News Briefs for the week of September 2, 2022

Office of the Bishop

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

Father Inna Reddy (Ignatius) Yeruva, M.o.C., relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar for Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish/Soup Kitchen in Immokalee, effective August 12, 2022.

Father Nathan Marzonie, O.M.V., as Parochial Vicar of San Pedro Parish in North Port, effective August 22, 2022.

Father Shawn Monahan, O.M.V., as Assistant Director of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center, Venice, effective September 1, 2022.

Father Lino Estadilla, O.M.V., relieved of his duties as Assistant Director of our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center, Venice, effective September 1, 2022, and thus has returned to his Religious Community.

Father Eric Scanlan, is appointed as Director of the Permanent Diaconate Program, Diocese of Venice in Florida, effective September 1, 2022.

28th Annual Undy Sunday coming in October to Collier County

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., in Collier County is hosting its 28th Annual Undy Sunday campaign. This effort is a collection of undergarments and socks for needy children in Collier County. This year, there are three ways to support this cause.

There will be collection containers marked “Undy Sunday” at the Parish exits, for on-site collection the weekends of Oct. 22 – 23, and Oct. 29 – 30. Please bring new and unused underwear and socks in sizes Small, Medium, and Large for children ages 5 -14.

The Undy Sunday team has an Amazon Charity Wish List where you can find current needs at

You can make a monetary donation using a secure online donor portal of Catholic Charities: All monetary donations will be used to purchase underwear and socks for the needy children. Any questions or comments, please contact Undy Sunday coordinators Mike Egan at 239-333-9933 or Tim Corcoran at 781-799-5486, or Catholic Charities at 239-455-2655 ext. 3100.

Mooney senior excels at international swim competition

Michaela Mattes, a world class swimmer who is in her senior year at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, recently helped lift TEAM USA to a win at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Honolulu, Hawaii from Aug. 24 to 27, 2022. Michaela finished the meet winning gold in the 1500m (mile) freestyle with a time of 16:25.19, and placed 3rd in the 800m freestyle in 8:35.78. She also placed 5th in the 400 individual medley and 9th in the 400 freestyle. Michaela was the overall 3rd top scorer for the USA women. With this Cougar’s help, TEAM USA won the Junior Pan PAC meet! The team consisted of 20 girls and 21 boys who were the fastest 18 & under (born in 2004 or later) from the US International Trials in April. The senior, who is a three-time State Champ in the 500m freestyle, is committed to swimming at the University of Florida starting in 2023.

Diapers urgently needed in Bonita Springs

Please do what you can to provide diapers to the Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., office in Bonita Springs, 28360 Beaumont Rd, Bonita Springs, FL 34134. They have put out a call as they are in dire need for diapers for clients because their shelves are bare. A donor who use to provide them in the past, has moved away. They particularly need sizes 5 & 6 for toddlers, as well as sizes 3 & 4 for newborns (not so much the smaller sizes). The Catholic Charities office is next to St. Leo the Great Parish and can be reached by calling 239-390-2928. You can also donate directly to Catholic Charities by visiting

Young students build robots and follow moon mission

A robotics class at St. Ann Catholic School in Naples had fun building and coding space rovers in anticipation of the NASA Artemis I rocket launch on Aug. 29, 2022. While the rocket never blasted off, the students had a blast building their miniature rovers and some even built rockets using Lego. These specialized skills are being learned as part of a broader STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum. This curriculum, guided by “The Gifts of Christ: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Affability, Fortitude, Humility, and Prudence,” grew out of a robotics program, and has expanded to enhance the spiritual and academic opportunities for students. With Artemis missions, NASA will collaborate with commercial and international partners and establish the first long-term presence on the Moon. Then they will use what they learn on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap: sending the first astronauts to Mars.

Married couples’ night in Fort Myers

The Hispanic Outreach of Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers celebrated married couples with a special dinner/dance on Aug. 26, 2022. The evening included prayer, a delicious meal and dancing. This was a gathering in celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage and the commitment of the couples to each other, through God. The theme of the night was “God once again manifests Himself through His word, remembering that those who once put their lives together was through the love of God.”

Viking Class golf tournament in Fort Myers

The annual Bishop Verot Catholic High School Athletic Booster Viking Golf Classic is Oct. 15, 2022, at Stoneybrook Golf Club, 21251 Stoneybrook Gold Blvd., Estero. There is an 8 a.m. shotgun start. Take your best shot on a few holes, as there will be some mini-games: hole-in-one contest, longest drive, and closest to the pin. After the tournament, enjoy a luncheon at the clubhouse, complete with raffles and a silent auction! Tickets are $150/person or $600/group. Sponsorships at multiple tiers are available. Reach out to Jason Baumgardner for more information at either or 239-274-6711.

