News Briefs for the week of February 23, 2024

Three Diocesan Catholic students named Merit Scholar Finalists

Three Diocese of Venice Catholic high school seniors have been named Finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program! This is a great achievement for the students and for Catholic education in the Diocese of Venice. The finalists are Alexandra Mussey of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota and Patrick Dendis and Stephen Zell of Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers. This honor places the three among the top one percent of U.S. high school seniors. Finalists have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million. The process to become a Finalist included submitting a detailed application with information about academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, as well as honors and awards received.

Visit of St. Jude Relic to Naples Feb. 27

The faithful are invited to participate in Tour of the Relics of St. Jude the Apostle on its U.S. visit, featuring the arm of the Saint. The tour will stop in the Diocese of Venice on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5260 28th Ave. SW, Naples. Veneration begins at 2 p.m. and concludes at 10 p.m. There will be a Mass in honor of St. Jude at 7 p.m. For additional information, contact the Parish at 239-455-3900.

Scholarship Application Deadline Feb. 29

There are currently five different scholarships available from the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida. Applications close on Feb. 29, 2024. The majority of the scholarships are for residents of Sarasota County. These scholarships are for graduating seniors (class of 2023 or 2024), or for non-traditional students who have been out of school for 3+ years and wish to pursue a higher education. To find out which Catholic Community Foundation scholarship you qualify for, please visit

Sarasota Prayer Walk for Life March 5 in Sarasota

Join Bishop Frank J. Dewane for a Mass and prayer walk for life. The Mass is at 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at St. Martha Church, 200 North Orange Ave., Sarasota.  A free shuttle bus will be provided after Mass to the nearby prayer walk until noon so that participants can circle the block around Planned Parenthood in prayer as many times as desired before returning to the church parking lot. Light refreshments will be available near the Community Pregnancy Clinic on 7th Street. For questions or to volunteer, contact Jeanne at 941-374-1068 or

Diocese of Venice Eucharistic Conference March 16

All are invited to attend the Diocese of Venice Eucharistic Conference on Saturday, March 16, 2024, at Bishop Verot Catholic High School, 5598 Sunrise Drive, Fort Myers. This effort, in support of the Church’s National Eucharistic Revival to place an emphasis on the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist, will be an all-day event of faith and fellowship, featuring inspirational Catholic speakers, including nationally acclaimed Catholic speaker and author Steven Ray, Crystalina Evert, Kathia Aranga, Father Elvis Gonzalez, and Tim Glemkowski. English and Spanish sessions will be offered. All are welcome. The day will include Mass, as well as adoration, and confessions. For more information, please visit Register by March 12

Construction begins on school project

Construction on the new administration building at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples has begun. Work started in early February on the much-needed building which will serve as a safe, secure, single point of entry with reception area, offices for school staff, a clinic and conference room. Most importantly, the new building will free up valuable classroom space for the students! This project is part of a larger ongoing expansion effort which has been made possible by many generous donors.

Healing After Abortion Retreat March 2

If you had an abortion, no matter how long ago, are having trouble forgiving yourself or need help dealing with the memories, consider attending a one-day women’s retreat on Saturday, March 2, 2024. Call or text Sylvia at 941-412-5860 or email her at Do it today; you will be glad you did!

Pray to Defeat Florida’s Abortion Amendment

The political committee behind a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize abortion up until birth in Florida has surpassed the petition signature requirement for placement on the November 2024 ballot. For ballot placement to be confirmed, the amendment language must be reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court to ensure it is clear and limited to a single subject. In her brief to the Court, the attorney general urged the justices to reject the proposal, identifying several terms in the amendment language that are not clearly defined and could mislead voters. The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB) also filed a legal brief in opposition to the amendment. The FCCB’s brief argued that the proposed ballot title is misleading. The title states that the amendment “limits” government interference with abortion when the text of the amendment itself actually prohibits all regulation before viability. The ballot language also fails to advise voters that the amendment would largely prohibit the state’s oversight of abortion clinics and provide fair notice of its impact on existing legal protections for women and children. The decision from the Florida Supreme Court is expected April 1, 2024.