Priests sing to support Blessed Edmund Rice School Print this post

by Bob Reddy (Editor, Florida Catholic)

VENICE – The range of talent on display during the recent Priest Concert could rival any talent show currently on television. Before a packed house, five priests of the Diocese of Venice sang in support of the Blessed Edmund Rice School for Pastoral Ministry on Feb. 24 at the Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall.

Rice School President Dr. Andrea Molinari said the success of the concert is a both a tribute to the talent of the priests who performed but also to the many people who have benefitted from the Rice School since it was founded in 1995.

“We are so blessed to have the support of so many people,” Dr. Molinari said. “The Diocese of Venice, the priests, their parishes, the graduates and current students have each made a special contribution to the school. Thank you all for helping to ensure a bright future.”

TheRiceSchoolfunctions as a center for theological study and preparation for service in the Diocese. Classes are held at the main campus nearPort Charlotte, but also in parishes throughout the Diocese to allow greater accessibility. Students can take one class or work toward earning advanced degrees or Diocesan certificates.

The priest who performed were: Msgr. Gerard Finegan, Pastor of St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish on Longboat Key; Father Fausto Stampiglia, Pastor of St. Martha Parish inSarasota; Father John Ludden, Pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples; Father Michael Cannon, Pastor of St. James Parish in Lake Placid; and Father George Ratzmann, Pastor of St. William Parish in Naples.

Seating for the concert was limited and included, refreshments, hors d’oeurves and gourmet chocolates. During the intermission and following the main program, a DJ played familiar music as many couples took the opportunity to dance. Mixed among the priest performances were songs from several cantors from area parishes.

Highlights of the evening included Father Cannon playing his bright red accordion and singing in Gaelic; Father Stampiglia telling several jokes and recalling his mother with one of his songs. Msgr. Finegan sang several songs from his nativeIreland; Father Ratzmann impressed everyone with a strong voice while Father Ludden mixed spiritual songs with more whimsical show tunes.

For more information about theRiceSchool, class schedules and locations, please call 941-766-7334, emailriceschool@daystar.netor visit

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