In a few weeks we will gather to celebrate the closing of our 100th Year of Jubilee. The Jubilee Year is a special time of grace as we reflect more deeply on how “We’ve come this far by Faith.”. Six years ago I was invited to join you as you journey in faith and we ultimately journey towards everlasting life. This season of our journey you again enter into a new segment of walking together as God’s people. You again reach back into your long history and find in this rich past the courage and strength to step forward into the new season and life that God has in store for you.
The closing Gala and celebration is an opportunity to give thanks to God for those who have walked with us in partnership to make our parish and the city of St. Petersburg a better place reflecting more deeply the presence of the Kingdom of God in our midst. From committed and generous parishioners to civil and civic leaders who have accompanied us, walked with us and supported us to become more than what we’ve been to be an even greater instrument for good and the wellbeing for all beyond our church walls and parish boundaries. We’ve crossed over and encountered women and men of other faith traditions, cultures and ways of life to recognize the gift and beauty of all. Together as one community we’ve sought to bring persons of faith as well as those with no particular faith affiliation together to seek justice, equality and dignity for all.
I’ve sought long and wide to find the way to describe this special moment in time. I can just imagine as I look at all who gather I see a group of people who have made our world, our city, our neighborhood a better place. We have seen, acknowledged and valued one another as a community. We stood with the suffering, fed the hungry and been a source of encouragement for those seemingly lost and for gotten. We did this guided by a God who loves, unites and strengthens us. We see more how we are alike, and that which is different we celebrate, value and allow to enlighten us. Living, loving and serving in this great county of ours shows our nation that we can see in each life great value, and that the lives of each and everyone we see truly matters.
Father Stephan Brown, SVD and Rabbi Joshua Label Co-Chairmen of the Board
We stand together through our faith and belief that God is real and present amongst us. We are allowed to walk together for a season, a time. Those who started this journey hoped beyond hope. Have recently just ended a world war, they could not image what this church would become. “The Church that Cares”. St Joseph, Caslher Heights and Fruitvale, St. Petersburg are a place where together young and old find a place they call home. A testimony to what we can become when each brings their gifts, their talents, their passion, their ability to continue to come together and build an even better and greater community.
As a new day dawns for St Joseph we see in the challenges that you will face opportunities for even greater change. Commit to being a part of what these next 100 years will look like, what you chose to be, not who someone else says that you can only become. You rise above the messages of despair and continue to beacons of hope. St Petersburg and Pinnelas County has the ability to be a model for excellence. Yes it is not perfect as still we face the challenges of today, but because of where we have come and the advances that have been made whether big or small, you can make a difference got tomorrow.
Don’t stop believing. You have Come this far by faith. Leaning on God, trusting His Word. This is your Season, Your Time, claim it don’t wait for it to be given. People from every land, nation and walk of life have found a home here. Be true and remain faithful to your model. St Joseph where all Are Welcome.