God and Pro-Life Prayer Warriors Help Convert Cape Coral Woman’s Heart

Susan Laielli – Special to the Florida Catholic

If you have ever prayed in front of an abortion clinic during 40 Days for Life – or on any day – and wondered if it has an impact, one need not look further than the transformation of a former Maryland Planned Parenthood employee who walked away from the industry, thanks to those prayers.

The story begins when Myra Neyer, 43, of Cape Coral, found herself looking for a job in Baltimore, Md. to support her seven children, after her husband was killed in a car accident. Following the death of her husband, a subsequent relationship ended at the hands of abuse, making the job search even more desperate to feed and clothe her children.

As her college graduation neared, the school sent Neyer’s resume to various organizations which were looking to fill positions. The work she found was at two northeast locations of Planned Parenthood, in Annapolis and Baltimore.

Over the next year Neyer would watch half-hearted counseling sessions of young pregnant women who were trying to decide how to handle their pregnancy. From day one she would observe actual abortions. Worst of all, as part of the job requirement, Neyer would be forced to piece babies back together following their killing, to be sure all of the aborted baby had been retrieved from its mother.

“I knew early on this was not the place for me but I had seven children to care for, so I kept going to work,” Neyer said, as she sat in a Cape Coral coffee shop recalling that long year of working for Planned Parenthood.

One day as she was walking back to work from lunch Neyer passed by two sets of protesters: the quiet Catholic prayer warriors who were joining together in praying the rosary; and the loud angry people who yelled awful things to the Planned Parenthood employees. Privately, Neyer says hearts are being affected.

“I started to think, what if God does hate what I am doing, and what am I doing to my soul?” Neyer recalls. It was then she remembers feelings of guilt started penetrating her mind. “The torment became so severe I would dream of being the one who was having the abortion – without anesthesia.”

Neyer recalled each time she looked at her youngest child, who was three at the time, she saw the skin of the aborted babies and soon became tormented for hours each day.

“One day I went outside to the 40 Days for Life prayer warriors, although I didn’t know any of them at the time, and I asked for a pair of the rosaries from one lady who was praying,” Neyer said, smiling. “She asked me if she could pray for me, and if I knew how to pray the rosary, to which I responded, yes. I also told her I grew up Catholic, and this is not how I ever saw my life going, but I have children to raise by myself.”

The woman continued to quietly pray over Neyer before she walked back into the Planned Parenthood clinic, knowing her co-workers were going to give her grief for talking to the people praying outside.

It wasn’t long before Neyer found herself searching for the woman who offered to pray for her, if only to share a smile, or a kind word. In some strange way, she says a sense of well-being was gained from those exchanges.

“This is when I remember starting to feel different. There was something about the prayer woman that provided comfort, and I felt drawn to her,” Neyer said, wiping away a tear. “I learned these ladies were with 40 Days for Life, which at the time, I knew nothing about.”

Attendees of 40 Days for Life commit themselves each Spring and Fall to 40 days of prayer in front of abortion clinics across the United States, including Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Fort Myers and Naples in the Diocese of Venice in Florida.

February 2014 is when Neyer definitively knew it was time to end her year working at Planned Parenthood. She says a young pregnant girl, estimated to be 20-years-old, came into the clinic feeling pressured to get an abortion by her boyfriend, an older man who did not want children.

Neyer says the ultrasound tech told the young mother she was 13-weeks pregnant with identical male quadruplets. The abortion could not be performed at that location because there was not sedation available there, so the procedure needed to be moved to another location in order to abort the four babies.

On the next scheduled visit, the day of the abortion, the young girl was too upset to go through with it. On the third visit her boyfriend came in with her and was visibly angry, claiming he did not want children and he argued with all involved, according to Neyer. The couple was moved to a private room to come to an agreement, but they eventually left without the abortion.

The next day before closing, Neyer said the young mother came back to the clinic in substantial pain, bleeding, with the babies literally falling out of her. The boyfriend had taken the young girl to an unknown location to have an abortion, which was going very wrong.

“The last baby needed to be suctioned out, and (afterwards) all of these little (parts) needed to be pieced back together, as my co-worker and I stood there hugging each other crying,” Neyer painfully recalls. “I knew I could not do this anymore.”

In hindsight, Neyer is now convinced more than ever that the woman who offered to pray for her was a gift from God and is ultimately what helped change her heart.

