News Briefs for the Week of June 24, 2022


After consultation, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announces the following:

Father Joseph Clifford, has taken an assignment in the Diocese of Lansing, as Chaplain of St. Joseph Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI, effective February 2, 2022.

Father Piotr Paciorek, retired as Parochial Vicar of Ave Maria Parish, effective May 31, 2022, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar of Ave Maria Parish.

Father Chester Domaszewicz, retired as Pastor of St. Bernard Parish, effective June 1, 2022, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Pastor of St. Bernard Parish.

Msgr. Patrick Dubois, has been appointed as Vicar Forane of the Northern Deanery, effective June 17, 2022.

Ordination to the Priesthood July 16

Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice, invites the faithful to the Ordination to the Priesthood of Transitional Deacons Christian Chami, David Portorreal, and Michael Young. The Ordination will take place at 11 a.m., on Saturday, July 16, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this important event in the lives of the Deacons as well as the Diocese of Venice. The event will be livestreamed via the Epiphany Cathedral Facebook page ( – you do not need to be a subscriber to view the ordination.) A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.

Where is Totus Tuus this Week?

Totus Tuus (a Latin phrase meaning “totally yours”) is a summer Catholic youth camp program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness and Eucharistic worship. During the week of June 20-24, 2022, the team was at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish in LaBelle. The weeklong Parish summer catechetical camp program assists parents and parishes in evangelizing and catechizing the youth by complementing the work they are already doing at the parish and at home. This summer the program is offered at eight parishes in the Diocese of Venice with two sessions now completed. The camp program takes place for grades 1-5, Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and for grades 6-12, Monday – Thursday from 7:30 9:45 p.m. Several parishes still have openings for this program. Please contact the Director of Religious Education at the parish hosting the program or Anne Chrzan at The remaining Parishes hosting the program are as follows:

  • St. Catherine Parish, 820 Hickory Street, Sebring, June 27-July 1.
  • St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers, July 11-15.
  • St. Joseph Parish, 3100 26th Street West, Bradenton, July 18-22.
  • St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, July 25-29.
  • St. Patrick Parish, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, August 1-5.

Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help June 27

All are welcome to attend the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at 11:15 a.m., Monday, June 27 in the St. Joseph Chapel on the grounds of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center, 3989 S. Moon Drive, Venice to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. In preparation, you are invited to pray a novena starting Saturday, June 18. The daily prayers are published on the website at The Fall 3-night, 5-night, and 7-night private, directed retreat schedule is also published on the website. To learn more about a private retreat and to register, please visit or call 941-486-0233.

Independence Day Bike and Golf Cart Parade

The Knights of Columbus Ave Maria Assembly 3862 is hosting the 6th annual “God Bless America” Independence Day Bike and Golf Cart Parade, at 10 a.m., Monday, July 4, 2022. The ceremony starts in the Piazza of the town and will include a reflection from an Ave Maria veteran on the “Blessing of Freedom,” then patriotic songs, prayers for our country, then a “Blessing of the Bikes.” The parade, which will include bikes, trikes, golf carts, skateboards, strollers (decorated or not), will be led by a fire truck and pass through several neighborhoods, ending approximately 2 miles later back in the Piazza where there will be treats available. All are welcome. For more information, contact Dominick Micillo at 904-536-1480.

Mooney grad takes Junior golf title

Wyatt Plattner, a recent graduate of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, won the 50th Southern Junior Championship at the Country Club of Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2022. To take the title, Plattner notched four birdies on the back nine holes to post a final-round 67, earning a three-shot win in the 54-hole event at 9-under-par 201. The Mooney grad will play at the college level at the University of Cincinnati beginning this fall.

