Golfers from the three Diocese of Venice Catholic high schools excelled during the regional tournament on Oct. 19, 2020 at The Eagles Golf Club in Odessa.
The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School boys’ team from Sarasota took the top spot in the 1A Region 3 tournament, while the Bishop Verot Catholic High School girls’ team from Fort Myers took the girls title. Both teams qualified for the State Championships to be played Nov. 3-4 at Mission Inn Resorts and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills.
Individually, Verot girl’s golfer Talia Rodino took the 1A-3 Region Title, while her freshman teammate Morgan Franklin placed fourth. Both qualified for the State Championship. Verot boy’s golfer Michael Bevins finished third while St. John Neumann Catholic High School golfer Tyler Stamerro finished fourth, both also qualifying for the State Championships.
In the boy’s tournament, Bishop Verot finished fifth and St. John Neumann in Naples finished eighth. The Verot girls’ team was the only Diocesan Catholic high school to qualify for the regional tournament.
The Homecoming Football Game for the Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Cougars on Oct. 9, 2020 in Sarasota was spoiled by a tough loss to rival Bishop Verot Catholic High School of Fort Myers.
The two teams fought back and forth throughout the game with Verot leading at halftime with a score of 19-17. Two late Verot touchdowns, a 26-yard run by Kerby Joseph, and then a 38-yard interception return by Keon Anderson sealed the Verot victory in the fourth quarter. The final score was 40-24 with Verot taking home the winner’s trophy back to Fort Myers.
Present for the game were Bishop Frank J. Dewane and Diocesan Superintendent of Education, Father John Belmonte, SJ, along with Mooney Chaplain Father Eric Scanlan who offered the opening benediction.
The crowd in Sarasota was the largest of the season for Cardinal Mooney as stadium capacity is capped at 50 percent, up from 25 percent earlier in the season. Masks were required for all fans. A large group from Verot also travelled to watch the game which was also streamed live on social media by both schools.
Each year the Diocese of Venice holds a Memorial Mass on Veterans Day in honor of the men and women who have served our country and continue to serve and protect us today. The restrictions regarding public gatherings at the Sarasota National Cemetery has precluded holding the Mass at this beautiful site. This year, the Mass to be celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, will be held at 3 p.m., Nov. 11, 2020. The Mass will be live streamed so that all may participate on this important day at facebook.com/dioceseofvenice.org/videos. You do not need to have an account to view the Mass. Please contact Gail Ardy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 941-484-9543 for further information.
UnBall virtual event Nov. 12
Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice invites everyone to participate in The UnBall, a Virtual Charity Ball to raise funds to help stop human trafficking. Mark your calendar and join at 7 p.m., Nov. 12, 2020. Due to the pandemic and the postponement of the Venetian Ball, the Venetian Ball Committee created The UnBall virtual event. Join Catholic Charities for an hour-long event to raise awareness and stop modern day slavery. Human trafficking is not in the shadows or in faraway nations, it happens in plain sight in our community. Listen to a survivor-leader share her inspirational story and learn how you can make an impact. The UnBall supports the programs and services of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. in Lee, Hendry, and Glades counties which include Positive Youth Development Program, Senior Support Coordination Program, Anti Human Trafficking Assistance Program, immigration services, food assistance, and pantries, baby supplies, and disaster response and recovery. For more information, please contact Janet Pavelack at email@example.com, 239-334-4007 ext. 2101 or by visiting www.catholiccharitiesdov.org.
Mooney student helps hurricane victims
Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Senior Mallory Albritton started a relief effort to help farmers and ranchers in Louisiana after Hurricane Laura hit in late August 2020. Mallory coordinated a BBQ fundraiser to make money and buy supplies they needed for the farmers. She helped raise almost $8,000. Mallory, and other supporters from Sarasota, delivered all the supplies on Oct. 1, 2020, before the same region was hit by Hurricane Delta on Oct. 10,
Student assemble 1,000 PPE packets for community
Students of Catholics in Action Club at Bishop Verot Catholic High School assembled 1,000 PPE (personal protective equipment) packets on Oct. 2, 2020 in Fort Myers which will soon be distributed to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. and throughout the community as needed.
