Adoration resumes across Diocese

Bishop Frank J. Dewane has authorized the resumption of Eucharistic Adoration in Parishes throughout the Diocese of Venice while at the same time encouraging other Parishes to offer this as a new opportunity for the faithful to spend to with the Lord.

Bishop Dewane encouraged the expansion and availability of Adoration in an Aug. 5, 2020 letter to the priests of the Diocese. Adoration was necessarily limited upon the reopening of Parishes on May 18, 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.

“This will be of great help and consolation to the Faithful during these turbulent times, when the People of God long to be close to the Lord,” Bishop Dewane wrote. “By offering Adoration, an opportunity for prayer in the Lord’s presence is provided for those who may have reservations about attending Mass due to the number gathered.”

Bishop Dewane also wrote that it may also be helpful to offer Holy Communion to attendees following the closing Benediction or at the start of Adoration.

“Clearly, I recognize that these are challenging times for us all,” Bishop Dewane added. “While in itself Adoration has great value, it does encourage another population to increase their contact with the Parish.”

While exposition may be held either in the main Parish Church or in a Chapel, the continued following of protocols for social distancing and face coverings is still required. If using a smaller space, it was suggested that Parishes may wish to consider a registration process to limit the numbers present at any one time.

The Bishop also noted in his letter that he highly values and appreciates the efforts of the priests to continue to provide pastoral care during these challenging times.

News briefs for week of Aug. 10, 2020

Ordination to the Transitional Diaconate Aug. 29

Diocese of Venice Seminarian Alex Pince will be ordained to the Transitional Diaconate by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on Aug. 29, 2020, at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. The Transitional Diaconate Ordination Mass will begin at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow. All are invited to attend.   

Voter Guides available

Please be advised that the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops Candidate Questionnaire is available at www.flaccb.org/cqp. Candidate responses are posted on the website and appear in two formats: 1) lists of all candidates on the primary and general election ballots; and 2) primary election candidates in table format by Diocese. If you have any questions, please contact Jeanne Berdeaux at Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-374-1068.

Religious sisters renew vows

Congratulations to Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco Katie Flanagan (Immaculata La Salle Catholic High School, Miami), April Cabaccang (St. John Neumann Catholic High School, Naples), April Hoffman (St. John Neumann) and  Maria Fe Tansioco (Immaculata La Salle) on the renewal of their vows on Aug. 4, 2020 at Our Lady of the Angels Chapel of St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples. Father Bob Kantor, Pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Naples presided over the renewal of vows. The ceremony was witnessed by members of the student government. The temporary professed sisters usually renew their vows in Haledon, N.J., at their Mother House, but because of pandemic travel restrictions, the Salesian Sisters who minister in Florida renewed their vows in Our Lady of the Angels Chapel at Neumann.

1,800 books devoured in summer reading program

Congratulations to St. Joseph Catholic School summer readers who participated in the Patterson Summer Reading Challenge! These students read more than 1,800 books, completed Accelerated Reader goals, shared books weekly via Zoom, and completed book activities. Because of our new start date, our readers still have until Aug. 14, 2020, to achieve their High Points goals, and some are very close! Great work! Each student earned a wristband for completing books and achieving goals.

New windows being installed

The installation of stained-glass windows at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch is making excellent progress. The newly constructed Church was dedicated in 2019 but the stained-glass windows were not ready at the time. Since mid-June 2020, the new windows are being installed and adding greater beauty to the interior of the worship space.

Sarasota priest joins reading campaign

Pallottine Father Patrick Wilson, Parochial Vicar of St. Martha Parish in Sarasota recently took part in a webcast series of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading “This Book is Cool!” hosted by Director Beth Duda. The featured book on the July 12, 2020 episode, was “The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders” written by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Petra Mathers. The project is generously funded by The Patterson Foundation, is designed to encourage children, PreK- Gr. 3, to read, and includes a selected book, a special guest, new vocabulary words for the Word Bank, and a suggested activity that goes with the book.

Bradenton food pantry benefits from postal drive

The National Association of Letter Carriers headed up an employee food drive at all five post offices in Bradenton all to benefit the St. Joseph Parish Food Pantry, the largest such pantry in Manatee County.  The postal carriers.  collected food throughout the month of July 2020 and brought it, along with a monetary check in the amount of $1,000, to the food pantry on July 29, 2020.  This action took the place of a national food drive which was cancelled, impacting food banks through the country. Thank you, Bradenton letter carriers, for your generosity.