Volunteers needed in Naples

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Naples is looking for thrift store volunteers. If you would like to offer your time as a cashier, sorter, receiver or customer assistance representative for SVdP Naples, call Samantha at 239-775-2907 ext. 1014 or email

Youth Conference July 8-10

The 14th annual Ave Maria University Youth Conference – “Fearless” – is being held July 8 to10, 2022. Featured talks are by Father Rick Martignetti, Father Joseph Lugalambi, Father Rich Pagano and Chris Padget. The event includes the talks, Mass, Adoration, praise and worship, fellowship, and opportunities for confession. The cost is $175 and includes lodging, all meals, a t-shirt and more. To register, call 239-348-4725, or

Adoption services available

Catholic Charities Adoption Services is a state-wide agency that provides counseling to birth parents, and provisions or resources to meet the needs of birth parents considering adoption planning. If you or a loved one would like to learn more, please call Joan Pierse at 941-355-4680.

Men’s Support after Abortion Program

One in 4 women will have experienced at least one abortion by age 45. A man is connected to every pregnancy and abortion. Men are hurting from their abortion experiences too. Men often push down their experience or cover it up with unhealthy behaviors. For six weeks beginning on Saturday, July 9, 2022, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples, Father Mark Harris will team up with Nathan Misirian from Support After Abortion to co-facilitate a program just for men wounded, angry or hurt by abortion. If you (or someone you know) are a man ready for healing, or you know someone who is, confidentially call 941-412-5860 today or email to register for this series.

Volunteer to Help Pregnant Mothers

Looking for a way to help pregnant women in need?  Your tax-deductible donation will help with rent, utilities, or other necessities.  Give to the Catholic Charities Pennies for Babies Fund, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285 where no administrative fees are taken from any donations. Questions?  Contact Jeanne Berdeaux, or 941-374-1068.

DOV Class of 2022 impressive

The four Diocese of Venice Catholic high schools graduated 371 into the world during a four-week span from early May to early June 2022.

This group, as they are each year, is an impressive bunch. Among these graduates, 99 percent are heading off to higher education at some of the top colleges and universities in the land.

As a group, these graduates earned more than 40,000 services hours and $42 million in scholarship offers. Seven were identified as National Merit Scholars and many others graduated with honors.

In addition to academic awards, many of these students were scholar athletes with several earning state titles in a variety of sports. More than 50 of the graduates were offered scholarships to continue their athletic career at the next level.

At Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, the graduation was May 13, and the Valedictorian was Halle Monserez and Salutatorian was Peter Etz. The Baccalaureate Mass was celebrated at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota.

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Commencement Exercises were May 20 at the Naples school, with the Baccalaureate Mass at St. Ann Parish. The Class Valedictorian is Ella Bartels and Salutatorian is Madeline Vickers.

The graduation for Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers was May 21, with the Baccalaureate Mass at Resurrection Parish. Verot had 32 students recognized as top graduates. Grace Marie Smith offered the introductory address, and the commencement address was by Anna Latell.

Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish graduation was June 1, with the Baccalaureate Mass at the Parish church. Catherine Graham was the class Valedictorian and Winston Fairchild was the Salutatorian.

Diocesan athletes excel at States

Athletes from each of the Diocese of Venice Catholic high schools did well at the recent Florida High School Athletic Association Track & Field State Championship on May 11 -12, 2022, at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

The top local athletes were:

  • Graduating Senior Leah Martin-Gonzales, of St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples, who repeated her Class 1A state titles in the long jump and the 100 hurdles, also finishing 6th in the 300 hurdles, and 14th as part of the 4×100 team.
  • Bishop Verot Catholic High School Senior Wyatt Whalen also won a State title in the Class 2A shot put and took 3rd in the discus.
  • Another Neumann Senior, Josh Galupa, took 2nd in the Class 1A 110 hurdles, and 4th in the 300 hurdles, 5th in the high jump and 7th in the long jump.
  • Still another Neumann Senior, Connor Savenas, took 3rd in the discus.

In addition to these athletes, St. John Neumann, Bishop Verot, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School and Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish each had representatives qualify for the state championships.

Neumann’s Leah Martin-Gonzales earned her second consecutive state title in two disciplines, with the long jump of 5.45 meters (17 feet 10 ¾ inches) and the 100 hurdles time of 14.26.

