Memorial Mass held for Deacons and their wives

Remembering those who have gone before, Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the annual Deacon Memorial Mass on Nov. 19, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

The Mass is held in November to coincide with the Month of All Souls. In addition to Deacons and their spouses, also present were members of the Permanent Diaconate Formation Class of 2025 and their spouses.

The readings of the day were from All Souls Day (Nov. 2), when the faithful learn that God has provided life and an afterlife through His Son, Jesus Christ.

“Jesus identifies himself as the Bread of Life,” Bishop Dewane said. “Christ takes that opportunity to reveal Himself to you, and to me, so you and I will choose Him and hear His message, achieving a new level of understanding of what that eternal life means… We are conscious that we have a life here on earth for a limited time, so do those we love. But that reality isn’t a denial of death. Christ offers something more to us, and to those who came before – a lifting up. It is the eternal promise of being in the hands of God.”

Bishop Dewane explained that being a part of the Permanent Diaconate is a unique responsibility and humble role in the Church, for they live a sacramental marriage and answer a specific call to serve the Lord. Pope Francis says Deacons are sentinels, people of action who look out for the poor, those who are on the margins and those who might be on the fringes of the Church.

“Deacons help the Christian community to spot those who are far off on the margins by getting the larger community to see and understand as well as work to bring them closer to the Lord,” the Bishop said.

The Memorial Mass brings together those Deacons, and their wives, serving today while honoring the memory of those who have served in the Diocese of Venice since its founding in 1984. Appropriately, it is a time of expressing gratitude to all for their answering the call of the Lord in a precise way.

As part of this annual tradition, during the Prayer Intentions, the names of those who have passed away during the previous year are solemnly read as candles are lit in their honor. Included in the list of names this year were Vicki Brenner, Gail Tomasso, Sapina Pele, Joan Zammett, and Andrea Schultz.

Today, there are more than 60 Permanent Deacons, many seasonal, living and serving throughout the Diocese.

Applications sought for new Permanent Diaconate class

Bishop Frank J. Dewane has approved the call for applicants to the permanent diaconate, Class of 2028.  There are currently 10 men studying in the five-year program. The new class will begin in September 2023.

Inquirers must be Catholics in good standing and fully initiated into the faith for at least five years. An inquirer must be at least 35 years of age at the time of application and no older than 60 at ordination.

Informational meetings will be held for inquirers and their wives on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, or on Dec. 10, 2022, at St. Martha’s Parish, 200 N. Orange St., Sarasota. The meetings are from 10 a.m. to noon.

Further information is also available from the Diaconate Office at the Catholic Center in Venice by calling Deacon Bob Gaitens, Director of Diaconate Student Formation, at 941-350-2634 or email Further information on the Permanent Diaconate may be found on the Diocesan web site at