Mass to honor Widows and Widowers Jan. 20

Staff Report – Florida Catholic

12/20/2018

Throughout Scriptures we are reminded to care for widows and widowers who are protected by God. For this reason, the Bishop Frank J. Dewane is celebrating a Mass for all widows and widowers at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 20 at Epiphany Cathedral, 310 Sarasota Street, Venice. A dinner will follow in the Parish Hall.

Bishop Dewane said this Mass is an important opportunity to recognize those who have suffered the loss of a spouse but remain strong in their faith.

The concept for the Mass grew out of the annual Mass honoring couples celebrating significant wedding anniversaries. Those Masses, which will be, March 2 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice and March 16 at St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs, are extraordinarily popular, however each year there are empty spaces in the pews when a spouse passes away.

“Widows and widowers are not forgotten but are in fact recognized and in particular revered by the Church,” Bishop Dewane said. “The Book of Revelation says the Lamb will shepherd and lead those who grieve to the springs of life-giving water and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. This reminds us that we can persevere…”

The celebration will include a display of photos available for viewing and be part of the Mass for widows and widowers. Should an attendee wish to share a photo for the display, they can either bring the image to the event, email it to ardy@dioceseofvenice.org, or mail it to Diocese of Venice, Attn: Family Life Office, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, Florida  34285.

To register, or for further information about the Widows and Widowers Mass with Bishop Dewane, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/calendar, email Kim Elsmore at elsmore@dioceseofvenice.org, or call 941-484-9543.

Bishop leads Rosary on Immaculate Conception

National Night of Prayer for Life held

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

12/20/2018

For the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary several Pro-Life activities took place.

First, Bishop Frank J. Dewane led the praying of the Rosary at a prayer vigil in Fort Myers and that day many Parishes held National Night of Prayer for Life observances.

More than 150 people participated in a prayerful procession and praying of the Rosary in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion center in Fort Myers, found at the intersection of College Parkway and Winkler Road.

Students from Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers carried a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the procession from a nearby parking lot to the shopping plaza where the abortion facility is located. Members of the Knights of Columbus Color Corps escorted the students and the statue.

Paul Muri, who helped organize the procession and prayer vigil, said it is important to gather in honor of Our Lady on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary while seeking to create a culture of life. The Solemnity pertains to the conception of the Virgin Mary in the womb of Her mother St. Anne, wherein she (Mary) was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin by God’s grace in view of the merits of Jesus Christ.

Bishop Dewane led everyone in the reciting of the Rosary, with Ashley La Mar providing the descriptions of each Joyful Mystery.

Following the Rosary, the Bishop thanked everyone for participating in the prayer vigil.

“We are called to take time in the Advent season to prepare ourselves for Christmas and the coming of Our Lord,” Bishop Dewane said. “You have certainly given a demonstration of that today. Keep up the good work! God bless you!”

National Night of Prayer for Life

The annual National Night of Prayer for Life took place on the evening of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8). At several parishes within the Diocese of Venice, the faithful joined in prayer with Catholics throughout the country in an effort to bring the world back to Christ and to bring about an end to abortion so as to restore life, liberty, faith and peace.

San Pedro Parish in North Port, St. Agnes Parish in Naples, and San Marco Parish in Marco Island participated in the entire vigil, which began the evening at 9 p.m. and continued until 1 a.m. The evening spanned the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8 and continued into the anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s first apparition to St. Juan Diego on Dec. 9. It was in 1531, that Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and the Unborn, first appeared to St. Juan Diego and shared Her message of life.

Prayer services typically consisted of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the Rosary and other vocal prayers, intercessions, silent meditation and Benediction. Prayers were offered to end abortion and all offenses against the dignity of the human person, to make reparation for these sins and for the healing of those who are suffering. The goal of the National Night of Prayer for Life is intended to help build the culture of life and civilization of love in our nation.

The prayer vigil was designed to unite the two days which pronounce this important message of life from Our Lady. The Hour of Unity was at midnight in Florida. The overriding intent of the evening was to have the faithful across the United States be joined in prayer to end abortion as well as to restore God’s blessings of life and religious liberty in America.

Other Parishes held prayer services throughout Dec. 8, typically following the Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

At St. Raphael Parish in Lehigh Acres, Pastor Father Dennis Cooney stressed the importance to continue to pray for a culture of life. Members of the Youth Group led the praying of the rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

To commemorate the 46th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision which paved the way for legalized abortion in the U.S., a Mass will be celebrated at 8:30 a.m., Jan. 22 at St. Martha Parish, 200 N. Orange Ave., for a greater respect for life. The Mass will be followed by a peaceful Prayer Walk for Life at the nearby Planned Parenthood abortion facility at 736 Central Ave. For more information about Respect Life activities within the Diocese of Venice please contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-441-1101 or berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org.

Renewed Theology on Tap in Sarasota

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

12/20/2018

Theology on Tap offers an innovative solution to one of today’s most pressing pastoral concerns: how to reach out to young Catholic adults.

With successful ongoing efforts in Naples, Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres, Joshua Mazrin, Diocese Director of Evangelization, decided to try to reintroduce the Theology on Tap concept in the Northern Deanery.

The first gathering was Dec. 6 at the Mandeville Beer Garden in downtown Sarasota, just a few blocks from St. Martha Parish. The bar includes an outdoor deck which offered the ideal location for fellowship and a discussion about the Faith in a comfortable and relaxed setting.