Verot’s Wyatt Whalen took the shot-put title with a throw of 16.32 m (53 feet 6 ½ inches), and third is discus with a toss of 46.36 m (152 feet 1 inch).

Other results in the State Championships were:

  • Verot – boys (8th overall); girls (37th overall); girls 3200 relay (4th); Boys 3200 relay (4th); Raven Gadson, triple jump (8th); Christian Fevier, triple jump (12th); Cooper Banks, 800 (8th); Grayson Tubbs, 800 (14th); Geraldine Herrera, 200 (14th); Mackenzie de Lisle, 3200 (8th)
  • Mooney – girls (32nd overall); boys (46thth overall); girls 1600 relay (6th); Madeline Carson, discus (6th); McKayla Cantrell, discus (12th) and shot put (18th); Cooper Flerlage, discus (8th);
  • Neumann – boys (9th overall); girls (12th overall); girls 400 relay (14th); girls 3200 relay (18th);
  • Donahue – Leo Borjon, 1600 (10th)

Athletes finishing 8th or better each reached the awards podium. Congratulations to all!! Well done!

News Briefs for the week of May 6, 2022

Vegie Races cap off fun night

The St. Andrew Catholic School Veggie Races capped off STREAM Night on April 28, 2022, in Cape Coral. The night included a variety of STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, Math) demonstrations throughout the schools. The highlight was the end of the evening Veggie Races. These races pit students against each other with racecars designed exclusive with vegetables – with a few skewers to hold everything together. The track was an inclined ramp with parallel lanes for the two competitors. The goal was to first get to the bottom without the racecar falling apart and then going as far as possible down the track. A great time was had by all as the students had use creativity and practicality to create a successful racecar.

Pinecone birdfeeders made in Sebring

Third graders at St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring made pinecone birdseed feeders as part of a project to their Plants and Animals Science Unit on April 29, 2022. The patron saint of animals, St. Francis of Assisi, built bonds of love with all of the kinds of creatures in the animal kingdom. However, St. Francis had a special relationship with birds, who often followed him around and rested on his shoulders, arms, or hands as he prayed or walked around outside.

Middle school track teams excel

On April 30th, the middle school boys and girls track teams at Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria, competed at their conference championships on April 30, 2022, and both teams came home Champions. Way to go teams!

News Briefs for the Week of April 1, 2022

Two to be ordained Transitional Deacon April 2

Diocese of Venice Seminarians Michael Young and Alan Baldarelli Jr. will be ordained to the Transitional Diaconate, along with nine others, at 11 a.m. April 2, 2022, at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Boynton Beach. Young is studying at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts, while Baldarelli is studying at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. Presiding over the ordination is Bishop David Toups of the Diocese of Beaumont. The liturgy will be livestreamed at As newly ordained Transitional Deacons, these men will be assigned to Parishes where they will exercise their ministry in preparation to become priests. Among many duties, they will preach, perform baptisms, witness marriages, as well as preside over wakes and funerals. Please join in praying for Michael and Alan as they take this important step in their vocational journey.

40th Anniversary celebration a success

St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School’s 40th Anniversary Celebration Gala & Auction was a great success in Naples on March 26, 2022. Parents, priests, parishioners, and other supporters attended the event at the Spirit Center of St. Peter the Apostle Parish. It was a fun night of fellowship, dinner, music and dancing with silent and live auctions, and a Call to the Heart to fund a second Kindergarten classroom in the fall. Demand for enrollment at Seton is at an all-time high creating a great need for additional classroom and administrative space. The event raised approximately $200,000 benefiting the school’s ongoing Campus Expansion Program to meet the needs of the many families desiring quality Catholic education for their children. For more information about the school’s expansion plans, visit