But for those who know and love God, there is an understanding that His work is never done. As Neyer quit her job the next day, she asked the woman outside to please continue praying for her because she would need a job and was unsure how to provide care for her children.

The praying woman gave Neyer a pamphlet titled, “And Then there Were None” (ATTWN), a non-profit organization founded by Abby Johnson, that exists to help abortion clinic workers leave the industry.

Johnson herself left the industry in 2009 after watching a 13-week old baby struggle in the womb during an ultrasound-guided abortion, and is the subject of the 2019 movie, “UNPLANNED.” That was the first time Abby saw an abortion done with an ultrasound, so it was also the first time she actually saw what was happening inside the womb.

Following Neyer’s conversion, ATTWN provided her with assistance, strength and counsel which led to a trip to Washington, D.C., for the pro-life March for Life. On the plane, Neyer found herself seated next to Renate Ferrante, Executive Director of Collier Community Abstinence Program, who knows Abby Johnson, and a meeting was set up.

Today, Neyer calls Johnson a sister and occasional mother figure, who has given her the strength to speak in public.  She will express to all who will listen that there is a better way for you – and our babies.

Jeanne Berdeaux, Diocese of Venice in Florida Respect Life Director is thrilled Neyer is now local.

“We are blessed that Myra Neyer chose to move to our Diocese after quitting Planned Parenthood in Baltimore.  She gives a powerful testimony to the truth of what happens inside an abortion facility,” Berdeaux said.

Neyer has spoken at several Luncheons 4 Life gatherings. This grassroots effort was started locally to bring like-minded and life-affirming people together and now takes place monthly in eight locations including Venice, Fort Myers and Naples and beyond.

Post-Abortion Help/Project Rachel

Are you suffering after abortion? There is hope and healing waiting for you. Many women and men experience deep pain and grief after an abortion and don’t know where to turn. They don’t know there is help available for them.  Project Rachel is the outreach of the Catholic Church to those who are suffering this loss. We offer help through the sacraments, retreats, and referrals for professional counseling. For confidential information, contact Sylvia Jimenez, Project Rachel Coordinator, at 941-412-5860 (English and en español), project.rachel@dioceseofvenice.org, or www.hopeafterabortion.com.

Faithful Catholics kayak and pray with new friends

Staff Report

A new young adult group initiative launched in late June with a day of kayaking, fellowship, food and the participation in the Mass.

The Frassati Society is a group for young adults (ages 18-39) in the Diocese of Venice that focuses on growing in community and holiness inspired by the spirituality and active lifestyle of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. The first gathering was June 29 at Robinson Preserve in Bradenton where like-minded young adults rented kayaks to spend time together while taking the time to discuss their faith.

Modeled after the spirituality of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, who had a great devotion to serve the poor and the work of evangelization. Born in Italy in 1901, Blessed Pier Giorgio would often organize hiking trips, attend the theatre, museums, and the opera. Through these cultural and active engagements, he would be the example of faith and witness to his friends through the praying of the rosary, reading the Scriptures, and bringing them to Mass.

Following his example, the Frassati Society, which will meet in the northern and southern parts of the Diocese of Venice, engages young adults through activities they desire to do, such as hiking, kayaking, arts and music, as well as partaking in spiritual enrichment through prayer, discussion, and attending the Mass, explained Joshua Mazrin, Diocese of Venice Director of Evangelization.

“In today’s culture of fleeting relationships and superficiality, young adults are craving authenticity and genuine friendships to combat the growing loneliness,” Mazrin added. “Through the Frassati Society, they are able to come together with like-minded people, to be present to one another as friends and family, and to grow together in the faith.”

The principle goals of the Frassati Society are to bring healing into the culture by providing a real community of people and to enculturate the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he concluded.

At the first gathering, the group kayaked for a time and gathered for the Mass, which was celebrated outdoors by Father Shawn Roser, Diocese Vocations Director and Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton. While the initial group was small, the reception was overwhelmingly positive as the act of combining outdoor activity with a strong spiritual component appealed to those who participated.

The next Frassati Society gathering will take place July 20, 10 a.m. at the Celery Fields County Park, 6893 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota. There will be hiking, food and prayer. There is no cost to participate. A gathering in the southern part of the Diocese is currently in the planning stages.

