2022 Christmas Message from Bishop Dewane

Here is the 2022 Christmas Message from Bishop Frank J. Dewane offered below in English, Spanish and Creole.

Merry Christmas!!

In this joyful Christmas Season, we celebrate the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ into the world and into our lives.  Out of love for us, God, Our Father, sent to us his only Son, in the flesh, born in humble surroundings.

With his coming, Jesus brought each one of us redemption and the offer of salvation. This wonderful gift gives us joy, confident hope, and abiding peace in a world that needs healing.

Let us celebrate this gift in the true spirit of Christmas. Christ is the light that leads us out of the darkness.  Take the time to let the light of Christ shine in your life and the lives of those around you.

May the grace and peace of Our Savior remain with you and your family, today and always.

Have a Very Blessed and Merry Christmas!

+Frank J. Dewane

Bishop of the Diocese of

Venice in Florida


¡¡Feliz Navidad!!

En este alegre Tiempo de Navidad, celebramos el nacimiento de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo en el mundo y en nuestras vidas. Por amor a nosotros, Dios, Nuestro Padre, nos envió a su Hijo único, en la carne, nacido en un ambiente humilde.

Con su venida, Jesús trajo a cada uno de nosotros la redención y la posibilidad de la salvación. Este maravilloso regalo nos da gozo, esperanza confiada y paz duradera en un mundo que necesita sanación.

Celebremos este regalo con el verdadero espíritu de la Navidad, permitiendo que Cristo llene nuestros corazones mientras compartimos su amor, alegría y paz entre nosotros y con todo el mundo.

Que la gracia y la paz de Nuestro Salvador permanezca con usted y su familia, hoy y siempre.

¡Que tengan una muy Bendecida y Feliz Navidad!

+ Frank J. Dewane

Obispo de la Diócesis de

Venice en Florida


Jwaye Noel,

Nan sezon Nwèl la ak kè kontan sa a, nou selebre nesans Jezikri, Seyè nou an, nan mond lan ak nan lavi nou. Nan lanmou pou nou, Bondye, Papa nou, te voye sèl Pitit li a ban nou, nan kò a, ki fèt nan yon anviwonman enb.

Avèk vini-l nan, Jezi te pote redanmsyon ak sali  pou nou chak. Gwo bèl kado sa-a ba nou lajwa, lespwa konfyans, ak lapè nan yon monnd ki bezwen gerizon.

Se pou nou selebre kado sa a nan vrè lespri Nwèl la,se pou kite Kris la ranpli kè nou pandan n ap pataje lanmou li, lajwa, ak lapè youn ak lòt ak lemonn antye.

Se pou favè ak lapè Sovè nou an rete avèk ou menm, ak fanmi ou, jodi a e toujou.

Pase yon Jwaye Nwèl ak anpil benediksyon !

+ Frank J. Dewane

Monseigneur Evèque du Diocèse de

Venice, Florida

Ian Relief second collection Oct. 22-23, 2022

As a result of Hurricane Ian’s destructive path, lives have been tragically lost and many properties, homes, and businesses have been severely damaged or destroyed. The suffering and widespread damage in the storm’s wake are staggering. No part of the Diocese has been untouched by the storm’s destruction.

“Several Parishes have lost church buildings, and others have had facilities severely damaged by the storm,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane said in a letter to the faithful. “Many people throughout the region have endured significant damage and loss, still others have come together to provide help in the face of significant suffering. Many Parishes in the worst impacted areas have been the center of immediate response. Catholic Charities, as well as other agencies, have been working tirelessly to provide humanitarian assistance.”

To respond to these recent calamities, Parishes in the Diocese of Venice will take up a special collection the weekend of Oct. 22-23.

“This collection will help provide for the pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church, as well as the efforts of Catholic Charities in providing both immediate and long-term assistance to those impacted,” Bishop Dewane wrote. “Thank you for your kindness and profound generosity towards all impacted by the hurricane. Your compassion towards those in need fulfills the Lord’s command to ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Hurricane Ian recovery

As the recovery from Hurricane Ian continues, Bishop Frank J. Dewane and the Diocese of Venice continue to facilitate helping those in need. Because of the scope of the devastation, with coastal communities destroyed, widespread wind damage and inland flooding, there is great need.

If you need help

Please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org. There you will find an updated list of disaster distribution points for supplies. This list is updated at the end of each day and will change often as the focus of the recovery shifts and the different needs are understood.