Several years ago, Theology on Tap rotated between Parishes in the Northern Deanery, but interest waned when there was a large gap one summer.

Mazrin said this first reintroduction, which had little promotion, drew about 20 people, and served to gauge interest in the concept as well as to help build momentum for having future monthly gatherings with different topics and speakers.

“It can often be difficult for young adults to stay connected to the Faith,” Mazrin added. “As a young Catholic, it can be easy to feel left out of the Parish because few activities even hold their interest. Sadly, young adults can sometimes be overlooked to the extent that even their absence goes unnoticed.”

Two priests were present for the Sarasota gathering. Father Eric Scanlan, Administrator of Incarnation Parish in Bradenton and Diocese Vocations Director, as well as Father Shawn Roser, a Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton who was ordained in July, joined in the fellowship.

Father Roser also offered the opening prayer, which included a blessing for success of the event, the growth in faith for all and for the beverages being consumed.

The idea of Theology on Tap is to bring together young adults where they feel most comfortable while inviting them to discover how Faith can give sense to their everyday lives. The evenings are about coming together to socialize, collaborate, pray, and grow in their spiritual understanding all while building a strong core community.

“This has real potential,” Mazrin said. “We just need to spread the word.”

Based on the response of those who attended in Sarasota Theology on Tap, the word will spread.

One young lady had several people in mind whom she plans to invite to future Theology on Tap gatherings. “This was really nice,” she said. “Meeting Catholics my age is always hard. Plus, it is a struggle to live my Faith because I just don’t have a real connection to my Parish.”

Mazrin noted that the next gathering will be Jan. 24 and more details to announced through the Diocese Young Adults Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DOVYoungAdults.

While the Sarasota area Theology on Tap is just returning, the Naples area gatherings are going strong. The site of the gatherings rotates each Tuesday throughout the month at different parishes and are held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays: First Tuesday at St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Avenue North; Second Tuesday at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road; Third Tuesday at St. Peter the Apostle Parish, 5130 Rattlesnake Hammock Road; Fourth Tuesday at St. William Parish, 601 Seagate Drive. Call the individual parishes for further details as some gatherings are held off-site.

In Lehigh Acres, the LOFT young adult group meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at St. Raphael Parish, 2514 Lee Blvd. Call 239-369-1831 for further information.

In Fort Myers, ROOTED meets first Thursday of the month, St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Call 941-561-3022 ext. 107.

For more information about Theology on Tap, or if you have ideas about how to reach out to young adults Catholics, please contact Joshua Mazrin at mazrin@dioceseofvenice.org.

Courage in Red initiative has lasting impacts

Staff Report – Florida Catholic

12/19/2018

It was on Nov. 28 when Epiphany Cathedral was illuminated in red as a sign of unity with persecuted Christians around the world. This was done as part of the annual “Courage in Red” campaign which was to bring attention to plight of our suffering brothers and sisters more dramatically to the attention of faithful. It is reported that are almost 300 million Christians, or 1 in 7, live in a country of persecution, subject to violence, arrest, and human rights violations.

Students at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral pray for persecuted Christians on Nov. 28.

While the one-day “Courage in Red” event was important in spreading the word about the plight of those who suffered for living their faith, the Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools carried that message further. In addition to wearing red on Nov. 28, each school held a held prayer services and/or prayed the rosary for persecuted Christians.

In addition, elementary schools used the “Courage in Red” initiative as the opportunity to teach about the early Christians martyrs. At St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral, the students learned about various martyrs and held special prayer vigils throughout the day.

Meanwhile, at Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota, students created posters about Christian martyrs which included a short biography and later presented what they learned to the school. The school Mass on Nov. 20 was in held in honor of persecuted Christians.

Students at Incarnation and St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota wrote letters to children in the Holy Land which can be seen in the images below, these letters will be mailed to Aid to the Church in Need, the organizers of the “Courage in red” initative.

One letter read: “Dear children, We are first graders in America. We want to say hello and Merry Christmas to you. We pray for your peace and hope that someday, you can practice your faith freely. Sending blessings to you. From your Friends.” The letters also included drawings of doves and peace symbols as well a Child’s prayer for peace.

The Diocesan high school students also watched the new documentary “Christians in the Mirror” which compares and contrasts the plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and Africa in contrast to other Christian Churches which live in relative peace.

St. John Neumann Catholic High School students in Naples were asked to write down their initial thoughts on the documentary.

One students wrote: “Everything in movie really stood out to me. I have always known about Christian persecution, but I have never really understood how bad it truly is. One thing that stood out to me in particular was how everyone responded to the hurting.”

Another added: “One specific part of the “Christians in The Mirror” that struck me is that many are happy and grateful. Something that stood out to me is that even though people had their homes destroyed, they are still happy. They are happy because they have Jesus in their lives and they are still alive.”

Still another perspective, “What gave me hope was those survivors. I’m going to embrace my faith and not let anyone tell me I can’t be Catholic or believe in Jesus.”

Lastly, “The video made me think a lot; about my life and how much I take for granted when there are so many people scared for their lives while our generation is scared that their post won’t get enough likes. I’m very privileged to be where I am, to be in this school, and to have a family to go home to everyday.”

