Rite of Election – Large number set to enter Church at Easter Vigil

By Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

A large group of women and men who will join the Catholic Church within the Diocese of Venice at the Easter Vigil were recognized during the annual Rite of Election at Epiphany Cathedral on the first Sunday of Lent on March 10. This annual tradition is a formal Rite during which catechumens are presented and their names are entered into the Book of Elect.

The 148 catechumens were joined by an additional 120 candidates who also participated in the formal ceremony and are recognized during the celebration for answering the call to their continuing conversion.

The Rite of Election was presided over by Bishop Frank J. Dewane who complimented each for making the commitment to answer the call of Jesus Christ in a particular way by becoming members of the Church in the Diocese of Venice. “This is where the catechumens and candidates come forward with courage to step up and today proudly say: ‘I am called!’”

The catechumens and candidates who were recognized by Bishop Dewane will be welcomed as part of the Easter Vigil celebration on April 20 at their respective parishes. They represent 40 Parishes in the Diocese of Venice and are accompanied by more than 150,000 people across the country that will also join the Catholic Church this year. St. Peter the Apostles Parish in Naples, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Immokalee and Jesus the Worker Parish in Fort Myers had the largest groups of catechumens and candidates.

The decision each made in their life is part of a journey to grow ever closer to the Lord and to become fully a part of the Church of God, Bishop Dewane said. Each came forward for different reasons, but a key first step in this process is developing a personal friendship with Jesus Christ.

Bishop Dewane said this process should be a conversion of the heart, as each catechumen and candidate must prevent outside influences, such as things, people or objects, standing in their way of developing that relationship with the Lord.

“Go forward knowing the Holy Spirit will aid you in this journey,” the Bishop added. “You have been called to be catechumens and candidates… it is human nature to stumble along the way – but keep working to become ever more that man or woman of God you are called to be.”

The catechumens are part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). RCIA is for those who are unbaptized and unchurched, who come to inquire about becoming part of the Roman Catholic Faith. Often catechumens are those who have begun to seek and understand God in their lives and have been led by the Holy Spirit to become Catholic.

RCIA is not simply a course on Catholicism; it is a journey of discovery and faith. This is most commonly done is three distinct phases: discernment, acceptance into the catechumenate and purification and enlightenment.

Each catechumen will go through a series of scrutinies during which they examine their readiness to accept Christ and the Catholic Faith in the form of the Sacraments of Initiation. This time culminates at the Easter Vigil when the catechumens are received through Baptism into the Catholic Church. The final period of the RCIA is the time of “Mystagogy” (post-baptismal catechesis). During the weeks following the Easter Vigil, the newly initiated live more profoundly their experience of Baptism and the Eucharist as they begin the journey of discipleship and their growing union with Christ.

For candidates, those who have been baptized in the name of the Trinity, the Catholic Church does not require re-Baptism. Candidates have already experienced a journey of faith and have some understanding of how Jesus leads us to the Father through the work of the Holy Spirit. In fact, many have been attending Mass with their families for years but may have never received the Sacrament of Holy Communion or the Sacrament of Confirmation. Candidates, therefore, are in a separate group and are not necessarily required to wait an entire year before being welcomed into the Church.

The candidates are invited to the Cathedral for the Rite of Election as a form of welcome, but because they are already in the Book of the Elect as baptized Christians, they do not bring their names forward; rather they come forward and make the sign of the cross with holy water as a reminder of their Baptism and sign of their continuing conversion.

Everyone is encouraged to pray for and welcome the catechumens and candidates at their own parish as they continue their journey of discovery in their Faith.

Bishop Dewane Extends Appreciation to all volunteers

Susan Laielli – Special to the Florida Catholic

For the nearly 400 people who joined Bishop Frank J. Dewane at February 23 Mass in Appreciation of Volunteers at Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers, it was a day to celebrate their work in the Diocese of Venice Parishes, Missions and other entities.

