News Briefs for the week of April 21, 2023


After consultation with Priest Personnel Board, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announces the following appointments:

Father Teofile Useche, as Pastor of Holy Cross Parish, Palmetto, effective May 1, 2023, and is relieved of his duties as Pastor of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Port Charlotte.

Father Claudio Stewart, as Administrator of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Port Charlotte, effective May 1, 2023, while retaining other responsibilities to the Diocesan Hispanic Apostolate.

Father Jayabalan Raju, as Administrator of St. John XXIII Parish, Fort Myers, effective May 1, 2023, and is relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar of Epiphany Cathedral, Venice.

Father Krzysztof Piotrowski, as Parochial Vicar of Epiphany Cathedral, effective May 1, 2023, and is relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar of St. Agnes Parish, Naples.

Father Augustine Twum Obour, as Parochial Vicar of St. Agnes Parish, Naples, effective May 1, 2023, and is relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Fort Myers.


Mass for Victims of Child Abuse April 25

April is Child Abuse Awareness Prevention Month, and in conjunction with the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Diocese of Venice will hold a Mass for Victims of Child Abuse for the 16th consecutive year with Bishop Frank J. Dewane as the Celebrant. The Mass will take place at 8 a.m., Tuesday, April 25, 2023, at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. All are invited to attend as we come together to pray for the victims of abuse.

10 Parishes hosting Novena of Masses for Life

Throughout the Diocese of Venice, there are 10 Parishes hosting the annual Novena of Masses for Life. A Novena of Masses for Life is celebrated annually from the Solemnity of the Annunciation (usually on March 25 unless it falls during Holy Week) and monthly on or around the 25th until November, with the option of additional Masses on Christmas.  The novena presents a special opportunity to meditate on the progressive development of Our Lord in His mother’s womb.  The hope is that this meditation will help people to reflect on the sanctity of all human life, from fertilization/conception to birth and throughout life until natural death, regardless of age or condition. Parishes participating in the monthly Novena of Masses for Life until Christmas are: Epiphany Cathedral, Venice; Incarnation, Sarasota; St. Patrick, Sarasota; Our Lady of Lourdes, Venice; San Pedro, North Port; St. Maximilian Kolbe, Port Charlotte; St. Vincent de Paul, Fort Myers; St. Cecilia, Fort Myers; St. Andrew, Cape Coral and St. Catherine, Sebring. For a schedule of Masses, contact the Parish or Jeanne Berdeaux at or 941-374-1068.

Teacher recognized in Naples

The Naples Council on World Affairs has chosen Cindy Brewer, a teacher at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples as 2023 Educator of the Year! Brewer’s students won first place award this year at the National High School Model UN competition in New York, as well as winning a vocal recognition award at Gator Model UN. Last year the Neumann team took two third place awards at the national competition. She arranged multiple Zoom conversations for her students with students in Ukraine through the Move Ukraine effort supported by NCWA; her students also prepared podcasts to share with Ukrainian students. One of her students was selected for a NCWA summer scholarship to Oxford University in England, and she has brought her students to NCWA lectures and other events. She was granted NCWA’s award at an event Friday evening. Her background singing in an a cappella group that traveled to North Korea, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia and other locations during the 1980s led to personal experiences that laid the foundation for her interest in world affairs.

Verot student earns award at state conference

Bishop Verot Catholic High School student Ava Lewis competed the weekend of April 14-16, 2023, in the Florida HOSA (Future Health Professionals) State Leadership Conference in Orlando. HOSA helps in educating young minds who are looking to enter the global health community. Ava was the representative for Bishop Verot and ended up placing third for Prepared Speaking! Her achievement qualifies her for the International Leadership Conference in Dallas this June. Great job Ava, and good luck in Dallas!

Memorial service held for Knights in Fort Myers

The Knights of Columbus at St. Columbkille Parish in Fort Myers organized a Memorial Service in honor of deceased members on April 16, 2023. The service, led by Father Lorenzo Gonzalez, Pastor of St. Columbkille, was held in the memorial prayer garden which was built in part thanks to the efforts of the Knights.

Weightlifters compete in States

Six Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School weightlifters competed in the 1A Florida High School Boys Weightlifting State Championship on April 13, 2023, at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. J.R. Rosenberg took third place in the 199 pounds division, with a combined weight lifted of 610 pounds. Other Mooney competitors were Matt Thomas, Javier Pastor, Drew Mellon, Ian Parker, Matty Maloni and Joe Carlo. Also competing from the Diocese of Venice, were Bishop Verot Catholic High School weightlifters Justin Davis and Wyatt Whalen from Fort Myers.

Father-daughter dance a success in Bradenton

The St. Joseph Catholic School Parent Teacher Organization organized “The Emerald City Father-Daughter Dance” in Bradenton on April 15, 2023. The fathers and daughters had lots of fun.

Final retreat for high school seniors held in Naples

Soon-to-be graduating seniors from St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples attended their last retreat on April 17, 2023, at St. Ann Parish. The theme for the retreat was Joshua 1:9 – “Stay strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” The seniors listened to witness talks and read letters from their freshman selves before hitting the beach for some fun!