Hispanic Emmaus group holds gathering

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

For about 1,000 people a recent Sunday was spent growing and better rooting their love for the Lord while also gaining a profound sense of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

These were some of the things learned during the 2nd Diocese of Venice Congress of Emmaus (Emaus) which took place May 19 at the Lee Civic Center in North Fort Myers. The event, which was in Spanish, was for those who have completed an Emmaus weekend retreat in the past and served as an opportunity to renew and recapture the fire that grew in them during their first retreat.

It was during that retreat during where they learned a new way to live their life, as Jesus taught in the Gospel of Luke with a particular emphasis on the story about the Road to Emmaus.

“Beautiful!” “Amazing!” “Powerful” “I felt Christ’s love!” These were just some of the reactions of people as they finished a 10-hour day. Between the speakers, the music and the community that everyone felt, the day was a huge success. Many commented on how uplifting and unifying the day was, bringing them closer to Jesus Christ is ways they did not expect.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the closing Mass for the day and said he was very pleased to see such an enthusiastic group dedicating an entire day to growing closer to the Lord through the Blessed Sacrament.

The Bishop specifically credited the Diocesan Spiritual Directors for Hispanic Emmaus, Fathers Jiobani Batista, Luis Pacheco and Luis Albarracin, for their commitment in supporting the Emmaus retreats and for bringing everyone together for the gathering to celebrate the Lord in a special way.

Father Batista, Pastor of St. Margaret Parish in Clewiston, said the goal of the gathering was to inflame the participants with the miracle of Risen Lord as we continue our spiritual journey during this Easter Season.

“We also wanted to convey a renewed and deep devotion to the Eucharist,” Father Batista said. “After going on an Emmaus retreat, the powerful impact can fade over time. This gathering is a renewal so that everyone will carry this message and bring their excitement back to their parishes, spreading the message of the Lord to others.”

Each of the talks focused on the Eucharist. During the say, there was Eucharistic Adoration, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and music all building upon the theme. This led everyone toward the climatic conclusion of the day, the celebration of the Eucharist during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Speakers included Father Emilio Acevedo, Father Jose Asuncion Briones Barrientos, and Sister Maria Mercedez Rodriguez-Gomez, MHML, of St. Margaret Parish. Music was provided by the Custodia de Cristo and Son del Senor del Miami. The featured music was provided by Catholic singer-songwriter Jon Carlo.

The Emmaus retreat program is a Diocesan-approved retreat weekend that takes place three times a year in both English and Spanish. It’s open to all men and women ages 20 or older seeking to grow in their relationship with Christ regardless of their present level of faith and practice. The purpose of the weekend is to give adults the opportunity to reflect upon themselves, their relationship with God and their community.

The next full gathering of Emmaus retreatants will be April 25, 2020 at the Lee Civic Center. To learn more about Emmaus retreats across the Diocese, contact your local parish or email emaus@dioceseofvenice.org or emmaus@dioceseofvenice.org.

Parish welcomes visiting religious priests

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

A driving rain storm did little to quell the enthusiasm of the faithful at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Immokalee when they welcomed more than 40 Missionaries of St. Charles (Scalabrinians) who were visiting the parish for the Mass as part of a week-long Provincial Assembly in Boca Raton.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was the main celebrant for a May 9 Mass. Father Mario Germia, CS, General Councilor of the Order, and Provincial Superior Father Maocir Balen, CS, Parish Pastor Father Carlos Reyes-Ramirez, CS, and Parochial Vicar Father Wilner Durosier, CS, as well as the other Scalabrinian priests concelebrated the Mass.

The assembly side-trip to Immokalee for the priests was planned to thank the community for their support of the religious order through the years and to see the progress on the construction of the new Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church which is nearing completion adjacent to the existing church.

The first Scalabrinian priests arrived at Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1985 and the community has served there ever since. Several priests who previously served at the parish were present for the celebration and were, following the Mass, individually recognized and cheered by the faithful for their service.

Bishop Dewane expressed his humble and heartfelt gratitude for the years the Missionaries of St. Charles have been in the Diocese, serving the faithful here and continuing to reach out to other missions that were founded.

