Registration open for 2018 Diocesan Stewardship Conference

Register now for the Diocese of St. Augustine Stewardship Conference! Join us on October 20 at Sacred Heart Parish in Fleming Island for a day focused entirely on how we can all become more faithful and wise stewards. The Conference will begin at 9 a.m. with Sacred Heart Parish being open from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. for Adoration.
Featured speakers will cover the following topics:
  • Called to be Everyday Stewards
  • “Johnny Can’t Pray: Engagement for the Kingdom. ” – clergy session
  • Legacy Giving in Stewardship
  • The Vibrant Community That Your Parish Can Be
  • Engaging Parish Youth
  • And new this year – A Stewardship Resource Panel
NO COST to attend but registration is required.

34th Annual Faith Formation Day

The 34th Annual Faith Formation Day will be held at Bishop John J. Snyder High School on Saturday, Oct. 13. The general theme of the day will be So That They May All Be One, the title of Bishop Estevez’s recent Pastoral Letter.  The workshops presented during the day will focus on the various aspects of the letter with practical suggestions on leading people to be missionary disciples.  Bishop, himself, will give the keynote address.  There will be sessions that will provide adult faith formation, classroom skills, ministry with youth skills, certification sessions, and even a clergy only track.


7:45 a.m. – Doors open

7:45 to 8:30 a.m. – Check in

8:30 a.m. – Mass followed by a light breakfast

9:15 a.m. – Keynote:  Bishop Felipe J. Estévez

10:30 a.m. – A word from our sponsor, RCL Benziger

10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. – Session I

12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. – Lunch

1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. – Session II

2:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Closing Prayer

Individual registration form, $30 per person until September 30. $40 from October 1 through October 10. Walk-ins after October 9 will be $50 with no guarantee of lunch or space.

Group registration form, 4/$100 people on the same form the same location. Must be in multiples of 4. This special ends September 30th.

Speaker Lineup

2018 Midterm Elections – Candidate Surveys

Do you know where the candidates stand?
Casting your votes responsibly requires you to be informed

Each election cycle, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB) conducts the Candidate Questionnaire Project in an effort to assist Catholics and the broader community with the obligation to become informed voters. The FCCB invites all 2018 U.S. Congressional, Florida gubernatorial and Florida legislative candidates on the ballot in the Primary and General Elections to share their positions on ten public policy issues concerning human life and dignity, and the common good. Candidates are offered the opportunity to state their positions as well as provide brief comments on each question.

The Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, August 28 and early voting begins statewide on Saturday, August 18. Before you cast your ballot, take the time to see where your candidates stand.

Candidate Responses for the Diocese of St. Augustine:  English and Spanish

In addition, candidate response summaries are available to parishes to be placed in bulletins.

Early voting begins in some Florida counties as early as Monday, August 13. For information about early voting times and places in your area, check with your county Supervisor of Elections.

Note: Materials prepared as part of the Candidate Questionnaire Project are approved by the bishops of Florida for use in parish bulletins or diocesan publications. Surveys or polls by outside organizations are not approved for distribution by Church entities unless prior approval has been granted by the local diocesan bishop or the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Candidate positions on issues are gathered for informational purposes only and are not used for endorsement of any candidate or political party.

Statement from Bishop Felipe J. Estévez in response to the failure of Church leadership to protect the Lord’s flock

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

It is with profound sadness and shame that I write to you, the people of God of the Diocese of St. Augustine, regarding the crisis our church now faces.

                              Bishop Felipe J. Estévez

Many of you have written to me, emailed and responded through social media. I have read your concerns, and I share your anger, frustration, and dismay over the recent grand jury report in Pennsylvania and the allegations that have come to light against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick.

I want you to know that I hear you. You have made it abundantly clear that you don’t want more apologies on behalf of the bishops – rather you want to see corrective actions taken against Church leaders who have failed to protect the people they serve. You wonder whether your children are safe in our parishes and schools? You question if allegations are taken seriously? And, like me, you resent what all of this has done to the Church that Jesus Christ established and that you love so much.

I know there is little I can say to restore your trust in the leadership of the Church, but I can assure you of my firmest commitment to provide safe environments for everyone, especially our children and vulnerable adults.

As a first step in that promise of transparency, I want you to know that since 1987 the Diocese of St. Augustine has had in place an independent Review Board that is comprised of lay men and women with the expertise in civil and canon law, criminal investigation, psychology, medicine, and victim advocacy.

When an allegation is made, we have a victim assistance coordinator who accompanies them through the process of reporting their abuse. All necessary reports are made to law enforcement for investigation, and the member of the clergy in question is removed from ministry pending the outcome of an investigation. All sexual child abuse cases are sent to the Review Board to evaluate and provide me with recommendations on appropriate actions. This Board holds me accountable for action.

