News Briefs for the week of February 16, 2024

Large group goes to Catholic Days

More than 50 people from the Diocese of Venice, including Bishop Frank J. Dewane and two dozen Catholic school students, took part in Catholic Days at the Capitol in Tallahassee from Feb. 7 to Feb. 8, 2024. This is an annual opportunity for the faithful to voice opinions directly to lawmakers from Southwest Florida on key pieces of legislation which are under consideration during this session. Primary focus was on ensuring the continued limitation on access to abortion. The students from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota and Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers also met with lawmakers and received a tour of the State Capitol.

40 Days for Life opens in Fort Myers, Sarasota and Naples

Show your support for life by simply praying for an end to abortion on the public sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood throughout the Lenten Season until March 24, 2024. For details and flier go to www.40daysforlife.com (add /sarasota or /fortmyers or /naples for a direct link to the location near you). Questions? Contact Jeanne at 941-374-1068 or Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org.

Two Diocesan teams participate in Model UN conference

Teams from St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples and Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Sarasota were delegates to the 23rd Boston University Model United Nations Conference (BosMUN) Feb. 2 to Feb. 4, 2024. The Model UN is a three-day simulation of the United Nations hosted by Boston University for high school students. Jake Marks and Alessio Cirino, of Neumann, took home the prestigious title of Outstanding Delegates, showcasing their exceptional diplomatic skills and commitment to global problem-solving. Fellow delegates Hunter Lund and Kale Van Wart received Verbal Commendations. Congratulations to all the delegates who listened, engaged, and contributed to this wonderful conference of intelligent minds who hope to help guide the world to a better tomorrow.

Bishop welcomes priests, deacons to his home

Ahead of the Lenten Season, Bishop Frank J. Dewane hosted the priests of the Diocese of Venice to his home for a dinner and reception on Feb. 9, 2024. The next evening the Permanent Deacons of the Diocese visited with Bishop for their own dinner and reception. The evenings were intended to create an opportunity for the clergy to gather together in an relaxing atmosphere ahead of busy Lenten Season.

Vocation talk inspires

Sharing her vocations journey, Sister Juliana Alfonso, Salesian Sister of St. John Bosco, and teacher at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples, inspired eighth grade girls during a vocation talk at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers. Sister Juliana spoke about her vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, and encouraged the young girls to think about their own relationship with Christ. Sister offered tips about growing closer to the Lord through prayer, reading the Sacred Scriptures, participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and most importantly by being at Mass each Sunday. The girls found Sister Julian engaging and loved having her visit.

Knights on Bikes promotes its Diaper Ride

The Knights on Bikes, a motorcycle club of the Knights of Columbus, took part in the first-ever Diaper Ride to Thrive Pregnancy Clinic in Cape Coral on Feb. 10, 2024. In addition to bringing diapers, they also donated $500. Thrive is a maternity home (formerly known as Lifeline), that brings Christ to women who have chosen life, The Knights on Bikes mission is to promote and adhere to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, and evangelize through fellowship, charity, and service. For more information about the Knights on Bikes please contact Pete Battle at 239-601-6061 or email konbflvenice@gmail.com.

Scholarship application deadline approaching

The Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida has opened the 2024-25 online scholarship applications. There are currently five different scholarships available from the Foundation. Applications close on Feb. 29, 2024. The majority of the scholarships are for residents of Sarasota County. These scholarships are for graduating seniors (class of 2023 or 2024), or for non-traditional students who have been out of school for 3+ years and wish to pursue a higher education. To find out which Catholic Community Foundation scholarship you qualify for, please visit www.ccfdioceseofvenice.org/scholarships.

Our Mother’s House Wine Tasting Feb. 29

All are invited to attend the Our Mother’s House Wine Tasting, 5:30 p.m., February 29, 2024, at the Venice Community Center, Venice, 326 Nokomis Ave. S. The event will benefit the mothers and children at Our Mother’s House of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. This is a 2-year transitional living program, dedicated to empowering single mothers and their young children. Tickets are $90. Register online at http://bidpal.net/2024omh. For more information, 941-485-6264 or email omh@catholiccharitiesdov.org.