“I cannot help but express a strong genuine gratefulness and thanks for your vocation, for your choosing to be a member of the Missionaries of St. Charles, and for the sacrifices that you make,” the Bishop added. “Also, for the good that you do for the people of God, and particularly here in Immokalee by building up the faith community.”

The welcome from the parishioners was overwhelming as they packed the church for the tri-lingual Mass (English, Spanish and Creole) and afterwards joyously cheered the visiting priests for their vocation and continued service to the community.

Provincial Father Balen thanked Bishop Dewane for his ongoing support of the Scalabrinian priests who continue to serve in Immokalee. He also thanked the faithful of the parish for their enthusiasm for the visit, noting that the group was expecting a quiet time for Mass and some reflection but instead they were welcomed with joyous open arms that reflect the love of Christ that permeates throughout the parish.

“Thank you to Bishop Dewane and thank you all for the love you have showed us,” Father Balen said in English and Spanish.

The Missionaries of St. Charles – Scalabrinians – are an international community of religious missionaries dedicated to the service of migrants of differing cultures and ethnicities in countries throughout the world. We are a religious apostolic community called by God to share in the mission of the church by helping migrants discover and carry out the plan of salvation during human migration and within their lives.  The Congregation was founded on Nov. 28, 1887 by Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini (1839-1905), Bishop of Piacenza, Italy.

Scalabrinians are committed to the promotion of human dignity and human rights of migrants, including their faith and cultural values.  They are also committed to promote the total salvation of mankind, leading migrants in particular, to a rediscovery of faith in their lives with a longing for dignity and justice.

The Scalabrinian Fathers of the Province of St. Charles Borromeo Provincial Assembly gathered priests who serve in the eastern U.S., eastern Canada, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Following the Mass, a fiesta was held and in spite of the rain, everyone persevered and enjoyed themselves as the food was served under the awning of the new church and all sat at tables under tents set up in the parking lot.

Bishop Dewane noted during the Mass that the new building, which has been under construction for more than two years, will soon be opened and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered. “Your patience has been appreciated and you will be rewarded with another celebration very soon.”

Mooney seniors graduate

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Congratulations to Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Class of 2019. They are now high school graduates who leave their time with a Diocesan Catholic education that has prepared them well for their journey into adulthood.

The commencement exercises were held May 17 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota. Valedictorian Lorca Looney Stainton and Salutatorian Sam Dillion Koscho both spoke during the commencement, sharing words of wisdom and reflecting upon the benefits of their Catholic education.

The Commencement Address was given by Dr. Janina Morusiewicz Krajewski, Mooney Class of 1994, who owns a veterinary hospital in Palmetto.

The 102 graduates earned a combined $9.5 million in scholarships with all of the students going on to some of the finest college and universities in the country.

The students participated in a May 15 Baccalaureate Mass at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota, which was celebrated by priests of the Diocese, with Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis and uncle of two of the graduates, as the main celebrant. Mooney Chaplain Father Eric Scanlan delivered the homily and said the students were taught to learn that the Catholic Faith is “a Faith that calls us to love our God above all things and our neighbor as oneself. A Faith that sees God in all that is good and true and beautiful.”

Father Scanlan also encouraged the graduate to believe as they go forward that Christ will do everything He can to deliver them to fulfillment and true happiness. “To do this, you need to stay close to Him. Stay close to Him in the years to come. All he wants is you; your heart, and whatever comes, if you are with Him – all will be well.”

The most inspiring moment of the graduation was when Jaelen Childs received his diploma. It was on Jan. 31 when the baseball player was critically injured in a traffic crash not far from the high school. The baseball player has struggled to recover from a shattered left femur and pelvis as well as internal injuries and received a great deal of support from the school and classmate which helped him to persevere and to be at the commencement.

Childs is still recovering from his injuries and was in a wheelchair on stage during the ceremony. After each of the other students were presented their diplomas, Assistant Principal Stefan Gates called out his name. With the aid of crutches, he walked across the stage to a standing ovation to receive his high school diploma.

Diocesan Council of Catholic Women gather

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

A group of dedicated Catholic women has answered the call of Christ as they imitate Him in how they live their lives each day.

