Bishop Gregory Parkes announced that the obligation for Catholics to attend Mass on Sunday will resume on May 22, 2021, the vigil of Pentecost. This announcement was made at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg during the annual Chrism Mass on March 30th.
“It’s my intention that the general dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass issued last March will be lifted effective on the vigil of Pentecost, which is the weekend of May 22 and 23. We will be updating and providing suggested protocols and guidelines to our parishes so that they remain among the safest places to be.”
He also added: “On April 5th, the vaccine will be made available to every adult in our diocese, and in the state of Florida. This is a reason for hope. In the same way that many are returning to shopping, to restaurants, social gatherings, and vacations. It’s time to come back to Mass. It’s time to come back to church, it’s time to come home.”
The bishop has written a letter about the general dispensation and a list of circumstances that would necessitate a particular dispensation from the Sunday and Holy Day Mass obligation, which is available in English and Spanish.
To view the video of the bishop’s homily, click here or below.
This year, as we continue to adhere to CDC and Diocese of St. Petersburg guidelines for the prevention of COVID-19, St. Lawrence will be offering an additional method for Ash distribution. You will be given the choice to indicate whether you would prefer a sprinkling of ashes on the crown of your head, or the traditional cross placed on your forehead. Please view this brief video here for further clarification!
We are sad to inform that Father Keating passed away peacefully the afternoon of February 1st, 2021.
On Monday, February 8th, his wake/viewing service will be an evening of prayer held in the church from 5pm-7pm, with limited seating and COVID-19 restrictions in place. We will also be livestreaming the Diocese Office of the Dead prayer service from 7pm onwards, which will be available to view at any of the links below.
His funeral will be held on February 9th, 2021 at 11am here at St. Lawrence Catholic Church. Masks and social-distancing will be enforced, but overflow seating will be available in Higgins Hall, where the Mass will be on-screen for viewing.
The service will also be livestreamed, available to view at any of the links below.
Edward (Eamon) Keating was born June 2, 1927 in Cork City, Republic of Ireland, one of four children to parents Catherine and Jeremiah Keating. He was a joyful, bright young lad who grew up during the time of the Great Depression and then World War II, greatly impacted by his family’s strong Catholic faith and customs.
“God came first in our lives, then family and society,” he recalls. “We prayed the rosary every night as a family. Our parents not only taught us the faith, they lived it. Even in the toughest of times they would always find a way to help people in need.”
After finishing secondary school young Edward took exams to qualify for a highly sought-after government position. He ended up being offered several but chose a spot in the Accountant’s Branch of the historic Post and Telegraphs in Dublin. In his free time, he landed jobs in the theater as a professional actor.
Life was good. He was experiencing success in his career and in his part-time passion at a young age, and yet he felt something was missing.
Edward attended the Friars Minor novitiate in Killarney for one year, earned degrees in philosophy and economics at Galway University in three years, onto the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium for theology for one year, then to Rome for three more years. He was ordained a Franciscan priest on July 6, 1958 in the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the Piazza Navona in Rome.
After ordination he was assigned as Vice-Rector and Master of Students at the Irish College in Louvain for nine years. His superiors began to recognize that he had special talents, fully capable of handling challenging situations. They sent him to El Salvador for six years in the seventies, a tumultuous period there during the Cold War. He went as a “trouble shooter” and had to quickly learn the Spanish language.
He came back to Ireland briefly, but this time was assigned to Northern Ireland, giving missions there when other friars were reluctant during the peak of the disturbances between the Protestants and Catholics.
If challenges were his specialty, the stakes kept getting higher for him. His next assignment was in Chile, first under the presidency of Marxist Salvador Allende during a period of dramatic economic decline and poverty, and later under dictator Augusto Pinochet when Chile was under martial law, a curfew, and a period of terror.
He returned again to Ireland, continuing his work giving missions and retreats. Always the pragmatist, he met with his Superior and reminded him that he was now fluent in French, Spanish, and Italian but was not putting those skills to use. At exactly that time, a Vicar General in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Irishman Monsignor Laurence Higgins, had heard that there were priests in Ireland who spoke Spanish and could meet the needs of a growing Hispanic community in Florida.
