource for meeting emergency needs for which no other revenue source is available.

"We cannot predict when or where significant challenges will occur, so the Church must always be ready to respond in the manner of Christ," said Meghan Post, President of The Catholic Foundation.

Read more >>
 

Hearts Give Hope Gala raises $100,000 for Catholic Charities
Friday, April 25, 2014

Hearts Give Hope GalaThe staff of Catholic Charities of Central Florida extend their deepest thanks to all who attended the first annual Hearts Give Hope Gala on Saturday, April 5th at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando. The elegant and inspiring event brought together nearly 300 guests and raised over $100,000 to benefit programs that serve our neighbors in need.

Use this link to watch the Hearts Give Hope video, and hear the inspiring stories of people helped through your support.

 

Priest’s generous gift yields first tuition scholarships
Friday, March 28, 2014

Catholic school tuition scholarships

Seeing the need for more Catholic school tuition scholarships, particularly for the children of economically disadvantaged or immigrant families, Fr. Frank Zammit, a retired priest who still assists at two Volusia County parishes, partnered with The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida to establish the Fr. Frank Zammit Endowment Fund in 2011.

The first scholarships from the fund were awarded in February 2014, providing tuition assistance for two students at Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Kissimmee and one student at St. Paul Catholic School in Leesburg.

Read more >>
 

Free medical clinics bring Christ’s compassion and healing to people in need
Friday, March 28, 2014

St. Thomas Aquinas free medical clinicTwo hours before the clinic is scheduled to open, a line begins to form outside the St. Thomas Aquinas Free Medical Clinic in St. Cloud. The clinic, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, is the only place many of these patients can receive help.

“We are bringing Christ’s healing to those who need it most.” says Dr. Peter Morrow, volunteer medical director. After working in his own primary care office all day, he gladly gives up his evening to care for the people seeking help at the clinic, saying, “This is an opportunity to practice medicine the way it is supposed to be practiced.”

Read more >>

 

 

Haitian Catholics demonstrate humility, joy in worship
Friday, March 28, 2014

Haitian community

Haitians have long had a strong presence in the Diocese of Orlando, but a combination of local and global events have raised awareness of the growing community in recent years, giving the larger Catholic community a new opportunity to grow in friendship with and appreciation for the Haitian people and culture.

"They always want to be close to God, all the time. They are always in supplication. In the Haitian community, it is understood that you invest all of yourself in your faith. It is your whole self," said Fr. Gaetan L. Boursiquot, Director of the Haitian Ministry.

Read more >>
 

The "Greatest Generation" finds gift annuities a great investment
Friday, February 28, 2014

The Cowgill familyLike many faithful Catholics who were born during the Great Depression, Bob and Joan Cowgill understand the value of a dollar -- and the value of the Church. It's a lesson learned in childhood, when money was fleeting but faith and family were steadfast.

"My father was a hard-working farmer, but there was no money to spare," Joan recalled. "Going to church for Mass was our one social outing of the week."

Through a Charitable Gift Annuity offered by the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, Bob and Joan are giving back to the church while retaining the financial peace of mind they worked hard to achieve.

Read more >>

Stewardship breathes new life into parish prayer garden
Friday, February 28, 2014

parish prayer gardenWhen Fr. John Murray, C.Ss.R., Pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in New Smyrna Beach, talks to his parishioners about stewardship of time, talent and treasure, he prefers to speak in terms of prayer, sacrifice and mercy.

"Being good stewards of our time means developing our prayer life. Making the best use of our God-given talents means sacrificing for Him and the church," said Fr. Murray.

The stewardship that blossoms from prayer will come full circle with the dedication of the new Father Browne Prayer Garden at Sacred Heart on March 29.

Read more >>

Save the date for "Hearts Give Hope" Gala
Friday, February 28, 2014

Hearts Give Hope GalaJoin Bishop Noonan on April 5th for the “Hearts Give Hope” Gala and celebrate the lives changed through Catholic Charities of Central Florida. The event will include the presentation of the annual Hope and Opportunity award. Attire is black tie optional. Please visit www.cflcc.org/heartsgivehope for more information and ticket prices.

 

 

Team up with Catholic schools in the fight against hunger
Friday, February 28, 2014

Two upcoming events give parishioners an opportunity this Lenten season to help fight hunger in Volusia and Brevard counties.

Volusia County Catholic schools will host a canned food drive on March 22 to benefit local food pantries operated by Catholic Charities of Central Florida. Tables will be set up outside select Publix supermarkets to accept donations of canned or boxed food. Please use this link for more information and a list of participating locations.

On April 12, Melbourne Catholic High School will host the first annual "Can-gineering Design and Food Drive Festival" to benefit Catholic Charities food pantries in Brevard County. In preparation for the event, all Brevard County Catholic schools will accept donations of canned or boxed food in the main office from March 1 to April 11. Please use this link for more information.

Join Bishop Noonan for World Day of Consecrated Life Mass
Friday, January 24, 2014

Victor Zollo“The Mass is a beautiful opportunity to highlight the gift of consecrated persons for the whole Church. As a community of faith we will come together and pray with gratitude for the many women religious who have served the holy people of this Diocese with dedication and fortitude for so many years. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the religious order men of this diocese who selflessly offer the charism of their priestly ministry in the Diocese of Orlando. Please join me for the celebration of this Mass. It would be wonderful if our religious sisters and priests entered the Basilica with standing room only. This would indicate a tribute worthy of them.” Bishop John Noonan

Please use this link to see the full invitation.