Genocide survivor shares story of loss and forgiveness

Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Rwandan genocide survivor and author, was the guest speaker at the annual Faith & Ale – Faith & Wine Joint Event in Lee County at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers on March 24, 2022. Approximately 650 heard Immaculée’s presentation as she shared her amazing story of being a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. In addition to sharing the details of having lost her parents and brothers, her message centered around the topic of faith, hope and forgiveness. Faith & Wine Lee County is a Catholic faith lay-group which unites women of all backgrounds. A related program, Faith & Ale, is a Catholic men’s group and will host its final gathering of the season on April 21 at St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers, for a presentation by Dan Hesse on the topic, “Can Catholic Values Save Capitalism?” Hesse is a retired CEO of AT&T Wireless Services and Sprint. The program begins at 6 p.m., with pizza and refreshments for a $10 donation. Reservations are required – please register online at

History project develops special skills

Second grade students at St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton completed a biography research project on March 25, 2022, which included making a presentation and dressing up as the historical figure they researched. The students also created posters, a wax museum and essays about the person. Among the historical figures chosen were Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Gala supports Cardinal Mooney

Race for the Roses Gala, benefiting Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, was held March 25, 2022, at the Grove in Lakewood Ranch. Supporters dressed in their favorite outfits fit for a day at the Kentucky Derby. Proceeds were targeting the creation of a new science and physics labs. Ginger Judge was this year’s recipient of the School Sister’s of Notre Dame Award for her continuous support of Cardinal Mooney.

Ave Maria students run for gold

The girls track team of Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish came home from the Immokalee Meet on March 23, 2022, with seven gold medals, two silvers, five bronzes and winning the meet overall! The boy’s team did well, too, earning multiple medals and an overall third place team finish. Special recognition goes to Freshman Izzy Meyer who brought home three gold medals. The results are impressive taking into account this is only the second year the school has had a track team.

Care packages for needy

On March 28, 2022, students at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral partnered with the St. Vincent de Paul Society to create “care packages” for the needy of Southwest Florida. The students had been collecting the items for weeks leading up to a packing session. Items included various products that promote personal hygiene.

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

Diocesan-wide Opportunity for Sacrament of Reconciliation

As the Lenten Season progresses, the precept of confessing grave sins and receiving Holy Communion at least once during the Lenten Season merits a reminder to all. To facilitate this requirement, every Parish in the Diocese of Venice will be open with a confessor present from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., on Friday, April 8, and from 9:00 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 9. 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 during the Lenten Season.

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 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.

Mass for Victims of Child Abuse

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and in conjunction with the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Diocese of Venice will hold a Mass for Victims of Child Abuse for the 15th consecutive year. The Mass will take place at 8 a.m., Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. The Mass will be live-streamed, and all are welcome to attend as we come together to pray for the victims of abuse.

News Briefs for the week of March 25, 2022

Synod Listening Sessions ongoing

The Listening Sessions for the Diocesan Phase of “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” continues through May. At the invitation of Bishop Frank J. Dewane the faithful are encouraged to be prepared to answer the fundamental concept of what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church today. The in-person Listening Sessions are 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The remaining Sessions are as follows:

Monday, March 28, St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Ave. N., Naples (Eng.);

Monday, May 9, St. Catherine Parish, 820 Hickory St., Sebring (Eng./Sp);

Monday, May 16, St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples (Eng.);

Monday, May 23, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge St., LaBelle (Eng./Sp);

(NEW) Virtual Session from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 25.

To register for a Listening Session or the Virtual Session, please visit Email for any questions or comments regarding the Listening Sessions.

Diocesan-wide opportunity for Sacrament of Reconciliation coming soon

As the Lenten Season progresses, the precept of confessing grave sins and receiving Holy Communion at least once during the Lenten Season merits a reminder to all. To facilitate this requirement, every Parish in the Diocese of Venice will be open with a confessor present from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., on Friday, April 8, and from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 9. 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 during the Lenten Season.

