Bishop speaks nationally on death penalty, assisted suicide

Staff and wire reports

October is Respect Life Month, therefore it was appropriate that Bishop Frank J. Dewane recently spoke out on two important end-of-life issues.

Speaking as the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Dewane was part of a roundtable discussion about capital punishment on Oct. 10, the World Day Against the Death Penalty.

The discussion highlighted not only the consistency of church teaching against capital punishment but also what Catholics could do to learn more about what the Catholic Church has to say on this issue.

Bishop Dewane participated in the Catholic News Service moderated roundtable with Archbishops Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City and Wilton D. Gregory of Washington, D.C.

Bishop Dewane stressed the sacredness of human life and said that “when it is violated, when it is attacked,” we are called to step in and “become the voice for those who can’t speak” for their own lives.

The Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty stems from its view on the sacredness of human life and the value of mercy.

The bishops spoke about the many problems with the death penalty. Examples cited were cases where minorities were not given a jury of their peers or when DNA results have exonerated death-row prisoners. Bishop Dewane mentioned that many on death row include people of color or those in poverty or suffering from mental illness. He said society needs to look at these factors and consider not just punitive but restorative measures.

The bishops were asked about Catholic opinion of the death penalty — 53% are in favor of it, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center poll. It was agreed by the panelists that it’s important for the faithful to learn, study, and read the Teachings of the Magisterium of the Church on this issue.

From St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis there has been a steady movement toward a greater clarity in terms of the morality and the inadmissibility of the death penalty.

Panelists were disturbed by the announcement this summer that the federal government rescinded its 16-year moratorium on executing federal inmates.

When talking about the families of victims the bishops agreed that the only thing that can bring healing or comfort is “mercy: being willing to forgive.”

In another pro-life initiative, on Oct. 15, Bishop Dewane co-authored a news release from the USCCB responding to a National Council on Disabilities (NCD) federal study revealing that assisted suicide laws are dangerous to people with disabilities.

In its report, “The Danger of Assisted Suicide Laws,” NCD provides several policy recommendations including urging states to not legalize any form of assisted suicide or active euthanasia. The NCD is an independent federal agency charged with advising the president, Congress, and other federal agencies regarding policies, programs, practices, and procedures that affect people with disabilities.

Bishop Dewane, along with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, of Kansas City in Kansas, and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, praised the NCD for its “critical research and report exposing serious risks of abuse, coercion and discrimination posed by assisted suicide laws, specifically for people with disabilities.”

“Every suicide is a human tragedy, regardless of the age, incapacity, or social/economic status of the individual.,” the statement continues. “The legalization of doctor-assisted suicide separates people into two groups: those whose lives we want to protect and those whose deaths we encourage. This is completely unjust and seriously undermines equal protection under the law.”

The statement goes on to note the human rights and intrinsic worth of a person do not change with the onset of age, illness, or disability. As Pope Francis said, “True compassion does not marginalize anyone, nor does it humiliate and exclude – much less consider the disappearance of a person as a good thing.”

The bishops stated that all must do what they can to uphold the dignity of life, cherish the lives of all human beings, and work to prevent all suicides. “We urge state and federal governments, health care providers, and associations to heed this report’s warnings and recommendations, especially its opposition to assisted suicide laws,” the statement concluded.

Bishop Dewane has been chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development since 2016 and will be passing along the role to Archbishop Coakley during the Fall Meeting of the USCCB.

Catholic News Service contributed information to this report.

Midpoint Rally held for 40 Days for Life

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

On the lakefront of Vineyards Community Park in Naples like-minded people gathered to celebrate the groundswell of support for the 40 Days for Life campaign which seeks to end abortion in the United States.

A rally was held Oct. 14 to bring together two groups working for the same cause. The first group is the pro-life prayer warriors who stand in front of abortion mills peacefully raising awareness regarding every life, which is precious from the moment of conception to natural death. Also stressed was how abortion can leave lasting scars for parents of aborted children that are not always visible. The other group represented the leaders of pregnancy clinics in the area which provide much needed resources for moms in crisis who are at risk of seeking an abortion.

