Undy Sunday near one million mark

Naples – Nearly a million packages of underwear have been collected for needy children in Collier County since 1996 as part of the annual “Undy Sunday” campaign.

In its 24th year, the campaign garnered enough donations of new underwear and socks for boys and girls in Collier County Public Schools who would otherwise go without and still had enough extra to help additional programs, including sending donations to the hurricane ravaged Bahamas.

The chairpersons of the “Undy Sunday” campaign, Mike Egan, Tim Corcoran and Paola Pinillos, sent a letter of thanks to the more than 30 houses of worship (including all Catholic Parishes) that participated in the special collection in early August.

In that letter, the lofty goals of the campaign were met with a collection of an ample supply of underwear, socks and miscellaneous clothing and school supplies for the many needy elementary and pre-school children within Collier County.

Volunteers with Catholic Charities of Collier County sorted, labeled and packaged 35,000 items for delivery to 35 local schools, plus several social service organizations, including Catholic Charities, that assist needy women and children in our community. That roughly translates to more than 350,000 pounds of items collected and distributed. Each school has a program to identify students in need and confidentially provides the items throughout the school year.

In addition, the campaign was blessed with receiving an overwhelming number of socks again this year, allowing a donation of several hundred pairs to the “Laces of Love” Foundation to supplement their Shoes for Needy Kids Program. Adult items were split between several agencies. Additionally, 158 pounds of items were sent to the Bahamas through the Meals for Hope program.

Mary Shaughnessy, Catholic Charities District Director, explained that financial donations help support Catholic Charities programs which target children, including the weekend power pack, school supply distribution as well as Christmas gifts for children.

It is an annual struggle to remind people of the specific need for undergarments for children. The shocking reality is that poor families, even in Collier County, must choose between food and other bills over new clothing.

“We did not have any goals this year, but everyone came through and it is wonderful to have extra,” explained Mike Egan of St. William Parish in Naples. “We were quite pleased that what was donated could reach so many in need.”

One Collier County School administrator said that having access to new items such as “a clean pair of socks or underwear can make all difference in a child’s life.”

For those interested in continuing to support the efforts of “Undy Sunday,” donations of underwear and gift cards are accepted throughout the year at Catholic Charities of Collier County, 2210 Santa Barbara Blvd., Naples, 34116, or call 239-455-2655.

Dorian reminds faithful to pray and be aware

A watchful eye is kept on developing storms that can form and potentially threaten Florida in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico from June through November during Hurricane Season. During Labor Day Weekend Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas before going on to lash the east coast of the U.S. with winds and rain while spreading fear from Florida to the Carolinas and beyond.

In preparation for Hurricane Dorian, the Diocese of Venice Hurricane Committee met daily as the monster storm loomed in the Caribbean Sea and menaced Florida with some early forecasts ominously aiming directly at Southwest Florida with impacts as early as Sunday, Sept. 1. This committee included leaders of Catholic Charities, which would have led the post-disaster humanitarian response.

The Catholic Center, as well as parishes and schools and other entities, took appropriate measures to secure facilities should the storm approach. Everything that could be done to prepare was done. At the Catholic Center, as a precaution, the hurricane shutters were put up and sensitive electronic devices were covered.

In anticipation of the storm, and out the abundance of caution, parishes were forced to cancel many Labor Day Weekend activities and most delayed the start of religious education programs by one week. While these were an inconvenience, the need for caution and vigilance outweighed all else.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, who also closely monitored the storm throughout, remained in contact with pastors and administrators throughout the Diocese addressing individual needs as required.

Dr. Ben Moore, Diocesan Superintendent of Schools, was the main contact for the schools in the Diocese, while Philomena Pereira, CEO of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc., helped to coordinate storm preparations for Catholic Charities entities and set up a plan to respond immediately following the storm with emergency supplies to designated areas.

The challenge in Dorian was that there were many unknowns, and each notification in the forecast changed the potential impacts to different parts of the region. At certain points the storm was expected to cross Florida on top of the Diocese. Such a path would have been crippling, so preparations and plans had to be put in place.