For one St. Ann Parish volunteer, retired nurse Denise Delaney, who now serves as an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister at a hospital in Naples, she admits it took some prompting from both the Holy Spirit and her husband to return to the hospital setting, but she is very grateful for the nudge.

“I wasn’t sure if I could transition from the nursing side of the hospital to being in ministry, but my husband said, ‘How long are you going to wait before you do this?’ – then I saw a St. Ann bulletin ad with heartfelt encouragement expressing the need for Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers at the hospital,” Delaney said.

Delaney said bringing the Eucharist to the hospital is ‘humbling’, , who admits to finding the work very rewarding to be included with families during very sensitive times.

Bishop Dewane was the Principal Celebrant of the Mass, and he was joined by priests from across the region who were there to support the volunteers.

During the Mass Bishop Dewane acknowledged all the various roles making up a Church family and encouraged each to continue working as a Missionary Disciple, saying the work is symbolic of a deeper meaning and message. Those roles can vary dramatically from helping at a soup kitchen to teaching a young person learn how to read. Each volunteer’s contribution is valued for their presence; not only by the Universal Church, but by those who they assist.

“The Holy Father reminds us that Volunteers are like John the Baptist – by reaching out, going out to those in need, you prepare the way of the Lord for them,” Bishop Dewane said. “As volunteers, you act without personal interest being prompted by the Holy Spirit, and it is truly humbling to stand before you.”

Members of the Our Lady of Light Parish Choir sang beautifully during the Mass. By the way, they are all volunteers themselves. One chorister was Colleen Miley, who started singing in the Parish in 1993 when her husband passed away.

“It’s important for people to be engaged in something that’s not only good for you, but good for others as well,” Miley said.

Before the afternoon luncheon in the Parish Hall where a slideshow played featuring volunteers from across the Diocese, Bishop Dewane took photographs with each of the Parish groups in attendance.

Ash Wednesday marks beginning of Lenten Journey

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

“Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return” are the words one hears when ashes are formed in the sign of the cross and imposed on the forehead on Ash Wednesday.

The ashes come from the blessed Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year and the moment serves as a launching point for one’s Lenten Journey of praying, of fasting, of almsgiving – sacrifice.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane stressed during a Mass at St. William Parish in Naples, that on this journey of salvation, as one moves forward, one is called to discipline oneself to be the ever more for the Lord. A key component of this is to renew one’s heart, the Bishop added.

While attending Mass on Ash Wednesday is a good start, Bishop Dewane said that it is very easy to get too busy with the motions of the Lenten Season and miss the motivation.

“Why is it we are here? What is it we do? Why do we do it?” the Bishop asked. “It is in our heart, as human beings, where that love and motivation can most profoundly occur. Go forward – as you are starting out well – but look at the motivation. If one needs to make more connections with the Lord, do so. Be very mindful in expressing to the Lord, clearly in one’s prayer, what it is that motivates you and also seek the help one needs from the Lord.

The ashes were used as a sign of repentance in the Old Testament, and to serve as a public sign of our intent to die to our worldly desires and live in Christ. Ashes also symbolize grief, in this case, grief for our sins.

Pope Francis said on Ash Wednesday that fasting from food or other things during Lent is a chance for Catholics to reorient their material attachments, and the Holy Father urged people to slow down and turn to Christ during the penitential season.

The Pope added that the three area of focuses during Lent serve as an invitation from the Lord. “Prayer reunites us to God; charity, to our neighbor; fasting, to ourselves.”

News briefs from Around the Diocese March 15 2019

Bishop serves as Grand Marshal to Marco St. Patrick’s Parade

Bishop Frank J. Dewane served as the Grand Marshal for the 2019 Marco Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 3. The parade included a variety of floats and various musical performers including the St. John Neuman Catholic High School Band from Naples.

Parish celebrates 20 years

Our Lady of the Angels Parish Lakewood Ranch celebrated their 20th anniversary with a Mass and party on Feb. 24. Bishop Frank J. Dewane was the principal celebrant for the Mass with current, past and neighboring priests concelebrating. It was noted that the faith community, which has been in a new parish church for about a year, has grown thanks to the efforts of the priests and of the strong support of the people who make Our Lady of the Angels what it is today.