There are several other outreach efforts within the Diocese which target Catholic young adults, including Theology on Tap in Sarasota and Naples, and other parish-based groups in Lee County.

The last Theology on Tap of the season in Sarasota took place June 20 at the Mandeville Beer Garden in Sarasota with Zander Waves giving a concert and offering his personal testimony before the largest crowd of the year. The gatherings will resume in September.

In Naples, Theology on Tap gathers each Thursday of the month at different parishes and sites in the area and has been doing so for at least four years. Host parishes include St. John the Evangelist, St. Agnes, St. Peter the Apostle, and St. William.

In Lee County, there are two active young adult outreach programs. At St. Raphael Parish in Lehigh Acres the LOFT young adult group meets at 6p.m. on the last Thursday of each month. Meanwhile, at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers, the “Rooted” gatherings take place on the first Thursdays on each month at 7:15 p.m.

Each of these programs exists in order to reach out to young adults, foster moments of conversion, and lead them home to Christ and His Church.

For more details about the Frassati Society, Theology on Tap or any other young adult outreach efforts within the Diocese of Venice, please email evangelization@dioceseofvenice.org or contact Joshua Mazrin at mazrin@dioceseofvenice.org.

Parish offices dedicated and blessed

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Gathered in faith and prayer, the faithful of St. Peter the Apostle Parish celebrated the dedication and blessing of the new Parish offices with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration in Naples on June 21.

The celebration was a culmination of a nearly 10 years plan to upgrade the Parish facilities and this project coincided with an urgent need because of damage from 2017’s Hurricane Irma.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane presided over the dedication and blessing offering prayers of thanksgiving that this project has come to fruition. The celebration reflected the cultural diversity of the Naples Parish with the readings, petitions and music in three languages: English, Spanish and Creole.

The new offices are adjacent to the Spirit Center, which was dedicated by Bishop Dewane in March 2018. The offices are 4,095 square feet with a bright reception area and meeting room at the center of the building, replacing an original building that was constructed in 1986.

Bishop Dewane and Father Gerard “G” Critch, Pastor of St. Peter the Apostle, made the first official cut of the ribbon. The other priests, deacons and members of the building committee also cut and then received small commemorative pieces of ribbon.

As part of the dedication and blessing, Bishop Dewane proceeded through the new offices and blessed them with holy water. This was an important moment for the Parish and the staff and volunteers as many spend most of their waking hours in the offices and important business is done there. A blessing is also an important way to bring faith and protection to the office.

Father Critch thanked everyone for their sacrifice to make the new offices possible. The offices are a culmination of a lengthy effort by the Parish starting with the expansion of the parking lot, the new Spirit Center, the offices and more. The project was the result of small increments making an impossible dream, possible.

“Now we can take a breather and enjoy what we have accomplished,” Father said.

After the dedication and blessing, tours of the new offices were offered to the delight of the faithful and a potluck celebration followed in the Spirit Center.

Diocese news briefs for early July 2019

Sarasota Pastor receives Rotary honor

Father Celestino Gutierrez, Pastor of St. Jude Parish in Sarasota, was recently honored by the Rotary Club of Sarasota with their “Citizen of the Year” award. Father was presented the award by Rotary Club President Joe Devore, for service to the community, in particular his focus on helping the poor and the needy.  Father Gutierrez commented that, growing up in Spain, he never anticipated receiving such an award in the USA.

 

Mooney students go on Mission Trip to Jamaica

A group of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School students from Sarasota went on a mission trip to Jamaica the week of June 17. During their trip the youth, who are all part of the Mooney Pivotal Directions mission club, worked in poor villages to help the needy of the area.

 

 

 

 

Immeasurable Mercy worship event July 25 on Sanibel

Take time to tend to your soul, for an Immeasurable Mercy worship event July 25, 7 p.m., St. Isabel Parish, 3559 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel. The event will feature the music of Mark Shapic with vocals by Jennine Fuentes. There will be praise and worship, live music, adoration, confession, games, pizza and desserts. Please RSVP to Sue Ellen Nolan at239-472-2763 or sueellen.nolan@saintisabel.org.

