News for mid May 2019

Bishop blesses Knights on Bikes

The Knights of Columbus Knights on Bikes of the Diocese of Venice welcomed Bishop Frank J. Dewane as he blessed their motorcycles May 19 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice. Bishop Dewane first celebrated a Mass for the group and then led a prayer service and blessing. Organized by George Lopez of Ave Maria Parish, the motorcyclists came from across the Diocese. The Knights on Bikes is a worldwide organization consisting of members of the Knights of Columbus who are also motorcycle riders. The Knights on Bikes was formed in the United States in April 2005. Members proudly wear a vest that clearly promotes the Knights of Columbus organization.

Seminarians graduate from college

Diocesan Seminarian Daniel Scanlan gives the valedictorian address May 9 at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami.

Three Diocesan Seminarians recently graduated from college. Transitional Deacon Carlos Encinas earned his Master’s in Divinity from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach on May 9. The day before, Seminarians Daniel Scanlan and Juan Contreras graduated from St. john Vianney College Seminary in Miami. Scanlan graduated at the class valedictorian. Deacon Encinas will be ordained to the priesthood in the fall, while Scanlan and Contreras will next go on to St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary.

Food sorting from Post Office drive

A volunteer helps sort donations at St. Joseph Food Pantry in Bradenton on May 11 following the Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

The St. Joseph Food Pantry in Bradenton received food deliveries from five U.S. Post Offices as part of a Letter Carries “Stamp Our Hunger Food Drive.” On May 11, some 300 volunteers helped sort the food in the St. Joseph Parish School gymnasium and stock the Food Pantry. The food pantry serves all of Manatee County and in 2018 the Food Pantry served more than 5,300 families with 12,772 family members of which 4,443 were children and 442 were veterans. These families visited the pantry and received food over 19,600 visits during the past 12 months. In addition, the Food Pantry distributed more than 550 bags of food and toiletries to the homeless of Manatee County during the year. An additional 1,000 bags of food are distributed Thanksgiving Week. For more information about the St. Joseph Food Pantry, call 941-756-3732, email directors@stjoepantry.com or send donations to St. Joseph Food Pantry, 2704 33rd Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205.

Sarasota school expands offering

Incarnation Catholic School, 2911 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, will be expanding their early learning classes to include a PreK three 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 September 1. For more information please call 941-924-8588.

Verot grad tapped to head ATF

Regina Lombardo, a 1981 graduate of Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers, was announced on May 1 as the new acting deputy director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the first woman to head the federal agency. Lombardo has served as the associate deputy director and chief operating officer for the agency since March 2018, with responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the agency. She has served as a special agent at ATF since 1992 and has risen through the ranks as a career employee, holding numerous management positions that include assistant director of Human Resources and Professional Development, deputy assistant director of Field Operations’ Central Region, special agent in charge of the Tampa Field Division, assistant special agent in Charge of the New York Field Division, and assistant country attaché in Toronto, Canada.

Youth event May 31 on Sanibel

Youth from across the Diocese are invited to take part in an event 7-10 p.m., May 31 at St. Isabel Parish, 3559 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel. This event is open to everyone but the Youth Groups in the area are encouraged to participate. The event, titled “Immeasurable Mercy!” will feature our well-known local musician Mark Shapic and vocalist Jennine Fuentes! Also included is pizza, refreshments, games, Adoration and Reconciliation along with some praise and worship. It’s a time for music, fun, and fellowship! RSVP to Dr. Sue Ellen Nolan at @sueellen.nolan@saintisabel.org.

Taize Prayer service May 31 in Sarasota

St. Thomas More Parish, 2506 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota, invites people to a special Taize Prayer Service, 7 p.m., May 31. The feast of Pentecost commemorates the beginning of the Church in a new way, with the arrival of the Holy Spirit and with the disciples speaking so that many people heard the gospel in their own language. The prayer in the manner of Taizé is a good way to discover a shared gospel in many languages. Celebrate Pentecost with Song, Silence and Scripture in the style of Taizé monastery in France. The simple and beautiful chant music is dedicated to the renewal of spirits and the healing of our planet. The repetitive nature of the chanted prayer can promote a kind of inner unity of the person, allowing the spirit to be more open and more attentive to what is essential. Silence is a fundamental part of the Taizé service. For more details, please call 941-923-1691.

