OCTOBER 7, 2020: LETTER FROM BISHOP ESTEVEZ
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As election day in our country approaches, people have been asking for guidance as they consider the candidates and their votes. While the Church and its clergy cannot endorse a particular candidate or political party, we do have a responsibility to encourage you to understand the issues in the context of Church teaching and to help you in this area of the ‘proper formation of your conscience’.
This election, at both the federal and state level, will shape the future of our nation for generations to come. Some would prefer that Catholics and others of faith remain silent, or they will say that such beliefs have no place in public square. Such views run contrary to our fraternal bonds and commitment to the common good as equal and valued citizens. Since politics is about securing justice in society, it is a fundamentally moral activity. As Catholics, our belief is that there are fundamental truths about the human person and society that are accessible to both faith and reason. We therefore have a right and a duty to participate in the public square in a way that reflects these truths, both for the good of our community and for the glory of the God who created us.
When the Declaration of Independence was penned, three rights were deemed unalienable, given to all human beings by their Creator and, therefore, unable to be taken away from someone or given away by someone else. They are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That they were written in this order was no mistake—even the Founding Fathers knew that the right to life surpassed all others in importance: without the right to life, none of the other rights could be protected. The right to life was, and is, preeminent.
On this issue of preeminence of the right to life – and its source in our Creator - the Founding Fathers and the Church are agreed. Yet issues of life are under attack, and they appear in our national conversation and laws in terrible ways, as threats to the unborn (abortion), and as threats to the vulnerable, the disabled, and the elderly (euthanasia or assisted suicide). The Church teaches that abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide, as direct attacks on innocent human life, are all intrinsically evil—always and everywhere profoundly immoral. And preeminent among these is the most fundamental threat to the beginning of life itself—abortion. Pope Francis has made it clear that if we fail to protect life, no other rights matter. He also said that abortion is not primarily a Catholic or even a religious issue: it is first and foremost a human rights issue.
All too often we hear people say: As a matter of faith I am against abortion, but I cannot
impose my belief on others. It is not a matter of imposing a belief, but of being committed to
the truth about human life, which, as biological science confirms, begins at conception.
Those who argue otherwise are not committed to reason, but to the false belief that there are some human beings not deserving of the protection of our laws.
By our Baptismal Call, and in our prayer to the Father, all children of God are pledged to seek God’s Kingdom and fulfill His will, on earth as it is in heaven. We vow that we will strive for perfect integrity in submitting our will to the will of God. We cannot with integrity pray the words of the Our Father, or say “Amen” when receiving the Eucharist, and then be passive on the issues that destroy God’s creation. This is true for all people of faith, elector, and elected official.
There are some who will claim that, by focusing on the preeminent issue of abortion, the
Church is promoting single-issue voting that will tend to support a particular candidate or
party. The Church will always act to promote the dignity and value of every human life
from conception to natural death. We care about both mothers and their children, born and
unborn, as well as the poor, the immigrant, the sick, the disabled, the elderly, those who are
marginalized, and those on death row. We seek to promote a Culture of Life through our
teaching and through our ministries, some of which are threatened by the extreme
positions taken by some on issues of life and the family.
As you endeavor to be an educated voter with a properly formed conscience as regards the
issues we face as individuals, families, and as one nation under God, you can count on the
prayers of your Shepherds. The political parties and their candidates have provided you
with information that they believe will help you to understand their positions on issues
that are important to you and for the good of the country. The Church engages in this
political process by providing you with the faith context by which to judge some of these
positions. This is a difficult time in our nation and a critical time to not only exercise your
right to vote, but to do so with the utmost integrity.
Most Reverend Felipe J. Estevez
Bishop of the Diocese of Saint Augustine
October 7, 2020
JULY 23, 2020: FAMILY FAITH FORMATION
We are finalizing our faith formation program for 2020-2021. We anticipate sending out communications by email, on the website and in the bulletin within the next few weeks. If you have not registered at SJPII, please do so by clicking here. If you provide your email when you register, then you will receive communications from SJPII, including information about faith formation (CCF). You need to be a registered parishioner to participate in the faith formation program at SJPII.
We are excited to introduce a digital/ online platform for our faith formation program that will focus on our children's formation as well as formation for the whole family. The lessons and activities will be completed at home within an assigned period of time. Additionally, there will be some activities held here at SJPII for the children and their families throughout the program year.
Please return to the website and watch your email for updated information.