News from around the Diocese

Christmas Day Television Mass for the Homebound

The televised Christmas Day Mass for the Homebound with Bishop Frank J. Dewane as Celebrant will air for a full hour on Christmas Day. For viewers in the northern portions of the Diocese (DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Manatee, and Sarasota counties), the Mass airs at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee counties), the Mass airs at 8:00 a.m. on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). Please check your cable provider for channel listings. Leaflet missals are available upon request by calling 941-486-4714 or by writing: TV Mass, Diocese of Venice, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285. For more information, contact Gail Ardy at 941-486-4714 or email ardy@dioceseofvenice.org.

2018 Christmas Appeal

Catholic Charities launches the annual Christmas Appeal during December 2018 and January 2019. The goal is to raise $565,000 and your gifts are much appreciated! The Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal is the agency’s largest fundraiser and critical to operating the social service organization. Your donation will benefit Catholic Charities programs and services available throughout Southwest Florida that assist individuals, families, and seniors all year long. Thank you for your giving spirit! To donate please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or mail a donation to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., 5824 Bee Ridge Road, PMB #409, Sarasota, FL 34233-5065. For more information, please call 941-488-5581.

Bishop Blesses Christmas Tree

During the first week of Advent, Bishop Frank J. Dewane blessed the Catholic Center Christmas Tree Dec. 6 during a prayer service with the employees of the Catholic Center in Venice. The tree was then decorated and various holiday treats were offered.

 

 

Mass at Dawn continues through Dec. 23

Following the Filipino tradition, several parishes have hosted all or part of the so-called Mass at Dawn (Simbang Gabi).  This novena of Masses in celebrated preparation for Christmas. In the Diocese, the full novena was available at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Port Charlotte and began Dec. 15. Three Diocesan Filipino priests celebrated the opening Mass. Additional one-day Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo opportunities took place Dec. 16 at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota and St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral, as well as Dec. 21 at St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs. Although this tradition is not exclusive to Filipinos, its observance is very much highlighted and distinctive of the Philippine Catholic culture.

Mass Celebrating Haitian Independence Jan. 1

Bishop Frank J. Dewane invites everyone to participate in the Annual Mass celebrating Haitian Independence at 2 p.m., New Year’s Day, at St. Leo the Great Parish, 28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs. The Mass, which is on the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, brings together the various Haitian communities within the Diocese of Venice for one celebration. Most Rev. Désinord Jean, Diocese of Hinche, Haiti, will be the Principal Celebrant and Homilist. There is a reception after the Mass in the Parish Hall.

“Lord Teach Me To Pray” Series begins Jan. 8

Are you longing for a deeper relationship with Jesus? If so, the “Lord Teach Me To Pray” prayer series rooted in Ignatian spirituality is for you. The first part of the three-part series, “Praying Christian Virtues,” is being offered for women for 12 weeks beginning Tuesday, January 8, at St. Thomas More Parish, 2506 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota. For more details, please email Veronica at veroltmtp@gmail.com.

Fashion Show Jan. 12

All are invited to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center at 1 p.m. Jan 12, 3989 South Moon Drive, Venice, for an afternoon of fashion, food and fun. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. with an opportunity to bid on auction items. Lunch will be a Caesar Salad with your choice of salmon of chicken. Great Christmas gift! For more information or to buy tickets please visit www.olph-retreat.org or call 941-486-0233 ext. 3002.

 Couples Date Night Jan. 15 and 17

The Office of Family Life is hosting two Parenting workshops.  Catholic Parenting is challenging!  Learn specific tips and tricks that helped hundreds of families thrive!  Jim and Maureen Otremba have been presenting for over 20 years and have given presentations to Parishes and Diocese around the country. The workshops are 6 p.m., Jan. 15 at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers, and from 6 p.m. Jan. 17 at Our Lady of the Angels Parish, 12905 E. State Road 70, Lakewood Ranch. The cost is $25 for materials.  Registration is needed.  Pizza dinner and drinks will be provided.  Our Lady of the Angels will have babysitting available.  For more information and registration go to www.dioceseofvenice.org/calendar.

Spirituality of Retirement workshop Jan. 16

The Office of Family Life is hosting a workshop at 1 p.m., Jan. 16, at St. William Parish Ministry Hall, 750 Seagate Drive, Naples. The Universal Call to Holiness invites us to “the fullness of the Christian life and the perfection of charity” (Lumen Gentium). For Catholics in their retirement years, this invitation takes on new joys and challenges as their wisdom increases and defining life characteristics such as career, mobility, and relationships undergo transition. This workshop provides strategies for retired Catholics to enrich their identity as cherished members of the Body of Christ. Rooted in our baptismal call to holiness and drawing on the riches of the Eucharist, the presentation incorporates current research on brain biology, generativity, and wellness. Participants will gain an enhanced knowledge of the gift they are to the Body of Christ along with ways to share their gifts with their faith community. Suggested donation at the door.  Please register by Jan. 14 either online at www.dioceseofvenice.org/calendar or call St. William at 239-261-4883.

Faith and Ale Lee County Jan. 17

Faith and Ale is an outreach for men to learn more about their faith and grow closer to Our Lord. The next gathering is 6:00 p.m. Thursday, January 17, at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. The speaker is David Casper, a retired Hall of Fame American football player. Locations will vary throughout the 2018-19 season. To register, or for more information, please visit www.faithandale.com.