Neumann golf team finishes regular season undefeated
Congratulations St. John Neumann Catholic High School Celtic Boys Golf Team for recently finishing their regular season undefeated. The team also placed third in Districts, Next up for the Naples team will be the regional competition the week of Oct. 19, 2020.
Surviving Divorce Retreat Nov. 21 in Fort Myers
The Diocese Office of Marriage and Family Life is hosting a Surviving Divorce Retreat, 9 a.m.-3 pm., Nov. 21, 2020, at Resurrection Parish, 8121 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers. The retreat is open to all and will feature speaker Rose Sweet with a talk titled, “Surviving Divorce: Hope and Healing for the Catholic Family.” The cost is $15 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Please register at www.dioceseofvenice.org/divorce. For more information, please contact Carrie Harkey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The gymnasium at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota has seen many feats of athleticism and the students in the bleachers have been witnesses to times of great joy and triumph.
Therefore, the replacement of the bleachers was considered a key part of a 10-year strategic plan to upgrade various academic and athletic facilities at Cardinal Mooney.
In early September, the manually operated bleachers installed in 1994 were torn out and replaced with electric one’s. This is just the latest in a series of exciting work being done at Cardinal Mooney, explained Director of Development Tara McLean.
Within the past several years there have been numerous upgrades to infrastructure at Mooney not just to athletic fields but to classrooms. This effort improved access to the latest technology in the classroom and has enhanced the academic opportunities for all students, helping to prepare them for the modern world. Meanwhile, there was a full renovation of the south classroom building and Learning Center (formerly the library), as well as the addition of a new regulation track and turf athletic field. Currently under construction is a new batting and training facility for the softball and baseball teams.
The students have responded to the upgrades and new facilities with excitement and grateful hearts. The fields on which an athlete competes are a source of pride for the entire Mooney community. The improvements to the home court/field create an advantage making it truly “Cougar Country.”
“The upgrades and new additions made to our athletic facilities over the last three years affects all of our student athletes” said Athletic Director Larry Antonucci. “With the improvements, our student athletes are afforded the opportunity to practice and compete in top notch facilities, which in turn will help propel them to reach their goals as individuals and teams.”
Principal Ben Hopper credits the commitment of the entire Cardinal Mooney community for helping to make the vision of the strategic plan become a reality. These efforts are ensuring that all students receive a rigorous academic experience and that the facilities, whether classrooms or fields, are of the highest quality.
“We are always grateful to have the continued support of our current families, our alumni and the generous benefactors in our community,” Hopper said. “Their generosity continually reinforces our commitment to excellence in service, academics, athletics and the arts that would otherwise not be possible without their support.”
While the bleachers are completed and the baseball/softball facility work continues, next on the agenda are renovations of the theatre and music hall building as well as new roofs on three other classroom buildings.
To learn more about the ongoing strategic upgrades taking place at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, please visit www.cmhs-sarasota.org or call 941-379-2647 ext. 2.
The atmosphere was charged with excitement as the Bishop Verot Catholic High School Viking Football Team kicked off its season on Sept. 4, 2020 at home in Fort Myers.
The crowd roared as the players run through a tunnel and onto the field for the first time, flanked by cheerleaders and looking eager and excited to play after an off season which had many wondering whether football would happen.
“I can’t believe this day has finally come,” one player shouted as he hopped up and down with excitement on the sideline as he prepared to play Tampa Jesuit. “Incredible.”
With stadium capacity limited to less than 25 percent, the crowd was not as rowdy as usual, but players, coaches and fans didn’t seem to mind and really appreciated the sense of doing something normal – enjoying Friday night football.
Parents in the stands were easily heard giving advice to players, coaches and referees alike. One parent noted that she was so happy the Bishop Verot staff was able to get the season started. “These boys worked so hard all summer and it almost seemed as if games would not happen, but here we are. I can’t say enough how well everyone communicated and prepared to be safe. I just hope for the next game there are more fans in the stadium. The boys love the big crowds.”