The stories of those who have suffered abuse are delicate and personal. Their pain is heartbreaking to me. Mostly, when victims come forward after suffering so long, they are not necessarily seeking financial gain. Most are selflessly seeking only to be heard and to do what they can to ensure others won’t be harmed because they were silent – and in telling their story, they can begin the healing process. In response, the diocese welcomes them and seeks to accompany them with pastoral care and offers financial assistance for counseling and other services. I pray that all survivors of sexual abuse find healing, comfort, and strength in God’s loving presence.

In the next several months, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will be working to improve the 2002 “Statement of Episcopal Commitment” regarding the safe environment program. In particular, they will address how bishops will be held accountable for their actions and inactions; a process for prompt, independent, and transparent review will be addressed. I am fully committed to this work and to ensuring that bishops and priests are held not only accountable for their actions but also held accountable for failing to report and hold their brother bishops and priests accountable.

Please know that in the days, weeks and months ahead I will be working closely with lay experts to strengthen the policies and procedures we have in place in our diocese. I look forward to sharing with you the outcome of this work.

You are important to this work. I call upon you to hold me accountable and to pray for me and all the bishops as we pursue resolutions and decisive actions.

I pray for all of you that you will maintain your witness of faith and hope even in these difficult times. Your prayers are needed now more than ever.

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend Felipe J. Estévez, S.T.D.

Bishop of St. Augustine

August 17, 2018


Clic aquí para leer Declaración en Español

Other letters from Bishop Estévez:

Bishop Estévez Remains Fully Committed to Protecting Children and Vulnerable Adults

Bishop Estévez Remains Fully Committed to Protecting Children and Vulnerable Adults

On Tuesday, August 14, a Pennsylvania grand jury released a report on widespread sexual child abuse involving 301 priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses. According to the report, the abuses occurred over a 70 year period and involved more than 1,000 victims and their families. And even more horrific, the report said church leaders knew of the abuses, and some did not prevent it from again.

In the wake of the grand jury report in Pennsylvania, the allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and other allegations that have come to light involving seminaries, Bishop Felipe Estévez of the Diocese of St. Augustine said he remains firmly committed to providing safe environments for everyone, especially children and vulnerable adults.

Bishop Felipe J. Estévez

“I am profoundly saddened to hear of the lives that have been shattered at the hands of clergymen and the mishandling of these cases over a 70-year period,” said Bishop Estévez. “I want to see greater transparency and greater accountability among all bishops, and we must demonstrate a spirit of repentance and recommitment so that such abuse cannot happen again and we can restore the full trust of our people.”

The Diocese of St. Augustine implemented policies and procedures to address allegations of abuse in 1987. In 2002, the U.S. Bishops adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The Charter was revised in 2011 and again in 2018. The Charter pledges to maintain transparency and to provide for the permanent removal of offenders from ministry and to maintain safe environments for everyone.

As part of the Charter, each diocese is audited annually with onsite visits by independent auditors every three years. The Diocese of St. Augustine is getting ready for an onsite review in October to ensure we are demonstrating transparency and accountability. The diocese has been found compliant every year since the audits began in 2003.

Here are some of the measures in place in the Diocese of St. Augustine:

  • More than 45,000 adults in the diocese have been trained in the Protecting God’s Children program.
  • Since 2002, the diocese has screened and conducted national and international criminal background checks on more than 48,000 clergy, employees and volunteers with renewal checks every five years.
  • The diocese spends on average $220,000 each year for its child protection efforts.
  • Children who attend our Catholic schools and parish programs are taught to recognize a predator’s grooming process, to say “No,” and to tell their parents and other trusted adults about such behavior.
  • Procedures are in place to respond promptly with compassion to all reports of misconduct – treating all victims with dignity, respect, privacy, and confidentiality.
  • The Bishop meets with victims to assist in their recovery.
  • There is a Zero Tolerance for sexual abusers.

Also, the diocese has in place an independent Review Board to hear complaints and allegations, to investigate the claims and provide direction on their outcomes. The board is made up of a sitting district judge, a prosecuting attorney with experience in sex crimes, a child psychiatrist, a physician, nurse, former police detective, a victims advocate and other lay men and women who serve as staff.

How to Report Abuse notices, in various languages, are published in parish bulletins and the St. Augustine Catholic magazine. The notices provide the phone numbers to the Department of Children and Families and the diocese.