Cardinal Mooney graduation outdoors

The roar of the crowd at LECOM Park on July 31, 2020 was not for a Bradenton Marauders minor league baseball game but for the graduating seniors of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School.

The class of 133 is an impressive group, earning more than $10 million in scholarships and nearly all will be attending college in the coming weeks. Delayed from its original date in late May due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, some were not present for the graduation because of college or work commitments, but each was recognized during the Commencement Exercises.

The night before the commencement, on July 30, 2020, the Class of 2020 was given a proper send off for Catholic high school students, with a Baccalaureate Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane at Incarnation Parish.

“With the pandemic, so much has changed for all of us and we find ourselves in a very unique situation,” Bishop Dewane said. “As a class, likely all of you here have become closer while at the same time being 6-feet apart. It’s something unique and something you will always remember.”

While the Bishop noted that the graduates may feel they are a little less fortunate than some other classes because of opportunities lost and graduating during a global pandemic and economic crisis.

“At the same time, despite that difficulty, the Lord calls us together to celebrate in the way that we can celebrate who you are and who you are becoming as a man or woman of God,” Bishop Dewane continued. “You have to have the grace to respond to those changes in your life… Use the gifts you have gained, received and earned at Cardinal Mooney and go forward and build upon those to be your strength as you go forward facing life anew.”

During the graduation, masks were worn and social distancing occurred whenever possible as friends and family were spread out in the stands at LECOM Park. The graduates initially sat along the third base line. When their names were called, each graduate came forward crossing the infield to behind the pitcher’s mound where Principal Ben Hopper was there to hand out the diplomas. The graduates were also congratulated by Father John Belmonte, SJ, Diocese of Venice Superintendent of Catholic Education and Father Eric Scanlan, Cardinal Mooney Chaplain and Administrator of Incarnation Parish. The Commencement Address was given by Dr. William Soscia, Mooney Class of 1984.

The loudest applause during the Commencement came when Hopper presented a diploma to graduate Michael Bavaro. Bavaro was a star lacrosse player who broke several vertebrae in a March 2020 boating accident and requires the use of a wheelchair.

Permanent Diaconate Ordination Aug. 15

Candidates take Oath and Profession

Seven diaconate candidates took an Oath of Fidelity and gave a Profession of Faith on July 29, 2020, the final hurdle before the group will be ordained as Permanent Deacons on Aug. 15, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane presided over Mass and the ceremony at Our Lady of Perpetual Retreat Center in Venice where the men were concluding a 5-day canonical ordination retreat.

Jeffrey Ball of Ave Maria Parish, Ave Maria; Enrique (Rick) Castro of St. Cecilia Parish, Fort Myers; Ramiro Hernandez of St. Michael Parish, Wauchula; Jack W. Milholland Jr. of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Lakewood Ranch; Roberto Pagán of Jesus the Worker Parish, Fort Myers; Vern W. Smith of St. Martha Parish, Sarasota; and Dr. William Soscia of St. Joseph Parish, Bradenton, are each concluding five years of discernment and study leading up to their ordination.

Bishop Dewane thanked Ball, Castro, Hernandez, Milholand, Pagán, Smith and Soscia, for having answered the call of Jesus to live their life in a particular way. “You have been chosen to a specific status which you are committed to. This Oath and Profession are a public expression of a promise to live your Faith in a precise way.”

During the Oath, the diaconate candidates recited the Profession of Faith for all to hear. The candidates then read the “Oath of Fidelity” and promised to “adhere to the teachings, which either the Roman Pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate when they exercise authentic magisterium.” The ceremony concluded with the signing of documents by the candidates and the Bishop.

The Bishop was joined by Father Fausto Stampiglia, S.A.C., Director of the Diaconate and Pastor of St. Martha Parish in Sarasota; Deacon William Ladroga, Director of Diaconate Formation; and J. Robert Gaitens, Associate Director of Diaconate Formation.

During the process to become a Permanent Deacon, the seven have received training in theology, canon law and pastoral ministry. In 2019, they were admitted as acolytes to assist priests and other Permanent Deacons on the altar during Mass. Prior to that, they were admitted as candidates when they publicly declared their intention of becoming Deacons and the Bishop accepted them. They were also instituted as readers so they could read the Scriptures during Mass.

To a man, they describe their journey toward ordination as both a challenging and life-changing process which started with answering a call from the Lord they heard deep in their heart. Each also credit their wife for supporting and joining them on this journey of enlightenment.