Fans come out for football opener in Sarasota

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School students, parents, alumni and friends came out in droves to support the Cougars for the opening of the football season on Aug. 26, 2022, against Booker High School in Sarasota. The Cougars won the defensive battle 10-9 and have high hopes for the coming season. It was great to see so many familiar faces in the crowd cheering on the team.

5K Walk/Run for Life Oct. 8 in Naples

The 8th Annual St. Agnes 5K Walk/Run for Life will be held Oct. 8, 2022, with the goal of promoting a respect life message and raising funds for pro-life causes while encouraging healthy living (body and soul). Registration is at the Parish at 6 a.m., with the race at 7:15 a.m., at 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road in Naples. Only those registering by Oct. 2, will receive a race shirt. Registration is open at For more information, please call 239-592-1949 or email

First Responders Mass

The Knights of Columbus Saints Cosmas and Damian Council 13341 is honored to sponsor the First Responders Mass at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10, Our Lady of the Angels Parish, 12905 E. State Road 70, Lakewood Ranch. The Mass will honor the work of public safety personnel, including law enforcement officials, firefighters, and emergency medical service personnel. This Mass is a way to recognize the sacrifice of first responders and to remember those who have given their lives in service to their communities. All are welcome.

40 Days for Life Fall Campaign begins soon

The Fall Campaign of 40 Days for Life begins Sept. 28 and ends Nov. 6, 2022. Check with your Parish coordinator to join your Parish’s day on the sidewalk or go to (look under the locations tab for Sarasota or Fort Myers). Your presence can be a powerful sign to women in need that there are better options available. Questions? Contact Jeanne Berdeaux at or 941-374-1068. Join the 40 Days for Life Fort Myers kickoff event at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 13, outside of Planned Parenthood, 6418 Commerce Park Drive, Fort Myers. The event will be highlighted by national pro-life speaker and author Terry Beatley. The Kick-Off Rally in Sarasota is from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Community Pregnancy Clinic, 1419 7th St., Sarasota (around the corner from Planned Parenthood). The guest speaker will be Lisa Rowe, CEO of Support After Abortion.

Priest appreciation dinners coming soon

The Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women invites all to one of two Priest Appreciation Dinners the group is hosting. The dinners are intended to honor all priests serving in the Diocese. The first dinner is 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 16, at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Hall, 1301 Center Road, Venice, while the second is at the same time on Friday, October 7, at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. The dinner is $45. For those interested in attending either dinner, please contact Ellen Bachman at 941-721-7393 or

Eucharistic Conference in September

Inspired by the National Eucharistic Revival movement, St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples is creating the opportunity for people to learn more about Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. The one-day Eucharistic Conference is 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. The day features talks and worship music in both English and Spanish. There are sessions only in Spanish at the same time as the only English sessions followed by Eucharistic worship in both languages. Father Casey Jones, Pastor of St. Elizabeth Seton, and Jon Niven, Music Director at Seton, are hosting the English track. Special guests Juan De La Rosa, Director de la Renovación Carismática and Fernando Torres, Ministerio Agnes Dei Líder de Adoración, both from the Archdiocese of New York, are hosting the Spanish sessions. The day will end with a bilingual Vigil Mass at 4:30 pm. Breakfast and lunch are provided. Cost is $10 per person. Registration is on Seton’s website, The Parish is located at 5225 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples. Please call 239-455-3900 for any additional information.

White Mass for Healthcare Professionals in Naples

Registration is now open for the annual White Mass for health care professionals at 8:30 a.m., Oct. 15, 2022, at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples. A blessing of the stethoscopes will also be held. Physicians are asked to wear their white coats. There will be a breakfast and lecture in the Parish Center with guest speaker Dr. Christina Puchalski, a pioneer and international leader in the movement to integrate spirituality into healthcare in clinical settings and medical education. Physicians and nurses may qualify for continuing education credit. For more information, and to register, please visit

Sarasota Laps for Life Oct. 8

Join the Sarasota Laps for Life 5K on Siesta Key Beach from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. This year the Knights of Columbus are running to benefit SOLVE maternity homes in Bradenton, Sarasota and Englewood. SOLVE provides cost-free housing, counseling and support for women and teens with unintended pregnancies. Why run? Promote a culture that encourages life in abundance by providing the support and resources available for both mother and child so they can flourish. Join us as we celebrate life in abundance! See for details and registration.


