News Briefs for the Week of June 24, 2022

Appointments

After consultation, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announces the following:

Father Joseph Clifford, has taken an assignment in the Diocese of Lansing, as Chaplain of St. Joseph Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI, effective February 2, 2022.

Father Piotr Paciorek, retired as Parochial Vicar of Ave Maria Parish, effective May 31, 2022, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar of Ave Maria Parish.

Father Chester Domaszewicz, retired as Pastor of St. Bernard Parish, effective June 1, 2022, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Pastor of St. Bernard Parish.

Msgr. Patrick Dubois, has been appointed as Vicar Forane of the Northern Deanery, effective June 17, 2022.

Ordination to the Priesthood July 16

Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice, invites the faithful to the Ordination to the Priesthood of Transitional Deacons Christian Chami, David Portorreal, and Michael Young. The Ordination will take place at 11 a.m., on Saturday, July 16, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this important event in the lives of the Deacons as well as the Diocese of Venice. The event will be livestreamed via the Epiphany Cathedral Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/EpiphanyCathedral – you do not need to be a subscriber to view the ordination.) A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.

Where is Totus Tuus this Week?

Totus Tuus (a Latin phrase meaning “totally yours”) is a summer Catholic youth camp program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness and Eucharistic worship. During the week of June 20-24, 2022, the team was at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish in LaBelle. The weeklong Parish summer catechetical camp program assists parents and parishes in evangelizing and catechizing the youth by complementing the work they are already doing at the parish and at home. This summer the program is offered at eight parishes in the Diocese of Venice with two sessions now completed. The camp program takes place for grades 1-5, Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and for grades 6-12, Monday – Thursday from 7:30 p.m.to 9:45 p.m. Several parishes still have openings for this program. Please contact the Director of Religious Education at the parish hosting the program or Anne Chrzan at chrzan@dioceseofvenice.org. The remaining Parishes hosting the program are as follows:

  • St. Catherine Parish, 820 Hickory Street, Sebring, June 27-July 1.
  • St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers, July 11-15.
  • St. Joseph Parish, 3100 26th Street West, Bradenton, July 18-22.
  • St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, July 25-29.
  • St. Patrick Parish, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, August 1-5.

Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help June 27

All are welcome to attend the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at 11:15 a.m., Monday, June 27 in the St. Joseph Chapel on the grounds of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center, 3989 S. Moon Drive, Venice to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. In preparation, you are invited to pray a novena starting Saturday, June 18. The daily prayers are published on the website at www.olph-retreat.org. The Fall 3-night, 5-night, and 7-night private, directed retreat schedule is also published on the website. To learn more about a private retreat and to register, please visit www.olph-retreat.org or call 941-486-0233.

Independence Day Bike and Golf Cart Parade

The Knights of Columbus Ave Maria Assembly 3862 is hosting the 6th annual “God Bless America” Independence Day Bike and Golf Cart Parade, at 10 a.m., Monday, July 4, 2022. The ceremony starts in the Piazza of the town and will include a reflection from an Ave Maria veteran on the “Blessing of Freedom,” then patriotic songs, prayers for our country, then a “Blessing of the Bikes.” The parade, which will include bikes, trikes, golf carts, skateboards, strollers (decorated or not), will be led by a fire truck and pass through several neighborhoods, ending approximately 2 miles later back in the Piazza where there will be treats available. All are welcome. For more information, contact Dominick Micillo at 904-536-1480.

Mooney grad takes Junior golf title

Wyatt Plattner, a recent graduate of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, won the 50th Southern Junior Championship at the Country Club of Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2022. To take the title, Plattner notched four birdies on the back nine holes to post a final-round 67, earning a three-shot win in the 54-hole event at 9-under-par 201. The Mooney grad will play at the college level at the University of Cincinnati beginning this fall.

Volunteers needed in Naples

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Naples is looking for thrift store volunteers. If you would like to offer your time as a cashier, sorter, receiver or customer assistance representative for SVdP Naples, call Samantha at 239-775-2907 ext. 1014 or email info@svdpnaples.org.

Youth Conference July 8-10

The 14th annual Ave Maria University Youth Conference – “Fearless” – is being held July 8 to10, 2022. Featured talks are by Father Rick Martignetti, Father Joseph Lugalambi, Father Rich Pagano and Chris Padget. The event includes the talks, Mass, Adoration, praise and worship, fellowship, and opportunities for confession. The cost is $175 and includes lodging, all meals, a t-shirt and more. To register, call 239-348-4725, aveconferences@gmail.com or www.aveconferences.com.

Adoption services available

Catholic Charities Adoption Services is a state-wide agency that provides counseling to birth parents, and provisions or resources to meet the needs of birth parents considering adoption planning. If you or a loved one would like to learn more, please call Joan Pierse at 941-355-4680.

