Dispensation from obligation to attend Mass lifted effective May 1, 2021

Returning to Mass and Parish Life during Covid-19

As Bishop Frank J. Dewane continues to listen to public health data and hear from Priests and Parishioners about their experiences at Diocesan Parishes, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass will be lifted in the Diocese of Venice beginning May 1, 2021. Below is a letter to the Faithful in English and Spanish announcing this change. For the revised guidelines in English updating Parish safety protocols which includes the need to continue to wear masks at Mass, as well as at all Diocesan and Parish activities, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/daily-resources/diocese-of-venice-responds-to-novel-coronavirus-covid19/ and in Spanish visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/hispanic-apostolate/.

April 9, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

They devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers (Acts 2:42).

This Scripture passage reminds us that the Easter Season is an apt time to renew our fidelity to those essential actions that define us as the Body of Christ. Preeminent among these activities is gathering with the Church to celebrate the Most Holy Eucharist on Sundays and Holy Days.

In March of last year, because of the many unknowns that came with the Covid-19 Pandemic, and to protect the most vulnerable among us, after consultation I decided to take the unprecedented step of suspending public Masses and granting a general dispensation to the Catholic Faithful of the Diocese of Venice from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. Together with our fellow citizens, I urged Catholics to exercise caution to protect the health of all. I thank everyone for their patience and understanding during this difficult time.

As the Faithful returned to in-person worship when restrictions were loosened, the Diocese’s Clergy and Faithful performed exceptional service in maintaining safety protocols. In recent weeks as vaccines have become available, the news in Florida is encouraging, even more members of the Faithful have returned to our Parishes for Sunday Mass. Our Holy Week and Easter Liturgies were particularly edifying examples of commitment to Christ and the Eucharist. Furthermore, life in Southwest Florida has returned to some level of normalcy; restaurants, stores, and entertainment venues are open, and people of all ages seem willing to return to ordinary activities.

It is apparent that circumstances now allow almost all Catholics to attend Mass safely. Therefore, beginning May 1, 2021, the general dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation will be lifted in the Diocese of Venice.

At the same time, the Faithful should note this obligation does not apply to those who are ill, or others as outlined in the revised guidelines accompanying this letter. The revised guidelines adjust safety protocols to acknowledge that most Catholics can return to in-person worship at their Parish churches.

During this year dedicated to St. Joseph, the Faithful are encouraged to turn to his intercession for protection and courage. Let us be mindful in prayer of those who are no longer with us and those who continue in their recovery. May God bless you and your family.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Frank J. Dewane

Bishop of the Diocese of

 Venice in Florida

 

9 de abril de 2021

Queridos Hermanos y Hermanas en Cristo,

Se dedicaron a la enseñanza de los Apóstoles y a la vida comunitaria, a partir del pan y a las oraciones (Hch. 2:42).

Este pasaje de las Escrituras nos recuerda que el Tiempo de Pascua es un momento propicio para renovar nuestra fidelidad a aquellas acciones esenciales que nos definen como el Cuerpo de Cristo. Entre estas actividades destaca la asistencia a la Iglesia para celebrar la Santísima Eucaristía los Domingos y Días de Obligación.

En marzo del año pasado, debido a las muchas incógnitas que vinieron con la Pandemia de Covid-19, y para proteger a los más vulnerables entre nosotros, después de una consulta, decidí dar el paso sin precedentes de suspender las Misas públicas y otorgar una dispensa general a los Fieles Católicos de la Diócesis de Venice de la obligación de asistir a Misa los Domingos y Días Santos de Obligación. Junto con nuestros conciudadanos, insté a los Católicos a actuar con cautela para proteger la salud de todos. Agradezco a todos por su paciencia y comprensión durante este momento difícil.

Cuando los Fieles regresaron a las Celebraciones en persona después de no tener restricciones, el Clero y los Fieles de la Diócesis realizaron un servicio excepcional, mantenimiento los protocolos de seguridad. En las últimas semanas, a medida que las vacunas están disponibles, las noticias en Florida son alentadoras e incluso más Fieles han regresado a nuestras Parroquias para la Misa Dominical. Nuestra Semana Santa y las Liturgias de Pascua fueron ejemplos particularmente edificantes de compromiso con Cristo y la Eucaristía. Además, la vida en el Suroeste de Florida ha vuelto a cierto nivel de normalidad; los restaurantes, las tiendas y los lugares de entretenimiento están abiertos y las personas de todas las edades parecen estar dispuestas a volver a sus actividades normales.

Es evidente que las circunstancias ahora permiten que casi todos los Católicos asistan a Misa de manera segura. Por lo tanto, a partir del 1 de mayo de 2021, se levantará en la Diócesis de Venice la dispensa general de la obligación de asistir a Misa los Domingos y los Días de Obligación.

Al mismo tiempo, los Fieles deben tener en cuenta que esta obligación no se aplica a aquellos que están enfermos u otros, como se describe en las pautas revisadas que acompañan a esta carta. Las pautas revisadas se ajustan a los protocolos de seguridad para reconocer que la mayoría de los católicos pueden regresar a las celebraciones en persona en sus Iglesias Parroquiales.

Durante este año dedicado a San José, se anima a los Fieles a acudir a su intercesión en busca de protección y coraje. Pidamos en la oración por los que ya no están con nosotros y por los que continúan en su recuperación. Que Dios le bendiga a usted y a su familia.