Order of Malta retreat brings in Archbishop

Archbishop Jerome Listecki, of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, was the retreat master for an Order of Malta retreat in Naples from March 1-3. Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated a Mass for the knights and dames of the order on March 1 at St. Ann Parish and was joined by Archbishop Listecki.

St. Andrew student saves father, receives “Do The Right Thing Award”

Kendall Sullivan, a seventh grader at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral, was recently honored at the Cape Coral “Do The Right Thing” Awards. She was recognized for her fast thinking and calm demeanor in a very stressful situation when her father had a medical emergency while driving here and a her younger sister to school. After a minor traffic accident, the quick-thinking student was able to remove the keys from the ignition and turn off the car. She then explain to bystanders and emergency medical personnel about her father’s medical history which was credited with helping him make a full recovery. She was presented the ‘Do the Right Thing Award” for being able to prevent injury to her family and others on the road all while putting her fear aside.

Two Diocesan teams going to state Odyssey of the Mind competition

The St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton and St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral both qualified teams for the state Odyssey of the Mind competition at the University of Central Florida in April! The teams did well in regional qualifiers on March 2 competing against more than 100 schools from across the area. Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving program where teams work together to solve complex problems.

Parish holds annual Gala

St. Jude Parish in Sarasota held their annual Gala Feb. 15 at Michael’s on East. The theme of the evening was “One World, One Family,” and in addition to fine dining, there was dancing, photo booth, raffles and live auction, including for Father Celestin Gutierrez’s famous paella dinner.

Epiphany Cathedral students participate in Kids Heart Challenge

Students at Epiphany Cathedral School know that February celebrates St. Valentine and is American Heart Month by participating in the Kids Heart Challenge which educates them on how their heart works, ways to stay healthy and how to make a difference in the lives of others. American Heart Association Youth Marketing Director, Emily Helter visited the Venice to the school on Valentine’s Day to speak with the 2nd & 3rd grade class about the fundraiser and ways to stay heart healthy.  This year the student’s goal is to raise $5,000 with the school raising $8,000 in the past two years. The Kid’s Heart Challenge fundraiser culminated with a school-wide event with jumping rope, hula hooping, dance and many fun activities designed to illustrate that being active is both fun and life-saving.

Bishop leads Holy Land pilgrimage

Staff Report

2/21/19

Deacon Richard and Lynne Frohmiller renews their wedding vows in Cana, Israel, before Bishop Frank J. Dewane and Father Peter Vasko, OFM, Feb. 8, during a Holy Land pilgrimage.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was part of a recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land with a group of mostly faithful from the Diocese of Venice.

The pilgrimage was organized by John and Maureen Lengyel of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and included visits to sites such as Cana, Nazareth, Capernaum, Jericho, Bethany, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, names that evoke vivid imagery from the New Testament and specifically the life and death of Jesus.

The spiritual leader for the pilgrimage was Father Peter Vasko, OFM, who is the President of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land.

Bishop Dewane expressed how he was truly a blessed for opportunity to take part in the pilgrimage, noting that when one visits the sites of the life of Jesus, one cannot help but be changed by the experience.

While in Cana, the couples participating had the opportunity to renew their wedding vows. Other highlights included visiting the site where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, the Sea of Galilee, Mount Carmel, the River Jordan, the Holy Grotto of the Nativity, the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and to walk along the Via Dolorosa, the same path Jesus took while carrying the cross to Calvary. There were just a few of the highlights of the pilgrimage.

During the journey, one pilgrim wrote on social media that she was overwhelmed to be at holy sites where Jesus walked and taught. She later added that the entire journey was a life-changing experience.

Religious women recognized for service to Church

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

In gratitude and recognition for the contributions of men and women religious within the Universal Church, but more precisely in the Diocese of Venice, a jubilee celebration was held Feb. 17 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice.

