News Briefs for the week of May 31, 2024

Florida Knights Chaplain of the Year from Diocese of Venice

Father Joseph Gates, Pastor of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in Parrish, was honored with the Florida State Blessed Michael McGivney Award by the Knights of Columbus during the Florida State Convention in Orlando on May 26, 2024. Father Gates was nominated by Grand Knight John Kreger IV, of Council 12155. Noted in the nomination was that Father Gates is a teacher of the faith; apostle of Christian family life; devoted Parish priest; exemplar of charity; builder of Catholic fraternity; and a role model to the faithful of the Parish. “He leads by example and is at the forefront of many Parish activities,” the nomination stated. “Father Joseph is the face of St. Frances Cabrini. From preaching the Gospel from the altar to his many posts on social media, he leads his flock in the goal of spending eternity with God.” The award was presented by Knight Richard P. Hughes, State Deputy and Father Bob Kantor, Florida Knights of Columbus Chaplain and Pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Naples.

Venice Yacht Club supports Catholic Charities

Members of the Venice Yacht Club presented Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., with a check for $5,000, on May 20, 2024. Catholic Charities CEO Christopher Root accepted the check, which was specifically designated for the Housing & Supportive Service Program, formally known as Family Haven. Sylvia Hollister, chair of the Yacht Club Charitable Foundation, said that the Club has donated $40,500 to the program since 2016, and has been generous in supporting other Catholic Charities programs, including Our Mother’s House.

Mooney teacher honored

Clare McVey, a social studies teacher at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota. has been named a 2024 Sarasota County Gator Club Teacher of Distinction. McVey was one of 11 teachers so honored by the Gator Club.

Marian statue installed in Fort Myers Parish rosary garden

In time for the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, on May 20, 2024, a new statue of the Holy Mother has been added to the rosary garden at St. Cecilia Parish in Fort Myers. The rosary garden is located directly across the street from the Parish church.

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 who were an influence on his faith, and priests who also encouraged and guided him. 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.