Catholic bishops urge Florida governor to spare death-row inmate, prayer vigils planned

TALLAHASSEE | The Catholic bishops of Florida urged to Gov. Rick Scott to commute the death sentence of Jose Antonio Jimenez to a life sentence without parole.

Jimenez is scheduled to be executed Aug. 14 at 6 p.m. local time for the 1992 murder of Phyllis Minas.

“Both victims of crime and offenders are children of God and members of the same human family,” said an Aug. 10 letter to Scott on behalf of the bishops by Michael B. Sheedy , executive director of the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops in Tallahassee.

“We appreciate your difficult task as governor and still must ask you to commute this death sentence, and all death sentences, to life without the possibility of parole,” he said.

Sheedy cited Pope Francis’ announcement Aug. 2 that he had ordered a change in the Catechism of the Catholic Church declaring that the death penalty is inadmissible in all cases.

“This reflects the growing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of great crimes and that more effective forms of detention have been developed to ensure the due protection of citizens without definitively depriving the guilty of the possibility of redemption,” said Sheedy.

“We pray for Ms. Minas and for consolation for her loved ones. All of us are called to stand with victims in their hurt as they seek healing and justice,” he said.

As Floridians gather in prayer for Minas, her family and friends, “and all affected by violent crime,” Sheedy said, “we also invite them to pray for you as you consider this request. We pray also for Mr. Jimenez and all those facing execution.”

Prior to Jimenez’s scheduled execution, Catholic faithful and members of the community will gather across the state to pray for the victims of violent crimes and their families, for those on death row, for Governor Scott as he confronts the decision to proceed with the execution, and for an end to the use of the death penalty.

Prior to Jimenez’s scheduled execution, Catholic faithful and members of the community will gather at the following times and locations to pray for the victim and aggressor, and their families, for our society, which continues to impose violence in return for violence, and for an end to the use of the death penalty.

Archdiocese of Miami

• St. Martha Parish, 9401 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami Shores

Aug. 14, following 11:45 a.m. Mass. Contact: Deacon Edgardo Farias, 305-764-5019.

Diocese of St. Augustine

• Catholic Gators and GCADP carpool, Emmanuel Mennonite Church, 1236 N.W. 18th Ave, Gainesville

Aug. 14, at 4:30 p.m. Participants will attend the prayer service at Florida State Prison near Starke. Contact: Miriam Elliott at 352-278-4342.

• Across the highway from the Florida State Prison Execution Building, Starke

Aug. 14, at 5 p.m. Contact: Miriam Elliott at 352-278-4342.

• In front of the new Duval County Unified Courthouse, 501 W. Adams Street, Jacksonville

Aug. 14, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Contact: Jackie Gunning at 904-449-3328 or by email at or Sister Maureen Kelley at 904-704-0313, email

• In front of the Flagler County Courthouse, 1769 E. Moody Blvd, Bunnell

Aug. 14, from 5 to 6 p.m. Contact: John Bangert at 301-318-6832 or by email at

• In front of the St. Augustine Beach City Hall, corner of A1A and 16th Street, St. Augustine Beach

Aug. 14, from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. Contact: Nancy O’Byrne at 904-422-3618 or by email

Diocese of St. Petersburg

• St. Vincent de Paul Parish, 4843 Mile Stretch Drive, Holiday

Aug. 14, 11:30 a.m.

• Spirit FM 90.5 WBVM Tampa will be praying on air

Aug. 14, 5:50 p.m.

Spirit FM is also available on the internet (

Diocese of Orlando

For more information on the prayer service, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, or 4076581818 x 1086.

• Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, 5300 Old Howell Branch Road, Winter Park

Aug. 14, 12 p.m. in the Chapel.

• Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 201 University Blvd, Daytona Beach

Free transportation will be provided from the church Aug. 14, 2:15 p.m. There is a pickup at Destination Daytona and Palm Coast. There is a prayer Vigil at the church August 14, at 6 p.m. as well. Call 386-2550433 if you would like to participate.

Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee

§  Good Shepherd Parish, 4665 Thomasville Road, Tallahassee

Prayer service, Aug. 13, 9:45 a.m., Contact: Suzanne Printy,

§  Holy Cross Parish, 4034 Memorial Blue Star Pkwy., Chattahoochee, Holy Hour

Aug. 13, 4:30 p.m.

§  St. Mary Parish 110 St. Mary Avenue, Fort Walton Beach

Prayer service/holy hour, Aug. 14, 6 p.m.

§  St. John the Evangelist Parish, 1008 Fortune Avenue, Panama City

Prayer service, Aug. 13, 5:30 p.m.

§  Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel, 19 N. Palafox St., Pensacola

Holy hour Aug. 14, 11 a.m.

§  Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty

Interfaith Prayer Vigil, Governor’s Mansion, Tallahassee, Aug. 14, 6 p.m. Contact: Sheila Meehan, 850-524-0080.

§  Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty

Service of Remembrance, Capitol Rotunda Aug. 15, noon. Contact: Sheila Meehan, 850-524-0080.

Diocese of Palm Beach

• Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola Chapel

Prayer service Aug. 14, at 5:30 p.m. Immediately following the prayer service, the group will proceed to the corner of Military Trail and Holly Road, where they will silently pray for 15 minutes for Jimenez, the victim, and the families.

• St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 100 N Palmway, Lake Worth

Prayer Service, Aug. 14, 5:30 p.m. Contact: Deanna Herbst,

Diocese of Venice

Contact: Jeanne Berdeaux, 941-441-1101 or

• St. Katharine Drexel Church (chapel), 1922 SW 20th Avenue, Cape Coral

Aug. 14, 6 p.m. E-mail for details.

• San Pedro Chapel, 14380 Tamiami Trail, North Port

Aug. 14, 5:45 to 6:30 p.m.

• St. Raphael Chapel, 2514 Lee Blvd., Lehigh Acres

Aug. 14, 6 p.m.

• St. Catherine Chapel, 820 Hickory Street, Sebring

Aug. 14, 5 p.m.