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Travel Consultant at Expedia CruiseShipCenters and Office Manager and Parish Secretary at St Martha Catholic Church


The Parish on Thanksgiving Day in the late seventies and early eighties, provided dinner for people who would be alone otherwise. One hundred fifty to two hundred people would sign up for the meal and the companionship. Parishioners volunteered for the kitchen and dining room. Members of the Women's Club, youngsters from the Sacramental Preparation Program and others did the cooking, serving and cleaning up. Since 1985, the Knights of Columbus have offered the dinner. The Parish provides bus service from the church parking lot to the Knights of Columbus Hall and back. The Patriarch Apostolate came into being in the summer of 1982. Men of the parish were invited to become senior altar servers, initially for the 4:00 p.m. Mass on Saturday. Since then they have accepted responsibility for the 5:30 p.m. Saturday Mass, Holy Days, weekday morning and noon Masses and for funerals. Only four years after the founding of the Parish, St. Martha Guild came into being in 1931. This organization has been faithful and unstinting in its work in the parish. It started with thirty members and increased both in membership and in its scope of activities through the years. Its fund raising events, notably the rummage sales, have raised thousands of dollars each year for parish needs. It is presently known as St. Martha Council of Catholic Women. Bishop Nevins appointed Father Carosella to be Chancellor-Moderator of the Diocese of Venice in 1986. The Reverend Robert Tabbert, Associate Pastor, served as Temporary Administrator of the Parish until Bishop Nevins appointed the Reverend John Rourke as Pastor, in June of that year. Third Street was scheduled for widening and the uncertainties involved in the civic planning for it caused the Parish and its new Pastor some anxiety. Increased traffic on the widened roadway could adversely affect the stained glass windows. Reinforcement to withstand the constant vibration had to be done before work commenced on Third Street which would be renamed, "Fruitville Road." The previous fall restoration work on the stained glass windows had begun and, by February of 1988 parishioners had generously donated most of the $25,000 cost. Later that year plans were laid to create a "Cry Room Vestibule" at the back of the Church to provide a place for mothers with crying babies. The confusion and noise just inside the main entrance to the Church on Saturday afternoons prompted Father Rourke to plan for Reconciliation Rooms on the south side of the Church. Covered access would be from the ramp leading to the door on the south side of the building. The rooms conform to the Vatican II revision of the Rite of Penance. St. Martha Church hosted an Ecumenical Prayer Vigil for victims of AIDS in our City, both present sufferers and their families. Religious leaders and members of other denominations, Protestant and Jewish, participated in the service at which Mayor Fredd Atkins was the principal speaker. A candlelight procession followed the service and concluded on the grounds of City Hall. The Parish also had a special pre-Christmas treat in December of 1987, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" performed by a group of St. Martha children and a couple of their grown up friends, Father Heuberger and Pastucci. They enjoyed rehearsing and learning how to perform under the direction of parishioner David Schram, a teacher in the Visual and Performing Arts program at Booker High School. The rest of the parish enjoyed their several performances. The Parish was introduced to the "Service of Nine Lessons and Carols" in 1986. It is offered each Christmas season. The senior choir and the Cantate Domino children's choir sing Christmas hymns and carols between Scripture readings by parish lectors. The readings trace the history of salvation from Adam's fall to the appearance of Christ. It is a centuries-old service developed in medieval England as a tool for teaching the people of that time. The 1988 Easter season closed with a concert by the Cantate Domino choir, a group of St. Martha children led by Ellen Henderson, a Parish organist. The program included works by contemporary composers and traditional pieces along with the music of the ecumenical monastery of Taize, France. St. Martha and the Church of the Redeemer with their combined choirs presented Mozart's "Requiem in D Minor", with the Chamber Orchestra of the Florida West Coast Symphony in each Church. Virginia Bray and Ann Stephenson-Moe directed the late Sunday afternoon performances. The following year the combined choirs offered Puccini's "Messa di Gloria". Realizing that there are times when we all feel we need more Divine help than our own prayers are providing, St. Martha became part of the Christian Prayer Line when it was being established in Sarasota parish communities in 1988. We can all make a phone call and ask that our intentions be included in the prayers of all on the Line. For many who attend Mass at St. Martha, Spanish is their