MAY 19, 2020: CONFIRMATION LETTER
Candidates for Confirmation and Parents,
I am overjoyed to share the news with you that Confirmation Mass will be celebrated during Pentecost weekend on Saturday, May 30th at 6:00 pm at St. John Paul II Church. The Mass will be for Confirmation candidates, their sponsors or proxy sponsors, and their families, and will be held outdoors in order to follow current social distancing and capacity restrictions.
Last week Bishop Estevez bestowed on me the great privilege of conferring Confirmation on your child. I am honored to fulfill this duty and anticipate sharing this experience with you and your families in less than two weeks.
If your child’s sponsor will not be able to attend the Confirmation Mass, they can still be a sponsor, but you would need to have someone stand in proxy on their behalf.
We plan to video the Confirmation Mass and release it the following day at 10:30 am on YouTube and Facebook in order for you to share with your extended family and friends who may not be able to attend.
There is a mandatory Confirmation Rehearsal on Thursday, May 28th at 3:00 pm at SJPII. We will meet on the field where Mass is celebrated in the east parking lot. Attendance is mandatory so that your child and his/her sponsor know the structure of the Mass and how they will participate to enable a beautiful and spiritual experience for all those who attend.
If the sponsor cannot attend the rehearsal, please have an adult present who can explain what the expectations are for the ceremony.
Though these days have been challenging and crippling to our normal way of life we must try to make the best of them. There is no greater feast day in the Church and no greater time to celebrate the completion of the Sacraments of Initiation for your children than Pentecost. I am deeply honored to celebrate this Sacrament at the permission of Bishop Estevez and find it to be entirely providential.
We will be in contact with each of you as soon as possible to ensure we have everything in line for the beautiful days to come of Pentecost.
Father Richard Pagano
Pastor, St. John Paul II Catholic Church
MAY 21, 2020: FIRST HOLY COMMUNION LETTER
Parents of Our First Holy Communion Children,
I am overjoyed to share the news with you that the First Holy Communion Mass will be celebrated during Corpus Christi weekend on Saturday, June 13th at 10:00 am at St. John Paul II Church. The Mass will be exclusively for the First Holy Communion children and their families. I am honored and excited to share this most holy experience with you and your families in just a few weeks.
We plan to video the First Holy Communion Mass and release it the following day at 10:30am on YouTube and Facebook in order for you to share with your extended family and friends who may not be able to attend.
There is a mandatory First Holy Communion Rehearsal on Thursday, June 11th at 3:00 pm at SJPII. Attendance is mandatory so that your children will know the structure of the Mass and how they will participate, to enable a beautiful and spiritual experience for all those who attend.
How very fitting that during this Corpus Christi celebration, which is centered on the Body and Blood of Christ, your children will receive the Eucharist for the very first time.
More details will be forthcoming through email and on the website at www.nocateecatholic.com.
With continued prayer and joy,
Father Richard Pagano
Pastor, St. John Paul II Catholic Church
It has felt like an eternity waiting to come back together again and worship as a community…
Well, the time finally has arrived!!
Public Weekend Masses Resume! First Weekend Back - May 16th & 17th
**These Masses will be celebrated outdoors so please plan accordingly.**
Saturday Vigil 4:00 pm & 6:00 pm
Sunday 8:00 am & 10:30 am
Confession: Saturdays from 2:00—3:45 pm
FOR EVERYONE’S SAFETY
- Please abide by State & Local requirements relating to social distancing at all times.
- It is required that all those in attendance bring with them a suitable mask or face covering.
- Practice good hygiene. Bring your own hand sanitizer.
Vulnerable Individuals Should Remain Sheltered in Place:
“We strongly encourage that any vulnerable individuals over the age of 65, and those having underlying health conditions, continue to stay home. They should not return to Mass until physical distancing guidelines are rescinded. They are encouraged to participate by live stream or recorded Masses and other pious exercises.” (Diocese of St. Augustine)
**REMINDER: THE BISHOP HAS DISPENSED ALL FAITHFUL UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE FROM THE OBLIGATION TO ATTEND SUNDAY MASS.
Seating: Bring your own chairs, towels, blankets
Sun Protection: Bring sunscreen, water, hats, umbrella
Parking: Knights of Columbus will be directing traffic & parking. Please be attentive to them.
- Listen to Mass from your car: Enter towards the back of the parking lot. Park in successive rows, facing the altar (west) in the parking lot and tune in to FM 90.1. Overflow parking will be on the grass adjacent to the parking lot.
