News briefs from around the Diocese the week of April 20

Diocese to continue distance learning through end of academic year

The Diocese of Venice will continue virtual instruction for PreK-12 schools through the end of the current school year. Ben Hopper, Diocese Interim Superintendent of Catholic Education, sent a letter to Diocesan Catholic school families on April 20, 2020, announcing the extension of distance learning, which began March 30 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “We are so pleased with the efforts and achievement of our students and teachers during this time of e-learning,” Hopper wrote. “WE are also grateful for the ongoing support of our pastors, administrators and parents. There have been some challenges along the way, but our teachers and schools remain committed to working with you and your students to overcome these issues.” Additional details regarding graduations and other events at schools are being evaluated at each school and will be announced in the coming week.

Neumann juniors help at risk students

When the pandemic closed everything, St. John Neumann Catholic High School Juniors Tyler Stamerro and Hector Fernandez sat down to discuss the future of the Fernandez Stamerro Foundation for At Risk Students, which they had formed themselves last year. Through their foundation, they have accomplished over 50 hours of tutoring and assistance to students. They realized that with the closure of schools, many of the students in they help in Naples who rely on the public-school lunch program wouldn’t have access to their meals. Tyler and Hector then reached out to a local restaurant, Sophia’s Ristorante Italiano, to help them make a difference! With the generous help of owner Jay Cherr, they were able to donate 200 meals to the Boys and Girls Club of Collier County! Way to go, Celtics!

Bradenton Food Pantry

The St. Joseph Parish Food Pantry, 2704 33rd Ave. W., Bradenton, is open and distributing food 9:00 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesdays, following all social distancing protocols. Cars will be directed through the parking lot and trunks will be loaded by volunteers in protective gloves and masks. Call if you have any questions 941-756-3732. You do not need to be a regular client to receive food. To make a donation of money or food, please visit

Naples school virtual retreat yields letters

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Y.A.C.H.T. Club (Youth and Christ Helping Together) students hosted a virtual retreat for their peers Holy Thursday and Good Friday. This retreat, which included prayer and adoration, was opened to non-students as well. The virtual retreat students wrote more than 20 letters to send to hospitals thanking local medical personnel for their service during this time! The mission of the YACHT Club is to invite all students to the fullness of Christ’s love through service to others.

Making an appeal for others

St. Columbkille Parish in Fort Myers is collecting canned goods, which will be donated to local food pantries, from parishioners who have extra so as to help others less fortunate. With grocery stores restocking and some realizing they may have bought too much, the appeal comes at a time when thousands were unexpectedly thrown out of work and the demand for food is high. To learn more about the need, please visit