Deacon Gary Ingold, CEO of Community Pregnancy Clinics Inc., which has facilities in Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota and Gainesville, as well as two mobile medical clinics which go out into the community, spoke about the mission of everyone present.

“Only the mother can nurture and protect her unborn child,” Ingold said. “It is our job to nurture and protect the mothers. We can only save the babies if we can save the moms. The only way this is possible is if we can develop a culture of life.”

Other speakers stressed the need for a modern approach to the issues by treating every mother – no matter what choice they make – with dignity, compassion, mercy and respect.

Hadley Thompson, a student at Ave Maria University, spoke about her effort to be supportive of new moms on campus through the development of a “Pregnant on Campus” outreach. The group of student volunteers serves in a supporting role for the moms who are working toward a degree by attending classes but need babysitting and other support to care for their child.

“This started out as a way to help a friend,” Thompson explained. “Now it has grown to include dozens of people who volunteer their time to create a positive environment for both mother and child.”

The rally was organized by 40 Days for Life Naples Coordinator Crystal Gabbard and moderated by Ryan Neuhaus, regional coordinator in Florida of Students for Life in America.

The 40 Days for Life Fall Campaign continues through Nov. 3 locally in Naples, Fort Myers and Sarasota. Please visit www.40daysforlife.com and search for the closest vigil site. Participants are encouraged to spend as much time as they can to be a witness for life.

Rosary Rallies for Our Lady and America

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Faithful gathered across the Diocese of Venice and around the United States on the weekend of Oct. 13 for rosary rallies to join in prayer for our country and peace in the world.

Some 15,000 “America Needs Fatima” Public Square Rosary Rallies took place nationwide, with at least six throughout the Diocese, all to pray for America and the conversion of sinners as Our Lady of Fatima requested. Oct. 13 marked the 102nd Anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun in Portugal.

A group of prayer warriors gathered Oct. 12 at College Parkway and Winkler Road, in front of an abortion facility, adding significance to their prayer vigil. A statue of Our Lady of Fatima was on display while the rosary was recited, prayers were said to honor Our Lady of Fatima and for the nation.

Grace McPherson participated in the rally because she believes in the “America Needs Fatima” message, that the faithful of the country need to rededicate themselves to Mary.

“Our Lady of Fatima is about love and understanding,” McPherson said. “We all need to follow the Blessed Virgin’s example to have a clearer direction and greater purpose for this country.”

Other communities in the Diocese which held vigils included St. Agnes Parish in Naples, San Pedro Parish North Port, and Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch.

The Our Lady of Fatima story begins with three children bringing their sheep to a pasture to graze when a bright light shined on them. In that light was a woman who said, “I am a lady from heaven.” The figure, deemed the Immaculate Heart of Mary, called on the children to recite the rosary every day and to pray for the world.

Every year, “America Needs Fatima” organizes thousands of Public Square Rosary Rallies across the nation to pray for America and the conversion of sinners, as Our Lady of Fatima requested. The goal is to win the heart and soul of America for Mary by spreading Our Lady’s Fatima message and promoting devotion to Her Immaculate Heart.

Fort Myers Guatemalan community celebrates Patroness

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Jesus the Worker Parish in Fort Myers is home to a diverse and faithful Hispanic Catholic community and there are often celebrations to mark significant occasions.

From Oct. 5-7 a celebration of Our Lady of the Rosary, Patroness of Guatemala, took over the community with a vigil, prayers, procession, food, music, dancing and even a few fireworks.

Consuela de Lara, who dressed in traditional clothing from her home province for the procession and Mass on Oct. 6, said Our Lady of the Rosary is an important religious figure for the Guatemalan people and nation. “It is a celebration for all.”

The main celebration at Jesus the Worker Parish began a gathering in front of a temporary outdoor shrine to Our Lady of the Rosary. The shrine included a statue that was placed on a platform which was adorned with flowers. The faithful prayed the Holy Rosary before the platform was carried throughout the parking lot as music reflecting the community’s strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin was sung.

The ceremony was led by children dressed in traditional Guatemalan clothing and carrying flowers. Many of the adults also carried flowers and wore traditional clothing, each color and design representing their hometown.

