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The Naples Yacht Club provided the perfect venue for friends of the Society of Jesus to catch up with the Jesuits and each other.

July 22, 2020 – On March 15, 2020—literally a day or two before the coronavirus pandemic forced many states to end public gatherings— friends, benefactors and alumni of the Jesuits and their East Coast institutions came together at the Naples Yacht Club in Florida for a special Mass and brunch to catch up with each other and hear updates about the Jesuits’ mission and the new USA East Province. Mass was concelebrated by Fr. John Cecero, SJ, provincial of the USA Northeast Province, and Fr. Brett McLaughlin, SJ, who was ordained in 2017 and missioned to St. Ignatius Church in New York before returning to his studies in Christology.

Following Mass, brunch was served in the yacht club’s dining room, where Fr. Cecero updated everyone on how the Jesuits are focusing their missions and how they relate to the Society’s Universal Apostolic Preferences. He also spoke about the launch this summer of Jesuits USA East that will canonically bring together the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces as a new province that stretches from Maine to Georgia.

Father Provincial John Cecero, SJ, smiles with some friends—a sign of joyous times only days before the pandemic forced everyone into stay-at-home orders.

“We were fortunate to have been able to gather with our friends and benefactors in Naples for Mass, food and fellowship just before the pandemic swept in,” said James Skurka, provincial Assistant for Advancement and Communications. “Those in attendance will always remember this event as a beautiful service and time spent with our father Provincial, but also as the last opportunity many of us had to attend Mass with others before safety measures closed all religious services. It will remain a dear memory for all of us.”

Frs. John Cecero, SJ (left), and Brett Mclaughlin, SJ, celebrated Mass prior to brunch.