The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion

Candidates sign the Rite of Election book with Bishop Felipe Estévez during the Rite of Election Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jacksonville.

Those preparing to be baptized and fully enter into the life of the Catholic Church will participate in the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion at the early part of Lent.  The celebration of this Rite makes very clear the role of the local bishop in both approving and welcoming new Catholics.

During the Rite of Election, catechumens (not baptized in any Christian faith tradition) publicly express their desire for baptism to the bishop. Their names are recorded in the Book of the Elect, a designation which reflects that the bishop, in the name of the Lord and the local Church, is choosing or electing them to share in the Easter sacraments. Candidates (those already baptized) celebrate the Call to Continuing Conversion, publicly professing their faith and their desire to come into full communion with the Catholic Church.

3 Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion Celebrations are held in the Diocese of St. Augustine in the Cathedral Basilica:

  • Sunday, February 18
  • Saturday, February 24
  • Sunday, February 25

During the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, pastors and their RCIA coordinators present the catechumens and the candidates to the bishop and the congregation. The catechumens and candidates affirm their desire to enter fully into the life of Christ through the Catholic Church. Godparents and sponsors are then asked by the bishop to affirm that the catechumens and candidates are sufficiently prepared to continue their journeys of faith. The assembly, along with the godparents and sponsors, follow this testimony by pledging their support and prayers for those in preparation.

The catechumens and candidates will spend the season of Lent reflecting and preparing to receive the initiation sacraments. The days of Lent are the final period of purification and enlightenment for catechumens and candidates, marked by prayer and study, and spiritual guidance from the priests and parish teams.

For information on the process of RCIA, please contact the parish nearest to you.

Catholic Schools, Diocesan Offices and Providence Center close due to cold and inclement weather

[UPDATE: 1/3/2017 @ 3:30 PM]

Catholic Schools in the Diocese of St. Augustine will be back in session Thursday, Jan. 4. The diocesan offices at the Catholic Center and Providence Center in Jacksonville will also resume business on Thursday.

With a strong potential of icy roads and bridges, Jacksonville Mayor, Len Curry will close all government offices except for essential employees on Wednesday, Jan. 3.  He is advising people to stay off of roadways if possible.

All Catholic Schools will close Wednesday, Jan. 3. Deacon Scott Conway, superintendent of Catholic Schools, will evaluate weather conditions on Wednesday to determine if the schools will remain closed for Thursday. An announcement will be made by 3 p.m. tomorrow for Thursday classes.

The Catholic Center and Providence Center, which includes Catholic Charities will close Wednesday.

For further updates, visit the diocesan website at


U.S. Bishops Mark Nov. 26 as Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians

The USCCB in collaboration with the Knights of Columbus, Catholic Relief Services, the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) and Aid to the Church in Need announce the observance this Sunday, November 26, as A Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians.  The Day of Prayer also initiates “Solidarity in Suffering,” a Week of Awareness and Education that runs from November 26-December 3.  The Day of Prayer on the Solemnity of Christ the King, is a fitting time to reflect on religious freedom and Christians around the world who are being persecuted in unheard of numbers.

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“Living as Missionary Disciples” – 33rd Annual Faith Formation Day

The 33rd Annual Diocesan Faith Formation Day will be held on Saturday, October 7 at Bishop John J. Snyder High School. This faith formation opportunity is open to all and there is something to interest everyone. The early bird specials run through September 22. Also, you can save money by registering in a group from one parish or school. Payment can be made via PayPal, credit card, or check.

Schedule for the Day

8:00 a.m.   Doors open, check in, breakfast, and visit publishers

9:00 a.m.   Gathering prayer

9:30 a.m.    Keynote:  Kevin Dowd, Ph.D candidate, Boston College (courtesy of Pflaum Publishers)

10:45 a.m.   First set of workshops

12:15 p.m.  Lunch and visit publishers

1:15 p.m.    Second set of workshops

3:00 p.m.   Closing prayer

October 7, 2017 Speaker List

October 7 Group Registration  (for parishes and schools)

October 7 Individual Registration

For more information, contact Erin at or Rebecca at

Diocesan Ministry Formation Program continues 25 year tradition of forming lay leaders for the local church

On Sunday, June 11 at a 2:00 p.m. celebration in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, Bishop Felipe Estévez will confer certificates of completion on the following 11 lay ecclesial ministers who have completed the three-year Ministry Formation Program (MFP):

  • James M. Flippin, Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine
  • Elizabeth A. Greene, Holy Family Parish, Jacksonville
  • Virginia Kell, Holy Spirit Parish
  • Jonel Laguerre, Prince of Peace Parish
  • Michael F. LeBlanc, San Juan del Rio Parish
  • Anita Maria Michaels, San José Parish
  • Miguel Ortiz, Epiphany Parish
  • Bonnie Palleschi, St. Mary, Mother of Mercy Parish
  • James M. Palleschi, St. Mary, Mother of Mercy Parish
  • Joseph Richards Riffe, Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine
  • Raymond L. Stiles, Holy Spirit Parish

The Ministry Formation Program shares in the ministry of leadership and service to the people and parishes in the Diocese of St. Augustine through a comprehensive program of spiritual, academic, and pastoral formation for lay leaders. It provides a three-year comprehensive program of study: the first two years focusing on the academic subjects of Scripture, Catholic Tradition, Catholic Beliefs, Morality, Sacraments and Liturgy; the third year combining Theological Reflection with a Supervised Practicum Project.