The mission of the Permanent Deacons of the Diocese of Venice is to: serve as ministers of charity, lead in identifying the needs of others and strive to meet those needs; serve as ministers of the Word, when they proclaim the Gospel, preaching and teaching in the name of the Church; serve as ministers of the Sacrament of Baptism; witness marriages; conduct wake and funeral services; and lead the faithful in prayer.

Their ordination ceremony, celebrated by Bishop Dewane, is 11 a.m. Aug. 15, 2020, Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. The Mass, which was postponed from early June due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, will include the wearing of masks and social distancing whenever possible. All are encouraged and welcome to attend. A reception will follow in the Cathedral Parish Hall.

New teachers receive warm welcome

The more than 30 new teachers who have joined the Diocese of Venice for the 2020-2021 Academic Year were warmly welcomed during an orientation session on Aug. 3, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School.

Father John Belmonte, SJ, Superintendent of Catholic Education, opened the meeting with morning prayer and an introduction to what he believes is the mission of Catholic Schools: to introduce the world to its Savior. With that anchor, Father explained, Catholic Schools can do great things. Father Belmonte also celebrated Mass for the group before lunch.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane addressed the new teachers, welcoming them and sharing his great respect for their answering the call be educators – taking the gifts they have been given to help others learn.

As Catholic School teachers, no matter what subject they teach, Bishop Dewane noted that they are now a primary contact for the students and families to the Diocese, a responsibility he expects them to take seriously in how they serve as teachers and as examples for the community.

The 15 Diocesan Catholic Schools work conscientiously to provide Christ-centered learning experiences that are transportable to the real world and provide the opportunity for children to develop life-long learning skills and to be successful beyond the classroom. The schools offer cross-curricular learning experiences through STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Math), as well as traditional learning environments that instill strong foundations in reading, writing, and math.

During the orientation, the new teachers also took part in Diocesan Safe Environment training, heard about their employee benefits, risk management, workplace safety, certifications process and about standard and ethical conduct.

All Diocesan Catholic Schools will open on Aug. 17, 2020. For more information about Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/catholicschools/.

To hear Bishop Dewane and Father Belmonte speak about the reopening of Catholic Schools on Aug. 17, check out the podcast at https://dioceseofvenice.org/our-bishop/relevant-radio-podcasts/.

Diocesan Catholic schools opening Aug. 17

Comprehensive plan addresses protocols

With the input of teachers, counselors, and principals the Diocese of Venice Department of Education has completed the school reopening plan and Aug. 17, 2020 is the date all Diocesan Catholic Schools will open for the 2020-2021 academic year.

In addition, parents are being provided the option of allowing their child to participate in synchronous at-home learning, whereas a student logs in from home via a computer for a live-stream option that follows his or her same on-campus classroom instruction schedule.

The announcement of the opening date and school options were delivered to Catholic School parents through a letter dated July 24, 2020 from Diocese Superintendent of Catholic Schools Father John Belmonte, S.J. With an emphasis on safety, the letter states the original start date (Aug. 10, 2020) was pushed back by one week to give school principals and teachers needed time to prepare for a safe start to the school year.

“Reopening our schools was an evolving process that has required careful planning,” Father Belmonte wrote. “The plan includes the guidance and recommendations from the Florida Department of Education, Florida Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Father Belmonte continued. “It attempts to augment and clarify how and when these guidelines relate to our Catholic schools. Rigorous cleaning and sanitizing protocols, requirements for face coverings and social distancing, resources for school leaders and a dedication to the best Catholic education possible are found in our reopening plan.”

In addition to the letter, a “Summary Guide for Students, Parents, and Their Families” and “Quick Reference Guide for Parents” are on the Diocesan Education website (www.dioceseofvenice.org/education). The documents outline how every school will maximize the health and safety of persons on campus while mitigating risk and community spread as they move into the academic year. Each principal has also produced an individual school plan that covers specific details of his or her respective campus.

As noted previously, all Diocesan Catholic schools will offer an alternative at-home learning opportunity for students in high risk populations. Those who have chosen synchronous at-home learning, do have the freedom to switch to traditional face-to-face learning during the school year. Those decisions will be made with the school principal. In addition, if a student needs to quarantine at home, this at-home learning option will be available to that student until he or she can safely return to school.

“For the trust you place in the Diocese of Venice by enrolling your child in a Catholic school, know that we are humbled and grateful,” Father Belmonte wrote. “Your child and his or her well-being is of great importance to us. We know of their desire to be in their social milieu and our survey confirms your wish to see them back at school.”