Temperatures were taken of everyone entering, all of whom needed a pre-distributed ticket. This was accomplished as each player, cheerleader and band member was given three tickets to the game. The only other students present were those who received tickets.
Masks were required when moving about the stadium, but fans could take them off while seated. The home side of the stadium was divided into sections and every other row was empty all to ensure social distancing. It is unclear when students will be allowed to attend the games as Athletic Director Jason Baumgardner explained that the situation will be reevaluated before each home game.
The opening prayer was given by Father John Belmonte, SJ, Diocese Superintendent of Catholic Education.
Those present saw a battle between the two schools that ended in a disappointing 28-21 loss for Verot. Senior wide receiver Malik Curtis wowed the crowd with blazing speed and dazzling plays and nine receptions for 226 yards and three touchdowns. Verot was down 22-0 early but fought hard to make it 22-13 at halftime. The battle continued with Verot coming up short on its final attempts to get in the end zone.
St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School did not want to let the COVID-19 pandemic cancel a favorite annual tradition, the May Crowning of Mary. Seton families were sent a request to submit pictures of students at home praying the rosary, placing flowers at a statue of Mary, coloring pages of the Blessed Mother, etc., and the results were inspiring. The results were so impressive that the school created and shared a short video which can be found on the school’s Facebook page. What a great way to honor Our Lady during the Month of May.
Bishop Dewane celebrates Pentecost Vigil at Cathedral
Sarasota student continues to help front line workers
Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School student Malory Albritton is continuing to serve the community during COVID-19 pandemic. She helped pack and load the donations of blueberries from Albritton Fruit Farms made to Manatee Memorial Hospital nursing staff and doctors. Thank you for all that you do!
Ordination to the Priesthood June 27
The Ordination to the Priesthood of Transitional Deacon Franckel Fils-Aime will take place at 11 a.m., June 27, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this important event in the life of Deacon Franckel and the Diocese of Venice. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.
New basketball coach for Mooney
Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota announced the appointment of Clayton Slentz as the new head varsity coach for the boys’ basketball team. Coach Slentz will continue to build on the growing strength of the Cougar athletic program. He has been an assistant varsity basketball coach with the Cougars for the past three years and currently teaches history at Cardinal Mooney. Slentz earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in 2015 and his master’s degree in history in 2017. For nine years, Slentz has been coaching basketball at the high school level.
Incarnation student receives honor for writing play
Incarnation Catholic School student Cora Thayer was one of 20 script submissions selected from more than 7,600 entries as part of the Florida Studio Theater “Write-A-Play” program. A participant in the Florida Studio Theater’s Writing Workshop, Cora’s “Big Dreams Under the Big Top,” will be performed during the Young Playwright’s Festival in the Spring of 2021. Her play is about a tiny inchworm named Illianna who overcomes many obstacles to become a circus Ringmaster.
Online Preached Retreats
During the current health crisis, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice is offering online 3-day, 5-day, and 8-day retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. In these online retreats, Father Mark Yavarone, OMV, or Father Lino Estradilla, OMV, trained spiritual directors, will meet with you for an hour each day via a link provided to you, to help you to pray and to recognize how God is speaking to you. A Bible and journal should be available for your use. Participants will be emailed any additional materials needed as the retreat unfolds. The cost is as follows: 3-day online retreat, $132.23; 5-day online retreat, $203.98; and 8-day online retreat, $306.48. All information will be confidential, and password protected. If you would like to participate in an online retreat, please email Denise Riley at email@example.com and a code will be provided for your online registration as well as an application. For planning purposes, please allow 7 days from your completed application until the beginning of your retreat.
Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Golfer Robbie Higgins has been crowned Florida State High School Athletic Association 1A Boys State Champion after shooting rounds of 69 and 70 to win by four strokes.
Higgins also lead his Cougar teammates to a fifth-place finish during the two-day team competition Nov. 1-2 at Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills. The Sarasota team qualified for the state tournament by being the 1A Region 3 Boys champions. Fellow Cougar Noah Kumar finished 17th overall.
