News Briefs for week of Sept. 14, 2020

World Day for Migrants and Refugees to be Celebrated on September 27

The Vatican has designated Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 as the World Day for Migrants and Refugees. The theme chosen by Pope Francis for the 106th observance of this day is “Forced like Jesus to Flee” a focus on the plight of internally displaced persons. The Holy See has a website, https://migrants-refugees.va, which includes a video message from Pope Francis. In the message, he states: “To preserve our common home and make it conform more and more to God’s original plan, we must commit ourselves to ensuring international cooperation, global solidarity and local commitment, leaving no one excluded.”

‘Fifth Sunday Rosary’ a success

Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers hosted a “Fifth Sunday Rosary” in their Parish Chapel on Sept. 13, 2020. Spread apart due to social distancing requirements, the Knights of Columbus led the event.

Car Show Cookout in Lakewood Ranch Oct. 17

The Knights of Columbus of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, 12905 State Road 70 E., Lakewood Ranch, is hosting a Car Show Cookout, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Oct. 17, 2020. It is a great day for family and friends; see the cards in the show and enjoy the cookout. There will be a live DJ, trophies for car entries and door prizes. All profits go to charity. The cost is $20 to show your car (all cars welcome), and $5 donation to vote and door prizes. For more information, please call 941-752-6770.

6th Annual Virtual 5K Walk/Run for Life Oct. 24-25

St. Agnes Parish in Naples is holding its 6th Annual Virtual 5K Walk/Run for Life on the weekend of Oct. 24-25, 2020. The Run/Walk for Life is an event with the main purpose of promoting a respect for life message and raising funds for pro-life causes while encouraging healthy living (body and soul). You can complete the 5K (or more) on either Cot. 24 or Oct. 35. Gather your family and make this a fun, healthy activity. The cost is $20 per person. Those who compete will receive a commemorative short. For more details and registration, please visit www.stagnesnaples.org.

Year of Saint Joseph

On the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, in the context of the Coronavirus, consecrated the Diocese of Venice to the care and protection of St. Joseph. The Bishop announced a “Year of St. Joseph” beginning March 19, 2020 through March 19, 2021. St. Joseph, often referred to as the Protector, can be our protector during this time of the pandemic. To pray a Novena to St. Joseph please visit the Year of St. Joseph webpage at https://dioceseofvenice.org/a-year-of-st-joseph/.

Hurricane prayer

As the busy 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season continues (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 nine storms, it has already been a busy season of watching the tropics with new storms seemingly forming and threatening each day . We 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.

Parish donations

During this challenging time in the life and mission of the Diocese of Venice, our Parishes face increased risk of financial shortfalls due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its effects on everyday life. Parishes depend on weekly financial gifts to continue their ministries, especially in this critical time of crisis. The Diocese of Venice is providing an online platform and encourages the Faithful to support their Parish. Please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/ways-to-give/parish-donations-online/ to donate to your Parish. The Faithful may also contribute through usual channels (e.g., envelopes, and through the Parish online giving option). Together we will navigate through this crisis, provide assistance to those in need, and secure the road ahead for the Parishes within the Diocese of Venice.

Dispensation

While the celebration of public Mass resumed May 18, 2020, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect through Nov. 1, 2020 for those who are at greater risk or anxious about returning at this time. The Faithful ought not to worry about remaining home if they are concerned for their wellbeing or that of other parishioners. Of course, those who are sick or have symptoms associated with COVID-19 are to stay home. Please check the Diocese of Venice website for any updates.

Livestreaming

The Diocese of Venice will continue livestreaming the Mass through the Diocese website (www.dioceseofvenice.org) and Facebook pages from the Catholic Center in Venice 9:15 a.m. daily as the dispensation to attend Mass remains.

Sunday Televised Mass

The Televised Mass for the Homebound is available throughout the Diocese each Sunday. In northern parts of the Diocese (Manatee, Highlands, Hardee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties) the Mass airs on television at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Collier, Lee, Glades, Hendry, Charlotte counties) the Mass airs at 10:30 a.m., on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). This same Mass can be found on the Diocese of Venice website at any time during the week, www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass. Please check local listings for channel information.