Sinceramente tuyo en Cristo,

+ Frank J. Dewane

Obispo de la Diócesis de

Venice en Florida

 

Divine Mercy Sunday: Prayer Service for Forgiveness and Healing

The Second Sunday of Easter, or Divine Mercy Sunday, completes the Octave of Easter, a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the blessing of His continuing presence in our midst. The Gospel reading for Divine Mercy Sunday (April 11, 2021) recalls the encounter between St. Thomas and Jesus after the Resurrection.

For many in the Diocese of Venice, the Feast of Divine Mercy takes on a powerful meaning when they participate in a private or public prayer called the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and is a time to remind the faithful that the Lord’s Mercy has no end.

This year, the marking of Divine Mercy Sunday at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice incorporated a prayer service for healing and forgiveness for anyone who has been touched by a pregnancy loss.

“Sometimes in a loss – whether it is through a miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion – so much is going on; the hurt is so strong one might believe they can’t approach the Lord,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane said. “Divine Mercy Sunday is here to remind us to call upon the Lord for the forgiveness, compassion, and mercy regardless of how we got there.”

“While one might be afraid to approach the Lord in the context of shame or fear, Divine Mercy Sunday is about the all-encompassing power of God to forgive,” the Bishop added. “Just as the Apostles were locked in the upper room with fear when Jesus Christ appeared to them, we lock ourselves in – so alone – thinking the Lord can’t forgive us. No matter what it is we lock inside, this must not prevent us from seeking forgiveness.”

Father Shawn Monahan, OMV, Epiphany Cathedral Parochial Vicar, who counsels women who have suffered the loss of a child through abortion, stillbirth and miscarriage, also reflected on the power of Divine Mercy Sunday.

“The mercy is never with condemnation and always with compassion,” Father Monahan said. “Healing takes time, so we must be patient with ourselves in the process, in walking with the Lord, and tuning our ears to hear His voice and to trust in His love and mercy.”

Divine Mercy Sunday is a tradition in Parishes throughout the Diocese and the world, celebrating the mercy of Jesus as recalled to us by St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, a religious sister who lived a humble life to whom Jesus appeared. St. Faustina was born in Krakow, Poland and lived from 1905-1938 being canonized by St. Pope John Paul II in 2000 and at that time declared the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.

The image of the Divine Mercy was created by St. Faustina who was told to paint the image of Jesus as she saw Him. The painting has the saying at the bottom: “Jesus, I trust in You.” The rays emanating from Jesus represent water – which makes souls righteous — and blood — which is the life of souls, Jesus told St. Faustina.

Among the practices associated with the devotion are its novena, the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy (a series of prayers organized similarly to a rosary), the Hour of Great Mercy (a time of prayer traditionally celebrated at 3 p.m.), and a plenary indulgence granted to those who receive the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Divine Mercy Sunday.

The Epiphany Cathedral service included the singing of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation as well as a display of the Divine Mercy image and a relic of St. Faustina.

Epiphany Cathedral has a long history of celebrating St. Faustina as a devotion to her dates to the founding of the Diocese of Venice in 1984 when a weekly Mass in Polish began there. Earlier on Divine Mercy Sunday, a Mass in English, Polish and Spanish was celebrated and afterwards was also the opportunity for prayer before the relic of St. Faustina.

A video of the full service can be found at https://vimeo.com/536429647

Golden Rose Award given to young ladies of Faith

Seeking to recognize the basic tenets of the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (VDCCW) – spirituality, leadership and service – a group of young ladies was awarded the first ever Golden Rose Award during a recent luncheon.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, who presented the awards to the 2020 and 2021 recipients of the Golden Rose Award on April 10, 2021 at the Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall in Venice, congratulated the young ladies for living out a particular call of God in the earlier portions of their lives.

“To those who received the award; you matter to the Diocese in what you do, who you are and most important of all, who you are becoming as young ladies,” Bishop Dewane said. “You are leaders, and you have a call to be there at the Table of the Lord. We are all called, but what you do is distinctive. I urge you to continue to be active in your Parish, your school, your community and in the Church.”

Explaining how much they are appreciated, the Bishop said their actions bring a spirit to their Parishes, which is of a natural energy and reflection of Faith which will serve to inspire others to follow their lead.

“The biggest celebration in your life of service is who you are becoming,” Bishop Dewane added.  “Go forward with that idea of service in the Church. Make your mark. Take the ownership of who you are and truly become more that woman of God you are called to be.”

Felicia Gal, of St. William Parish in Naples is a graduating senior of St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples who also turns 18 in a few weeks was thrilled when she heard the news. “When I found out I was nominated it was as a huge surprise,” Felicia said. “I do work with summer camps and sing at Mass as a cantor’s assistant, but don’t do that for recognition. It really is an honor to be here.”

Felicia’s mother, Maria Gal, explained that Felicia always wanted to be involved in activities at the Parish and in helping others. “I am so proud.”

Ellen Bachman, VDCCW Co-President, helped bring the Golden Rose Award to Venice having learned about similar recognition taking place by CCW group in other Dioceses. Bachman said the “write-ups on these girls were both amazing and inspiring. They are our future Church.”

Bachmann also read a congratulatory letter from Jean Kelly, the National CCW President, who said the foundation these young ladies have begun as active Catholic women will serve them well into the future.

