January 26 – 28, 2018, Tampa, Florida – Every Year on the last weekend of January between the Feast Day of St. Francis de Sales and St. John Bosco, Salesians from around the country travel to Tampa, Florida to celebrate their founder, “Don” John Bosco, and worship with the local parish community of Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church and the Families and Alumni of the one-time Catholic School and Boy’s orphanage.
Since 1928, Mary Help of Christians has been so much more than just a Catholic Church that offers assistance and spiritual love to the surrounding community, it has a rich and deep history that dates back to the Catholic roots of Tampa Bay, with generous support for the orphans and the disadvantaged children throughout its existence. The Hundred plus acres campus of virtually untouched natural beauty is Home to Camp Don Bosco Summer Camps, High School, College and Adult Retreats, Cristo Rey Tampa Catholic High School, a Boys and Girls Club and is host to various other community events.
Today, the Mary Help of Christians Tampa, a Salesian Community within the Diocese of St. Petersburg, faces the similar economic challenges that most small Catholic Churches do as residents of its surrounding geographic neighborhood move away and those who remain do not possess a healthy enough income to fully support the Church through their weekly tithing and donations. Thankfully the Charism of the Salesian Mission in Tampa also attracts “parishioners” that attend Mary Help of Christians that do not reside in the “parish boundaries” who are drawn by the Holy Spirit and participate in more than just typical Mass or Parish obligations. It is in large part their contributions (tithes, donations, etc.) and donations of time that allows the residents in these local neighborhoods within the “parish boundaries” to benefit from MHC Tampa’s generosity.
Every year, a Three Day Weekend Festival to Celebrate the Feast of St. John Bosco serves as the primary annual fundraiser for this historic Parish. And this year St. John Bosco Council #12746 had Seven Brother Knights of step up as Lead Coordinators for the various elements of the Three Day Festival. The following Knights, along with another 20 council brothers, put in hundreds of hours starting back in November, attending planning meetings, soliciting donations and making sure that the Event was a success to Mary Help of Christians:
Norman “Joe” Fortson (Grand Knight) – Food Concessions.
Kevin Einsmann – Beer & Wine Concessions.
Jody Fameree – Ticket sales and Finances.
Ed O’Mara (PFN, PGK) – Festival Grounds Logistics and Parking.
Edwin Celeiro (Council Financial Secretary) –International Food Festival.
Paul Antcil (Council Chancellor) – Sound & Entertainment.
Tony Marincovich (Council Lecturer) – Mary Rocks! Youth Rally on Saturday.
Deacon Ed Antcil (Council Treasurer) – Mass Liturgies on Sunday and Adoration Praise and Worship Service at the Mary Rocks! Youth Rally on Saturday.
Thanks in large part to the hard work and dedication of these gentlemen of the Knights of Columbus St. John Bosco Council #12746, combined with the Salesian Spirit of St. Don Bosco under the guidance of Our Beloved Holy Mother Mary, The Three Day Weekend Festival at Mary Help of Christians celebrating the Feast of St. John Bosco was a huge success raising over $12,000 and many underprivileged neighbors and young children of Tampa Bay will continue to benefit from the charity of Mary Help of Christians Tampa, Florida.
To see some of the pictures of the event Click Here.