Scouting Awards presented

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Foundation endowment fund to help Catholic Charities program

Staff Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support for Catholic Charities shines during Gala season

Staff Report

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

News from Around the Diocese early May

Sarasota school expands offering

Incarnation Catholic School, 2911 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, will be expanding their early learning classes to include a PreK-3 program. The program will offer a monthly theme-based curriculum that will include math, science, language and basics of our Catholic faith. Our little learners will discover answers to big questions like “How do Plants Grow?” and “ Who lives in the Ocean?”. Small class sizes will allow for individual attention and differentiate instruction. Playground time will provide an opportunity to work on gross motor skills.  The program will offer full and part time options, perfect for every family. Children must be potty trained and three years old by Sept. 1. For more information please call 941-924-8588.

Naples club meets for final time, honor former advisor

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Y.A.C.H.T. Club (“Youth and Christ Helping Together”) held their final Fun Night April 28 at Naples Beach. Students attended Mass at St. Ann Parish before enjoying a beautiful sunset in memory of Shelley Raley, with Sister Katie Flanagan, FMA, and teacher Laura Roszkowski. Ralley, who passed away in 2018 was the group moderator and each of the club members had sunflowers in her honor. The YACHT Club is an instrumental component of the Campus Ministry Program. The mission of the club is to invite all students to the fullness of Christ’s love through service to others. Students plan and implement retreats, prayers services, liturgies and other events/services. They also take “cruises” to perform service in the community.

Neumann Track relay places 2nd at States

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School 4×100 Relay Team from Naples took the silver medal in Class 1A at the State Championships May 4 in Jacksonville.

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School boys track 4×100 relay team was the FHSAA 1A State Runnerup May 4 during the Track and Field Championships at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. The Naples relay team placed second with a school record-breaking time of 42.23. The runners were Daniel DeSantis, Justin Mathieu, JP Raiger and Alex Myrin. No long after, Mathieu later placed second in the 1A Long Jump finals. Way to Go Celtics!

 

Camp Mercy in Sarasota

St. Patrick Parish, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, will be hosting Camp Mercy 2019 for the third year in a row from June 24-28, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.. This service-oriented summer camp is for children ages kindergarten to fifth grade. The cost is $75 for the week and includes a camp t-shirt. Registration is required by June 1. For more information, please call 941-378-1703 ext. 300 or visit www.churchofstpatrick.org/campmercy.

Catholic Center May Crowning

On May 2, the staff of the Diocese of Venice Catholic Center gathered for a May Crowning ceremony led by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. The ceremony included a few songs and a Litany to Our Lady. In the Catholic tradition, May is devoted to Our Lady and many Diocesan parishes and a retreat center are dedicated to Mary.

Teacher, students earn Excellence in Education awards

On April 29, the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education Awards ceremony took place at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers. The chamber recognized educators and students in 30 Cape Coral elementary, middle and high schools. St. Andrew Catholic School Art teacher, Diana Villadolid, and eighth grader, Jackalyn Flynn, were honored for excellence as educator and student. Villadolid has taught Art at St. Andrew for 15 years.  She facilitates the students’ participation in community art events such as those sponsored by the Alliance of the Arts and the Edison Ford Estate.  She also serves as the school’s Marketing Director. Jackalyn Flynn will be graduating from St. Andrew Catholic School in May and has won awards for tennis (Cape Coral Parks and Recreation-First Place), soccer (SACS First Place team), art (Alliance of the Arts), and a three-time Sunshine State Luncheon attendee for achieving top levels in reading. She plans to attend Bishop Verot High School. She would enjoy becoming a writer or story editor someday.

Donation to Catholic Charities

The Venice Yacht Club Foundation recently presented a check for $5,000 to support the Family Haven of Catholic Charities which helps families in South Sarasota County transition from being homeless to finding more permanent housing.

 

Ave Maria University graduation

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass for the Ave Maria University graduating class on May 3 in Ave Maria. The Bishop encourages the graduates to carry Christ with them always beyond college and into the next phase in their lives. Having the Lord by their side will give them the strength to overcome any obstacle they may face in the future.

VBS in Fort Myers June 24-28

St. Francis Xavier Parish in Fort Myers is hosting the “ROAR! Totally Catholic Vacation Bible School from June 24-28. It is a week of fun, games, snacks, crafts, and learning more about our faith!  The cost is $30 per child, or $70 per family.  Registration forms are found at www.stfrancisfm.org. Please all 239-246-2635 for more details. Register early as space is limited and VBS usually fills up!

 

Chrism Mass: A Sign of Unity

By Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sacred Chrism Oil

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jubilarians

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

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

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

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

Faithful line up for Confession

Staff Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Diocesan Walk to Our Lady May 4

Staff Report

The month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary who serves as a guide for us to grow closer to the Lord.