Each Golden Rose Award recipient was presented with a certificate and golden rose. They will also receive a membership into the National Council of Catholic Women and a congratulatory packet all courtesy of the VDCCW.

Brenda Dolan, VDCCW Co-President, recognized the hard work of Anne De Camillo, President of St. William Parish CCW, who served as Chair of Golden Rose Committee.

“We are here today to honor these young ladies who exhibit those miraculous gifts and graces,” Dolan proclaimed. “There is a lot on your shoulders. Your values and commitment and the things you do let us know our Church and our country will continue to flourish.”

To Golden Rose Award process began in 2020 when the VDCCW asked Parishes in the Diocese to submit the name of a girl from their Parish whose lifestyle exemplifies the mission statement of the National Council of Catholic Women – Spirituality, Leadership and Service. There were 26 Parishes that responded. The 2020 award ceremony was postponed due to the Pandemic and not all were able to be present for the luncheon.

Those receiving the award for 2020 were: Alexandra Solis, St. Michael Parish, Wauchula; Emily Sansone, St. Katharine Drexel Parish, Cape Coral; Mary Fiore, San Antonio Parish, Port Charlotte; Chloe Springer, St. John XXIII Parish, Fort Myers; Miriam Sandoval, St. James Parish, Lake Placid; Emmalee Brown, Epiphany Cathedral, Venice; Arianne Matson, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish, Parrish; Valerie Castellan, St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Naples; Amber Rae Dyer, San Pedro Parish, North Port.

Those receiving the award for 2021 were: Naissa Esperace, St. Andrew Parish, Cape Coral; Sofia Herrero, St. Cecilia Parish, Fort Myers; Kylie Morgan Jones, St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Fort Myers; Gabriela Vasquez, St. Katharine Drexel Parish; Adriana Iofida, San Antonio; Lillian Brodeur, Our Lady of Light Parish, Fort Myers; Nicoy Jacas, Sacred Heart Parish, Punta Gorda; Sonia Hernandez, St. Michael Parish; McKayla Cantrell, Epiphany Cathedral; Krystyna Mioduszewski, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Venice; Julia Ann Glaser , Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish, Sarasota; Chloe Manes, St. Joseph Parish, Bradenton; Katherine Lumpkin, St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Sarasota; Felicia Gal, St. William Parish; Anna Bialkowski, St. Agnes Parish, Naples; Molly O’Brien, St. John Neumann Catholic High School, Naples; Trinity Nicole Forget, St. Ann Parish, Naples; Anne Marie Swafford, Resurrection Parish, Fort Myers.

Bonita Springs man finalist for CCUSA Volunteer of Year

When most people retire in Florida, they might envision golfing, fishing or lounging on the beach, but that’s not what Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. volunteer Tim Gunderman would choose to do most days, which is why he’s nominated for Volunteer of the Year by Catholic Charities USA and is one of 36 finalists.

After moving to Bonita Springs from North Carolina, the former construction company owner noticed that Hurricane Irma had been very unkind to several migrant farmworkers’ homes in the area. Much of the damage from the storm was still evident with blue tarps on roof tops and other interior issues left unresolved.

Gunderman, who knows all things construction, was quick to spring into action and assisted with getting estimates for repairs, and assured Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., that each job was performed by a reputable company who guaranteed the work. He soon developed a friendship with families he calls, “the poorest of the poor.”

“These are the pickers, the packers, and such, and they’re not represented – people we rely on to get our food,” said Gunderman, from a Bonita Springs farmworker migrant camp, where he also volunteers to deliver food to families who do not have cars.

During the Pandemic when many locations were closed, Gunderman realized while working to repair the damaged mobile homes from Hurricane Irma, there were also hungry people who did not have transportation to pick up food for their families during this health crisis. It was a one-two punch to the families who were now out of work due to the Pandemic.

Gunderman, who joined the Order of Malta several years ago, soon crossed paths with Rebecca Maddox, owner of Three60 Market in Naples, who was donating food to organizations during the Pandemic.

Gunderman quickly began donating money to the cause of food production by Three60 Market, and through Catholic Charities volunteering offered to drive to the farmworker migrant camps a few days a week across Southwest Florida to bring nutrition to the hungry.

In a video to promote Gunderman’s nomination, Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida says Tim is “contagious” with his passion, and Catholic Charities CEO Philomena Periera says Tim sees the “Face of Jesus” in all he meets.

Gunderman has put in 1980 hours during this last year as a volunteer for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc.

“I grew up in a modest home, Okay. We had one bathroom.  I’m healthy, my kids are educated, what more do we need,” said Gunderman, as he handed out sandwiches, chips, and Easter coloring books and crayons to the families who lined up to see him this day.  “If I have the opportunity, I can give back.  You know, how much money do you need?” Gunderman said, as he choked up.

Click here (https://vimeo.com/532460138) to view the full video of Tim Gunderman’s work for Volunteer of the Year for Catholic Charities USA.

EASTER: The Summit of the Catholic Faith

Throughout the Universal Church the faithful gathered for a joyous celebration on Easter; that is the Resurrection of Our Lord, the Summit of the Catholic Faith.