Blue Mass in Naples Jan. 26

St. Agnes Catholic Church, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples will celebrate a Blue Mass in honor of Law Enforcement and First Responders, Active and Retired on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. This year’s guest homilist will be Deacon Bob Montelongo of the Chicago Police Department. Please join us as we honor their sacrifice and service to our community. A luncheon will immediately follow in the Parish Hall. Please RSVP at 239-592-1949 for the reception.

Mooney Lady Cougar Weightlifting team debuts

This is the new Lady Cougar Weightlifting Team at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota.

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Lady Cougar Weightlifting Team made its debut in November. This new Sarasota team consists of 15 inaugural participants and will be competing against teams at competitions throughout the region.

 

 

 

 

Making gingerbread houses

Bishop Verot Catholic High School National Honors Society members hosted a gingerbread house decorating Dec. 6 in Fort Myers for second and third grade students from St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers and St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral.

The Bishop Verot Catholic High School National Honor Society welcomed second and third graders to the Fort Myers campus Dec. 6 from St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral and St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers. It was a fun day of creating beautiful Gingerbread Houses and Christmas Cookies, and a little snacking too.

 

 

 

 

Bringing music for weary travelers

Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School students from Venice played Christmas music in early December at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

String musicians from Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice entertained weary travelers at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport on Dec. 4 with a holiday concert. Musicians from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota also had their own holiday concert a few days later. Great job everyone.

Guadalupe Social Services holds open house

Staff Report – Florida Catholic

12/19/2018

As part of the year-long celebration of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. providing services in Collier County for 50 years, Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities in Immokalee held a Dec. 8 open house for supporters of the program.

Attendees enjoyed food, drink and fellowship along with a video presentation and informative tours of the services available at Guadalupe Social Services, which has been in operation for 38 years. During 2018, Catholic Charities has been proud to mark 50 years of changing lives in Collier County. Hospitality for the open house was graciously provided by The Warehouse and the Seminole Hotel Casino Immokalee.

With the aid of many supporters offering time, talent and treasure, Guadalupe Social Services is able to provide assistance to people in need in Immokalee.

Visitors are greeted Dec. 8 to the Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities Open House in Immokalee.

Immokalee has long been a region of poor migrant workers. Half of the population lives at or below the poverty level. Over the years, more families have chosen to make Immokalee their permanent home and work in low-income jobs including: landscaping; hospitality; restaurants; farms; and packing houses. There is an extreme culture of poverty that exists in the town of Immokalee as 44.8 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

Guadalupe Social Services aims to alleviate the suffering in Immokalee with compassion, integrity, and empathy. By empowering the people through assistance provided to them, the main goals are to ensure human dignity and enhance the quality of life for all individuals served. Guadalupe Social Services focuses on offering the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and household items, in addition to stability and education.

The staff of Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities during a Dec. 8 Open House in Immokalee.

The program offers a number of vital services including: free hot lunches five days a week at the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen; a clothing room and showers; a food pantry; direct assistance with rent and utilities; immigration services; English as a second language classes; and a crib and stroller program.

Volunteers are the backbone of Guadalupe Social Services and allow the program the ability to provide these vital services to the needy in the community. Additional volunteers are needed for the food pantry, soup kitchen, and help in the office.

If you would like to directly support the program nonperishable food, clothing and household goods are always needed at Guadalupe Social Services. Seasonal donations are necessary for back-to-school items, and Thanksgiving and Christmas food distributions.

For more information about volunteer opportunities and donations, please call 239-657-6242, visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or send donations to Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities, 211 S. 9th St., Immokalee, FL 34142.

Parish/Mission Christmas Mass times

The following are a complete listing of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Mass times for all Parishes/Missions within the Diocese of Venice. Time are listed by the city in which the Parish/Mission is located.

ARCADIA

■ St. Paul, 1208 E. Oak St., 863-494-2611

CHRISTMAS EVE  5:30 p.m., midnight (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY  9 a.m., 11 a.m. (Spanish)

AVE MARIA

■ Ave Maria,  5068 Annunciation Circle, Ste. 101,  www.avemariaparish.org, 239-261-5555

CHRISTMAS EVE  5 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY  10 a.m., 12:30 p.m.

AVON PARK

■ Our Lady of Grace, 595 E. Main St., www.ologap.org, 863-453-4757

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

BOCA GRANDE

■ Our Lady of Mercy, 240 Park Ave., 941-964-2254

CHRISTMAS EVE  5 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  9 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

BOKEELIA

■ Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal,  12175 Stringfellow Road, www.miraculousmedalch.org, 239-283-0456

CHRISTMAS EVE  3 p.m., 6 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

BONITA SPRINGS

■ St. Leo the Great, 28290 Beaumont Road,  www.stleocatholicchurch.org, 239-992-0901

CHRISTMAS EVE  3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 9 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 5 p.m. (Spanish)

BRADENTON

■ Sacred Heart, 1220 15th St. W.,  mysacredheart.com, 941-748-2221

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish), 10:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  9 a.m., 11 a.m. (Spanish)

■ Ss. Peter and Paul, 2850 75th St. W., www.sspeterandpaul.org, 941-795-1228

CHRISTMAS EVE  4:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

■ St. Joseph, 3100 26th St. W., www.sjcfl.org, 941-756-3732

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  9 a.m., 11 a.m.

