On Thursday, December 10, 2020, seven members of the Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Lakewood Ranch Knights of Columbus Saints Cosmas and Damian Council, 13341 provided approximately 300 coats to the children of the St. Michael Catholic Church in Wauchula, FL. For many years, the Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church Knights of Columbus Saints Cosmas and Damian Council has been the only one in the Catholic Diocese of Venice to continue providing coats to the children.
This was the 10th year is a row that the Knights of Columbus provided coats to the St. Michael Catholic Church children. The Knights of Columbus donation of coats was started by the late David Walsh and after a couple of years taken over by Bill Rempe and Ray Makovec who lead the effort of the next seven years. This was the first year for Tom Rokosz and Marty Saia to organize the donation of the coats.
Wauchula is a small agricultural community and the Hardee County Seat. The majority of the members of the St. Michael Catholic Church are agricultural workers. St. Michael’s Church in Wauchula is one of the poorest parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Venice.
The Worthy Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, John Joly presented Sister Maria Gema de Jesus Ruiz, a Sister Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará who serves at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula with a certificate of gratitude to commemorate the 10 years of giving.
The following individuals from the Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Lakewood Ranch Knights of Columbus Saints Cosmas and Damian Council, 13341particapated this year; Regina and John Joly, Joanne and Jerry Graceffo, Tom Rokosz, Scott Nadeau, Chris Avren, Mike Mahan and Mollie and Marty Saia.
Once again this year, Sister Maria Gema de Jesus Ruiz, hand-picked each child’s coat for fit and style and attached the child’s name to each coat. The response from the St. Michael’s Parish was amazing with many from the parish in attendance. All were filled with the joy of giving. It was a truly a rewarding and inspiring experience.
St. Michael’s Church in Wauchula is one of the poorest parishes in the Diocese of Venice with Sister Maria Gema leading family activities there. Each child’s coat was hand-picked by her for fit and style with their names attached. The response was wonderful with 100 people from the parish in attendance.
Anyone interested in helping the religious sisters at St. Michael Parish can do so by contacting Sister Gema at: St. Michael Parish, Attn: Sister Gema, 408 Head Bridge Road, Wauchula, FL 33873.