Men’s Support after Abortion Program

One in 4 women will have experienced at least one abortion by age 45. A man is connected to every pregnancy and abortion. Men are hurting from their abortion experiences too. Men often push down their experience or cover it up with unhealthy behaviors. For six weeks beginning on Saturday, July 9, 2022, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples, Father Mark Harris will team up with Nathan Misirian from Support After Abortion to co-facilitate a program just for men wounded, angry or hurt by abortion. If you (or someone you know) are a man ready for healing, or you know someone who is, confidentially call 941-412-5860 today or email project.rachel@dioceseofvenice.org to register for this series.

Volunteer to Help Pregnant Mothers

Looking for a way to help pregnant women in need?  Your tax-deductible donation will help with rent, utilities, or other necessities.  Give to the Catholic Charities Pennies for Babies Fund, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285 where no administrative fees are taken from any donations. Questions?  Contact Jeanne Berdeaux, Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-374-1068.

Retreat opens eyes of students

A group of students from St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples put their classroom lessons to work when they participated in a weeklong Immokalee Service Retreat.

The group travelled about 40 minutes from their school to Immokalee, a short physical distance but the retreat was a long spiritual journey that surprised many in how deeply it impacted them.

Each of the 18 students, incoming-juniors and incoming-seniors, learned about the Collier County community that is home to many farms and food processing facilities and is also one of the poorest in the country.

Throughout the week of May 31-June 3, the students spent each day assisting at different outreach facilities, including Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity and others.

The service trip was organized and led by Sisters April Hoffman and April Cabaccang, Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, both of whom are on the faculty at St. John Neumann. To start the week, they prayed each student would gain a renewed sense of Christian Service from their experience. The theme for the week was based on a Gospel quote from 1 Peter 4:10 – “Each of you should use that gift you have to serve others.”

The enthusiasm of the students to put their Catholic Social Teaching to work was reflected in the effort and care they put into each task they were assigned.

When the week began, the students did not expect the retreat to have the deep emotional impact it had on them as most had never been to Immokalee or even heard of the plight of the people there.

Some admitted to participating in the retreat to earn service hours or because a friend was participating. But then, something changed. As the week progressed, the teens began to grow as Christians, shining the light of Christ in the community while also finding the face of the Lord in all whom they encountered.

Several expressed a greater appreciation for the gifts and opportunities they have in their everyday life and a desire to carry the lesson of service beyond the one week. St. John Neumann has several clubs which do service projects, many benefitting the programs of the poor in both Naples and Immokalee.

Each day included evening Mass celebrated at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish by Father Inna (Ignatius) Reddy Yeruva, Missionary of Compassion, who works with Catholic Charities.

“God is granting you enlightenment,” Father Yeruva said of the retreat. “You are getting to see a world beyond St. John Neumann and your own homes. This is a gift you must embrace.”

The retreat also included daily prayer and reflection while staying at the Bethel Retreat Center. In addition, the evenings included games and guest speakers who offered words of encouragement. The first guest speaker was a Neumann alum who was on the same retreat several years earlier and shared how it had had a lasting impact on his life.

For example, when some of the students were assigned to count beans at the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen of Catholic Charities, the task seemed pointless, but the youth quickly learned that it was important to sort through the beans to ensure proper portion sizes and their helping lessened the work of the only paid employee of the Soup Kitchen.

Other students helped Pathways Early Childhood Center and learned that the lunch the children receive each day is likely the only food they will have access to all day. Then, while helping to paint and clean homes at a Habitat for Humanity project, the students met a future resident who expressed eternal gratitude for their work.

Sister April Hoffman said the week is much more than service hours earned and being with friends. “It is about developing a desire to serve others and that when we serve, we are serving Jesus in the people we encounter.”

For more information about St. John Neumann Catholic High School, please call 239-455-3044 or visit www.sjnceltics.org.

News Briefs for the Week of June 10, 2022

Our Lady of Fatima Rosary Rally a success

More than 30 people took part in the national “America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally” on June 4, 2022, in Fort Myers. The Rally was held at the corner of Daniels Parkway and Daniels Commerce Boulevard, and was focused on the Traditional Family and Public Prayers in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to end abortion, and. The threat of rain kept some away as the region was under a Tropical Storm Warning at the time. Rally organizer Toni Holmlund said the weather cooperated and most of the drivers passing by were supportive.

Sarasota school recognized

St. Mary Academy won the Family Living Magazine’s Reader’s Choice 2022 award for Best Special Education School in the area! Parents with special needs children often find that a typical classroom setting isn’t ideal for their child. They may have tried the traditional classroom setting only to have their child struggle and fall behind academically. Now, imagine finding that perfect school, one that meets your child’s particular needs. From the moment you visit the secure campus, you realize St. Mary Academy is a very unique environment. To learn more about St. Mary Academy, please visit www.stmarysarasota.org/.