first language. They have emigrated to Florida and to Sarasota from Spain, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala and other countries in Central and South America. Father Victor Aguera, a Spaniard, an assistant pastor at St. Martha and a Cardinal Mooney High School instructor, was the first to contact Latin families in Sarasota. After he left to get his master's degree in history from Catholic University in Washington, DC, Father Joseph Rimshaw, an American priest who had studied at Cuernavaca, Mexico, succeeded him, visiting the Mexican migrant camps and other Latin families in Sarasota. He began the celebration of Mass in Spanish, at the first in the school auditorium and then in the Church at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday. Father Rimshaw began teaching English to the adults in special classes and conducted CCD classes for their children. The work was continued by Fr. Julio Reina from Colombia in South America. Father had studied at St. Joseph Major Seminary in Bogota and was ordained in 1936. He taught in high schools and had served as a chaplain in the Colombian Army before coming to St. Martha in 1970. During his nine years here, Father Reina noted a gradual increase in the number of Latins, their more than satisfactory adjustment to their new country, and a notable increase in Mass attendance and reception of Sacraments. Father Oriol Tremoleda, another Spaniard, a graduate of Pontifica Universitas, Salamanca, Spain, who had assisted at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Miami, came to St. Martha in November 1979. Especially dedicated to youth and the needy, Father served them here until June of 1983 when he became Assistant Pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Tampa. This enabled Father to expand his directorship of a Diocesan program for refugees and entrants to Highlands, Hardee, DeSoto and Hillsborough counties as well as Sarasota County. Father Celestino Gutierrez, born in Segovia, Spain, and ordained in Madrid on 1964 and a missionary in Guatemala for seventeen years, has been priest-in-charge of the Hispanic Apostolate for Sarasota County since 1985. Father Celestino has continued and expanded the good work of his predecessors as the Hispanic population has continued to increase. At his first mass in 1985 there were 25 people present. Now an entire parish (St. Jude) is dedicated to serving the Spanish Community. Every Christmas season Father and his dedicated volunteers provide an ever-increasing number of food boxes for needy families. The boxes are marked for particular families and each contains an appropriate toy, chosen by sex and age, for each child under thirteen years of age in the family. The gift toys are attractively wrapped and ready for the parents to give to their children. Financial help comes from parishioners, Caritas, the Knights of Columbus, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. In 2003 there were 1100 boxes given out as well as 652 turkeys at Thanksgiving. To further the ministry, the Diocese developed the Blessed Carlos Manuel Hispanic Center. Ground was broken on June 24, 2004 for the center, a multipurpose building that has meeting rooms, classrooms, a kitchen, office space and a hall seating 800. Located at the corner of 17th Street and Hammock Place, is part of a new parish, St. Jude, and serves a multi-cultural community. Fr. Celestino is its first pastor. The Fall of 1989 saw the installation in the church of the red oak two-manual, tracker pipe organ built by the long established J.W. Walker & Sons, Ltd. in Suffolk, England and reassembled at St. Martha by Walker personnel. Parishioners heard the organ for the first time at Masses on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. St. Martha School enlisted the help of all parishioners in collecting Publix cash register receipts to take advantage of Apple Computers nationwide offer to exchange the tapes for computers. They quickly accumulated $240,000 worth of tapes and ordered the first computer and printer. Over the life of the program, the School was able to acquire 6 computers, 1 printer, 1 disc drives and 20 programs. The School also celebrated the dedication and opening of a new library in January 1990. After the blessing of the library there was Open House for parishioners and other donors to see it. Over the years the indefatigable Parents' Club of the School has sponsored dozens of fund raisers, raffles, Fifty-Fifty Club, Las Vegas night, spring and fall festivals, monthly "Parish Family Dinners", Lenten fish dinners and $50 golf tournaments to name a few. In so doing they have raised thousands of dollars for the School. St. Martha Day Care began caring for little ones, two months to four years of age, in the summer of 1990. Staff and volunteers lead the children through a well structured day with sufficient play, rest and nourishment. Since 1999 the Diocese of Venice has been in charge. Bethesday House is a Day Center founded by the Diocese of Venice to respond to the physical, social and spiritual needs of HIV infected and affected persons. It is a place where PWAs, their