Father Belmonte added that during “the past four months, we have learned in a deeper way, the value and importance of our Catholic schools. Our Catholic Faith teaches us that it is Christ who is the reason for our schools. As we open this fall, recall that we teach Christ Himself. It is Christ who teaches us, rescues us, saves us, redeems us, heals us, unites us, forgives us, and loves us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. In preparing to open our schools, let us remain focused on Christ who is the reason for our schools, the reason we teach, and the reason why we will gather, prudently and safely in the Fall.”

Please check with your local Catholic school website for specific reopening guidelines. In addition, the Diocese Department of Education will be providing relevant updates on its website at www.dioceseofvenice.org/education.

Neumann Class of 2020 are ‘Celtics for life’

For the first time in months, and for the final time in their lives, the close-knit St. John Neumann Catholic High School Class of 2020 gathered as a group on July 16, 2020 for a Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Exercises at St. Agnes Parish in Naples.

The celebration put a capstone on the high school lives of 80 graduates who are destined for futures unknown but grounded in a Christ-centered education. While the ceremonies were delayed two months because of the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Sister Patricia Roche, Salesian Sister of St. John Bosco and Principal, declared at the conclusion of the evening events; “You have overcome much, but know you are loved by your Celtic family and always loved by God. Once a Celtic, always a Celtic.”

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the Mass and congratulated the graduates on their achievement and for the gifts bestowed upon them while at St. John Neumann.

“While some of those gifts can be defined as academic or athletic, it is the spiritual gifts which will truly carry you forward toward a brighter future,” Bishop Dewane said. “You are graduating in a challenging world, but with the gifts you have been given, your ability to hear God’s call, the ability to see God’s work, as well as the ability to feel in your heart the Lord in your life,” Bishop Dewane said. “Be motivated by the word of God and what you see and hear in your heart, go forward, be strong, always striving to be that ‘Man or Woman of God’ you are called to be.”

Guests at the Mass and commencement were limited to immediate family to ensure social distancing could be maintained. The graduates, wearing specially provided “Class of 2020” masks, were spread across the church and seated with their families versus clustered together.

While several of the new graduates were unable to attend the ceremonies, the evening was streamed live via the school social media accounts.

An emotional moment during the commencement came when a diploma was presented to the family of Brooke Rice. Brooke died in a vehicle crash in the summer of 2018 and would have been the fourth child in the family to have graduated from St. John Neumann.

After the evening concluded, the students said their farewells outside of the church, posing for pictures in their cap and gown.

Faith Formation in Spanish completes third cycle

The final phase of an intensive three-year Spanish-language Faith Formation Program concluded in June 2020 with 358 earning a Diocesan certificate of completion. In the three years of the program a total of more than 1,300 earned certificates.

A faith formation class in Spanish takes place Jan. 28, 2020 at Sacred Heart Parish in Bradenton.

With the support of Bishop Frank J. Dewane and Diocese Hispanic Ministries Director Father Claudio Stewart, the Spanish Faith Formation Program sessions were developed immediately following the local consultation process of the V Encuentro in 2016 and 2017.

The results were overwhelmingly positive as the program has shown there is a real desire for Hispanic Catholics to be formed in their Faith. The 2019-2020 sessions, which covered the “History and Tradition of the Church,” were interrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, thanks to technology, the final sessions of instruction were available and completed online.

The V Encuentro was a multi-year outreach initiated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, with a goal of discerning ways for the Church in the U.S. to better respond to the needs of the ever-growing Hispanic presence. The process involved consultations at the Parish, Diocesan, regional and national levels. A final report was submitted to the Vatican in September 2019 with recommendations for inclusive action at all levels of the Church in the U.S. and are in the process of being implemented.

The idea behind the initial three-step Spanish Faith Formation Program within the Diocese was to quickly help bridge the gap in formation for Hispanics in the Diocese for whom English is not their first language. This gap had created an isolation among some, and the program became empowering to Hispanic Catholics who often felt they were outsiders in the Catholic Church within the U.S., primarily due to the language difference.

Father Carlos Reyes, Scalabrinian, Pastor of Our Lady Guadalupe Parish in Immokalee, leads a faith formation class in Spanish on Feb. 24, 2020 in Immokalee.

The benefit of having the formation program in Spanish was to allow the participants the opportunity to better absorb the complexities of the Faith without the extra work of translating the information. This also helped streamline the instruction and allowed a more open discussion.