Online Resources

A special coronavirus webpage is located on the Diocese of Venice website at www.dioceseofvenice.org. Resources include links to the Mass, the prayer for an Act of the Spiritual Communion, videos of the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Pray the Rosary. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org, also posts the daily Mass readings.

Act of Spiritual Communion

It has long been a Catholic understanding that when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an Act of Spiritual Communion which is a source of grace. Spiritual Communion means uniting one’s self in prayer with Christ’s sacrifice and worshiping Him in His Body and Blood.

The most common reason for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when a person cannot attend Mass, as is the case during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.

For all who will not be able to receive the Holy Eucharist in person, consider this special prayer, an Act of Spiritual Communion:

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.

I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.

CCUSA anniversary to be celebrated by Bishop

This year marks the 110th anniversary of the founding of Catholic Charities, USA (CCUSA), and part of that celebration has a connection to the Diocese of Venice.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, who is the Episcopal Advisor to CCUSA, will be celebrating a Mass which will be streamed live from Epiphany Cathedral in Venice at 3 p.m. Sept. 25, 2020. The Mass is not open to the public but can be viewed via either the Diocese of Venice or CCUSA Facebook pages.

Starting at 2:30 p.m., before the Mass, the live stream will begin with introductory videos from Adrian Dominican Sister Donna Markham, PhD, President and CEO of CCUSA, as well as Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and President of Caritas Internationalis, a global Catholic charity.

Sister Donna stated that for 110 years the people of Catholic Charities have reached out to their brothers and sisters in need, especially those who are poor or vulnerable or on the edges of society.

“This year has been particularly challenging in so many ways: the COVID-19 Pandemic, natural disasters, and the tragic killings of our brothers and sisters of color,” Sister Donna continued. “I am so proud of our Catholic Charities staff and volunteers across the country who have responded with faith and action; fulfilling our mission to honor the dignity of every person through loving service and helping all to receive their rights and privileges as members of our one human family.”

The motto of CCUSA is “Working to reduce poverty in America.” Their mission statement is “The mission of Catholic Charities is to provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire Church and other people of good will to do the same.”

Locally, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. has a history dating back to before the Diocese was founded. In 1968, Catholic leaders in Collier County started a social services program that eventually formed the basis for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., when the Diocese was founded in 1984.

Each year Catholic Charities offers three dozen different programs throughout the 10-county Diocese, including, food pantries, emergency financial support, assisting victims of human trafficking, a soup kitchen, homelessness prevention services, and much more.

Since the start of the pandemic, Catholic Charities has distributed more than one million pounds of food to more than 100,000 individuals at six different drive through food pantries. Another 10,000 have been helped through the hotline, tele-mental health services and financial assistance. That is a dramatic increase in services provided as Catholic Charities usually assists about 90,000 individuals is an entire year.

To learn more about Catholic Charities, USA, please visit www.catholiccharitiesusa.org, and to learn about Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., please visit www.catholiccharitiesDOV.org.

Calling All Volunteers!

Each Thursday nearly 200 vehicles line up to receive food from the Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. Food Pantry at St. Margaret Parish in Clewiston.

Six dedicated volunteers worked with masks and gloves in the heat for about three hours on Aug. 6, 2020 to ensure every family left with food. Afterwards was the clean-up, which included: breaking up boxes, storing tables, reviewing paperwork, planning for the next week, etc. That is also the time when supplies are checked so orders can be placed to ensure there will be enough to meet demand and the food on hand is organized and prepared for distribution the following week.

The line of vehicles has remained consistently long since March when the COVID-19 Pandemic began, and families started to lose work. Clewiston is a rural community on the southern shore of Lake Okeechobee which relies heavily on farming for work. However, that work is seasonal, and the next planting won’t begin for several months.

The Aug. 6 distribution was made more challenging when a delivery truck arrived just as the cars were lining up. This split volunteers into separate groups.

Yolanda Placencia checked families in, handed out bags of food and got more supplies from the storeroom. Determined to help as much as she could, she hopes more people volunteer, even if it is for an hour. “I know others would feel the same joy I have knowing what little I am doing is brightening the faces of these families.”

Mike Vega supervises the Catholic Charities Office in Clewiston and is based in Fort Myers, said the need for volunteers is growing. Volunteers are needed to safely distribute food, assist with the set-up, clean-up, organize donations, bag food, help with paperwork; and much more. Gloves and masks are provided to everyone.

