Donors Join Bishop for a Tour of San Pedro Center

By Joe Klinker

Welcome, and rest.

That was the message of Rev. Giles Schinelli , T.O.R., pastoral administrator at San Pedro Center as he welcomed eight Our Catholic Appeal donors, along with Most Rev. John Noonan and diocesan staff, for lunch and a tour of their peaceful grounds.

San Pedro Center, located on 485 acres of protected Florida wetlands and forest, is located on Lake Howell in Winter Park and serves the people of the Diocese of Orlando, establishing a place “set apart, for human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral development.”

San Pedro Center’s remarkable history offers a richness to the experience of walking its paths and experiencing its environment. What started as a site for summer camps in the 1950’s quickly became temporary housing for some of the first young Cubans fleeing the newly established Castro-led government. Over the next two decades, that concept of retreat peacefully evolved as Most Rev. Thomas Grady invited the Franciscan Friars, T.O.R., to run the site as a retreat and spirituality center. Today, San Pedro Center welcomes 10,000 people a year from various backgrounds, a testament to the relevance and impact of its humble grounds.

“To have such a special place right here in our Diocese of Orlando is such a blessing,” said Meghan Post, president of the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida. “That’s why, as part of our own stewardship at the Catholic Foundation, it’s important to us that people get to see firsthand the impacts of their generosity.”

Last year $825,000 of the diocese’s Our Catholic Appeal funds went directly to supporting the facility and staffing needs of San Pedro Center’s acreage, 48 bedrooms, three conference rooms, full dining room, chapel, walking paths and much more.

Because of that generosity, the gates of San Pedro Center are open to every person in need of the physical and spiritual enrichment it offers. It remains a place where all are in invited to feel welcome, and rest.

© Copyright 2011-2015 The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida Inc.