In spirit of joy and thanksgiving, Good Shepherd dedicates new church
Friday, January 24, 2014

Good Shepherd dedication

For Monica Sterchele, a founding parishioner of Good Shepherd, the dedication and blessing of the Orlando church’s new building on December 20, 2013, became “one of the happiest” days of her life.

“I know the heavens are here because I have been thinking all day about my dear friends who also helped start Good Shepherd ... (they) are looking down in all of their glory in heaven, and are seeing this accomplishment,” Sterchele said.

A portion of the funding for the new 14,000 square feet church came from Good Shepherd’s Promise for Tomorrow Campaign, which was initiated in 2003, as well as the parish’s Alive in Christ Campaign.

Read more >>
 

Catholic Foundation names new Board Chairman
Friday, January 24, 2014

Victor ZolloThe Catholic Foundation of Central Florida announces the appointment of Victor Zollo as Chair of the Board of Directors. Zollo succeeds Allan Keen, who will continue to serve as Chair Emeritus.

“I am humbled and grateful to serve Bishop Noonan and the greater Catholic community of Central Florida,” said Zollo. “I look forward to contributing to a bright future under Bishop Noonan’s leadership.”

Read more >>

 

 

 

Concerts raise more than $165,000 for Catholic Charities
Friday, January 24, 2014

Lettermen for Catholic CharitiesFor the past two years The Lettermen Benefit Concert has been delighting Central Florida audiences while helping people in need.

St. Timothy Catholic Church in Lady Lake, St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Winter Park, and Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Indialantic, hosted the concerts and together raised over $165,000 for Catholic Charities of Central Florida programs.

Read more >>

 

 

Retired diocesan leader honored for lifetime of stewardship
Friday, December 27, 2013

Jerry Hilbrich

The Diocese of Orlando’s former Chief Financial Officer, Gerald “Jerry” Hilbrich (above center, with wife Peggy), was presented with the 2013 H. Clifford Lee Lifetime Achievement award on November 22, during a National Philanthropy Day ceremony sponsored by the Central Florida chapter for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

In awarding the honor, the AFP described Jerry, a St. James parishioner, as “a servant leader and role model to those who aspire to excellence in their chosen field and at the same time serve the community.”

At Jerry’s request, the cash honorarium that accompanies the award will be used to support the work of Catholic education in Central Florida.

Read more >>
 

Bishop Noonan blesses, dedicates new Catholic Campus Ministry Center
Friday, December 27, 2013

Bishop at Catholic Campus Ministry Center

Five years after the journey to construct a new home for Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Central Florida (UCF) began, the prayers of many were answered with the blessing and dedication of the new Catholic Campus Ministry Center by Bishop John Noonan on Dec. 16. More than 250 people filled the multi-purpose room, which is also used as a sanctuary, for the joyful celebration.

“Here the students of this university will have the opportunity to grow in their relationship with God, to know each other as brothers and sisters in the Lord,” Bishop Noonan said.

Read more >>
 

Keep Christ at the center of your year-end giving
Friday, December 27, 2013

Bethlehem

As we thank the Lord for the many blessings we have received throughout the year, let us consider how we might keep Him at the center of our annual gift-giving tradition.

There are many ways to make a special year-end gift to the Church.

You can make an immediate online gift with your credit or debit card by visiting our secure website. You may also wish to mail a check or make a gift of appreciated stocks.

While all of these options yield abundant spiritual rewards for both you and the Church, they can provide significant financial benefits for you as well. Gifts received on or before December 31st may qualify for a 2013 income tax deduction.

Please use this link for more year-end giving ideas.
 

Catholic Charities Annual Report now online
Friday, December 27, 2013

Catholic Charities of Central Florida is pleased to present their 2012-2013 Annual Report, entitled "Celebrating 50 Years in Our Community.”

Read the annual report >>
 

Speakers share experiences of ministry and mission
Friday, November 22, 2013

Mass of Thanksgiving 2013

Steve Marshall of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Winter Park recalls his first mission trip 13 years ago to the Diocese of San Juan de la Maguana in the Dominican Republic.

“Any missionary will tell you, if you go on a mission trip, you are there to help the people, but in reality, you are transformed by the experience. You are blessed by the experience of giving,” Marshall said.

Marshall joined more than 700 faithful at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe on Nov. 16 for the annual Mass of Thanksgiving, celebrated by Bishop John Noonan. The congregation included those who contributed to Alive in Christ or support Our Catholic Appeal.

Find your photo or read more >>
 

Viera parish launches campaign to build new church
Friday, November 22, 2013

God's Heart...Our DreamMore than 700 families attended two gatherings on October 2 and 3 at St. John the Evangelist, Viera, to launch God’s Heart…Our Dream, a $2 million campaign to build a new church. The proposed structure will provide an estimated seating capacity of 1,000, with room for later expansion.

“It’s neat to see how we’re growing and becoming more multigenerational and multicultural,” said Colonel Jack Slupecki, who, along with his wife Janet, helped found the parish in 2001. “We’ve got a great team and a lot of generous people. This is a legacy for the future.”

Read more >>

 

Alive in Christ renovations highlight St. Augustine celebration
Friday, November 22, 2013

St. Augustine celebrationAt St. Augustine Catholic Community in Casselberry, “St. Augustine Day” has marked many special moments in the parish’s history, including the church groundbreaking ceremony in 1978 and dedication of the Parish Center in 1986.