These women are represented by the Venice Diocese Council of Catholic Women (VDCCW) serving as an example of a heartfelt commitment to serve the Church while dedicating themselves to being open to the Holy Spirit.

Each year members gather for a convention with the goal of unifying their efforts to do the most good for the benefit of all. The 34th Annual Convention was held April 27 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

A central part of the gathering was the women participating in a celebration of the Mass which was celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. Several priests concelebrated the Mass including Father Joseph Connolly, TOR, who is the VDCCW Spiritual Advisor, as well as Fathers Blake Britton, Sebastian Szczawínski, Gordon Zanetti and Chuck Ruoff.

Bishop Dewane praised the VDCCW for coming together and giving witness to the Faith by how they are believers and followers of Jesus Christ who are called forth to reach out to others.

“As a group of believers, the CCW comes together bringing a strength to the Church,” Bishop Dewane said. “Reach out to others and help them to see the Lord in a new way as Christ made us all new in His Resurrection.”

VDCCW acts through its membership to support, empower, and educate all Catholic women in spirituality, leadership and service. Council programs exude Gospel values and serve the needs of the Church and society in the modern world. To exemplify this, the VDCCW is a strong supporter of the Diocesan seminarians and again presented a check to Bishop Dewane for the Diocesan Seminarian Fund.

The women also learned about a variety of topics including a presentation about human trafficking from representatives of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. who work with victims each day. The VDCCW presented a check to Catholic Charities from the Hugs for Homeless Fund for use to help the victims of human trafficking.

Father Britton, of the Diocese of Orlando, was the keynote speaker who focused on the power of femininity and the need to rehabilitate the view of beauty in society. Father cited St. John Paul II’s apostolic letter “The Dignity of Women” (Mulieris Dignitatem), Edith Stein’s “Letters to Women” and others.

Brenda Dolan, who has served as VDCCW president for the past several years and will now serve as Co-President, noted how the convention serves to unify and inspire the members of the VDCCW. Among those present for the convention were members of the VDCCW Juniors from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula.

In addition to the support for the Seminarian Fund, this year, three mothers of priests were honored for their nurturing support of their sons who chose a vocation to the priesthood. The mothers honored were: Cornelia Zanetti, mother of Father Gordon of St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral; Agnes Ruoff-Perkins, mother of Father Chuck of St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples; and Kate Cogan, mother of Father Jim Cogan of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in Parrish.

The 2019 convention also included an installation of the new officers with Brenda Dolan and Ellen Bachman now serving as Co-Presidents, and Josephine Weiss as President-elect. They will serve for two years.

For more information about the Venice Diocese Council of Catholic Women please visit their new website at www.vdccw.com.

Scouting Awards presented

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Girls and boys from throughout the Diocese of Venice participated in a Mass on May 5 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice wearing the uniforms of their Scout troop.

Designated as “Scouting Sunday,” the Mass was followed by an award ceremony in the Parish Hall to celebrate and recognize the girls and boys who commit themselves to scouting while remaining true to the Faith. Members of the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies, American Heritage Girls (AHG) and the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Society participated in the ceremony.

During a reception following Mass, Bishop Frank J. Dewane presented more than 250 awards, with some Scouts receiving multiple honors. The awards included: Rosary Series, Faith Series, Footsteps of American Saints, Modern Saints, Women in Scripture, Models of Faith, Child of God, Family of God, Mother Mary, Queen of the Rosary, Mary, the First Disciple, I Live My Faith, Priesthood Sunday, Light of Christ, Parvuli Dei, Ad Altare Dei awards. Each award requires the Scout to participate in different activities which help increase their Faith and become more difficult to earn as the Scout advances.

During the awards ceremony, Diocesan Scout Awards Coordinator Bob Paquette presented Dewane was presented with the Quality Diocese Award, which is given to a Diocese for its commitment to supporting Catholic Scouting. This is the 10th year in a row the Diocese of Venice has received this award.

Three American Heritage Girl Troops earned the Pope Paul VI Catholic Quality Unit Award: Troop 1203 of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Fort Myers; Troop 2112 of Epiphany Cathedral in Venice; and Troop 1029 of Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria. Additional adult recognition included the Duty to God, the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and the Bronze Pelican awards.