This celebration comes after the holiest of weeks which began with the entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and included the suffering and death of Our Lord. The Resurrection on Easter completes the journey for Jesus when death was conquered but also the beginning of a new journey of belief and hope for the faithful, Bishop Frank J. Dewane explained during the Easter Vigil Mass, April 3, 2021 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

The Easter Vigil which takes place on Holy Saturday night, “is the greatest and most noble of all solemnities and it is to be unique in every single Church,” according to the Roman Missal. The Vigil began in darkness before the Easter fire was kindled and the Paschal (Passover) Candle was lit and brought into the darkened church with the proclamation that Christ is our Light.

During this Mass, the faithful hear the story of Salvation proclaimed in numerous Scripture readings. It is also at this time when priests confer the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation for the Catechumens and Candidates. At Parishes throughout the Diocese, there were 330 women and men who entered fully into the Catholic Church.

Two of these candidates were sisters Martha Lee McGuffin Mahoney (St. Teresa of Avila) and Valerie Ann McGiffin Amundson (St. Teresa of Calcutta), and they both first received the Sacrament of Confirmation and then the Sacrament of First Holy Communion from Bishop Dewane at Epiphany Cathedral.

Mahoney said she felt gratitude in her heart and became emotional when Bishop Dewane made the sign of the cross with Holy Oil on her forehead. “I feel blessed and loved.”

Amundson said she was drawn to the Catholic Faith by commitment of the Church to never waver in what is taught and passed down through the centuries. “It was also the Catholic spirit that drew me in. I had concerns about falsehoods I heard about Catholics, but those quickly went away when I realized that we are all called to live out the teachings of Christ.”

Bishop Dewane explained how the Easter Candle, flickering at the foot of the altar, represents Jesus Christ, a light that shatters the darkness, a darkness more profound than what was inside the Cathedral, but within one’s life and heart.

“We have to take this opportunity to carry home with us these words from Scripture; to place them into our hearts and into your heart and to be the light, often in the midst of darkness,” the Bishop continued. “Be attentive in your life to the economy of Salvation as you are to the economy of finances.”

We are all called to be that voice and that witness. Take this opportunity at Easter to recognize the joy of the resurrected Lord, Bishop Dewane stressed. The resurrection is the restoration of the covenant the Jewish people had with God and is now restored.

“Salvation is here for you and me,” the Bishop concluded. “Go forward with shouts of joy. It has to be who you are, going forward with the Risen Christ who is within our midst, who is with us as a community of believers to keeps us safe.”

Easter is the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead, culminating in his Ascension to the Father and sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Church. There are 50 days of Easter from the first Sunday to Pentecost.

The first eight days make up the Octave of Easter and are celebrated as Solemnities of the Lord. On the 40th day of the Easter Season, Catholics celebrate the Ascension of the Lord (May 13, which is moved to the following Sunday on May 16), and for the nine days following, prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (May 23).

Mass for victims of abuse to be celebrated April 16

For the 14th consecutive year, during Child Abuse Awareness Prevention Month – April, the Diocese of Venice will be offering Mass to pray for the victims of abuse. The Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane and take place at 8 a.m., April 16, 2021 at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. The Mass will be live-streamed, and all are welcome to attend as we come together to pray for the victims of abuse.

The Diocese of Venice, and its entities, take very seriously the safety of all young people and vulnerable adults. To this end, the Diocese, with a zero-tolerance policy, works to prevent any instances of abuse, particularly against minors and vulnerable adults.

“As Christian adults, we have a moral responsibility and are entrusted by God with the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of minors and vulnerable adults,” Bishop Dewane said. “The Diocese of Venice is steadfast in its commitment to providing a comprehensive program to protect the most vulnerable from all types of abuse while raising awareness to prevent abuse from happening in the first place.”

In 1983, recognizing the alarming rate at which children continued to be abused and neglected and the need for innovative programs to prevent child abuse, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives proclaimed April National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

In keeping with continued efforts to nationally promote awareness of child abuse and neglect, the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) joined in this effort.

Each year the Diocese conducts Safe Environment Program training sessions for thousands, including clergy, religious and laity who work or volunteer in the Diocese.

As minors and vulnerable adults participate in activities within or sponsored by the Diocese, the mission of the Safe Environment Program is:

  • To provide required education for all employees (clergy, religious and laity), those volunteers and others regularly involved with minors, and for parents, as to the issue of abuse of children including the detection, prevention and reporting of child abuse.
  • To provide required training programs for children and young people in our Catholic schools and religious education programs. This includes age-appropriate materials pertaining to personal safety and information about improper touching and relationships. Children are not expected to be fully knowledgeable about child abuse or of the laws governing care of children, but they need to know when they should seek assistance from a trusted adult.
  • To thoroughly screen and evaluate the background of all diocesan employees – clergy, religious and laity – and those volunteers who work with children and young people.
  • To hold those who minister in the name of the Church in the Diocese of Venice, all diocesan employees (clergy, religious and laity) and those volunteers who work with children and young people, to Christ-centered and professional codes of conduct.

Since 2002, the Diocese has engaged a professional company to conduct background screening through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with results available to the Diocesan Safe Environment Coordinator within 24-48 hours. There have been more than 50,000 background screenings and in excess of 57,000 persons trained in Safe Environment. In the last five years alone, 14,755 individuals were background screened and more than 15,000 trained in safe environment. While all Diocesan staff and volunteers go through Safe Environment training, only those who work with minors or vulnerable adults must be fingerprinted and trained in Safe Environment prior to beginning employment or volunteering.