Diocesan Council of Catholic Women gather

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

A group of dedicated Catholic women has answered the call of Christ as they imitate Him in how they live their lives each day.

These women are represented by the Venice Diocese Council of Catholic Women (VDCCW) serving as an example of a heartfelt commitment to serve the Church while dedicating themselves to being open to the Holy Spirit.

Each year members gather for a convention with the goal of unifying their efforts to do the most good for the benefit of all. The 34th Annual Convention was held April 27 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

A central part of the gathering was the women participating in a celebration of the Mass which was celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. Several priests concelebrated the Mass including Father Joseph Connolly, TOR, who is the VDCCW Spiritual Advisor, as well as Fathers Blake Britton, Sebastian Szczawínski, Gordon Zanetti and Chuck Ruoff.

Bishop Dewane praised the VDCCW for coming together and giving witness to the Faith by how they are believers and followers of Jesus Christ who are called forth to reach out to others.

“As a group of believers, the CCW comes together bringing a strength to the Church,” Bishop Dewane said. “Reach out to others and help them to see the Lord in a new way as Christ made us all new in His Resurrection.”

VDCCW acts through its membership to support, empower, and educate all Catholic women in spirituality, leadership and service. Council programs exude Gospel values and serve the needs of the Church and society in the modern world. To exemplify this, the VDCCW is a strong supporter of the Diocesan seminarians and again presented a check to Bishop Dewane for the Diocesan Seminarian Fund.

The women also learned about a variety of topics including a presentation about human trafficking from representatives of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. who work with victims each day. The VDCCW presented a check to Catholic Charities from the Hugs for Homeless Fund for use to help the victims of human trafficking.

Father Britton, of the Diocese of Orlando, was the keynote speaker who focused on the power of femininity and the need to rehabilitate the view of beauty in society. Father cited St. John Paul II’s apostolic letter “The Dignity of Women” (Mulieris Dignitatem), Edith Stein’s “Letters to Women” and others.

Brenda Dolan, who has served as VDCCW president for the past several years and will now serve as Co-President, noted how the convention serves to unify and inspire the members of the VDCCW. Among those present for the convention were members of the VDCCW Juniors from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula.

In addition to the support for the Seminarian Fund, this year, three mothers of priests were honored for their nurturing support of their sons who chose a vocation to the priesthood. The mothers honored were: Cornelia Zanetti, mother of Father Gordon of St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral; Agnes Ruoff-Perkins, mother of Father Chuck of St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples; and Kate Cogan, mother of Father Jim Cogan of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in Parrish.

The 2019 convention also included an installation of the new officers with Brenda Dolan and Ellen Bachman now serving as Co-Presidents, and Josephine Weiss as President-elect. They will serve for two years.

For more information about the Venice Diocese Council of Catholic Women please visit their new website at www.vdccw.com.

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!

 

Guadalupe Social Services holds open house

Staff Report – Florida Catholic

12/19/2018

As part of the year-long celebration of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. providing services in Collier County for 50 years, Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities in Immokalee held a Dec. 8 open house for supporters of the program.

Attendees enjoyed food, drink and fellowship along with a video presentation and informative tours of the services available at Guadalupe Social Services, which has been in operation for 38 years. During 2018, Catholic Charities has been proud to mark 50 years of changing lives in Collier County. Hospitality for the open house was graciously provided by The Warehouse and the Seminole Hotel Casino Immokalee.

With the aid of many supporters offering time, talent and treasure, Guadalupe Social Services is able to provide assistance to people in need in Immokalee.

Visitors are greeted Dec. 8 to the Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities Open House in Immokalee.

Immokalee has long been a region of poor migrant workers. Half of the population lives at or below the poverty level. Over the years, more families have chosen to make Immokalee their permanent home and work in low-income jobs including: landscaping; hospitality; restaurants; farms; and packing houses. There is an extreme culture of poverty that exists in the town of Immokalee as 44.8 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

Guadalupe Social Services aims to alleviate the suffering in Immokalee with compassion, integrity, and empathy. By empowering the people through assistance provided to them, the main goals are to ensure human dignity and enhance the quality of life for all individuals served. Guadalupe Social Services focuses on offering the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and household items, in addition to stability and education.

