Thanksgiving brings out best in people

Thanksgiving is all about gathering family together and a time to reflect and give thanks for all the gifts and graces the Lord has bestowed on one’s life.

For those who struggle paycheck to paycheck or are on the brink of homelessness, thanksgiving has a different meaning. It can mean loneliness, despair and hunger as most places that would offer a caring meal are closed for the holiday weekend.

Several efforts throughout the Diocese helped to bring a bit of joy into the lives of many.

To meet the need in Manatee County, the St. Joseph Food Pantry in Bradenton uses the first three days of Thanksgiving Week to distribute special bags of food to more than 1,200 individuals and families.

On the first day, Nov. 25, a long line stretched around the building as people patiently waited to receive their bags of food. Each of those receiving a bag was already on a list of eligible recipients. The St. Joseph Food Pantry serves as the central distribution hub for the needy in the entire county and operates year-round.

St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School students.

A huge team of volunteers sorted donated food and packed the bags while others checked in families and still others passed out the bags of food. The bags came in sizes for individuals, small families, medium-sized families, and large families.

Barb Ricalzone has been helping at the food pantry for years and handed out the larger bags of food on the first and busiest distribution day. “It gives me a good feeling to be able to help. The smiles and kind words from everyone is rewarding. I love to help people and I know this really makes a difference.”

One of the recipients of the bags, Christine, who fell on hard times when she was laid off several months ago and feared that she would not be able to have a real Thanksgiving dinner for her family. As she held a big bag of food, and her oldest son held the bag with the turkey, she smiled and thanked as many of the volunteers as she could as tears rolled down her cheeks. “Thank you so much! Happy Thanksgiving! Bless you all!”

“I never thought I would ever need to come to a food pantry in my life,” Christine said. “What these people are doing is incredible. They put a smile on the face of my whole family.”

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was in Sarasota on Thanksgiving Day where he joined the Knights of Columbus Council 3358 for the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner for the community.

The Bishop gave the opening blessing and praised the Knights for their outstanding annual outreach to the community. Bishop Dewane then helped on the food line. This annual event is in its third decade and provides about 600 hot meals for many people who have nowhere else to go on Thanksgiving. An additional 200 meals were delivered to the homeless in the area. Earlier, Bishop Dewane celebrated Mass at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch.

In Immokalee, the faithful of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples offered “Thanksgiving in the Park” which provided more than 2,000 hot meals. Some 100 volunteers helped prepare the meal and even more served the food on Thanksgiving Day in a spot adjacent to the Immokalee Airport.

Several other parishes had Thanksgiving dinners for the faithful who had no family in the area, including at St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples which served about 300.

Catholic Schools throughout the Diocese participated in these efforts with food drives that benefited Catholic Charities, the St. Joseph Food Pantry and other community feeding programs.

For example, the students at St. John Neumann Catholic High School donated more than 11,500 cans of food to help the working poor families of Collier County to the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities in Naples.

“As a result of their generosity, our families will be supported in a very big way,” said Mary Shaughnessy, District Director Catholic Charities of Collier County.

Meanwhile, the students from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota delivered food to Bethesda House, a Catholic Charities program for people impacted by HIV/AIDS, as well as to the Incarnation Parish St. Vincent de Paul Society. Students, parents, faculty members and administrators also helped to feed more than 200 homeless residents of Sarasota on Nov. 27 at the 19th Annual Sarasota Downtown Ministerial Association Day Before Thanksgiving Luncheon.

Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School Student Council in Venice motivated the students to donate nearly 2,000 items for the Mayors’ “Feed the Hungry” campaign.

These are just a few of the examples of how Catholics across the Diocese of Venice turned their personal thanks into giving to others.

News Briefs from around the Diocese for late November

Advent begins at Catholic Center

Bishop Frank J. Dewane led a prayer service for the staff of the Catholic Center in Venice on Dec. 1. The prayer service included the blessing of the Advent Candle, Christmas Tree and Nativity scene which will be on display in the lobby throughout Advent.

 

 

Parish holds Children Festival

St. Michael Parish in Wauchula hosted a Children Festival Nov. 16 for the younger members of the parish. There were a variety of fun outdoor games, crafts, food and time for quiet prayer.

 

 

 

Rose Ball recognizes service of young ladies

The Mother Frances de Sales Auxiliary to the Homeless held its Fourth Rose Ball Nov. 30 at the Naples Grande Beach Hotel and Resort where 22 young ladies were recognized for their commitment of volunteer service and formation. The event benefited four organizations in Collier County that work to help break the cycle of homelessness. Bishop Frank J. Dewane presented each young lady with a silver Rose Ball medallion of the organizations’ patron, Mother Frances de Sales, known as St. Leonie Aviat, who was canonized on Nov. 25, 2001. The ladies, known as Rose Girls, committed to a two-and-a-half-year volunteer and personal formation program where they make pledges of dignity, charity, and purity and were presented to those gathered as Dignified Ladies of Volunteer Service.

