There are 26 high school girls who now have the distinct honor of being named Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (VDCCW) Golden Rose Award recipients.
The Golden Rose Awards were presented during an April 29, 2023, luncheon at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. The Golden Rose Award seeks to recognize the tenets of the Council of Catholic Women – spirituality, leadership and service.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane and Josephine Weiss, VDCCW President, presented the awards while Father Jay Jancarz, VDCCW Spiritual Advisor and Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice, gave each young lady a rose. Receives
Bishop Dewane congratulated the young ladies for living out a particular call in their lives and encouraged them to carry that call forward into the future.
“Thank you for what you do in your Parishes… There is a tremendous talent pool amongst you young ladies,” the Bishop continued. “Your generation has many skills that were never needed before. As you move forward in life, consider continued service to the Church, because there is always a need for good people like yourselves.”
Golden Rose recipient Raquel Rodriguez Martinez of St. Catherine Parish in Sebring, said it was an honor to be recognized by the CCW. The 15-year-old student at Sebring High School is an altar server, lector, helps in religious education programs for young children, and is active in the youth program. Raquel previously attended St. Catherine Catholic School and said “I am so blessed to be able to give back to the Parish.”
Samantha Mitchell, 15, a student at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers and parishioner at St. Cecilia Parish, was nominated for the Golden Rose Award by her Pastor, Father Paul Dechant, Oblate of St. Francis de Sales. Father Dechant was present for the awards ceremony and said Samantha “is a blessing for St. Cecilia’s.” Father explained how Samantha is very active in the Parish as an altar server, regular volunteer at activities and was the driving force behind a new rosary garden.
Josephine Weiss, VDCCW President, said it is important for the VDCCW to recognize these worthy recipients who were each nominated by their respective Parishes and Catholic schools. Nominees must currently be in high school, active in their Parish, and a practicing Catholic who regularly attends Sunday Mass, while also completing a meaningful service project.
Ellen Bachman, VDCCW Past-President, helped bring the Golden Rose Award to Venice having learned about similar recognition taking place by CCW groups in other Dioceses. Bachman said the nomination write-ups on the young ladies “were both amazing and inspiring. They are our future Church.”
“You are our future. You receive awards for sports, for your academics, but you don’t receive awards for your faith, until now,” Bachman said. “We found reading about you that Christ is alive in the things you are doing.”
Each Golden Rose Award recipient was presented with a certificate and golden rose, as well as a membership into the National Council of Catholic Women.
The Golden Rose Award was first awarded in 2020 following the example of CCW affiliates, with the first in-person Venice Diocesan ceremony held in April 2021.
Those receiving awards this year were: Silvia Zak, St. Agnes Parish, Naples; Kristen Carder, Sacred Heart Parish, Punta Gorda; Alyson Mizanin, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Venice; Carson Garcia, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish, Sarasota; Cecilia Cosgrove, Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Lakewood Ranch; Karin Osborn and Diana Sanchez, Holy Cross Parish, Palmetto, Marissa Iveth Cisneros and Claire Consbruck, Epiphany Cathedral, Venice; Valentina Barretta and Celeste Harrell, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, Sarasota; Caroline O’Halloran, Bishop Verot Catholic High School, Fort Myers; Martina Licheri, Ave Maria; Jena Jones and Gloria Markey, St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Fort Myers; Lily Mae Stewart and Bailey Barnes, St. Thomas More Parish, Sarasota; Linda (Rubi) Flores, St. Michael, Wauchula; Lucy Sonsone, St. Katharine Drexel, Cape Coral; Edith Villagomez and Maddi Davenport, St. Joseph, Bradenton; Serene Aviles, St. John Neumann Catholic High School, Naples; Monica Chillemi, St. James, Lake Placid; Samantha Mitchell, St. Cecilia, Fort Myers; Raquel Rodriguez Martinez, St. Catherine, Sebring; Melana Mourad, St. John the Evangelist, Naples.