Thankfully, prayers were answered, and the Diocese was spared. The last area to have any type of impacts from Dorian was Highlands County which was under a Tropical Storm Warning for two days. There St. Catherine School in Sebring was closed on Sept. 3 and 4 and parish activities and hours were limited. Schools in Collier County were also closed Sept. 3, while other schools remained open.

Because of the storm, Bishop Dewane postponed Masses for students at St. Ann Catholic School and St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples on Sept. 3, as well as a Mass on Labor Day for the students and faculty of Ave Maria University. These are in the process of being rescheduled as quickly as possible.

Many still have fresh memories of Hurricane Irma from 2017. That storm struck Marco Island and went up the center of the state, leaving in its wake a trail of destruction.  Thousands of families were left with damaged homes and many without power for weeks and dozens of Diocesan buildings were damaged or destroyed. Similar impacts occurred after Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and Hurricane Charley in 2004.

With those memories in mind, as Dorian struck the Bahamas and the U.S. coastline, the focus of many switched for preparation to wanting to help. Residents of the area remember the generosity of outsiders following Hurricane Irma, so the faithful were quick to ask for somewhere to send donations in support of those impacted by Dorian. A Hurricane Dorian fund was created and can be found on the Diocese of Venice website at www.dioceseofvenice.org. Financial donations will be given to organizations assisting the victims of the storm. No Diocesan collections of goods was established given the difficulty in logistics.

While Hurricane Dorian ultimately only inconvenienced the region, it served as a stark reminder for all to remain vigilant throughout the remainder of the Hurricane Season and always have plenty of emergency supplies on hand ahead of time before supplies run out. We all must be vigilant and take action should a storm threaten.

News briefs from the Diocese Sept. 13-27

Ordination to the priesthood Oct. 5

All are encouraged to attend the celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Orders at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. Transitional Deacon Carlos Encina will be Ordained to the Priesthood by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. This in an important celebration for the entire Diocese as ordinations help to ensure the continued availability of the Sacraments. A reception will follow.

 

 

 

Bishop interviewed for series “The Chair”

Representatives of DeSales Media visited Epiphany Cathedral in Venice Aug. 25-26 to produce a segment for a series about U.S. Cathedrals and their Bishops called “The Chair.” which will air on NET TV, a channel of the Diocese of Brooklyn. In addition to filming the Cathedral and learning about its history, the team interviewed Bishop Frank J. Dewane.

 

 

 

Summer reading program a big success

The students enrolled in the Summer Reading Program at Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities farm worker community in Arcadia took part in the Summer Reading Challenge. The program is funded through the generosity of The Patterson Foundation and is part of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The reading challenge takes place for nine weeks and 26 kindergarten to fifth grade students signed up for the program this summer at the farm worker community. The campers receive a wristband for the number of books completed and activities are coordinated to go with the reading materials for each day. Research shows that children who do not read during the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress and that the loss has a cumulative, long-term effect on them. But reading just six books, at the appropriate reading level, over the summer can prevent that “summer slide” and keep a struggling reader from regressing.

Anti-Human Trafficking Assistance Program challenge

Join the fight to end human trafficking. Today more than ever, victims of human trafficking need your support. To combat this serious issue, a concerned donor has pledged to match all contributions given to the Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. Anti-Human Trafficking Assistance Program up to $100,000. Double your donation through our benefactor’s match to Catholic Charities. Survivors have vast needs. They begin with the basics of food, housing and clothing then move on to referrals to medical, legal and mental health providers and finish with life and job skills training to reach self-sufficiency. The goal is to end this modern-day slavery. Your gift will offer survivors the hope and help required to overcome their obstacles and achieve a healthy life. To make a donation, please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org.

Support Venice Diocesan CCW Seminarian Fund

The Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women invite all to join them in celebrating Priesthood Sunday, September 29, in a special and lasting way – by sending priests of your parish a Seminarian Fund “IN HONOR OF” card. Please remember that this is a gift that keeps on giving. The Diocese of Venice is currently educating 18 men in various seminaries. A donation of any amount will be a great help. The donation amount will not be revealed to the recipient. To take part, please send $1.00 plus your donation (made out to the VDCCW Seminarian Fund) to Cornelia Zanetti, 5808 Gulf Drive, #204, Holmes Beach, FL 34217. If you have any questions, please email Cornelia at corniez@aol.com.