News Briefs for the week of January 19, 2024

Naples Catholic Street Evangelization training Jan. 23

Anyone interested in learning about Catholic Street Evangelization needs to register now for the Jan. 27, 2024, Saint Paul Street Evangelization (SPSE) training at St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Ave N, Naples. Registration deadline is January 23. SPSE is a response to the mandate of Jesus Christ to “preach the Gospel to all nations…” taking the Catholic Faith to the streets. The organization seeks to train the faithful to witness effectively to the truth, beauty, and goodness of Jesus and His Church in the public square in a non-confrontational way. Saint Paul Street Evangelization is supported and encouraged by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. All Catholics who are 18 years of age and older are cordially invited to participate. The daily Mass is at 8 a.m., and the workshops are from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A “Live Lab” will follow. The cost is $15 per person and includes continental breakfast and lunch. To register, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/2024-st-paul-street-evangelization. For additional questions, please contact Jim Gontis at gontis@dioceseofvenice.org.

Health Care Ethics Conference Feb. 17

Medical professionals, students, and interested laypeople are invited to the first annual Converging Roads health care ethics conference on Feb. 17, 2024, at St. Leo the Great Parish, 28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs! This one-day conference will offer continuing education credits for health care professionals with presentations centered on the theme of Catholic Medicine in a Secular Society. For more information or to register, visit convergingroads.com/venice. For information, contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org or call 941-484-9543.

Migrant Care Grants application period open

Grant requests for funding of projects in 2024 are available from the Foundation for the Care of the Migrant Poor Fund and need to be submitted no later than Monday, April 1, 2024. To be considered a grant, the project must clearly be seen as a service to the migrant poor or new immigrants. Preference will be given to those projects under Catholic auspices. Applications can be submitted by visiting https://www.grantinterface.com/Home/Logon?urlkey=ccfsf.

Religious sisters complete half marathon

Two Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, Sister Nicole Daly and Sister Juliana Alfonso, completed the BCC Naples Half Marathon on Jan. 14, 2024. The St. John Neumann Catholic High School teachers completed the 13 miles run while wearing their religious habits. Congratulations to Sisters Nicole and Juliana for their dedication, strength, endurance, and inspiration for all.

Blue Mass in Naples on Jan. 27

St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, is hosting the annual Blue Mass for Law Enforcement, Firefighters, and First Responders at 11 a.m., Jan. 27, 2024. The guest is Msgr. Steven P. Hurley, Pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Wilmington, Delaware. Before entering the seminary, Msgr. Hurley served a policeman and eventually detective for eight years in Ocean City, Maryland. This Mass is dedicated to honoring the sacrifice and service of all law enforcement, firefighters and first responders in the community. Hospitality will follow in the Parish Hall.

“Three Kings” Mass brings students together

Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers hosted a “Three Kings” Mass for first graders from St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers and St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral on Jan. 9, 2024. The Feast of the Three Kings, or the Epiphany (Jan. 7), represents the arrival of the three kings in Bethlehem to praise and honor the Baby Jesus. The Mass was celebrated by Jesuit Father John Belmonte, Diocese of Venice Superintendent of Catholic Education. The first graders serenaded everyone with numerous songs. Father Belmonte queried the young children about what they got for Christmas (and what they would give Jesus for Christmas), and made everyone smile the entire time. Following Mass, representatives from both schools were selected as the three “Kings” for this year.

 

Scholarship applications deadline Feb. 29

Do you have a high school senior graduating this year, and pursuing further education, or someone in your family thinking of returning to school? The Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida has opened the 2024-25 online scholarship applications. There are currently five different scholarships available from the Foundation. Applications close on Feb. 29, 2024.

The Mary Fran Carroll Scholarship is available again this year for residents of Sarasota County. There are two versions of this scholarship. The Traditional Scholarship is for students who are graduating high school in 2024 or graduated in 2023. The Non-Traditional Scholarship is for those who have been out of school for 3+ years with difficult financial circumstances that prohibited them from pursuing their educational objectives immediately after high school. This year, the Foundation will be awarding multiple $3,500 annual Mary Fran Carroll scholarships which each have a renewable worth of $17,500 over five years. The Traditional and Non-Traditional scholarship can both be used for tuition, books and fees at an accredited college, university, or vocational program.

“During the past 10 years, the Catholic Community Foundation has awarded more than $687,000 in scholarships to 131 students attending universities, colleges, and vocational programs,” said Michael Morse, Executive Director of the Foundation. “In addition, millions of dollars have been provided to the Catholic Schools within the Diocese of Venice from Foundation endowment funds, donor advised funds, and outright donations for scholarships and tuition assistance for needy students.”