Lastly, Melissa Harkness of the American Heritage Girl Troop 1203 at St. Francis Xavier parish in Fort Myers was presented the Companions on the Journey Award, the highest recognition from the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry for a Diocese to confer to an adult working in youth ministry.

Recognizing the hard work and commitment that the Scouts from throughout the Diocese of Venice make to earn the Catholic Religious Awards, Bishop Dewane congratulated each of the award recipients and all Scouts.

Participating in the ceremony was Scouts Chaplain Father Lawton Lang, who is an Eagle Scout, and Diocese of Venice Director of Evangelization Joshua Mazrin.

New Foundation endowment fund to help Catholic Charities program

Staff Report

Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf recently joined a rapidly growing list of donors who have chosen to partner with the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida to help create their Catholic Legacies. By establishing an endowment fund with the Foundation, the Oberndorfs are helping to ensure the long-term sustainability of the programs and ministries about which they care most.

Rosemary and Lou are passionate about their faith and about making a difference by supporting the Good Works of the Catholic Church within the Diocese of Venice and beyond.

“Lou and I are so impressed with Catholic Charities and their wonderful programs for the homeless, especially for single mothers and families within Sarasota County,” Rosemary said of Our Mother’s House, which provides mothers who might otherwise be homeless not only with safe housing but a program that has a proven track record of success.

Lou added that because the couple wanted the wonderful work of Our Mother’s House “to continue far into the future, we established an endowment fund that will help sustain these programs well beyond our lifetimes.”

The Oberndorfs formally signed their endowment fund paperwork during a brief ceremony April 23 at the Catholic Center in Venice. The signing included Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Diocesan Chancellor Dr. Volodymyr Smeryk, Foundation Executive Director Michael Morse, and Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc. CEO Philomena Pereira.

Bishop Dewane thanked the Oberndorfs for their generosity and for their confidence in the Foundation to focus their charitable efforts in a specific and meaningful way.

Pereira stated that “the ongoing support provided by the Oberndorf Endowment Fund will assist single mothers and their young children at Our Mother’s House to achieve self-sufficiency through education, vocational training and personal growth.”

More and more individuals and families, like the Oberndorfs, are choosing the Catholic Community Foundation as their philanthropic partner to help them fulfill their charitable goals. The Foundation offers services similar to other community foundations but differs from them in one very important way – the Foundation is a faith-based, Catholic organization. This means the Foundation will only support Catholic, pro-life or social service agencies whose missions are in alignment with the teachings of the Catholic Church. It also means that all endowed gifts are invested according to the socially-responsible guidelines established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Morse, of the Foundation, stated “We are very blessed to have the opportunity to work with people like Rosemary and Lou who care so much about their Catholic Faith and who want to make sure the Church’s programs and ministries will be here to serve those in need for generations to come.”

In addition to endowment funds, the Foundation offers a wide range of gifting options for donors including scholarship funds, donor advised funds, charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts and more.  According to Morse, the Foundation works with each donor individually to first understand what they want to accomplish and then determine how best to accomplish it.

To learn more about the Catholic Community Foundation, please contact Michael Morse at 941-441-1124 or by email at Morse@dioceseofvenice.org.  You can also visit the Foundation website at www.CCFDioceseofvenice.org.

Support for Catholic Charities shines during Gala season

Staff Report

From late January through early April the faithful have had multiple opportunities to have fun while also supporting the important programs of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc.

Starting with the 30th Annual Sarasota Charity Ball on Jan. 26, through the Sugar Bowl Show of Shows in Bradenton on April 5, these events serve a dual purpose of raising money but also raising awareness of the varied programs that help the neediest in the community.

The Teach a Man to Fish Gala was held Feb. 2 at the Englewood Elks Lodge, benefitting the New Paradigm of Catholic Charities program which provides transitional housing for struggling families in Charlotte County.

 

A week later was the Venetian Ball, which was held Feb. 9 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort in Bonita Springs, to benefit the programs in Lee, Hendry and Glades counties. The 2019 Frank Galeana Sr. Humanitarian Award went to the Students, Faculty, and Staff of Bishop Verot Catholic High School for their generous support of Catholic Charities and continued willingness to help members of the community.