The Province of Miami, which comprised of the seven dioceses and its bishops in Florida, will meet in November to review the policies and procedures in place. The bishops continually look for ways to strengthen their efforts. It is unfortunate that we continue to hear of child abuse cases committed by clergy, but the diocese is doing everything possible to protect our children and vulnerable adults. That is our foremost concern.

As Catholics, we need to be reminded that a majority of the abuses we are hearing about in the media today are the failings of church leadership from the last century. That is not the church we have today. Our bishops have mandated the implementation of strict policies and procedures to safeguard our children and vulnerable adults. They are committed to transparency and accountability. But more work needs to be done.

If you would like to discuss this further, please call Kathleen Bagg at (904) 262-1705, or call (904) 262-3200, ext. 129 to report abuse. To view our policies and procedures, visit and click on the Safe Environments tab on the homepage.


Click to view Diocesan Policies & Procedures

Best Practices Workshops in Adult Faith Formation – Sign-up today!

     Dominican Sister Janet Schaeffler

Since Vatican II, the Church has officially published more than eight documents calling for adults to be the center of the Church’s formational mission. Now more than ever, adults need to be equipped to share their faith in new and engaging ways to the next generations of believers.  For most adults, the catechesis they received as children is simply not enough to continue in the faith as adults.  There is a desire for a deepened understanding of the Catholic faith.

In order to address this need brought forth in listening sessions and reiterated in the new diocesan pastoral plan, the Office of Christian Formation has invited Dominican Sister Janet Schaeffler to provide three free parish workshops on Best Practices in Adult Faith Formation. These will be held on:

  • Monday, August 13 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Holy Spirit Parish Hall
  • Monday, August 13  6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Queen of Peace Parish Hall, Gainesville
  • Tuesday, August 14  6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  St. Catherine of Siena Parish Hall

Please follow the link below to register and share this link with those in your location who serve in adult faith formation.

About Sister Janet

She currently accompanies others on their faith-journey through days of reflection/retreats, parish missions, workshops, catechist formation opportunities, adult faith formation opportunities, as well as online courses through Crossroads at Boston College, the VLCFF at the University of Dayton and the Vibrant Faith Institute.

Sr. Janet created and publishes GEMS – a monthly newsletter flowing from an ongoing international adult faith formation best practices study.

In 2010, she received the NCCL Distinguished Service Award in Catechetics.

She is the author of hundreds of articles and publications.

Some of her recent publications are: 

Deepening Faith: Adult Faith Formation in the Parish

The Spirituality of Catechists

Teaching Kids to Care

How to Talk to Children about Jesus

Hope: An Anchor in Today’s World

The Seasons of Adult Faith Formation

The Creed: Understanding and Sharing What We Believe

Pep Talks for Catechists

A Prayerbook for Eucharistic Ministers

Creative Connections for Catechists from A to Z

Prayer from A to Z

Lessons and Activities on What Makes Us Catholic

Celebrating Catechetical Sunday – “Enlisting Witnesses for Christ”

The third Sunday of September in the United States is celebrated as Catechetical Sunday in honor to acknowledge and commission those who are catechists.  In his encyclical Redemptoris Missio, Pope John Paul II, said, “Among the laity who become evangelizers, catechists have a place of honor…Catechists are among those who have received Christ’s command to ‘go and teach all nations.’”

Read More

Ministry Formation Program Celebrates 25 Years!

In October, 1990, the Most Rev. Bishop John J. Snyder established a committee to assist him in the development of a comprehensive Ministry Formation Program (MFP) to assist in the formation of lay leaders for the diocese.  This committee reviewed similar programs and spoke with various leadership groups in the diocese including the Family Life Office, the Liturgical Commission, Hispanic Apostolate, Marywood Retreat Center, and the Presbyterate.

After more than a year of study, Bishop Snyder accepted the recommendations and mandated that all Diocesan Leadership personnel that had been professionally trained, but without Church background, would need to complete the program.

In February, 1992 Bishop Snyder appointed Fr. Michael Houle as the Interim Director of the Ministry Formation Program and Margaret McCully was hired to serve as the Administrative Assistant.  The Office of Christian Formation was given the task of staff and overseeing the MFP.  The MFP admitted its first participants in the fall of 1992, and the first certificates of completion were conferred in December, 1995.

In 1993, Father Houle formed an Advisory Board that would create long term plans for the Ministry Formation Program.  This board still operates today on a rotating basis giving guidance and leadership to the Office of Christian Formation.

In initiating a diaconate program for the Diocese of St. Augustine in 2003, it was determined that the MFP would be a first requirement from men feeling the call to ordained ministry.