Verot seniors perfect on college pre exams

Two Bishop Verot Catholic High School seniors, Connor Shovlin and Madison Tilton, have achieved perfection on the SAT and ACT. Connor received a perfect 36 on his ACT and a perfect 800 on the Math portion of the SAT. Madison received a perfect 800 on the Reading & Writing section of the SAT. Congratulations!

Naples School Fall Festival Oct. 12

St. Ann Catholic School is hosting a Fall Festival from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Oct. 12 at the St. Ann Jubilee Center and School Field at 525 Ninth Ave. S., Naples. There will be fun for all, including: a chili contest, games, face painting, bounce house, bake sale, snow cones, food, line dancing and much more. The Festival will benefit the St. Ann Home and School Association. For more details, please call 239-262-4110.

Making a Home for Trafficking Survivors

Judy Bokorney – Special to the Florida Catholic

Dick and Betty Porrel used to buy homes, fix them up and sell them to help with the cost of college tuition for their six children. Today, now in their mid-80s, they again refurbish homes but this time it is for survivors of human trafficking.

“The Porrels have been instrumental in the development of the transitional homes we have for the Anti Human Trafficking Assistance Program,” said Catholic Charities Program Coordinator Erika Pineros. “They have furnished all of the six units. They have bought couches, beds, dressers, kitchen supplies, dining tables, washers and dryers, stoves, refrigerators and more. They assessed each unit and fully equipped them with the essentials.”

The Porrels are active members of the advisory board for Catholic Charities in Lee, Hendry and Glades counties. They began volunteering for the Anti Human Trafficking Assistance Program when the first transitional home was purchased in 2017.

“We liked the idea of helping to renovate the house,” said Dick Porrel. “We enjoyed doing the work together back when our children were young. We still do today. It feels like a natural way for us to volunteer.”

Dick stated it was important for the program to provide transitional housing. “How will survivors fully become self-sufficient without housing? They need a safe place to live where they cannot be found by their traffickers.”

The three transitional houses are duplexes with each unit having two bedrooms with two beds in each room. Four people can live in each unit totaling eight for each duplex.

The Porrels began helping with the first duplex doing small repairs and supplying all the furniture, household items and appliances, if needed. They donated the cost of everything.

“We went to St. John the XXIII Parish Thrift Store to get supplies for the first two duplexes,” said Betty Porrel. “When we went back there to shop for the third duplex, the store manager asked us what we were doing and why we kept coming back and looking for more items. We explained our volunteer project and she said that we could have anything we needed for free.”

“She started to save items for us,” continued Betty. “We only wanted to take what was necessary to furnish and equip the home, but she insisted on extra things such as decorations and accessories. She was so generous.”

Pineros said the transitional housing would not have been implemented if not for the support of the Porrels.

“I was in awe of their dedication to each home,” she said. “They have done this with love. I have witnessed the hard work they have put into making these properties into comfortable homes.”

Currently, the transitional homes are all occupied. “The focus of the program is to bridge the gap that survivors encounter, the main one being housing. We continue to have a need for more housing and will look for funding opportunities to acquire more. The transitional homes were developed to allow survivors to learn essential living skills,” said Pineros.

The Porrels agreed if additional housing is purchased, they will outfit the homes again. “This is something we can do together as a couple, and we love to be together,” said Betty. “It is great. You feel like you are accomplishing something. We are helping people,” said Dick.

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 and dental services; weekly supportive counseling and further mental health services as needed; transportation to and from appointments; orientation to state and federal laws and benefits; assistance with benefit applications; coordination of educational and English as a second language (ESOL) services; liaison with law enforcement and immigration service providers; and coordination with various community agencies for other required services.

Pineros said the program will soon offer coaching and mentoring for survivors as well. “It really does take a village to offer all the services survivors need to heal and reach self-sufficiency.”

For more information, please call 239-390-2928 or email epineros@ccslee.org.