The Bishop Verot Catholic High School boys golf team from Fort Myers finished 12th and the top golfer, Kevin Kelly, was 24th overall. The Verot girls team also finished 12th overall, with the top golfer Gabby Vetter finishing 41st.
In addition, St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples sent one golfer to the State Championship tournament as an at-large competitor; Gus Vickers finished 28th overall.
Congratulations to all the golfers for their outstanding effort and accomplishments which capped off an exciting season for each of them.
Team bonding at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples occurs both on and off the field. Through service to their community, student athletes at Neumann grow both individually and as a team.
This summer, the Celtic football team in particular focused not only on preparing for their upcoming season but on giving back to their community. Several members of the team joined their classmates in June for a week-long service trip to Immokalee. While there, the Celtics delivered food, sorted goods at the Salvation Army, painted houses, and tutored children. Later, the 2018 Regional Finalists took a break from summer workouts to join Habitat for Humanity at a worksite in Naples.
In July, the players held a two-day project with Friends of Foster Children Forever on campus to pack 500 backpacks with donated school supplies and uniforms for local foster children. Over the course of the three months of summer vacation, the Celtic Football Team together completed more than 500 hours of community service.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane presided over the Rite of the Admission to Candidacy of Diocesan Seminarian Daniel Scanlan on June 27 at the Diocese Catholic Center in Venice. Scanlan recently graduated Valedictorian from St. Vincent de Paul College Seminary in Miami and is heading to Rome, Italy, to continue his priestly formation at the Pontifical North American College. Also present was Father Shawn Roser, Diocese Director of Vocations.
Youth take part in religious retreat in Georgia mountains
Youth from two different parishes took part in separate religious retreats in the Georgia mountains in late June. The Epiphany Cathedral group from Venice went to the Camp Covecrest retreat center for a week of fun activities and team-building exercises while also hearing inspirational talks and having time to reflect on their faith. Meanwhile, the boys and girls from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula went camping in the mountains of Georgia on consecutive weeks. The groups hiked to the start of the Appalachian Trail and took part in numerous other activities and were led by the religious sisters and priests from the parish.
Mooney student taking part in Ballet summer program
Lauren Garner, Class of 2022, is spending her summer at the Boston Ballet School Summer Dance Program. After an intense audition, she was accepted and will spend 5 weeks training 5-7 hours each day with internationally renowned faculty of the Boston Ballet School and prestigious collegiate dance institutions in the areas of ballet technique, choreography, improvisation and contemporary dance. She will be attending this program and living in college dorms with other students from the United States and around the globe.
Verot grad receives top Girl Scout award
Samantha Romero, who just graduated from Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Sarasota has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award. Following Hurricane Michael in 2018, she turned her passion for filmmaking to make a difference in the Florida Panhandle by documenting the damage and recovery at St. John Catholic School in Panama City. There was a local connection to that school in that the principal, Dr. Vikki Parks, previously served as Diocese of Venice Assistant Superintendent and a teacher at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral. Through the power of video, she was able to help the school share their story and spearhead their relief effort. Romero also created a video club at Bishop Verot, and through in-person workshops and online video classes she trained younger students in the art of film, editing, and techniques to create professional content. Romero was also a member of the Verot Catholics in Action Club and was very active in Pro-Life activities including a trip to the National March for Life in Washington, D.C. The Girl Scout Gold Award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award Girl Scouts, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.
Mooney grad receives national lacrosse recognition
MJ McMahon, a recent graduate of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, has been named to the 2019 All-LaxRecords Second Team. McMahon completed his career with the Cougars tallying 410 points, good for top ten all time throughout the state. He racked up 235 goals, the fifth most ever for a high school lacrosse player from Florida. This past spring, McMahon helped guide Cardinal Mooney to a 21-win season. McMahon will be attending the University of Utah in the fall.