As a result of Alive in Christ, parishioners were able to continue that long-standing tradition on Saturday, November 9 with the blessing and rededication of their newly renovated Parish Center during the 2013 St. Augustine Day celebration.

Read more >>

 

Lettermen concerts to benefit Catholic Charities
Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Lettermen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tickets are now available to see legendary vocal trio “the Lettermen,” who will perform four live shows to benefit Catholic Charities of Central Florida. Concert dates and locations are:

December 3, St. Timothy Catholic Church, The Villages, 3pm and 7pm
December 4, St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, Winter Park, 7pm
December 5, Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, Indialantic, 7pm

Tickets range from $25 - $45 and may be purchased at: http://homelessheart.org.
 

Tuition assistance brings Catholic schools into reach of more families
Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tuition assistance brings Catholic schools into reach of more familiesTwenty students from nine Catholic schools in the Diocese of Orlando are the beneficiaries of the first allocation of the new tuition assistance endowment made possible by the Alive in Christ Campaign.

“Receiving this award means I have an extended family that loves my son so much that they reached out and helped us when we needed it the most,” said a mother whose son received tuition assistance to attend St. Andrew Catholic School.

Read more >>

 

 

Faithful leave legacy of generosity
Thursday, October 17, 2013

Faithful leave legacy of generosity
Bishop John Noonan thanks John Calpey during the 2013 Vivos Christi Society Induction Ceremony.

Lisa Calpey was baptized at St. John Vianney Parish in Orlando and has belonged there ever since. She married her husband, John, there and her children attend school there. Now she is taking action to preserve the parish for future generations through a planned gift.

The Calpeys and 23 others with the same vision were inducted into the Diocese of Orlando Vivos Christi Society during an evening prayer service led by Bishop John Noonan on Oct. 1 at St. James Cathedral.

Use this link to view photos from the Ceremony.

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Clinic expands to meet community needs
Thursday, October 17, 2013

Clinic expands to meet community needs

A joyful crowd of medical professionals and volunteers joined Bishop Noonan in the newly renovated second story of St. Luke’s Free Medical and Dental Clinic, Eustis, last month to celebrate the completion and blessing of two new exam rooms.

“What the people get in great quantity when they walk through the door is caring,” said Dr. Kevin Taylor, the clinic’s volunteer medical director.

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Prince of Peace begins construction on new social services building
Thursday, September 19, 2013

Prince of Peace begins construction on new social services building

As a volunteer with the Prince of Peace social services and outreach ministry, Betty Weite sees the pain of poverty.

She sees the young mother pushing her baby in a stroller and asking for food. She sees the adult with a part-time job who cannot afford to pay the rent.

Pain turns to peace when she is able to provide support and compassion.

Thanks to the generosity of parishioners who pledged nearly $1.6 million to the Alive in Christ Campaign at Prince of Peace, the parish plans to construct a new 6,000 square foot social services building. The facility will house the food pantry; offices for social services intake, counseling and group meetings; a thrift store; and an Adoration chapel.

Read more >>
 

Alive in Christ celebrates reaching 150 million dollar goal
Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alive in Christ celebrates reaching 150 million dollar goal

Alive in Christ goal celebrations were held Aug. 23 at Holy Family Catholic Church in Orlando, Aug. 26 at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church in Port Orange and Aug. 28 at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Winter Haven.

“As you look around, you will see the people, the parishes and the projects they accomplished. I am truly blessed to have become your bishop in the middle of this campaign because I truly see a hope for the future," Bishop John Noonan told those who gathered at each celebration.

A celebration for Lake, Marion and Sumter counties will be held Oct. 2 at St. Timothy Catholic Church in Lady Lake, while a celebration for Brevard County will be held Oct. 15 at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Indialantic.

Visit The Catholic Foundation's website to make a gift to Alive in Christ or to register online for one of the two remaining celebrations.

Read more >>
 

Mission Church plans still a work in progress
Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mission Church plans still a work in progress

Jose Martinez grew up in rural Polk County. His parents were migrant workers from Mexico who dreamed of giving him a better life.

For many years, Martinez followed his parents into the fields, working long hours for little pay, but he dreamed of someday owning his own business. He graduated from college a few years ago and worked in the retail industry and banking before opening an insurance agency last December. At the age of 29, he has realized this dream.

His new dream is to have a new and larger church built for the 2,000 Catholics who are part of the Centro Guadalupano Mission community in Wahneta, Polk County.

Read more >>
 

Alive in Christ celebrations set for August, October
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Alive in ChristBeginning Friday, August 23, Bishop John Noonan will host five Alive in Christ celebrations at parishes throughout the Diocese of Orlando. Guests will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of projects taking place as a result of the Alive in Christ Campaign, which recently surpassed the $150 million goal in gifts and pledges.

All events are scheduled from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. There is no charge, but guests should register online as early as possible.

Use this link for a list of dates and locations or to register online.

Parishioners who have not yet made a gift to Alive in Christ still have an opportunity to do so. Just visit www.cfocf.org/aliveinchrist to make a gift and then register for the celebration!
 

Pastor blesses first Alive in Christ project at Resurrection
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Resurrection garage dedication

During a ceremony following Mass on July 21, a crowd of parishioners looked on as Fr. Charles Viviano, Pastor of Church of the Resurrection, Lakeland, dedicated the parish’s new maintenance and storage complex.

Under the leadership of then-Pastor Fr. Matt Mello, more than 700 families participated in the Alive in Christ Campaign at Church of the Resurrection, raising nearly $3.3 million in gifts and pledges to fund the new storage complex and other projects.