Diocese news briefs for early July 2019

Sarasota Pastor receives Rotary honor

Father Celestino Gutierrez, Pastor of St. Jude Parish in Sarasota, was recently honored by the Rotary Club of Sarasota with their “Citizen of the Year” award. Father was presented the award by Rotary Club President Joe Devore, for service to the community, in particular his focus on helping the poor and the needy.  Father Gutierrez commented that, growing up in Spain, he never anticipated receiving such an award in the USA.

 

Mooney students go on Mission Trip to Jamaica

A group of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School students from Sarasota went on a mission trip to Jamaica the week of June 17. During their trip the youth, who are all part of the Mooney Pivotal Directions mission club, worked in poor villages to help the needy of the area.

 

 

 

 

Immeasurable Mercy worship event July 25 on Sanibel

Take time to tend to your soul, for an Immeasurable Mercy worship event July 25, 7 p.m., St. Isabel Parish, 3559 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel. The event will feature the music of Mark Shapic with vocals by Jennine Fuentes. There will be praise and worship, live music, adoration, confession, games, pizza and desserts. Please RSVP to Sue Ellen Nolan at239-472-2763 or sueellen.nolan@saintisabel.org.

Verot grad selected to MLB All-Star Game

Daniel Vogelbach, a graduate of Bishop Verot Catholic High School, and current Seattle Mariners designated hitter was selected to the 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star game, which was held July 9 in Cleveland. At the All-Star break, he had 20 home runs and a .244 batting average. Vogelbach help lead the Verot Vikings baseball team to the 2011 Florida Class 3A State Championship and shortly after graduation that same year was drafted 68th overall in the second round by the Chicago Cubs. Vogelbach set a Vikings single-season record with 17 home runs. He also led the team in batting average .459, hits (39), triples (4), walks (27), RBI (50), on-base percentage (.571) and slugging (1.224). After playing in the Cubs farm system, he was traded to the Mariners in 2016 and made his major league debut Sept. 12, 2016, earning his first hit the next night.

Knights on Bikes looking for riders

If you’re driving almost anywhere in Florida or the United States… you’ve probably seen or noticed a motorcyclist on a Harley Davidson, or another motorcycle, with a Knights of Columbus patch and a cross on their leather riding vests along with various other patches. Many Knights of Columbus have asked, “Who are these guys?” Well these are the Knights on Bikes and they are Knights of Columbus first and foremost dedicated to their roles of Knights of Columbus, the Dioceses of Venice, and the Holy Spirit! If you are a current, or planning to become a, Knight of Columbus with a positive passion for motorcycles and would like to ride with fellow positive minded Knights on Bikes, please consider joining. Knights on Bikes is always looking for properly formed good spirited Catholic men within the Diocese of Venice and other Dioceses for rides and fundraising. The motto is, ” In God We Trust and Ride.” For more information, please contact Venice Diocesan Knights on Bikes Chairman George Lopez for details at Knights1314@yahoo.com.

Arcadia senior housing opening soon

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice announces the completion of St. John Paul II Villas in Arcadia – a brand new development for Senior, Low-Income Housing. Apartments available consist of 1 or 2 bedrooms and are available for individuals 55 years of age and older, or handicapped or disabled. Income restrictions apply. For more information please call 863-884-2123.

Home Buyer Education Workshop

Catholic Charities offers a free Home Buyer Education Workshop every month in Bradenton and Sarasota in both English and Spanish. Potential home buyers receive important and useful information on how to purchase a home. For information, call Catholic Charities at 941-714-7829.

News from Around the Diocese June 18, 2019

Naples priest becomes U.S. Citizen

Congratulations to Father Benjamin Casimir, a native of Haiti, who became a citizen of the United States on June 4. The parochial vicar serves at by St. Peter the Apostle and St. Finbarr parishes in Naples.

 

 

 

Longtime Catholic Charities supporter recognized

Llewellyn Schmidt was honored as the 2019 recipient of the James A. McTague Humanitarian Award by Catholic Charities of Collier County during a May 31 luncheon in Naples. Schmidt was a founding member of the Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. Board of Directors, and of the Catholic Charities Foundation Board and the District III Advisory Board. He was instrumental in helping found the locations for the district offices and the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center, and also volunteered his time in many of the outreach efforts of Catholic Charities.

