This year, we are more than ready to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our lives were disrupted by the pandemic, which left us at home at Easter last year. We couldn't celebrate our Pascal Triduum. We lost many members of our congregation and friends, including priests, and I am sure that, through the mercy and love of God, they are now participating in the resurrection of the Lord. However, this year will be different. I can say that we have lived the longest Lent ever! For nearly a year, we had to wait to celebrate together this major event of our faith: THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST. Through the great experience of our spiritual life, we proclaim the victory of Jesus as our victory. "If Christ has not been raised, our faith is vain" (1 Corinthians 15:17).
With our hearts renewed, we want to welcome all of you to be part of our Parish. We have worked hard with Fr. Duber, Deacons Frank and Richard, and all our staff and volunteers to create the best environment in our temple and in all our gardens to make St. Ann "a great garden of contemplation and prayer." If our temple is closed, you will always find a perfect spot to pray, contemplate, and have time to spend with God.
Our Parish has 30 acres where you will find a vivid orange grove, a new shrine completely open and dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, donated by John the XXIII movement, and an outside altar donated by the Religious Education office. There are many olive trees and a beautiful view of Lake Eva that gives visitors the feeling of being in the Holy Land. The Stations of the Cross in the garden impel us to walk with Jesus and to meditate upon his passion and love for humanity. Our prayer tower is dedicated to the unborn, where you may light a candle for your intentions. There are statues in honor of Mary, the Holy Family, St. Ann, Jesus playing with the children, and the Guardian Angel. The under-construction garden is celebrating the year of St. Joseph. You can enjoy all the flowers and ornamental plants, old oak and palm trees that decorate and become silent witnesses of our Parish's 51 years of existence.
In our church, you will find a gorgeous pyrography mural and the Stations of the Cross made by the Spanish artist Jose Aznar in which he captured the scene of Jesus resurrected sharing a dinner with a group of parishioners-founders, and the two priests, Fr. Carlos Azupin and Fr. Anderson, who built the church.
But when you get to St. Ann's, you will find a strong community of faith that yearns to share the Good News of Salvation with all of you. More than 350 students are in our Religious Education program; 47 catechumens were baptized, confirmed, and received the Eucharist for the first time at our Easter Vigil. Our prayer groups (Cursillo, John the XXIII, Charismatic group, Youth Ministry); religious organizations (Knights of Columbus, Columbiettes); a group that prays the Holy Rosary every morning before the 9:00 AM Mass for the unborn and the priests; and many ministers and volunteers make our church a favorite destination to be a good Catholic, a person of prayer.
Inside the church, we have room for 1,075 souls who want to join us in our vibrant liturgy in English and Spanish with wonderful choirs that enhance our celebrations. I am blessed to live in such a community of faith; they are the best!
Only you are missing! Come and see! We are waiting for you! Come and be a part of our dreams and let us work together to build the Kingdom of God here and now.
Let's make St. Ann's an excellent place to stay and be in touch with God.
Welcome to St. Ann Parish, the multicultural community in the heart of Florida!
Fr. Alfonso Cely
Lord Jesus Christ,
Who on the cross accepted the will of your heavenly Father,
offering your life for the salvation of the World; please have mercy on all of us, and protect our families and us from any harm that this pandemic can cause.
Fill the hearts of people that are suffering illness or have lost a member of their families during this pandemic time with the love and light of the Holy Spirit to understand your will in this adverse circumstance that we are living now.
Through the intercession of Mary, your mother, and our mother that close to your cross accepted your will, and who, after your body was placed in the tomb, waited lovingly for your glorious resurrection, which transforms the life of the World.
Fr. Alfonso Cely
Matthew is our first Seminarian Candidate in 51 years.
Fr. Alfonso met him almost a year ago while he was on semester break. Father spoke with him and asked him what his future plans were. He gave a general response about finishing school. Fr. Alfonso told him to keep his heart and mind open to God.
Later the next week, Father received a call from Matthew telling him that he had just completed his Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and that he received a letter from the Diocesan Office of Vocations informing him that he was accepted into the St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary.
Congratulations Matthew! We are grateful to God for your "yes" to discern his call to the priesthood. Let us all continue to pray that he enters more deeply each day into the mystery of Jesus' Sacred Heart, who seeks to give you rest and guidance at every moment of your life.
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Fr. Alfonso's Reflections, Words of Wisdom, & Welcoming Letters