Incarnation Catholic School, 2911 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, will be expanding their early learning classes to include a PreK-3 program. The program will offer a monthly theme-based curriculum that will include math, science, language and basics of our Catholic faith. Our little learners will discover answers to big questions like “How do Plants Grow?” and “ Who lives in the Ocean?”. Small class sizes will allow for individual attention and differentiate instruction. Playground time will provide an opportunity to work on gross motor skills. The program will offer full and part time options, perfect for every family. Children must be potty trained and three years old by Sept. 1. For more information please call 941-924-8588.
Naples club meets for final time, honor former advisor
The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Y.A.C.H.T. Club (“Youth and Christ Helping Together”) held their final Fun Night April 28 at Naples Beach. Students attended Mass at St. Ann Parish before enjoying a beautiful sunset in memory of Shelley Raley, with Sister Katie Flanagan, FMA, and teacher Laura Roszkowski. Ralley, who passed away in 2018 was the group moderator and each of the club members had sunflowers in her honor. The YACHT Club is an instrumental component of the Campus Ministry Program. The mission of the club is to invite all students to the fullness of Christ’s love through service to others. Students plan and implement retreats, prayers services, liturgies and other events/services. They also take “cruises” to perform service in the community.
Neumann Track relay places 2nd at States
The St. John Neumann Catholic High School boys track 4×100 relay team was the FHSAA 1A State Runnerup May 4 during the Track and Field Championships at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. The Naples relay team placed second with a school record-breaking time of 42.23. The runners were Daniel DeSantis, Justin Mathieu, JP Raiger and Alex Myrin. No long after, Mathieu later placed second in the 1A Long Jump finals. Way to Go Celtics!
Camp Mercy in Sarasota
St. Patrick Parish, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, will be hosting Camp Mercy 2019 for the third year in a row from June 24-28, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.. This service-oriented summer camp is for children ages kindergarten to fifth grade. The cost is $75 for the week and includes a camp t-shirt. Registration is required by June 1. For more information, please call 941-378-1703 ext. 300.
Catholic Center May Crowning
On May 2, the staff of the Diocese of Venice Catholic Center gathered for a May Crowning ceremony led by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. The ceremony included a few songs and a Litany to Our Lady. In the Catholic tradition, May is devoted to Our Lady and many Diocesan parishes and a retreat center are dedicated to Mary.
Teacher, students earn Excellence in Education awards
On April 29, the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education Awards ceremony took place at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers. The chamber recognized educators and students in 30 Cape Coral elementary, middle and high schools. St. Andrew Catholic School Art teacher, Diana Villadolid, and eighth grader, Jackalyn Flynn, were honored for excellence as educator and student. Villadolid has taught Art at St. Andrew for 15 years. She facilitates the students’ participation in community art events such as those sponsored by the Alliance of the Arts and the Edison Ford Estate. She also serves as the school’s Marketing Director. Jackalyn Flynn will be graduating from St. Andrew Catholic School in May and has won awards for tennis (Cape Coral Parks and Recreation-First Place), soccer (SACS First Place team), art (Alliance of the Arts), and a three-time Sunshine State Luncheon attendee for achieving top levels in reading. She plans to attend Bishop Verot High School. She would enjoy becoming a writer or story editor someday.
Donation to Catholic Charities
The Venice Yacht Club Foundation recently presented a check for $5,000 to support the Family Haven of Catholic Charities which helps families in South Sarasota County transition from being homeless to finding more permanent housing.
Ave Maria University graduation
Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass for the Ave Maria University graduating class on May 3 in Ave Maria. The Bishop encourages the graduates to carry Christ with them always beyond college and into the next phase in their lives. Having the Lord by their side will give them the strength to overcome any obstacle they may face in the future.
VBS in Fort Myers June 24-28
St. Francis Xavier Parish in Fort Myers is hosting the “ROAR! Totally Catholic Vacation Bible School from June 24-28. It is a week of fun, games, snacks, crafts, and learning more about our faith! The cost is $30 per child, or $70 per family. Registration forms are found at www.stfrancisfm.org. Please all 239-246-2635 for more details. Register early as space is limited and VBS usually fills up!