families, friends and care givers can receive counseling, visit, share and recreate. St. Martha Parish provides the house and Parish volunteers help with its programs which include a weely dinner, food pantry, laundry facilities, AIDS information and home and hospital visitation. Available as needed are: individual pastoral counseling, emotional and spiritual support groups, recreational and learning opportunities. It is open Monday through Friday. June 16, 1991, the Parish received the news that Father Rourke would be going to St. William's Parish in Naples and would be succeeded by Father Fausto Stampiglia, S.A.C., S.T.D., who has the distinction of being the first Pastor of St. Martha who belongs to a religious order. The Society of the Catholic Apostolate, known as the Pallottines. After his arrival on July 7, 1991, Father Fausto quickly proceeded to: (1) Add to the Sunday Bulletin a column written by and for the Spanish Ministry; (2) Blessed ground in the courtyard for the burial of cremated ashes of parishioners and named it the Elslander Memorial Garden. Names of the deceased are recorded on plaques in the Carosella Chapel; (3) Converted a section of the Parish Office reception area to a chapel so that parishioners who so wished could make visits to the Blessed Sacrament during office hours when the Church is locked for security reasons. Parishioners donated the furnishings and the sound-proof glass partition and door. Chancellor and former pastor, the Very Reverend Jerome A. Carosella officially inaugurated the chapel, known as the Carosella Chapel, on December 11, 1991. The Christmas season is well celebrated at St. Martha starting with a St. Nicholas party early in December for children ten and under. At every party there is singing, refreshments and gold coins (with chocolate inside) for each child and St. Nicholas pays a visit. The annual dinner dance for the benefit of St. Martha School has been both an important fund raiser and social event. It is a formal affair. Ads are sold for the journal/program given to all who attend. Many thousands of dollars have been raised over the years for the school at this popular event. During Christian Unity Week the Parish has special services to pray for unity among Christians. One year the Parish also learned more about and celebrated the unity in diversity of all the Catholic rites. St. Martha was introduced to the RENEW process in the spring of 1993. This spiritual process helps parishioners develop a closer relationship with Christ. During six week seasons in the spring and fall, groups (usually ten to twelve people) meet weekly to discuss the Sunday Scripture readings and share with one another how their faith is affected by those Scripture passages. Over 200 parishioners met during the five seasons of RENEW in groups with one member having received training to facilitate the group. Many have continued sharing their faith using QUEST materials and a number of the ministers have been starting their meetings by reading a passage from Scripture and sharing with one another. One RENEW group became M.O.M.S. (Ministry of Mothers Sharing) to address the special spiritual needs of mothers, particularly those who live with many demands on their time and energy. Two other ministers have been developed as a result of RENEW faith sharing. A Bereavement Group calls those who have had a death in their family and offers spiritual support and invites them to meet with others also recently bereaved for mutual support. The Newcomers Club also came out of RENEW. Several times a year newly registered parishioners are invited to sit as a group at Sunday Mass and have coffee after in the Parish Hall to meet representatives of Parish ministries and activities. The whole Parish celebrated when parishioners Frank Horan and Jack Wren became Permanent Deacons with the group that Bishop Nevins ordained at Epiphany Cathedral in 1993 in the presence of their families and friends and with the consent of their wives, Anita Horan and Peggy Wren. Bishop Nevins requested that St. Martha Church be available for the celebration of the old Latin (Tridentine) Mass, which was superseded by the new Latin and Vernacular Mass in 1966. Our present Pope, in 1988, permitted bishops to have the Tridentine Mass celebrated in their dioceses according to their pastoral judgment, if the faithful requested it. Starting January 22, 1995, the Latin (Tridentine) Mass was celebrated at 4:00 p.m. Sunday. It has proven so popular that the Bishop has created a new Latin-centric church in Sarasota, Christ The King to regularly celebrate the Tridentine mass in the Diocese. The Altar Society joined St. Martha ministries in 1993. Its fifteen members keep the church tidy, take care of liturgical articles and supplies and help our busy sacristans in many ways. Also set up in recent years in the Liturgy Committee to help our clergy in planning liturgies and services. Each weekend Mass involves a celebrant, altar servers, cantor, lector, organist, ushers and Eucharistic ministers. The 10:30 a.m. Sunday Parish Mass, the Spanish, Latin and Vietnamese Masses and the 9:00 a.m. Family