Lourdes Virtual pilgrimage June 25

Holy Cross Parish, 505 26th St. W., Palmetto, is hosting a “Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience,” at 9 a.m., June 25, 2022. Presented by the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospitality North American Volunteers, the presentation will be in English and Spanish. Present at the presentation will be a Grotto Rock and water from Lourdes, a Eucharistic blessing, and a Holy Rosary procession. Participants will have the opportunity to earn a plenary indulgence. There is no cost to attend. For more information, please call Holy Cross Parish at 941-729-3891.

Volunteers needed

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Naples is looking for thrift store volunteers. If you would like to offer your time as a cashier, sorter, receiver or customer assistance representative for SVdP Naples, call Samantha at 239-775-2907 ext. 1014 or email info@svdpnaples.org

Ordination to the Priesthood

Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice, invites the faithful to the Ordination to the Priesthood of Transitional Deacons Christian Chami, David Portorreal, and Michael Young. The Ordination will take place at 11 a.m., on Saturday, July 16, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this important event in the lives of the Deacons as well as the Diocese of Venice. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.

Religious Freedom Week 2022

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is once again promoting the celebration of Religious Freedom Week beginning Wednesday, June 22 to Wednesday, June 29, 2022. Each year the week encompasses the period between the Memorial of Saints Thomas More & John Fisher, through the Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul. The theme for this year is Life and Dignity for All. The Church plays a crucial role in both bearing witness to the gospel of life and serving all who will be affected by these discussions and their outcomes, especially in light of an upcoming Supreme Court decision in June. Learn how you can pray, reflect, and act to promote religious freedom at www.usccb.org/ReligiousFreedomWeek.

Catholic Summer Camp Program

Totus Tuus (a Latin phrase meaning “totally yours”) is a summer Catholic youth camp program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness and Eucharistic worship. The weeklong Parish summer catechetical camp program assists parents and parishes in evangelizing and catechizing youth by complementing the work they are already doing at the parish and at home. This summer the program will be offered at eight parishes in the Diocese of Venice. The camp program is for grades 1-5 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for grades 6-12 Monday to Thursday from 7:30 p.m.to 9:45 p.m. Parishes hosting the program in the coming weeks are as follows:

  • St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, June 13-17.
  • Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge Street, LaBelle, June 20-24.
  • St. Catherine Parish, 820 Hickory Street, Sebring, June 27-July 1.
  • St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers, July 11-15.
  • St. Joseph Parish, 3100 26th Street West, Bradenton, July 18-22.
  • St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, July 25-29.
  • St. Patrick Parish, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, August 1-5.

Several parishes still have openings for this program. Please contact the Director of Religious Education at the Parish hosting the program or Anne Chrzan at chrzan@dioceseofvenice.org.

Vacation Bible School in Grove City

St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 5265 Placida Rd., Grove City, is hosting Vacation Bible School “God’s Wonder Lab,” from 9:00 a.m. to noon daily from Monday June 20 to Friday, June 24, 2022. Plunge in for VBS fun at God’s Wonder Lab! Our God makes the impossible possible! Participants will delve into five Bible stories and discover that Jesus does the impossible for us. He does wonderful things for us because he loves us. Open to children first to sixth grade, 2022-2023. Register online at www.sfoachuch.com or contact Jim Brantner at 941-697-4899 Press 3.

Vacation Bible School in Venice

Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice, is hosting a Vacation Bible School “Monumental – Celebrating God’s Greatness,” from 9:00 a.m. to noon, daily Monday, June 27 to Friday, July 1, 2022. The week offers the opportunity to meet new friends, participate in amazing games, have surprising adventures and much more. Please register at www.epiphanycathedral.org or call 941-484-3505. Adult and teen volunteers needed.

Youth Conference

The 14th annual Ave Maria University Youth Conference – “Fearless” – is being held July 8 to10, 2022. Featured talks are by Father Rick Martignetti, Father Joseph Lugalambi, Father Rich Pagano and Chris Padget. The event includes the talks, Mass, Adoration, praise and worship, fellowship, and opportunities for confession. The cost is $175 and includes lodging, all meals, a t-shirt and more. To register, call 239-348-4725, aveconferences@gmail.com or www.aveconferences.com.

Adoption services available

Catholic Charities Adoption Services is a state-wide agency that provides counseling to birth parents, and provisions or resources to meet the needs of birth parents considering adoption planning. If you or a loved one would like to learn more, please call Joan Pierse at 941-355-4680.

 

2022 Hurricane Season is Here

If anything is predictable in Florida it is that each summer the weather will be very warm and humid, and everyone should be keeping an eye on the tropics and preparing for Hurricane Season.