How to help

If you would like to support the Diocesan response to Hurricane Ian, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/hurricaneian, or send a check to Diocese of Venice in Florida, ATTN: Hurricane Ian Relief, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285.


If you are interested in volunteering, please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org to find a list of disaster distribution points where volunteers are needed for loading vehicles, sorting supplies and additional assistance.

Additional help

The Diocese will hold a special second collection for Hurricane Ian relief on the weekend of Oct. 22-23 in all Parishes. Also, please contact your local Parish to learn about collection drives for hurricane supplies.

The Diocese of Venice extends its thanks to everyone for their continued prayers and outpouring of support as the recovery from Hurricane Ian continues.

Bishop condemns hateful acts of anti-Semitism

Bishop Frank J. Dewane calls on Catholics to condemn and work to prevent hateful anti-Semitic acts in the wake of a recent spate of hateful flyers showing up at homes across the Diocese of Venice.

Incidents taking place throughout June 2022 in Venice, Punta Gorda, Naples and Fort Myers, where flyers were placed on the doors of homes containing anti-Semitic vitriol, come on the heels of similar incidents in Sarasota in early 2022.

As in the case of the Sarasota incident, and in all cases of public anti-Semitism, Bishop Dewane has been quick to condemn these acts, calling them disheartening and disturbing.

In a show of support with the Jewish people and in response to these latest incidents, letters to the editor from the Bishop have appeared in several local newspapers in the region calling on all to join him in condemning these hateful acts.

Bishop Dewane noted that Pope Francis spoke recently about “this ‘escalation of evil’ in the world and identified an antidote. ‘The antidote to this escalation of evil is remembrance of the past… of its wars … of countless other atrocities.’” In the words of Bishop Dewane, “Let us remember!”

In the letter, the Bishop Dewane wrote: “The Diocese of Venice has tremendous compassion and empathy for what has occurred in the history of the Jewish people and has always valued and indeed cherished its longstanding relationship with the Jewish Community. An emphasis has been placed on deepening our shared roots, the teaching of tolerance in our schools and Parishes, and fostering interreligious friendships.”

As the letter to the editor states: “Anti-Semitism is simply unacceptable. It must not be tolerated. Let us work together to prevent hate in all its forms, in our words, in our deeds, and in our prayers.”

Statement from Bishop Dewane regarding May 24, 2022 Texas school shooting

The following is a statement from Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida, regarding the May 24, 2022, school shooting in Texas.

“Please join me and the entire Diocese of Venice in prayer as we mourn the loss of life in yesterday’s school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. This tragic loss of so many innocent children and their teachers is truly heartbreaking. Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mercy may God in his infinite mercy pour out his grace to strengthen those who grieve, to heal the wounded, and bring peace to all.

I want to reassure everyone that the safety of schools is our top priority. Each school has a safety plan and procedures that foster a safe learning environment for students and teachers. These plans are regularly reviewed by school leaders who implement best practices as we maintain safe and secure schools. Our schools work closely with local law enforcement to keep our students and teachers safe every day.

As we conclude this school year, we draw strength from our faith in God and entrust the people of Uvalde to His love and mercy. Let us be united in prayer that “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7)”

Lenten journey begins

Fasting, almsgiving, and prayer are the three traditional disciplines of Lent, but we are reminded to do these things privately because the Lord knows us and what we are doing.

Grand displays are not what the Lord wants, explained Father Robert Tatman, Parochial Vicar of St. Jude Parish in Sarasota. The clear example of this is represented in the ashes marked on one’s forehead to open Lent on Ash Wednesday, March 2, 2022.

“They don’t last very long, but it is not something we want to wear on the outside, just to be seen,” Father Tatman said. “We want it to cleanse and purify our inner heart.”

In addition to opening the Lenten Season, which concludes on Holy Thursday, April 14, on Ash Wednesday the faithful across the Diocese of Venice joined in fasting and prayer for peace in Ukraine as called for by Pope Francis.

As Bishop Frank J. Dewane noted in a letter to the faithful on March 1, “Our Catholic Faith calls each of us to care for those in need, and, at this time in particular, for those who are suffering in the wake of this terrible tragedy.”

In the letter, Bishop Dewane stated that donations made to the collection on Ash Wednesday will support charitable relief for the Ukraine and assist in providing humanitarian aid, as well as necessary recovery efforts.