Father Patrick O’Connor, Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, Pastor of Jesus the Worker, passed out blessed rosaries to the younger children before the procession.

A small hand-carved and painted statue of Our Lady was also carried during the procession and placed in the Church at the beginning of the Mass. This statue was brought back from Guatemala by Father O’Connor during a recent mission trip. Like the larger statue, the image has a large rosary in her right hand and in her left she holds the Child who seems to be trying to free himself from her embrace. There is a popular tradition that the Virgin Mary went out to travel throughout the Americas and that the Child fell asleep when they reached Guatemala, which is why she stayed there.

Of special significance to this year’s celebration was the recent announcement that Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini Imeri, from the Diocese Huehuetenango, Guatemala, was elevated to Cardinal on Oct. 5 by Pope Francis. Father O’Connor noted that many are from that very poor region of Guatemala, which has a strong Mayan Indian population.

“It is exciting for them, and all of the people of Guatemala,” Father O’Connor explained.

After the Mass, the celebration continued in the Parish Hall with traditional Guatemalan foods and dancing. There was also the selection of a Mayan princess from among the young ladies of the parish. The celebration concluded with a traditional Guatemalan community dance with music from the national instrument of Guatemala, the marimba. A more subdued celebration took place on Oct. 7, the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Rosary.

While Our Lady of the Rosary is the Patroness of Guatemala, and there was a special emphasis to recognize the specific community, the celebration was welcoming to the entire community which includes faithful from across the Americas. Other days honoring Our Lady are celebrated at the parish with equal enthusiasm throughout the year.

Diocesan news briefs late October 2019

White Mass and lecture held for medical professionals

St. Agnes Parish held its annual White Mass for medical professionals in Naples, on Oct. 18, the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist and patron of doctors. A lecture titled “Spirituality and Health: Complete Doctoring” presented by Dr. Michael Gloth followed in the Parish Hall.

 

 

Mobile Medical Clinic blessed

Father Augustine Twum Obour, Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch, blesses the new Mobile Medical Clinic of Community Pregnancy Clinics on Oct. 20. The van, which offers free ultrasounds to pregnant moms, was made possible by a donation from the Knights of Columbus and will be used throughout the region.

 

 

Verot earns Apple Distinguished School Certification

Bishop Verot Catholic High School has earned Apple Distinguished School Certification for 2019-2022. According to Apple: “Apple Distinguished School leaders, faculty, and the extended community have a clear vision for how their technology-rich environments support learning goals. School leaders have established elements for continuous innovation that include culture, team, capacity, community, finance, and measurement. Supporting their school’s vision is an ongoing process that requires thoughtful planning, practice, and improvement along the way. They use iPad and Mac products to inspire student creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. And they cultivate environments in which students are excited and curious about learning.”

St. Mary Academy named Best Special Needs School in region

St. Mary Academy in Sarasota has been named by Family Living Magazine as the Best Special Needs School in Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice. The schools provide skilled teaching to students with learning disabilities. To mark this achievement, the school had a celebration that included outdoor games, food and fun.

 

 

Junior high students have fun in Wauchula

St. Michael Parish in Wauchula hosted an Oct. 5 festival for junior high students. The day includes lots of fun and games, but also include speakers who stressed the need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, time for prayer and the Mass.

 

 

 

Mooney featured on Tampa morning TV show

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota hosted FOX-13 Tampa Bay on Oct. 17. The honor coincides with the ongoing celebration of Mooney’s 60th Anniversary. The sports teams and cheerleaders led a pep rally, and the TV crew also showcased the newly renovated stadium and field.

