Mtr. Gail Tomei, Priest Associate, gtomei@stmarysbonita.org,  (239) 992-4343
I was called to be a Priest Associate at St. Mary’s Bonita Springs in 2006.
At that time I was a certified Hospital Chaplain working at both Naples Community Hospital South and Naples Hospice, as well as serving at St. John’s, Naples until their new priest arrived.  I had only visited St. Mary’s once when I was immediately drawn into the presence of the Lord through the beautiful Sunday liturgy.  At St. Marys, I was invited to teach, celebrate Holy Eucharist and serve in a number of full time capacities for the next three years.
My husband and I then moved to Pennsylvania where we could live closer to family.  It was time to retire.  However, after a few months in the Lancaster area, the Lord drew us to a small church where we were greatly needed.  I served there for three years before being called to ‘help out’ another church until they found a new Rector.
The Lord then provided me with another opportunity to serve as Rector of a church in the Diocese of Pennsylvania.  “Ascension” Church, with almost no budget, grew in numbers and sensed the need to reach beyond its confines.  Our members joined others in fourteen other churches to minister to nearly 200 at-risk kids every day after school in a four-million dollar facility, called The Point, built and paid for solely through donations.
After three years, I thought that it was truly a time to retire.  My husband and I decided to become ‘snowbirds’ and return to Florida during the winter.  We love living part-time both in the North and the South and serving the Lord in both places.  I then decided to volunteer at St. Mary’s church. My deep love for teaching and discipleship has expanded to teaching and encouraging prayer and pastoral care leaders.  This group gathers for weekly accountability and to affirm their walk in Christ through daily prayer, meditation and Scripture study.  The Lord continues to draw me into varied ways I can serve the Lord with gladness as I embrace my journey in Christ through these “retirement” years.