Donated ultrasound blessed

A new ultrasound machine, donated by the Knights of Columbus Council 14202 of St. Agnes Parish in Naples, was blessed March 21, 2022, at the Community Pregnancy Clinics Inc. Father Bob Kantor, Pastor of St. Agnes, and Father Michael Orsi, Parochial Vicar of St. Agnes, presided over the blessing. It is noted that more than 90% of women who see their babies on an ultrasound choose life. The machine is the latest model and is courtesy of a nationwide initiative of the Knights of Columbus which matches the contributions of local Council in purchasing the latest machines for Pro-Life clinics.

Naples students do well at Model UN conference

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Model UN students from Naples took part in the National High School Model United Nations Conference in New York City the week of March 18, 2022. Under the direction of their advisor, Cindy Brewer, the Neumann team placed 3rd for research and presentation out of 135 teams from around the world. In addition, Hunter Lund and Alessio Cirino’s committee placed third out of the 70 committees in their field. This immersive experience in the world of international affairs, problem solving, and diplomacy was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the students. Long recognized for having the best substantive program on the Model UN circuit, National High School Model UN is known for its diverse, talented attendees, its highly engaging debates, and its academically rigorous material. These SJN students were able to attend meetings with the diplomatic representatives of the countries they represented, as well as other UN and Non-Government Organization (NGO) leaders for dynamic question and answer sessions.

Hardee County group takes part in 40 Days for Life

Members of the St. Michael Parish Council of Catholic Woman and Faith Formation Group from Wauchula traveled March 15, 2022, to Sarasota to pray to end abortion at the Planned Parenthood facility as part of the 40 Days for Life spring prayer campaign. The group was present during on the day abortions are done were performed at the facility. This led to an emotional day, leaving the group with both sadness and hope. Sadness about what takes place in such facilities and hope that publicly standing for life made a difference. The group prayed for the mothers and babies that are victims of the lie that abortion is the only answer. The spring 40 Days for Life peaceful prayer campaign is taking place in the public right-of-way in both Sarasota and Fort Myers through April 10. All are encouraged to spend at least one hour in prayer for life during Lent. Contact your Parish Life Coordinator for specific information about your Parish’s commitment days. For additional information about the local 40 Days for Life, go to or

Holocaust survivor shares story

Heinz Wartski, a 93 year old Holocaust survivor and Korean War veteran, shared his story with Bishop Verot Catholic High School students on March 15, 2022, in Fort Myers. Heinz Wartski grew up in Danzig with his parents and two siblings. In 1939, Heinz and his family escaped to Italy and later joined the partisan resistance in the Appenine Mountains.  He stated: “We were a minority in every nation in which we lived, and we were therefore easy targets for any government in need of scapegoats.” His family survived until liberation in 1945. Heinz and his family immigrated to the United States in 1949.  He married Hella Wartski, a fellow Holocaust survivor, and had two children.  He currently resides in Naples, and volunteers with the Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida.

Digestive system lesson

Thank you to Katy Wallis, professor at State College of Florida, for leading fifth-grade students from St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton through an interactive lesson on the digestive system on March 18, 2022. Students used plastic bags filled with various items to get a “feel” for how the digestive system, including the stomach, works.

Team GPA tops region

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Celtic Boys Basketball Team in Naples finished the season with a team GPA of 3.74 which is #1 in the Florida High School Athletic Association 2A classification and the #3 team GPA in the entire state. Well done!

News Briefs for the Week of March 11, 2022

Students excel at Knights free throw contest

Congratulations to St. Joseph Catholic School students from Bradenton who competed in the Knights of Columbus State Free Throw Contest on March 5, 2022, at Melbourne High School in Melbourne. Bendli took 1st place for 12-year-old boys; Serafina was second for 13-year-old girls; Nathan was third for 11-year-old boys; and Rodnel won at the regional level for nine-year-old boys. Students competed in their age level divisions after having won local, district, and regional levels.

Cheer Team wins Championship

The Incarnation Catholic School Cheer Team from Sarasota took first place in the Feb. 28, 2022, East Coast Cheer Championships in Tampa. Congratulations Ladies!