Fr. Viviano described parishioners’ efforts as “a perfect example of good stewardship.”

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School makeover greets Sacred Heart students
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sacred Heart SchoolWith funds raised from the Alive in Christ Campaign at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in New Smyrna Beach, parishioners generously treated their school to a summertime face lift. According to Fr. John Murray, Pastor of Sacred Heart, modern energy-efficient windows were installed throughout the school, replacing older, outdated windows that may have contributed to rising utility costs. In addition, the school walls were given a fresh coat of paint in what he describes as “cool, bright colors.”

“The new windows greatly improve the exterior of the school, and the interior paint looks terrific as you look down the main corridor,” said Fr. Murray.
 

City honors parish for Alive in Christ beautification project
Wednesday, July 17, 2013

beautification awardNancy and Ned Breslin, Hank Despard, and Terry Howell display their parish’s beautification award from the City of Daytona Beach

Property improvements at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church and Academy garnered praise from Daytona Beach officials, who named the parish as the May recipient of the city’s Beautification Award. The honor is bestowed monthly upon a business or organization that maximizes the visual appeal and natural beauty of the area.

Rejuvenating the property was a key priority for the parish’s Alive in Christ Campaign in 2010. Parishioners generously pledged more than $600,000 to support the vision, which included roof repairs, renovations to the rummage center, and fresh paint on parish and school buildings. Improved landscaping is the most recent addition to the roster of completed projects: volunteers from the parish’s Gardening Angels ministry and EDGE middle school youth ministry teamed up to plant new greenery throughout the campus.

The parish also plans to enhance the church entrance with a new sign that Fr. Phil Egitto, pastor, hopes will serve as a “wonderful reminder that all are welcome.”
 

Offertory initiative helps St. John Vianney battle water damage
Wednesday, July 17, 2013

St. John Vianney

What began as a soggy mess became a lesson in the constructive power of Christian stewardship.

Heavy rains battered Central Florida throughout the month of June, breaking through a roof at St. John Vianney Catholic School, Orlando, and flooding one of two portable buildings used for Kindergarten classrooms.

Through the good stewardship of parishioners and their willingness to embrace the parish’s Offertory Enhancement Initiative, the staff was able to swiftly respond to the damage - and the unforeseen expense. Two offices in the Ministry Center are now under renovation and will be converted into new and safer classrooms for the kindergarten students.

“I am thankful and blessed to have such wonderful parishioners whose generosity helped provide for our parish during an unexpected emergency,” said Fr. Miguel Gonzalez, pastor.

Read more >>
 

Uniting to bring hope to Bithlo
Wednesday, July 17, 2013

mobile clinicThe residents of Bithlo, a small community in east Orange County, struggle with poverty, hunger, high rates of illiteracy, and limited to no access to medical care. Residents frequently don’t seek medical care because of the distance and expense, and many community members, including children, have never set foot in a dentist’s office.

All that is about to change through a collaborative effort involving Catholic Charities of Central Florida, St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, and United Global Outreach. Beginning at the end of July, a medical bus provided by Catholic Charities will allow people to receive medical and dental services as well as mental health counseling.

Read more >>
 

Celebrations planned as Alive in Christ surpasses $150 million
Thursday, June 27, 2013

AIC Victory CelebrationAllan Keen, Chairman of Board of Directors for the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, announced the Alive in Christ Campaign, the first-ever capital campaign for the Diocese of Orlando, has surpassed its goal, thanks to the stewardship of 36,000 individuals and families who raised $151 million in pledges giving glory and praise to our God.

"Reaching this goal is a tremendous accomplishment," said Bishop John Noonan. "I am most grateful for the outpouring of faithfulness during this time."

In thanksgiving, Bishop Noonan will celebrate with donors throughout the Diocese this Fall. Families who made a gift to the Alive in Christ Campaign should watch for the invitation.

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Parish recognizes families who leave a legacy for the Church
Thursday, June 27, 2013

Corpus Christi Legacy Society induction

On Saturday, June 1, Father Richard Trout, pastor of Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Celebration, welcomed five families into the parish's newest recognition society during an inaugural Induction Ceremony for the Corpus Christi Legacy Society.

"I am so pleased with the response," Father Trout said. "It really tells me that I am in the midst of some good stewards."

Corpus Christi is one of 14 parishes currently participating in a structured program that aims to overturn some of the most pervasive myths about planned or "legacy" giving.

For attorney Richard Mendoza and his wife, Tiffany, a kindergarten teacher (second and third from left), this includes the mistaken belief that planned giving is meant for older parishioners.

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Somalian family finds hope and safety in America
Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mohammed and SadiaMohammed and Sadia Abdi are still getting used to the feeling of safety. As Somalian refugees they suffered violence, hunger, imprisonment, and torture before coming to America in February of this year.

"Sometimes my wife is afraid when I work in the evenings," explains Mohammed. "When I get home I tell her, 'Don't worry. America is safe. There is no fighting here.'"

Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program is committed to providing a safe haven for refugees like Mohammed and Sadia, who leave behind war and tragedy in their homeland.

Read more >>
 

2012 Annual Report for the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida
Friday, May 31, 2013

Annual Report 2012The 2012 Annual Report for The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida is now available online. Please use this link to see how your gifts are building the Church!

Mothers honored every day at Shepherd’s House
Friday, May 31, 2013

Isabel Gomez and son at Shepherd's House

Homeless with a one year old son, Isabel Gomez found new hope when she was referred to Shepherd's House, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida.