One only has to see how Hurricane Agatha, a storm that formed in the Pacific Ocean, slammed the Mexican coastline during Memorial Day Weekend before crossing and heading into the Gulf of Mexico just in time for the official opening of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

The suddenness of the formation is a reminder that these destructive storms can form nearly anywhere and at any time between June 1 and November 30, the official close of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.

While early storms do not necessarily promise this year will be worse than any other season, experts stress it only takes one storm to strike your home to make it a bad season.

Factors such as warm surface water in the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea, along with weak tropical trade winds and a strong West African monsoon, point to another busy year for hurricanes, which typically peak in August and September.

Experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season following a 2021 season which produced 21 named storms. For 2022, NOAA estimates a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected.

“As we reflect on another potentially busy hurricane season, past storms — such as Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the New York metro area ten years ago — remind us that the impact of one storm can be felt for years,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D.

The Diocese of Venice is no stranger to these storms, with Hurricane Irma in 2017 leaving behind a trail of destruction and despair in its wake; a year later we saw Hurricane Michael devastate the Florida Panhandle. Several other close calls and direct hits are part of the history of the region with Hurricane Donna (1960), Hurricane Andrew (1992), and Hurricane Charley (2004).

To best prepare for a storm, having an emergency plan is crucial. Simple things people need to know or do:

  • Know what evacuation zone you live in (updated annually)
  • Have more than one evacuation route
  • Have key documents ready in a waterproof container
  • Know where the nearest emergency evacuation shelter is
  • Have a disaster supply kit with essentials, including enough food, water and medications for a minimum of three to seven days. For a list of the essentials for a disaster supply kit, please visit gov(English) or Listo.gov (Spanish).

To help Floridians gather supplies ahead of time, the 2022 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday runs from now through June 10.  This tax holiday allows for the purchase of essentials from batteries and flashlights to generators all tax free. Newly eligible items in 2022 include pet food and supplies as well as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon-monoxide detectors. For a complete list of eligible items, please visit https://floridarevenue.com/disasterprep.

For those who may need help in evacuating, such as the elderly or handicapped, they must contact their county emergency management office to register for evacuation assistance. These systems are updated each year, therefore registering in the past will not guarantee being on a list for 2022.

Should disaster strike, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. will be at the forefront in preparing and responding. Catholic Charities will send a team to the epicenter of the disaster and then coordinate to set up relief centers — called PODs, which stands for Points-Of-Distribution – where the need is greatest. These centers – often located at Parishes or next to Catholic Charities offices – will be sites where water, clothing, food and other disaster relief assistance can be distributed.

The Diocese of Venice is well versed in responding to these storms. Each Parish, Catholic school and other entities have hurricane preparedness plans which assists in preparation before a storm and recovery afterwards.

Taking a few steps now can prevent panic and confusion if a storm were to threaten the area while following directions from your local emergency management officials. To track and learn more about hurricanes, www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

Hurricane Prayer (English and Spanish)

As we enter the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season (June 1-Nov. 30), a prayer is presented here by which one asks God for protection and safety from the storms that often threaten Southwest Florida. With the formation of Tropical Storm Arthur in mid-May, it promises to be another busy season of watching the tropics. We must all remember the devastating effect of Hurricane Irma from 2017 and what was witnessed when Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle in 2018. Everyone in the Diocese of Venice knows and understands the power of these storms and the suffering which follows in their wake.

Prayer for Safety in Hurricane Season

O God, Master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of your children. The Sea of Galilee obeyed Your order and returned to its former quietude. You are still the Master of land and sea.

We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control: the Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy, overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land, and spread chaos and disaster. During this hurricane season we turn to You, O loving Father.

Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with passing of time. O Virgin, Star of the Sea, Our beloved Mother, we ask you to plead with your Son on our behalf, so that spared from the calamities common to this area and animated with a true spirit of gratitude, we will walk in the footsteps of your Divine Son to reach the heavenly Jerusalem, where a stormless eternity awaits us. Amen.

Oración para la temporada de huracanes

O Dios, Señor de este mundo pasajero, escucha la humilde voz de tus hijos. El Mar de Galilea obedeció Tu orden y volvió a su anterior quietud. Tu todavía eres el Señor de tierra y mar.

Vivimos en la sombra del peligro sobre el cual no tenemos control; el Golfo, como un violento gigante, puede despertar de su aparente letargo, sobrepasar sus límites, invadir nuestra tierra y sembrar caos y desastre. Durante esta temporada de huracanes acudimos a Ti, O Padre Misericordioso.

Líbranos de tragedias como las pasadas que están tan vivas en nuestra memoria y cuyas heridas rehúsan ser curadas con el paso del tiempo. O Virgen, Estrella del Mar, nuestra amada Madre, te pedimos que intercedas ante tu Hijo por nosotros, para que nos libre de las calamidades comunes a esta área, y animados con un verdadero espíritu de gratitude caminemos en los pasos de tu Divino Hijo para llegar a la Jerusalén Celestial, donde una eternidad sin tormentas nos espera. Amen.

