Reprinted with permission by The Resident Community News Group LLC © 2017
Parishioners at St. Paul’s Catholic Church were thrilled and honored to have Bishop Felipe J. Estévez of the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine bless the installation of a new accessibility feature on the campus in Riverside.
During the dedication service, Estévez noted St. Paul’s Catholic Church had taken the lead of all the parishes in the diocese to act on a vision of inclusion regarding the celebration of the sacraments with persons with disabilities, which had been published in June 2017 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“Your sacrifice enabling the parish to have this extra facility is an act of love. This little gesture makes a big difference in their lives,” he said, referring to the disabled in the parish.
After raising funds for more than six years, the Women’s Guild at the church presented a check for $30,000 toward the $78,000 cost of a concrete ramp leading from a new concrete courtyard to the congregation’s social hall/auditorium.
“The need was so great,” said Anne Sulzbacher, St. Paul’s Catholic Women’s Guild president. “Every year for many years, we put something aside for this project.”
The Guild was established in 1923, the first in the diocese, and is a member of the Council of Catholic Women.
“The Guild is not primarily a fundraising organization. It exists to provide spiritual support and growth, as well as to encourage friendships and camaraderie among the members and to provide some financial help to the parish,” said Sulzbacher. “The women work hard to put on dinners and other parties, and the parishioners turn out for a good time and are very generous, so in a way we accomplish all our goals.”
The general contractor was J.C. Harward & Associates, according to Tony Zeaiter, business manager for the parish. “John and his father actually went to school at St. Paul, so it was a blessing to have them head the project,” Zeaiter said.
Also recognized at the dedication for their efforts in were Chuck Parliment of Parliment Building Products, District 14 Councilman Jim Love and his executive assistant Kevin Kuzel, who is a member of St. Paul’s, Lisa Sheppard of the Jacksonville Historic Planning Commission, and Jane Lanier, president and chief development officer for St. Vincent’s HealthCare Foundation.