Mass in the Parish Hall, all have choirs as well. Just the scheduling of all the ministries requires hours of planning by their coordinators. The parish has the spiritual care of the third largest hospital in Florida, Sarasota Memorial (see Hospital Ministry). St. Martha also has the care of twenty nine nursing homes and our shut ins (see Nursing Home Ministry). The parish, in addition, has the spiritual care of Catholic prisoners who are in the Sarasota County Jail. Two masses are offered every Sunday and confessions are heard every Wednesday. S.U.R.E. is an ecumenical organization whose acronym stands for Sarasota United for Responsibility and Equity. St. Martha and three Protestant Congregations serve as the poor's advocate before governing bodies of city and county to promote social justice. For a number of years St. Martha has joined members of the Bahia Vista Mennonite Church and Temple Emmanu-El for a Thanksgiving Eve service at one of the three houses of worship. St. Martha celebrated its 70th anniversary as a parish in October 1997, starting with a Monday-Friday mission that ended with a penitential service. This was followed on Friday by the Commemorative Mass and the dedication in the courtyard of a congratulatory plaque presented by the Ringling Estate. Dinner with wine and dancing in the Parish Hall ended the evening. Saturday featured a classic car show in the parking lot in the morning and a showing in the evening in the Parish Hall of "The Greatest Show on Earth" with some of the original cast members present. Sunday evening a floor show circus was presented in the Parish Hall. Tangible mementos of the Parish's relationship with the circus are the parade wagon parked in the courtyard and the stuffed lion resting on a shelf over the doors from the courtyard into the West Hall. These were presented by parishioner and former circus owner Allan Hill. Also in 1997 St. Martha Italian Society of St. Anthony came into being to foster the spiritual life of its members. The annual Mass in Italian is, as one would expect, followed by a good Italian dinner. Spiritual food for the mind can be found in the St. Martha Library on the second floor of the Parish Center. The Jubilee Year of 2000 saw St. Martha, the Mother Church of Sarasota County, as a place of pilgrimage, one of several in the Diocese of Venice. The Parish had evolved from a mission dating back to 1889 and had served the entire county until 1958 when its mission in Venice became Epiphany Parish. By then St. Martha and Sarasota had grown to the extent thatIncarnation and St. Michael the Archangel parishes were set up to the south and, in 1959, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs to the north. A reconciliation service, open to all was held in the church on April 2. It included a brief history of the church and its stained glass windows and other art works. The turning of the century was celebrated by a dinner dance held in the Parish Center, followed by Mass in the Church so that parishioners could prayerfully greet the 21st Century. Breakfast followed in the Parish Center. A new and larger school in another location, so that more of our young Catholic population can receive the benefits of a parochial school education, had been a Parish goal for a number of years. In the summer of 1991 Bishop Nevins and newly appointed pastor, Father Fausto, first went looking for a new site for St. Martha School because plans were to close and sell the old facility, possibly transferring the few pupils to the classrooms on the second floor of the Parish Office. Consideration was also being given to opening a new parish in the Meadows area. Ideas and suggestions abounded and feasibility studies were conducted, concluding that the Parish could not raise the necessary money. The dream came back to life when, late in 1995, John Wrenn III, son of our Deacon Jack, promised to raise a substantial sum. On March 30, 1996, a fabulous dinner dance he organized at the Sheraton Center in New York City with then Mayor Rudy Giuliani as the main speaker, resulted in $350,000 being raised for the new school fund. A Development committee was formed and St. Martha parishioners responded by contributing or pledging $5,534,365 as of May 2002. The Diocese helped in searching for the property on McIntosh Road and by buying back the Orange Avenue school property so that just under three million dollars will have to be mortgaged. Located at McIntosh and Fruitville Roads the campus has been named Bishop Nevins Academy forBishop John J. Nevins, D.D., first Bishop of the Diocese of Venice. It opened in August 2002, with four domes to house St. Martha Catholic School and Dreams Are Free Institute for children with special learning needs.


Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Event Planning, Customer Service, Office Administration, and Strategic Planning with strong administrative professionalism.

Last University
Attended Cardinal Mooney High School
Based in Sarasota.

Other people working at SMRCC:

Patricia Sileo*****@stmartha.org
Pam Paulson********@stmartha.org

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