For all intents and purposes, summer is here! It doesn’t take long for that familiar hot Florida sun to turn a parked car into an oven these days. If school isn’t out yet for the summer, it’s just days away. Your focus likely has turned to vacation, camps, the beach, fishing, the mountains, or whatever you do to relax. My vacation is just around the corner (and at long last I finally get to leave the country again to get away!). This year has had many, many blessings too many to enumerate in this brief article. I continue to be inspired by the goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and generosity of the people of Christ the King. I am honored to serve as your pastor. We are so blessed with a wonderful staff who selflessly continue to serve day in and day out. It is one of the reasons we have such an awesome parish.

 

For the past eight years, our parish has been blessed with an absolutely fantastic Youth Minister, Melissa Mulson. Melissa has been such a gift to the youth of our parish. Her love of the Lord and our holy Catholic faith is infectious. She is articulate, funny, devoted and prayerful.

 

Unfortunately for us, Melissa will be leaving us this summer to take up a new position in the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Fortunately, she will be staying in youth ministry, but will be working on a broader level. As the Regional Associate Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, she will be able to assist and mentor youth ministers throughout our diocese as well as impact the youth from many different parishes. We are very excited for Melissa and the new opportunities that she will have to bring the youth of our diocese closer to Christ!

 

Youth Ministry continues to be one of our top priorities here at Christ the King and I am happy to tell you about our new Youth Minister.
After several interviews, I am pleased to announce that we have hired Claire Naghdi as our new Youth Minister. Claire is originally from
Melbourne (Florida, not Australia) and is a recent graduate of Ave Maria University. In addition to running cross country at Ave Maria, she
is also a triathlete. Just last week she competed in a half-ironman. More importantly than that, she loves her Catholic faith and has a deep desire to share her faith with others, especially the youth. Claire will actually be working at Lifeteen’s Camp Hidden Lake in the Georgia mountains this summer so will not be starting here at Christ the King until August. We look forward to having her join our parish family.

 

Speaking of camp, we have a record number of kids going to our summer camps this year. We have 38 middle school youth going to Camp Hidden Lake in June, 25 high school teens going to Camp Covecrest (also in the Georgia mountains) in July and over 20 teens participating in our diocese’s Good Samaritan Project (which is a local service camp in June). I am particularly grateful to the chaperones who will be participating. I know it is a great sacrifice of your time.

 

Also, I am also very happy that our own seminarian, Tyler Gates, will be assigned to Christ the King this summer. You will see Tyler around the parish all summer as he gets the opportunity to gain parish experience in this summer internship. In addition to going to the camps as well as being an active part of Vacation Bible School, Tyler will be involved in a wide range of parish activities as he continues his road to the priesthood.

 

Whether you have a big vacation planned, or just a “stayvacation,” I pray that you have a great summer. Of course, there is no vacation from our faith. Whether you stay in South Tampa, or find yourself, in Boca Grande, the Pinellas beaches, North Carolina, New England or overseas, don’t neglect your faith. Go to mass every weekend and allow the grace of God to continue to grow within you and those you love.