Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Some of you may have noticed that the house (2512 Barbara Drive) next to the rectory has been on the market. One of the unwritten rules that you learn after you’re ordained and certainly after you become a pastor, is that regarding the sale of church property, the rule is simple: “Don’t!”

In the history of the Church in Florida, one of the famous historical notes is that Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley, Bishop of Saint Augustine from 1940 to 1967 was a man of vision who bought property all over the state in the 40’s and the 50’s when some of it was even under water.

I don’t have the exact facts, but I’d be willing to bet that half the parishes in Florida are built on “Hurley Land.” Our own parish sits on ground purchased during Archbishop Hurley’s tenure. In 1955, Monsignor O’Looney of St. Anthony’s announced a campaign to raise $200,000 for the ‘mission’ of St. Sebastian. The building went up in 1958/9 and here we are. But other spaces would be needed.

The rectory was bought in 1959 and 2512 was bought in 1961 by Father (later Monsignor) Bill McKeever for use as a parish hall and religious education center. It also had living quarters that were used by associates of the parish. The last was Father Bill Mylchreest, known to many of you. After Father Bill we were able to offer the residence to the three priests of the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara rites, the most recent being Father Antony Viyalikarottu who now lives in St. Bernadette but still celebrates for the Indian community on Sunday mornings in our chapel. (He and I have a promise to try out the new Indian restaurant in the Quay.)

I have played a small part in the history of this parish and I’m sure many of you would have many more stories to tell. I believe that with the sale, the property at 2512 is now serving us as well as ever. It uniquely will supply for our future as it blessed out past.

With the proceeds of the sale we will be able to accomplish our long desired kitchen as well as provide adequate storage AND put up a welcoming sign in the front of the property. The little black metal plate that served us well deserves a decent retirement. I can promise that our new signage will NOT have electric messages in glowing neon.

On another note, you may have noticed the small statue of Mary under our BVM statue. This is “The Pilgrim Virgin.” The statue goes from parish to parish throughout the Archdiocese under the careful shepherding of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, MACCW, including our own SSCCW. In 1988 the women began the practice as a way of promoting devotion to our heavenly mother AND encouraging evangelization through devotion to the rosary. If you run through the 20 mysteries of the rosary, you have an instant powerful tour of the story of our salvation. In 1988, Archbishop Edward McCarthy encouraged us in the spirit of Pope Paul VI, to rekindle our own sense of understanding the Good News and then sharing it.

On a personal note, we had word this week of the death of a great priest, Father Seamus (Jim) Murtagh. I had the privilege of being on the major seminary faculty with him. If you want to read a wonderful story go to <>. Then click in order, News and Events, then Latest News, then scroll to obituary, Father Seamus. It’s worth the trip.

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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