The celebration is open to the public. To learn more about the Ministry Formation Program, watch the promotional video below or contact Missy Parkison at or call (904) 262-3200, ext. 103.

Diocese Celebrates Religious Jubilarians

Religious Jubilarians pictured clockwise starting from top-center: Sister Elizabeth Marie Stoup, SSJ (65 years), Sister Florence Bryan, SSJ (60 years), Sister Elizabeth Ann McCormick, SSJ (60 years), Sister Joyce Marie Newton, SSJ (60 years), Sister Mary Loyce Newton, SSJ (60 years), Sister Lucy Clynes, DW (50 years), Sister Mary Adell Lininger, SND (50 years), Sister Dianne Rumschlag, SND (50 years), Brother Dominic O’Brien, FMS (65 years; Center)

The Diocesan Commission for Religious will host a Jubilee celebration for men and women religious serving in the Diocese of St. Augustine. The 9:30 a.m. Mass is Sunday, June 11, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Jacksonville. Celebrating 520 years of service to the people of God are:

65 years
Brother Dominic O’Brien, FMS
Sister Elizabeth Marie Stoup, SSJ

60 years
Sister Florence Bryan, SSJ
Sister Elizabeth Ann McCormick, SSJ
Sister Joyce Marie Newton, SSJ
Sister Mary Loyce Newton, SSJ

50 years
Sister Lucy Clynes, DW
Sister Mary Adell Lininger, SND
Sister Dianne Rumschlag, SND

The community is welcome to attend. For more information, call Sister Mary Victora at (904) 477-9047 or email

Pope Francis wants to hear from young people

In a letter to the youth of the world released on January 13, Pope Francis asked young people to tell him, their bishops and pastors about their hopes and struggles and even their criticisms. In preparation for a meeting of the Synod of Bishops focused on youth, the pope wants “to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith, even your doubts and your criticism.

“Make your voice heard,” the pope told young people. “Let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls.”

Before the synod convenes in October 2018, Pope Francis also released a preparatory document for the synod. The document contains preliminary questions to be answered by national conferences of bishops and other church bodies. The responses, along with input from young people themselves, will form the basis of the synod’s working document.

Bishop Felipe Estévez has formed a committee in preparation of the synod that will study the preparatory document. The committee will conduct formal and informal surveys of young people (ages 16-29) and others between now and mid-April. To take the survey, click here or the button below. (Note: This survey is only for those residing within the Diocese of St. Augustine)

Youth and young adults (ages 16-39) – Catholic and non-Catholic alike – as well as mentors of youth, such as DRE’s and youth ministers, are encouraged to take the survey. For more details, contact your parish youth minister or email Father David Ruchinski at or Robin Shipley at or call (904) 262-3200, ext. 189.

En una carta dirigida a los jóvenes del mundo publicada el 13 de enero, el Papa Francisco pidió a los jóvenes que les  dijeran a sus Obispos y Párrocos  sus esperanzas y luchas e incluso sus críticas. En preparación para la reunión del Sínodo de los Obispos centrada en la juventud, el Papa quiere “escuchar su voz, su sensibilidad y su fe, incluso sus dudas y sus críticas

“Haz oír tu voz”, dijo el Papa a los jóvenes. “Deja que resuene en las comunidades y que sea escuchado por tus pastores de almas.”

Antes de que el sínodo convoque a su reunión  en octubre de 2018, el Papa Francisco ha publicado un documento preparatorio para el sínodo. El documento contiene preguntas preliminares las cuales serán  respondidas por  las Conferencias Nacionales de Obispos y otras instancias  de la iglesia. Las respuestas, junto con la aportación de los propios jóvenes, constituirán la base del documento de trabajo del sínodo.

El Obispo Felipe Estévez ha formado un comité en preparación del sínodo que estudiará el documento preparatorio. El comité llevará a cabo encuestas formales e informales a los jóvenes (de 16 a 29 años de edad) y otros desde ahora y hasta mediados de abril.  Para tomar la encuesta, click here u oprima el botón a continuación. (Nota: Esta encuesta es solo para aquellos que residen dentro de  la Diócesis de San Agustín).

Invitamos a todos los  jóvenes y  jóvenes adultos (de 16 a 39 años de edad), tanto católicos como no católicos, así como a los Asesores de los jóvenes, tales como  DRE y los ministros de jóvenes, a participar en la encuesta. Para más detalles, comuníquese con su Párroco en  su parroquia o envíe un correo electrónico al Norma Garcia a o llame al (904) 262-3200, ext. 108.

Morning Star School Supports Children with Learning Disabilities with Charity Gala and Auction

On Saturday, April 8, Morning Star School will host its 6th annual “Gala & Auction – A Night on the St. Johns” event. This will be a fun event which helps fulfill the mission to provide children with learning disabilities the opportunity to attend school, and to thrive and succeed in a caring and loving environment.

All proceeds from the event will help fund classroom enhancements, educational tools, technology and specialized programs. Partial proceeds from this year’s gala will also benefit the “Building a Brighter Future” building campaign for our long awaited special education high school, which will open for the fall 2017-2018 academic year.

The gala will begin at 6:00 p.m. at the Haskell Building, located at 111 Riverside Avenue in Jacksonville. Tickets for the event are $75 per person and will include heavy hors d’oeuvres, auction, dancing, cocktails, and much more! Cocktail attire is suggested. Please RSVP by Friday, March 31 to Maria Johnson at