Next came an event with a country and western theme, the Feb. 23 Boots and Bandanas at Kingsway Golf and Country Club in Lake Suzy to benefit programs in DeSoto County.

On the last day of February, the Our Mother’s House Wine Tasting and Dinner Auction at the Venice Community Center drew a huge crowd to help the program that helps prevent homelessness for mothers with young children.

 

The good times were rolling at the Bethesda House Mardi Gras Madness at Michael’s On East in Sarasota on March 2. The fundraiser benefited the program for people living with HIV. Guests were dressed in bright Mardi Gras colors and masks.

Next came the annual Emerald Ball at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort in Naples to support the programs in Collier County. A featured program was the Weekend Powerpack program which provides snacks and food for the poorer children in the area on weekends.

The season concluded with two fabulous events on the same day. First, about 200 golfers took part in the 2019 AFCAAM Charity Golf Classic at the Forest Country Club in Fort Myers. Proceeds from the tournament benefited AFCAAM of Catholic Charities, which provides disadvantaged children with the After-School Reading Program and Youth Mentoring Programs in the communities of Dunbar and Harlem Heights.

That same night, the rock and roll harmonies of the Atlantic City Boys entertained the crowd of over 500 people at the 2019 Sugar Bowl Show of Shows at the Neel Performing Arts Center in Bradenton. All proceeds go to families in the community who are experiencing a financial hardship.

Each of these events was special in its own way as everyone who attended left with a smile on their faces knowing that the proceeds will go a long way to help those in need.

For more information about the programs of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc., please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org.

News from Around the Diocese early May

Sarasota school expands offering

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 4×100 Relay Team from Naples took the silver medal in Class 1A at the State Championships May 4 in Jacksonville.

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 or visit www.churchofstpatrick.org/campmercy.

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!

 

Chrism Mass: A Sign of Unity

By Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

The Communion of the priests of the Diocese of Venice was represented in all its unity during the annual Chrism Mass which was held on April 16 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

More than 120 priests gathered for this Holy Week tradition where the priests renew their priestly promises which they made at the time of their ordination. This celebration, which was witnessed by more than 1,200 of the faithful, including students from the Diocesan Catholic Schools, marks the institution of the priesthood by Christ and is an expression of unity of the priests with their Shepherd, the Bishop of the Diocese.

During the Chrism Mass, Bishop Frank J. Dewane also blessed and consecrated Holy Oils to be used in Parishes across the Diocese of Venice for the sacramental life of the Church throughout the coming year.

The Chrism Mass not only brings into focus the historical context of the priesthood but is also an opportunity for the priests to see the Church of the Diocese beyond their own Parishes and celebrates the distinctiveness of the priesthood. Having all the priests of the Diocese come together at the Chrism Mass, on the eve of the Easter Triduum, reminds priests of their calling to act in the person of Christ – In persona Christi. This is one of the few times that so many priests are gathered together for the Mass.

During the Renewal of Priestly Promises the gathered priests stood as one, and spoke with one voice saying, “I am,” three times in response to questions asked by Bishop Dewane. These same questions were asked of them during their Ordination to the Priesthood.

Bishop Dewane publicly thanked the priests for their continued service to the People of God throughout the Diocese of Venice for what they do each day. The call to service that priests respond to is a call to rise above the ways of the world – not that they are above anybody, but it is about serving with passion born from Christ, for the Lord and His people, and to bring them together.

In a world of increasing secularism, the is a greater need for this service than ever before, the Bishop acknowledged. While some may lose focus in this purpose, the service must always be redirected, a service toward others and living out their call to serve.

“The questions you must ask yourself are: Who can I serve? What can I do to serve? How best can I serve?” Bishop Dewane continued. “The mission of priest is about Jesus Christ; it is about His Church; it is about the People of God; and it is about living out our call in service to all.”

The two priests and two deacons serving or living in the Diocese celebrating the 25th and 50th anniversaries or their ordination were individually recognized by the Bishop for their years of service to Holy Mother Church.

While the Oil of the Sick and Oil of the Catechumens are blessed, the Sacred Chrism is consecrated; and each will be used at Parishes throughout the year in the administration of the Sacraments.

