News Briefs for the week of October 6, 2023

Bishop encourages students to be “Disciples of Christ”

Bishop Frank J. Dewane continued his tour of the Diocese of Venice Catholic schools with his latest Mass on Sept. 29, 2023, at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Port Charlotte. During the Mass, the Bishop encouraged the students to live out their lives as “Disciples of Christ.” This means they need to follow the Lord’s guidance as an example in their words and actions, particularly how they interact with their family, friends and even strangers.

Scout hike at retreat center

The annual Diocese of Venice Scout 10 Commandment Hike returned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice on Sept. 30, 2023. More than 100 Scouts and American Heritage Girls from across the Diocese gathered at the retreat center to learn about the 10 Commandments. The hike included the 10 stations where the different commandments were explained by members of the Knights of Columbus. Also present were Diocesan Scout Chaplain Father Lawton Lang, who is also Administrator of San Antonio Parish in Port Charlotte, as well as Marthamaria Morales, Diocesan Youth and Young Adult Ministry Director. The 2022 hike was cancelled because of Hurricane Ian.

Parish celebrates multicultural Feast Day

The faithful at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula took part in a special Feast Day Mass and celebration on Sept. 30, 2023. The celebration took place one day after the official Feast of the Archangels of Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Sept. 29), and included a procession with prayers and music as a large statue of St. Michael the Archangel was pulled along on a trailer. This led directly to a trilingual Mass (English, Spanish and Creole), which represented the multicultural aspect of the Hardee County community. Following the Mass was a festival of food and music.

CCW hosts Comedy Night

The Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women hosted a night of fun, wine, cheese, and comedy on Sept. 29, 2023, at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice. More than 200 attended the event. Entertainment for the evening included comedian Juanita Lolita who is an actress, writer and nationally touring stand-up comedian. The half Puerto Rican and half West Virginian, Juanita Lolita joked about her personal experience and centers her comedy on her Christian faith, and she had the crowd laughing out loud from start to finish.

Students show off talents during STREAM night

The annual St. Andrew Catholic School STREAM Night was a huge success. Taking place on Sept. 28, 2023, the evening is a showcase of the student’s science and technology skills at different stations throughout the Cape Coral school. All 15 Diocese of Venice Catholic schools offer a comprehensive STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, art and math) learning model which is combined with the Diocesan curriculum called, “The Gifts of Christ: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Affability, Fortitude, Humility, and Prudence,” creating students equipped to succeed in the world of today. The evening at St. Andrew allowed parents to see what their children are doing on a daily basis. Classrooms were set up to allow visitors (student or parent) to work on different science experiments or work with assorted technology to accomplish different tasks. In many cases it was difficult to discern if the students or the parents were having the most fun!

Vocations Weekend

If you are a young man (high school age or above) and sense that the Lord is calling you to the priesthood, St. John Vianney College Seminary is hosting a free Vocations Weekend. The event begins with pizza and night prayer on Friday evening, Oct. 27, 2023, and ends with Holy Mass and brunch on Sunday, Oct. 29. Join with other discerners from around the state of Florida to experience a glimpse of seminary life, meet the young men who are already studying for the priesthood as seminarians, and join with them in prayer and fraternity during this awesome weekend retreat. (The typical schedule for the weekend includes adoration, spiritual talks, daily Mass, personal testimonies from seminarians, meet and greet with the professors, a campus tour, games and sports.) For more information and to RSVP, please visit or email Father Shawn Roser, the Director of Vocations at the Diocese of Venice at or call 941-486-4720.

Traveling Rosary Congress

In celebration of the Blessed Virgin, 31 Parishes in the Diocese of Venice will be participating in a Traveling Rosary Congress from Oct. 6 – Oct. 14, 2023. During the Rosary Congress, the host Parishes will provide the hourly praying of the Holy Rosary as well as Eucharistic Adoration. Many of the Parishes taking part will also have the celebration of the Mass at the opening and closing of a 24-hour period of Adoration, while others will have at least a large period of time dedicated to praying the rosary and adoration. In addition, several Parishes will make the Sacrament of Reconciliation available during specific times. For a complete Diocesan schedule, please visit or contact Jim Gontis at 941-484-9543 or

40 Days for Life continues

The 40 Days for Life fall campaign is ongoing and runs through Nov. 5, 2023, seeking a peaceful end to abortion in the U.S. and around the world through the power of prayer. It is the presence of more than one million prayer warriors in 681 cities worldwide – including Fort Myers, Naples, and Sarasota within the Diocese of Venice – that will make a difference in this important battle to save the unborn. The prayer vigil in Fort Myers is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Mon. – Sat.), at 6418 Commerce Park Drive. In Sarasota, the vigil is daily, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (7 days a week), at 736 Central Ave. The Naples prayer vigil is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Mon. – Sat.), at 1425 Creech Road. For more information, please visit, or contact Diocesan Respect Life Director Jeanne Berdeaux at or 941-374-1068.