Verot grad selected to MLB All-Star Game

Daniel Vogelbach, a graduate of Bishop Verot Catholic High School, and current Seattle Mariners designated hitter was selected to the 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star game, which was held July 9 in Cleveland. At the All-Star break, he had 20 home runs and a .244 batting average. Vogelbach help lead the Verot Vikings baseball team to the 2011 Florida Class 3A State Championship and shortly after graduation that same year was drafted 68th overall in the second round by the Chicago Cubs. Vogelbach set a Vikings single-season record with 17 home runs. He also led the team in batting average .459, hits (39), triples (4), walks (27), RBI (50), on-base percentage (.571) and slugging (1.224). After playing in the Cubs farm system, he was traded to the Mariners in 2016 and made his major league debut Sept. 12, 2016, earning his first hit the next night.

Knights on Bikes looking for riders

If you’re driving almost anywhere in Florida or the United States… you’ve probably seen or noticed a motorcyclist on a Harley Davidson, or another motorcycle, with a Knights of Columbus patch and a cross on their leather riding vests along with various other patches. Many Knights of Columbus have asked, “Who are these guys?” Well these are the Knights on Bikes and they are Knights of Columbus first and foremost dedicated to their roles of Knights of Columbus, the Dioceses of Venice, and the Holy Spirit! If you are a current, or planning to become a, Knight of Columbus with a positive passion for motorcycles and would like to ride with fellow positive minded Knights on Bikes, please consider joining. Knights on Bikes is always looking for properly formed good spirited Catholic men within the Diocese of Venice and other Dioceses for rides and fundraising. The motto is, ” In God We Trust and Ride.” For more information, please contact Venice Diocesan Knights on Bikes Chairman George Lopez for details at Knights1314@yahoo.com.

Arcadia senior housing opening soon

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice announces the completion of St. John Paul II Villas in Arcadia – a brand new development for Senior, Low-Income Housing. Apartments available consist of 1 or 2 bedrooms and are available for individuals 55 years of age and older, or handicapped or disabled. Income restrictions apply. For more information please call 863-884-2123.

Home Buyer Education Workshop

Catholic Charities offers a free Home Buyer Education Workshop every month in Bradenton and Sarasota in both English and Spanish. Potential home buyers receive important and useful information on how to purchase a home. For information, call Catholic Charities at 941-714-7829.

Church celebrates Pentecost

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

The journey of the Easter Season is concluded and the gift of the Holy Spirit has descended to provide wisdom, knowledge, understanding, fortitude, good counsel, piety and fear of the Lord – all gifts of the Spirit.

Celebrated on June 9, Pentecost Sunday marks an important transition in the lives of the Apostles and clarifies their mission in creating the Lord’s Church on earth and is traditionally viewed as the “birthday” of the Church.

Also on Pentecost, those who have been baptized and are seeking to be more fully united to Christ within the Church, receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at cathedrals around the world. At Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, Bishop Frank J. Dewane bestowed the sacrament upon 65 women and men representing 17 parishes across the Diocese.

Deybi Diaz Rodriquez of St. Agnes Parish in Naples said she was overwhelmed to have received the Sacrament of Confirmation from Bishop Dewane at the Cathedral.

“I am so happy right now,” Diaz Rodriguez said. “My whole family was here and that is so special. As the Bishop said, I feel like the Holy Spirit has come upon me and will be with me forever.”

The confirmandi responded to Christ’s call and made themselves available to Him in prayer, explained Cathedral Rector Father Jack Costello. “Through study and reflection, they have learned the truths of our Faith. Through acts of service they have demonstrated their love for Jesus. Their Pastors and catechists have assured the Church of their readiness to receive this Sacrament.”

Bishop Dewane praised the confirmandi for their courage in being witnesses of their faith and encouraged them to become an advocate for Jesus Christ. He noted that they take on a new relationship with the Lord that must come from the heart.

Continuing, the Bishop said, upon receiving Confirmation, the confirmandi must reflect upon the gifts of the Holy Spirit – wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord – “because each one of them is about your relationship with God and will help you answer the question ‘Who is God in my life?’ Know God in your life!”

The Spirit which is Pentecost, should become a part of who they are, the Bishop concluded. “Let this help you become more that man and women of God you are called to be through the strengths and gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

The Sacrament of Confirmation includes the anointing with the Sacred Chrism – consecrated at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week – and placed on the forehead when the Bishop says: “Be sealed with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

This Sacrament imbues the recipient with the Holy Spirit, making them an advocate for the Lord. “This becomes a permanent part of who you are. Live your faith to the fullest. Use these Gifts of the Holy Spirit every day. They must become part of who you are. The more you use them, the closer you will grow to the Lord.”