Stations Prayer Garden unveiled in Fort Myers

A new Stations of the Cross Prayer Garden was designed and constructed by Bishop Verot Catholic High School woodshop students to encourage everyone to visit and meditate on the Passion of our Lord. It was unveiled in Fort Myers on March 3, 2022, and includes the 14 Stations of the Cross, which depict the last hours of Jesus’ life: from His condemnation to His burial.


Junior Olympics held in Naples

Another great retreat is in the books at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples. The Junior Olympics for the class of 2023 was held March 3, 2022, as the students spent the day learning, working, and competing together.

Middle school students help NASA

Middle school students at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral have been assisting NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) with beta testing on a new generation of electric-powered aircraft that can fly safely while conserving resources and reducing pollution. The St. Andrew students had a unique opportunity to assist NASA by beta testing a new lesson that the agency developed to inspire the next generation of aeronautic engineers. The lesson, titled “Wingin’ It,” is a multiphase STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art, Math) lesson for engaging students in experimental aircraft research. The students worked in teams and worked on building and testing the flights of different styles of airplanes; testing the effect of adding weight incrementally; designing and building a support system to reduce flutter in wings; and modifying a paper airplane to improve its performance. The students also provided feedback to NASA on the positive aspects, challenges and ideas for improving the lesson. With the help of the St. Andrew students, NASA will finalize “Wingin’ It” before publishing it for use by students across the country.

Lady Cougars fall short in State Final

Lady Cougars fall short in State Final

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Lady Cougars basketball team fell short of their goal of winning a State Championship during a return trip to the Class 3A Finals on Feb. 25, 2022, at RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

The Lady Cougars dropped their game to Westminster Academy of Fort Lauderdale 44-41, falling short in a comeback attempt on a night when scoring was at a premium. The Sarasota women finished the season 19-7.

This season tied for the Lady Cougars deepest run in the state play, having reached finals in 2021. The previous best effort by the ladies was in 1997 when they lost in the state semifinal game.

A rough night scoring, making only two of 18 three-point attempts, and falling behind early was the challenge. The team was down by 7 points entering the fourth quarter and made a valiant comeback before faltering late.

While the loss is disappointing, the team has nearly its entire roster returning for another run next season. The team is led by two juniors, Jordyn Byrd (12 points and 13 rebounds), and Olivia Davis (7 points and 5 rebounds), and two freshman Kali Barrett (8 points, 9 rebounds) and Sy’monique Simon (8 points).

To reach the finals, the Lady Cougars defeated King’s Academy of West Palm Beach 50-42 on Feb. 23. They earned their berth in the Final Four with a Regional Title on Feb. 18.

The Lady Cougars were not the only Diocesan basketball team in the state tournament. The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Lady Celtics from Naples made its first trip to the State Final Four since 2008. They earned their own Regional Title on Feb. 18 but fell on Feb. 23 in the Class 2A semifinal to Miami Christian, the defending and eventual State Champs. The Lady Celtics ended their season with a 23-6 record.

Mooney girls make State Final in basketball

Neumann girls fall in State Semi Final

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Lady Cougar Basketball Team will be playing for a State Championship after a Class 3A Semifinal victory Feb. 23, 2022, at the RP Fund Center in Lakeland. This a return trip to the State Championship game for the Sarasota team having a heartbreaking loss in 2021.

Just a few hours earlier, the St. John Neumann Catholic High School Lady Celtic Basketball Team from Naples fell in the Class 2A State Semifinal in Lakeland. This was the team’s first trip to the State Final Four since 2008.

Both Mooney and Neumann sent large contingents of students and faculty to cheer on their teams. Joining the students and faculty in the stands was Father John Belmonte, SJ, Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Education.

On Feb. 18, at nearly the same time, the Mooney and Neumann girls won regional championships on their respective home courts, earning their berths into the State Final Four.