Young Sarasota student twirls to top of sport

With seemingly no effort, 13-year-old Jax Scott can work a baton like a seasoned veteran, performing moves and tosses only elite twirlers can master after many years of failure and practice.

Yet, in little more than two years of hard work and dedication, Jax, an eighth-grade student at Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota, earned the right to represent the USA at an international competition after taking the top prize at the July 2022 U.S. National Baton Twirling Championships in Stockton, California.

“It felt great,” Jax said. “I was proud of myself working the past few years competing and when I went to nationals, the first goal was to qualify for team USA. And I did it.”

At nationals, Jax took first place in the two baton and artistic twirl competitions and second in the solo competition. His overall score earned him the right to go to the August 2023 International Baton Twirling Federation Nations in Liverpool, England as a representative of TEAM USA.

Jax credits his parents, family, coaches and friends for supporting him in what is primarily known as a female-dominated sport. This does not matter as he focuses on learning new tricks, having exciting experiences and makes friends from across the country.

“Not many think it’s cool or fun, but I do,” Jax said. “My friends are really supportive and are happy when I master new tricks… My advice is, do not give up on what you are practicing. Ask your coaches, and they will help you and guide you through them… And if you cannot catch it, improve by the loss… This is a sport originated by men and when I saw what was possible, I knew it was cool. The great thing is you can be innovative with your routine… there are fire batons, glow batons and even breakdancing.”

It was a family house cleaning that put Jax on the road to success in the early days of the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020. “I came across the baton and didn’t even know what it was, but then I would do tricks that most beginners wouldn’t be able to do… After my first lesson, I just fell in love with it. I would practice every day, right after school.”

The baton was his mother’s, Jennifer Neumann, who was a baton twirler as a young girl but had moved on to other passions, putting the tool in storage for her family to find many years later.

“We saw right away how skilled he was and how passionate he became,” Neumann said.

Realizing this was not just a passing fancy, Jax’s parents contacted twirling coaches Cody Carter and Jennifer Marcus, who have helped guide the young student to excel.

Jax sees Carter as his idol and mentor. Carter is an honors student at Arizona State University who has been twirling since he was seven years old and is a three-time world champion who also appeared at the age of 14 on season 11 of America’s Got Talent.

After watching many twirling videos, and a few online chats during several Zoom calls, Jax finally met his idol in person. Marcus is his Florida-based coach who lives on the east coast and meets with Jax once a month.

Both are readily available when Jax has questions regarding learning new routines and how to prepare for competitions.

The thing that most attracted Jax to the sport was the extreme difficulty of learning how to manipulate the baton to complete harder and harder tricks which drove him to push himself to try harder whenever something did not work immediately.

“You are going to mess up every so often during your routines, like dropping or forgetting tricks,” Jax said. “But you try again and again. Looking back at my early work and I wasn’t even doing it right and then to see how much I have improved, that is very satisfying and helps push me to work harder.”

Jax will spend the next year practicing one to two hours each day after school. So far, he has more than 35 tricks in his repertoire and his athleticism enables him to include cartwheels and high tosses while manipulating and spinning two batons.

Neumann said it is hard to express the amount of hard work and dedication Jax put into becoming the top baton twirler in his age group.

“We are extremely thankful for our Parish and school for their support,” she said. “It is important for others to see what Jax can do in a short time and perhaps be able to experience the love and passion he has for baton.”

Neumann added that their three youngest children are also taking up the baton and the family is working to raise money to help offset the costs of the trip to England next year. A Go Fund Me page has been set up, which can be found by searching for IBTF Nations Cup World Competition, or by using this link,

One week in and students fully engaged

The ubiquitous car line, the trudging of feet in the hallways, the ringing of the first bell, morning prayers and then classroom instruction.

These scenes are repeated each day at the 15 Diocese of Venice Catholic schools which began instruction for the 2022-2023 Academic Year on Aug. 8, 2022, with the full complement of 5,837 students engaged in schoolwork by Aug. 10.

The first days were full of everyone figuring out where to go, reuniting with old friends or making new ones, participating in their first academic lessons and taking part in any of a myriad of extracurricular activities.

At Diocesan Catholic schools, each student attended an opening Mass, either the first day of school, or within the first week.