 

 

Goldtones Tickets Now on Sale
San Antonio Parish Knights of Columbus announce that tickets are now on sale for Florida’s famous Doo-wop group the Goldtones’ concert. The concert will be 7 p.m.,  Jan. 31 in the Holy Trinity Hall, 24411 Rampart Blvd, Port Charlotte. General Admission tickets are $15. In addition to all the old familiar Doo-wop favorites, they will also be singing your favorite Motown hits. Last year sold out early, so get your tickets now at 800-838-3006, or online at: BrownPaperTickets.com

Priestly Ordination: United to the Sacrifice of Christ

Bob Reddy – Venice –

The presbyterate of the Diocese of Venice in Florida grew by one with the Ordination to the Priesthood of Father Carlos Encinas.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane presided over the ordination of Father Carlos in a Rite that was filled with long tradition and witnessed by hundreds Oct. 5 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

The Bishop told Father Carlos that through ordination, he becomes forever “United to the Sacrifice of Christ.” That unity is also with the Bishop and the Universal Church led by Holy Father Pope Francis.

“You are called to be that Church as you go out and strive to minister to the people of God,” Bishop Dewane continued. “Be the example of the Good Shepherd and go out and find the lost sheep who have the strayed by being the Light of Christ to others who might be in darkness.”

To start the Rite of Ordination, Diocese of Venice Vocations Director Father Shawn Roser called Deacon Carlos forward as he presented himself for ordination to the Bishop. The Bishop, on behalf of the entire Church, accepted Carlos and called him to ordination as a Priest by saying: “Relying on the help of the Lord God and Our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose Carlos Encinas, our brother, for the Order of the Priesthood.”

During the Rite of Ordination, Encinas knelt before Bishop Dewane to express his desire and willingness to be ordained as a Priest and to fulfill the responsibilities that come with ordination, which included a promise of respect and obedience to the Bishop and his successors. Encinas then lay prostrate before the altar for the Litany of Supplication/Litany of Saints.

After this solemn act of prayer, the Sacrament of Ordination was conferred when Carlos again knelt before Bishop Dewane, whom in silent prayer, imposed his hands on the head the ordinand. Each priest then came forward to lay their hands upon the head of Father Encinas. This was followed by Bishop Dewane, with his hands outstretched, praying the Prayer of Ordination.

Father Carlos was then vested in stole and chasuble by Father Gerard Critch, Pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples where Encinas had recently served as Transitional Deacon. The hands of Father Carlos were than anointed with the Sacred Chrism by the Bishop, the sign of the special anointing of the Holy Spirit who will make their ministry fruitful.

Next, the Bishop presented Encinas with the chalice and paten which all priests are called to present to God in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The Rite of Ordination is concluded with the Bishop giving a fraternal kiss of peace to the newly ordained priest, welcoming him into the Diocesan Presbyterate or priesthood. Bishop Dewane introduced Father Carlos to all those present to enthusiastic applause, before all priests came forward to offer the sign of peace.

In addition to families and friends from Argentina, there were faithful from across the Diocese, many from the parishes where he previously had served. Included among those were also representatives of the Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta, and the Knights and Dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, as well as Diocesan seminarians who served during the Mass. Father Carlos was also pleased that a number of priests and fellow graduates from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, many of whom were ordained earlier in the year, were able to attend.

The Ordination was followed by a reception in the Cathedral Parish Hall where newly ordained Father Carlos Encinas was available to greet the public and impart his priestly blessing on them.

Putting aside distraction key to becoming a Disciple of Christ

Bob Reddy – Naples –

We are all called to be “Disciples of Christ.” The best way to achieve this goal is to put aside distractions such as cell phones and other devices so as to then focus on how best to serve the Lord.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane gave this message during separate Masses Oct. 3 in Naples for students at St. Ann Catholic School and St. John Neumann Catholic High School.

“You must put aside the distractions – cell phone, tablets, the internet – as these take your precious time and often moves you further from the Lord,” Bishop Dewane said. “I want you to work and concentrate on becoming a ‘Disciple of Christ.’ You can do this by making more room in your lives for Jesus. Sometimes this is easy to do and sometimes it is hard, but I know each of you can do it.”

The Bishop added that when Christ is with them, they are asked to be a certain kind of person. That is a person who strives to do what Christ asks of them, and in so doing, they become more a man or woman of God – a “Disciple of Christ.”

The theme of being a “Disciple of Christ” coincides with the commemoration of the 35th Anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Venice. Through the Diocese Education Office, students across the Diocese are being given lessons on how to become a “Disciple of Christ” through prayer as well as through their actions, particularly toward others. These building blocks will aide them in their spiritual journey.