To help celebrate Our Lady, the Diocese of Venice is holding its second annual “Walk to Our Lady: A Marian Pilgrimage to the May Crowning,” a public display of Faith and Devotion to the Blessed Mother.

Everyone is encouraged to register now for the May 4 walk in Venice from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1301 Center Road, to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center, 3989 S. Moon Drive.

Join Bishop Frank J. Dewane and other participants as they process 6.6 miles in prayer and song. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and then at 8 a.m., the walk will begin. The route takes walkers along Venice Avenue, then first under, and later over, Interstate 75 as they make their way to the Retreat Center.

The walk will have a Sheriff’s Office escort and have multiple rest stations with snacks, water and bathrooms available along the route. A trolley will follow the walkers for those who were unable to make the whole distance on foot or need the opportunity to cool off and rest.

At a steady pace, the walk will conclude around 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center where a May Crowning prayer service will take place. Once concluded, everyone is invited for a lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers. Trolleys will be available to drive people back to the starting point at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

The walk is co-sponsored by the Diocese Office of Communications and Evangelization and is building upon the success of the 2018 walk. During the first walk, more than 100 people took part, giving a powerful public witness and expression of devotion to Our Lady as they walked down streets while praying and singing aloud with joy. The rosary was recited as an International Rosary, meaning it was shared in multiple languages (Spanish, Vietnamese, Polish and English).

The walk is free, but advanced registration is required to help prepare for the number of participants. Please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/events/2019-walk-to-our-lady/ to register. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Gail Ardy at 941-484-9543 or ardy@dioceseofvenice.org.

News from Around the Diocese for late April

News from across the Diocese for April 2019

Staff Report

Mission Possible Immokalee 2019: June 10-14

The deadline to register for the June Mission Possible Immokalee 2019 trip is May 10. All teens between the ages of 15-17 years old are invited by the Diocese of Venice Mission Office to participate in the trip, which is June 10-14. This is a Mission experience of service to the marginalized in Immokalee and will include daily sites visits, Mass as well as evening prayer and reflection. The cost is $180 per person and includes meals, lodging and transportation to work sites. Registration is through local Parish Youth Group or Catholic Schools only. For more details about Mission Possible Immokalee 2019, please contact Lisa Dahn at 239-241-2233 or missionoffice@dioceseofvenice.org.

Lent project focuses on Passion

This Lenten Season students at St. Martha Catholic School were asked to draw the image of Jesus on the Cross. The drawings were put on display on the walls closest to the school Chapel. Bishop Frank J. Dewane, who was at the school April 17 to celebrate the Mass, was shown the images and he commented on how well they were done and appreciated that art is a unique way for students to connect with Jesus and His Passion.

 

 

Knights support St. Vincent de Paul Society

The Knights of Columbus San Marco Council 6344 sponsored the April 9 St. Vincent De Paul Dinner in the San Marco Parish Center on Marco Island. The event included a barbeque dinner and included lots of fun for more than 250 people who came out to support the programs at the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The Society provides emergency financial support for needy families in the area and thanks to the support of the Knights they will be able to help even more people this coming year.

 

 

Bible on the Beach in Venice

Epiphany Cathedral youth took part in a Bible of the Beach at Venice Beach following the Palm Sunday Mass. The annual gathering helps prepare the youth as they head into Holy Week. Diocese of Venice Director of Evangelization offered words of encouragement to the group.

Masses Praying for Victims of Abuse in April

Staff Report

4/9/19

For the 12th year in a row, during Child Abuse Awareness Prevention Month – April, the Diocese of Venice will be offering Masses to pray for the victims of abuse. These Masses will be celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane and take place at 8:00 a.m., April 24 at Epiphany Cathedral 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice; and then at 8 a.m., on April 25 at St. Leo the Great Parish, 28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

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

“As Christian adults, we have a moral and legal 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 and assist parents and families affected by maltreatment, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives proclaimed April the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

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

In addition to the Masses, each year the Diocese of Venice 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 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 35,500 background screenings and 33,700 persons trained in safe environment. In the last five years alone, more than 13,000 were background screened and more than 11,000 trained in safe environment.

The mission of the Safe Environment Program is to provide education for all employees (clergy, religious and laity), those volunteers and others regularly involved 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 annually undergoes a comprehensive audit from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection to ensure that the Diocese of Venice is in compliance with current directives.

For a more detailed information about what the Diocese of Venice does to prevent abuse or where the nearest Safe Environment class is being held, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/safeenvironment.