Parish celebrates Pentecost with rose petal drop

At the conclusion of the Pentecost Sunday Mass at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples, rose petals fell from the ceiling in custom going back to the sixth century by which rose petals fell from a hole in the ceiling. This symbolizes the tongues of fire that fell on the disciples in the upper room. Today this is still done at them Pantheon in Rome. Also an ancient Pentecost custom, the parish released almost 20 doves following Mass and celebrated with a cake for the birthday of the Church.

Longtime Cathedral coordinator retires

Brother Peter Nault, Congregation of the Holy Cross, has retired after more than 25 years as the Epiphany Cathedral’s Parish Coordinator. He has been a member of the Congregation since 1963 and was previously a teacher in secondary schools in Texas, Illinois, and Ohio. From 1986 until 1993, when he began his duties at Epiphany Cathedral, Brother Peter was Director of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for the Diocese of Venice and Assistant Treasurer, organizing the Office of Stewardship and Development for the new Diocese. As Epiphany’s Parish Coordinator, Brother Peter provided administrative support to the Rector in non-pastoral concerns so that parish and school resources and personnel were utilized to best fulfill the Church’s mission.  In this role, he represented the parish in assisting the needy and less fortunate through various outreach programs.  He was instrumental in the foundation of Mercy House, a temporary residence shelter operated by Epiphany.

Life in the Spirit Seminar

Incarnation Catholic Church, 2929 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, is presenting a six week Life in the Spirit seminar to be held on Thursday evenings from July 25 through Aug. 29, from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Finegan Center. This will be an opportunity to grow and deepen one’s relationship to the Holy Spirit through the graces given at Baptism and Confirmation. Come and experience a new life in the Spirit! The seminar is free. Please email or call Julie Dorr to register at registerwithjulie@gmail.com or 941-751-4937.

Summertime Catholic Charities campaign begins

Real people. Real lives. Make a real difference! Catholic Charities offers people in need in Southwest Florida with help that brings about real change in their lives. The Catholic Charities Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal is asking for your support. You can donate to the type of assistance you care about such as Food, Shelter, Education and Support. The giving is easy! Visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or mail a check to Catholic Charities, 5824 Bee Ridge Road PMB 409, Sarasota, FL 34233-5065. Your gift will make a positive impact!

 

 

News for mid May 2019

Bishop blesses Knights on Bikes

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

Seminarians graduate from college

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

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

Food sorting from Post Office drive

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

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

Sarasota school expands offering

Incarnation Catholic School, 2911 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, will be expanding their early learning classes to include a PreK three program. The program will offer a monthly theme-based curriculum that will include math, science, language and basics of our Catholic faith. Our little learners will discover answers to big questions like “How do Plants Grow?” and “ Who lives in the Ocean?”. Small class sizes will allow for individual attention and differentiate instruction. Playground time will provide an opportunity to work on gross motor skills.  The program will offer full and part time options, perfect for every family. Children must be potty trained and three years old by September 1. For more information please call 941-924-8588.

Verot grad tapped to head ATF

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

Youth event May 31 on Sanibel

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

Taize Prayer service May 31 in Sarasota

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

Diocesan Council of Catholic Women gather

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Foundation endowment fund to help Catholic Charities program

Staff Report

Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf recently joined a rapidly growing list of donors who have chosen to partner with the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida to help create their Catholic Legacies. By establishing an endowment fund with the Foundation, the Oberndorfs are helping to ensure the long-term sustainability of the programs and ministries about which they care most.

Rosemary and Lou are passionate about their faith and about making a difference by supporting the Good Works of the Catholic Church within the Diocese of Venice and beyond.

“Lou and I are so impressed with Catholic Charities and their wonderful programs for the homeless, especially for single mothers and families within Sarasota County,” Rosemary said of Our Mother’s House, which provides mothers who might otherwise be homeless not only with safe housing but a program that has a proven track record of success.

Lou added that because the couple wanted the wonderful work of Our Mother’s House “to continue far into the future, we established an endowment fund that will help sustain these programs well beyond our lifetimes.”