In addition to the Mary Fran Carroll Scholarships, the Foundation is offering:

  • The Frank and Florence Coseglia Scholarship, which provides a onetime scholarship of approximately $1,100 to one financially needy college-bound student graduating from each of the four Catholic High Schools within the Diocese of Venice.
  • The James & Margaret Schwarz Scholarship, for a graduating senior at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, who is interested in pursuing a career in education. This year, the Foundation will be awarding a single academic scholarship of approximately $7,500.
  • The Frederick Schaerf M.D., Ph. D. Neuroscience Scholarship, for students at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers, who are interested in pursuing a career in neuroscience or similar field. This year, the Foundation will be awarding a single $4,000 academic scholarship.

All applications and supporting documents for each of the scholarships must be submitted electronically by no later than Feb. 29, 2024.

To find out which Catholic Community Foundation scholarship you qualify for, please visit www.ccfdioceseofvenice.org/scholarships.

Donate from your IRA and receive fixed payments for Life

By Michael Morse, Executive Director, Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida

With the passage of the SECURE Act 2.0 on December 29, 2022, individuals can now establish a charitable gift annuity with the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida through a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) from their individual retirement account (IRA).

Charitable gift annuities date back to 1919 but remain a great way for donors to support their favorite charity and received fixed payments for life in return.  Donors have historically established gift annuities with gifts of cash, stock, or other appreciated assets. The ability to fund a gift annuity with a distribution from an IRA is a brand-new option.

A major benefit of this new option for donors that are 73 or older, is that the QCD contribution will count toward the annual required minimum distribution (RMD) from their IRA. Donors will also benefit from the security of a fixed income from the Catholic Community Foundation for the remainder of their and/or their spouse’s life.  Additionally, donors will be providing future support to the Catholic Parish, School or entity about which they care most.

Please note, to establish a charitable gift annuity using a QCD from an IRA, you must be at least 70 ½ years of age at the time of the transfer, the annuity can only benefit the donor and/or their spouse, and it must come from a traditional IRA. This option can only be used in a single calendar year during the donor’s lifetime and there is an aggregate limit of $50,000 per taxpayer. A married couple can each contribute $50,000 from their respective IRAs for a total of $100,000.

It is important to remember that there is no federal charitable income tax deduction for the QCD transfer. Also, when using a QCD to establish a charitable gift annuity, the payments received by the donor(s) will be subject to ordinary income tax.

For donors interested in establishing their Catholic Legacy by supporting the long-term sustainability of the Church, while at the same time generating lifetime payments for themselves, a charitable gift annuity with the Catholic Community Foundation may be a great option.

If you would like to learn more about establishing a charitable gift annuity with the Catholic Community Foundation, or if you would like to learn more about other gifting options, please contact Michael Morse at 941-441-1124 or Morse@dioceseofvenice.org.

Catholic Community Foundation presents 23 scholarships

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, joined by Board members of the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc., honored 23 scholarship winners during a ceremony on May 19, 2023, at Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall in Venice.

The recipients of the Mary Fran Carroll, Coseglia, Schaerf, Toner, Schwarz and Carey Scholarships were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements and for their commitment to continuing their education in pursuit of wide-ranging career paths such as education, medicine, business, engineering and more. The Foundation Scholarship Committee carefully reviewed 91 applications before determining the winners. Many of the Foundation Board members were present for the luncheon.

Bishop Dewane opened the presentation with prayer and said he was impressed with the new Foundation scholars, noting their academic success and ambition to seek out distinctive goals. “God has blessed you each with different gifts. Enjoy what you are going to do but keep an eye on that goal of living your faith.”

Michael Morse, Executive Director of the Catholic Community Foundation, congratulated the new scholars, saying the young men and women are worthy to forever be known as Foundation Scholars.

“We do a lot of things at the Foundation and an important component is that our donors decide where every single dollar goes,” Morse said. “Our donors do it because they believe in a lot of things. Most importantly, they believe in the next generation. After meeting you and reading the applications and learning what you want to do, the impact you’ve already had – not just on your community, but in your parishes and families – it fills (myself and the Foundation Scholarship Committee) with hope. You, as the next generation, are wonderful.”