BUCKHEAD RIDGE

■ St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, 1027 Chobee Loop, 863-946-0696

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 10 a.m.

CAPE CORAL

■ St. Andrew, 2628 Del Prado Blvd. S., www.standrewrcc.org, 239-574-4545

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m. (Spanish), 11 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. (Spanish)

■ St. Katharine Drexel, 1922 S.W. 20th Ave., saintkatharinedrexelparish.org, 239-283-9501

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 6 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY  8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.

CLEWISTON

■ Santa Rosa de Lima, 835 N. Mayoral St., Montura Ranch Estates, 863-983-8585

CHRISTMAS EVE  7 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY  8 a.m. (Spanish)

■ St. Margaret, 208 N. Deane Duff Ave., 863-983-8585

CHRISTMAS EVE  8:30 p.m. (Spanish), 10:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  10 a.m., noon (Spanish)

ENGLEWOOD

■ St. Raphael, 770 Kilbourne Ave., www.StRaphEng.org, 941-474-9595

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

EVERGLADES CITY

■ Holy Family, 200 Datura Ave., 239-394-5181

CHRISTMAS DAY  10:30 a.m.

FORT MYERS

■ Jesus the Worker, 881 Nuna Ave., www.jesustheworker.org, 239-693-5333

(All MASSES IN SPANISH)

CHRISTMAS EVE  7 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  noon

■ Our Lady of Light, 19680 Cypress View Drive, www.ourladyoflight.com, 239-267-7088

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

■ Resurrection of Our Lord, 8121 Cypress Lake Drive, www.ResurrectionCh.org, 239-481-7172

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1:15 p.m. (Latin)

■ San Jose,  10750 Gladiolus Drive, 239-639-5333

(All MASSES IN SPANISH)

CHRISTMAS EVE  7 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  Noon

■ St. Cecilia, 5632 Sunrise Drive, www.saintcecilias.org, 239-936-3635

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  9 a.m., 11 a.m.

■ St. Columbkille, 12171 Iona Road, www.stcolumbkille.com, 239-489-3973

CHRISTMAS EVE  3 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 5:30 p.m.

■ St. Francis Xavier, 2157 Cleveland Ave., www.stfrancisfm.org, 239-334-2161

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  6:45 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 2 p.m. (Polish), 4 p.m. (Haitian)

■ St. John XXIII, 13060 Palomino Lane, www.johnxxiii.net, 239-561-2245

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 11 p.m. (Vietnamese)

CHRISTMAS DAY  7:15 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:30 p.m. (Spanish)

■ St. Vincent de Paul, 13031 Palm Beach Blvd., www.stvincentfortmyers.org, 239-693-0818

CHRISTMAS EVE  7 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  9 a.m., 11 a.m.

FORT MYERS BEACH

■ Ascension, 6025 Estero Blvd., 239-463-6754

CHRISTMAS EVE  7 p.m., 9 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  8 a.m., 10 a.m.

GROVE CITY

■ St. Francis of Assisi, 5265 Placida Road, www.sfoachurch.com, 941-697-4899

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 8 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  8 a.m., 10 a.m.

HOLMES BEACH

■ St. Bernard, 248 S. Harbor Drive, www.stbernardcc.com, 941-778-4769

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

IMMOKALEE

■ Our Lady of Guadalupe, 219 S. 9th St., 239-657-2666

CHRISTMAS EVE  7 p.m. (Spanish), 10 p.m. (Creole)

CHRISTMAS DAY  9 a.m., 10:15 a.m. (Spanish), 12:15 p.m. (Spanish), 3 p.m. (Creole),
7 p.m. (Spanish)

LABELLE

■ Holy Martyrs, 4290 Crescent Ave. S.W., 863-675-0030

CHRISTMAS DAY  Noon (Spanish)

■ Our Lady Queen of Heaven, 355 S. Bridge St., 863-675-0030

CHRISTMAS EVE  5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY  9 a.m., noon (Spanish)

LAKE PLACID

■ St. James, 3380 Placid View Drive,  863-465-3215

CHRISTMAS EVE  5:30 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  8 a.m., 10 a.m.

■ Santiago Apostol Mission, 685 County Road 621 E., 863-385-0049

CHRISTMAS EVE  10 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY  10 a.m. (Spanish)

LAKEWOOD RANCH

■ Our Lady of the Angels, 12905 State Road 70 E., www.olangelscc.org, 941-752-6770

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  9 a.m., 11 a.m.

LEHIGH ACRES

■ St. Raphael, 2514 Lee Blvd., 239-369-1831

CHRISTMAS EVE  5 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 4 p.m. (Spanish)

LONGBOAT KEY

■ St. Mary, Star of the Sea, 4280 Gulf of Mexico Drive, www.stmarylbk.org, 941-383-1255

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 9 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

MARCO ISLAND

■ San Marco, 851 San Marco Road, www.sanmarcochurch.com, 239-394-5181

CHRISTMAS EVE  3:45 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:45 a.m.

MOORE HAVEN

■ St. Joseph the Worker, 1800 N. U.S. Highway 27, 863-946-0696

CHRISTMAS EVE  7:30 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY  8 a.m.

NAPLES

■ Corpus Christi, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, www.corpuschristifssp.com, 402-659-5531

(All MASSES IN LATIN)

CHRISTMAS EVE midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY 8:45 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

■ St. Agnes, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, www.stagnesnaples.org, 239-592-1949

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 5 p.m. (Corkscrew Muddle School), 7 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY  7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. (Spanish), 5 p.m.