Not only did Shepherd's House provide a safe place to call home, assistance with child care, an intensive savings plan, and case management; they also helped Gomez to follow one of her dreams: a career in law enforcement.

Read more >>
 

Parishioners look forward to long-awaited groundbreaking
Friday, May 31, 2013

Tractor at St. Vincent de Paul, with Fr. SagorskiFor the parishioners of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Wildwood, the steady rumble of construction equipment is a welcome sound. The arrival of the machinery on April 15 signaled the start of a project that has been a key part of the parish vision for nearly a decade: construction of a new and larger church.

“We sit here feeling the building shake and hearing the enormous pieces of earth-moving equipment grinding away, knowing that in a few short weeks the ground will be broken for our new church,” said Fr. Peter Sagorski, pastor.

Work is now underway on a new parking lot, and construction on the church will begin once the lot is complete.

To help fund the project, St. Vincent de Paul joined the first wave of the Alive in Christ Campaign in 2007, eventually raising more than $1.5 million or 163% of their parish goal.
 

Bishop Noonan announces new vision for the Diocese of Orlando
Friday, May 31, 2013

Teaching and Living the Light of Christ - Diocese of OrlandoOn March 28, Holy Thursday, Bishop John Noonan met with chancery employees to announce a new vision for the Diocese of Orlando that will direct the focus of ministry over the next several years.

“Teaching and Living the Light of Christ Jesus: Toward Goodness, Righteousness and Truth” is the new Vision, based on Sacred Scripture, Ephesians 5:8-10.

Read more >>
 

Make a toast to hope and opportunity
Friday, May 31, 2013

Tickets are available for “A Toast to Hope & Opportunity,” a wine tasting and awards presentation benefitting Catholic Charities of Central Florida. The event features a special guest appearance by former NFL player Fred Stokes.

The event will be held on June 14 at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Tickets are on sale at www.cflcc.org/toast-to-hope for $30 per person or $50 per couple. For more information contact Renee Baker at 407-658-1818 x 2121.
 

Annunciation blesses new track and field
Friday, April 26, 2013

Annunciation blesses new track and field

Fr. Stephen Parkes, pastor of Annunciation Catholic Church in Altamonte Springs, blessed the parish's newly developed sports complex during an Easter morning procession along the new track.

Following the Sunrise Mass, parishioners gathered to take their first walk around the long-awaited track and recreation field. The event marked a soft opening for the project, dubbed "Shepherd's Field," which also includes a 2,000 sq ft concession and restroom facility.

The complex is just one of several campus improvement projects that are currently underway or nearing completion as a result of Annunciation's successful Alive in Christ Capital Campaign. The parish recently completed a round of parking lot repairs and is finalizing the construction of a new driveway as well as a drop-off area that will assist parishioners with special needs.
 

Small business owner uses his will to nurture Church's growth
Friday, April 26, 2013

Billy BobAfter more than 30 years of tending to Winter Haven's stately trees, William "Billy Bob" Morris knows that responsible stewardship today lays a foundation for tomorrow's growth - in trees, in businesses, and in the mission of the Church.

That's one reason why the 73-year old owner of "Billy Bob's Tree Service" decided to amend his will to include a gift to St. Matthew Catholic Church, the parish that has been his spiritual home for the past 15 years.

"More than anything, it's a way to help the Church continue its growth pattern down the road," said Morris, a former Episcopalian who is now a proud member of the Knights of Columbus.

"It's always in the back of people's minds: what will I do with this money? Sometimes people are confused about how to disburse it. If you know you're going to have some left over, there is no better avenue than the Church."

Morris already had a valid will in place, but a codicil enabled him to include a gift to his parish by adding a few simple paragraphs.

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Candidacy Mass is highlight of Seminary tour for Corpus Christi Society
Friday, April 26, 2013

Seminary group

The campus of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boynton Beach, was abounding with joy on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7, as seven seminarians from the Diocese of Orlando were admitted to candidacy by Bishop John Noonan.

Among those who attended the celebration were twelve members of the Corpus Christi Society, a diocesan giving society made up of individuals and families who generously contribute $10,000 or more to Our Catholic Appeal.

Approximately 16% of gifts to Our Catholic Appeal support the needs of clergy and religious, including seminarians. It is the primary source of funds for the diocesan Office of Vocations and an important source of funds for seminary tuition assistance.

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Campus Ministry building under construction
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

campus ministry
 
Fr. Scott Circe, Director of Catholic Campus Ministry (above), adds his name to the wall of signatures on February 19 during a "topping out" ceremony for the NorthView complex.

Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Central Florida has been steadily growing over the past five years and is now preparing for a huge expansion.

Its current center is a 2,400-square-foot storefront located off campus. The new center under construction will provide 20,000 square feet of space located adjacent to a 600-bedroom student housing facility. Interested students can visit http://northview.housing.ucf.edu to apply for an apartment.

Located on Lockwood Boulevard, directly north of the UCF campus in Orlando, the new Catholic Campus Ministry Center is part of the seven-story "NorthView" complex that will also include a Hillel Center for Jewish students.

Fundraising efforts are under way to provide the majority of the $2 million necessary for the design and infrastructure of the interior of the center. The Catholic Campus Ministry Center will also receive some funding from the Alive in Christ Campaign.

Read more >>
 

Continuation effort boosts campaign success at St. Augustine
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fr. Ybain
 
Spring has officially arrived, but at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Casselberry, parishioners are already looking ahead to summer, when the parish hopes to begin work on a backlog of renovation projects, including significant repairs to the Parish Center and rectory.

