Board Members


John A. Lessl


John Lessl retired in 2014 after working 40 years as a pension consultant and actuary. He received a B.S. in applied mathematics from Georgia Tech (Summa cum Laude) and an M.S. in actuarial science from the University of Wisconsin. A longtime resident of Seminole, Fla., he and his wife, Kathy, were married in 1972 at Blessed Sacrament Church, where for 12 years they worked with Engaged Encounter, presenting almost 50 weekend retreats and serving on the National Outline Task Force. Since the mid-80s, John has been a sacristan, lector and Eucharistic Minister. Currently, he is chairman of Blessed Sacrament’s Finance Committee and co-founder of the Friends of Blessed Sacrament volunteer program. He also served as president of the Holy Name Society, parish chairman of the Bishop’s 2002 Capital Campaign, an organizer of That Man Is You! program and a committee member for the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg’s Cluster initiative. John and Kathy have three children and three grandchildren.


Jeff Spies

Vice President

A longtime member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Jeff Spies has been married for 48 years and has two grown children and five grandchildren. After 22 years working for the City of St. Petersburg, Jeff retired as the city’s Director of Finance. He earned a B.A. in Finance from DePaul University in Chicago, received an Accounting degree from the University of South Florida and was certified a C.P.A. in the State of Florida in 1974. Jeff is a lector, a bass in the choir and a Eucharistic Minister at Blessed Sacrament, where he and his wife, Shirley, are members of World Wide Marriage Encounter and are active in the church’s marriage preparation program (FOCCUS). They have lived in Seminole for 45 years.


Noris De La Torre Babb


Noris Babb is a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Seminole, where she serves as a Eucharistic Minister. She has been married to Steve Babb for 34 years and is the proud mother of three adult children. A semi-retired pharmacist, Noris earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Campbell University in North Carolina and a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Florida. She has been a pharmacist for the past 26 years and recently retired from Bay Pines VA. Originally from Cuba, Noris and her family fled the country as refugees from communism. She was raised in St. Petersburg and is fluent in Spanish.


Jeanne Kremer

Jeanne Kremer lives in Alexandria, Kentucky, and has a home in Redington Beach, Florida. When in Florida, she and her husband, Jerry, attend Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Seminole. The couple, which has been involved in mission work for many years, including supporting communities in the Kentucky mountains, Cali, Columbia, and, now, Uganda, has five children, 27 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren.

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Larry Ahern

Larry Ahern is a husband, father and grandfather. A member of the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle, Larry is a small business owner, an Air Force veteran and a longtime resident of St. Petersburg, Fla. He owned and operated a pool company for 20 years and served in various ministries at St. Jude before entering public service in 2010. He served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 2011 to 2018, working as a strong advocate for the unborn (along with his wife, Maureen) and vulnerable seniors as well as fighting for limited government and religious freedom. Larry’s hobbies include playing golf, reading about the Catholic faith and government, and playing with his three-year-old granddaughter, Stella.


Scott Vieth

Scott Vieth has lived in the Largo/Seminole area for all of his life. He and his wife, Jennifer, are members of

Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and have three young children. Scott earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from the New York Law School in Tribeca.

He worked as an Assistant State Attorney (prosecutor) for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Florida, with jurisdiction over Pinellas and Pasco counties. In 2016, he joined the Whittemore Law Group, a small civil litigation firm in St. Petersburg. In addition to serving on the RCIA team at Blessed Sacrament, Scott also volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House in St. Petersburg. He enjoys playing with his children and teaching them shop work, a craft he learned from his father.

Executive Director

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Nicholas Di Vito 

Nicholas DiVito and his wife, Lynda, are members of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, where he serves as a lector and Eucharistic Minister. He and Lynda are ascribed members of the Rosminians Institute of Charity.

Nicholas graduated from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, in 1976 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biology. He has worked in the construction industry since 1996 and has been a licensed certified building contractor since 2002. He previously was the Director of Construction for a large developer, overseeing construction of 400-plus homes per year. In 2009, he started his own construction company. Nicholas has one grown daughter.


Brent Sowards

A member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Brent Sowards is the director of Adult Faith Formation, a member of the Liturgy Committee, chairman of the Parish Leadership Team, as well as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist and a lector. Brent attended the University of Florida and the California College for Health Sciences. He has worked in healthcare for almost 30 years and currently owns sleep diagnostic clinics. He is an Army veteran of Desert Shield/Desert Storm, where he served as a team leader in a combat military police unit. Brent is married to Gina and the couple has two children, two grandchildren and five dogs.


Fr. Edward Bwanika


A graduate in education, philosophy and theology, Fr. Edward has been a priest in the Kampala Archdiocese since 2001. His love for his flock drives him to help them escape poverty and disease, thereby reducing the number of orphans and vulnerable children. Because of his desire to transform the entire person’s wellbeing, he pioneered this initiative through agriculture and education and ultimately founded Villa Maria. The passing of his dear mother jump-started his deep love and care for orphans, as he too was an orphan who was left to care for his siblings.