Youth make Advent Wreaths

Youth from St. Columbkille Parish in Fort Myers had an inter-generational gathering to make Advent Wreaths with their families in mid-November by members of the youth group and religious education programs. There were many smiles as they create a beautiful item to take home as a reminder of God’s greatest gift, Jesus. At the end of the fun, the wreaths were blessed.

 

Students visit Veterans Nursing Home

Students who take part in the St. Martha Catholic School & St. Mary’s Academy Mission Middle School Elective coordinated the collection of items and delivered “Giving Thanks” bags to the local veterans at the Douglas T. Jacobson Nursing Home in Port Charlotte. The Sarasota students spent time talking to these brave men and women and learning about their service to our country.

Quiz Bowl Champs

The Bishop Verot Academic team participated in the John C. Schudel Quiz Bowl Tournament the weekend of Nov. 15-16 earning a 1st Place finish! Congratulations Vikings!

 

 

 

 

Students enjoy time with women religious

The Y.A.C.H.T. Club (“Youth and Christ Helping Together”) of St. John Neumann Catholic School hosted a Neumann Fun “Night” Nov. 24! Students joined the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco for Mass at St. Elizabeth Seton parish followed by breakfast at the religious convent.

News briefs from the Diocese for late October 2019

Local pastor to serve in leadership role with national priest group

Father Jiobani Batista, Pastor of St. Margaret Parish in Clewiston, was elected secretary of The National Association of Hispanic Priests (ANSH) during the association’s 30th annual convention that was held in New York City from Oct. 7-10.

Priests from across the United States attended this year’s convention, entitled “Time for Priestly Reform and Renewal,” as part of a three-year program for the renewal, fraternity and continuing education of priests working in a variety of ministries in dioceses across the country.

Adopt a Family for Christmas

You can make Christmas brighter for a mother and her baby! Our Mother’s House of Catholic Charities in Venice is looking for volunteers to Adopt a Family for Christmas. The program provides shelter and guidance for single mothers and their children who would otherwise be homeless. The mission is to offer single mothers and their children a safe and secure environment in which to achieve increased self-sufficiency through education, vocational training and personal growth. The resident families have provided a wish list of items they can use and wrapped gifts need to be returned to Our Mother’s House by Monday, December 9. For more information, please contact Case Worker Rita Millner at 941-485-6264, ext. 102.

Early Learning Center has special visitors

Officers from the Sarasota Police Department recently made a special visit to St. Martha’s Early Learning Center of Catholic Charities. The preschool students enjoyed a fun learning experience with the men and women in blue. Sarasota Police Officers discussed with the children what an emergency is and how to dial 911. They handed out Junior Police Officer badges and coloring books. “The officers also joined us for a dance party,” said Catholic Charities Program Director Jamie Van Dyke. “Every one of the students now plan on being a police officer when they grow up!”

International Festival held in Naples

St. Agnes Parish in Naples hosted the 10th Annual International Festival on Oct. 20. More than 20 nations were represented with food and music as well as many wearing traditional attire, and the entertainment for the day also had an international flavor. A parade of flags was one of the highlights.

 

 

Students wear orange for Unity Day

Students at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers wore orange on Oct. 23, Unity Day, in support of bullying prevention. This event has students of all ages stand against bullying, while being united for kindness, acceptance and inclusion. The school has been participating in Unity Day for many years.

 

 

Knights support Honor Flight program

Representatives of the San Marco Knights of Columbus Assembly 2514 presented a check for $2,000 in October to Collier Lee Honor Flight. Collier Lee Honor Flight was established in 2013, its mission is to transport veterans from Collier and Lee counties to Washington, DC to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices. A typical mission will visit the World War II Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Air Force Memorial, Marine Corps Memorial, and Arlington Cemetery. Top priority is given to World War II and Korean War era veterans, and to any veteran of any war that has a terminal illness. Veterans travel by a chartered commercial jet, and police escorted buses while on the ground. A typical mission will have 70 to 75 veterans. Trips are provided at no cost to the veterans.

Shoes donated to Catholic Charities program

Catholic Charities of Collier County is grateful to the Rotary Club of Naples Bay for supplying free shoes to clients at the Family Counseling Center and Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center. The Rotary Club sponsors their Kids Kicks for Shoes Program that provides shoes for needy children in Collier County.

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.

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