■ St. Ann, 985 Third St. S., www.naplesstann.com, 239-262-4256

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 7 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  9 a.m., 11 a.m.

■ St. Elizabeth Seton, 5225 Golden Gate Parkway, www.saintelizabethseton.org, 239-455-3900

CHRISTMAS EVE  4:30 p.m., midnight (bilingual)

CHRISTMAS DAY  9 a.m., 11 a.m.

■ St. Finbarr, 13520 Tamiami Trail E., www.stfinbarr.org, 239-417-2084

CHRISTMAS EVE  4:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  8 a.m. (Spanish), 10 a.m.

■ St. John the Evangelist, 625 111th Ave. N., www.saintjohntheevangelist.com, 239-566-8740

CHRISTMAS EVE  3 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 5 p.m., 5:15 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m.

■ St. Peter the Apostle, 5130 Rattlesnake Hammock Road, stpeterchurch.naples.net, 239-774-3337

CHRISTMAS EVE  3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m. (Creole), midnight (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY  8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. (Spanish), 4 p.m. (Creole)

■ St. William, 750 Seagate Drive, www.stwilliam.org, 239-261-4883

CHRISTMAS EVE  2:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6:15 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

NOCATEE

■ Capilla Católica de San Juan Diego, 5247 S.W. Highway 17, 863-494-2611

CHRISTMAS EVE  6 p.m. (Spanish)

NORTH FORT MYERS

■ St. Therese, 20155 N. Tamiami Trail, www.sainttheresechurch.net, 239-567-2315

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  8 a.m., 10 a.m.

NORTH PORT

■ San Pedro, 14380 Tamiami Trail, www.sanpedrocc.org, 941-426-2500

CHRISTMAS EVE  5:30 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY  7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:45 a.m.

OSPREY

■ Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 425 S. Tamiami Trail, www.olmc-osprey.org, 941-966-0807

CHRISTMAS EVE  3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

PALMETTO

■ Holy Cross, 505 26th St. W., 941-729-3891

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 9 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY  8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. (Spanish)

PARRISH

■ St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, 12001 69th St. E., www.stfrancesxcabrini.org, 941-776-9097

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 6 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY  8 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

PORT CHARLOTTE

■ San Antonio, 24445 Rampart Blvd., www.sanantoniocatholicchurch.com, 941-624-3799

CHRISTMAS EVE  3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 9 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  9 a.m.

■ St. Charles Borromeo, 2500 Easy St., www.stcharlespc.org, 941-625-4754

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 6 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY  7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. (Creole)

■ St. Maximilian Kolbe, 1441 Spear St., Stmaxcatholic.org, 941-743-6877

CHRISTMAS EVE  4:30 p.m., 4:35 p.m., 8:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

PUNTA GORDA

■ Sacred Heart, 211 W. Charlotte Ave., www.sacredheartfl.org, 941-639-3957

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

SANIBEL

■ St. Isabel, 3559 Sanibel Captiva Road, www.saintisabel.com, 239-472-2763

CHRISTMAS EVE  5 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  10:30 a.m.

SARASOTA

■ Christ the King, 1900 Meadowood St., www.Christthekingsarasota.org, 941-924-2777

(All MASSES IN LATIN)

CHRISTMAS EVE  midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY  8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

■ Incarnation, 2901 Bee Ridge Road, www.incarnationchurch.org, 941-921-6631

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 7 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

■ Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, 6600 Pennsylvania Ave., 941-755-1826

CHRISTMAS EVE  3 p.m., 5 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY  7:30 a.m., 10 a.m.

■ St. Jude, 3930 17th St., www.stjudesarasota.com, 941-955-3934

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 11 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY  7:30 a.m., 9 a.m. (Spanish), 10:30 a.m., noon (Spanish)

■ St. Martha, 200 N. Orange Ave., www.stmartha.org, 941-366-4210

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 9 p.m. (Vietnamese/Hall), 10 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY  7:30 a.m., 8 a.m. (Spanish/Hall), 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon,
noon (Vietnamese/Hall), 5:30 p.m.

■ St. Michael the Archangel, 5394 Midnight Pass Road, www.stmichaelssiesta.com, 941-349-4174

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  8 a.m., 10 a.m.

■ St. Patrick, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, www.churchofstpatrick.org, 941-378-1703

CHRISTMAS EVE  4:15 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

■ St. Thomas More, 2506 Gulf Gate Drive, www.stthomasmore.org, 941-923-1691

CHRISTMAS EVE  3 p.m., 5 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  9:45 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

SEBRING

■ St. Catherine, 820 Hickory St., www.stcathe.com, 863-385-0049

CHRISTMAS EVE  4 p.m., 7 p.m., Spanish, 9 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon (Spanish)

VENICE

■ Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., www.epiphanycathedral.org, 941-484-3505

CHRISTMAS EVE  3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m. (Polish), midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY  7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

■ Our Lady of Lourdes, 1301 Center Road, www.ollvenice.org, 941-497-2931

CHRISTMAS EVE  3 p.m., 5 p.m., 8 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY  8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon

WAUCHULA

■ St. Michael, 408 Heard Bridge Road, 863-773-4089

CHRISTMAS EVE  10 p.m. (Bilingual)

CHRISTMAS DAY  8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. (Spanish), 11:30 a.m. (Spanish)

Cathedral illuminated in Red for Persecuted Christians

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

12/4/2018

Epiphany Cathedral in Venice was illuminated in red as the Diocese participated in the “Courage in Red” initiative to shine the light on the plight of persecuted Christians.