From Jerusalem to Rome, and to Dioceses around the world, Pope Francis and local Bishops carry out the annual Chrism Mass, which is celebrated on or before Holy Thursday. In the Diocese of Venice, the Chrism Mass is celebrated on the Tuesday of Holy Week to accommodate the priests who need to travel great distances.

In attendance for this special occasion were religious men and women; seminarians; the Color Corps of the Knights of Columbus; the Knights and Ladies of the Order of Malta; the Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem; approximately 300 students representing most of the Diocesan Catholic Schools; as well as the faithful of the Diocese of Venice.

Sacred Chrism Oil

The Chrism Mass takes its name from the Sacred Chrism Oil, the most eminent of the three holy oils which the Bishop consecrates for use by parishes of the Diocese. Bishop Dewane described the oils as “Oils of Gladness” which represent the indelible mark each bestows.

The blessing of the oils take place at different times during the Chrism Mass. Vested in white, Bishop Dewane, raised hands over the urns on a table near the altar and first blessed the Oil of the Sick at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer. Following the Prayer After Communion, the Bishop blessed the Oil of the Catechumens.

Next, the final portion of the Rite is the consecration of the Sacred Chrism Oil. First balsam is poured into the oil and then mixed. The balsam is added so that it gives the oil a sweet smell intended to remind those who encounter it of the “odor of sanctity.” All of the faithful are called to strive for sanctity. The Bishop then breathes on the Sacred Chrism “to symbolize the Holy Spirit coming down.” The Bishop then extended his hands toward the vessel containing the oils and said the prayer of consecration. The Rite is brought to closure with a concluding prayer.

The Oil of the Sick is used for those who seek anointing, and the Oil of the Catechumens, which is imposed on those preparing for baptism, are simply “blessed,” by the Bishop. the Sacred Chrism is “consecrated.”

After Mass, the thee oils were divided up and given to each pastor to use in the Parish.

The newly blessed and consecrated Holy Oils from the Chrism Mass were first used for the Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation during the Easter Vigil Liturgy on Holy Saturday. At that time, 268 catechumens and candidates entered fully into the Catholic Church at Parishes throughout the Diocese and receive one or all the following Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist – which some received for the first time.

Jubilarians

A reception was held in the Parish Hall following the Mass to honor Priests and Deacons celebrating their jubilee in 2018.

Carmelite Father Frederick J. Tillotson, Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Osprey, spoke for the jubilarians and noted what a privilege it has been to serve in the Diocese of Venice at a parish after more than 40 years in education. Father Tillotson said he sought work in a parish and was very fortunate to have been called to serve in the Order of Carmelites in a variety of ways throughout his 50 years as a priest.

Also celebrating 50 years of the priesthood was Msgr. Rollin J. Darbouze who assists at St. Maximilian Parish in Port Charlotte and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice.

The two deacons were recognized for 25 years of service were Deacon John J. Mulvey who serves seasonally at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral and St. Therese Parish in North Fort Myers; and Deacon Armand R. Ragosta who serves seasonally at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Grove City and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice.

Faithful line up for Confession

Staff Report

A steady stream of the faithful at St. Jude Parish in Sarasota waited patiently for their opportunity to take part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation on the last weekend before Holy Week.

This scene was repeated at Parishes throughout the Diocese of Venice after Bishop Frank J. Dewane, with the agreement of the Presbyteral Council, designated April 12 (4-8 p.m.) and April 13 (9 a.m.-noon) as time for Confession at each Parish. This was done to allow the faithful ample opportunity to receive God’s Mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Lenten Season.

The response was so impressive at some parishes that the confession times were extended upwards of two hours to accommodate the need.

Maria Cortez of St. Jude Parish tries to go to confession at least once a month but admitted she had lapsed since the start of 2019.

“I let unimportant things get in the way of my love for Christ,” Cortez said. “I am not a saint, and this is good for me to be here. With Holy Week here, I knew it was time to return to the confessional and ask for forgiveness.”

Pope Francis often remarks about the healing power of the confessional and urges the faithful to go as often as possible. Parishes and Missions in the Diocese of Venice have regular reconciliation times throughout the year, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org for contact information on the parish or mission nearest you.

X