News Briefs for the week of May 10, 2023

Catholic Center hosts prayer service for Blessed Virgin

The staff of the Diocese of Venice Catholic Center took part in a prayer service, led by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary on May 8, 2024. Bishop Dewane noted how the month of May is dedicated to Our Lady and it is appropriate to honor her seeking the Blessed Virgin’s intercession on our behalf. During the prayer service, the Catholic Center staff prayed Litany of Our Lady of Loretto, the Hail Mary, and sang the Salve Regina.


Pro-Life training sessions May 13 and 15 

If you’d like to volunteer to help educate people on the truth about the pro-abortion amendment on the November ballot, plan to attend a training opportunity within the Diocese of Venice in May (one of two). The first training is Monday, May 13, 2024, from 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., at St. Patrick Parish Hall (new location), 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota.  The second session is also from 11:45 a.m., Wednesday, May 15, at St. John XXIII Parish Center, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers. Lunch will be included at both sessions.  Register online at for either session. If you have questions, please contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-374-1068 or

Students learn about business and finances

Fourth and fifth grade students from St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota took part in a school trip to experience a day in the workplace at JA BizTown in Tampa on April 30, 2024. JA BizTown combines in-class learning with a day-long visit to a simulated town where students receive hands-on experience as both employees and consumers, paying rent, taxes and utilities, purchasing insurance, depositing paychecks and buying other business products, handling customer service, and more. The interactive, project-based program not only teaches students how to manage their own personal finances and the importance of becoming a successful professional within the community, but it also empowers them to take responsibility for their professional and educational futures.

Fort Myers Catholic youth to participate in national Spelling Bee

The faithful of St. Cecilia Parish in Fort Myers will be cheering on one of their own during the 96th Scripps National Spelling Bee from May 28-30, 2024. David Nicasio, 13, who is an active member of St. Cecilia, as an altar server, lector, as well as in the middle school and youth groups, won a series of local competitions to qualify as one of 245 students from across the nation to reach the national Spelling Bee. The competition has four levels: preliminaries, quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals. The competition will air on the ION network from 8-10 p.m. May 29 and 30. The earlier rounds will be available on ION Plus, a digital platform. Just for making the National Spelling Bee, David will receive a number of gifts and prizes related to learning. Prizes increase to a top prize of $50,000 and a championship trophy for the winner.

Retreat For Mothers Grieving the Loss of a Child

Red Bird Ministries, a non-profit Catholic grief support ministry is hosting a Grieving Mother’s Retreat from June 7 – 9, 2024, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center, 3989 South Moon Drive, Venice. This retreat is for women who have experienced the loss of a child from pregnancy through adulthood.  Mothers will be helped in addressing the profound healing that needs to happen while also honoring the memory of the child throughout their grief journey. Please visit for information and registration.

Ordination to the Priesthood June 8

Bishop Frank J. Dewane invites the faithful to the Ordination to the Priesthood of Transitional Deacon Thomas Gregory Dougherty.  The Ordination will take place at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 8, 2024, at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1301 Center Road, Venice.  All are welcome and encouraged to attend this important event in the life of Deacon Greg as well as the Diocese of Venice. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.

News Briefs for the Week of April 15, 2022

Long-serving Diocesan employee recognized

Although Jeanne Berdeaux has been with the Diocese of Venice for 37 years, she shows no signs of slowing down. The Diocesan Respect Life Director started her work with the Diocese on April 8, 1985, just a few months after the Diocese was founded and even before the current Catholic Center was constructed. She worked in Pastoral Ministries (now Evangelization) in her early years then moved to the Respect Life Office for several years before becoming the Director in 1998. Respect Life has been her passion ever since, spreading the word about the Catholic Church’s teaching on life from conception to natural death. On her anniversary day, Bishop Frank J. Dewane congratulated and recognized Berdeaux for her hard work. Congratulations and keep up the good work Jeanne!

Mass for Victims of Abuse April 20 at Cathedral

For the 15th consecutive year, during April, which is Child Abuse Awareness Prevention Month, the Diocese of Venice will be offering a Mass to pray for the victims of abuse. This Mass will be celebrated at 8 a.m., Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. The Mass will be live-streamed, and all are welcome to attend as we come together to pray for the victims of abuse.

Ultrasound donated and blessed

The Knights of Columbus Council 10757, from St. William Parish in Naples, raised the money to purchase a 3D ultrasound which was donated to the Community Pregnancy Clinics Inc. offices in Fort Myers, giving mothers and fathers in need the highest quality images of their unborn babies. The ultrasound was blessed on April 11, 2022, by Father Steven Clemente, Parochial Vicar of St. William Parish. With the science of 3D ultrasound, even at six weeks gestation, parents and family see in detail the beginning of their baby’s development. Approximately 95% of women who view these clear images choose life for their baby!