The mission of the Diocese of Venice Safe Environment Program is to provide education for all employees (clergy, religious and laity), those volunteers and others regularly working with minors, and parents, about the issue of abuse of children, including the detection, prevention and reporting of child abuse. In addition, the Safe Environment Program has a component which includes training sessions for children and young people in Catholic schools.

The Diocese of Venice annually undergoes a comprehensive audit by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection to ensure that the Diocese is in compliance with current directives.

For more detailed information about what the Diocese of Venice does to prevent abuse or how to sign up for a Safe Environment class, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/safeenvironment.

Report any abuse against minors to the Florida Department of Children and Families at 800-962-2873. Further, if Diocesan personnel or volunteers are involved, also notify the Diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator, Susan Benton, at 941-416-6114.

PRAYER FOR HEALING VICTIMS OF ABUSE

During April, the Secretariat of the USCCB encourages the faithful to recite the Prayer for Healing Victims of Abuse.

God of endless love, ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just:

You gave your only Son to save us by his blood on the cross. Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace, join to your own suffering the pain of all who have been hurt in body, mind, and spirit by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.

Hear the cries of our brothers and sisters who have been gravely harmed, and the cries of those who love them. Soothe their restless hearts with hope, steady their shaken spirits with faith. Grant them justice for their cause, enlightened by your truth.

Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts, heal your people’s wounds and transform brokenness into wholeness. Grant us the courage and wisdom, humility and grace, to act with justice. Breathe wisdom into our prayers and labors. Grant that all harmed by abuse may find peace in justice.

We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Courtesy of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

UNA ORACIÓN DE SANACIÓN VÍCTIMAS DE ABUSO

Dios del amor infinito, Siempre presente, siempre justo;

Tú nos cuidas y nos proteges Y nos diste a tu único Hijo Para salvarnos con su sangre en la cruz.

Jesús manso, pastor de la paz, Dígnate unir a tu propio sufrimiento El dolor de todos los que han sido heridos De cuerpo, mente y espíritu Por parte de aquellos que traicionaron la confianza puesta en ellos.

Escucha el clamor de nuestros hermanos y hermanas Que han sido lastimados gravemente, Así como el clamor de aquellos que los aman. Dales la esperanza que mitigue el desosiego de sus corazones, Dales la fe que calme sus espíritus perturbados. Concédeles justicia para su causa, Ilumínalos con tu verdad.

Espíritu Santo, consolador de corazones, Cura las heridas de tus hijos e hijas Y devuelve la integridad a lo que ha sido quebrantado. Concédenos el valor y la sabiduría, La humildad y la gracia, para actuar con justicia. Sopla tu sabiduría en nuestras oraciones y empeños. Que todos los que han sido heridos por el abuso encuentren paz y justicia.

Te lo pedimos por Cristo, nuestro Señor. Amén.

Courtesy of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

 

An Easter Message from Bishop Frank J. Dewane

An Easter Message from Bishop Frank J. Dewane

(See below for message in Spanish and Creole)

Christ is Risen!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

I wish to extend my Easter Greetings, and rejoice with you in the joy of the Resurrection.  I pray that the Easter “Alleluia”, which echoes forth from the Church, will refresh the hearts of all the Faithful.

This Easter Season also brings us the hope that the worst of the Pandemic is somehow behind us and that we are drawing close to the time when our Parish Churches can once again resound with the voices of all the Faithful.  Throughout history, God has miraculously provided: new vaccines promise protection from the virus and new therapeutics are beginning to thwart the worst effects of the Coronavirus.  In the near future, it is my prayer that we will be able to embrace the full practice of our faith once again together and without fear.

Let us rejoice fully in the Praise of God this Easter.  Through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have been made new in the waters of Baptism and become co-heirs to life-eternal.  Christ did not forget us during these difficult days but has been with us!  He has strengthened the weak, comforted the dying, and inspired health care workers, scientists, grocery store workers, clergy and others who provide essential services, to help them persevere. Learning from Christ’s compassion has also led us to protect and care for the lonely, elderly, sick and vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.

Easter is a time for us to be courageous witnesses to your Faith.  Our family, friends, and neighbors need to hear the joyful message of Easter — Jesus Christ is Lord, and we have life in His name!  May our hearts be opened to the need for something greater than ourselves. In this time when all things seem virtual, people are hungry for what is real, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. Be witnesses of Christ this Easter Season.

Know of my prayer for each of you and your family.  I kindly ask the same of you.  Let the light of the Risen Christ, symbolized by the Paschal Candle which shines in our churches during the Easter season, shatter any darkness you are experiencing.  Allow the joyful Alleluia to refresh your faith, hope, and love.

Have a Happy and Blessed Easter.

+Frank J. Dewane

Bishop of the Diocese of

Venice in Florida

Bishop Message in Spanish

¡Cristo ha resucitado!  ¡Aleluya!  ¡Aleluya!

Deseo extender mis saludos pascuales y regocijarme con ustedes en la alegría de la Resurrección.  Ruego que el “Aleluya” de la Pascua, que resuena en la Iglesia, refresque el corazón de todos los fieles.

Esta Semana Santa también nos trae la esperanza de que lo peor de la pandemia está, de alguna manera, detrás de nosotros y que estamos acercándonos al momento en el en que nuestras Iglesias parroquiales pueda volver a resonar las voces de todos los fieles.  A lo largo de la historia, Dios en su Divina Providencia siempre nos ha asistido: nuevas vacunas prometen protección contra el virus y nuevas terapias están empezando a frustrar los peores efectos del Coronavirus.  Es mi deseo que, en un futuro próximo, podamos ser capaces de abrazar la práctica plena de nuestra fe una vez más juntos y sin temor.

