Teens have informal gathering with Bishop Print this post

Nadia Smith – Special to the Florida Catholic


What would you ask if you could ask any question of the Bishop?

More than 30 youth had that opportunity on Aug. 27, when Bishop Frank J. Dewane was invited by Epiphany Cathedral Youth Group to have a question and answer session with them.

Youth from Epiphany Cathedral Parish in Venice are seen here with Bishop Frank J. Dewane following a Q&A session following a Mass on Aug. 27.

After celebrating the 5:30 p.m. Mass – which is geared toward the youth – Bishop Dewane and the young people made their way to the Cathedral Parish Hall where they shared a meal, took some photos, and then got to ask him anything. The questions ranged from theological and scientific to personal. The teens hit on topics such as the existence of hell, to if the Bishop ever doubted his faith.

In fact, the teens seemed a bit surprised when the Bishop told them that there was nothing wrong with doubting.

Youth from Epiphany Cathedral Parish in Venice are seen here with Bishop Frank J. Dewane following a Q&A session following a Mass on Aug. 27.

“I had a spiritual director that said, ‘If you have never doubted your faith, you haven’t fought for it,’” Bishop Dewane told the youth. “If you doubt, you need to put more of yourself into it. There is nothing wrong with doubting. You address the doubts and then you fight for what you say you believe and live it.”

For sophomore Annie Resendez, the advice of the Bishop on how to deal with friends who need help but do not want to accept it spoke to her the most.

Youth from Epiphany Cathedral Parish in Venice are ask Bishop Frank J. Dewane questions following a Mass on Aug. 27.

“He talked about how prayer is really powerful,” she said, admitting she had not thought of it in this context. “When you’re in high school you have friends that get so stressed out and you want to help but they don’t want your help. It’s cool to have something to be able to do.”

The Bishop explained that sometimes a person is not ready to address an issue so he encouraged them to give their friend time and then try again approaching it from a different angle but the whole time to pray for them.

Sophomore Luke Larimore found the Bishop’s personal life story most interesting from hearing about his life growing up on a Wisconsin farm to how he was selected a bishop and then sent to orientation classes nicknamed ‘Baby Bishop School’.

“It was definitely different, not something we normally do but it was fun,” he said.

Per the teens’ questions, Bishop Dewane also shared his experience about meeting the past three popes he’s served under; how humility is his favorite attribute of the Blessed Mother; how his favorite part about being a bishop is administering the Sacrament of Confirmation; and how one of his role models is St. Augustine for his inspiring conversion.

Sophomore Maria Erquiaga enjoyed the Q&A and was grateful for the Bishop’s time.

“It was another great way for him to connect with the youth,” she said. “Certainly we all need it, so thank you to Bishop Dewane.”

Bishop Dewane has made youth a priority in his ministry and has offered several programs set up through the Office of Youth and Young Adults.

Those efforts have not gone unnoticed as Colleen Roca, the Youth Director at Epiphany Cathedral, explained: “We are so grateful here at Epiphany to have so much support from the Bishop because he always has opportunities for the young people to encounter Jesus and the Church,” she said. “We take advantage of every opportunity whether it’s the Diocesan Youth Rally, the National Evangelization Team (NET) Retreats, the March for Life, World Youth Days or the Immokalee Mission trip. We’re blessed to have a Bishop who wants to support the young people and raise them up and give them an opportunity to be a part of the Church.”

Roca also explained that she planned the event per her youth group’s request. “They are always asking about him. We are so grateful that he came and did this for us. It really was a success.”

For his part, Bishop Dewane told the youth that they are the present Church and their call to participate in the life of the Church is now. This echoed the message from the earlier homily when the Bishop encouraged the youth to have an answer to Jesus’ question: “Who do you say that I am?”

“Peter had an answer and he was a sinner like the rest of us – he was handed the keys to the Kingdom,” he said. “My prayer is that we all move forward and answer that question living out our response.”

For more information about Diocese of Venice programs for Youth and Young Adults, please contact George Smith at gsmith@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-484

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