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Date of Issue: January 26, 2006

St. Bernard observing its 50th anniversary

St. Bernard Roman Catholic Church is celebrating 50 years on Anna Maria Island, with a parishioners’ festival planned for the weekend.

The Very Rev. Msgr. Edward Moretti, pastor of Sts. Peter And Paul the Apostles Church and vicar general of the Diocese of Venice, will officiate at the ceremonies noting the birthday.

The birthday weekend will begin with religious adoration all day Saturday, Jan. 28, at the church with parishioners participating.

Sunday, visiting priests from parishes around the area will celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. with the St. Bernard pastor, the Rev. Robert J. Mongiello. His new assistant, Tomasj Ochez (pronounced ohay), is in his native Poland but will return in a few days.

The festivities for parishioners to follow the Mass will be "a fun day," said a spokesperson.

The present church building is on grounds near where the original mission was built and served for decades. It was built of wood and its "footprint" was in the shape of a cross.

From that small beginning grew the biggest church on Anna Maria Island, which also has a parish hall big enough to accommodate the largest crowds to gather indoors on the Island, with parking to boot.