Appropriately, the day began with the celebration of the Mass by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. During the Mass, there was a renewal of the vows for the jubilarians, the same ones they took when professing a commitment to a religious life, that of poverty, chastity and obedience.

The Bishop thanked the religious for answering a specific call of the Lord to live a life of holiness, and then taking that commitment a step farther by reaching out and serving others. Bishop Dewane added that the celebration of consecrated life is a celebration of goodness, a blessing to the Church as a whole.

Four religious women celebrating significant anniversaries were specifically recognized during the Mass and at a following reception. The religious honored were: 75 years, Sister Mary Paschal Sadlier, Poor Clare Nun (Order of St. Clare); 60 years, Sister Liliette Ouellette and Sister Mary Josine Perez, School Sisters of Notre Dame; and 25 years, Sister Maria Pilar Alindogan, Poor Clare Nun (Order of St. Clare).

Sister Liliette explained that her call to a religious life was a path she followed with great joy. As a teacher, she followed the charism of her religious order with passion knowing that she was accompanied by the Lord along the path she had chosen. “It has been a good life,” Sister Liliette said.

Sister Josine spent a lifetime teaching at every level from elementary to college level, but now, in her “retirement,” she remains active at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice assisting with funeral planning and the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. “As a religious sister, I have been called by Christ to serve. That service helps bring others close to His love.”

Sister Mary Paschal and Sister Maria Pilar were unable to attend the celebration. Present at the Mass were religious brothers, priests and or women religious as a sign of support for those celebrating their jubilee in 2019. Following the Mass, the was a luncheon where jubilarians were again recognized for their commitment to a service to others and their continued service within the Diocese of Venice.

Biographies

75 years of religious life

Sister Mary Paschal Sadlier, OSC

Born Honora Sadlier in Lisheen Cashel Co., Tipperary, Ireland, now nearly 101, Sister Mary Paschal Sadlier, Poor Clare Nun (Order of St. Clare), was born to Martin and Mary Sadlier, and is last surviving of 10 children. Sister entered religious life on Jan. 22, 1936 with the Sisters of St. Anne in Wimbledon, England and she received her habit and the name Sister Paschal Baylon of the Sacred Heart. After working at a hospital in Plymouth helping the victims of the bombing of England in the early years of World War II, she took a rest at a Poor Clare convent and felt called to a contemplative life. In July 1942 she was accepted as a Poor Clare in Cornwall and Sister Mary Paschal made her profession on July 31, 1944. She remained in the convent in Cornwall until becoming Abbess which exhausted her. Sister Mary Paschal then went to Arundel, before moving on the to Poor Clares in Darlington. There she was the Portress – second in charge – which suited her temperament better and later she was named infirmarian, caring for the older sisters in the monastery. At the age of 70, in 1988 she made her final transfer to live with the Poor Clare Sisters at San Damiano Monastery of St. Clare on Fort Myers Beach. The religious community joyfully embraces a life of poverty, prayer and contemplation, solitude and seclusion that they might serve the Lord and His Church. In her spare time, she likes to read.

60 years of religious life

Sister Liliette Ouellette, SSND

Sister Liliette Ouellette, School Sister of Notre Dame, was bornin Dracut, Mass. To Arthur and Beatrice Ouellette and has three sisters. The earned a Bachelor’s in French at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisc., a Master’s in Elementary Education from the University of Detroit in Michigan, and a Master’s in Education Administration from Manhattan College in New York. Sister Liliette entered religious life on Aug. 28, 1957 and made her profession on July 14, 1959. She taught elementary school in Michigan for nine years before moving to Long Island, N.Y. to teach junior high from 1970 to her retirement in 2009. Since her move to Port Charlotte in 2014 she serves as a lector and Eucharistic Minister at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish. She also volunteers with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The day of Sister Lilliete’s profession was one of her happiest memories, because it was when her family shared in the joy she had in consecrating her life to God in expression of her vows. Another happy memory was becoming cancer-free, something she sees as a sign of God’s love and presence in her life. In her spare time, she loves any form of needlework and even crotchets mats for the homeless using plastic bags.