Ava Shields, the James and Margaret Schwarz Scholar, graduated from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High in Sarasota and said she is choosing to study education at Florida Atlantic University because during her senior year she worked with fifth and eighth grade students at Incarnation Catholic School. “Before I did that, I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher. It took that internship to realize that. I’m super excited to go out and become a teacher and to change lives the way other teachers have helped change mine.”

Jacob Roberts, of Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers, was named one of four Frank and Florence Coseglia Memorial Scholars. He will attend the University of Central Florida in the fall to study computer science. He applied for the scholarship because he has always been involved in the Hispanic community at St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral, speaking at Spanish Mass and much more. “I always wanted to be someone who gives back to the community, especially when the hurricane (Ian) struck. It made me realize I want to be someone who pushes his vision forward and helps other people. I am studying computer science in order to give back to the community that raised me, thanks to the faith I was able to build upon in my life.”

Mary Fran Carroll Scholar Paige Singleton, a graduate of Venice High School who will be studying forestry and environmental biology at Whitman College in Walla-Walla, Washington, thanked the Foundation for the scholarship and said her goal in life is to help the environment. “I chose this career path because I love the environment. I want to spend my life protecting this beautiful world so everyone can enjoy it as much as I have.”

The Mary Fran Carroll Scholarship provides a total of 15 academic scholarships to residents of Sarasota County and is available for tuition, books and fees. This year there were 14 traditional scholarship winners (high school graduates pursuing an undergraduate degree) and one non-traditional winner (an adult learner seeking an advanced education after being away from school for a number of years). The scholarship is renewable annually up to a total of five academic years for students maintaining a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.2 or greater, while also making progress toward their career goal. In the past year, many students had their scholarship renewed.

The Frederick W. Schaerf, M.D., Ph.D. Neuroscience Scholarship provides a one-time scholarship to a graduating senior from Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers interested in pursuing a career in neuroscience or similar field. This was the fourth year the scholarship was offered.

The Coseglia Scholarship provides a one-time scholarship to one financially needy graduating senior from each of the four Catholic High Schools within the Diocese of Venice. The winners were nominated by their high schools and approved by the Foundation Board.

The Schwarz Scholarship is a one-time college scholarship to be awarded for tuition, books, fees, and housing expenses for a student graduating from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota.

The Foundation also presented the Barry L. Carey M.D. Scholarship, which provides a renewable college scholarship for tuition, books, fees, and housing expenses to practicing Catholic high school seniors graduating this year from Catholic, private, home school, or public schools within the 10 counties of the Diocese of Venice. In addition, scholarship recipients must be the first generation in their family to attend a college or university.

In addition, the Dr. Steve Toner Math Award Scholarship provides one non-renewable scholarship to a student graduating from St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples who is interested in pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering or math.

During the scholarship ceremony, the recipients shared their personal experiences as well as college and career goals. Each expressed their appreciation for the scholarship from the Foundation. Many specifically explained how the scholarship money will assist in lessening the financial burden of attending college and pursuing their career goals. In total, the Foundation will have awarded $167,900 in scholarships for 2023 (this includes both new winners and renewals).

The Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. was established to provide philanthropic opportunities for individuals, such as Mary Fran Carroll, to create lasting gifts in support of Catholic programs and ministries within the Diocese of Venice. This year, the Foundation is on track to distribute $3.5 million in endowed support for Catholic Schools, Parishes, Seminarian education, programs for the needy, college scholarships and more.

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.

2023 Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida, Inc. Scholars

Mary Fran Carroll Scholars – traditional

Paxton Barrick, Venice High School, University of Florida; Aiden Ericson, Venice High School (2022), University of Florida; Natalie Kisgen, Venice High School, University of Florida; Rebekah Kertz, Venice High School (2021), University of Florida; Christian Mendez, Venice High School, Florida Polytechnic University; Paige Singleton, Venice High School, Whitman College; Ella Smith Venice High School, Lehigh University; Stephen Akers, Venice High School, Belmont Abbey College; Nicolas Cox, Sarasota High School, University of Florida; Alyssa Collier, Riverview High School, University of Florida; David Williams, Venice High School, University of Central Florida; Marina Berardi, Venice High School, Ringling College of Art and Design; William Martin, Venice High School (2022), University of Central Florida; Kiersten Rau, Venice High School, Michigan State University.

