In the videos below, Bishop John Noonan explains how our Church has adapted to serving our community’s increased needs since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic
Our Catholic Appeal (OCA) is an annual opportunity for every member of our faith family to support the life-changing work and ministries of the Diocese of Orlando. Gifts to Our Catholic Appeal fund a variety of ministries that serve our nine counties in ways that no parish could alone. Annual gifts to Our Catholic Appeal provide essential funding to ministries that benefit every Catholic parish, school and family in Central Florida. This funding provides critical support for our seminarians and retired priests, tuition assistance, health and housing care to people in need, faith programs for children, families and adults, assistance for migrant workers and the disabled, and outreach programs such as Catholic Charities of Central Florida.
One of the insights we have discovered during this pandemic is the desire to participatein-person at the celebration of the Eucharist. In the beginning weeks of the pandemic priests were celebrating Mass in empty churches, while parishioners watched at home on tablets, computers, and cellphones. For many, both priests and laity, this did not feel right, something was lacking. Missing was the community gathered to give praise and glory to God. During the time of closed churches, many rediscovered the importance of community, an aspect of worship we may have taken for granted before the pandemic.
Community just doesn’t happen, it takes work! A group of people occupying the same space in a building does not necessarily mean community. Community is kinship and can only form when individuals surrender their “I, me, mine”, and strive for “we, us, our.” As we have re-opened the church with limited seating, it is important for all of us to practice the sacred virtue of humility and surrender for the sake of the Lord. Many may ask themselves, “What does surrender to the Lord look like?” The answer is simple:
Please don’t get angry or upset when told that the church has reached its seating capacity and you need to go to one of the other Masses. If you reserve a ticket, be sure to arrive 15 to 30 minutes before Mass. Remember, 10 minutes before Mass we permit those in the “stand-by line” to enter the church if there is still room available.
Follow the usher’s direction to the next available pew/seat, even though it is not your “usual” pew or spot in the pew.
As we endure these uncertain times, many of our fellow parishioners long to attend Mass at church but are unable to do so for a variety of reasons. For those who have made the choice to attend church in person, let us remember the real reason why we attend Mass. We attend Mass only to give praise to our God.
We come together as brothers and sisters in Christ to worship and glorify Him. It is not about ‘me’ demanding to get in because “I” have a ticket; or sitting in ‘my’ pew; or at the end of the pew which is ‘mine’. Rather, ‘we’ gather with fellow parishioners as a parish family, asking for God’s graces and blessings upon ‘us’ and ‘our’ loved ones, parish, country, and world.
A special seven-episode presentation titled “The Search” isnow available for free on FORMED.ORG. It has been described as the most thought provoking and visually stunning presentation of the Gospels ever produced.
This series is for everyone – from committed Catholics, to teenagers, to those outside of the Church. It takes you on a journey of exploration: Why are we here? What is life all about? What happens when we die? You are encouraged to watch and share it with family and friends, including your adult children and grandchildren. “The Search” is re-energizing parishioners across the country in ways that haven’t been seen in years!
Catholic faithful are called to political engagement shaped by the moral convictions of well-formed consciences and focused on the dignity of every human being, the pursuit of the common good, and the protection of the weak and the vulnerable.
To help parishioners become informed on where candidates stand on key issues, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops has polled candidates running for the U.S. Congress and the Florida Legislature.
To see how candidates appearing on the August 18 Primary Election / November 3 General Election ballot responded to the questionnaire, click here.