Lent & Easter, 2024

An Easter Message from Bishop Frank J. Dewane

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Easter is the “feast of feasts,” the “solemnity of solemnities.” It is the Most Holy Day of the Liturgical Year! Today, the Greatest of All Sundays, we proclaim, “Christ the Lord is risen, Alleluia! Alleluia!”

The Paschal Mystery is the very essence of our Catholic Faith. Through Christ’s Suffering Death and Resurrection, He paved the way for our Salvation.

This Easter, as we find ourselves in the midst of a National Eucharistic Revival, let us more fully recognize and embrace Christ’s precious gift of Himself, present in the Holy Eucharist, in our lives.

Take comfort knowing that this gift is available to us not only today, but every day, at each and every Mass, through Christ’s great love for us.

I wish you, and your family, a very Blessed and Joyous Easter Sunday.

Happy Easter! Let us rejoice and be glad!

+ Frank J. Dewane
Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida


May the light of the Resurrection illuminate our minds and convert our hearts and make us aware of the value of every human life, which must be welcomed, protected, and loved. A happy Easter to all!

~ Pope Francis

Click here for the full text of Pope Francis’ “urbi et orbi” blessing for Easter 2024.


The Easter Season Continues!

April 7 – Divine Mercy Sunday

Jesus revealed to St. Faustina: “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.” — St. Faustina’s Diary 699  

For more about Divine Mercy Sunday, visit the USCCB website.

April 8 – Annunciation of the Lord (transferred this year from March 25 because of Holy Week)

“And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!’…And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus…The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God…And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.’” Luke 1: 28, 30, 35, 38)

April 11 – St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr – Obligatory Memorial

St. Stanislaus is the Patron Saint of Poland. He was Bishop of Krakow and martyred in the year 1079. Fearlessly outspoken against the evils of the day, and especially calling out and even excommunicating King Boleslaus II, he was ordered to be killed. But since the king’s orders were refused, King Boleslaus himself killed Stanislaus.  St. Stanislaus, pray for us!

April 14 – 3rd Sunday of Easter

The Gospel: “While they were still speaking…he stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, ‘Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see, I have.’” Luke: 24:36-37

April 21 – 4th Sunday of Easter

The Gospel: “Jesus said, ‘I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.’” John 10: 11, 14-15.

The Good Shepherd has risen, who laid down his life for his sheep and willingly died for his flock, alleluia.

April 25 – Solemnity of St. Mark, Evangelist & Co-Patron of the Diocese of Venice in Florida

St. Mark was the author of the Gospel of Mark. Although he was not one of the 12 Apostles, he was certainly a disciple of Jesus and a companion of Ss. Peter, Paul, and a cousin of St. Barnabas. He was the first bishop of Alexandria, Egypt. Martyred by pagans, St. Mark was tied to a horse and dragged through the streets until his body was so torn up that he died. He is the patron Saint of Egypt and the Co-Patron of the Diocese of Venice in Florida. He is often depicted symbolically as a lion which has been traced to various Scriptural passages including Rev. 4:7, in which the beasts: the lion, ox, eagle and the human/angel are traditionally connected with the 4 evangelists. St. Mark, Bishop and Martyr, pray for us and pray for Bishop Dewane and the priests and people of the Diocese of Venice in Florida!

April 28 – 5th Sunday of Easter

The Gospel: “Jesus said to his disciples…I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.’” John 15:5

April 29 – St. Catherine of Siena – Memorial

St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) was a mystic and a Doctor of the Church. She was one of 25 siblings, half of whom did not make it past infancy, including her twin. St. Catherine was not a nun but a Third Order Dominican, connected to the Dominican Order, but free to remain at home and serve her family, the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned. She was instrumental in convincing Pope Gregory XI to return from France back to his rightful residence in Rome, Italy, after 67 years of popes residing in Avignon, France. She had a mystical experience of marriage with Christ, and though invisible, received the stigmata as a gift for her devotion to the Passion and suffering of Jesus. She died at the age of 33.

St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us!   

May 1 – St. Joseph the Worker

The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker is celebrated on this day, May 1. Pope Pius XII established this feast in 1955 in stark contrast to the “celebration” of labor by communist governments on the same day. Pope Pius XII pointed out the dignity and holiness of the human person and the work that is done which serves not only to sanctify the laborer but shows the holiness of the work itself. That the human person, is not just a tool or a cog in the wheel of machinery but created by God to participate in the cultivation, protection, and sanctification of the earth (Gen. 2:15).  St. Joseph, a carpenter, would have served the Holy Family in just such a manner, and would certainly have taught the skill of carpentry to Jesus.

St. Joseph, provider, protector, and laborer for the Holy Family and the Catholic Church, pray for us!

May 2 – St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church – Obligatory Memorial

St. Athanasius was Bishop of Alexandria in the 300’s. He is often called “Athanasius Against the World,” because during his life, he fought a widespread heresy that denied the Divinity of Christ. Arius, a priest, spread this false doctrine so wide in the Catholic Church through song and convincing false teaching, that St. Jerome is quoted as saying, “The whole world groaned and was astonished to find itself Arian.” Due to his resolve, and bearing the cross of exile many times, St. Athanasius fought this heresy until Arius’ death. The Council of Nicaea in 325, from which we get the Nicaean Creed, clearly affirmed the Divinity of Christ. St. Athanasius, pray for us!

May 3 – Feast of Ss. Philip and James, Apostles and Martyrs

“Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

“Jesus found Philip and said to him: Follow me!” John 1:43

May 5 – 6th Sunday of Easter

“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you…this I command you: love one another.” John 15: 12-14, 17

May 12 – 7th Sunday of Easter – Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

“God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord!” Psalm 47:2

May 14- Feast of St. Mathias, Apostle and Martyr

“Then they prayed, ‘You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.’ Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.” Acts 1:24-26

May 19- Pentecost Sunday

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created,
and you shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray.

O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit have instructed the hearts of the faithful,
grant that in the same Spirit we may be truly wise
and ever rejoice in his consolation.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Lent began on Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2024  

Easter is Sunday, March 31, 2024Lent: A time of spiritual renewal

Staff Report, The Florida Catholic, Venice edition (February 9, 2024)

The Lenten Season is an important time to take the opportunity to refocus one’s thinking on how to grow closer to God and farther away from evil.

Lent is one of the most important liturgical seasons of the Church’s calendar and begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. The faithful are prepared this season for Holy Week, those sacred days in the Church calendar when we celebrate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“The faithful are all called to know better their faith, to live it more deeply, and share their love of the Lord with others,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane said. “This ties in directly with our Lenten call to turn our lives over to Christ and to be more the man or woman of God calls us to be.”

Many opportunities are offered by the Lenten Season to take advantage of that concept of knowing, living, and sharing the faith, Bishop Dewane said. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reads, “The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all in several forms; fasting and abstinence, prayer and charity, and almsgiving and self-denial, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others” (CCC 1434).

These three pillars of the Lenten observance, fasting, prayer, almsgiving, express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. The Lord calls each person to total commitment. By practicing these observances together, they become more than the sum of their parts. They become part of a faith that flourishes and a heart that is increasingly dedicated to the Lord.

Fasting and abstinence

Fasting and abstinence is not about food, or lack of it, but instead about sacrifice for the benefit of our spiritual lives. Sacrifice and self-denial should not be viewed as something to lament, but instead should be viewed as an opportunity to remove anything that distracts us from Jesus Christ.

For early Christians, fasting was an important and meaningful Lenten practice in commemoration of Christ’s Passion and Death. The current Lenten discipline, set forth by the Roman Catholic Church, consists of both fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 14) and Good Friday (March 29), as well as abstaining from meat each Friday of Lent. Fasting and abstinence are about spiritual conversion and renewal, not solely about meat and no food.

“I encourage each of you to reexamine fasting and abstinence this Lenten Season and possibly rediscover them as virtues in the living of your life,” Bishop Dewane said. “When fasting, or abstaining from meat, this Lenten Season try not to just ‘follow the motions,’ so to speak, make an extra effort to improve upon the spiritual areas of one’s life.”


The second Lenten pillar is prayer, which the Catechism tells us is coupled with charity. All Catholics are called to a meaningful prayer life. A prayer life includes both personal, which comes from the heart, and traditional prayer, with both dimensions the faithful grow closer to both Christ Himself — as well as to His Church.

“During Lent our prayer life should not only grow, but it should focus upon the areas of life in which we might have fallen short of God’s expectation—in other words, where we have sinned,” Bishop Dewane said.

Prayer is an indispensable component of the Catholic Faith. By growing and maturing in faith, prayer becomes an act of worship. As life progresses and one receives more of the Sacraments, and more often, prayer is recognized as a critical act of public worship in the Church, especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Vatican II called the Mass “The Source and the Summit.”

The five basic forms of prayer are blessing, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise. When someone prays in any one of these forms, they are expressing a different emotion, need, concern or appreciation. No two prayers from the heart are the same, just as no two conversations are the same.

“In prayer, we grow in the love of God and greater appreciation of who God is and what God does,” Bishop Dewane said. “In a world so full of uncertainty and loneliness, great comfort should be taken in knowing that by praying, God will offer His blessings and grace. By praying, the blessing upon us is returned. This is the beautiful exchange that needs to be part of one’s daily life.”


The third pillar of Lent is almsgiving is coupled in the Catechism with self-denial. While often mentioned as the last of the three traditional pillars of the Lenten observance, is certainly not the least of the three and is often completely misunderstood. The Church’s expression of almsgiving is an act of self-denial, or an expression of charity and assistance extended to the needy.

By almsgiving during Lent, one not only expresses care for those in need, but also expresses a sign of gratitude for all God has provided in one’s own life. These acts of charity are connected to the responsibilities of living the faith that begins with baptism and is reignited in the Sacrament of Confirmation.

“All bear responsibility in helping our brothers and sisters in Christ, but it takes prayer and reflection to understand how God is calling each of us to give of oneself,” Bishop Dewane said. The Catechism states, “almsgiving, together with prayer and fasting, are traditionally recommended to foster the state of interior penance.”

“In a sense, almsgiving is a type of prayer,” Bishop Dewane said. “Because almsgiving requires sacrifice. It is also a sort of fasting from the material world, in that what could have been purchased.”

In addition, Bishop Dewane said the precept of confessing grave sins and receiving Holy Communion at least once during the Lenten Season merits a reminder.

To facilitate this requirement, every Parish in the Diocese of Venice will be open with a confessor present 4 to 8 p.m., Friday, March 22, and 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 23. Check with your local Parish for additional confession times or the availability of a Penance Service. These opportunities are made available so that the faithful may find ample opportunity to receive God’s Mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Click on the links below for resources for a fruitful Lenten and Easter season. Resources are from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Diocese of Venice Office of Evangelization.

What is Lent?

Lenten Calendar (English)

Lenten Calendar (Espanol)

The Three Pillars of Lent: 




Sacrament of Reconciliation and Examination of Conscience

The precept of confessing grave sins and receiving Holy Communion at least once during the Lenten Season merits a reminder.

To facilitate this requirement, every Parish in the Diocese of Venice will be open with a confessor present 4 to 8 p.m., Friday, March 22, and 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 23.

Check with your local Parish for additional confession times or the availability of a Penance Service. These opportunities are made available so that the faithful may find ample opportunity to receive God’s Mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Stations of the Cross

                                                                                                                                                                                                    St. Williams Parish, Naples, 2016

Ash Wednesday, February 14: A call to conversion, repentance, and reconciliation.

We begin our 40 Days of Lent by entering into the desert with Jesus. The ashes remind us of our mortality and our need for conversion. The discipline of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving is the remedy that the Church gives us during this penitential time of repentance, conversion, and reconciliation.

Why ashes?


February 18 – First Sunday of Lent

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. After John had been arrested. Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: ‘This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.’” Mk 1:12-15



February 22 – The Feast of The Chair of St. Peter the Apostle

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Mt 16: 18-19.    


February 25 – Second Sunday of Lent

“Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white…Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus…Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came the voice, ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.’” Mk 9:2-4, 7.