The formation program provided a structured and ongoing formation of the lay people with the goal of allowing people to be in contact with the Deposit of Faith (Depositum Fidei) – Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. At the conclusion of the processes, those who earned the certificates are encouraged to use their new-found knowledge to evangelize in their Parish community.

The Faith Formation classes were divided into four geographic regions of the Diocese to allow easier access to the courses. Instructors included 10 priests and two women religious. Each level became increasingly sophisticated, challenging the participants to take a fresh look at the Catholic Church.

The first phase in 2017-18 focused on the “Magisterium,” with a thorough explanation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The second course in 2018-19 was dedicated to the “Revelation and Introduction to the Sacred Scriptures.” The third course, which was completed in June, covered the “History and Tradition of the Church.”

Father Stewart has reaffirmed that while the initial three-part program is completed, there is more in the planning process for expanding Hispanic Faith Formation within the Diocese. However, the ongoing pandemic has caused delays in implementing those plans.

Other actions taken since the local V Encuentro sessions have encouraged a broader outreach and inclusion in existing Parish and Diocesan events. This means having sessions in Spanish at conferences, bilingual programs, and other steps that will help unify the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Venice. As this is the focus of Dioceses across the country, the goal is to create a stronger Catholic Church in the U.S.

“There is not supposed to be a separate Faith for English speakers versus Spanish speakers,’ Father Stewart explained. “We are all part of the same Universal Church – founded by Jesus Christ.”

To learn more about other Diocese of Venice initiative through the Hispanic Ministries Office, please email pastoralhispana@dioceseofvenice.org, or visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/hispanic-apostolate.

Communicating with the faithful

Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic the challenge to stay connected to one’s faith has been hampered by many factors: quarantine, social distancing, isolation, fear as well as access to technology by some to stay informed.

Parishes have used every resource they can to share updates with the faithful, including sending out mailings, letters or bulletins. Those with access to technology can find on websites and social media the Masses streamed live, videos on saints of the day, or reflections on the Scriptures.

More than a dozen priests have committed to weekly talks, providing updates on the Parish, which include measures taken to ensure safety when the faithful return, or updates on the financial needs. Most of these talks include a comforting spiritual element which serves to connect everyone.

Low tech efforts are also being taken, such as mailing and phone calls to the faithful to ensure people that the Catholic Church cares.

St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers took on the task of phoning each of the 3,650 registered families. This herculean effort was distributed among staff (working from home) and focused on learning how people were coping with the pandemic.

The response to the calls has been overwhelmingly positive as those who are isolated appreciated the contact from the outside world, in particular from their Parish.

“It has been an incredible thing,” St. John XXIII Pastor Father Robert Tabbert said. “Everyone has been so appreciative. We are learning things about them, but we are also learning about the issues they have. Calls are also being directed to me and the other priests here if there is a need for spiritual support.”

The calls have helped to provide a level of comfort for people who needed to know that the Parish was still there, Churches are open and when they are ready to return, everything will be okay.

“People just want a listening ear,” Father Tabbert explained. “People respect what we did in closing and in reopening as well as how we are taking every measure to ensure it is safe.”

St. William Parish in Naples is posting a series of items in the weekly bulletin called “Faith During a Pandemic.” This behind-the-scenes look at changes that have taken place in the Church is targeted for those who have not returned or who were curious about the reasons behind certain changes. Images from inside the church show the extensive cleaning taking place between Masses and what might appear different, including an empty brochure rack and prayer candles removed. All this explanation is to lessen the shock and to answer questions many have.

Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers regularly posts images inside its Church during weekend Masses. These show how everyone is social distancing and along with the photo suggestions are made on how to slowly return, such as attending a daily Mass before going to a Sunday Mass.

With the dispensation to attend Sunday Mass extended until Sept. 1, 2020 by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, a number of Parishes have created videos and taken other actions to inform the parishioners on what to expect when people return in greater numbers. All of the actions taken at the Parishes are being done to remove any doubts about returning.

News briefs for week of July 28 2020

VDCCW presents Bishop with check

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was honored at a special gathering of the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women on July 25, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall in Venice. The meeting coincided with the 14th anniversary of Bishop Dewane’s Episcopal Ordination as Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida in 2006. The VDCCW leadership presented the Bishop with a check for $9,000 to be used to support the Diocesan seminarians.

Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate Aug. 15

Bishop Frank J. Dewane will ordain to the Permanent Diaconate seven men at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. The candidates are: Jeffrey Ball of Ave Maria Parish, Ave Maria; Enrique (Rick) Castro of St. Cecilia Parish, Fort Myers; Ramiro Hernandez of St. Michael Parish, Wauchula; Jack W. Milholland Jr. of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Lakewood Ranch; Roberto Pagán of Jesus the Worker Parish, Fort Myers; Vern W. Smith of St. Martha Parish, Sarasota; and Dr. William Soscia of St. Joseph Parish, Bradenton. A reception in the Parish Hall will follow. All are invited and encouraged to attend.

Online master’s degrees offered through Ave Maria University

There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but one thing is clear: an online master’s degree from Ave Maria University will distinguish you from the competition when companies start hiring again. Online degrees available include a Master of Business Administration. For more information, contact Elizabeth.ODonnell@avemaria.edu or visit https://avemariauniversity.lpages.co/gradprograms-r2/.

Virtual Vacation Bible School a success

St. Joseph Church completed their virtual Vacation Bible School July 23, 2020 with a special Zoom celebration. The online sessions provided inspiration for the children who participated and performed different activities related to inspirational Bible messages. Parish Administrator Father Rafal Ligenza provided a lesson on the Eucharist and lead everyone in prayer for the final celebration.

First Communion face masks donated by sewing group

The Sewing Group of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples donated 200 white masks for use at Mass by First Communicants and their families on July 11, 2020. The Faith Formation team facilitated the distribution of the masks for the boys and girls as well as their families. Two Mass were scheduled for all of the children as all social distancing rules were followed.

3D face shield project update

The first phase of a STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts, math) 3D printing project to provide face shields to frontline workers has been a success. So far 100 face shield have been delivered for use by Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. staff and volunteers at food pantry distribution sites as well as for children participating in summer camps. The project was the idea of Jennifer Falsetiny, Curriculum Specialist for the Diocese Department of Education. The goal is to turn the Camillus Project, as it is called, into an ongoing club for schools that may wish to participate so as to give back to the community while providing solutions to a real-world problem. The plan is to re-launch the program again in the new school year to hopefully get more schools involved in the hands-on STREAM 3D printing service project.

Dispensation

While the celebration of public Mass resumed May 18, 2020, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect through Sept. 1, 2020 for those who are at greater risk or anxious about returning at this time. The Faithful ought not to worry about remaining home if they are concerned for their wellbeing or that of other parishioners. Of course, those who are sick or have symptoms associated with COVID-19 are to stay home. Please check the Diocese of Venice website for any updates.

Livestreaming

The Diocese of Venice will continue live-streaming the Mass through the Diocese website (www.dioceseofvenice.org) and Facebook pages from the Catholic Center in Venice 9:15 a.m. daily as the dispensation to attend Mass remains.

Sunday Televised Mass

The Televised Mass for the Homebound is available throughout the Diocese each Sunday. In northern parts of the Diocese (Manatee, Highlands, Hardee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties) the Mass airs on television at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Collier, Lee, Glades, Hendry, Charlotte counties) the Mass airs at 10:30 a.m., on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). This same Mass can be found on the Diocese of Venice website at any time during the week, www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass. Please check local listings for channel information.

Parish donations

During this challenging time in the life and mission of the Diocese of Venice, our Parishes face increased risk of financial shortfalls due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its effects on everyday life. Parishes depend on weekly financial gifts to continue their ministries, especially in this critical time of crisis. The Diocese of Venice is providing an online platform and encourages the Faithful to support their Parish. Please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/ways-to-give/parish-donations-online/ to donate to your Parish. The Faithful may also contribute through usual channels (e.g., envelopes, and through the Parish online giving option). Together we will navigate through this crisis, provide assistance to those in need, and secure the road ahead for the Parishes within the Diocese of Venice.

Online Resources

A special coronavirus webpage is located on the Diocese of Venice website at www.dioceseofvenice.org. Resources include links to the Mass, the prayer for an Act of the Spiritual Communion, videos of the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Pray the Rosary. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org, also posts the daily Mass readings.

Act of Spiritual Communion

It has long been a Catholic understanding that when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an Act of Spiritual Communion which is a source of grace. Spiritual Communion means uniting one’s self in prayer with Christ’s sacrifice and worshiping Him in His Body and Blood.

The most common reason for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when a person cannot attend Mass, as is the case during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.

For all who will not be able to receive the Holy Eucharist in person, consider this special prayer, an Act of Spiritual Communion:

My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,

and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.

 

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