New CEO of Catholic Charities named

Eduardo Gloria has been named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., an appointment announced by The Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice, on May 17, 2022.

Since 2019, Gloria, originally from Columbia, has served as Chief Operating Officer of Catholic Charities, overseeing 36 programs with 100 employees in the 10-county Diocese of Venice region; Gloria has also served as interim CEO of Catholic Charities since late 2021.

In announcing the appointment, Bishop Dewane said: “Through his commitment and passion in helping others with programs and outreaches in the past few years, Mr. Gloria has clearly established his readiness to lead Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Venice. Together, we are dedicated to ensuring that Catholic Charities will continue to successfully serve those in need in our communities for years to come.”

Formerly, Gloria served as COO at the Alpha-1 Foundation in Coral Gables, Florida, and Camillus House, Inc. in Miami. He was also Vice President of Strategy Management and Housing Development, Director of Strategy Management, and Senior Grants Manager at Camillus House. Before that, he worked for the City of Miami Office of the Mayor as a Contracts Compliance Manager. Gloria has a Master of Public Administration degree and Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Florida International University in Miami.

“It is truly an honor to serve as CEO of the Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice,” Gloria said. “Catholic Charities will continue to deliver on our mission: Providing help, creating hope, and serving all. It is my deepest honor to lead the team while we continue to strive to improve our neighbors’ lives in the communities we serve.”

In addition, Catholic Charities announced on May 23 the appointment of Clint Branam as Chief Operating Officer. Branam has over a decade of experience with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), serving as an Executive Officer. He also brings experience as a senior consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington, D.C., and served as a volunteer with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua. Branam holds a degree in international business administration from the American University of Paris and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana.

Catholic Charities is a nonprofit founded in 1984 by the Diocese of Venice in Florida and serves as a resource to the community offering health and human services, food pantries, counseling, legal assistance, rapid re-housing, education, and disaster response. Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice is located in all of its 10 counties including Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Manatee, and Sarasota. The mission of Catholic Charities is to provide help, create hope, and serve all. For more information, visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org.

“Smile! God Loves You!” Sarasota Pastor of 31 years retires

With a radiant smile and infectious positivity, not to mention his Italian accent, Pallottine Father Fausto Stampiglia retires from St. Martha Parish in Sarasota leaving behind a legacy that is nearly impossible to comprehend.

For the past 31 years, as Pastor of St. Martha, Father Stampiglia – known as Father Fausto to all – served the faithful with all his heart, impacting the lives of countless individuals and families, being there for moments great and small.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1960, now 86, Father Fausto enters retirement comforted by the knowledge that he did the best he could while shining the light of the Lord into the world. A favorite phrase – “Smile, God Loves You!” is on a plaque of his bust on the wall outside the Parish Hall named in his honor, with the rest of the quote saying – “and so do your Parishioners.”

This feeling of love for Father Fausto has been evident throughout his many years and became more prevalent as his retirement approached in recent months.

Comments posted to social media when the official date for Father Fausto’s retirement was made public included: “You will be missed in this role – you have touched so many in our community.”  “You will always have a special place in our hearts. Thanks for everything you’ve done for me and my family.” “Your messages of Christ’s love and infinite ability to forgive us were deeply appreciated!” “Your entire life has been about serving God through us, His children.” “Father Fausto’s legacy is one of great care for generations of students. We pray his retirement be filled with blessed days and good health! Well done, Father Fausto, you have been a good and faithful servant.”

Bishop Frank J. Dewane reflected on the impact of Father by stating: “Father Fausto deserves great recognition and praise for the pastoral work he has accomplished in his years of service with the Diocese of Venice. He has been a blessing to the Diocese of Venice and to St. Martha Parish. Most may only know him as the Pastor of St. Martha, but he contributed in so many other areas. His compassion and love for all is always evident. While he is retiring and his cheerful presence will be missed, the legacy Father Fausto leaves behind will be remembered for generations. Father was a legend in his own time!  I know that he will continue the good work of our Lord in his life going forward in all that he does.”

The humble Italian understands how much people care for him and deeply appreciate his service as Pastor at St. Martha. He recently reflected on his life, from growing up in war-torn Italy where he sought shelter from bombings from the age of five to nine; to his entering religious life at 16 with the Society of Catholic Apostolates (Pallottines); then to his scholarly studies then to assignments teaching first in Italy then in East Harlem, New York, then to Albany, New York. Then he became the expert at starting or reinvigorating Permanent Diaconate Programs at several different Dioceses.

That is what brought Father Fausto to the Diocese of Venice in 1986.

