We are a diverse parish, about 900 of the 1,200 registered Families are English Speaking. About 300 are Spanish Speaking. We have 300 additional Spanish Speaking Families in two Migrant Camps that are not registered because at least one member of their family is undocumented. Consequently, our ministries and community services are also diverse and keyed to assist our members on the periphery.
We are poor in material wealth, but rich in faith:
- Liturgical and Sacramental Ministries Religious Education and Sacramental Preparation in the camps. Sr. Norma and Sr. Bety with lay catechists meet in the camps every Thursday afternoon. They teach adult religious education. Lay catechists teach the children to prepare them for the sacraments.
- The Sisters and Lay ministers also bring bread, frozen meat and fresh vegetable to the camps on Thursdays. The food is provided by our St Rita’s St Vincent de Paul Conference.
- Our St Vincent de Paul Conference runs a food pantry that feeds over 100 families per week. We use a choice system where the families get to choose the canned goods and frozen meat that they want. The fresh fruits and vegetables are free issue and provided by Feeding America and the University of Florida. The University has a large educational vegetable garden in the area and provides us with fresh vegetables.
- In addition to food, St Vincent de Paul also provides financial assistance for rent, utilities and other emergencies. In April we provided $1,200 in financial aid to needy families in Dade City.
- St Rita’s is very active in Prison Ministry. We support the Kairos (Cursillo) weekends at the women’s state prison in Hernando County. The Kairos program shows the inmates that God and people at St Rita’s love them and pray for them. Kairos offers hope to the hopeless.
- We also are active in Prison Re-Entry Ministry. We support the “Getting Ahead While Getting Out” program both at the Hernando Correctional Women’s Prison and the Zephyrhills Correctional Men’s Prison. This is a 22 week program that assists inmates plan and prepare for release. We provide financial assistance for indigent inmates to execute their short term (72 hour) plan.
- We also have an active Bible Study Class that meets weekly. Last year during Advent we studied the Infancy Narratives.
- There are four nursing homes in Dade City. We have five teams of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion that visit Catholics in the nursing homes and those that are home bound.
- Our Hispanic Community has a cursillo/ultreya group that meets monthly. They go out to the camps to bring the migrants the love of God.
- The Hispanic Community also has an active John XXIII group that meets monthly and reaches out to the migrants in the camps.
- We have a large combined Spanish and English speaking choir. Our major bilingual Masses are Christmas, Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil.