Eucharistic Devotional Project begins in schools

Each year, one of the annual initiatives of the Diocese of Venice Department of Education is the development of the devotional lives of our students through a Diocesan-wide devotional project.

The 2022-2023 devotional project is “The Most Holy Eucharist: The Riches of His Glorious Inheritance.” Father John Belmonte, SJ, Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Education, said the theme was approved and encouraged by Bishop Frank J. Dewane as it supports the ongoing National Eucharistic Revival, led by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress and Youth Rally on March 24-25, 2023. The devotional project during the 2021-2022 academic year was the Saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Saints, and during the 2020-2021 academic year it was St. Joseph.

To get the devotional project off the ground, a training session took place Nov. 4, 2022, at St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota. The training included two eighth graders (a boy and girl) from each school who will act as Junior Catechists for this project. Just as they did in previous years, these student leaders will catechize their classmates with a classroom lesson and go classroom to classroom, teaching about our Catholic devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist.

“At our training day, we highlighted the importance of leadership in the faith, evangelization and discipleship,” Father Belmonte said. “We met for Benediction and Adoration, a training session with the students led by our Diocesan Curriculum Director, Jennifer Falestiny. I led the parents who brought their children to the meeting in a presentation on devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist.”

Father Belmonte started the training session for the Junior Catechists with the words of St. John Vianney, “There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, He would have given it to us.”

“The 15-week project is intended to bring to our students a deeper awareness and more ardent love of our Lord’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist,” Father Belmonte said.

The junior catechists were trained and received a Catholic Altar kit complete with miniature chalice, paten, cruets, ciborium, as well as all the elements for learning about the Mass. These eighth-grade leaders will visit classrooms at their schools to teach their classmates about the Most Holy Eucharist. They will teach on how to visit the Blessed Sacrament, encourage their classmates to learn about Eucharistic miracles and track their visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

High school students will be learning about the 15 Eucharistic miracles during their theology classes.

As part of the devotional project, Bishop Dewane gave each school a Lego Mass set, pocket prayer cards and informational cards relating to visiting the Blessed Sacrament.

“Our efforts are part of the National Eucharistic Revival initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to rejuvenate belief in the Real Presence among U.S. Catholics,” Bishop Dewane said.

The Catechism teaches us that the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). It is the sanctifying grace which is the point of everything in our Catholic religion. “By learning about the Most Holy Eucharist and teaching how to visit our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, our junior Catechists will help their classmates to participate in the very life of God. St. John Vianney would be very pleased indeed,” Father Belmonte said.

In addition to the student-led classroom lessons, there will be weekly teacher-led classroom activities.

Outside of Mass times, students are encouraged to visit Our Lord in the Tabernacle. With each visit during the 15 weeks, students are asked to say the Devotional Prayer to the Most Holy Eucharist which was provided in a pocket-sized card.

In addition to the classroom aspects, this devotional project has several other components.

There is also a Digital Blessed Sacrament Visit Tracker, a website where teachers can help students keep count of each visit to Our Lord (at Mass, during Adoration, in the school or Parish Chapel) from Nov. 15, 2022, to April 10, 2023. The school with the most visits will be recognized at the end of the devotional project.

Each school also received a Catholic Altar Learning Set for a differentiated STREAM project. In December, the schools will learn about CAD/CAM 3D modeling challenge for students.

Finally, there is an art competition. As in previous years, students will be encouraged to produce art work based on our Catholic artistic tradition around the Most Holy Eucharist.

“With Bishop Dewane, it is my hope that our emphasis on devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist and the study of these various Eucharistic miracles will bring us closer to Our Lord as we visit Him truly present in the Blessed Sacrament,” Father Belmonte said. “May He inspire all of us to emulate the love He has for us to others in our schools and in the world.”

For more information about this Diocesan devotional project, please visit www.dovblessedsacrament.com.

Diocesan Rosary Congress Oct. 1 to 7

20 Parishes hosting opportunity to pray as a community

The month of October each year is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary. On Oct. 7 each year we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in honor of the Blessed Mother. October was also the month in which Mary appeared for the last time to shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, urging them to “say the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.”

In celebration of the month, 19 Parishes in the Diocese of Venice will be participating in a Rosary Congress from Oct. 1, to Oct. 8, 2022. During the Rosary Congress, the host Parishes (at least two in each Deanery) 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. Several Parishes will make the Sacrament of Reconciliation available during specific times of the Rosary Congress.

Initiated in 2021, the Rosary Congress is encouraged by the Diocesan Office of Evangelization as a way to present a unique opportunity to place all prayer intentions and the needs of all the faithful into the loving arms of the Mother of God.

“The Rosary Congress offers a great means of grace, combining many aspects of our Faith,” explained Jim Gontis, Diocesan Director of Evangelization. “Each Parish session will include Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the hourly praying the Our Lady’s Rosary, and most importantly, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is an opportunity to experience a river of grace coming from the infinite ocean of God’s Mercy.”

Each hour the Rosary will be said for intentions such as the Church, the Faithful of the Diocese of Venice, our country, and difficulties for all throughout the world. The faithful are encouraged to renew themselves to the Blessed Mother and for a renewed love for Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.

This is of particular relevance as there is an ongoing National Eucharistic Revival which continues through to 2024. The Revival is an initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to reaffirm a devotion to, and belief in, the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

“What better way to do this than through praying to Mary, Mother of God, in the way She taught us, through the Holy Rosary,” Gontis said.

The Diocese of Venice has continually fostered its devotion to the Blessed Mother. Our Lady of Mercy is the Patroness of the Diocese. Under this patronage, the Diocese was formally consecrated to Our Lady during Advent of 2017.

Pope Francis frequently describes praying the rosary as armor to be used in the spiritual battle we all face each day.

“The recitation of the rosary is the most beautiful prayer we can offer to the Virgin Mary; it is a contemplation on the stages of the life of Jesus the Savior with his Mother Mary and is a weapon that protects us from evils and temptations,” the Holy Father said in 2021.

Pope Francis said that the Blessed Virgin Mary has urged the recitation of the Holy Rosary in her apparitions, “especially in the face of the threats looming over the world.”

In May 2022 Pope Francis invited all Catholics and led the world in praying the Holy Rosary for peace in Ukraine and around the world from Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary Major.

As part of his prayer, the Holy Father said, “Today we raise our hearts to You, Queen of Peace: intercede for us with Your Son, reconcile hearts filled with violence and vengeance, straighten thoughts blinded by the desire for easy enrichment, on all the earth may Your enduring peace reign.”

Some host Parishes have announced additional aspects of their Rosary Congress. For example: St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral (Oct. 1 to 2), will host a Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m. on Oct. 2; Ss. Peter & Paul the Apostles Parish in Bradenton, (Oct. 5 to 6) will host its Congress in the Chapel; Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria (Oct. 6 to 7) will conclude their Congress with a Eucharistic Procession throughout the community following 5 p.m. Mass on Oct. 7; St. Agnes Parish in Naples (Oct. 6 to 7) will be having its Congress in an Adoration Chapel and those wishing to participate in the overnight hours need to contact the Parish for details about accessibility; and finally, Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Fort Myers is hosting an abbreviated Rosary Congress from noon to 7 p.m., on Oct. 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.

More information regarding the Diocesan Rosary Congress may be found at www.dioceseofvenice.org or by contacting Jim Gontis at 941-484-9543 or gontis@dioceseofvenice.org.

Diocese of Venice Rosary Congress

Oct. 1 to 7, 2022

 

Saturday, Oct. 1 to Sunday, Oct. 2

  • 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. – St. Katharine Drexel Parish, 1922 S.W. 20th Ave., Cape Coral, 239-283-9501

Sunday, Oct. 2 to Monday, Oct. 3

  • 10:30 a.m. to noon – Christ the King Parish, 1900 Meadowood St., 1900 Meadowood St., Sarasota, 941-924-2777.

Monday, Oct. 3 to Tuesday, Oct. 4

  • 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. – Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave., Venice, 941-484-3505,
  • 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. – St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, 239-455-6895,
  • 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. – St. Francis Xavier Parish, 2157 Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers, 239-334-2161,
  • 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. – St. Charles Borromeo Parish, 21505 Augusta Ave., Port Charlotte, 941-625-4754.

Tuesday, Oct. 4 to Wednesday, Oct. 5

  • 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. – Our Lady of the Angels Parish, 12905 E. SR 70, Lakewood Ranch, 941-752-6770,
  • 6 p.m. to 6 p.m. – St. Peter the Apostle, 5130 Rattlesnake Hammock Road, Naples, 239-774-3337.

Wednesday, Oct. 5 to Thursday, Oct. 6

  • 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. – St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Ave. N.. Naples, 239-566-8740,
  • 11 a.m. to 8 a.m. – Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish, 2850 75th St. W., Bradenton, 941-795-1228.

Thursday, Oct. 6 to Friday, Oct. 7

  • 5 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Ave Maria Parish, 5068 Annunciation Circle, Ave Maria, 239-261-5555,
  • 11 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Incarnation Parish, 1901 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, 941-921-6631,
  • 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. – Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge St., LaBelle, 863-675-0030,
  • 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. – San Pedro Parish, 14380 Tamiami Trail, North Port, 941-426-2500,
  • 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. – St. Catherine Parish, 882 Bay St., Sebring, 863-385-0049,
  • 10 a.m. to 10 a.m. – St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, 239-592-1949,
  • 2 p.m. to 2 p.m. – St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish, 12001 69th St. E., Parrish, 941-776-9097,
  • 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. – Holy Cross Parish, 505 26th Palmetto, 941-729-3891.

Friday, Oct. 7

  • Noon to 7 p.m., Resurrection of Our Lord Parish, 8121 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers, 239-481-7171 (*Not 24 hours).

Friday, Oct. 7 to Saturday, Oct. 8

  • 8 a.m. to 8 a.m., St. Patrick Parish, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, 941-378-1703.

Adoration: Spending time with the Lord

Pope Francis often encourages the faithful to spend more time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Speaking before the 2021 International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, Hungary, the Holy Father said “Let us allow our encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist to transform us, just as it transformed the great and courageous saints you venerate. Let’s make time for adoration… The Eucharist is here to remind us who God is. It does not do so just in words, but in a concrete way, showing us God as bread broken, as love crucified and bestowed.”

For the faithful who attend the First Friday Eucharistic Adoration Holy Hour at St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, these words are taken to heart in this devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The First Friday Eucharistic Adoration Holy Hour has a dedicated following of people who find beauty and peace during their time in the presence of the Lord.

“It’s absolutely wonderful,” said one devotee. “The power is sometimes overwhelming.”

The monthly Holy Hour includes music, intercessions and a procession, and there are several hundred people who attend with the numbers swelling up to 800 during the winter months.

The importance of a devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is the focus of a three-year National Eucharistic Revival in the United States which began on June 19, 2022, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). The Revival will culminate with a national gathering in Indianapolis in July 2024.

The Diocesan Year of the National Eucharistic Revival is from June 19, 2022, to June 11, 2023. During this year, there will be a series of events and retreats that encourage the renewal of the Church “by rekindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.”

A key part of this effort will be a two-day Diocesan Eucharistic Congress and Youth Rally, March 24-25, 2023, at the Conference Center and Luminary Hotel on the riverfront of downtown Fort Myers. The Youth Rally will take place on March 24 and the Eucharistic Congress on March 25. Details of the Eucharistic Congress and other events planned for this Diocesan Year can be found on the Diocese website www.dioceseofvenice.org. To learn more about the larger National Eucharistic Revival, please visit https://eucharisticrevival.org.

On Sept. 2, 2022, the Holy Hour at St. Peter the Apostle began as people gathered in silent prayer. Several dozen red votive candles were placed on stands on either side of the altar, while many candles were placed on the altar for those who had special prayer intentions for the Holy Hour. These candles sat as silent witness, adding a peaceful serenity to the occasion.

Father Wilian Montalvo Tello, IVE, Parochial Vicar at St. Peter the Apostle, lead the Holy Hour service, which included music and prayers in Spanish, Creole and English to accommodate the multicultural nature of the Parish community.

During the Holy Hour, several hymns were sung, and excerpts from Holy Scriptures were read in the three languages.

Then silence.

After the period of silence there were intercessions, which were prepared in advance and the congregation was encouraged to add to them by calling out.

This was followed by a Eucharistic Procession when Father Montalvo carried the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament among the people, as incense rose from the censer. The procession slowly wound its way down each aisle to allow everyone present to be closer to the Lord. As this took place, the Litany of Saints was sung.

The Benediction was given as the Blessed Sacrament was raised. This was followed by the prayer called the Divine Praises. Then everyone was asked to say in unison: “May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with most grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen”

At the conclusion of the Holy Hour, Father Montalvo placed the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle and then the closing hymn of “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name” was sung and the service was concluded.

While not every Parish in the Diocese has a First Friday Holy Hour complete with music, adoration at Parishes is typically available on the First Friday or on another designated day each month. Meanwhile, many Parishes, such as Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, St. Raphael in Lehigh Acres, St. John the Evangelist in Naples, St. Charles Borromeo in Port Charlotte, St. Michael in Wauchula, and others, have Adoration Chapels where extended adoration is available. Check with your Parish, or nearby Parishes, for adoration hours. For Parish contact information please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org and click the “Find a Parish” link.

Celebrating the Real Presence – Corpus Christi marked with processions

Mary Dwyer quietly wept as she took part in a Corpus Christi procession at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota on June 19, 2022, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

“The power of Our Lord, and His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, brings me great comfort,” Dwyer said. “I feel so happy to be able to honor Jesus in this special way.”

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) is a celebration of the Eucharist and the Real Presence of Our Lord which is a tradition that dates back centuries and is often marked by a Eucharistic Procession. This year’s celebration fell on Father’s Day.

At Incarnation, the procession began with a flower girl, sprinkling rose petals onto the ground, then the cross bearer, altar servers and a Knights of Columbus Honor Guard ahead of Father Eric Scanlan, Pastor of Incarnation, carrying the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament while it was under a canopy, as the Parish Choir led everyone in song.

The procession made its way from the main church into the Parish courtyard and then into the parking lot, stopping at four temporary altars where Father Scanlan led everyone in prayer and readings from the Gospel. The procession concluded in the Parish Chapel where Father led the Benediction.

Participating in a procession is viewed as an opportunity to reflect on this gift of the Holy Eucharist as the faithful pause at four “stations” for a reading and prayer and then conclude with Benediction. It is an opportunity to remind ourselves how special we are that God should want to nourish us with the body and blood of His Son, and it is an opportunity to thank God for these wonderful gifts.

During the Mass, Father Scanlan reflected on the importance of approaching one’s faith by focusing on the Real Presence – the true body and blood of Christ – that is found in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

“Brothers and sisters, Our God dwells among us,” Father said during the Mass. “He comes to honor us. To strengthen and heal us… But, the Lord can only do so much, unless we open our hearts to Him. We can say Lord, help me to believe; help me to receive You with love and affection; help me to allow you to heal me and to transform me, this heart and soul of mine. He wants so much for us to encounter Him, here today, each one of us. Brothers and sisters, this Great Feast offers us the opportunity to rekindle our love and our wonder and our gratitude of the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. He is here. He is here.”

The Corpus Christi celebration, and its associated Eucharistic Processions, which took place at Parishes within the Diocese, also marked the opening of the National Eucharistic Revival. This Eucharistic Revival is an effort by the U.S. Bishops to answer the call of Jesus Christ to return to the source and summit of Our Faith – the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.

The Diocesan Year of the National Eucharistic Revival is from June 19, 2022, to June 11, 2023. During the Diocesan Year there will be a series of events and retreats that encourage the renewal of the Church “by rekindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.” Please check the Diocese website regularly for the plans for implementing this Revival in the Diocese at  https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/eucharistic-congress-2023/.

Instituted in 1264 by Pope Urban IV, Corpus Christi is also known as the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

The Feast Day is an important affirmation of our belief that Our Lord is really and truly sacramentally present in the form of bread and wine. When Our Lord instituted the Eucharist, He said this IS My Body and this IS My Blood; not this represents or is symbolic of my body and blood. The Sacrament was defined as “an outward sign” of inward grace given to us by Jesus Christ for our sanctification and salvation.

The Feast of Corpus Christi is observed two weeks after Pentecost. The Feast of Pentecost, which was on June 5 this year, is celebrated 50 days after Easter Sunday, and commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem, as described in the Acts of the Apostles.

National Eucharistic Revival to begin June 19

“The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.’” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324

The Bishops of the United States are calling for a three-year grassroots revival of devotion and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The U.S Bishops believe that God wants to see a movement of Catholics across the United States, healed, converted, formed, and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist—and sent out in mission “for the life of the world.”

The National Eucharistic Revival will culminate in the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States in almost 50 years. More than 100,000 Catholics are expected to join together in Indianapolis for a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage toward the “source and summit” of our Catholic Faith.

This three-year plan to revive the place of the Eucharist in the minds, hearts and lives of Catholics in the United States has its official start with the 2022 Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) on June 19. Parishes across the Diocese of Venice are planning Corpus Christi processions for June 19, in conjunction with similar celebrations around the country.

The Diocesan Year of the National Eucharistic Revival is from June 19, 2022, to June 11, 2023. During the Diocesan Year there will be a series of events and retreats that encourage the renewal of the Church “by rekindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.” During the Diocesan Year, Eucharistic Missionaries will be trained. These Missionaries are Catholics who through a deep encounter and experience with the Blessed Sacrament, become equipped to share the love and the truth of the Real Presence – Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The Diocesan Year will culminate with a Eucharistic Congress held in the Spring of 2023.

The Parish Year will be from June 11, 2023, to July 17, 2024. During the Parish Year, Eucharistic Missionaries will encourage increased Eucharistic Adoration in their Parishes, family prayer, and small group prayer. Free resources will be made available to facilitate and encourage an increased devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in families and Parishes.

The U.S. Catholic Church’s three-year eucharistic revival “is not a program but a movement” that is an invitation to the faithful from God to go on mission and be compelling witnesses of our faith, said Carrie Harkey, Director of the Diocesan Family Life Office and Interim Director of Evangelization.

“The National Eucharistic Revival is part of an exciting journey as the Eucharist stands at the center of our Faith,” Harkey said. “The timing of this is crucial in reminding the faithful about what the Second Vatican Council taught, that the Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life’ and is an opportunity to have an intimate encounter with Christ.”

Taking its title from the Bread of Life discourse in John’s Gospel, “My flesh for the life of the world/Mi carne para la vida del mundo,” the Eucharistic Revival is not a step-by-step plan or a series of meetings; it is a grassroots call and a challenge for every Catholic across the United States to rekindle the fire of love and devotion for the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. Over three years, every Catholic Diocese, Parish, school, apostolate, and family is invited to be a part of renewing the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The U.S. Bishops approved plans for the Revival and the Congress in November 2021 during their fall general assembly in Baltimore.

Stay tuned for more information about what is planned on the Diocesan level at www.dioceseofvenice.org. To learn more about the National Eucharistic Revival, please visit https://eucharisticrevival.org. There you will find a free online course from Bishop Andrew Cozzens, of the Diocese of Crookston and head of the Committee for Evangelization and Catechesis at the USCCB, “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” which can be utilized in parishes, small groups, or for individual study.

Prayer for the Revival

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You!

I beg pardon for those who do not believe, nor

adore, nor hope, nor love You. (Three times)

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I

adore You profoundly. I offer You the most

precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus

Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world

in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and

indifference by which He is offended. And,

through the infinite merits of the Sacred

Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

I beg of You the conversion of sinners.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Oración para el avivamiento

¡Dios mío, yo creo, adoro, espero y te amo!

¡Te pido perdón por los que no creen, no

adoran, no esperan, no te aman! (Tres veces)

Santísima Trinidad, Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo, yo

te adoro profundamente y te ofrezco el

Preciosísimo Cuerpo, Sangre, Alma y Divinidad de

nuestro Señor Jesucristo, presente en todos los

Sagrarios del mundo, en reparación de los ultrajes

con los que Él es ofendido. Por los méritos infinitos

del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús y del Inmaculado

Corazón de María, te pido la conversión de los

pecadores.

Nuestra Señora de Fátima,

ruega por nosotros.

News Briefs for the week of April 8, 2022

Parish hosts 40-hour Devotion

St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral hosted a 40-hour Devotion April 2, to April 4, 2022. This devotion included Adoration, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, praying the Holy Hour and concluded with a Mass. Father Ricky Varner, Pastor at St. Katharine Drexel, stressed the importance of focusing on the Lord through Eucharistic Adoration. The 40-hour Devotion was spilt into blocks of time throughout the three days to allow for more people to participate and benefit from spending prayerful time in the presence of the Lord.

 Candlelight Vigil to close 40 Days for Life in Sarasota

Everyone is invited to participate in the closing Candlelight Vigil of the 40 Days for Life spring campaign in Sarasota on Saturday, April 9, 2022. The Vigil will begin at 7:45 p.m. in front of the regional Planned Parenthood abortion facility at 736 Central Ave. in Sarasota. The 40 Days for Life spring campaign began on Ash Wednesday in thousands of communities, including Sarasota and Fort Myers. During 40 Days, at all of these sites, the faithful stood as peaceful witnesses for life. While the 40 Days for Life campaign is concluding, there are year-round opportunities to pray at abortion facilities in the Diocese. For more information, please contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-484-9543 or Berdeaux#dioceseofvenice.org.

 Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Televised Mass

The Diocese of Venice in Florida will air the televised Palm Sunday (April 10) and Easter Sunday (April 17) Masses, each for a full hour. The Masses can be viewed at 9 a.m. on the CW Network in Sarasota, Manatee, Desoto, Charlotte, Hardee and Highland counties, and at 10:30 a.m. on FOX-4 in Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Hendry, Glades and Desoto counties. The Mass is also available on the Diocese of Venice website at www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass.

Chrism Mass April 12

The Diocese of Venice Chrism Mass, which takes place during Holy Week every year, will be held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 12 at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., in Venice. During this Mass, the faithful of the Diocese join the Priests, Deacons and Bishop Frank J. Dewane for the blessing of the Holy Oils which are used in the administration of the Sacraments at each parish throughout the year. Priests and Deacons celebrating 25 and 50 years of Ordination are recognized at this Mass. All are encouraged to attend in support of our clergy and to participate in this important Holy Week celebration.

The 2022 Priest and Deacon Jubilarians are:

  • 50 years – Msgr. Joseph Stearns, Father Adrian Wilde, O. Carm., Father David Foley, and Deacon Ray Barrett.
  • 25 years – Father Hugh McGuigan, OSFS, Father Patrick O’Connor, OSFS, Father Leszek Sikorski, Deacon Henry de Mena, and Deacon Mark Miravalle.

Holy Week Mass times online

To learn about the times for the Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Mass and service times at Parishes and Missions throughout the Diocese of Venice, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/diocese-of-venice-2022-holy-week-mass-times/.

Students visit biomed business

Bishop Verot Catholic High School students in “Medical Interventions,” a third-year course in the Biomedical Sciences program in Fort Myers, visited Neogenomics on April 1, 2022, to better understand the application of the research they are doing in class and learn about potential career paths.

Young students study DNA

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Venice pride themselves on offering programs in all areas of study including science. Seventh graders at St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring were studying DNA and genetics on March 30, 2022. As part of the lesson, they extracted their own DNA, using dried skin, and observed it in the school’s STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) lab. Classes like this enable students to learn more about not only the world around them, but also about themselves: students identify themselves as unique through their DNA and, in particular, as children of God.

Field trip teaches about Florida wildlife

A March 31, 2022, field trip to Florida Gulf Coast University in Estero by fifth graders from St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers helped the young students learn about wildlife that is native to Florida. The program, called the “Panther Posse,” brings in wildlife experts to share images and research that is ongoing about the Florida panther as well as other wildlife, including black bears. The presentation is a mix of fun and hands-on science. Students learned to identify trail markings of different wildlife as well as what dangers the wildlife face from pollution and interaction with people. The students left the program as newly launched naturalists and scientists.

Cyber safety education

Students at the different schools in Lee County heard from a specialist the week of March 29, 2022, about how to navigate technology and social media in today’s world. Robert Hackenson Jr. of Dynamic Influence spoke with students at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral, St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers as well as at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers. These lessons provided basic tips on the pitfalls of providing too much information about yourself online. The safety aspects could not be overstated as online predators try to manipulate people of all ages to endanger the users in different ways. Hackenson used age-appropriate examples to ensure the students understood these dangers. One of the focuses was on Social Media Land Mines, which included never revealing your location, details about your home or private life and much more.

Sneak preview wows young students

Student groups from St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral and St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers were given a sneak peek of the musical “Cinderella” at Bishop Verot Catholic High School on April 1, 2022. Two special previews were offered for the younger students who saw the elaborate production by the Verot Theater Department. Afterwards, the students were able to meet some of the cast and people who worked behind-the-scenes to make the show happen. Full performances were offered throughout the subsequent weekend.

Ave Youth Conference a success

The weekend of July 9-11, 2021 was a life changing event for the nearly 400 high school age youth who attended the Ave Maria University FEARLESS Youth Conference.

Traveling from all over the state of Florida, and several representing the state of Texas, the youth were led by EPIC Music Ministry who attended the Conference with their own youth group 11 years ago but have now gone on to minister to youth in the thousands both nationally and internationally.

The Conference included daily Mass, group Eucharistic Adoration, music, presentations, talks, fun and fellowship. There was also the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Conference speakers included Father Rick Martignetti, Ave Maria University Director of Campus Ministry, Father Rich Pagano, Pastor of St.  John Paul II Parish in Ponte Vedra, Florida, who is an alumni of Ave Maria, and nationally known conference speaker Mari Pablo.

The closing Mass was celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on July 11 in the Ave Maria Parish church. The Mass, which served as a fitting conclusion to the Conference, was filled to capacity and included a number of seminarians from the Arch/dioceses of Venice, Orlando, Miami and Palm Beach. Bishop Dewane built upon the theme of the Conference “FEARLESS,” reminding the young men and women how they should not be afraid to open their mind and heart to the call of the Lord. He added that they are chosen by the Lord and called to become men and women of God.

Dates have already been chosen for next year’s youth conference “RENEWED” which will take place on July 8-10, 2022. More information will be posted on the conference website www.aveconferences.com

 

 

A night with Jesus in the Eucharist

Every time one sits down to pray, the Lord is there. The encounter is new, filled with grace, love and mercy. It is a time to be healed, strengthened, and transformed.

This idea of creating new encounters with the Lord was the purpose behind a series of seven evening sessions in late January to mid-February called “All Things New: An evening of praise and worship, Eucharistic Adoration and Confession.”

Presented by the Diocese of Venice Office of Evangelization, the theme of the evenings was from the Book of Revelations, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev 21:5)

“This is the best place to be,” explained Joshua Mazrin, Director of Evangelization during the Feb. 11, 2021 gathering at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota. “Sitting here, before Our Lord and the Blessed Sacrament on the altar is the greatest place to be; save for the Holy Mass; it where we are supposed to be; where we are meant to be tonight.”

Noting that there are many obstacles in the world which can create distance in our relationship with the Lord, Mazrin said that opening our heart while in His Presence will allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate and till the soil so that His Graces will be accepted.

Father Eric Scanlan, Administrator of Incarnation Parish, hosted the Feb. 11 evening and said the theme was appropriate during a time when many see things that they feel are not right, make them angry or upset, they feel unjust or stressed, and they question where the Lord is in the world.

“Every time we join together the Lord comes to be with us,’ Father Scanlan said. “Our God is a God who makes all things new.”

He explained that every time we come together to pray with Him or receive the Eucharist, it’s a new encounter of God’s grace, love and mercy. Just as every time we go to the Sacrament of Confession, it is a new experience with God, never the same.

“Each prayer and time before the Lord are a new opportunity for the Lord to heals us, strengthen us and transform our hearts,” Father continued. “Allow the Lord to make your heart new. Allow Him to love you. Allow Him to take away the stress, anxiety, doubts, anger of the outside world… This is an opportunity for the Lord to love you and heal you.”

Brad Fournier was among the 75 or so who took part in the Feb. 11 “All Things New” and described how he tries to spend as much time in Adoration as he can. “This was a wonderful evening with so many focused on one spot in the church, the Lord present on the altar. That helped bring me into focus as well. I think we all need that once in a while. This happened just in time for Lent to begin and I feel refreshed and ready for that journey to begin.”

Each evening of Adoration included prayerful music from Zander, a musician who performed during the 2020 Diocese of Venice Youth Rally. The other six evenings took place at the following Parishes: St. Elizabeth Seton, Naples, Jan. 26; Ave Maria, Ave Maria, Jan. 29; Our Lady of Light, Fort Myers, Feb. 2; Our Lady of the Angels, Lakewood Ranch, Feb. 3; St. John the Evangelist, Naples, Feb. 4; St. Joseph, Bradenton, Feb. 16.

For more information about upcoming events sponsored by the Diocese Office of Evangelization, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/evangelization.

Eucharistic Adoration brings one closer to Christ

The First Friday of September was a spiritually emotional day for Bonnie Coyle as it was the first time since March that she participated in Eucharistic Adoration.

Coyle has been a devotee of adoration for many years, finding great comfort in spending quiet time with the Lord in addition to attending Mass. The COVID-19 Pandemic physically separated her, and many others, from the Lord for an extended period and this distressed her greatly.

“I love coming to Mass, but adoration has always been special for me,” Coyle explained. “I just never realized how special it was and how much I would miss it when it wasn’t available. I was worried about coming back for health reasons, so I stayed away even longer. But I am back, and I feel a great relief to again be able to quietly pray before the Lord!”

Coyle was not alone, as many stayed for adoration on Sept. 4, 2020 following the Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice.

While public Mass resumed in the Diocese of Venice in late May, adoration followed more slowly as Parishes figured out the best way to do so while still ensuring health and safety protocols were being followed.

Instead of taking place in the Parish Chapel, the Mass and adoration at Our Lady of Lourdes took place in the main Church, thus allowing the 100 or so present plenty of space to participate in both without concern.

The Blessed Sacrament is carried in the back of a pickup truck as part of a vehicle procession from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula to nearby Missions on Sept. 29, 2020 in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel.

At Parishes throughout the Diocese, the offering of Eucharistic Adoration has required some changes. Most parishes have designated days and times for adoration with many including the First Friday of each month. When possible, Parishes with small Adoration Chapels have created a reservation system for adorers.

The occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula during the ongoing Pandemic led to a unique celebration Aug. 29, 2020.

Parish Administrator Father Oscar Mendoza Moya led a procession of vehicles, while riding in the bed of a pickup truck with the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance. The procession went from the Parish to Holy Child Mission in Bowling Green, then on to San Alfonso Mission in Zolfo Springs, before returning to the Parish. At each location, Father Moya offered a special blessing. The celebration concluded with a Mass of Thanksgiving in the main Church.

Lucinda Perez described the entire evening as amazing. “What a beautiful way to honor Jesus Christ and celebrate the Adoration Chapel and for the Parish and Missions to come together.”

Bishop Frank J. Dewane encouraged the expansion and availability of Adoration in an Aug. 5, 2020 letter to the priests of the Diocese. “This will be of great help and consolation to the Faithful during these turbulent times, when the People of God long to be close to the Lord,” Bishop Dewane wrote.

Pope Francis is a strong proponent of participating in Eucharistic Adoration, describing it as a way of putting the Lord at the center of one’s life. The Holy Father includes adoration in many public celebrations. Most notably, on March 27, 2020 Pope Francis presided over the Eucharistic Adoration before he imparted the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing from outside St. Peter’s Basilica, before the empty square where he usually has the general audience.

Please contact your local Parish for the latest Eucharistic Adoration schedule.

Adoration resumes across Diocese

Bishop Frank J. Dewane has authorized the resumption of Eucharistic Adoration in Parishes throughout the Diocese of Venice while at the same time encouraging other Parishes to offer this as a new opportunity for the faithful to spend to with the Lord.

Bishop Dewane encouraged the expansion and availability of Adoration in an Aug. 5, 2020 letter to the priests of the Diocese. Adoration was necessarily limited upon the reopening of Parishes on May 18, 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.

“This will be of great help and consolation to the Faithful during these turbulent times, when the People of God long to be close to the Lord,” Bishop Dewane wrote. “By offering Adoration, an opportunity for prayer in the Lord’s presence is provided for those who may have reservations about attending Mass due to the number gathered.”

Bishop Dewane also wrote that it may also be helpful to offer Holy Communion to attendees following the closing Benediction or at the start of Adoration.

“Clearly, I recognize that these are challenging times for us all,” Bishop Dewane added. “While in itself Adoration has great value, it does encourage another population to increase their contact with the Parish.”

While exposition may be held either in the main Parish Church or in a Chapel, the continued following of protocols for social distancing and face coverings is still required. If using a smaller space, it was suggested that Parishes may wish to consider a registration process to limit the numbers present at any one time.

The Bishop also noted in his letter that he highly values and appreciates the efforts of the priests to continue to provide pastoral care during these challenging times.

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