Living at St. Patrick Parish in Sarasota, Father Fausto worked at the Catholic Center and assisted at Parishes in Sarasota while expanding the Permanent Diaconate program and helping to establish the Institute for Catholic Studies and Faith Formation.

As the Diocese expanded and new Parishes were erected, the Pallottines, with Father Fausto as Pastor, were asked to take over St. Martha Parish in downtown Sarasota in 1991. When he arrived at St. Martha, the Parish was in debt, and St. Martha’s school was facing a possible closure.

With Father Fausto’s charm, patience and humble approach to each problem, the Parish soon got out of debt and the school started adding students. Honesty and directness helped during this process as Father Fausto sought donors to support his plans for the future. This included building a new school on property several miles east of the Parish.

While going through that process, Father saw a need and supported the establishment of a new school for students with learning disabilities, the current St. Mary Academy (then known as Dreams Are Free Academy).

Father also supported the Spanish-speaking Catholics in the area, having been assigned to several Spanish-language Parishes in his early priesthood, and helped to establish St. Jude Parish.

Throughout the years at St. Martha, Father helped establish the Vietnamese and Tridentine Rite Masses, and has always been a strong supporter of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., including St. Martha Early Learning Center for needy pre-school children, and Bethesda House (a outreach for victims of AIDS), which sit across from the Parish Church. He was also active in creating Casa Santa Marta I & II (low-income housing for seniors), as well as a Caritas outreach.

During his service to the Diocese of Venice Father Fausto has also been Vicar Forane (Dean) of the Northern Deanery since 1991, Theologian to the Bishop, Director of the Permanent Diaconate, an ex-officio member of the Presbyteral Council, a member of the College of Consultors, Liturgical Commission, and Diocesan School Board, as well as the Diocesan representative on the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Ethics Committee. He is also a Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus.

At the conclusion of the “Year for Priests,” in 2010, Father Fausto was honored with the Papal Medal of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (For Church and the Pope) from then-Pope Benedict XVI by Bishop Dewane. The Papal Medal is the highest recognition for a Religious Priest and was presented for his exemplary service and for his dedication to the people of St. Martha Parish and to the Diocese of Venice.

Throughout his service to the Church, Father has been with the faithful at every moment of life, from births to deaths and everywhere in between.

To help smooth his transition from Pastor to retirement, the last official act Father Fausto had as Pastor occurred on May 14, 2022, presiding over the First Holy Communion of the students from St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary Academy. At his side was his successor, fellow Pallottine Father Jerzy (George) Suszko. In the following few weeks, he was also present as an assisting priest at Confirmation and at Masses for the students at St. Martha and St. Mary before the close of the Academic Year.

Although he often has the energy of people half his age, Father’s retirement comes in his mid-80s, a time when most people would relax. That is not Father’s style.

First on his agenda is a trip to his home in Rome, Italy, to see family and friends for the first time since the start of the pandemic. While in Italy, Father will also visit the superiors of his religious order, Society of Catholic Apostolates (Pallottines).

Upon his return to the U.S., he will vacation at national parks in the American West, something he has done for decades. After that, he will assist at St. Martha whenever he is needed.

“I will be living in Sarasota and remaining at St. Martha,” Father Fausto explained. “I’m going to help. It is part of being a religious priest. The Pallottines are staying here so I will be here. This is my home; my family.”

News Briefs for the week of April 22, 2022

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 a cross-curricular activity using the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) model.

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. The giving is being augmented by The Patterson Foundation which will match all donations between $25 and $100. All donations made during the 24-hour Giving Challenge are unrestricted gifts to the nonprofit organization of your choice. You can visit www.givingchallenge.org to search for participating organizations. Note that many of the organizations also have Challenge Matches from various supporters. These matches serve to multiply the value of individual donations. 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.

Treasures of the Church coming to Diocese

An Exposition of Sacred Relics will take place in several locations within the Diocese of Venice and elsewhere in Florida in the month of May. Each evening begins with a presentation and teaching on relics which features the catechetical and spiritual basis for the Walk with the Saints where over 150 relics will be displayed. In the Diocese of Venice, the following dates and locations are available for all to attend: May 9, Incarnation Parish, 2929 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota; May 10, St. Katharine Drexel Parish, 1922 SW 20th Ave., Cape Coral; May 11, Ave Maria Parish, 5088 Annunciation Circle, Ave Maria; May 12, St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples. Each exposition will begin at 6:30 p.m. and there is no fee to attend. For further information please visit www.treauresofthechurch.com.

Students and parents help Needy

During a day off from school on April 18, 2022, students and parents from St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota volunteered to help pack 728 food boxes at All Faiths Food Bank in south Sarasota. This outreach, during a rare weekday off from school during the Monday within the Octave of Easter, reflected well the commitment to service Diocesan Catholic schools instill in its students and families. Great job everyone!