The anticipated improvements follow a renewed effort by parish leadership to ramp up support for the Alive in Christ Campaign, which began in 2009 at St. Augustine.

In the Fall of 2012, the parish teamed up with the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida to launch a campaign continuation effort that would reach out to new families while reviving parish-wide interest.

The combination of a direct mail and in-pew approach proved to be a success, with parishioners raising an additional $140,000 to help support the upcoming projects.

Read more >>
 

Holy Week recalls supreme act of stewardship
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Via Dolorosa
 
In the days leading up to Easter Sunday, Christ beckons us to accompany Him in prayer. This journey to the foot of the cross provides us with an opportunity to contemplate His sacrifice and to examine our own personal response to that gift.

As we walk with Christ through this most Holy Week, may our experience of His Passion awaken our hearts to the redeeming power of Love, so that we too might share that Love with others.
 

Ministry growth drives expansion plans at Ascension
Friday, February 22, 2013

Ascension artist rendering
 
Ascension Catholic Community, Melbourne, faces a challenge that many parishes would welcome: the challenge of rapidly growing ministries.

"We are such an active parish and have so many ministries. It is hard to schedule meetings. We are always looking for space," explained parish bookkeeper, Mary Russo.

A much-needed solution is now on its way.

Construction is almost complete on a new and larger ministry center, located across from the existing ministry building on the parish campus. The 10,000 sq ft, single-story facility will include meeting rooms, classrooms and a small kitchen as well as the central feature: a large all-purpose gathering space.

To fund the construction, generous parishioners raised almost $2.3 million during the parish's Alive in Christ Campaign in 2009.

Read more >>
 

Annunciation sports complex nears completion
Friday, February 22, 2013

Annunciation sports complex
 
Dubbed the "Field of Dreams," an eagerly-anticipated sports complex has indeed been a long-awaited dream for the families of Annunciation Catholic Church and School in Altamonte Springs.

With funds from the parish Alive in Christ Campaign, Annunciation was able to break ground on the project in June, 2012, and is working toward substantial completion by March, 2013. In addition to a track and recreation field, the complex includes a 2,000 sq ft concession and restroom facility.

"We are looking forward to it. It has been a long time coming," observed Mark McLaughlin, Director of Operations.

The sports complex is the second major construction project to emerge from the Alive in Christ Campaign at Annunciation. In March 2011 the parish helped break ground on a new church for San Jose Mission, an economically disadvantaged community in rural Volusia County.

Read more >>
 

Our Catholic Appeal is opportunity to share the gift of faith
Friday, February 22, 2013

Our Catholic Appeal - For our people, our ministries, our future
 
In this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI invites us to rejoice in our Catholic faith and to make a special effort to share that Good News with others.

On Feb. 16-17, parishioners of the Diocese of Orlando joined together to answer the Holy Father's call by supporting the important work of our diocesan ministries.

Sacrificial gifts to Our Catholic Appeal help our community to proclaim the faith by funding a wide variety of ministries that promote Christian values, nurture holy families, form future priests, evangelize our neighbors, and perform works of service and mercy throughout Central Florida.

Please visit the Catholic Foundation's secure website at www.cfocf.org/OCA/give to make a one-time gift or pledge to Our Catholic Appeal for 2013. Your online gift will be credited toward your parish's annual goal.
 

Bishop John Noonan Begins Twitter Account
Friday, February 22, 2013

Bishop Noonan on TwitterBishop John Noonan has followed in the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI and started tweeting on the ubiquitous social network Twitter. His first tweet came on February 13, Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent.

Viewing Twitter as an opportunity to reach more people with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, Bishop Noonan believes we are called to put technology to good use by sharing the Good News – even if it is only 140 characters at a time.

He chose Ash Wednesday to begin tweeting because this is a time set aside to reflect on the Gospel and how we live our faith in relation to the Gospel.

"The ability to reach thousands of people instantly with a Scripture reflection or another message of faith is a gift we have been given. I look forward to walking with many other Catholics on their faith journey in this special way," said Bishop Noonan.

To follow Bishop Noonan on Twitter, search his handle @BishopNoonan on www.twitter.com or click here: twitter.com/BishopNoonan
 

Parish offertory makes giving a year-round tradition
Monday, January 14, 2013

giftsAs the commercial gift-giving season draws to a close, Bob Hultz, a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament, Cocoa, is enjoying the spiritual riches that accompany a year-round commitment to parish offertory giving.

"Blessed Sacrament holds a special place in our hearts. We believe it is very important to support our parish through year-round offertory gifts so that the parish can provide the ministries and services much needed in this area," said Bob.

Blessed Sacrament is one of 26 parishes currently participating in a structured Offertory Enhancement Initiative. Since the program began in the fall of 2012, a combined total of more than $388,000 has been raised in additional offertory revenue for the participating parishes.

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Giving is redemptive for St. Margaret Mary parishioner
Monday, January 14, 2013

Winifred EisWinnie Eis understands the power of the human voice. And when the former long-distance phone operator chose to include St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church as part of her legacy, the message was one of redemption.

"My family has not maintained a real relationship with the Church," revealed Winnie, regarding a few of her siblings, nieces and nephews. "I felt so disappointed that I hadn't been able to reach out to them and bring them back to the Church."

Inspired by the Planned Giving Initiative at St. Margaret Mary in the fall of 2012, Winifred "Winnie" Eis made the decision to name the Winter Park parish as the beneficiary of a commercial annuity. She considers the gift to be a tribute to her family and hopes it will encourage others to help loved ones return to the faith.

