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The Florida Catholic

Women reflect to find ‘spiritual rejuvenation’

PORT ST. LUCIE  |  A day of reflection, for “spiritual rejuvenation” of mind, body and soul, was held Feb. 11, 2023, at Holy Family Parish in Port St. Lucie. The Holy Family Council of Catholic Women sponsored the event for all women in the parish and the Diocese of Palm Beach.

The theme for the day, “God, pour into our hearts such love towards you,” began with a Mass celebrated by Father Timothy O’Toole. The day also included light refreshments, lunch, opportunities for Eucharistic adoration and private prayer, and inspirational presentations by two guest speakers. The event ended by praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

The first speaker, Erin Gleeson, a member of St. Patrick Council of Catholic Women, shared her reflection on the life of Blessed Carlo Acutis, a 15-year-old Italian who died in 2006 from leukemia. “His simple holiness remains an inspiration to everyone, that anyone can achieve holiness, no matter their state of life,” Gleeson said.

Acutis held a profound and unshakable belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, she said. “Carlo said, ‘the Eucharist is my highway to heaven.’”

That conviction led him to create a website listing all of the Catholic Church’s recognized miracles of the Blessed Sacrament. Gleeson said, “Blessed Carlo Acutis is now known as the patron saint of the internet.”

Acutis was declared Blessed by Pope Francis Oct. 10, 2020. “Blessed Carlo Acutis needs one more approved miracle to be canonized as a saint, and maybe that miracle may come from you,” she said.

“In April of 2022, a relic of Blessed Carlo Acutis, a piece of the pericardium of his heart, was received by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for the National Eucharistic Revival, a multi-year initiative by the bishops to foster devotion in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist,” Gleeson said.

Eve Brooks, spiritual chair for the council, described the talk as “beautiful.” Another woman said, “What a wonderful saint for today’s young people to emulate.”

The second guest speaker, Joe Prestianni, a Holy Family parishioner and grand Knight, gave a thoughtful presentation titled “The Last Supper Revisited.”

“There are two goals I would like to achieve in our presentation today,” he said. “First, my goal today is to teach you about the Bible and try to explain the Bible to you in a way that is completely understandable by learning the language of the Bible.”

His second goal, Prestianni said, was “to present a reenactment of the Last Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ, what the meal was all about, what Jesus did in each step of the meal, and why he did it, to see the real Jesus.”

“The Bible is the story of God’s love for mankind,” he said. “A covenant is the language of the Bible. Adam broke a covenant with God. With every covenant that God makes, it always comes with conditions. It is a permanent arrangement.”  

Prestianni explained the difference between a contract and a covenant. “A contract is merely a consensual exchange of property and services between two people. In a contract, we have lost that spiritual guidance for ourselves. A covenant is for life, a sacred kinship, a sacred blood bond.”

The Passover ritual “is actually a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah,” he said. “First, Passover was an event. Second, it is a celebration of remembrance of God’s liberation from slavery of the Jews and, last, it is a celebration and a picture of the future — of the Messiah.”

The seder meal “is meant to remember the past and foretell events to come. Our Lord’s Last Supper was a seder,” Prestianni said. “Look for the Messiah in each of the 15 steps of the Passover meal.”

Mary Colombo, Holy Family council member, said, “He was very interesting. He explains my own beliefs.”

“I never really read the Bible,” Eileen Merten said. “He is so intelligent and knowledgeable.”

For more information on the Palm Beach Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, visit To contact Prestianni, the Knights of Columbus or Holy Family council, call 772-335-2385.