Mary Fran Carroll Scholars – non-traditional

Karla King, University of South Florida.

Frank and Florence Coseglia Memorial Scholarship

Celeste Harrell, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, University of Florida; Serene Aviles, St. John Neumann Catholic High School, University of Florida; Michael Long Jr., Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish, Ave Maria University; Jacob Roberts, Bishop Verot Catholic High School, University of Central Florida.

Barry L. Carey, M.D. Scholarship

Andres Plata, Donahue Academy of Ave Maria Catholic School, Ave Maria University.

James and Margaret Schwarz Scholarship

Ava Shields, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, Florida Atlantic University.

Frederick W. Schaerf, M.D., Ph.D. Neuroscience Scholarship

Audrianna Larrea, Bishop Verot Catholic High School, University of Florida.

Dr. Steve Toner Math Award

Tye Phoenix, St. John Neumann Catholic High School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Catholic Donor Advised Fund – Great way to support your favorite Catholic programs and ministries

By Michael Morse, Executive Director, Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida.

Donor Advised Funds, or DAFs, have been around for quite a while, but more people have been hearing about them over the past few years. In fact, you may have already asked yourself, “What exactly is a DAF and is it right for me?” Simply put, a DAF helps individuals and families manage their charitable donations in a simple and easy manner. It’s your “Charitable Checkbook.”

DAFs are like charitable checkbooks because they provide a flexible way for donors to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax deduction for the maximum allowable amount and then recommend grants from the fund to various charitable entities whenever they want. Donors can contribute to their fund as frequently as they like and can even choose to deposit their fund in the Foundation’s investment pool and have it potentially grow tax free.

In addition, DAFs are simpler and more cost effective than creating a private foundation, can allow you to remain anonymous and protect your privacy when supporting a charity, and can help establish the spirit of generational giving within families. Unlike private or family foundations, there are no minimum annual distributions, no staffing or legal fees, no annual tax filing requirements, and no heavy regulations by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Many people began using DAFs when the IRS nearly doubled the standard deduction in 2017 in order to take advantage of a tax strategy called “charitable bunching.” Bunching is when you combine multiple years of charitable giving into your DAF in a single year so that you can itemize your tax deductions in that year and take the standard deduction in the following years, thus maximizing your tax savings. You then use your DAF to make all of your charitable donations in the following years.

Now is a great time for Catholics within the Diocese of Venice in Florida to open Donor Advised Funds with the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida because there is currently no minimum amount required to start a fund. Additionally, donors can be certain that no funds will ever be used by the Foundation to support entities or causes that are not in keeping with our Catholic Faith.

Donors that open DAFs with the Foundation are able to support any Catholic entity within the United States or any other qualified social-service or pro-life charity within the United States whose mission is in alignment with the teachings of the Catholic Church. In addition, they can choose to invest their DAF in a Catholic-screened portfolio.  Which means the Foundation avoids investments in companies with business practices, products or services contrary to our Catholic Faith.

The Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida began operating in 2004 as an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that works with all the Parishes, Schools and Catholic entities within the Diocese of Venice. The Foundation provides the tools and resources to help Faith-filled donors provide long-term support to the Catholic entities of their choice.  Last year alone, the Foundation distributed more than $5.2 million in support throughout the Diocese and beyond thanks to the generosity of so many Catholic donors.

If you would like to learn more about creating a donor-advised fund with the Catholic Community Foundation, or if you would like to learn more about other gifting options, please contact Michael Morse at 941-441-1124 or Morse@dioceseofvenice.org.

News Briefs for the Week of Feb. 10, 2023

Appointments

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

Father John Nghia Hoang, as Pastor of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish, Sarasota, effective Feb. 6, 2023, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Administrator of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish, Sarasota.

Father Robert M. Murphy, as Pastor of St. Raphael Parish, Englewood, effective Feb. 6, 2023, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Administrator of St. Raphael Parish, Englewood.

Father Paul Nguyen, as Pastor of Church of St. Patrick Parish, Sarasota, effective Feb. 6, 2023, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Administrator of Church of St. Patrick Parish, Sarasota.

Father Sebastian Szczawinski, as Pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Lakewood Ranch, effective Feb. 6, 2023, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Administrator of Church of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Lakewood Ranch.

Father Michal Szyszka, as Pastor of St. Raphael Parish, Lehigh Acres, effective Feb. 6, 2023, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Administrator of St. Raphael Parish, Lehigh Acres.