“We have been at a breakneck pace, but many of the people we counted on in the past are not able to help because they are in at-risk categories,” Vega explained.

Catholic Charities CEO Philomena Pereira said that without volunteers the organization would be unable to continue to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. The six food pantries throughout the Diocese distributed food to more than 20,000 individuals in July, and more than 75,000 since late March, more than triple the normal amount.

“There is no end in sight, and in fact the demand is growing,” Pereira said. “We are looking for volunteers at all locations. Loading cars, doing paperwork, we need help.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer with Catholic Charities is asked to contact Joan Pierce at 844-385-2407 or joan.pierce@catholiccharitiesdov.org.

St Leo the Great “Shares”

When a Parish is focused on giving back to the community during a global pandemic it must get creative to connect with the faithful while also raising money for important causes.

To do this, the staff at St. Leo the Great Parish came up with “St. Leo Shares – A fundraiser event to make your mouth water.” Starting at 3 p.m. each Thursday afternoon there is a drive-thru for take-out food at the Parish Life Center in Bonita Springs. The menu regularly changes, therefore, on Aug. 6, 2020 the offerings from local caterer Frisco’s were a slice of Cuba with a cost of $15 per meal.

Part of the proceeds from the food directly supports the Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. Food Pantry located on the Parish property.

Father Jarek Snoisek, Pastor of St. Leo the Great, directs traffic and greets each vehicle when his schedule allows. He said the drive-thru food has generated excitement while addressing a real need in support of the food pantry.

“The people here at St. Leo Parish are very generous,” Father Sniosek said, as many of the vehicles coming through not only purchased dinners but dropped off canned goods and donated money.

The proceeds from the first few offerings have allowed the Parish to provide $25 Publix gift cards to those coming each week to the Catholic Charities food pantry. The goal is to distribute 600 within the coming months.

Anne Bellows, Assistant to the Pastor, said the success of the drive-thru has been overwhelming as the food often runs out by 4 p.m. with some vehicles lining up 30 minutes before. In addition, the interaction with faithful helps to build the connection to the Parish while also supporting the outreach efforts.

Bellows added that the Parish also supports food pantries at Jesus the Worker Parish in Fort Myers, St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Moore Haven and St. Margaret Parish in Clewiston.

“The people of St. Leo Parish have always been responsive to those in need,” Bellows explained while wearing festive hats decorated with flowers and fruits. “We all realize that now the need is greater than ever.”

St. the Great Parish is located at 28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs and the drive-thru opens at 3 p.m. until the food lasts. For more information, call 239-992-0901.

Catholic Charities response to Pandemic updated Aug. 3, 2020

In July Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. served more than 15,000 individuals and families at six area food pantries.

That brings the total to more than 60,000 assisted with food since the COVID-19 Pandemic began in March 2020.

Donations for individuals and area businesses have helped Catholic Charities meet the demand. For example, the Fort Myers Restaurant Depot donated several pallets of food to the Elizabeth K. Galena Center in Fort Myers.

If you need help

If you need assistance from Catholic Charities for food, financial assistance or tele-mental health counseling, please call the number for your area listed below 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Services have expanded to include assistance in applying for state and federal benefits if you have lost work due to the COVID-19 Pandemic:

  • Sarasota/Manatee/DeSoto/Hardee/Highlands counties: 844-385-2407,
  • Charlotte/Lee/Hendry/Glades counties: 844-385-2423,
  • Collier County: 844-385-2404.

Food distribution

Catholic Charities food distribution will take place only at the following times and locations. Please call the regional number for more information.

  • Monday-Friday, 9-11 a.m., Guadalupe Social Services, 211 S. 9th St., Immokalee, the Soup Kitchen is providing take-out/meals-to-go;
  • Tuesdays, 9-11:30 a.m., Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center, 3174 Tamiami Trail E., Naples;
  • Thursdays, 9 a.m.-noon, St. Margaret Parish, 208 Dean Duff St., Clewiston;
  • Fridays, 9-11 a.m., St. Leo the Great Parish, 28360 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs;
  • Fridays, 9 a.m.-noon, Elizabeth K. Galeana Pantry, 4235 Michigan Avenue Link, Fort Myers;
  • 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month, 8:30-10:30 a.m., St. Paul Parish, 1208 E. Oak St. Arcadia.