Student athlete nominated for academic honor

Hallie Monserez, a graduating senior at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, has been nominated to the 2022 Florida Dairy Farmers Academic All-State Team. This elite program recognizes and honors 24 graduating student-athletes who excel in both athletics and academics. The 2022 Florida Dairy Farmers Academic All-State Team selection committee received applications from 51 male nominees and 69 female nominees across the state. Each nominee was evaluated on their athletic participation, academic record, extracurricular activities, community service, and essay. Hallie owns a 4.0 GPA. The National Merit Finalist lettered in three sports (cross country, track and field, and soccer) all four years of high school and holds the school record in the 4x400m relay. Hallie is a member of student government, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and St. Vincent de Paul Society. She earned over 150 community service hours volunteering with St, Michael the Archangel Parish, Our Lady of Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch in Sarasota, as well as Living Lord Lutheran Church. She is the daughter of Amber and Michael Monserez and plans to attend the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana this fall. With this being one of the most important special recognition programs the Florida High School Athletic Association sponsors, 12 girls and 12 boys from all over the state will be awarded a total of $50,000 in scholarships. Each Florida Dairy Famers honoree will be recognized during a banquet on June 6, 2022.

Divine Mercy presentation and Feast Day celebrations

The annual celebration of the Divine Mercy Sunday, initiated by St. John Paul II and started in 2000, celebrates the mercy of Jesus as reminded us by St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, a religious sister who lived a humble life and to whom Jesus appeared. To celebrate this important Feast (April 24, 2022), Parishes throughout the Diocese will be holding traditional afternoon prayer services (typically around the 3 p.m. hour). Following are two examples of what Parishes are doing for the Feast of Divine Mercy.  St. William Parish, 601 Seagate Drive, Naples, will have its Divine Mercy Sunday celebration from 2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The service will start with the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a reflection of Divine Mercy, chanting the Divine Mercy Chaplet and end with Benediction. All are welcome! For more information, please contact Fred or Barb Goduti at 239-261-4810. In Fort Myers, Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, invites everyone to its annual celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available from 1:00 p.m. and the Holy Hour will begin at 2:30 p.m. with Adoration, the Chaplet and Benediction. All are welcome! For more information, please call the Parish at 239-267-7088.

Computers, robotics and Legos make learning fun

St. Andrew Catholic School third grade students learned about landmarks on April 6, 2022, in Cape Coral. To do this, they researched various landmarks on their computers and then, with their new Robotics programing software, used their Lego kits to bring what they learned to life. This is another example of great STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) cross-curricular activity.

Fresh salsa made from school garden

The Bishop Verot Catholic High School Environmental Club members enjoyed the fruits of their labor with homemade salsa in Fort Myers on April 17, 2022. Each of the ingredients were cultivated from the school garden. The results were tasty.

Schools, Catholic Charities in northern counties to benefit from Giving Challenge

Diocesan Catholic schools and programs of Catholic Charities in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties will be beneficiaries of the 2022 Giving Challenge, from noon April 26 to noon April 27, 2022. The Giving Challenge is presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation. All donations made during the 24-hour Giving Challenge are unrestricted gifts to the nonprofit organization of your choice. You can visit to search for participating organizations. Schools participating in the 2022 Giving Challenge include: Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School, Incarnation Catholic School, St. Mary Academy, St. Martha Catholic School, St. Joseph Catholic School, and St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School. In addition to Catholic Charities, other organizations within the Diocese that are part of the Giving Challenge include the St. Joseph Food Pantry, St. Vincent de Paul – St. Joseph Conference Bradenton Inc., as well as the Society St. Vincent de Paul – Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Conference.


Finance Councils learn from Diocese leaders

Each year the Diocese of Venice provides certificates and continuing development opportunities for staff and volunteers to update them on Diocesan, local and potentially federal policies related to their specific area of responsibility.

With this in mind, the Diocese offered a series of seminars in January and early February for members of Parish/School Finance Councils. Members of the Finance Councils are volunteers who generously provide their time and expertise while serving a critical role in support of their Pastor/Administrator. This work is done to ensure all pastoral needs are met, which includes financial stability, charitable work as well as planning for the future.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane welcomed the gathering on Jan. 21 at St. Patrick Parish in Sarasota, thanking the laity for sharing their experiences and expertise with their Parish/School and their Pastor/Administrator, as well as other members of their respective Finance Councils.