Breakfast with Bishop Joseph Coffey

The TMIY (That Man is You) Men’s Ministry of Ave Maria Parish is hosting a breakfast with Most. Rev. Joseph L. Coffey, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of the Military Services, at 8:15 a.m., May 13, 2022, in the Parish Hall at 5068 Annunciation Circle, Ave Maria. Bishop Coffey will speak on “The Causes of Canonization of Military Chaplains Father (Vincent) Capodanno and Father (Emil) Kapuan.” There is no cost or registration required. For more information, call Dom Micillo at 904-536-1480.

Port Charlotte school hosts first responders

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Port Charlotte was swarmed with first responders and their various emergency response vehicles on April 13, 2022. There was no emergency, in fact the first responders were present to give the students a variety of public safety demonstrations. Students were treated to a visit from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, including helicopter landing on the athletic field, K-9 units, and more. Also present were representatives from Charlotte County Fire and EMS, Charlotte County Public Safety, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife and Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The day also included an opportunity for the students to thank the first responders for keeping the community safe.

Picnic tables installed at Bradenton school

April 13, 2022, was a scheduled day off at St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton. However, the campus was busy as volunteers and the maintenance team assembled and moved 22 new picnic tables into the courtyard. The hard work paid off and when students and teachers returned on April 19, they received a pleasant surprise as there are new places for outdoor study, projects, lunch and relaxation.

Catholic athletes continue to excel

Teams from Bishop Verot Catholic High School earned both girl’s and boy’s tennis team district titles on April 13, 2022, in Fort Myers. Meanwhile, the Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School boy’s lacrosse team earned a district title on April 15. The Mooney girl’s lacrosse team defeated the Verot girls in the district playoffs on April 11.

Neumann seniors reflect on high school

Scientium Veritatis ~ Senior Reflection Day at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples was April 19, 2022. The seniors presented before the faculty and staff their reflection projects, which called for them to dive deep and reflect on their last four years and the growth they have experienced. Students focused on Don Bosco’s Oratory (Home, School, Playground and Church) while showcasing important artifacts from their high school years.

OLPH Day of Prayer in May

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center’s final Monthly Day of Prayer Retreat for the season will be Sunday, May 8, 2022, and Wednesday, May 11. The cost for each retreat is $40 and includes a continental breakfast, two conferences, lunch, adoration, and Mass. The conference topics are the same for both sessions. The final Group retreat for the season is the Ignatian Preached Retreat scheduled for May 20-23. The cost is $460 and includes a private room and all meals. The Fall 2022 private retreat schedule is now available on the OLPH website and includes 3-day, 5-day, and 8-day directed retreats on their beautiful campus. To learn more about each retreat and to register, please visit: www.olph-retreat.org or call 941-486-0233. OLPH is located at 3989 South Moon Drive, Venice.

9th Annual Marian Eucharistic Conference in May

All are invited to the 9th Annual Marian Eucharistic Conference May 13 to May 15 at Ave Maria University, Ave Maria. The theme is “Do Whatever He Tells You.” Featured speakers will include Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Coffey, of the Archdiocese of the Military Services, Father Larry Richards, Father Rick Martignetti, Deacon Dr. Mark Miravalle, EWTN’s Steve Ray, and Johnnette Benkovic plus music by Martin Doman and the AMU Band. In addition to the talks, the Conference will include a Rosary Walk, Holy Mass, Benediction, and more. The cost is $180 per person and includes lodging, meals and conference fee for the weekend. For more information visit www.aveconferences.com,call 239-348-4725 or email aveconferences@gmail.com.

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 www.givingchallenge.org 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.

 

Catholic Charities releases Annual Report – 224,868 assisted in 2020-21 fiscal year

One of the things which makes Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. unique is how much of an impact its services and programs have on local communities. During the 2021 fiscal year a dedicated group of workers and volunteers helped improve the lives of 224,868 individuals and families with more than 30 specialized programs that are focused on providing aid improving lives.

The 2021 Catholic Charities Annual Report was released in March 2022 detailing the dollars spent and reflecting on the stories of the lives that were positively impacted through the social service agency in the 10-county area.

Catholic Charities was presented with a new set of challenges in 2021. Eduardo Gloria, Interim CEO/Chief Operating Officer of Catholic Charities, said in 2021, the Catholic Charities Board of Directors recognized that areas of greatest need had shifted significantly due to the pandemic.

“Working closely with the Leadership Team, the Board focused on new strategies to best serve our community,” Gloria said. “The most urgent need was housing. In 2021, Catholic Charities provided shelter to 1,534 individuals, up 117 percent from the previous year, and provided food to 209,784 individuals, increasing food pantry services by 33 percent. Human trafficking, immigration, and youth services were also concerns that intensified during the year.”