Pastor installed at Lake Placid Parish

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

6/18/19

There are moments in the life of each Parish that are well remembered: the dedication of a new building, significant anniversaries, and of course, the installation of a new Pastor.

For the faithful of St. James Parish in Lake Placid, such a day occurred June 2, the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, when Father Vincent Clemente was installed as Pastor by Bishop Frank J. Dewane.

The Ascension was an appropriate time to install and Pastor, because it was when Jesus commissioned the Apostles to go out into the world and spread the Gospel. The Church, in creating its structure, has established Parishes to help orchestrate that effort. The leader of a Parish is appropriately a Pastor who will give the impetus to the faithful to go forward out into the world to live the Gospel by spreading the Good News through their words and actions.

Bishop Dewane encouraged the faithful to offer advice to their new Pastor but also know that he will be called to make difficult decisions that not everyone will appreciate. “He needs your support through prayer and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Let the decisions that are to be made become a part of who you become as a Parish community.”

During the installation, the priest begins with selected words leading to the start of the Creed when he is then joined by the faithful. At the end of the Creed, the new Pastor has extra lines which are exclusive for him. In addition, the Pastor makes an Oath of Fidelity to the Bishop and his successors; formalized by his placing his hand upon the Book of Gospels.

Following the installation, two members of the parish, representing the entire congregation, served as witnesses and signed the formal documents, copies of which are left at the Parish, placed in the Diocesan archives and in the personnel file of Father Clemente. Bishop then introduced the new Pastor to a rousing applause.

Father Clemente thanked Bishop Dewane for his appointment and commented on how hospitable the Parish community has been since the day he was first assigned.

After the installation, a reception was held in the Parish Hall.

Coseglia Scholarships awarded

Staff Report

6/18/19

The Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida awarded four outstanding Diocese of Venice Catholic high school graduates with the 2019 Frank & Florence Coseglia Scholarship. The winners were recognized for their academic standing, service to their Parish and school, as well as an essay on what their Catholic Education has meant to them.

The scholarship recipients are Samuel Berjarano of Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers; Scholastica Egwakhide of St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples; Christopher Twargoski of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota; and Olivia Burke of Donahue Academy in Ave Maria.

The Catholic Community Foundation Coseglia Scholarship was established in 2012 to fulfill the dreams of Frank and Florence Coseglia. The Coseglias wanted to provide financial support to deserving Catholic high school graduates pursuing degrees at accredited colleges or universities, and they wanted that financial support to last far beyond their lifetimes. For these reasons, the Coseglias chose to create a Catholic Legacy by establishing an endowed scholarship fund with the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida.

The winners were nominated by their high schools and approved by the Catholic Community Foundation Board of Directors. Each will receive a one-time scholarship of $1,117 toward the cost of their college/university studies. This is the eighth year the Catholic Community Foundation Coseglia Scholarship has been awarded.

Egwakhide, who will be studying to become a nurse at Regis College, wrote in her essay that: “I believe that a Catholic education changed my life for the better and helped me to come to a better understanding of myself. This scholarship will enable me to continue my search in life and give me the opportunity to continue my Catholic education at Regis College in the fall.”

With plans to study computer science at the University of Central Florida, Berjarano wrote: “I have been blessed to be raised in a Catholic family where faith plays an important role in our lives. By receiving the Coseglia Scholarship, I would be given a ticket to my own future; a way to attend university without worrying about needing to get into debt just to pursue my goals.”

Catholic Community Foundation Executive Director Michael Morse said the Coseglia Scholarship is a wonderful example of how one family chose to support the good works of the Catholic Church by investing in the education of our youth.

Those interested in learning how to set up an annual scholarship in their name, or the name of a loved one, should contact the Catholic Community Foundation at 941-441-1124.

Coalition for Life meets

Staff Report

6/18/19

Every year since the inception of the Coalition for Life in 2007 the Diocesan Respect Life Office has brought leaders together annually in the spring for updates, networking and to provide input on future activities.