How to Help

Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. is in urgent need of your financial support during its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To help, please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org/donate or send a check to: Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc., 5824 Bee Ridge Road, PMB 409, Sarasota, FL 34233-5065.

News briefs for week of July 28 2020

VDCCW presents Bishop with check

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was honored at a special gathering of the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women on July 25, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall in Venice. The meeting coincided with the 14th anniversary of Bishop Dewane’s Episcopal Ordination as Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida in 2006. The VDCCW leadership presented the Bishop with a check for $9,000 to be used to support the Diocesan seminarians.

Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate Aug. 15

Bishop Frank J. Dewane will ordain to the Permanent Diaconate seven men at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. The candidates are: Jeffrey Ball of Ave Maria Parish, Ave Maria; Enrique (Rick) Castro of St. Cecilia Parish, Fort Myers; Ramiro Hernandez of St. Michael Parish, Wauchula; Jack W. Milholland Jr. of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Lakewood Ranch; Roberto Pagán of Jesus the Worker Parish, Fort Myers; Vern W. Smith of St. Martha Parish, Sarasota; and Dr. William Soscia of St. Joseph Parish, Bradenton. A reception in the Parish Hall will follow. All are invited and encouraged to attend.

Online master’s degrees offered through Ave Maria University

There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but one thing is clear: an online master’s degree from Ave Maria University will distinguish you from the competition when companies start hiring again. Online degrees available include a Master of Business Administration. For more information, contact Elizabeth.ODonnell@avemaria.edu or visit https://avemariauniversity.lpages.co/gradprograms-r2/.

Virtual Vacation Bible School a success

St. Joseph Church completed their virtual Vacation Bible School July 23, 2020 with a special Zoom celebration. The online sessions provided inspiration for the children who participated and performed different activities related to inspirational Bible messages. Parish Administrator Father Rafal Ligenza provided a lesson on the Eucharist and lead everyone in prayer for the final celebration.

First Communion face masks donated by sewing group

The Sewing Group of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples donated 200 white masks for use at Mass by First Communicants and their families on July 11, 2020. The Faith Formation team facilitated the distribution of the masks for the boys and girls as well as their families. Two Mass were scheduled for all of the children as all social distancing rules were followed.

3D face shield project update

The first phase of a STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts, math) 3D printing project to provide face shields to frontline workers has been a success. So far 100 face shield have been delivered for use by Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. staff and volunteers at food pantry distribution sites as well as for children participating in summer camps. The project was the idea of Jennifer Falsetiny, Curriculum Specialist for the Diocese Department of Education. The goal is to turn the Camillus Project, as it is called, into an ongoing club for schools that may wish to participate so as to give back to the community while providing solutions to a real-world problem. The plan is to re-launch the program again in the new school year to hopefully get more schools involved in the hands-on STREAM 3D printing service project.

Dispensation

While the celebration of public Mass resumed May 18, 2020, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect through Sept. 1, 2020 for those who are at greater risk or anxious about returning at this time. The Faithful ought not to worry about remaining home if they are concerned for their wellbeing or that of other parishioners. Of course, those who are sick or have symptoms associated with COVID-19 are to stay home. Please check the Diocese of Venice website for any updates.

Livestreaming

The Diocese of Venice will continue live-streaming the Mass through the Diocese website (www.dioceseofvenice.org) and Facebook pages from the Catholic Center in Venice 9:15 a.m. daily as the dispensation to attend Mass remains.

Sunday Televised Mass

The Televised Mass for the Homebound is available throughout the Diocese each Sunday. In northern parts of the Diocese (Manatee, Highlands, Hardee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties) the Mass airs on television at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Collier, Lee, Glades, Hendry, Charlotte counties) the Mass airs at 10:30 a.m., on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). This same Mass can be found on the Diocese of Venice website at any time during the week, www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass. Please check local listings for channel information.

