News Briefs for the week of June 7, 2024

Fort Myers Catholic youth reaches national Spelling Bee quarterfinals

David Nicasio, 13, who is an active member of St. Cecilia Parish in Fort Myers, reached the quarterfinals of the 96th Scripps National Spelling Bee from May 28-30, 2024. David tied for 60th place, making it through three rounds before tripping up in the fourth round. Words he spelled correctly were: Braeburn, larceny and pulvillus. David, an altar server, lector, as well as in the middle school and youth groups at St. Cecilia, won a series of local competitions to qualify as one of 245 students from across the nation to reach the national Spelling Bee. Just for making the National Spelling Bee, David will receive a number of gifts and prizes related to learning. As a quarterfinalist he will receive a commemorative pin and a $100 gift card. Well done David!

Penny Wars competition benefits area children

The kindergarten class at St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring won the fourth annual Penny Wars. The students collected a combined $1,190, allowing St. Catherine to purchase hygiene items, duffle bags, diapers, jackets and sweatshirts for two organizations that help foster children. Dixie Kreulen, student council moderator for St. Catherine, coordinated the Penny Wars from April 15-30. The Student Council, Kiwanis Builders Club and the Rosary Club assisted with loading and organizing the items.  The kindergarten class, which won last year, was rewarded for all their hard work in collecting coins by receiving an ice cream party. The first-grade class was treated to cookies since they were only 24 cents behind the kindergarteners. The teacher raising the most money was Elizabeth Kosta who won a $15 gift card to Starbucks.

Summer upgrades start in Naples

The summer vacation at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples means the start of a classroom reconfiguration process to handle the increasing number of students. On May 30, 2024, the demolition work began in two classrooms while additional work in the science labs starts soon. The work will make a new guidance office area, upgrade the media center and allow for better office space for faculty and staff, while freeing up room for more classrooms, and more students!

Foundation benefits Catholic Charities

The Bobby Nichols-Fiddlesticks Charity Foundation awarded $105,000 to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., to support their anti-human trafficking program, the result of several annual fundraising golf tournaments and galas. Overall, the Foundation presented nearly $1.8 million in grants to six designated charities serving abused and at-risk children in Southwest Florida. Founded by longtime Fiddlesticks resident Bobby Nichols, winner of 14 PGA Tour tournaments, the PGA recognizes the Nichols Cup golf tournament as one of the most successful community sponsored Pro-Am tournaments in the U.S. To date, the Nichols Cup tournaments and auction gala has raised a total of more than $18 million to benefit local children’s charities.

New Transitional Deacon feature of seminarian podcast

Transitional Deacon Pat Long, a Diocese of Venice Seminarian, is featured in the latest “Never Too Late” podcast from Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary. The podcast is hosted by Msgr. Bill Fay, a member of the faculty, and includes a discussion with seminarians who found a vocation to the priesthood later in life. In the 24th episode of the podcast, Deacon Pat speaks about his personal path to Pope St. John XXIII. Hear how the witness of both his parents and priests, who encouraged and guided him, were an influence on his faith. Friends also played a significant role in Deaon Pat’s decision to pay closer attention to God calling him, and his decision to take action and follow God’s call. Discussed is the broader definition of family and what it is like being a new deacon in the Church (he was ordained on April 6, 2024). He also offers a suggested four-part plan for any man engaging his own discernment process. To hear the podcast, please visit :

Donations of baby supplies needed

Community Pregnancy Centers Inc. is seeking donations of diapers and clothing to support the children of the women that are served each day. Items sought include new or gently used clothes (size 12 months to 3T); baby wipes; diapers (size 4-6); baby shampoo/lotion; new clothes for babies (0-3 months); pacifiers; pull ups/training diapers. Community Pregnancy Clinics has offices in Naples, Fort Myers and Sarasota. Please call 239-326-0453 or visit for locations.

Ave Maria Youth Conference registration open

All high school age youth from incoming freshman to outgoing seniors are invited to attend the 15th Annual Ave Maria University High School Youth Conference, “CALLED,” from July 12 – 14, 2024. This faith-filled weekend will be full of fellowship, music, and great speakers, including Father Timothy Anastos from the Diocese of Chicago who is currently serving as a National Eucharistic Preacher and featured regularly on “Reel Homilies”, Noelle Garcia a Catholic recording artist who shares her faith through scripture and music, nationally known chastity speaker Pam Stenzel, and Father Joseph Lugalambi, Adjunct Professor of Theology at Ave Maria University. Music will be provided by EPIC Music Ministries. The cost is $190 per person, which includes lodging in the dorms, meals, conference fee, and a cool t-shirt! Register now by visiting For more information call 239- 348-4725, or email

Urgent need for sidewalk counselors and prayer warriors in Fort Myers and Naples

As the weather turns hotter there is an urgent need for sidewalk counselors and prayer partners to provide coverage to stand as peaceful witnesses for life at the Planned Parenthood abortion facilities at 6418 Commerce Park Drive, Fort Myers, and 1425 Creech Road, Naples. No training is necessary to be a prayer partner – just bring a hat and a rosary. For those interested in counseling, training and necessary resource materials will be provided. In addition, during this process an experienced counselor will be present. Prayer partners and counselors are a vital component in the Pro-Life movement, as they ensure a constant presence in front of abortion facilities, showing that women and their unborn children in crisis are not abandoned in their time of need. To learn more details, please call Mary Claire Dant at 239-200-8117.

Vote No on 4!  Spread the word.

To learn the facts about Amendment 4 and how it is designed to mislead voters, visit the websites of the Florida Voters Against Extremism,, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops,, and the Diocese of Venice Respect Life Office, To get involved and help defeat this dangerous pro-abortion amendment, contact Jeanne Berdeaux, Diocese of Venice Director of Respect Life,, 941-374-1068.