Sister Mary Josine Perez, SSND

Sister Mary Josine Perez, School Sister of Notre Dame, was born in New York to Joseph and Alice Perez, and has one brother. Sister Maria received a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore, Md., and then a Master’s in Education from Loyola College in Baltimore and Master’s in Religious Studies from Barry University in Miami and finally a certification in administration/supervision from the University of South Florida in Tampa. She entered religious life on Sept. 8, 1957 and made her profession on July 25, 1959. Sister Maria was an elementary and then junior high school teacher in Baltimore before becoming a principal in Hollywood, Fla. She was then a teacher later dean at a high school in St. Petersburg before becoming Assistant Academic Dean at the College of Notre Dame in Maryland. After leaving the College of Notre Dame, she returned to Catholic Schools as a principal of an elementary school in St. Petersburg. It was 25 years ago that she moved to the Diocese of Venice where she was the Director of Religious Education at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Port Charlotte and then from 1993 to 2017 as DRE and involved in parish ministry at Sacred Heart Parish in Punta Gorda. She retired in 2017 to Venice where she now assists with funeral planning and with the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

25 years of religious life

Sister Maria Pilar Alindogan, OSC

One of 14 children, Sister Maria Pilar Alindogan, Poor Clare Nun (Order of St. Clare), was born in San Fernando Masbate, Philippines, to Effigenio and Elsie Alindogan. She is a graduate from Emilio Aguinaldo College in Manila, Philippines. Sister Maria Pilar entered religious life on June 27, 1991 and made her profession on June 27, 1994. She entered the monastery in Quezon City, Philippines and was there until she came to Florida in 2007. Since that time Sister Maria Pilar has been with the Poor Clare Sisters at San Damiano Monastery of St. Clare on Fort Myers Beach. She loves to play the organ and guitar, as well as draw, cut letters for sign boards and to do little things for others to let them know that she loves and cares for them.

Christmas brings light into the darkness

By Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

1/17/19

The Word brought Light into the darkness – Christmas brings the Light of Christ into the world, providing comfort and courage.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the Midnight Mass at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice where the Gospel of Luke (2: 1-14), speaks in recognition of Christ and the birth of Our Savior that is still celebrated in the Church more than 2,000 years later.

The Gospel is broken into two important parts, Bishop Dewane explained. The first part sets the time and place when the birth took place, namely in Bethlehem at the time of the census called for by Caesar Augustus.

“This is not just some event that happened at some vague time that is debated,” the Bishop added. The Birth of Christ happened and can be recorded to that specific place and time. This is an historical event!”

A Living Nativity at St. Agnes Parish in Naples on Dec. 16.

This is stressed here as well as in the other Gospels related to the Birth of Christ so as to establish the voracity of the event; so there is no debate or confusion when the story is retold.

The second part of the Gospel is about the shepherds who were given a call to be witnesses to the Birth of Jesus Christ. From them we learn about the simplicity of Jesus being born in the manger to Mary and Joseph and why there was no room at the inn.

“The shepherds are told, ‘do not be afraid,’” Bishop Dewane said. “This message is for all of us. As the shepherds were called to proclaim the Good News of the Lord, so too are we called to take that message into our heart. Let this message provide comfort and courage as we move forward this Christmas Season.”

Students at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice play the violin during a Christmas Pageant on Dec. 17.

The Bishop also celebrated the Christmas Televised Mass for the Homebound from Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch, and asked everyone to prayer during the Christmas Season for the homebound and those who are alone or might be incarcerated.

Throughout the Diocese of Venice, the Christmas Season was celebrated in a variety of ways. Parishes had Angel Trees from which parishioners could buy gifts for those in need in the community and for Catholic Charities programs. Several Parishes also had a Living Nativity, complete with live animals. The largest of these was a St. Agnes Parish in Naples and included a town laid out in the Parish Hall parking lot and actors portraying key figures in the Nativity Story.