Regocijémonos plenamente en la alabanza de Dios en esta Pascua.  A través de la Pasión, Muerte y Resurrección de Jesucristo, hemos sido hechos nuevos en las aguas del Bautismo y nos hemos convertido en co-herederos de la vida eterna.  ¡Cristo no nos olvidó durante estos días difíciles, siempre ha estado con nosotros!  Ha fortalecido a los débiles, consolado a los moribundos e inspirado a los trabajadores de la salud, científicos, trabajadores de supermercados, clérigos y otros que proporcionan servicios esenciales, para ayudarlos a perseverar. Aprender de la compasión de Cristo también nos ha llevado a proteger y cuidar a los ancianos solitarios, enfermos y vulnerables de nuestros hermanos y hermanas.

La Pascua es un momento para que seamos testigos valientes de nuestra fe.  Nuestra familia, amigos y vecinos necesitan escuchar el mensaje gozoso de la Pascua — ¡Jesucristo es Señor y tenemos vida en su nombre!  Que nuestros corazones se abran a la necesidad de algo más grande que nosotros mismos. En este tiempo, cuando todas las cosas parecen virtuales, la gente tiene hambre de lo que es real, Jesucristo, lo mismo ayer, hoy y para siempre. Seamos testigos de Cristo este tiempo de Pascua.

Cuenten con mi oración por cada uno de ustedes y sus familias.  Amablemente les pido lo mismo.  Que la luz del Cristo resucitado, simbolizada por el Cirio Pascual que brilla en nuestras iglesias durante la Pascua, rompa cualquier oscuridad que estén experimentando.  Dejen que el alegre Aleluya refresque su fe, esperanza y caridad.

Que tengan una feliz y bendita Pascua.

Bishop Message in Creole

Jezikri leve,Alelouya, Alelouya!

Mwen voye salitasyon fèt Pak la banou e mwen pataje kè kontan nou nan rezireksyon an. Mwen priye pou eko Alelouya Pak la reveye kè tout fidèl yo.

Sezon Pak la pote tou lespwa move pandemi sila pral fè wout li e na retounen nan tan nòmal pou pawas nou yo reviv nan vwa tout fidèl yo. Nan tan pase yo Bondye te fè mirak. Nouvo vaksen yo pwomèt pwoteksyon pou kwape viris la e nouvo tretman yo kòmanse bese firè Kowonaviris la. Nan yon tan ki pa twò lwen na ka pratike la fwa nou ansanm menm jan sa te ye anvan san kè sote.Mwen priye pou sa.

Ann fè kè nou kontan nan louwe Bondye nou an pou fèt Pak sila.Granmèsi soufrans,lanmò ak leve byen vivan Jezikri nou vi-n tou nèf nan dlo batèm e nou vi-n tounen eritye an aprè nan lavi ki pap janm fini an. Kris la pa te bliye nou pandan jou difisil yo men li te toujou avè nou. Li bay fòs a sa ki fèb yo, li refè sak te prèt pou mouri yo,li enspire travayè sante yo,syantis yo,moun kap fe komès yo,manb klèje yo ak tout lòt ki bay sèvis yo,li ede yo pèsevere. Kè sansib Kris la se te toujou yon egzanp pou nou pwoteje e pran swen frè ak sè nou yo ki fi-n vye granmoun kap viv pou kont yo ki malad e ki vilnerab.

Pak se tan pou nou bay temwayaj lafwa.Fanmi yo,zanmi ak vwazen nou yo bezwen tande yon mesaj Pak ki pote kè kontan. -Jezikri se Granmèt,e nou gen lavi nan non li.Se pou kè  nou rete louvri pi laj sou bezwen lòt yo nan plas bewen pa nou.Nan tan sila kote tout bagay ap fèt sou laparans, pèp la grangou sa ki reyèl, Jezikri, se menm yè, Jodi-a e pou tout tan. An nou temwaye sa nan sezon Pak la.

Konnen map priye pou nou chak ak pou fanmi nou.Fè menm jan an pou mwen tou.                 Se pou limyè Jezikri ki leve byen vivan jan sa ye nan chandèl fèt Pak la ki briye nan legliz nou yo pandan sezon Pak la, kouri dèyè fè nwa ki antre nan lavi nou. Kite Alelouya                     kè kontan sa rafrechi lafwa lesperans ak lanmou nou.

Pase yon bon fèt Pak nan kè kontan.

Chrism Mass: A Sign of Unity

The Chrism Mass is a Holy Week tradition when Holy Oils are blessed and consecrated while priests from across the Diocese stand united with the Bishop.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, joined by the priests of the Diocese of Venice, celebrated the Chrism Mass on March 30, 2021, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. To accommodate the latest guidance on social distancing and limiting the size of gatherings, only priests and Permanent Deacons and their wives were present for the Mass. The public was able to view this Mass via a livestream.

“Gather here for this Chrism Mass, quite different from a year ago for all of us, indeed a much better vision for me seeing all of you,” Bishop Dewane remarked at the opening of the Mass as seeing more than 120 priests present. “We gather here for an important reason, to bless and consecrate the oils to be used throughout the Diocese in the sacramental life of the Church.”