The staff of Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities during a Dec. 8 Open House in Immokalee.

The program offers a number of vital services including: free hot lunches five days a week at the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen; a clothing room and showers; a food pantry; direct assistance with rent and utilities; immigration services; English as a second language classes; and a crib and stroller program.

Volunteers are the backbone of Guadalupe Social Services and allow the program the ability to provide these vital services to the needy in the community. Additional volunteers are needed for the food pantry, soup kitchen, and help in the office.

If you would like to directly support the program nonperishable food, clothing and household goods are always needed at Guadalupe Social Services. Seasonal donations are necessary for back-to-school items, and Thanksgiving and Christmas food distributions.

For more information about volunteer opportunities and donations, please call 239-657-6242, visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or send donations to Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities, 211 S. 9th St., Immokalee, FL 34142.

Christmas Appeal seeks needed funds

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

12/4/2018

Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice, Inc., is best known as a highly rated social service agency that assists thousands of people in the community each year. But Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice is so much more. Behind the many statistics are the real people who are helped each year.

“The voices of our clients tell the most genuine story of how your gift to the annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal helped them bring about real change in their lives.” Catholic Charities CEO Philomena Pereira said in a letter for the 2018 Christmas Appeal. “Catholic Charities works with individuals and families, who face the challenges of poverty and instability, to reach the goal of self-sufficiency.”

The Christmas Appeal is the largest fundraiser for Catholic Charities and is vital for operating the social service organization. Each donation will help real individuals and families who are assisted through any one of the 37 different programs available in more than 30 locations throughout the Diocese. The Appeal goal is $565,000.

Jose, a client at the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities in Naples, is very grateful to the program. During a recent visit he was greeted by a wonderful case worker with the most compassionate smile.

“I started crying when she asked me if I was okay and I saw that her eyes also got watery,” Jose said. “I felt that I was in the right place to get help. I told her that I was homeless and had recently lost my job, car, and home. As she helped me with things to eat from the food pantry, she asked me questions about my situation and looked for other ways to help. The emotional support I received… I have not received in a long time. From a slice of pizza for lunch, to restaurant coupons, a week stay at a hotel, and a bicycle, I do not have the words to describe the generosity, love and care that Catholic Charities gave to me. Thank you so much.”

Your gift to the Christmas Appeal answers the prayers of clients. Caring for those who are less fortunate not only requires the necessities of food, clothing and shelter but an array of professional programs and services to meet all their needs. Contributions of any amount are welcome and will help provide beneficial opportunities for deserving individuals and families. Each year, Catholic Charities provides assistance to more than 42,000 individuals and families.

“Please remember that every number represents a child, family or individual who relied on the support of Catholic Charities to get through a crisis,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane said. “Your gift to this year’s Christmas Appeal will allow Catholic Charities to continue the important work of helping the most vulnerable in our community. It is to all the people who have helped sustain Catholic Charities, which works to serve those in need, that I am deeply grateful.”

Sue is a client of Our Mother’s House of Catholic Charities in Venice which provides a transitional housing program for mothers with young children. Sue noted that Our Mother’s House has been the greatest gift that a single mother could ask for.

“This place is truly a blessing from God,” Sue continued. “Not only did they give me and my baby a place to live, but they provided the education I needed to become independent. Words cannot express the gratitude that I have for the opportunity to grow as a woman and as a mother. The parenting classes have given me the skills to be a better mom to my son. The financial classes have given me the skills that I need to budget and sustain goals. This has been one of the best experiences in my life. I do not know where we would be without this program. God put this program in our path at the best time. The staff was very supportive and motivated me in all the right ways to fight for a successful life.”

Catholic Charities is often the voice for those who have no voice, Pereira said. We continue to be good stewards of your contributions, with sound fiscal management and a commitment to accountability and transparency. We always put the needs of our clients first.

Catholic Charities has received the top four-star rating 16 times from Charity Navigator. In addition, a total of 93 cents of every dollar donated to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. goes directly to services for people in need. Catholic Charities serves and empowers ALL regardless of race, nationality or creed.