Parish donations

During this challenging time in the life and mission of the Diocese of Venice, our Parishes face increased risk of financial shortfalls due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its effects on everyday life. Parishes depend on weekly financial gifts to continue their ministries, especially in this critical time of crisis. The Diocese of Venice is providing an online platform and encourages the Faithful to support their Parish. Please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/ways-to-give/parish-donations-online/ to donate to your Parish. The Faithful may also contribute through usual channels (e.g., envelopes, and through the Parish online giving option). Together we will navigate through this crisis, provide assistance to those in need, and secure the road ahead for the Parishes within the Diocese of Venice.

Online Resources

A special coronavirus webpage is located on the Diocese of Venice website at www.dioceseofvenice.org. Resources include links to the Mass, the prayer for an Act of the Spiritual Communion, videos of the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Pray the Rosary. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org, also posts the daily Mass readings.

Act of Spiritual Communion

It has long been a Catholic understanding that when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an Act of Spiritual Communion which is a source of grace. Spiritual Communion means uniting one’s self in prayer with Christ’s sacrifice and worshiping Him in His Body and Blood.

The most common reason for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when a person cannot attend Mass, as is the case during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.

For all who will not be able to receive the Holy Eucharist in person, consider this special prayer, an Act of Spiritual Communion:

My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,

and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.

 

Pandemic causes crisis for victims of human trafficking

The worst nightmare of a human being who has been trafficked is of the possibility of getting caught in that dark world once again. Rescue, stability and confidence allow these victims to transition into a productive life of self-sufficiency free from fear.

Add the COVID-19 Pandemic into the mix and many who were far along in the process into leading a “normal” life free from fear, are now at high risk of being trafficked again.

“All at once, everyone was in crisis mode, even those we thought were doing well,” explained Erika Pineros, Catholic Charities Anti Human Trafficking Assistance Program Director. “They were already vulnerable, then everyone lost their job.”

Local, state and federal programs designed to assist people during the Pandemic are not available to most survivors of human trafficking primarily because of immigration documentation issues or a past criminal history that was part of their victimization, Pineros added. “That is where Catholic Charities steps in.”

There are currently 63 clients now being assisted by the Catholic Charities program. While that number may seem high, it is average, the difference, of course, is that instead of a portion of that number being phased into self-sufficiency, all 63 are now in crisis. While they are all not recently rescued survivors, some are seeking help for the first time in two years and they are in desperate need of emergency assistance to prevent homelessness and starvation.

The Anti Human Trafficking Assistance Program provides clients with food and clothing; shelter at a safe distance from the site of the exploitation and transitional housing; coordination of medical services; supportive counseling and further mental health services as needed; orientation to state and federal laws and benefits; assistance with benefit applications; coordination of educational and English as a second language (ESL) services; liaison with law enforcement and immigration service providers; as well as coordination with various community agencies for other required services.

Catholic Charities has some transitional housing it operates, but those units are full, Pineros said. “The demand is always high, so we try to make arrangements for other shelter, but the Pandemic is limiting the number of people at shelters and other transitional housing locations thus decreasing the options.”

Survivors enter the program with nothing, and most can only work jobs in the service industry where the pay is not very good, Pineros added. In normal times, when a job doesn’t work out or they face some other obstacle, there are other options.

An attendee points to a sign as women religious from around the world gather in Rome Sept. 21-27, 2019, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Talitha Kum, an international network of religious women fighting against human trafficking. (CNS photo/courtesy International Union of Superiors General)

“Now they feel like they are back to square one because they don’t know from where the next job will come or what their future holds,” Pineros said. “They are now isolated, and many are very afraid of being caught up in trafficking again.”

That fear is real and the need for mental health counseling because of renewed mental trauma has dramatically increased. While in-person counseling is ideal, it is not possible during the Pandemic. These services have transitioned into video- or tele-mental health. To participate, clients often need added assistance to have access to smart devices, or even how to use them.

Pineros said her team of three has been assisting in helping the survivors non-stop and immediate need is money to pay bills.

While the program receives grants to help victims of human trafficking, there are restrictions on what it can be used for.

“The money people give to Catholic Charities and directly to our program, gives us the flexibility to make a real difference,” Pineros said. “Right now, there is no light at the end of the tunnel for these survivors. They are living day-by-day and week-to-week. We are trying to get them through this crisis, but we need more help because human trafficking doesn’t discriminate, and it isn’t going away.”