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Catholic Foundation names new President
Monday, January 14, 2013

Meghan PostThe Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, Inc. is pleased to announce that Meghan Post has been named President of the Foundation, effective January 1, 2013. She served most recently as Vice President of Advancement and Chief Administrative Officer while assuming additional responsibilities as acting President throughout most of 2012.

In her role as President, Meghan will work to implement the Catholic Foundation's ten-year business plan. The ambitious plan calls for a renewed emphasis on the annual diocesan fundraising effort, Our Catholic Appeal, along with the introduction of new programs aimed at strengthening parishes through offertory enhancement and planned giving.

"Meghan has been instrumental in developing our ten-year plan that will transform the work and witness of our Church, taking it to a level unprecedented in the 45-year history of the Diocese of Orlando," noted Allan Keen, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida. "Her leadership and vision are investments in the future of our Church."

Read more >>

Prince of Peace set to expand vital social services ministry
Friday, December 14, 2012

Prince of Peace Catholic Church
 
Prince of Peace Catholic Church has moved another step closer to realizing a long-held dream. Bishop Noonan recently approved phase one of the parish's plan to build a comprehensive Social Services Ministry Building on the campus of the Ormond Beach community. Phase one will consist of the construction of a new and larger thrift store, which the parish hopes will serve as the basis for a future expansion that will incorporate the food pantry.

The Social Services Ministry began at the parish more than 25 years ago, and now distributes food, clothing and other basic necessities to more than 1,200 people each month.

To help fund the construction of the new thrift shop, parishioners raised more than $1.4 million in cash and pledges through the Alive in Christ Capital Campaign. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2013.

Read more >>
 

St. Mary Magdalen parishioner named philanthropist of the year
Friday, December 14, 2012

Diane HolmDiane Holm has dedicated herself to volunteering and helping others since it was instilled in her as a child - her father was a member of the Knights of Columbus and her mother volunteered at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Winter Park. She called it a "family lifestyle," one that she and her husband, Eric, have passed on to their children.

"Personally, it's the most rewarding thing anyone can do, to reach across and give someone a hand," Diane Holm said. "The more you do, the more you want to do."

Holm accepted the Outstanding Philanthropist award during a breakfast Nov. 15, at the Central Florida Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals' annual National Philanthropy Day at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes. The event honored donors, volunteers and professionals whose gifts of time, expertise and resources contribute significantly to the quality of life in central Florida.

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Foundation staff shares Christmas cheer with family in need
Friday, December 14, 2012

Doris and MarcoIn the spirit of giving, employees of the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida joined together to share their blessings with a family in need.

Doris Quinones, Annual Giving Manager, coordinated the Foundation's Adopt-a-Family Christmas program in collaboration with the Diocese of Orlando Chancery staff, who helped to identify a local family currently struggling with financial hardships. Foundation employees responded by donating and gift-wrapping a total of 23 presents ranging from new clothes and shoes to toys and toolkits.

"We not only helped a family who would otherwise have had no gifts for their children, but we also showered them with love and hope," said Quinones. "In giving we are truly celebrating the coming of our Lord."

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Diocese gives thanks for the generosity of God's people
Friday, November 16, 2012

Mass of Thanksgiving 2012
It was a day to remember God's many blessings as nearly 1,300 gathered to participate in the celebration of the Diocese of Orlando's annual Mass of Thanksgiving at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe in Orlando on November 4. Bishop John Noonan thanked the congregation, comprised of people who contributed to the Alive in Christ capital campaign or made a gift to Our Catholic Appeal during the past year, for their generosity and commitment to the diocesan efforts.

"What truly makes us Catholic is our generosity and service and our faith and for that, I sincerely thank you," Bishop Noonan said.

As part of the celebration, four parishioners shared how their lives have been touched by each effort. Fifth year seminarian Chris Dorsey thanked Our Catholic Appeal donors for giving him the opportunity to discern priesthood and his relationship with Christ and to fully understand God's call.

"None of this could happen if I did not have the support and prayers of all of you," Dorsey said.

Read more >>

Special tour of Bishop Grady Villas is gift for donors
Friday, November 16, 2012

Bishop Grady Villas
A recent tour of Bishop Grady Villas in St. Cloud confirmed what many of the guests already knew: the residents are the heart of this special ministry.

"This is so worthwhile to see. Everybody should plan to come and see what we have, to see the residents. They are wonderful. They are so free with their conversation and their hugs," observed Francis Pope, a parishioner at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Winter Haven.

Pope is one of 20 guests who joined Bishop Noonan on October 17 for a private tour of diocesan-supported Bishop Grady Villas, a residential facility that provides a Christ-centered, family-oriented home for 48 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Hosted by The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, the tour was designed to help donors better understand how their gifts to Our Catholic Appeal bring hope into the lives of others.

Read more >>

Help the Catholic Foundation to better serve you...
Friday, November 16, 2012

The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, Inc.In an effort to better serve the people, parishes and ministries of the Diocese of Orlando, the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida invites you to take a short online survey.

We want to know what you, as a faithful supporter of the Church, feel our priorities should be in the coming year. Your responses will help us to learn which ministries are important to our Catholic community, what giving opportunities are most appealing, and how donors prefer to receive communication updates and recognition. Please be aware that the survey is completely anonymous. You will not be asked to provide any contact information and your individual responses will not be known to us.