Parish Respect Life Representatives (designated by Pastors), Knights of Columbus Culture of Life Chairmen, Council of Catholic Women Representatives, and others interested in serving, gathered June 2 at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Port Charlotte. Those gathered enjoyed their time with like-minded people who dedicate themselves to building a Culture of Life in the Diocese of Venice.  Some attendees have been volunteering for 30 or more years while others have recently felt called to do something to promote a greater respect for life.

Diocesan Respect Life Director Jeanne Berdeaux gave a brief overview of the pro-life strategy outlined by the U.S. Bishops. She celebrated the previous 12-months of activities with a PowerPoint presentation that included pictures from key events such as the State Respect Life Conference that the Diocese hosted in the fall of 2018, 40 Days for Life, and Prayer Walks for Life in four locations, the March for Life in Washington and Catholic Days at the Capitol in Tallahassee.

Looking ahead to the coming year, she announced that the movie UNPLANNED is due to be released on DVD and streaming in mid-August, providing a powerful tool for pro-life education.  The dates for Catholic Days at the Capitol in Tallahassee were announced:  January 28-30, 2020.  The three-day bus trip will be earlier since the Florida Legislative Session runs from January to March in even years, allowing legislators more time for campaigning in the summer and fall leading up to the 2020 elections.

Berdeaux also noted that there are excellent speakers available to present on a variety of life issue from conception to natural death. She also noted that video presentations from the 2018 Florida Respect Life Conference and events on the death penalty and other issues are available online at www.dioceseofvenice.org/respectlife.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane addressed the group and specifically spoke about the ramifications of recent events in states across the country with laws being enacted, both pro-life and pro-abortion, in anticipation of the day when the infamous Roe v Wade might be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, sending the issue back to the states. Bishop Dewane pointed out that Florida will still have a problem because of the privacy clause that was added to the State Constitution in 1980.

Attendees were given a new brochure explaining the Florida privacy clause and how this might impact any future legislation (available on the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops at www.flaccb.org/culture-of-life). A short video and other important resources which further explains the issue are also on the site.

Janine Marrone, founder of Luncheons 4 Life and member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice, shared with the group a special project that shows 30-second videos promoting pregnancy help centers and adoption to young women via YouTube and other social media, helping them to look at a difficult situation from a pro-life perspective.

Project Rachel Coordinator Sylvia Jimenez shared information and stories to highlight the need to be sensitive when talking about abortion with others as there could very well be women or men listening who have been hurt by abortion.

One of the most important and fun parts of the day was the time spent in round-table discussions with others sharing what they are doing in their local area.

For information on how you can become involved of pro-life activities in your parish or the Diocese, please contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-374-1068 or Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org.

News from Around the Diocese June 18, 2019

Naples priest becomes U.S. Citizen

Congratulations to Father Benjamin Casimir, a native of Haiti, who became a citizen of the United States on June 4. The parochial vicar serves at by St. Peter the Apostle and St. Finbarr parishes in Naples.

 

 

 

Longtime Catholic Charities supporter recognized

Llewellyn Schmidt was honored as the 2019 recipient of the James A. McTague Humanitarian Award by Catholic Charities of Collier County during a May 31 luncheon in Naples. Schmidt was a founding member of the Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. Board of Directors, and of the Catholic Charities Foundation Board and the District III Advisory Board. He was instrumental in helping found the locations for the district offices and the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center, and also volunteered his time in many of the outreach efforts of Catholic Charities.

Parish celebrates Pentecost with rose petal drop

At the conclusion of the Pentecost Sunday Mass at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples, rose petals fell from the ceiling in custom going back to the sixth century by which rose petals fell from a hole in the ceiling. This symbolizes the tongues of fire that fell on the disciples in the upper room. Today this is still done at them Pantheon in Rome. Also an ancient Pentecost custom, the parish released almost 20 doves following Mass and celebrated with a cake for the birthday of the Church.

Longtime Cathedral coordinator retires

Brother Peter Nault, Congregation of the Holy Cross, has retired after more than 25 years as the Epiphany Cathedral’s Parish Coordinator. He has been a member of the Congregation since 1963 and was previously a teacher in secondary schools in Texas, Illinois, and Ohio. From 1986 until 1993, when he began his duties at Epiphany Cathedral, Brother Peter was Director of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for the Diocese of Venice and Assistant Treasurer, organizing the Office of Stewardship and Development for the new Diocese. As Epiphany’s Parish Coordinator, Brother Peter provided administrative support to the Rector in non-pastoral concerns so that parish and school resources and personnel were utilized to best fulfill the Church’s mission.  In this role, he represented the parish in assisting the needy and less fortunate through various outreach programs.  He was instrumental in the foundation of Mercy House, a temporary residence shelter operated by Epiphany.