Jesuit Father John Belmonte, Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Education, started the year by celebrating Mass for students at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples on Aug. 10, and then doing the same on Aug. 16, for the students at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers.

Diocesan schools are fully implementing the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) learning model into all classrooms. At the same time, the incorporation of the Diocesan curriculum called, “The Gifts of Christ: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Affability, Fortitude, Humility, and Prudence,” is growing out of a robotics program which broadens the opportunities for each student.

This approach, fully supported through the generosity of Bishop Frank J. Dewane, places students ahead of the curve in primary fields while continuing to promote core Catholic virtues by helping students to develop cognitive thought processes and gain skills such as leadership, communication, complex problem solving, teamwork and creativity.

The first Friday at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples was a House Retreat Day, where new students are assigned to one of four Houses which serve as their center of social and school spirit activities throughout the coming year. Each of the four teams competes for points to earn different rewards or prizes throughout the year, with a trophy for the winners at the end.

The first week flew by at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers, where 854 students, the most in its long history, roamed the halls. The week concluded with the annual Freshman Retreat from Aug. 12-13. Students learned about Bishop Verot and the traditions and expectations being a Verot Viking. The retreat is led by seniors who will serve as mentors to the underclassmen as they go forward in high school. Highlights of the weekend included doing service work in the community at the Humane Society and Food Bank among other locations. They students also took part in a traditional candlelight prayer vigil in the courtyard.

Enrollment numbers are also way up at St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring where  the students quickly dove into their studies in reading, writing, mathematics, science, technology, Spanish and much more, but all grounded in the Faith.

The largest Diocesan elementary school, St. Francis Xavier in Fort Myers, has 578 students, and the campus was buzzing as classrooms filled and everyone settled into the school year.

Just before school began, the three Catholic schools in Lee County were the beneficiary of the Catholic Schools Night on Aug. 5, at The Mighty Mussels minor league baseball game at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers. Part of the proceeds benefitted the St. Francis Xavier, Bishop Verot, as well as St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral. St. Andrew Principal David Nelson threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

For the first time ever, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Port Charlotte began its first bus run with 24 on board, including six from nearby Arcadia. This is an exciting opportunity for children from this part of the Diocese to experience a Diocesan Catholic education.

These are just a few of the examples of what took place during the first week of school in the Diocese of Venice and doesn’t even come close to covering the full scope of the exciting things that are taking place each day. Stay tuned as we follow our students throughout the school year

To learn more about Diocese of Venice Catholic schools, please visit


Diocesan Catholic Schools open

The first day for Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Venice was Aug. 8, 2022, and encompassed the usual mix of excitement, tears (children and parents) and reunions among friends.

“Love you!” “Miss you already!” “One more hug!” “Have a great day!” “Have fun!”

These were some of the words from parents and students as the first day carline was full of stops and starts at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice. While the parents tried to figure out the proper carline procedures the students emerged from their respective family vehicles with their ubiquitous backpacks, a bounce in their step and enthusiasm to get to class. Of course, there were a few stragglers who weren’t quite certain where to go, but teachers and middle school helpers led the way.

A morning assembly in the courtyard in front of the school Chapel, put the students in the right frame of mind for the day and the Academic Year as everyone joined in morning prayers, the Pledge of Allegiance, as well as a few birthday announcements.

Msgr. Patrick Dubois, Rector of Epiphany Cathedral, and Father Alex Pince, Parochial Vicar, blessed the children with holy water. Also present was Jesuit Father John Belmonte, Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Education.

“Who is excited for this school year?” Father Belmonte queried, and immediately hands shot up and a cheer of “Yes!” came from the 250 students. “Who is ready to learn; to grow in your faith and to be at the best school anywhere?” Again, the hands shot up and cheers echoed throughout the courtyard.

“We are all here to make sure this year is the best year ever,” Father continued. “I wish all of you a very successful and exciting school year.”

Then the eager students were off to the classroom to learn and grow spiritually and academically. For the youngest students, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, some parents escorted their child into the classroom. Following a few last “First Day of School” photos, the parents departed, and everyone quickly settled into their seats comforted in the knowledge that they now had 20 or more new friends.

These scenes were repeated at each Diocesan Catholic school. The high schools had less tears and more fun as those students settled into their year. At each Diocesan Catholic high school – Bishop Verot in Fort Myers Cardinal Mooney in Sarasota and St. John Neumann in Naples – there were special “Senior Sunrise” welcomes for the graduating class of 2023.