“We are blessed to have such volunteers who so passionately participate in the life of the parish and/or school,” Bishop Dewane added. “We’d be lost without people like yourselves. You are giving the advice and life experience in your respective areas and we are most grateful. Your contributions make a big difference for the priests of the Diocese who might not have the same experience in managing finances.”

The response to the seminars was overwhelmingly positive. One participant in the seminar said the information offered provided clarity to many questions while also providing context and a greater appreciation for the vastness and complexities of the Diocese.

The seminars, one held in each Deanery, helped to provide updates and a broad overview of Diocesan policies and procedures, future planning, and Diocesan growth related to finances. This was also an opportunity for Council members to understand the structure of the Diocese and to put a face to the names of Diocesan staff with whom they may interact and seek information. Topics addressed included the challenges inherent with rapid growth and seasonal nature of many of the parishioners as well as the fact that each Parish/School is unique and has its own issues.

This partnership between the Finance Council and the Pastor/Administrator is vital to the stable finances of any entity. Finance Councils assist the Pastor/Administrator in budgeting; review of quarterly financial statements; developing a long-term Parish/School capital improvement plan, including implementation and funding sources; developing a program for the care and maintenance of all facilities; development and maintenance of position descriptions for the Parish Business Manager/Accountant (bookkeeper) and other staff/personnel engaged in the management, operation or administration of the Parish; and to serve as a resource to advise the Pastor/Administrator on significant expenditures before making a purchase or lease commitment in accordance with Diocesan policies.

Each Parish/School undergoes a financial review every three years by an independent CPA firm, with which the Finance Council is an integral part. Parishes also participate in safety and security programs which must also be budgeted. One of the most challenging aspect of Parish/School finances is the maintenance and operation of the various buildings. As in a household, the Council must ensure that all expenses, such as electricity, water, security, and maintenance, as well as any salaries, are part of current future budgeting processes.

Long-term planning (three-month, one year, five years) is one of the more important aspects of the Finance Councils responsibilities. This is to ensure that the Parish/School is being a good steward of the money, in support of the Pastor/Administrator

Seminar presentations were from the Diocesan Director of Finance Peter McPartland; Risk Management Director Donna Foti; Director of Internal Finance Lorraine VanLede-Brown, Director of the Office of Stewardship and Development Carla Repollet, as well as the Executive Director of the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Michael Morse.

Because of the complex nature of the Diocese, where each parish/school has its own unique identity and challenges, the gathering about finances was necessarily more of a general overview than a presentation on specific issues. This is because of the great diversity of the Diocese, with unique clusters of population and income ranges.  However, each speaker addressed the most common topics relating to finances. Each seminar also concluded with a question and answer session.

New Diocesan Stewardship and Development Director settles in

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

With a broad base of experience, for the past 19 years in the Archdiocese of Newark, Carla Repollet, the new Diocese of Venice Stewardship and Development Director, brings a unique perspective to stewardship and development.

With fresh ideas, Repollet is reaching out to Parishes throughout the Diocese by offering the resources and support of her department to help enhance stewardship at all levels.

“I have learned many lessons from my experience in Newark and know what can happen when people become complacent when it is assumed that there will always be money coming in; churches were closed,” she explained. “The goal we must all have is to instill a sense of ownership for the faithful as they must answer the call of Jesus. That call is to be living stewards of the Church.”

Noting that we all have a strong connection to the Church, Repollet noted. “It is our second home. It is where important moments in our lives take place, such as baptisms, confirmations, weddings and funerals. Like a home, without continual support and investment of the people today, the Church won’t be there for future generations.”

A graduate of Rutgers University, she is married with four daughters and a grandson. An immigrant to the U.S., she was born on the Island of Terceira in the Azores, which lies in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean about 1,000 miles west of Portugal.

Being an immigrant offers Repollet a unique perspective on being a steward of the Church and the need to balance what is needed to support the Church within the Diocese of Venice. While there are wealthy portions of the Diocese, there are also very needy portions.

“The Diocese of Venice is blessed to have so much growth taking place. However, we can’t count on that to last forever. Today, we must focus on the now. It is about everyone offering a fair share so that others less fortunate can continue to experience the same Church as everyone else,” she added. “That is the beauty of the Church. No matter where you go, the Mass is the Mass. It might be in a different language, but the Church is universal.”

As Stewardship and Development Director, Repollet said she plans to be very service-oriented and hopes that Parishes use her office as a resource. Her primary responsibilities include overseeing the Catholic Faith Appeal, working to increase and enhance offertory collections, and assisting in Capital Campaigns providing support to Parishes with fundraising initiatives.

Repollet can be reached at 941-441-1117 or