In addition to the illuminating of the Cathedral on Nov. 28, a variety of activities took place throughout the Diocese in support of the “Courage in Red” initiative. The activities are part of a worldwide “Courage in Red” campaign by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the international papal charity that provides pastoral and humanitarian aid to persecuted Christian communities.

Edward Clancy, ACN U.S. director of outreach, said that “hundreds of thousands of Christians suffer various forms of persecution each year – from horrific brutality in North Korea to systemic, if more subtle, oppression in countries like India.”

The “Courage in Red” campaign is designed to bring the plight of our suffering brothers and sisters more dramatically to the attention of faithful in the U.S, Clancy explained. “Hopefully, greater awareness will lead to greater action,” Clancy added.

In a recent report by Aid to the Church in Need on Religious Freedom, it found that some 61 percent of the world’s population live in countries where religious freedom is not respected. Among them are almost 300 million Christians, or 1 in 7, who live in a country of persecution, subject to violence, arrest, and human rights violations.

Bishop Verot Catholic High School students were red aon Nov. 28 as part of the “Courage in Red” campaign to raise awareness for Persecuted Christians around the world. They spelled out V-E-R-O-T on the football field.

On Nov. 28, Diocesan Catholic school students wore red in solidarity with persecuted Christians and participated in age-appropriate activities to learn about their plight. Several schools held prayer services focusing on the suffering and martyred Church throughout the world.

High school students also watched the new documentary “Christians in the Mirror” which compares and contrasts the plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and Africa in contrast to other Christian Churches which live in relative peace.

At St. Ann Catholic School in Naples, the morning prayer included students placing their prayers for persecuted Christians in a prayer box.

The students at Bishop Verot Catholic High School all wore red and went out onto the football field to stand united at the center of the field and then to form the letters V-E-R-O-T.

Students at St. Ann Catholic School in Naples participate in a prayer service while wearing red on Nov. 28 as part of the “Courage in Red” campaign to raise awareness for Persecuted Christians around the world.

Every student at St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary’s Academy in Sarasota wore a red uniform shirt and a red ribbon in honor of those being persecuted for their faith. Each student also created a card of support for persecuted Christian children and will send them to those in the Holy Land. Every one of the classes prayed one decade of the Rosary in chapel during that week for countries where Christians are being persecuted.

An evening prayer vigil was held at Epiphany Cathedral which included prayers, Adoration and Benediction. Led by Father James Shea, he spoke about how the persecution of Christians started with Jesus Christ, who suffered and died on the Cross.

“Christ was the first martyr of what would become many through the years, leading up to today where people are dying for their faith each day,” Father Shea said. “Those being persecuted feel forgotten by the West. Because it’s not happening here, we don’t pay attention. We Christians should pay attention. We need to be more prayerful each and every day; praying for our brothers and sisters in other nations who are being persecuted and standing together with them in their struggle.”

Christmas Appeal seeks needed funds

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

12/4/2018

Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice, Inc., is best known as a highly rated social service agency that assists thousands of people in the community each year. But Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice is so much more. Behind the many statistics are the real people who are helped each year.

“The voices of our clients tell the most genuine story of how your gift to the annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal helped them bring about real change in their lives.” Catholic Charities CEO Philomena Pereira said in a letter for the 2018 Christmas Appeal. “Catholic Charities works with individuals and families, who face the challenges of poverty and instability, to reach the goal of self-sufficiency.”

The Christmas Appeal is the largest fundraiser for Catholic Charities and is vital for operating the social service organization. Each donation will help real individuals and families who are assisted through any one of the 37 different programs available in more than 30 locations throughout the Diocese. The Appeal goal is $565,000.

Jose, a client at the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities in Naples, is very grateful to the program. During a recent visit he was greeted by a wonderful case worker with the most compassionate smile.

“I started crying when she asked me if I was okay and I saw that her eyes also got watery,” Jose said. “I felt that I was in the right place to get help. I told her that I was homeless and had recently lost my job, car, and home. As she helped me with things to eat from the food pantry, she asked me questions about my situation and looked for other ways to help. The emotional support I received… I have not received in a long time. From a slice of pizza for lunch, to restaurant coupons, a week stay at a hotel, and a bicycle, I do not have the words to describe the generosity, love and care that Catholic Charities gave to me. Thank you so much.”

Your gift to the Christmas Appeal answers the prayers of clients. Caring for those who are less fortunate not only requires the necessities of food, clothing and shelter but an array of professional programs and services to meet all their needs. Contributions of any amount are welcome and will help provide beneficial opportunities for deserving individuals and families. Each year, Catholic Charities provides assistance to more than 42,000 individuals and families.

“Please remember that every number represents a child, family or individual who relied on the support of Catholic Charities to get through a crisis,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane said. “Your gift to this year’s Christmas Appeal will allow Catholic Charities to continue the important work of helping the most vulnerable in our community. It is to all the people who have helped sustain Catholic Charities, which works to serve those in need, that I am deeply grateful.”