For those not prepared for the collection, donations may be sent to the Diocese of Venice, with “Ukraine” indicated in the memo or note line at the following address: Diocese of Venice in Florida, Ukraine Relief, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285.

As the Lenten Season progresses, the precept of confessing grave sins and receiving Holy Communion at least once during the Lenten Season merits a reminder to all. To facilitate this requirement, every Parish in the Diocese of Venice will be open with a confessor present from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., on Friday, April 8, and from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 9. Check with your local Parish for additional confession times or the availability of a Penance Service. These opportunities are made available so that the faithful may find ample opportunity to receive God’s Mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the Lenten Season.

Bishop speaks out on anti-Semitism

February 2022

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Over the years the Diocese of Venice has cherished its relationship with the Jewish Community. Thus, recent reports of anti-Semitic incidents within the Diocese of Venice, particularly in Sarasota County, are disturbing. Anti-Semitic flyers were distributed to more than a hundred homes in several Sarasota neighborhoods Feb. 11, 2022. This is on the heels of similar incidents last month.

I ask the Faithful of the Diocese of Venice to join me in condemning these despicable acts. Hate is never to be tolerated. Pope Francis said anti-Semitism is “a fuse that must not be allowed to burn. And the best way to defuse it is to work together, positively, and to promote fraternity.” Let us be united in prayer.

The Diocese of Venice places a priority on strengthening its bond with the Jewish Community. An emphasis has been placed on deepening our shared roots and the teaching of tolerance in our schools and parishes. The Diocese is honored to host two important gatherings: 1) “Yom HaShoah – An Hour of Remembrance,” held in Sarasota County, in which the Catholic and Jewish Communities come together in remembrance of the Holocaust, and 2) “Kristallnacht, The Night of Broken Glass,” which is held in Collier County. Although these events have been interrupted by the Pandemic in recent years, we look forward to their return.

As part of our ongoing relationship, the Catholic-Jewish Dialogue in Collier County will be hosting Rabbi Abraham Skorka for a return visit to the Diocese of Venice. Rabbi Skorka will speak at St. John the Evangelist in Naples on April 3. He has worked together with Pope Francis over the last 25 years to create many initiatives aimed at inspiring human beings to seek interreligious friendship. We strive to do the same in the Diocese of Venice.

Anti-Semitism is neither human nor Christian. It is unacceptable. Let us join together to condemn and work to prevent such acts.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Frank J. Dewane

Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida



Bishop lifts face covering and distancing requirements

The following is a letter from Bishop Frank J. Dewane to the faithful dated May 14, 2021 regarding the face covering and distancing policy at Mass and Parish gatherings in the Diocese of Venice.




May 14, 2021


My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Greetings in the Risen Lord! As Holy Mother Church approaches the Solemnity of Pentecost, it is my prayer that you, the Faithful of the Diocese of Venice, may be filled with the graces of the Holy Spirit.

With this letter, I wish to address the face covering and distancing policy at Mass and Parish gatherings in the Diocese of Venice. As you are aware, on May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided updated guidance for vaccinated individuals with regards to face masks and distancing. Under the new guidance, those who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks or physically distance except where required by law.

In accordance with the new CDC guidance and effective immediately, masks and distancing will no longer be required at Mass in the Diocese of Venice. Masks remain encouraged and certainly permitted, particularly for those who are not yet vaccinated. Masks will no longer be required for Parish group activities or other Parish gatherings.

For those who have children in a Catholic School or Parish religious education program, and due to only recent age eligibility for vaccines for some of these age groups, the CDC has said that masking is a key strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools. Thus, for the remainder of this academic year, masks will continue to be required. This will be reviewed with the close of the school year.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all try to live in the context of the Pandemic and to be evermore mindful of our brothers and sisters around us who may be vulnerable, for whatever reason.

This opportunity is taken to extend to you the assurances of my continued consideration, as well as my prayers for you and your family.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Frank J. Dewane

Bishop of the Diocese of

Venice in Florida

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

Returning to Mass and Parish Life during Covid-19

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

April 9, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Frank J. Dewane

Bishop of the Diocese of

 Venice in Florida


9 de abril de 2021

Queridos Hermanos y Hermanas en Cristo,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sinceramente tuyo en Cristo,

+ Frank J. Dewane

Obispo de la Diócesis de

Venice en Florida


Bishop extends dispensation into 2021

Below is a letter from Bishop Frank J. Dewane letter to faithful regarding extension of dispensation”

November 20, 2020

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King and Advent approaches, please accept my pastoral greetings and concern for you, the good Faithful in the Diocese of Venice. My prayer is that the preparation for the Lord’s coming in the Advent Season will enliven our hope in the promises of Christ.