We hope you will take a moment to click here and complete the survey by November 30th. The questions should take no more than ten minutes of your time.

Thank you for helping us to better serve the Church in Central Florida!
 

Lettermen concerts to benefit homeless charities
Friday, November 16, 2012

The Lettermen
Tickets are now available to see legendary vocal trio “the Lettermen,” who will perform two live shows at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, Winter Park.  Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit local charities that aid the homeless.

The Christmas Show is scheduled for Thursday, December 27 at 7:00pm.

The Broadway Show is scheduled for Friday, December 28 at 7:00pm.

Tickets range from $30 - $50, and sponsorship opportunities are available.

For more information, call the St. Margaret Mary parish office at 407-647-3392 or Click here to purchase tickets online.
 

Donors experience the heart of ministry at Catholic Charities
Monday, October 22, 2012

Shepherd's House
For Nicholas Degel, a tour of Catholic Charities was an eye-opening experience.

"I've learned so much about Catholic Charities. I always thought they were mostly just a food bank," said Degel, a parishioner at St. James Cathedral, Orlando.

Degel is one of 22 guests who joined Bishop John Noonan on September 25 for a four-hour tour of the Orlando-based headquarters of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, including a visit to Shepherd's House, a transitional housing program for homeless single mothers and their children.

Read More >>

Catholic Foundation launches new and improved web site
Friday, October 19, 2012

The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, Inc.The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, Inc. is pleased to announce the launch of its new and improved Web site at www.CFOCF.org. The revamped site features a fresh design with enhanced graphics, user-friendly navigation, and expanded content.

In addition to the online giving function, which enables donors to make a gift to Our Catholic Appeal or Alive in Christ - or to make a payment on an existing pledge – the new site provides abundant information on a variety of giving options, including stock gifts, permanent endowments, and charitable gift annuities. Viewers can also explore new opportunities to ...

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Catholic Foundation earns international recognition for stewardship efforts
Friday, October 19, 2012

Catholic Foundation staff
The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida has been recognized by the International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC) for excellence in promoting stewardship.

Meghan Post, Chief Administrative Officer and Vice President of Development for the Catholic Foundation, accepted the first place award in the Total Foundation Effort category on Sept. 18, during the ICSC's 50th annual conference and exhibit in Chicago.

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Ascension parishioners bring hope to the homeless through Alive in Christ
Friday, September 07, 2012

hope for the homelessThrough their gifts to Alive in Christ, parishioners are helping to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness that affects the lives of more than 70,000 homeless children in Florida alone.

It is a vision that is yielding fruit in the lives of many families.

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National Catechetical Sunday, Septmber 16, 2012
Friday, September 07, 2012

Vivos Christi Society

On September 16, 2012, we express our gratitude for our catechists, whose vital work ensures that our glorious faith is passed on to future generations.

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Did you know there is a Catholic version of the Living Will?
Friday, September 07, 2012

Catholic living willThe Living Will and Healthcare Surrogate forms express your wishes regarding medical care in the event that you are unable to make those decisions due to illness. They are an important part of a thoughtful life-planning process, which should also include your will, life insurance and other estate plans.

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Students receive "chilly" reception at Holy Redeemer
Thursday, August 16, 2012

Students returning to Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Kissimmee were greeted with a "chilly" reception on their first day of school.

And it came as a welcome relief.

While students were away during the summer, Holy Redeemer installed an upgraded air conditioning system in the parish school using funds raised through the parish's Alive in Christ Campaign. The previous system had faltered in recent years, increasing the school's utility costs while providing only partial cooling.

Students aren't the only ones who are enthusiastic about the many changes taking place at Holy Redeemer as a result of Alive in Christ. Parents who drive their children to and from the school are discovering that the parking lot is now much easier -- and safer -- to navigate.

"You almost needed a tank to get through our parking lot," observed Brian Franz, Business Manager at Holy Redeemer. "We had potholes you could lose a car in."

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Design for new church is welcome sight for parishioners
Thursday, August 16, 2012

In the fall of 2007, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Wildwood, joined the first wave of the Alive in Christ Campaign with the goal of raising funds for the construction of a larger church. By the spring of 2012, parish families had raised approximately 160% of their minimum goal of twice the annual offertory. Now, with the designs complete and a contractor selected, parishioners have taken yet another step toward their new home.

"It will be a larger, more functional building," noted Lee Valente, Business Manager for St. Vincent de Paul. "We'll be able to do what we’re called to do."

The new church will have an estimated seating capacity of 1,000 and will feature two reconciliation rooms, a bridal room, and a choir practice room with adjacent storage. The design plan also includes both a working sacristy and a vesting sacristy, which are combined into one small space in the current facility.

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Date set for fourth annual Vivos Christi Society Induction Mass
Thursday, August 16, 2012

Vivos Christi SocietyBishop John Noonan will celebrate the fourth annual Vivos Christi Society Induction Ceremony at St. James Cathedral on Saturday, September 8th, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The ceremony will include the celebration of the Mass and the formal induction of new members, followed by a reception in the St. James Social Hall.

All Vivos Christi Society members and their families are invited to attend the ceremony, which honors those who provide for the future of the Church through a planned gift.

Planned giving, also known as charitable estate giving, is a convenient way to provide for loved ones while considering the needs of a parish or the larger Church. The most popular option is a simple bequest in one's will, but alternatives, such as charitable gift annuities, may offer tax and income benefits as well.

For more information on how to join the Vivos Christi Society, please email Casey Schroder at PlannedGiving@cfocf.org

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