The Chrism Mass marks a celebration and is an expression of unity of the priests with their Shepherd, the Bishop of the Diocese. By having all the priests of the Diocese come together on the eve of the Easter Triduum, reminds each of their calling to act in the person of Christ – in persona Christi.

During the Renewal of Priestly Promises the 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, and in particular during the ongoing response to the Pandemic. “Reflect that a year ago we were not able to gather – and not able to do many things because we simply didn’t know. We have come to realize there are things we can do. We can gather to give glory and praise to God.”

While addressing the priests directly, Bishop Dewane cited the readings of the day from the Prophet Isaiah, Book of Revelation, and the Gospel of Luke, which identify those who are called to be priests.

“The idea of being made is something that is truly ongoing, a work in progress,” the Bishop continued. “The strength of Christ is given to you and it has made your identity as a priest. It makes you new in the Lord, over and over again.”

At Dioceses around the world, Pope Francis and local Bishops carry out the annual Chrism Mass, which is celebrated during Holy Week, on or before Holy Thursday. In the Diocese of Venice, the Chrism Mass is traditionally celebrated on the Tuesday of Holy Week to accommodate the priests who need to travel great distances. This year was no different.

The Chrism Mass takes its name from the Sacred Chrism oil, which the Bishop blesses and consecrates for use by Parish priests of the Diocese throughout the coming year.

The Order of the Blessing of the oils and consecration of the Sacred Chrism takes place at different times during the 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.

Before the final blessing, the final portion 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” – the faithful are called to strive for sanctity. The Bishop then extended his hands toward the vessel containing the oils and said the prayer of consecration. The celebration is brought to a close with a final blessing.

The Oil of the Sick is used for those who seek the Anointing of the Sick, and the Oil of the Catechumens, which is imposed on those preparing for Sacrament of Baptism, are simply “blessed,” by the Bishop, while the Sacred Chrism is “consecrated.” The Sacred Chrism is used for Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders as well as the consecration of altars and dedication of churches.

The Chrism Mass brings together the entire Presbyterate (all active priests in the Diocese) and would normally be witnessed by more than 1,000 people, including religious, student representatives from each of the 15 Diocesan Catholic schools, Knights of Columbus Color Corps and Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta as well as the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher.

Recognized during the Chrism Mass were priests and deacons celebrating 50 and 25 years since their ordination. The priest Golden Jubilarians were: Father Roger L. Charbonneau; Father Donald H. Henry; Father Paul F. McLaughlin; Father Patrick C. Organ; and Father Patrick Oliver Toner. The priest Silver Jubilarians were: Father John M. Belmonte, SJ; Father John F. Costello; and Father Pawel Kawelec. The deacon Silver Jubilarians were: Deacon Gary Christoff; Deacon Michael F. Cristoforo; and Deacon David R. Jerome. A complete biography of each jubilarian can be found at https://dioceseofvenice.org/news/.

Faithful line up for Confession

A steady stream of the faithful at Incarnation 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 the evening of March 26, 2021 (4-8 p.m.) and morning of March 27 (9 a.m.-noon) as universal times 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.

Parishes reported a steady stream of people during both sessions with extra priests made available to ensure wait times were limited.

Brenda Forrester tries to go to Confession regularly but the Pandemic and a general fear of being around people had prevented her from availing herself of this healing Sacrament.

“I felt empty when I wasn’t going,” Forrester said. “After going tonight, I felt the burdens lifted from my shoulders and the Mercy of the Lord wash over me. I feel refreshed.”

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 for the Parish or Mission nearest you.

 

2021 Diocese of Venice priest and deacon jubilarians honored

The Diocese of Venice honored Golden and Silver anniversary priests and deacons during the annual Chrism Mass on March 30, 2021 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

A reception following the Mass in the Cathedral Parish Hall includes reflections from Golden Jubilarian Father Patrick Organ, pastor of San Pedro Parish in North Port, and from Father Jack Costello, Rector of Epiphany Cathedral.

Golden Jubilee

Rev. Roger L. Charbonneau

The middle child of three boys, Father Roger L. Charbonneau was born in 1944 in Newport, Vermont to Romeo and Albertine Charbonneau. He attended St. John Vianney Seminary in Barre, Vermont and St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts. Ordained for the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont on May 22, 1971, Father Charbonneau was assigned to Parishes in Burlington, Montgomery Center, Troy, Lowell, Colchester, Enosburg Falls, Sheldon Springs, Franklin, Barton, Orleans and Enosburg Falls. For the Diocese of Burlington, Father also served in the Diocesan Tribunal as Defender of the Bond, Director of the Propagation of the Faith, on the Presbyteral Council and Personnel Board. Retiring to Florida in 2015, Father Charbonneau serves for the Diocese of Venice in the Tribunal and assists at St. Thomas More Parish in Sarasota.

Rev. Donald H. Henry

Born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1944, Father Donald H. Henry is the second of four children. Having attended St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Father was ordained to the Priesthood on March 27, 1971 for the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania. Father Henry served at Parishes in Allentown, Schuylkill Haven, Orefield, Summit Hill, Pottsville, and Easton before joining the Diocese of Venice in 1994, being incardinated into the Diocese in 1998. Father served as Parochial Vicar at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples until 2001, before being assigned as Pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Sarasota where he remained until his retirement in 2015. Within the Diocese of Venice, Father Henry also served on the Pastor Peer Review, Diocesan Priest Personnel and the Priest Convocation Committees. In retirement, Father continues to assist at St. Thomas More and at a local retirement community.