Allow me to update you regarding Masses as the Covid-19 Pandemic continues to impact the Diocese and all of us. In my October 9, 2020 letter, it was said that the General Dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass would remain in effect until November 28, 2020, and perhaps longer. Considering the present circumstances of the virus spread, the General Dispensation is extended into the New Year and I will advise regarding its conclusion at a future date.

There are some optimistic signs and there are increasing numbers of the Faithful returning to Church for Sunday Mass. Also, there is greater weekday attendance. Please continue to make every reasonable effort to return to in-person worship if you are able. With gratitude, I acknowledge all who have returned and commend those who continue to join the live streaming of Mass due to vulnerabilities and those who care for them. Further, let us all keep in prayer our brothers and sisters who have had the virus and their families.

As Christmas and the New Year approach, it is crucial to maintain vigilance regarding safety precautions in Parishes.  This will necessitate scaling back special Feast Day celebrations and holiday related events.  Unfortunately, it cannot be as it was in the past. Particularly, I underscore the need for the wearing of masks, maintaining appropriate distances, as well as cleaning and sanitizing measures. Parishes have been encouraged to schedule more Masses for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day than is customary. Having additional Masses, perhaps at different times or in different locations (Parish hall or gymnasium), will safely accommodate the potential numbers of Faithful who may attend Mass for Christmas.

At this challenging time, let us be united in prayer as we journey through the Advent Season in preparation for the Birth of Our Lord and Savior.  Be assured of my prayers for you and your family!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Frank J. Dewane

Bishop of the Diocese of

Venice in Florida

Bishop letter to Faithful regarding Florida Attorney General report

November 6, 2020

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, my prayer is that the strength of the Holy Spirit will renew and deepen our Faith in Jesus Christ. Particularly, as together we face the difficult challenges that the Coronavirus has brought, I call upon the intercession of Our Blessed Mother for the safety and health of you and your family.

It may be recalled that in October of 2018, I shared with you that the then-Attorney General of Florida, Pam Bondi, ordered an investigation of how the seven Dioceses in Florida have handled allegations of misconduct involving minors by clergy. With the full cooperation of the Diocese of Venice, the investigation was thoroughly conducted through the Office of the Statewide Prosecutor, who requested specific clergy files. As a result, a list of priests who had been accused of a substantiated allegation of a sexual offense against minors has been issued by the Statewide Prosecutor. This listing of priests accused of misconduct in Florida is the final action to be taken and the State investigation has been concluded.

Included on the State’s list are nine priests who were incardinated in the Diocese of Venice against whom substantiated allegations have been identified in the investigation. None of the priests listed presently have faculties (allowed to minister) in the Diocese. Some have died, some have been laicized or dismissed from clerical state, and others have had their priestly faculties permanently removed. When the investigation was announced in 2018, it was not precipitated by any new allegation of abuse. The investigation involved historic cases.

As your Bishop, I wish to express compassion and my continual prayer for all victims of child sexual abuse and that each receive God’s healing and peace. The harm done is grave. On behalf of the Church, I ask forgiveness of those who have been harmed by Clergy or others involved with the Church. The Diocese remains committed to the Policy for the Protection of Children and I am pleased that the Statewide Prosecutor’s report recognizes that the Diocese has followed its policies.

The Statewide Prosecutor’s Report is a sad reminder of the harm done in the past to minors by those who had been ordained to serve the Church and care for the Faithful. Be reassured that the investigation did not uncover previously unknown cases in the Diocese of Venice. The commitment the Diocese made in accord with the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People has proven effective and helpful in protecting our children, young people and vulnerable adults.

This moment also allows for me to once again encourage all who have been abused to report it to Department of Children and Families and if it involves clergy of the Diocese of Venice, to contact also the Diocesan Victim’s Assistance Coordinator. The Diocese takes every report of abuse seriously and responds promptly.

Humbly, I invite all to continue to pray for the victims of child sexual abuse. Pray also for the Church’s efforts to protect our children and foster a safe environment for all.

May Almighty God bless you and your family, through Christ our Lord.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Frank J. Dewane

Bishop of the Diocese of

Venice in Florida