To support the Catholic Charities, please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org and to learn more about the Anti Human Trafficking Assistance Program, you can contact Erika Pineros at erika.pineros@catholiccharitiesdov.org.

Benefactor of Catholic Education dies

Leslie S. “Mitzi” Magin, a longtime supporter of the Catholic Church and particularly for Catholic Education in Collier County died July 13, 2020. Throughout her 87 years her support was manifested in a myriad of ways.

Known for her generosity and colorful outfits, Magin was born in Chicago but grew up in California where she graduated from the University of California Berkley. After getting married to James Magin, and residing in Chicago for 24 years, where she was actively involved in numerous charities, in 1987 the couple moved to Naples.

Magin became active in the numerous charities, including St. Ann Parish, St. Ann Catholic School Foundation, St. John Neumann Catholic High School, all in Naples, as well as the Catholic Institute for Pastoral Studies (then known as the Rice School) in Port Charlotte. She was also a longtime member of the Advisory Board for the Emerald Ball, which benefits Catholic Charities of Collier County. In addition, she was involved with Ave Maria School of Law (Board of Governors and a founder of the Veterans’ Memorial Library), Professional Givers Anonymous, Naples Community Hospital (NCH Magnolia Ball to benefit cancer programs), and the NCH Healthcare Foundation. An example of her generosity can be found on the campus of St. John Neumann Catholic High School where a 35-foot Celtic Cross was dedicated to her honor in 2010.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was saddened by the death of Magin, noting that her commitment to Catholic Education inspired others to follow her lead. “She was a dear friend who thought of others first.”

The goal of providing a proper, well-rounded learning experience for as many children as possible, was of the utmost importance to Magin and she firmly believed Catholic Education was the way to achieved that. Magin knew that although children must be fed, clothed, and given shelter, their education was the most valuable asset to their future. She is noted as saying, “By offering such, we not only help develop mind, body, and spirit but also their sense of knowing the true meaning of freedom, social justice, and peace; and that by accomplishing this, we plant a ‘seed of hope,’ not only for their future, but for all mankind.”

Magin was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, James in 2012, as well as her brother, G. Stuart Spence Jr., in 2019. She is survived by her stepmother, Grace Spence of San Francisco, her brother, Richard Spence (Leanne) of Wilsonville, Oregon, her sister-in-law, Carol L. Spence, of Montecito, California; and nieces and nephews.

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Ann Parish at a future date when friends and relatives can safely gather again. Memorial donations may be made to the St. Ann School Foundation, St. John Neumann Catholic High School Scholarship Fund, or Ave Maria School of Law.

News briefs for week of July 20 2020

Mary statue stolen from Sebring Parish

A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was stolen from St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Sebring on Monday, July 13, 2020. It is not known why the statue was stolen, but the Church is asking for its return, or information of its whereabouts. The statue, which weighs about 200 pounds and was recently restored with fresh paint, has been located as part of a Memorial Rosary Garden in front of the Church for the past five years. It is valued at approximately $1,000. The theft follows the destruction of a statue of St. Francis of Assisi on the St. Catherine Church property which took place on June 26, 2020. St. Catherine Pastor, Father Jose Gonzalez, said both incidents are deeply disturbing and upsetting for the Faith community. Police reports have been filed in both cases. While it is unknown why the statues were targeted, it cannot be ignored that many such religious symbols have been vandalized or damaged nationwide in response to the recent social unrest. Anyone with information regarding these crimes is asked to contact the Sebring Police Department.

Beautification project transforms Parish

The faithful of St. Michael Parish in Wauchula recently assisted in a Parish beautification project in early July. The Parish Church and other buildings were power-washed and received a fresh coat of paint. Various landscaping work was also completed. The “Let’s Beautify the Parish!” initiative encourage people to share ideas and support the efforts as well as assist in the work.

Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate Aug. 15

Bishop Frank J. Dewane will ordain to the Permanent Diaconate seven men at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. The candidates are: Jeffrey Ball of Ave Maria Parish, Ave Maria; Enrique (Rick) Castro of St. Cecilia Parish, Fort Myers; Ramiro Hernandez of St. Michael Parish, Wauchula; Jack W. Milholland Jr. of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Lakewood Ranch; Roberto Pagán of Jesus the Worker Parish, Fort Myers; Vern W. Smith of St. Martha Parish, Sarasota; and Dr. William Soscia of St. Joseph Parish, Bradenton. A reception in the Parish Hall will follow. All are invited and encouraged to attend.