Kindergarteners at St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton sing carols Dec. 13 for residents at a nearby senior living facility.

Catholic Schools throughout the Diocese contributed huge numbers of gifts to other children in the region. In addition, many held holiday pageants and concerts with nativity plays a common theme. Children also made gingerbread houses, caroled at nursing homes and others brought holiday cheer to those with disabilities.

Mass to honor Widows and Widowers Jan. 20

Staff Report – Florida Catholic

12/20/2018

Throughout Scriptures we are reminded to care for widows and widowers who are protected by God. For this reason, the Bishop Frank J. Dewane is celebrating a Mass for all widows and widowers at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 20 at Epiphany Cathedral, 310 Sarasota Street, Venice. A dinner will follow in the Parish Hall.

Bishop Dewane said this Mass is an important opportunity to recognize those who have suffered the loss of a spouse but remain strong in their faith.

The concept for the Mass grew out of the annual Mass honoring couples celebrating significant wedding anniversaries. Those Masses, which will be, March 2 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice and March 16 at St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs, are extraordinarily popular, however each year there are empty spaces in the pews when a spouse passes away.

“Widows and widowers are not forgotten but are in fact recognized and in particular revered by the Church,” Bishop Dewane said. “The Book of Revelation says the Lamb will shepherd and lead those who grieve to the springs of life-giving water and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. This reminds us that we can persevere…”

The celebration will include a display of photos available for viewing and be part of the Mass for widows and widowers. Should an attendee wish to share a photo for the display, they can either bring the image to the event, email it to ardy@dioceseofvenice.org, or mail it to Diocese of Venice, Attn: Family Life Office, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, Florida  34285.

To register, or for further information about the Widows and Widowers Mass with Bishop Dewane, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/calendar, email Kim Elsmore at elsmore@dioceseofvenice.org, or call 941-484-9543.

News from around the Diocese

Christmas Day Television Mass for the Homebound

The televised Christmas Day Mass for the Homebound with Bishop Frank J. Dewane as Celebrant will air for a full hour on Christmas Day. For viewers in the northern portions of the Diocese (DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Manatee, and Sarasota counties), the Mass airs at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee counties), the Mass airs at 8:00 a.m. on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). Please check your cable provider for channel listings. Leaflet missals are available upon request by calling 941-486-4714 or by writing: TV Mass, Diocese of Venice, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285. For more information, contact Gail Ardy at 941-486-4714 or email ardy@dioceseofvenice.org.

2018 Christmas Appeal

Catholic Charities launches the annual Christmas Appeal during December 2018 and January 2019. The goal is to raise $565,000 and your gifts are much appreciated! The Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal is the agency’s largest fundraiser and critical to operating the social service organization. Your donation will benefit Catholic Charities programs and services available throughout Southwest Florida that assist individuals, families, and seniors all year long. Thank you for your giving spirit! To donate please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or mail a donation to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., 5824 Bee Ridge Road, PMB #409, Sarasota, FL 34233-5065. For more information, please call 941-488-5581.

Bishop Blesses Christmas Tree

During the first week of Advent, Bishop Frank J. Dewane blessed the Catholic Center Christmas Tree Dec. 6 during a prayer service with the employees of the Catholic Center in Venice. The tree was then decorated and various holiday treats were offered.

 

 

Mass at Dawn continues through Dec. 23

Following the Filipino tradition, several parishes have hosted all or part of the so-called Mass at Dawn (Simbang Gabi).  This novena of Masses in celebrated preparation for Christmas. In the Diocese, the full novena was available at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Port Charlotte and began Dec. 15. Three Diocesan Filipino priests celebrated the opening Mass. Additional one-day Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo opportunities took place Dec. 16 at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota and St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral, as well as Dec. 21 at St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs. Although this tradition is not exclusive to Filipinos, its observance is very much highlighted and distinctive of the Philippine Catholic culture.