In 1996, the MFP began the process of becoming an accredited program through the then active United States Catholic Conference Commission on Certification Accreditation. (USCCB/CCA).  This was fully achieved for the years 2001-2009 and reaffirmed in 2009- 2017.  The USCCB/CCA no longer exists as an agency of the Bishops.

There have been 359 graduates of the program who serve in a variety of capacities in the diocese as DREs, youth ministers, school teachers, RCIA Coordinators, etc.

A silver jubilee celebration is being held on Saturday, June 23 at Bishop Kenny High School, the original site of the MFP classes.  For more information, please contact Erin in the Office of Christian Formation at

Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

(Please print and recite prayer for the remainder of the month of June, for the intentions of our shepherd, Bishop Felipe Estévez and the needs of the Diocese of St. Augustine)

Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

God our Father in heaven
have mercy on us
God the Son, Redeemer of the world
have mercy on us
God the Holy Spirit
have mercy on us
Holy Trinity, one God
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, Son of the eternal Father
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, one with the eternal Word
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, infinite in majesty
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, aflame with love for us
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, source of justice and love
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, well-spring of all virtue
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, worthy of all praise
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, treasure-house of wisdom and knowledge
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, in whom there dwells the fullness of God
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father is Well pleased
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, from whose fullness we have all received
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, desire of the eternal hills
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, patient and full of mercy
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, generous to all who turn to you
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, atonement for our sins
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with insults
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, broken for our sins
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, obedient even to death
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, pierced by a lance
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation have mercy on us Heart of Jesus, victim of our sins
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, salvation of all who trust in you
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, hope of all who die in you
have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the saints
have mercy on us

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world
have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world
have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world
have mercy on us

Jesus, gentle and humble of heart. Touch our hearts and make them like your own.

Let us pray.
Father, we rejoice in the gifts of love we have received from the heart of Jesus your Son. Open our hearts to share his life and continue to bless us with his love. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea, May 22

The National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea will be celebrated on May 22. The day is observed in conjunction with National Maritime Day in the United States of America, which has been celebrated since 1933 to honor those who serve as merchant mariners and to recognize the benefits of the maritime industry.

Most Reverend Brendan J. Cahill, S.T.D, Bishop of the Diocese of Victoria, Texas, and Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) promoter, is encouraging dioceses to mark the national day by remembering the men and women of the sea in homilies and by including special petitions during Mass. When Mass is celebrated on May 22, the text for the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea, is also encouraged.

Bishop Cahill will celebrate a Mass in observance of Maritime Day on Saturday, May 19, at 12:10 p.m., in the Crypt Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. The Mass is sponsored by the AOS national office and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church.

Apostleship of the Sea (AOS), is a worldwide Catholic maritime ministry that engages with seafarers, fishers, their families, port personnel and all who work or travel on the high seas, regardless of race, color or creed. The maritime ministry shows the Church’s care and concern to seafarers who are often away from home for many months because of the nature of their work and lifestyle. A network of AOS port offices and Catholic chaplains provide spiritual and practical assistance that accommodate a seafarer’s unique lifestyle and needs.

In the message addressed to chaplains, volunteers, friends and supporters of the Apostleship of the Sea, on Sea Sunday July 9, 2017, Cardinal Peter Appia Kodwo Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Integral Human Development Service, said, “In our daily lives, we are surrounded by and use many objects and products that at some stage of their journey towards us have been transported on vessels. It is difficult for us to imagine behind these objects the faces of the many seafarers who have secured a smooth sailing for the vessel to deliver these commodities to the port safely. We are invited to recognize and express our gratitude to this force of more than 1.5 million seafarers, who with their hard work and sacrifices are making our life more comfortable by transporting, between nations and across the seven seas, almost 90 per cent of the goods.”

In the United States, AOS is present in 53 maritime ports in 26 states and in 48 dioceses. Priest chaplains, deacons, religious and lay people extend hospitality by providing a “home away from home” for seafarers. AOS has 10 Stella Maris centers, and over 100 chaplains and pastoral teams, including priests, religious, deacons and lay ecclesial ministers providing many services including: Mass, communion, confession and other sacraments, assistance to seafarers in distress, ship visits, transportation to visit business centers, a place to relax while on the port, computers with internet connection at the center, cell phones and phone cards as well as facilitating seafarers’ access to services that others provide.

As we work and serve to protect the rights of those working at sea, let us join our prayers with that of Pope Francis, entrusting sailors, fishermen, and all those in difficulty on the seas far away from home, to the motherly protection of Mary, Star of the Sea.

To learn more about Apostleship of the Sea ministry in the Diocese of St. Augustine, contact Deacon Milton Vega at or call (904) 613-3489. More information is also available on the USCCB website at