The Diocesan Catholic schools work conscientiously to provide Christ-centered learning experiences that are transportable to the real world and provide the opportunity for children to develop life-long learning skills and to be successful beyond the classroom.

Father Belmonte said the 2022-2023 Academic Year began with enrollment of 5,837, a more than 14% increase over the previous year. In fact, Father Belmonte said each Diocesan school has a wait list in at least one grade level, and many are seeing enrollment reaching levels not seen in more than a decade. With those enrollment numbers, many new faces, and many new families are now part of the greater Diocesan Catholic school family.

“There has been a focused effort to let the community in on the secret that Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools provide a top-notch education at all grade levels,” Father Belmonte said. “There are exciting things happening in our schools and families are taking notice.”

That excitement includes the inclusion of the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) model into all classrooms while incorporating the Diocesan curriculum called, “The Gifts of Christ: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Affability, Fortitude, Humility, and Prudence.” This is all part of an incorporated Diocesan robotics program which broadens the opportunities for each student.

This approach, fully supported through the generosity of Bishop Frank J. Dewane, places students ahead of the curve in primary fields while continuing to promote core Catholic virtues by helping students to develop cognitive thought processes and gain skills such as leadership, communication, complex problem solving, teamwork and creativity.

As the 2022-2023 Academic Year progresses each Catholic school student will look back fondly at the first day and remember that “this is the best year ever.”

For more information about Diocesan Catholic schools, please visit

Summer camps bring love of Christ to young faces

“Learned about Jesus!” “Learned about the Bible!” “Took part in fun and games at my Parish!” “Took a trip with friends from my Parish!” “God loves me, no matter what!” “I developed skills to help one day become an engineer!” “Gained a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary!” “Grew closer to the Lord!”

These are just some of the answers which children from across the Diocese of Venice will give to their friends and teachers when they return to the classroom and are asked: What did you do this summer?

At nearly every Parish in the Diocese there were a variety of captivating summer camps, with faith at their core. During these camps, thousands of children were engaged, and their young minds were, at least temporarily, focused on the Lord.

At eight Parishes, the Diocese of Venice Department of Religious Education and Office of Evangelization brought “Totus Tuus” camps for children and teens. This program was dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic Faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness and Eucharistic worship. The camps were directed by a team of four missionaries and two Diocesan seminarians. Parish staff and volunteers augmented the team and together they made the week memorable for all who participated.

The most common of these camps is the Vacation Bible School program which was offered at more than 35 parishes in the Diocese this summer. This weeklong Bible themed camp focused on learning the important lessons of Scripture in a fun and engaging way. The two most common themes this summer were “Monumental: Celebrating God’s Greatness” and “Come to Mama.” At Vacation Bible School, children attended daily Mass and participated in Eucharistic Adoration. They also learned uplifting songs and dances, made crafts and generally had a great time.

Several Parishes also hosted summer activities for the teens, some included taking part in service projects, while others went on retreat, either locally or even out-of-state.

A dozen different Diocesan groups took part in Camp Covecrest 2022, a Life Teen retreat throughout the summer in northern Georgia which focuses on leading teens closer to Christ. This is an intensive retreat which focuses the teens on building their relationship with the Lord through team activities, reflection, and prayer. The focus of these retreats included Eucharistic Adoration, opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and participating in Mass.

In addition, St. Michael Parish in Wauchula, took a special trip for teens to Vogel State Park in Blairsville, Georgia. This trip was led by women religious of the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará. While based at the state park, the groups began each day with morning prayers, then travelled throughout the region and made certain to attend daily Mass at one of the local Catholic Churches. The evening routine included 30 minutes of talks and small group discussion, as well as 30 minutes of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Days were filled with a variety of activities, including hiking, rafting, swimming, as well as visits to water parks and more casual walks through mountain towns.

Meanwhile, multiple Diocesan Catholic schools hosted STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) camps. Some of these camps covered several weeks and introduced the eager students to new projects such as arts and crafts, engineering various objects and other activities that incorporated the different aspects of STREAM. The longer camps stressed different skills and included field trips to augment the in-class experience. The camps actively incorporated Catholic values and virtues through the Diocesan curriculum called, “The Gifts of Christ: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Affability, Fortitude, Humility, and Prudence.”

For the athlete in many of our young people, the area Catholic high schools hosted a variety of sports camps for soccer, football, basketball, cheerleading and many others. These camps offered a chance for younger children to learn the skills needed to excel in different sports while at the same time they had fun.