Mass Celebrating Haitian Independence Jan. 1

Bishop Frank J. Dewane invites everyone to participate in the Annual Mass celebrating Haitian Independence at 2 p.m., New Year’s Day, at St. Leo the Great Parish, 28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs. The Mass, which is on the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, brings together the various Haitian communities within the Diocese of Venice for one celebration. Most Rev. Désinord Jean, Diocese of Hinche, Haiti, will be the Principal Celebrant and Homilist. There is a reception after the Mass in the Parish Hall.

“Lord Teach Me To Pray” Series begins Jan. 8

Are you longing for a deeper relationship with Jesus? If so, the “Lord Teach Me To Pray” prayer series rooted in Ignatian spirituality is for you. The first part of the three-part series, “Praying Christian Virtues,” is being offered for women for 12 weeks beginning Tuesday, January 8, at St. Thomas More Parish, 2506 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota. For more details, please email Veronica at veroltmtp@gmail.com.

Fashion Show Jan. 12

All are invited to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center at 1 p.m. Jan 12, 3989 South Moon Drive, Venice, for an afternoon of fashion, food and fun. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. with an opportunity to bid on auction items. Lunch will be a Caesar Salad with your choice of salmon of chicken. Great Christmas gift! For more information or to buy tickets please visit www.olph-retreat.org or call 941-486-0233 ext. 3002.

 Couples Date Night Jan. 15 and 17

The Office of Family Life is hosting two Parenting workshops.  Catholic Parenting is challenging!  Learn specific tips and tricks that helped hundreds of families thrive!  Jim and Maureen Otremba have been presenting for over 20 years and have given presentations to Parishes and Diocese around the country. The workshops are 6 p.m., Jan. 15 at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers, and from 6 p.m. Jan. 17 at Our Lady of the Angels Parish, 12905 E. State Road 70, Lakewood Ranch. The cost is $25 for materials.  Registration is needed.  Pizza dinner and drinks will be provided.  Our Lady of the Angels will have babysitting available.  For more information and registration go to www.dioceseofvenice.org/calendar.

Spirituality of Retirement workshop Jan. 16

The Office of Family Life is hosting a workshop at 1 p.m., Jan. 16, at St. William Parish Ministry Hall, 750 Seagate Drive, Naples. The Universal Call to Holiness invites us to “the fullness of the Christian life and the perfection of charity” (Lumen Gentium). For Catholics in their retirement years, this invitation takes on new joys and challenges as their wisdom increases and defining life characteristics such as career, mobility, and relationships undergo transition. This workshop provides strategies for retired Catholics to enrich their identity as cherished members of the Body of Christ. Rooted in our baptismal call to holiness and drawing on the riches of the Eucharist, the presentation incorporates current research on brain biology, generativity, and wellness. Participants will gain an enhanced knowledge of the gift they are to the Body of Christ along with ways to share their gifts with their faith community. Suggested donation at the door.  Please register by Jan. 14 either online at www.dioceseofvenice.org/calendar or call St. William at 239-261-4883.

Faith and Ale Lee County Jan. 17

Faith and Ale is an outreach for men to learn more about their faith and grow closer to Our Lord. The next gathering is 6:00 p.m. Thursday, January 17, at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. The speaker is David Casper, a retired Hall of Fame American football player. Locations will vary throughout the 2018-19 season. To register, or for more information, please visit www.faithandale.com.

Blue Mass in Naples Jan. 26

St. Agnes Catholic Church, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples will celebrate a Blue Mass in honor of Law Enforcement and First Responders, Active and Retired on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. This year’s guest homilist will be Deacon Bob Montelongo of the Chicago Police Department. Please join us as we honor their sacrifice and service to our community. A luncheon will immediately follow in the Parish Hall. Please RSVP at 239-592-1949 for the reception.

Mooney Lady Cougar Weightlifting team debuts

This is the new Lady Cougar Weightlifting Team at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota.