Life in the Spirit Seminar

Incarnation Catholic Church, 2929 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, is presenting a six week Life in the Spirit seminar to be held on Thursday evenings from July 25 through Aug. 29, from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Finegan Center. This will be an opportunity to grow and deepen one’s relationship to the Holy Spirit through the graces given at Baptism and Confirmation. Come and experience a new life in the Spirit! The seminar is free. Please email or call Julie Dorr to register at registerwithjulie@gmail.com or 941-751-4937.

Summertime Catholic Charities campaign begins

Real people. Real lives. Make a real difference! Catholic Charities offers people in need in Southwest Florida with help that brings about real change in their lives. The Catholic Charities Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal is asking for your support. You can donate to the type of assistance you care about such as Food, Shelter, Education and Support. The giving is easy! Visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or mail a check to Catholic Charities, 5824 Bee Ridge Road PMB 409, Sarasota, FL 34233-5065. Your gift will make a positive impact!

 

 

New Director of Vocations announced

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

6/18/19

Father Shawn Roser knows what it is like to be a seminarian for the Diocese of Venice. He was one a year ago. This fact makes Father Roser uniquely qualified to be the new Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Venice.

Announced by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, and effective May 17, Father Roser said he is anxious to work to support the existing seminarians who are discerning the priesthood now, while at the same time finding innovative ways to encourage others to follow the same path.

“This is a tremendous honor,” Father Roser said. “The responsibility is awesome, and I will work diligently to help spread the word that promoting a vocation to the priesthood needs the support of all the faithful.”

Bishop Dewane noted that Father Roser is the right person to fill this important role in the Diocese. “Father Shawn has the spiritual awareness and enthusiasm needed to be a successful Vocations Director.”

As he settles into his new position, Father Roser noted that he will work to ensure the needs of the current Diocesan seminarians are being addressed. Since he was a seminarian, he already understands what it was like to go through the lengthy process of discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

“I understand the pressures, not just academically, but personally and spiritually,” Father Roser explained. “I will do what I can to help them through the discernment process.”

For those who might be thinking about discerning the priesthood, Father Roser will be there as a mentor as well. He went through a lengthy discernment process after he graduated from St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples.

He first went off to study aerospace engineering and applied meteorology, with the intention of pursuing a career as a U.S. Air Force officer and astronaut. It was then, during his involvement with Catholic campus ministry, that he experienced an awakening and renewing of his faith which started him on a journey to the priesthood. Father Roser was ordained on July 14, 2017.

Father said that long process, and the knowledge that everyone’s call to the priesthood is different, will help him encourage others to consider their calling.

“Today it is hard for young people to feel connected,” Father Roser said. “You have to help them strengthen their connection to the Lord; then the idea of a vocation to the priesthood or religious life becomes a more authentic option.”

Father said he is blessed to be building upon the positive work done by Father Eric Scanlan, the Vocations Director from 2015-2019, who is now Administrator of Incarnation Parish in Sarasota and Chaplain at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School.

He will be required to visit the different seminaries, attend vocations conferences and keep up with the academic and pastoral work of the seminarians. He will travel across the Diocese to promote vocations at various events still in the planning stages.

In addition to his duties as Vocations Director, Father is currently a Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton and is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus.

Diocese of Venice Seminarians are supported through the Diocese Catholic Faith Appeal, the Knights of Columbus and the generosity of the faithful.

Parishioners from around the Diocese are encouraged to help support the seminarians in their studies and choice of vocations. To support a seminarian, donations may be sent to the Diocese of Venice, Office of Vocations, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285.

For more information about the seminarians or Vocations, contact Father Shawn Roser at roser@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-486-4720, or visit www.venicevocations.com .

Prayer for Vocations

God our Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as priests, deacons, religious, and consecrated persons. Send your Holy Spirit to help us respond generously and courageously to your call. May our community of faith support vocations of sacrificial love in our youth. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

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