Father Luis Albarracin, retired as Parochial Vicar of St. Leo the Great, Bonita Springs, effective Jan. 1, 2023, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar of St. Leo the Great Parish.

Retired Sarasota priest dies

Father R. Patrick Wilson, Society of Catholic Apostolate (Pallottines), who served in the Diocese of Venice for 17 years, passed away Feb. 2, 2023, in Sarasota at the age of 76. Father Wilson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and graduated from Pittsburg State University in Kansas and upon graduation in 1973 he joined the Brothers of Christian Service. As a religious brother, Father Wilson served adult men with special needs in Ohio. He earned advanced degrees from the University of Cincinnati before he was relocated to Sarasota in 1992. In Sarasota, he served as Director of Religious Education at St. Martha Parish and later sought to join the Pallottine religious order. He was ordained to the priesthood on Nov. 27, 2005, into the Society of the Catholic Apostolate in Rome. From that point, Father Wilson served as a Parochial Vicar until his retirement on July 1, 2022. Father Wilson continued to assist at St. Martha Parish after his retirement. Father Wilson was active in his support of the youth outreach, going to several World Youth Days and National Marches for Life, and was active in prison outreach as well. He loved traveling, tap dancing and musical theater and was a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. A Mass of Christian Burial is 10 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 9, at St. Martha Church, 200 N. Orange St., Sarasota. Please pray for the family of Father Wilson and the repose of his soul.

Seminarian instituted as Lector

William Patrick Long, a Diocese of Venice Seminarian studying at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary, Weston, Massachusetts, was among 11 men who were instituted to the Ministry of Lector on Feb. 1, 2023. Bishop William D. Byrne, Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, presided over the Mass. Those who are in formation to be ordained as Catholic priests must serve in the Ministry of Lector in order to prepare them for their future role as proclaimers of the Word of God through their work in the community and through the celebration of Mass and other Liturgical Rites. The principal duties of the lector at a Sunday Mass are to proclaim the first and/or second readings. In the absence of a deacon, the lector may carry the Gospel Book to the altar in the entrance procession and proclaim the petitions for the Universal Prayer. The lector may also lead the responsorial psalm in the absence of a cantor. Please pray for Seminarian Long as well as for all seminarians as they further prepare to become priests and serve the faithful.

2022 Sarasota Charity Ball

The Catholic Charities Ball “Creating Hope” took place Feb. 4, 2023, at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota. The event benefitted the programs of Catholic Charities in Sarasota and Manatee Counties including the continuing recovery from Hurricane Ian, as well as support for Our Mother’s House, Bethesda House, and the St. Martha Early Learning Center. The Ball Chairperson was Bridget Spiess, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane was the guest of honor. A success story was shared about a family that overcame many heartbreaks and setbacks only to be aided by the staff and volunteers of Catholic Charities in finding housing that provided a room for each of their children. The elegant evening included a wine pull, silent auction, live auction, and live music. If you would like to support the programs of Catholic Charities, please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org.

Annual Mass held for circus and traveling show workers

Each year the circus and travelling show workers of the United States gather for three days to thank God for their continued blessings. This retreat was Feb. 3 to 5, 2023, at St. Martha Parish in downtown Sarasota, which is designated the “National Circus Parish.” The pastoral workers, who ensure that the Sacraments are available and maintained for travelling show people, function under the direction of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Cultural Diversity’s Subcommittee on the Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers (PCMRT). Bishop Frank J. Dewane is the Episcopal Liaison of the PCMRT. Bishop Dewane celebrated the closing Mass on Feb. 5, and he was assisted by several of the priests who serve the circus and traveling show workers.

Regional Order of Malta retreat held in Naples

Regional members of the Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta took part in a retreat which began with Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on Feb. 3, 2023, at St. William Parish in Naples. Also known as the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, the Order is a lay religious order of the Roman Catholic Church that seeks to glorify God by promoting the sanctification of each member through witness to the Catholic Faith and service to the sick and the poor. Bishop Dewane lauded the Knights and Dames for their continued charity and service to the Universal Church.