March 3 – Third Sunday of Lent

“O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness, who in fasting, prayer, and almsgiving have shown us a remedy for sin, look graciously on this confession of our lowliness, that we, who are bowed down by our conscience, may always be lifted up by your mercy.” From the Collect for the 3rd Sunday of Lent.


March 4 – Memorial of St. Casimir  

Today we celebrate the Memorial of St. Casimir, the Patron Saint of Poland and Lithuania. St. Casimir, born in 1458 and only 23 when he died, was a prince and son of King Casimir VI who was the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. He fought the temptations of riches and materialism growing up in a royal household and was known for his holiness, humility, service to the poor, and his desire above all else to serve Christ the King by building up God’s Kingdom.  




 March 10 – Laetare Sunday

Laetare means “rejoice” in Latin, and the rose color is one that symbolizes joy. Priests may where rose-colored vestments and the altar may have some flowers adorning it today. During Lent, as in Advent (Gaudete Sunday), the Church allows a little pause in our penitential practices, to experience the hope and joy of the coming of the Easter Solemnity, and to 

gather our strength, to be refreshed in body and soul, and to be encouraged as we enter into the final portion of Lent when we enter into the holiest of days, the Triduum.


March 17 – Fifth Sunday of Lent: The Raising of Lazarus

“I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” John 11:25-27 (From today’s Gospel)


March 19: Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“Inspired by the Gospel, the Fathers of the Church from the earliest centuries stressed that just as St. Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, that is, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model.” — St. John Paul II

Litany of St. Joseph

Holy Week



On Palm Sunday, March 24, and Easter Sunday, March 31, the Diocese’s televised Sunday Mass for the homebound will air for a full hour, with an Easter Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. The hour-long Palm Sunday and Easter Masses will air at 12:00 p.m. on the CW Network in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee, Desoto, and Highland counties, and at 10:30 a.m. on WFTX-TV Fox 4 in Collier, Lee, Hendry, Charlotte, Glades, and Desoto counties.
If you are homebound, please join us on Palm Sunday, and Easter Sunday, via the televised Mass and know that you are loved by your brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the Diocese of Venice, and you remain a vibrant part of our faith community.
The Sunday Mass is offered on television for the homebound every Sunday and is also always available on our website, here.

March 24 – Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week, with Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

“…they brought the colt to Jesus and put their cloaks over it. And he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!” Mark 11:7-10

March 26- Diocese of Venice Holy Chrism Mass, Epiphany Cathedral, Venice, 10:30 a.m.

Read more about the annual Blessing of the Oils and the Consecration of the Chrism from the USCCB here. Watch as Bishop Frank J. Dewane blesses and consecrates the Chrism Oil at last year’s Holy Chrism Mass, here.


The Sacred Triduum:

Entering the Paschal Mystery

The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday.

General Information from the USCCB, click here.

Questions and answers, click here.


March 28 – Holy Thursday (Last Supper)Today is Holy Thursday, the first day of the Sacred Triduum. We commemorate the institution of the Holy Eucharist, the institution of the Sacred Priesthood, and Jesus washing the feet of the apostles, establishing the mission of charity of all Christians to serve one another.

March 29 – Good Friday

Today is Friday of the Passion of the Lord “Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, while we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins; upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.” Isaiah 53: 4-5

March 30 – Holy Saturday

Today is Holy Saturday, a day of profound mystery: Christ is dead and yet he remains busy at work, descending to the underworld to free the righteous held captive in the chains of death. The mournful suspense of Holy Saturday is thus imbued with the certainty of the Resurrection. Though our earthly sojourn be continually tinged by death, we know that our longing to exult in the fullness of redemption is not in vain. The Son of God himself has passed through death to rob it of its apparent finality. In Jesus, life wins.” From the Magnificat, comment on Holy Saturday.

The Lord’s Descent into Hell– Excerpt from an Ancient Homily for Holy Saturday on Christ’s Descent into Hell:

“‘I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.”

March 31 – Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

“The Lord is truly risen, alleluia!  To him be glory and power for all the ages of eternity, alleluia, alleluia!” Lk 24:34