Former pastor of St. Mary’s, Fr. John, to receive diocesan award

PAHOKEE — Father John Mericantante, who was for many years the pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, happily announced last week to his followers on social media that “I am going to receive an award for my work in Pahokee.

Father John Mericantante

“I wanted all of you to know that it is because of God and His Mother and the saints and your friendship and loving support that I was able to do my work in Pahokee and that I will accept this award from Catholic Charities in your names!”

The revered priest followed that with a Spanish translation as he usually does, along with a copy of the letter from the diocese.

The Rev. Francisco “Frankie” Cheverre, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach, wrote on Sept. 23 to advise Father John, who now lives at Carlyle House in Palm Beach, that the diocese board of directors and Bishop Gerald Barbarito had approved his “designation as 2020 Gala Honoree in our 9th Caritas Dei Bishop’s Gala.

“You will be the recipient of the Caritas Christi Service Award, which is presented to you in recognition of your superior service within the Diocese of Palm Beach,” said the letter. Father John will be honored Jan. 22, 2020, in the gala at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. “We are grateful to you for many years of your unconditional support for Catholic Charities and for other noble causes of our church,” Father Frankie wrote.

This brought many reactions and congratulations on his Facebook page:

Kay Barnes Zaccagnino said: “Father John, I can think of no one who is more deserving of this honor than you. Catholic Charities is right for recognizing the life-changing work you have freely given to the citizens of the Glades area. We are forever indebted to you.”

Helen Griffiths Murray wrote: “You are so deserving. All of us on the Muck THANK you and the Good Lord!”

Olga Maldonado wrote: “Congratulations, Father John. You deserve it. You did a great job in Pahokee.” Frederick Brigham said: “Congratulations, Fr. John, and all who have assisted you in this vital ministry! God bless you.”

Alice Hurt Thompson said: “Father John, we know that our Father was guiding you in all your humble efforts here in Pahokee. I’m so thankful that these efforts are being recognized, along with His faithful servant, Father Rev. John Mericantante.”

David Pistarelli Jr. said: “Congratulations, Fr. John! I’m sure this is not only for your service to the faithful and those in the margins within the Diocese of Palm Beach, but your loving and caring pastoral ministry to those in Chile. I can’t think of a priest more deserving of this award.”

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