Catholic Charities in Bonita Springs held a summer-long camp for children which included a variety of fun games and projects giving the children the opportunity to show off their athletic, artistic and other skills. The campers also took a variety of fun field trips.

At Casa San Juan Bosco farmworker housing in Arcadia, Catholic Charities hosted a summer camp there for resident children. The activities included arts and crafts, as well as the opportunity to continue to develop their reading skills.

These are just some of the examples of the exciting activities that took place for the thousands of young people in the Diocese during the “slow” season.

News Briefs for the week of July 15, 2022

Priestly Ordination to be Livestreamed

Bishop Frank J. Dewane invites the faithful to watch, via a livestream, the Ordination to the Priesthood of Transitional Deacons Christian Chami, David Portorreal, and Michael Young at 11 a.m., Saturday, July 16, from Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. The Ordination, presided over by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, will be livestreamed via the Cathedral at Links will also be available via the Diocesan website,, or the Cathedral website, The livestream will begin a few minutes before 11 a.m. and be accessible later for those unable to watch live. Please note that you do not need to have a Facebook account to watch the livestream.



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

Father Anthony Armstrong, O.Carm., appointed as Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Osprey, effective July 1, 2022.

Father Frederick Tillotson, O.Carm., retired as Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Osprey, effective July 1, 2022, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish.

Father Patrick Wilson, S.A.C., retired as Parochial Vicar of St. Martha Parish, effective July 4, 2022, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar of St. Martha Parish.

Father Alexander Pince, appointed as Parochial Vicar of Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, effective July 1, 2022, as he completed Licentiate Studies in Moral Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.


Former Naples Pastor dies

Father John M. O’Neill, Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, former Pastor at St. Ann Parish in Naples, died July 9, 2022, at the age of 77. Ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 1973, Father O’Neill served at schools and Parishes in Ohio, New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Father was also assistant to the President of DeSales University and held several positions with the Oblates. Within the Diocese of Venice, Father O’Neill served as Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers from 2005-2008, and as Pastor of St. Ann Parish from June 2008 to March 2009. Father also served as a teacher at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers. A Mass of Christian Burial was held Thursday, July 14, 2022, at the Oblate Community Chapel in Childs, Maryland. Please pray for the repose of the soul of Father O’Neill, and for the consolation of his family.


Food pantry needs help

The St. Joseph Food Pantry in Bradenton is in need of peanut butter. This staple is an important part of the pantry’s Family Bags and provides a key source of protein for children in need in Manatee County. The Food Pantry is happy to accept bulk, large, and small containers of peanut butter, as well as other non-perishable food items. If you wish to make a financial contribution, your donation can be doubled thanks to a partnership with the Flanzer Trust. Donations can be delivered to 2704 33rd Ave. W. Bradenton, FL  34205, Monday thru Friday 9 a.m. till noon. Please call 941-756 3732 or email if you have any questions or if you need to make arrangements for drop off. For more information about how you can help, please visit


Marking 60 years of religious life

Sister Maureen Carroll is a Missionary Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSC) and is marking 60 years of religious life in 2022. A teacher at St. Ann Catholic School in Naples since 1989, Sister Maureen has taught grades 1 to 4 in Catholic schools in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Illinois and Florida. Sister is a Support Teacher and teaches 2nd grade Religion at St. Ann and says her greatest joy is to lead the children to Jesus through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. Congratulations Sister Maureen!


Parish hosts annual 4th of July Picnic

St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Port Charlotte hosted its annual Fourth of July Family Picnic which drew hundreds to celebrate our nation’s freedom and the opportunity to enjoy some good food made by the parishioners.


St. Andrew alumnus named MLB All-Star

Congratulations to 2012 St. Andrew Catholic School Alumnus Shane McClanahan on being selected to his first career MLB All Star game, as starting pitcher representing the Tampa Bay Rays. McClanahan went to Cape Coral High School and then University of South Florida. He was the 31st Pick overall in 2018 MLB Draft for the Rays. In his second season in the majors, the lefthander has a 9-3 record, with a 1.73 earned run average and 141 strikeouts.


Independence Day Bike and Golf Cart Parade

The Knights of Columbus Ave Maria Assembly 3862 hosted the 6th annual “God Bless America” Independence Day Bike and Golf Cart Parade in Ave Maria. The ceremony began in the Piazza on the steps of the Church and included patriotic songs, prayers for our country, then a “Blessing of the Bikes.” The parade, which drew more than 500 people of all ages, include motorcycles, bicycles, trikes, golf carts, skateboards, and strollers all led by a fire truck.

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!