Support After Abortion Virtual Conference

Join the Support After Abortion Healing Network Virtual Conference 2020: Building and Strengthening Abortion Healing Worldwide – Thursday, July 30 to Saturday, August 1.  See and hear online over 40 presenters: clergy, authors, curriculum leaders and those who have been impacted by abortion as they share their wisdom, insights and personal stories. Don’t be surprised that Support After Abortion resides in the Diocese of Venice and some of the presenters live here as well. There is no charge to watch any of the presentations during the three-day virtual conference by visiting www.supportafterabortionvirtualconference.com/home. See the website for a premium upgrade for access to each of the presentations for 90 days. (NOTE: Any priest interested in a free 90-day premium pass – a $49.99 value – can request one by e-mailing Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org or calling 941-374-1068.)

First Communion face masks donated by sewing group

The Sewing Group of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples donated 200 white masks for use at Mass by First Communicants and their families on July 11, 2020. The Faith Formation team facilitated the masks for the boys and girls as well as their families. Two Mass were necessary for all of the children as all social distancing rules were also followed.

 

 

 

Parish provides gift cards

St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs recently donated $25 Publix gift cards to families who were using the emergency Catholic Charities Food Pantry. The pantry, which has been in operation in Bonita Springs since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, is open one day a week and provides emergency food for needy families impacted by the Pandemic. The gift cards were distributed to 200 families to help supplement the food they were receiving and were made possible through the generosity of the parishioners and Father Jarek Sniosek, Pastor of St. Leo.

3D face shield project update

The first phase of a STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts, math) 3D printing project to provide face shields to frontline workers has been a huge success. So far 100 already been delivered for use by Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. staff and volunteers at food pantry distribution sites. The project was the idea of Jennifer Falsetiny, Curriculum Specialist for the Diocese Department of Education. The goal is to turn the Camillus Project into an ongoing club for schools to participate so as to give back to the community while providing solutions to a real-world problem. The plan is to re-launch the program again in the new school year to hopefully get more schools involved in the hands-on STREAM 3D printing service project.

News briefs from July 6 2020

Priest becomes U.S. Citizen

Father Rafal Ligenza, Administrator of St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton was sworn in as U.S. Citizen on July 6, 2020. A native of Poland, Father Ligenza was ordained to the priesthood in 2011 for the Diocese of Venice by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. Father Ligenza has been Administrator at St. Joseph Parish since January of 2019 and previously served as Parochial Vicar at St. William Parish in Naples and St. Columbkille Parish in Fort Myers. Congratulations Father!

CCW supports Catholic Charities

Representatives of the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women recently presented a check to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc. for their homeless prevention program. The presentation took place on June 23, 2020 at the Catholic Center in Venice. VDCCW President Brenda Dolan and Board Member Ellen Bachman presented the check for $7,000 to Philomena Pereira, CEO of Catholic Charities. Bishop Frank J. Dewane was also present as a show of support for both the VDCCW and Catholic Charities. The money is part of an annual effort of the VDCCW and will go toward the numerous programs that provide housing and also prevent people from becoming homeless.

Virtual Summer Reading Challenge

A Virtual Summer Reading Challenge is taking place for the students of St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton. Students were sent home books in early June and they are also encouraged to read more books on their own. Students in online reading sessions with guest readers via Zoom. For each book read, the students receive a wristband. During the first week of the reading challenge, the students read 197 books. With each book comes activities and projects. The group kicked off the Fourth of July Weekend by taking a virtual field trip to the Statue of Liberty in New York City, via Google Earth! The students learned the history of the statue and shared the book, “Emma’s Poem” by Linda Glaser. The group ended the morning by learning how to make “fireworks in a jar.” Some students have already completed up to 20 books. Well done!