Rev. Paul F. McLaughlin

Father Paul F. McLaughlin was born in 1943 in New Haven, Connecticut, the youngest of five children. Having attended St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Joseph College, Mill Hill, England; and the Seminary of Our Lady of the Angels in Albany, New York, Father was ordained on May 22, 1971 for the Diocese of Hartford, Connecticut. Father McLaughlin served at a Parish in Hartford before becoming a U.S Navy Chaplain where he achieved the rank of Captain. Father Paul was incardinated into the Diocese of Venice on August 15, 1990. From 2008 until his retirement in 2013, Father Paul served as Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton.

 

Rev. Patrick C. Organ

Born in Ennistymon, County Clare, Ireland in 1944, Father Patrick C. Organ is the eldest of five children. Having attended Ennistymon Christian Brothers Seminary and St. Kieran’s Seminary in Kilkenny, Ireland, he was ordained on June 13, 1971 for the Archdiocese of Miami. Father Organ served at Parishes in Lake Worth, Miami, Coral Springs and Hollywood. Within the Diocese of Venice, Father served as Parochial Vicar at San Marco Parish on Marco Island, St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Port Charlotte, and then as Pastor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish in Bokeelia. Since 1992, Father Organ has served as Pastor of San Pedro Parish in North Port. Father also served on the Diocese of Venice Review Board.

 

Rev. Patrick Oliver Toner

Father Patrick Oliver Toner was born in 1944 in Trim, County Meath, Ireland, the second child of Patrick and Philomena Toner. After attending St. Francis Franciscan College in Pilltown, County Meath and the Jesuit Seminary, Milltown Park, Dublin, Ireland, he was ordained on July 16, 1971 in Dublin for the Carmelite Order. Father Toner served for the Order in Kildare Town, Ireland, as well as at Parishes in Davis, California and Tampa, Florida. He was incardinated into the Diocese of Venice on April 26, 1999 and had served in the Diocese of Venice as priest in residence and later as Parochial Vicar at St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral from 1980 to 1988. Since September 1988, Father Toner has been a Parochial Vicar at Resurrection Parish in Fort Myers.

 

Silver Jubilee

Rev. John Belmonte, SJ

Born in 1963 in Chicago, Illinois, Father John Belmonte is a member of the Society of Jesus. His parents, Joseph and Suzanne (Spicer) Belmonte, also have a son, Joe, who is Father’s twin and a younger son, Matt. Father John attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Loyola University of Chicago. Ordained on June 14, 1996 for the Jesuit Order, Father served as a teacher in Milwaukee and Chicago, and as a Principal in Milwaukee before becoming Superintendent of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois in 2010. After leaving the Diocese of Joliet last year, Father Belmonte joined the   Diocese of Venice as Superintendent of Catholic Education.

 

Rev. John F. Costello

The eldest of eight children, Father John F. Costello was born in 1950 in Boston, Massachusetts. Father attended Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, St. Michael’s College in Burlington, Vermont, and St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida, and was ordained on October 25, 1996 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice for the Diocese of Venice. Prior to becoming a priest, Father Costello was a Christian Brother for 25 years. For the Diocese of Venice, Father served as Parochial Vicar at St. William Parish in Naples, as Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton and has served as Rector of Epiphany Cathedral since 2008. Father Jack also served on the Pastor Peer Review Committee and on the Advisory Board for Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center.

 

Rev. Pawel Kawalec

Father Pawel was born in Staracowice, Poland in 1970 to Andrew and Urszula (Backo) Kawalec. Father was ordained to the Priesthood as a Missionary Priest of the Society of Christ in Poznan, Poland, on May 21, 1996. In September 2004, Father Pawel emigrated to the United States and served as a priest in residence at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice before being assigned to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Venice.  Subsequently, he served at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish, Bradenton and Holy Cross Parish, Palmetto. Father was incardinated into the Diocese of Venice in December 2005.  Since 2015, Father Pawel has been a Parochial Vicar at St. Catherine Parish, Sebring, Florida.

 

Deacon Silver Jubilee

Deacon David R. Jerome, DDS

Deacon David R. Jerome, DDS, was born in 1937 in Buffalo, New York. He studied at Canisius College in Buffalo, State University of New York at Buffalo Dental School, and Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, New York. Ordained to the Permanent Diaconate on June 16, 1996 for the Diocese of Buffalo, Deacon Jerome served at a Parish in Lancaster, New York, as well as for the Diocese of Buffalo Family Life Department. For the Diocese of Venice, Deacon Jerome serves at St. Finbarr Parish in Naples. He is married to Norene (Tuck) Jerome, and they have three children and 12 grandchildren. Deacon David is a retired dentist and dental educator.

 

Deacon Michael F. Christoforo, MD

Born in 1936 in New York City, New York, Deacon Cristoforo studied at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, and Marquette University School of Medicine in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Deacon Michael was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate on April 27, 1996 for the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois. He served at a Parish in Rockford and then for the Diocese of Venice at St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples and San Marco Parish on Marco Island before retiring in 2019. Married to Donna Jean (Dermody) Christoforo, he has three sons and five grandchildren. Deacon Michael is a retired physician.

 

 

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