Upcoming Regional Safe Environment Training

Epiphany Cathedral, Venice, 6 p.m., April 25; and 6 p.m., April 27;

St. Catherine Parish, Sebring, 6 p.m., April 25 (in English and Spanish); 6 p.m., April 27 (in English and Spanish);

St. Columbkille Parish, Fort Myers, 6 p.m., May 2; and 9:30 a.m., May 4;

St. Thomas More Parish, 6 p.m., May 9; and 9:30 a.m., May 11;

San Pedro Parish, North Port, 6 p.m., May 16; and 9:30 a.m., May 18;

Our Lady of Light Parish, Fort Myers, 6 p.m., May 16; and 9:30 a.m., May 18;

St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Naples, 6 p.m., May 16; and 9:30 a.m., May 18;

St. Paul Parish, Arcadia, 6 p.m., May 23 (in English and Spanish); and 9:30 a.m., May 25 (in English and Spanish);

St. John the Evangelist Parish, Naples, 6 p.m., May 23; and 9:30 a.m., May 25;

St. Agnes Parish, Naples, 6 p.m., June 6; and 9:30 a.m., June 8;

Our Lady of Grace Parish, Avon Park, 6 p.m., June 6 (in English and Spanish); and 9:30 a.m., June 8 (in English and Spanish);

St. Patrick Parish, Sarasota, 6 p.m., June 6; and 9:30 a.m., June 8;

Resurrection Parish, Fort Myers, 6 p.m., June 13; and 9:30 a.m., June 15;

St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Port Charlotte, 6 p.m., June 13; and 9:30 a.m., June 15.

PRAYER FOR HEALING VICTIMS OF ABUSE   (BOX English and Spanish)

During April, the Secretariat 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.

 

 

Venice seminarian takes a big step on his long road to the priesthood

Linda Reeves – Florida Catholic correspondent

4/9/19

The journey to the priesthood for one seminarian began in Haiti and meandered throughout several countries. However, April 6 he was ordained a transitional deacon, one small step on his spiritual journey.

“This ordination for me is a moment of grace, a time of thanksgiving to God for his fidelity to me,” said Diocese of Venice Seminarian Franckel Fils-Aime, who was ordained by Bishop Frank J. Dewane at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Boca Raton.

Bishop Dewane ordained a total of 15 seminarians of different seminarians from Florida arch/dioceses, most being from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. The Church was filled with family members, friends, guests, seminary faculty and leaders, priests and brother seminarians, all a witness of great support for the candidates soon to be ordained to the diaconate and to the Church.

The Bishop noted the special reason for the Mass and went on to say: “We celebrate your presence here today… of who you are, and who you are becoming.”

During the homily, Bishop Dewane explained that the ministry is much more than taking on specific Church duties. “What you are called to do is to reflect the love of Jesus Christ,” he said. “You are called to demonstrate this love in many ways; this you do with the help of the Holy Spirit.”

The Bishop also encouraged the men to “sow hope and trust in the Lord. You will teach Holy Doctrine to others but must be men of God and examples of living a life of prayer, high moral values and faith. May God bless each one of you for this decision you have made in your life and for your blessedness going forward.”

During the ordination, the new deacons promised to live a life of prayer, celibacy and obedience to their Diocesan Bishop. Deacon Fils-Aime will have an additional year of theological studies and spiritual formation before petitioning for Ordination to the Priesthood in 2020. As part of the ordination rite, the Bishop placed the Book of Gospels in the hands of each candidate being ordained and said: “Receive the Gospels of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”

Deacon Fils Aime was joyful afterwards and reflected to the day so long ago when he told his parents about his vocation decision.

“They were praying that God would call one of their children to the priesthood, and even more happy because I am the oldest son,” Deacon Fils Aime. “They understand as the Bible says, the first fruit is for God. I thank my family here in United States and in Haiti for their prayers and support.”

Born in Cornillon (Potino), in west Haiti, Deacon Fils-Aime celebrated his 40th birthday one month ago. The son of Voguel Fils-Aime, residing in Haiti, and the late Philomène Remy, he is the oldest of nine. His father and two siblings were present for the ordination.

From a young age, the new deacon felt at home in the Church and first met Jesus through the Sacraments while witnessing the ministry of the priests who served as examples of Jesus Christ’s love and mercy. “I heard the voice of God calling me for His services.”

Deacon Fils-Aime began formation at age 26 with the Order of Friars Minor. He lived in community with the Franciscan Capuchins and continued to study and discern in the Dominican Republic and Brazil. It was in 2014 when he heard God calling, loudly and clearly, to become a diocesan priest. He subsequently joined the Diocese of Venice in 2015.

Now carrying the new title of Deacon, this last phase of his formation before being called to priesthood, Deacon Fils-Aime, can baptize, witness marriages, perform funerals and burial services, distribute the Eucharist and preach the homily.

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