If you need help

If you need assistance from Catholic Charities for food, financial assistance or tele-mental health counseling, please call the number for your area listed below 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Services have expanded to include assistance in applying for state and federal benefits if you have lost work due to the COVID-19 Pandemic:

  • Sarasota/Manatee/DeSoto/Hardee/Highlands counties: 844-385-2407,
  • Charlotte/Lee/Hendry/Glades counties: 844-385-2423,
  • Collier County: 844-385-2404.

Food distribution

Catholic Charities food distribution will take place only at the following times and locations. Please call the regional number for more information.

  • Monday-Friday, 9-11 a.m., Guadalupe Social Services, 211 S. 9th St., Immokalee, the Soup Kitchen is providing take-out/meals-to-go;
  • Tuesdays, 9-11:30 a.m., Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center, 3174 Tamiami Trail E., Naples;
  • Thursdays, 9 a.m.-noon, St. Margaret Parish, 208 Dean Duff St., Clewiston;
  • Fridays, 9-11 a.m., St. Leo the Great Parish, 28360 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs;
  • Fridays, 9 a.m.-noon, Elizabeth K. Galeana Pantry, 4235 Michigan Avenue Link, Fort Myers;
  • 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month, 9-11 a.m., St. Paul Parish, 1208 E. Oak St. Arcadia.

Prayer to Overcome Racism

Mary, friend and mother to all, through your Son, God has found a way to unite himself to every human being, called to be one people, sisters and brothers to each other.

We ask for your help in calling on your Son, seeking forgiveness for the times when we have failed to love and respect one another.

We ask for your help in obtaining from your Son the grace we need to overcome the evil of racism and to build a just society. We ask for your help in following your Son, so that prejudice and animosity will no longer infect our minds or hearts but will be replaced with a love that respects the dignity of each person.

Mother of the Church, the Spirit of your Son Jesus warms our hearts: pray for us. Amen.

Dispensation

While the celebration of public Mass resumed May 18, 2020, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect through Sept. 1, 2020 for those who are at greater risk or anxious about returning at this time. The Faithful ought not to worry about remaining home if they are concerned for their wellbeing or that of other parishioners. Of course, those who are sick or have symptoms associated with COVID-19 are to stay home. Please check the Diocese of Venice website for any updates on any extension of the dispensation to attend Mass.

Livestreaming

The Diocese of Venice Mass will continue livestream through the Diocese website (www.dioceseofvenice.org) and Facebook pages from the Catholic Center in Venice 9:15 a.m. daily so long as the dispensation to attend Mass remains.

Sunday Televised Mass

The Televised Mass for the Homebound is available throughout the Diocese each Sunday. In northern parts of the Diocese (Manatee, Highlands, Hardee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties) the Mass airs on television at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Collier, Lee, Glades, Hendry, Charlotte counties) the Mass airs at 10:30 a.m., on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). This same Mass can be found on the Diocese of Venice website at any time during the week, www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass. Please check local listings for channel information.

Parish donations

During this challenging time in the life and mission of the Diocese of Venice, our Parishes face increased risk of financial shortfalls due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its effects on everyday life. Parishes depend on weekly financial gifts to continue their ministries, especially in this critical time of crisis. The Diocese of Venice is providing an online platform and encourages the Faithful to support their Parish. Please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/ways-to-give/parish-donations-online/ to donate to your Parish. The Faithful may also contribute through their usual channels (e.g., envelopes, and through the Parish online giving option). Together we will navigate through this crisis, provide assistance to those in need, and secure the road ahead for the Parishes within the Diocese of Venice.

Online Resources

A special coronavirus webpage is located on the Diocese of Venice website homepage at www.dioceseofvenice.org. Resources include links to the Mass, the prayer for Act of the Spiritual Communion, videos of the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Pray the Rosary. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org, also posts the daily Mass readings.

Act of Spiritual Communion

It has long been a Catholic understanding that when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an Act of Spiritual Communion which is a source of grace. Spiritual Communion means uniting one’s self in prayer with Christ’s sacrifice and worshiping Him in His Body and Blood.

The most common reason for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when a person cannot attend Mass, as is the case during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.

For all who will not be able to receive the Holy Eucharist in person, consider this special prayer, an Act of Spiritual Communion:

My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,

and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.

Safety During Hurricanes

As the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season continues (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 med-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.

 

 

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.

X