St. Andrew celebrates anniversaries
A sold-out gathering of more than 400 were on hand last Saturday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of St. Andrew Catholic Church and simultaneously the 25th anniversary of St. Andrew Catholic School at it Gold & Silver Anniversary Gala.
Current parish Pastor Fr. Richard York opened the celebration with a prayer, followed by proclamations from Lee County Commissioner John Manning and Mayor Marni Sawicki declaring Nov. 8 as St. Andrew Day. Current school principal Dr. Judy Hughes, first school principal Sister Elizabeth, founding pastor Fr. Timothy Murphy and Bishop Frank Dewane were among the night’s special guests.
Dignitaries attending included Florida Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto, State Rep. Dane Eagle, Lee Sheriff Mike Scott among others.
“Our celebration is simply about our honoring the past, celebrating the present and planning for the future in our Cape Coral Community,” said Fr. York. “St. Andrew Catholic Parish by its very core seeks to reach out through its works of mercy and concern for all in need especially in these troubled times. We look to the past for our inspiration as we work in the present and look to a bright future.”
A number of original parish members from its founding in 1964 mingled and reminisced with several generations of current parish members at the Westin Resort at Marina Village. Guests enjoyed a dinner-dance with live music by Jonathan Elliott Band and each received a wine glass gift etched with the anniversary logo for a collective toast. A silent auction continued throughout the evening.
Jeff Allen kept the crowd laughing with his comedic routine “Thou Shalt Laugh.”
St. Andrew dedicated its first church building on Aug. 21, 1965, and dedicated the current sanctuary on Nov. 27, 1983.
The school opened in 1989 with 80 students. The staff and clergy today serves 4,500 families, making it one of the largest parishes in Southwest Florida.
The anniversary has been a year-long celebration culminating with the Anniversary Gala last weekend. Celebratory events were stacked together in the fall, beginning in earnest in October. The Anniversary Mass was celebrated by Bishop Dewane on Nov. 2, followed by an outdoor concert for the parish youths and Boy Scouts. Entertainment was provided by Edison Gibbons and Maritza Cedeno de Smith and Tony Melendez & the Band.
There also was a choir recital on Nov. 6. The celebrations conclude Dec. 6-14 with nine days of Rosary prayer for the future.