This September, one more mission opened its doors to the Institute of the Incarnate Word. The Diocese of Venice, Florida welcomed the Institute to administer their parish of St. Michael in the city of Wauchula.
The parish encloses the area of Hardee County, an orange-growing agricultural community of 30,000, and also includes two outlying churches in the towns of Bowling Green and Zolfo Springs, each about ten miles from Wauchula.
Described as breathing with "two lungs," St. Michael's parish is composed of a Mexican-Hispanic and American majority, along with a small number of Haitian families. To serve the needs of its varied community, the parish hosts four Masses in Spanish, two Masses in English, and one Mass in Creole every weekend. The parish also has a booming catechism program, with approximately six hundred children attending.
As is common for much of Florida, St. Michael's parish experiences a seasonal ebb and flow of parishioners, particularly among its American number, as they move to the northern areas of the United States to avoid Florida's hot summers, returning later in the year to take advantage of its pleasant winter climate. Many of these parishioners come from the states of New York and Maine.
Running the parish are two missionary priests of the IVE, the pastor, Fr. Juan Carlos Sack, and his associate, Fr. Esteban Soler. Florida is just the most recent mission for these veteran priests; Fr. Soler previously has gone on mission in Papua New Guinea, Ireland, and California, while Fr. Sack has spent many years on apostolate in Russia and Tajikistan, as well as a period of time in Brooklyn, New York.
Among their other apostolates at St. Michael's, Fr. Soler and Fr. Sack perform a prison ministry at two nearby state correctional institutions, offering Mass for the inmates twice a week. In the outlying churches, Mass is offered in Spanish every weekend, and various pastoral and social activities take place throughout the week.
We give thanks for this new mission of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, and beseech the intercession of St. Michael and our Blessed Mother for many fruits from this new foundation.
Contact and parish information for St. Michael's can be found online here, or via phone at (863) 773-4089.
Copyright ©2010 IVE America All Rights Reserved