- Park & Sit Outside: Use the last exit from the roundabout. Park on the South Lawn.
Walk to designated seating area, following social distancing restrictions.
We will pray the Spiritual Communion Prayer during Mass for those who are not prepared to receive the Blessed Sacrament physically.
For those who are prepared to receive, whether you sit outside or sit in your car, Holy Communion will be distributed at four tented locations, following each Mass. Please follow social distancing when processing to receive and wear your mask until you receive. Please remove gloves before receiving the Blessed Sacrament.
For those of you who are interested in attending daily Mass (Monday - Friday), more information will be forthcoming as we move closer to the 100th birthday of St. John Paul II on the 18th of May, when we will resume and celebrate our first daily Mass.
***Please note once again that the special dispensation issued by Bishop Estevez stating that
Catholics are not obligated at this time to physically attend Mass is still in effect.***
The health and safety of our community, priests, and volunteers remains our top priority. Please respect the guidelines and encouragement we have provided here if you decide to attend Mass. For those of you who choose to stay home, we will continue to provide the live stream of the Mass through Facebook @nocateecatholic, YouTube @fatherpagano & @uCatholic, and our website www.nocateecatholic.com.
Pastor, St. John Paul II Catholic Church
A Message from Bishop Estevez - May 6, 2020
FOOD COLLECTION FOR MANDARIN FOOD BANK
We will be partnering with the Mandarin Food Bank to provide donations of specific canned and non-perishable goods that are greatly needed at this challenging time. As people have experienced financial hardship due to the impact of COVID-19, the demands for food have increased and with churches and other collection sites closed, donations have decreased. Please carefully read the detailed information below regarding the types of food we are collecting and the collection process. Everyone’s health and safety still remain our top priority so please follow these guidelines.
We will place the food collection bins outside the front of the church beginning Monday, April 27th at 9:00 am. The bins will be available Monday through Friday from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm each weekday. The last day of the food drive will be Friday, May 1, 2020.
- Please drive under the portico in front of the church, drop off your donation into the collection bins and proceed out of the parking lot. Please do not touch the collection bins. Simply place your donations inside. Please do not linger or try to enter the church.
- If another car is dropping off a donation, please wait in your car behind the car making the donation. You may proceed under the portico after the other car has driven away
- Please do not walk your donation up to the collection bins while someone else is present.
Requested List of Canned and Non-Perishable Goods
Pork and Beans
Canned fish (Salmon and Tuna)
Pasta and Sauce
Thank you in advance for your generosity and for your cooperation. “For it is in giving that we receive…”
May God bless you and keep you safe.
The Office and Staff of St John Paul II Church
CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act)
Families and Friends of SJP2,
Recently, Congress passed, and Trump signed into law, the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), a $2 trillion stimulus bill, "to blunt the impact of an economic downturn set in motion by the global coronavirus pandemic." This acknowledgement by Congress, that the work of nonprofit organizations such as hospitals and churches is essential, will benefit both the donor and the charitable organization as it helps to build back up the depressed economy. Part of the CARES Act refers to charitable donations made by individuals to qualified nonprofit organizations, such as churches.
For taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions and take the standard deduction, there will be an "above the line" additional deduction allowed based upon the donations actually made to a charitable organization between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. For single filers, the deduction is limited to $300 and for married couples filing jointly, it is limited to $600. Again, the deduction is only allowed if the single filer actually makes a $300 or greater donation to a charitable organization and for married couples, a $600 or greater donation. This additional deduction will reduce a filer’s adjusted gross income thereby, reducing their taxable income.
For taxpayers who itemize their deductions, the cap on the allowable deduction for charitable donations will be increased from 60% of adjusted gross income to 100%.
For both situations cited above it is important to understand that this deduction IS NOT A TAX CREDIT; in other words, it does not reduce your taxes directly, only your taxable income. The ultimate effect on the amount of taxes you pay for 2020 will be based upon your tax bracket.
In view of this new information regarding charitable donations, please prayerfully consider supporting St. John Paul II during this difficult economic situation. Doing so will enable us to continue to minister to the spiritual needs of our community through our digital media efforts and by continuing to support our staff and facility needs. We recommend that you speak with a financial adviser before making any financial decisions regarding the CARES Act.
We began by imagining that we are giving to them; we end by realizing that they have enriched us.
- Saint John Paul II
The Office and Staff of St. John Paull II Church
WAIT A SECOND, THE EASTER VIGIL COUNTS FOR EASTER?