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Lady Cougar Weightlifting Team made its debut in November. This new Sarasota team consists of 15 inaugural participants and will be competing against teams at competitions throughout the region.

 

 

 

 

Making gingerbread houses

Bishop Verot Catholic High School National Honors Society members hosted a gingerbread house decorating Dec. 6 in Fort Myers for second and third grade students from St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers and St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral.

The Bishop Verot Catholic High School National Honor Society welcomed second and third graders to the Fort Myers campus Dec. 6 from St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral and St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers. It was a fun day of creating beautiful Gingerbread Houses and Christmas Cookies, and a little snacking too.

 

 

 

 

Bringing music for weary travelers

Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School students from Venice played Christmas music in early December at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

String musicians from Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice entertained weary travelers at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport on Dec. 4 with a holiday concert. Musicians from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota also had their own holiday concert a few days later. Great job everyone.

Cathedral illuminated in Red for Persecuted Christians

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

12/4/2018

Epiphany Cathedral in Venice was illuminated in red as the Diocese participated in the “Courage in Red” initiative to shine the light on the plight of persecuted Christians.

In addition to the illuminating of the Cathedral on Nov. 28, a variety of activities took place throughout the Diocese in support of the “Courage in Red” initiative. The activities are part of a worldwide “Courage in Red” campaign by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the international papal charity that provides pastoral and humanitarian aid to persecuted Christian communities.

Edward Clancy, ACN U.S. director of outreach, said that “hundreds of thousands of Christians suffer various forms of persecution each year – from horrific brutality in North Korea to systemic, if more subtle, oppression in countries like India.”

The “Courage in Red” campaign is designed to bring the plight of our suffering brothers and sisters more dramatically to the attention of faithful in the U.S, Clancy explained. “Hopefully, greater awareness will lead to greater action,” Clancy added.

In a recent report by Aid to the Church in Need on Religious Freedom, it found that some 61 percent of the world’s population live in countries where religious freedom is not respected. Among them are almost 300 million Christians, or 1 in 7, who live in a country of persecution, subject to violence, arrest, and human rights violations.

Bishop Verot Catholic High School students were red aon Nov. 28 as part of the “Courage in Red” campaign to raise awareness for Persecuted Christians around the world. They spelled out V-E-R-O-T on the football field.

On Nov. 28, Diocesan Catholic school students wore red in solidarity with persecuted Christians and participated in age-appropriate activities to learn about their plight. Several schools held prayer services focusing on the suffering and martyred Church throughout the world.

High school students also watched the new documentary “Christians in the Mirror” which compares and contrasts the plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and Africa in contrast to other Christian Churches which live in relative peace.

At St. Ann Catholic School in Naples, the morning prayer included students placing their prayers for persecuted Christians in a prayer box.

The students at Bishop Verot Catholic High School all wore red and went out onto the football field to stand united at the center of the field and then to form the letters V-E-R-O-T.

Students at St. Ann Catholic School in Naples participate in a prayer service while wearing red on Nov. 28 as part of the “Courage in Red” campaign to raise awareness for Persecuted Christians around the world.

Every student at St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary’s Academy in Sarasota wore a red uniform shirt and a red ribbon in honor of those being persecuted for their faith. Each student also created a card of support for persecuted Christian children and will send them to those in the Holy Land. Every one of the classes prayed one decade of the Rosary in chapel during that week for countries where Christians are being persecuted.

An evening prayer vigil was held at Epiphany Cathedral which included prayers, Adoration and Benediction. Led by Father James Shea, he spoke about how the persecution of Christians started with Jesus Christ, who suffered and died on the Cross.

“Christ was the first martyr of what would become many through the years, leading up to today where people are dying for their faith each day,” Father Shea said. “Those being persecuted feel forgotten by the West. Because it’s not happening here, we don’t pay attention. We Christians should pay attention. We need to be more prayerful each and every day; praying for our brothers and sisters in other nations who are being persecuted and standing together with them in their struggle.”

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