The Masses for the students at St. Ann Catholic School and St. John Neumann Catholic High School were the last in a series of Mass at each Diocesan Catholic School to start the academic year. The Masses were delayed by a month because of the early September threat from Hurricane Dorian. Bishop Dewane made a note for the students to pray for the victims of the Hurricane.

Young students learn about vocations

Bob Reddy – Fort Myers –

Sixth graders from Catholic elementary schools across the Diocese of Venice have recently been challenged to recognize the presence of the Lord in themselves while also considering their vocation: possibly to religious life for the girls and the priesthood for the boys.

“God is calling each of us,” Diocesan Vocations Director Father Shawn Roser explained to the students at each of three Diocesan Vocations Days in late September. “You are old enough to understand the role Christ is having in your life and I know some of you are being called to a religious life or the priesthood.”

The Vocations Days took place Sept. 23 at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples for the Catholic schools in the Southern Deanery; Sept. 25 at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota for schools in the Northern Deanery, and Sept. 30 at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers for schools in the Central Deanery.

Students heard from priests and religious men and women about listening to God’s call for their vocation in life. No matter whether that vocation is as a priest or consecrated religious, married life, consecrated single life – the Lord will provide guidance.

The day focused on encouraging the young boys and girls to open their hearts and minds to develop their personal relationship with God while keeping open the possibility of a deeper calling for their vocation. The students were repeatedly told that their relationship with the Lord must always begin with prayer.

Throughout the day the students heard from priests and religious women who shared their stories of how they found a grace to serve God in a special way. There were separate sessions for boys and girls, when they were free to ask any questions.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass at the conclusion of each Vocations Day and reinforced what the students learned by stressing how they need to pray to the Lord about their vocation in life. He also shared his own vocation story.

“The Lord has a role for each one of us in life, and if it is not done, the community is all the less for it,” Bishop Dewane said. “Go forward in your lives and really consider religious life, consider the priesthood and pray about it. Pray that the Lord inspire you to that vocation. Pray to the Lord that you get clarity.”

Bishop Dewane, Father Roser and the religious sisters who assisted at the Vocations Days each stressed that God is never going to call the students to do something they are not going to want to do or cannot handle.

“You just have to open your mind and your heart to what God is calling you to do,” Father Roser said.

During the Vocations Days at Cardinal Mooney and Bishop Verot Father Roser was joined by Servant Sisters of the Virgin Matara from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula. At St. John Neumann, he was assisted by Sister April Hoffman, a Salesian Sister of St. John Bosco who teaches at the high school.

In addition, Sister Cathy Bonfield, School Sister of Notre Dame, escorted her students from St. Martha and St. Mary Academy to the Vocations Day at Cardinal Mooney, and spoke to the girls about her vocation journey as a teacher for more than 50 years.

Each day focused on encouraging the young boys and girls to open their hearts and minds to develop their personal relationship with God while keeping open the possibility of a deeper calling for their vocation.

Throughout the day the students participated in various activities and games with the priest and religious present while also carefully listening to the profound words they had to say as each shared their own personal spiritual journey to serve God in a special way.

Students from St. John Neumann, Cardinal Mooney and Bishop Verot shared their own faith story, noting the challenges to stay focused on the Lord with other distractions in life. However, no matter how far they strayed from their Faith, each noted that the one strength in their lives was the Lord, calling them back. This invariably brought comfort and stability to their lives.

Prior to the closing Mass, there was Eucharistic Adoration to allow the students a chance to focus and spend time in the presence of the Lord.

Father Roser said the goal was to let these young boys and girls know about the possibilities for the future and the greatness that comes as a servant of the Lord for priests and religious.

Who’s Making it Happen – New Catholic makes a difference

Susan Laielli – Naples –

No one wants to get up early enough to make the donuts, but Marcia McShane will gladly hand you one with a warm smile after Sunday morning Masses at St. Ann Parish in Naples, as part of her new duties as an assistant on the social committee.

Marcia McShane, right, is a volunteer at St. Ann Parish in Naples and she is ‘Making it Happen’ seen getting donuts ready on Oct. 6. She is seen with Laura Kowal, left, and Ashley Biffer, center.