We have spent these last 40 days of Lent in prayer and inner reflection, practicing fasting and almsgiving to enhance our experience of suffering and sacrifice as we long to share in Jesus’ suffering in order that we might share in His resurrection. Now we have entered Holy Week, which will culminate in the Triduum, the most solemn days of our liturgical year, leading to the joyous celebration of the Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord at the Easter Vigil. While the Triduum has its roots in the Latin words for “three days”, and is chronologically celebrated over a three-day period, we should think of the Triduum as liturgically one day unfolding in three parts to reveal Christ’s Paschal Mystery of His Passion, Death and Resurrection.
At the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday Jesus instituted the Eucharist and the priesthood, giving us the Sacrament of sacraments and showing by His example how we should live to serve others. During the Mass of the Lord’s Super, the priest consecrates enough hosts to last through to the Easter Vigil. After Communion the Eucharistic Procession takes place and the Body of Christ is placed in the tabernacle reminding us of Jesus’ time in prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. The Mass ends in silence and normally would be followed by Eucharistic Adoration. After you participate in the Mass, I invite you to pray quietly and meditate on the Eucharist.
The Good Friday Liturgy of our Lord’s Passion continues the prayer from Holy Thursday as the Church recalls the Passion of our Lord; venerates the Cross to remind us that through this instrument of torture we receive the Glory of the resurrection; and prays the General Intercessions.
Finally, in the culmination of the Triduum, we celebrate the Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord at the Easter Vigil, which occurs at night and is the most sacred celebration in the Catholic faith. The Easter Vigil takes the place of the Office of Readings of Easter Sunday and thus, fulfills the Easter obligation. Through the different parts of the Easter Vigil we hear and experience how God has interceded in our lives on our behalf, from Adam and Eve, through Abraham and Moses, to us today. Beginning with the lighting of the Easter Fire, which represents our eternal life in Christ, the priest processes in the dark and lights the Paschal Candle, which is held up to be Christ, the Light of the World. The Liturgy of the Word recalls our salvation history. The Exsultet (the Easter Proclamation) is sung and recalls the Holy Night when Jesus rose from the dead.
Following this most holy celebration, I will share with you an Easter sunrise reflection on Easter Sunday at 7 am. This will conclude the Triduum and will commence the fifty-day Easter Season leading to the Feast of Pentecost.
Words cannot express the joy I feel and the privilege it is for me to preside at this Easter Vigil Mass. As you know, though you cannot be physically present with me in the church, you will be represented by a lit candle and will be there with me in spirit.
My heart and prayers reach out to each of you, that you may have a blessed, joyous Easter filled with the Light of Christ and that you may find peace and comfort in the Glory of the Resurrection.
There is no greater way to observe Easter in the mind of the Church than to celebrate the fullness of the Triduum, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil! For it is in this triptych of liturgies that we recall Christ’s life, death and resurrection along with the scope of the history of salvation from Adam and Eve to this present day.
I am overjoyed that you are journeying with us in this observance that is so profound and enlightening.
FROM THE BISHOP'S OFFICE
Pope Francis grants a plenary indulgence to the faithful
In a decree issued by the Apostolic Penitentiary on March 20, 2020, Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence to the faithful during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, recognizing the challenges Catholics in the Diocese of St. Augustine now face regarding access to the sacrament of reconciliation, Bishop Estévez has prepared a message addressing this concern as well as the plenary indulgence granted by the Holy Father.
Click the video to watch the message and download the letter from Bishop Estévez for more information.
BISHOP ESTEVEZ: PLENARY INDULGENCE
Supporting St. John Paul II through WeShare
Friends and Families of St John Paul II,
In this time of uncertainty and daily changes to our routine, I want to express my gratitude to those who continue to support St John Paul II Church financially. Though I greatly appreciate your generous financial support, I am very concerned about your safety and ours with the spread of the coronavirus in our area. Several confirmed cases of COVID-19 exist in the Nocatee area and even within St John Paul II. In the hopes of eliminating, or greatly reducing, the spread of the coronavirus through contact, interpersonal or by surfaces, I implore you not to gather in groups or to drop off or mail your contribution to the church. We have been severely impacted by the decrease in offertory contributions these past couple of weeks. In order to continue contributing to St John Paul II, please use our easy, convenient and safe online giving by WeShare. On this page you will see the icons for WeShare and for a Tutorial with pictures and steps for signing up for WeShare.
Thank you very much for your continued support during this challenging time.
Sincerely united in prayer,
COVID-19 Update from Father Pagano