The Oberndorfs formally signed their endowment fund paperwork during a brief ceremony April 23 at the Catholic Center in Venice. The signing included Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Diocesan Chancellor Dr. Volodymyr Smeryk, Foundation Executive Director Michael Morse, and Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc. CEO Philomena Pereira.

Bishop Dewane thanked the Oberndorfs for their generosity and for their confidence in the Foundation to focus their charitable efforts in a specific and meaningful way.

Pereira stated that “the ongoing support provided by the Oberndorf Endowment Fund will assist single mothers and their young children at Our Mother’s House to achieve self-sufficiency through education, vocational training and personal growth.”

More and more individuals and families, like the Oberndorfs, are choosing the Catholic Community Foundation as their philanthropic partner to help them fulfill their charitable goals. The Foundation offers services similar to other community foundations but differs from them in one very important way – the Foundation is a faith-based, Catholic organization. This means the Foundation will only support Catholic, pro-life or social service agencies whose missions are in alignment with the teachings of the Catholic Church. It also means that all endowed gifts are invested according to the socially-responsible guidelines established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Morse, of the Foundation, stated “We are very blessed to have the opportunity to work with people like Rosemary and Lou who care so much about their Catholic Faith and who want to make sure the Church’s programs and ministries will be here to serve those in need for generations to come.”

In addition to endowment funds, the Foundation offers a wide range of gifting options for donors including scholarship funds, donor advised funds, charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts and more.  According to Morse, the Foundation works with each donor individually to first understand what they want to accomplish and then determine how best to accomplish it.

To learn more about the Catholic Community Foundation, please contact Michael Morse at 941-441-1124 or by email at Morse@dioceseofvenice.org.  You can also visit the Foundation website at www.CCFDioceseofvenice.org.

Support for Catholic Charities shines during Gala season

Staff Report

From late January through early April the faithful have had multiple opportunities to have fun while also supporting the important programs of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc.

Starting with the 30th Annual Sarasota Charity Ball on Jan. 26, through the Sugar Bowl Show of Shows in Bradenton on April 5, these events serve a dual purpose of raising money but also raising awareness of the varied programs that help the neediest in the community.

The Teach a Man to Fish Gala was held Feb. 2 at the Englewood Elks Lodge, benefitting the New Paradigm of Catholic Charities program which provides transitional housing for struggling families in Charlotte County.

 

A week later was the Venetian Ball, which was held Feb. 9 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort in Bonita Springs, to benefit the programs in Lee, Hendry and Glades counties. The 2019 Frank Galeana Sr. Humanitarian Award went to the Students, Faculty, and Staff of Bishop Verot Catholic High School for their generous support of Catholic Charities and continued willingness to help members of the community.

Next came an event with a country and western theme, the Feb. 23 Boots and Bandanas at Kingsway Golf and Country Club in Lake Suzy to benefit programs in DeSoto County.

On the last day of February, the Our Mother’s House Wine Tasting and Dinner Auction at the Venice Community Center drew a huge crowd to help the program that helps prevent homelessness for mothers with young children.

 

The good times were rolling at the Bethesda House Mardi Gras Madness at Michael’s On East in Sarasota on March 2. The fundraiser benefited the program for people living with HIV. Guests were dressed in bright Mardi Gras colors and masks.

Next came the annual Emerald Ball at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort in Naples to support the programs in Collier County. A featured program was the Weekend Powerpack program which provides snacks and food for the poorer children in the area on weekends.

The season concluded with two fabulous events on the same day. First, about 200 golfers took part in the 2019 AFCAAM Charity Golf Classic at the Forest Country Club in Fort Myers. Proceeds from the tournament benefited AFCAAM of Catholic Charities, which provides disadvantaged children with the After-School Reading Program and Youth Mentoring Programs in the communities of Dunbar and Harlem Heights.

That same night, the rock and roll harmonies of the Atlantic City Boys entertained the crowd of over 500 people at the 2019 Sugar Bowl Show of Shows at the Neel Performing Arts Center in Bradenton. All proceeds go to families in the community who are experiencing a financial hardship.

Each of these events was special in its own way as everyone who attended left with a smile on their faces knowing that the proceeds will go a long way to help those in need.

For more information about the programs of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc., please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org.

X