Catholic Charities, Inc., Diocese of Venice, reevaluated the areas of need and created a new set of priorities to ensure that all of the services offered remained on target to fulfill the changing needs of our community. These priorities were established to continue the mission of Catholic Charities and offer services to have the most significant impact.

To accomplish this, during the 2020-2021 fiscal year Catholic Charities focused its expenses of $9.1 million on six priorities: food security, housing, antihuman trafficking, behavioral health, immigration and youth formation.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane remarked that the work of Catholic Charities was part of a collective effort in support of the community. “While the pandemic took its toll on all of us, we’ve also witnessed unexpected wonders responses, such as our community’s continued generosity, even when faced with their own increased burdens. Our volunteers and donors never gave up and offered their time and support in abundance.”

When breaking down the numbers of those helped by Catholic Charities in the 2021 fiscal year, the results have been remarkable:

  • 209,784 – pantry and food services provided to individuals
  • $1,582,255 – dollars of direct assistance provided
  • 5,058 – behavioral health services provided
  • 3,653 – services for victims of human trafficking
  • 1,538 – families, children and individuals housed
  • 3,820 – calls for help
  • 5,662 – services to seniors

While the numbers are impressive, behind each statistic is a real person who is struggling struggled and when they turned toward Catholic Charities for help.

Here are remarks from some of the people being helped:

  • “I am beyond grateful to Catholic Charities for going the distance. Through the Rapid-Rehousing Program, I was able to get affordable housing and Housing Authority benefits. Once I moved into my new home, the Senior Support program gave me new bedsheets that were donated to the program, as a housewarming gift! Thank you, Catholic Charities, for making sure I have sanctuary in my life.” – Maria, Senior Support Services and Rapid-Rehousing
  • “It has only been a few months since I have moved into Our Mother’s House, but it has already been life changing. After years of being taken advantage of and being abused, I took a leap of faith and found myself in the comfort of Our Mother’s House. In a short amount of time, my son and I are both thriving, and I have found my voice again. Our Mother’s House has brightened our future and restored my belief in humanity.” – Bethany, Our Mother’s House
  • “I arrived in this country from Venezuela in June 2016. In my country, I was a lawyer, but I have been working as an Uber driver here. Since I don’t speak English well, it’s been difficult getting back in my field, but Catholic Charities helped me! In Through the Empowerment Program I was able to take English classes and study Immigration. They gave me the encouragement I needed. I’m very grateful that I can finally see my dreams coming true.” – Carmen, Empowerment Program

Gloria said that the Catholic Charities team is committed to positively impacting the community. They plan to continue to respond quickly and pivot to meet any new demands.

To read the full 2020-2021 Annual Report, or to support the programs, please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org.

Emerald Ball dazzles

The 38th Annual Emerald Ball was a great success! Held on March 10, 2022, at the Ritz Carlton Beach Resort in Naples, proceeds from the elegant evening will go to support the many programs of Catholic Charities in Collier County.

The annual event returned to the in-person Ball and brought together supporters from across the area. The enthusiastic crowd was dressed in elegant eveningwear and the Ball included fine dining, lots of dancing, upbeat music, and a spirited live auction with the “Gift from the Heart” bringing in many enthusiastic bidders.

Catholic Charities Interim CEO Eduardo Gloria explained how the organization is focused on always improving the outreach provided to young and old throughout the community.

“The message we carry is to help individuals and families once and then they never have to come for help again,” Gloria said. “We are an organization that makes a meaningful impact. We give people a chance – a hand up. We want to help families to move on and become self-sufficient… Being here tonight, you are here to support that very spirit; changing the very face of the community.”

Among those who have benefitted from the programs of Catholic Charities in the past is Peggy Rodriguez, the newly appointed District Director. Rodriguez was recently promoted from her long-time position as Program Manager Guadalupe Social Services in Immokalee which provides a variety of support services, as well as a daily soup kitchen, food pantry, clothing room and shower.

As a child, Rodriguez’s family were immigrant farmworkers who relied on Catholic Charities to survive. Though emotional in sharing her story, Rodriguez said that she had a happy childhood and didn’t realize until much later how much Catholic Charities, and especially the food pantry, helped her family. She took the lesson of receiving compassion and turned that into a mission and life-long career of giving back to the community and making a difference in the lives of people each day.

In addition to Guadalupe Social Services, programs supported by the Ball include the Judy Sullivan Family Resources Center, Family Counseling Center, and the Golden Gate Senior Center, each offering a variety of targeted outreaches to help those in need.

Barbara Neff served as chair of the Emerald Ball Committee with the support of many co-chairs. Father Bob Kantor, Pastor of St. Agnes Parish, offered the opening invocation.

If you would like to support the programs of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org.

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