About Us

About Us

Parish History

Beginnings

The growth of our Catholic Community in Winter Garden has paralleled the enormous growth of Central Florida. The 1920's through the 1950's showed a sparse Catholic population and was served by priests who came on occasional visits from St. James Church in Orlando. In 1959 a Mission was established. For a short time, Mass was celebrated in Dr. Gleason's Medical Clinic by Fr. Peter Dolan, but as the community grew, Tanner Auditorium was used for Sunday Mass.

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In 1967, the Mission was raised to parish status and became RESURRECTION PARISH. Fr. Ben Benesezich, the enthusiastic first pastor, gathered parishioners and friends together and built the first structure. The small church built on Highway 50 was constructed from plans for a Boy Scout chapel and would accommodate 200 people. A small sacristy and office along with two other rooms at the back served as the living quarters for the pastor.

The following year, a large metal building was constructed behind the church which was used as the parish hall and for the CCD program. A rectory was built in 1974, and is still in use, in a residential area of Winter Garden. During the 70's, the parish grew to about 175 families. Additionally, the Church served over 200 Spanish-speaking farm workers who attended the Spanish Mass on Sunday afternoon. Some years later, Mass was celebrated monthly in the Deneef Camp and continues to this day, for the Hispanic migrants. Resurrection Parish continued to grow during the next decade. The winter residents and vacationing tourists joined the growing parishioners to create an overflowing community. Father Leonard Kistler, the pastor from 1981 to 1989, organized a committee of parishioners to plan for a new and larger church. The Diocese of Orlando decided to sell the property on Highway 50 and establish a larger facility on State Road 535 south of Highway 50.

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New Church 1991

In April of 1990, after many months of discussion, negotiation and prayer, the sale of the property was finalized and construction of the new church began. A large group of parishioners, both old and new, joined Fr Carl Wise (1989 to 1991) at the ground breaking ceremony.

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The first Mass in the new church was celebrated at the Easter Vigil on March 30, 1991, nearly one year later. Bishop Norbert Dorsey dedicated the new church on April 14,1991. During the construction of the church, a double-wide module was purchased to serve as a temporary Parish Center. The CCD program grew from 50 to students to an enrollment of over 230 students. The need for space for this program and developing parish organizations made a new Parish Center the next thing on the horizon. The parish grew to over 600 registered families and has grown steadily.

In 1992 Fr. Andrew O'Reilly was appointed Pastor. He saw the need for a Parish Center, a building for CCD, parish activities and parish office. (The parish office until then was in a side room of the Church.) The Center was built in two stages due to insufficient funds. The first half included the office, four classrooms/meeting rooms (now used for Pre-K). The second half was built a few years later and included three extra rooms for CCD and meeting rooms, a large hall that could be divided by movable walls to provide four additional rooms and finally the kitchen.

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More Growth

Space was needed for the overcrowding In the CCD classes and Ministry meeting rooms. With no future building plans, 5 module units were put in place to be used until a building plan could be resolved. Fr. Alex Dalpiaz, who had been transferred from the missions in Columbia, was appointed pastor in February 2003. The immediate need for a larger Parish Center was made known to him and that the five rented modules, used for over 650 children installed in 2002, could not be used for more than 5 years. Fr. Alex recognizing the ever growing need of the parish began to quickly plan for this enormous project.

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The result of many meetings with the Parish Council and leaders of the Parish solidified the decision to call upon McCree architects to draw up a plan for the construction of eight (8) multi-purpose rooms, a very large hall and a larger kitchen. These new facilities of 16,000 square feet would take care of all the religious and social needs of the every growing parish of 3,600 families, of which one third were Hispanics and Brazilians. The Building and Finance committee began the Capital Campaign Building Fund in March 2005. The St. John's Water Management Department delayed the start of construction by many months. Finally, approval was given and construction began in August of 2007 with the Blessing and ground breaking ceremony. The Certificate of Occupancy was attained in December of 2007; it being the 40th year of the establishment of the Parish. The total cost of the addition including furnishings, etc., amounted to $2,500,000. Thanks to the continued support of parishioners and many anonymous donors this goal would be met by the end of the Capital Building Campaign, "Growing in Faith thru Unity," in late 2008.

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Catholic and Christian

eucharist1 "Our profession of faith begins with God, for God is the First and the Last, the beginning and the end of everything. The Credo begins with God the Father, for the Father is the first divine person of the Most Holy Trinity; our Creed begins with the creation of heaven and earth, for creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God's works."

---the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 198

Catholic belief is succinctly expressed in the profession of faith or credo called the Nicene Creed:

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The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

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eucharist1 Friendly people with real lives and problems just trying to be better. People of all ages and backgrounds. Masses in English, Spanish and Portuguese. We don't hound you for money. Great contemporary worship Music at Sat 5 and Sunday 1130. Relevant homilies from our 3 priests. Give us a try. We're different. Here's some reviews:

Discover a beautiful faith in the Catholic Church.

G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “The difficulty in explaining ‘why I am a Catholic’ is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.” Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church to preserve the truth He gave us and hand it down through the centuries, helping people all around the world encounter the love of God in every age and in every corner of the earth.

Over the years, there have been an untold number of questions and objections raised about the Catholic Church’s teachings and practices. The answers are there, and it’s worth your time to find them. As the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, “There are not even 100 people in this country who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they think the Catholic Church to be.”

The Lord wants us all to know and understand His truth, so we can embrace it wholeheartedly and live by it. Christ reminds us, “The truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

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