Sue is a client of Our Mother’s House of Catholic Charities in Venice which provides a transitional housing program for mothers with young children. Sue noted that Our Mother’s House has been the greatest gift that a single mother could ask for.

“This place is truly a blessing from God,” Sue continued. “Not only did they give me and my baby a place to live, but they provided the education I needed to become independent. Words cannot express the gratitude that I have for the opportunity to grow as a woman and as a mother. The parenting classes have given me the skills to be a better mom to my son. The financial classes have given me the skills that I need to budget and sustain goals. This has been one of the best experiences in my life. I do not know where we would be without this program. God put this program in our path at the best time. The staff was very supportive and motivated me in all the right ways to fight for a successful life.”

Catholic Charities is often the voice for those who have no voice, Pereira said. We continue to be good stewards of your contributions, with sound fiscal management and a commitment to accountability and transparency. We always put the needs of our clients first.

Catholic Charities has received the top four-star rating 16 times from Charity Navigator. In addition, a total of 93 cents of every dollar donated to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. goes directly to services for people in need. Catholic Charities serves and empowers ALL regardless of race, nationality or creed.

You can contribute by visiting www.catholiccharitiesdov.org. You can send a donation in memory of a loved one or in honor of a family member or friend. We will send a Christmas card telling the special person of your generous gift. Donations by mail can be sent to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., 5824 Bee Ridge Road, PMB #409, Sarasota, FL 34233-5065. For more information, please call 941-488-5581.

Verot senior wins Jeopardy! Teen Tournament

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

12/3/2018

A 17-year-old devout Catholic Bishop Verot Catholic High School Senior from Bonita Springs who is the Captain of the A-Team (Quiz Bowl) and Lady Viking Golf Team as well as the 2018 Jeopardy! Teen Tournament Champion. Who is Claire Sattler?

Claire Sattler, Bishop Verot Catholic High School SEnior, won the 2018 Jeopardy! Teen Tournament in November.

“It still absolutely feels like I’m dreaming,” Claire said of her winning the $100,000 grand prize in the two-day final which aired on Nov. 19-20. “I really had no expectations to make it onto the show, let alone make it to the finals and win the whole thing, so this is completely surreal to me.”

Claire goes to St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples and said her faith is an important part of her identity which has helped her develop both personally and academically.

The entire Teen Tournament was filmed in August in Culver City, California, after she went through several layers of testing to qualify for the Tournament. This meant Claire wasn’t allowed to tell anyone how she did until after the episodes aired.

Not being able to tell her friends was a challenge for Claire, but Bishop Verot celebrated her participation in style by holding viewing parties each night she appeared on the show. Her first appearance in the Teen Tournament was during a preliminary round at which time each of the 15 contestants appears. Claire finished second but had fortunately earned enough money to qualify for the semi-finals as a wild card. Thankfully math is a strong point for Claire as she took her semi-final round by $1.

“My goal was to reach the semifinals, but when I got there I was up against the top money earner from the first round,” Claire explained. “I was so nervous that my hands were shaking. I needed to calm myself, so I said a serenity prayer. It worked, and I relaxed.”

In the final Claire was still nervous but also had more confidence and felt there was nothing to lose. Having racked up $21,800 the first day and $16,400 the second, when the Final Jeopardy! question of the tournament Claire was far enough ahead that she wagered $0, having already doubled her closest competitor. Good thing, because unlike many of the previous questions, Claire did not know the answer. That was okay for Claire said “it was such an amazing experience.”

During the tournament, host Alex Trebek asks a variety of questions, so people get to learn something about the contestants. On the final day, the three finalists could say whatever they wanted. Claire tried to thank as many people as possible including her family, friends and teachers who have influenced her throughout the years. Among those she specifically thanked was her Verot Quiz Bowl Coach and Math Teacher Lori Shriner who was a guest in the audience at the Jeopardy! taping.

Claire attended Royal Palm Academy, a school affiliated with the Diocese of Venice, in Naples before enrolling at Bishop Verot. She credits the influence of teachers from middle school going forward to being supportive of her passion for trivia and for math and engineering. In addition to the A-Team and Golf Team, Claire is active in several other clubs including drama, art and the STREAM Team (science, technology, religion, engineering, art and math).

With plans to major in biomedical engineering in college next year to possibly work on prosthetics technology, most of her winnings will go toward her continuing education. The winning check, minus California state taxes, arrived shortly before the Finals aired. A portion of the money will also go to support a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) organization she founded. STEM4students provides STEM educational opportunities to children in Immokalee.

During the show, the contestants were only allowed to wear one item on their clothing and no mention of their school was ever made. Claire chose to wear a Bishop Verot pin with the school shield and a neckless given to her in eighth grade as a good luck charm.

“It helped having a piece of Bishop Verot with me, knowing all of the support I had back home,” Claire explained.

While taping the show, she made many new friends from across the country and has remained in close touch through group chats. “We are all very close,” Claire explained. “It has been a help because they each went through the same experience.”

That help has been appreciated as comments from strangers on social media about the show have not all been kind. “That was something I had heard about and thought I was prepared for, but when you experience that for real, it has been challenging.”

That challenge did not ruin the overall experience and Claire would not change anything. “I realize comments from people who don’t know me are not what’s important. The show does not reflect who I am or define me in any way. The experience has helped me gain confidence in who I am as a person and that is what is important.”

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