You can contribute by visiting www.catholiccharitiesdov.org. You can send a donation in memory of a loved one or in honor of a family member or friend. We will send a Christmas card telling the special person of your generous gift. Donations by mail can be sent to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., 5824 Bee Ridge Road, PMB #409, Sarasota, FL 34233-5065. For more information, please call 941-488-5581.

Donor-Advised Funds

Susan Laielli – Special to the Florida Catholic

11/15/2018

It’s difficult to imagine that with one simple phone call a person can donate to any number of their favorite Catholic, social service, and other pro-life causes such as Pregnancy Care Centers, abstinence programs, Catholic Schools, Catholic Charities and beyond, through the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida (CCFSF).

After investing in other foundations in Southwest Florida, philanthropists Janine Marrone, and her husband Steve, decided to place their hard-earned money into a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) at the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida, where their Catholic and pro-life passions could prosper, and hopefully change hearts and minds along the way.

A Donor-Advised Fund is a charitable investment account for the sole purpose of supporting charitable organizations you care most about, while offering an immediate tax deduction. Donors make a charitable contribution to their fund and recommend grants from it over time to their favorite Catholic, pro-life or social service programs and ministries.

In the Marrone’s case, they advance many Catholic and pro-life missions, such as creating Luncheons4Life. They are assisted by many good people in Sarasota, Lee and Collier counties within the Diocese, each offering monthly luncheons in support of life. The luncheons, also held in Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Georgia, and Alton, Illinois, bring like-minded supporters of life together without politics, and with no cost or “ask” at the end.  Through their Donor-Advised Fund, the Marrone’s are able to raise awareness in hopes of bringing an end to abortion and offering healing to those who have had an abortion.

“The Donor-Advised Fund allows our contributions to be forwarded to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center for the luncheons, or to our Parish, the Catholic Faith Appeal, and Catholic Schools,” said Janine Marrone, who was excited to open the first Donor-Advised Fund with the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida this year.

“We can also contribute to the Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation, Pregnancy Care Centers, and to Catholic Charities through this fund,” added Marrone, who was well-versed and experienced in donor-advised funds.

She approached the Catholic Community Foundation when she heard they were launching their own Donor-Advised Fund program that was more in alignment with her faith and values.

Funds with the Catholic Community Foundation are invested in socially responsible, Catholic-screened investments.  Distributions can only be made to Catholic, pro-life or social service agencies whose mission and services are in keeping with the teachings of the Church.

“Earlier in 2018, the Catholic Community Foundation Board approved the launch of our Donor-Advised Fund program in response to numerous requests from donors within the Diocese who were looking for a Catholic option,” said Michael Morse, Executive Director of the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida. “I was so blessed to work with the Marrone’s on the program’s launch.”

With the launch of this new program the CCFSW is now a full-service community foundation that can meet the needs of donors looking for a faith-based alternative for their giving. All Donor-Advised Funds, similar to all funds held by the Foundation, are governed by fund agreements signed by the donor, which specify how they may be used.

“With the recent changes to the tax laws, Donor-Advised Funds with the Catholic Community Foundation may be a great way to maximize your tax benefits this year and going forward,” added Morse.

Marrone exhibits much enthusiasm when she talks about charitable giving and making a difference, but she also is very active and engaged in the community, so there’s not a lot of time to waste.

“Working with the Foundation is easy, and with the Donor-Advised Fund it’s essentially one-stop-shopping, really,” said Marrone.

For more information on donor-advised funds or the Catholic Community Foundation, please contact Michael Morse at 941-441-1124.

Second wave of donated items delivered to Panhandle

Staff Report – Florida Catholic

11/15/2018

The second delivery of items donated by the faithful of the Diocese of Venice has been delivered and distributed to those recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

Deacon Henry deMena and Paul Unsworth of St. Agnes Parish helped deliver the supplies to St. Dominic Parish in Panama City on Nov. 2. There he spent the week helping to hand out needed supplies to people who are continuing to struggle to rebuild their lives nearly a month after the storm struck the Panhandle.

“The destruction is truly indescribable,” Deacon deMena said. “The number of homes that are damaged or destroyed is amazing. Entire strip malls turned to rubble. We saw boats on their side in the middle of roads (more than three weeks after the storm); trailer homes either destroyed or lying on their sides; trees that were snapped like twigs, etc.”