When asking around the Parish which volunteers are making it happen for the large Southwest Florida Church, you’ll get plenty of names, almost too many to choose only one.

Before her new duties on the social committee, Marcia was mostly behind the scenes, setting up or cleaning up after the St. Patrick’s Day Party or the Back-to-School Picnic.  Often, she can be found moving books for the Director of Religious Education at the beginning and end of a year, understanding the many needs of educators, since she is a retired kindergarten teacher.

It’s not simply what Marcia does at St. Ann that makes her a standout, but it’s how she came to join the Parish and volunteer there, before eventually becoming a Catholic; that is frankly just as interesting.

Both Marcia and her husband Paul are admittedly children of inter-faith marriages from the 1940’s and 50’s, and when they married that history would continue, but the animosities did not.

“I learned early on love is about the person – my husband was Catholic, and I was not,” said Marcia.  “I grew up on military bases in several states and attended all types of churches and chapels, including one in Maryland where Annie Glenn, the wife of astronaut John Glenn, was my Bible School teacher.”

Before they would become world renowned astronauts John Glenn, Alan Shepard, and Gus Grissom would train at a Navy test pilot school with Marcia’s father, and the group would eventually become golfing buddies.

During their 38 year marriage, Marcia and Paul would be blessed with two sons and continued to attend various Churches of all denominations in the north to worship our Lord.  It wasn’t until moving to Naples fulltime after retiring that the couple again began searching for a Church, when something really clicked for Marcia at St. Ann Parish.

“The people are very welcoming, and I love the family values, the history, and traditions of the Catholic Church,” said Marcia smiling.

After volunteering for quite some time in the Parish, Marcia decided it was time to take the next step and become Catholic, which almost did not happen at this year’s Easter Vigil.

On Good Friday, just one day before the Easter Vigil, Marcia’s father would suffer a heart attack and need to be rushed to a Naples hospital.  She would spend the next 24 hours unsure of his outcome, and uncertain if she would become Catholic.

“I almost became a three-year Catholic student of the faith, and one of Ms. Cybil’s eternal students,” she recalls, referring to the Director of Religious Education.

The doctor told her moments before the Easter Vigil started that her father was stable, offering her the comfort to leave and try to make the Mass.  She would make it just in time.

Volunteers in Diocese of Venice Catholic Churches are special people, acting on their faith, offering their time and resources to get a job done, and expecting nothing in return.

When asked what her motto would be if she had one, Marcia responded in perfect kindergarten teacher fashion, “Remember the book by Watty Piper, “The Little Engine that Could” – my motto would be, ‘I think I can!’”

Safety Training seminar held

Bob Reddy – Venice

Due to the seriousness of potential risks related to facility maintenance activities, safety awareness is a high priority for the Diocese of Venice.

To address this important issue, a Safety Training seminar for facilities and maintenance staff of all Diocese of Venice entities took place Oct. 1 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice.

A wide variety of topics and interactive workshops were held to reinforce safety practices for facility and maintenance personnel. Spanish speaking instructors and materials were also available.

Donna Foti, Diocesan Risk Manager, explained that safety is a top priority in the Diocese and the seminar served to help reinforce this concept amongst those who do the facilities maintenance at parishes and schools throughout the Diocese. The day was also a chance for these vital employees to gather in one place and be recognized for their work.

Representatives from Aon, which provides specialty insurance for Diocesan entities, split the more than 100 participants into smaller groups and they then rotated between different stations to learn about key areas. Such areas included: use of golf carts; defensive driving; slip, trip and fall prevention; heat exhaustion; use of personal protective gear; identifying task for staff, volunteers and outside contractors; life safety; and claims processing.

Matt Long, a risk assessor from Aon, said the goal was to share information that will help safety improve for everyone who not only works on facilities maintenance, but who visits any Diocesan entity as an employee, parishioner, student or visitor.

Foti noted afterwards that the day was a resounding success and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

The day concluded with a drawing for nice gifts, including a personal cooler, NOAA weather radio and umbrellas.

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