The Naples women faced Miami Christian, the defending State Champions, in the State Semifinals. The Lady Celtics lost 68-45, ending their dream season with a 23-6 record. While the final score suggests the game was never close, the Lady Celtics fought hard against a team that beat opponents by 174 points in the previous three games combined. The best Neumann player throughout the year was Leah Martin-Gonzales, a senior, who averaged 18.5 points per game with Sophia Mccartney, a sophomore, who averaging 16.3 points per game and 13 rebounds.

The Lady Cougars defeated King’s Academy of West Palm Beach 50-42 in their own Semifinal. The team lifted their season record to 19-6, having won their last six games to reach the Final. The team’s leading scorers are Olivia Davis and Keli Barret. The Class 3A State Final against Westminster Academy of Fort Lauderdale is at 4:30 p.m., Friday. Feb. 25 in Lakeland.

Please visit after the Championship game for an update on the Final.

News Briefs for the Week of Feb. 18, 2022

Seminarian Instituted as an Acolyte

Congratulations to Diocese of Venice Seminarian W. Pat Long, who was among 12 Instituted as an Acolyte on Feb. 9, 2022, at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts. The installation was presided over by Cardinal Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. The installation Mass plays an important role in the formation of the seminarians in their journey toward becoming priests. As an acolyte, each man’s primary role will be assisting the deacon and priest during Mass. They may also serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at Mass, bring Holy Eucharist to the sick, and participate in other tasks while aiding the priest and deacon during liturgical celebrations. Please join in praying for all of these men, but in particular Pat Long who is discerning his vocation to the priesthood for the Diocese of Venice.

Junior reaches scoring milestone

Jordyn Byrd, a Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School basketball player recently reached the 1,000-point milestone in her career. She accomplished this milestone on Feb. 11, 2022, in Sarasota, during a victory which led to a regional playoff win. Jordyn also plays volleyball and in January was named 2021-2022 Gatorade Florida Volleyball Player of the Year. She has maintained a 3.72 GPA in the classroom and will begin her senior year of high school this fall. She has already committed to continuing her athletic and academic career at the University of Texas.

Kinder surgeons’ scrub in

Future surgeons at St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota showed their skills in Christina Via-Reque’s Kinder Cardiology on Feb. 10, 2022! These doctors scrubbed in and worked on their patients to practice reading, writing, colors, motor skills, sounding out words, math and more!

Soccer team dream season ends

The Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish boy’s soccer dream season came to an end with a 2-1 loss in the Class 2A-Region 3 quarterfinal match on Feb. 9, 2022, to Bradenton Christian Academy. The Shamrocks’ Aidan Minter accounted for the only goal in the heartbreaking loss. The Shamrocks had earned a home field game by clinching a district title on Feb. 4. The team should be proud of their success and vow to do better next year.

Schools share Valentines in community

Two Diocese of Venice Catholic high schools took time out this Valentine’s Day to give back to the community. Students at St. John Neumann Catholic School in Naples were thinking about the special day for a few weeks in many homeroom classes, as well as the Spanish Club, taking time to make cards for local assisted living facilities, as well as for the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco at the Provincial House, in New Jersey. Another class took note of where they saw love at the Naples school. Members of the Bishop Verot Catholic High School National Honors Society in Fort Myers hosted a Valentine’s Day celebration for clients of Special Populations in Cape Coral, a program for adults and children with intellectual disabilities which strives to promote independence.

Seventh graders enjoy high school experience

Some 70 seventh graders from St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary Academy in Sarasota enjoyed a Cougar Experience Day on Feb. 9, 2022, at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School. In addition to a tour, the younger students took part in fun activities across the campus and heard from the high schoolers who shared what makes Mooney so special.

Hands-on science is key

To ensure that students at St. Andrew Catholic School learn the necessary skills to function in a modern world, the use of iPads and technology is standard. However, experience using tools such as a microscope still serve a vital purpose in the learning process. On Feb. 9, the sixth-grade science class in Cape Coral used their microscopes to identify various elements as part of a larger STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, Math) curriculum. Of course, they were able to create images of the slide and save them on their iPads, but using the actual equipment made a real difference in the lesson.