The emergency supplies were the result of a Diocese-wide appeal that showed a tremendous response of donated emergency items, including water, food and cleaning supplies.

Deacon deMena and a colleague spent the week at the distribution center for food, water, personal hygiene, pet food and many other items located at St. Dominic Parish. The center operated from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and had a continuous stream of cars coming through.

“The needs are endless up there and yet everyone who came through the line were so upbeat and appreciative of what we were all doing for them,” the Deacon explained. “As the colder weather approaches people were looking for blankets since many of them are living in a partial home open to the outside.”

The distribution site is in the shadow of the Church, which had major damage. The rectory, parish hall and faith formation buildings were destroyed.

Everywhere he turned, Deacon deMena saw volunteers making a difference, working alongside Catholic Charities staff from across Florida and the nation being Jesus to the poor and downtrodden.

These students from St. John Neumann Catholic High School helped load this truck of hurricane relief supplies at the Catholic Charities Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center in Naples on Nov. 2. The supplies were delivered to the Florida Panhandle that weekend.

The first wave of supplies from the Diocese of Venice arrived in the Panhandle less than a week after Hurricane Michael struck on Oct. 10. The donations were then consolidated at the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities in Naples.

Students from St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples helped load the truck deMena took of Panama City.

“I can’t list the many times we saw God’s hand in helping us,” Deacon deMena said of his time in Panama City. “This was a true example of how the Catholic Church works as a united front to care for ‘the least of my brothers.’”

Bishop reads to support Literacy Campaign

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

7/13/2018

To the delight of young boys and girls, Bishop Frank J. Dewane read a book to children at Casa San Juan Bosco farmworker housing community of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. in Arcadia.

The 39 children, from kindergarten through 4th grade, were participating in a summer afternoon reading program that was part of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and made possible through the support of The Patterson Foundation with partnerships with The Community Foundation of Sarasota and the United Way Suncoast.

Bishop Dewane read “The Giving Tree,” a children’s picture book by Shel Silverstein. The book follows the lives of a female apple tree and a boy, who develop a relationship with one another. The tree is very “giving” and the boy evolves into a “taking” teenager, man, then elderly man. While the boy ages in the story, the tree addresses the boy as “Boy” his entire life.

While reading the book, the Bishop made sure each of the children, who were seated attentively on the floor, could see the illustrations and pointing out some of the important details. Afterwards, the Bishop queried the inquisitive children about what lessons they learned.

Based on the questions posed by Bishop Dewane and the responses he received, the children understood the positive messages from the book about giving and having a caring relationship with nature and those around them.

The summer reading program at Casa San Juan Bosco is three afternoons a week in June and July, and is part of a larger program which includes the arts and other educational activities. Throughout the summer the children were encouraged to read as many books as they could. The older children and volunteers would also read to the others in smaller groups. Throughout the summer, the children keep track of all the books they read and then write a short synopsis on each book to get credit.

By late June, Janet Seguera had read 10 books, which were marked in shiny stars on the Summer Reading Challenge board. “I love to read and sometimes read to my younger sisters. By reading, I learn so much about wonderful places and people. It’s fun.”

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is part of a national campaign which unites community partners across the nation to make reading proficiently by the end of third grade a priority. This is to address the fact that two-thirds of children in 4th grade cannot read at grade-level. While it is understood that parents and good preschool teachers teach reading from birth through 3rd Grade, in fourth grade students must use their reading skills to learn, and teachers no longer teach students how to read.

Locally, the communitywide effort includes Manatee and Sarasota counties as well as the Catholic Charities program in Arcadia. The effort focuses on helping all children, especially those from low-income families, succeed in school and life by ensuring they read on grade level by the end of third grade.

Bishop Dewane said he was delighted to be a part of this outreach and thanked representatives of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-level Reading for recognizing the Catholic Charities program as worthy of their outreach as well as the Patterson Foundation which also supported helped with the program.

“It was an honor to read for the children and a privilege to be here to support this reading program for these young boys and girls in Arcadia,” Bishop Dewane said. “Reading is an important foundation of learning that can be carried forward throughout one’s life. Catholic Charities and the Diocese both look forward to working with these partners in the future to help promote literacy which is so important in the life of all students.”

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