Edward accepted an assignment to come to Tampa, Florida in 1985, first as Associate Pastor for the Hispanic Community at Incarnation Parish, then to Corpus Christi and St. Catherine of Siena from 1989-1993, before returning home to Ireland for his first “retirement.”
“I went back to Galway, still doing some mission and parish work, minding my own business, when Laurence (Monsignor Higgins) called,” Edward recounts. “He said, ‘Edward, I need you.’ So, I unretired!”
Edward joined Monsignor Higgins at Tampa’s St. Lawrence Parish in 1994. In 2008 he reached the mandatory age when all priests are required to retire from active ministry, though that has been a mere technicality. Even though he became “legally blind,” he continued to celebrate mass and impact parishioners through his unique teaching style until his isolation required by Covid-19.
“Every sermon from Father Keating was like a theology class,” says St. Lawrence Parishioner Bob Best. “I attended Catholic grade school, high school, and college and yet Father Keating is the one who has given me my deepest understanding of the Bible and my faith overall.
“I was taught in my classes in Louvain that you always have to give background information on Old and New Testament readings for people to understand context,” Edward used to say. “Historical background makes things clearer.”
It is not just the laity that Edward continued to assist in “retirement.” Fr. Chuck Dornquast had his first priestly assignment at St. Lawrence as Parochial Vicar, learning from his interactions with Father Keating.
“Fr. Keating was the finest example of what happens when a priest allows his own heart to be overwhelmed by the Heart of God,” says Fr. Dornquast. “In all aspects of his life, be it celebrating sacraments or chatting over lunch, his heart truly did reveal the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In the works for over 40 years, Father Keating published his book Life and Love: The Cosmic Saga in October 2019, available digitally and in print-on-demand through Amazon. Using cosmology, history and imaginative storytelling to highlight the truth, the book offers a view of Christianity for the 21st century reader in light of divine revelation and discoveries of contemporary science.
The morning of January 20th, St. Lawrence Catholic Church held a special blessing of the Saint statues on campus. This blessing was headed by the Pastor, Father Dan Kayajan. The parish and school staff were joined by the first graders from St. Lawrence Catholic School, along with many fathers and parents who remained after the Dad’s Mass earlier in the morning. This was the third annual Dad’s Mass tradition, in which fathers of children at St. Lawrence Catholic School are invited to attend weekday Mass with their child and participate in the liturgy together. The first-graders and their families in attendance were thrilled to share their weekly morning mass with their dads!
After Mass, each first-grader was invited to participate in the blessing of the saint statues. Each child was given a white rose to place at the foot of a statue while Father Dan blessed the statues with Holy Water. This special, prayerful morning united faith, family, and our parish-school community.
St. Lawrence would like to extend a special thanks everyone involved in planning these special moments for our parish and school!
TMIY (That Man is You) is an opportunity to strengthen your knowledge of yourself and our faith through a weekly interactive discussion. We have broken the group up and are meeting in a safe , comfortable socially distant setting following Diocesan guidelines and allowing members who are uncomfortable meeting live to join via a Microsoft TEAMS link. TMIY has resulted in dozens of our parish men in growing stronger for themselves, their families and their Parish. If you would like more information, please text 813 -334 9156 or send an email to MenofSTL@stlawrence.org
The group meets on Wednesday mornings in Higgins Hall at 6AM. No prior activity is needed. TMIY has transformed and strengthened the lives of many men in our Parish. The engaging weekly speakers and the insights and knowledge of the other TMIY members help build a platform to take on the Challenges of our world.
An invitation to join our Altar Server ministry at St. Lawrence
The altar server ministry at St. Lawrence encourages the young to fully engage in their faith through service to the Church as ministers of the altar. Serving at the altar gives the young a hands on, personal experience of God’s work in the liturgy. It also can be an opportunity for them to work alongside other children and adults and be edified by their witness of faith. Through their service, altar servers provide the parish with an example of service, they witness to the seriousness and solemnity of the liturgy, and they inspire those who come to Mass with hope for the future of our Church.
Our parish will be doing a training in March, at an exact date to be determined. Click the link below to express interest!