Eucharist Conference held at Ave Maria University

The Aquinas Center and the St. Paul Center hosted “The Holiness of God and the Mystery of the Eucharist” Conference from Feb. 2 to Feb. 4, 2023, at Ave Maria University. Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass for the Conference on Feb. 3, in the Ave Maria Parish Church. Bishop Dewane praised the Conference organizers and the attendees for taking time to focus on the Holy Eucharist during the ongoing National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year revival of devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist created by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. As part of the effort, the Diocese of Venice is hosting a Eucharistic Congress on March 25, 2023, in Fort Myers. This daylong event will include nationally renowned speakers, breakouts for men and women, sessions in English and Spanish. There will be a Eucharistic Procession and the day will conclude with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Registration is requested at https://dioceseofvenice.org/eucharistic-congress/.

Blessing of the throats

On the Memorial of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, Feb. 3, 2023, the Blessing the Throats is common. This is done by a Bishop or Priest who holds a pair of crossed candles held by a red ribbon (representing the blood of martyrs), which are placed at the throat and a prayer of healing is recited. Bishop Frank J. Dewane joined other priests in offering this prayer following a Mass at Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria and then later at St. William Parish in Naples. St. Blaise, who was martyred in 316, saved the life of a boy who had a fishbone stuck in his throat by ordering the child to cough it up.

Parish hosts international food festival

To celebrate the varied backgrounds of the faithful at St. Agnes Parish in Naples, the 11th Annual International Festival made a tasty return on Feb. 5, 2023, after a hiatus of several years. Unique cuisine of more than 20 countries was represented. In addition to the food and drink, there was entertainment that included music and dance from a number of countries.

Migrant Care Grants application period open

Grant requests for funding of projects in 2023 are available from the Foundation for the Care of the Migrant Poor and need to be submitted no later than Friday, March 31, 2023. To be considered by the Board of Directors for a Grant, the project must clearly be seen as a service to the migrant poor or new immigrants. Preference will be given to those projects under Catholic auspices. Applications can be submitted by visiting https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/organizations/foundation-for-the-care-of-the-migrant-poor/.

Scholarship applications deadline Feb. 21

The Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida is proud to announce that the 2023-24 Scholarship Applications are now open and will close on Feb. 21, 2023.

A total of 23 scholarships are being offered for both traditional and non-traditional students.

Among the scholarships being offered is the Mary Fran Carroll Scholarship to residents of Sarasota County, for the 2023-24 academic year.

These 15 renewable scholarships were made possible through the Catholic legacy of Mary Fran Carroll and her generous gift to the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida. Mary Fran Carroll was a woman of deep Catholic Faith, who wanted those receiving her scholarships to benefit from her legacy by being better prepared to face the challenges of the world and the future, in addition to using their education for the betterment of the entire community.

The traditional Mary Fran Carroll scholarship is offered to graduating or recent graduates who wish to pursue an undergraduate degree at any accredited college or university. Scholarships can be used for tuition, books and fees at an accredited college, university or vocational program (housing expenses are not eligible). Non-traditional scholarships are available to adult learners who are returning to school to obtain a college degree or vocational certification after being out of high school for three or more years. Also, previous scholarship winners are encouraged to renew their scholarships for up to a total of five academic years if they maintain a minimum GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 (unweighted) scale.

“During the past nine years, the Catholic Community Foundation has awarded more than $482,000 in scholarships to students attending universities, colleges, and vocational programs,” explained Michael Morse, Executive Director of the Foundation. “In addition, millions of dollars have been provided to the Catholic Schools within the Diocese of Venice from Foundation endowment funds, donor advised funds, and outright donations for scholarships and tuition assistance for needy students.”

In addition to the Mary Fran Carroll Scholarship, the Foundation is offering:

  • Frank and Florence Coseglia Scholarship, one scholarship to college-bound, financially-needy students graduating from each of the Catholic high schools within the Diocese of Venice. Unlike the other scholarships, students do not apply but are nominated by their school.
  • Frederick W. Schaerf, M.D. Ph.D. Neuroscience Scholarship, for a college-bound, financially needy student graduating from Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers, who is interested in pursuing a career in neuroscience or a similar field.
  • Barry L. Carey, M.D. Scholarship, a single, four-year renewable college scholarship for a practicing Catholic high school senior graduating this year from a Catholic, private, home school, or public school within the 10 counties of the Diocese of Venice in Florida. Additionally, the recipient must be the first generation in their family to attend a college or university.
  • James & Margaret Schwarz Scholarship, which is a single, non-renewable college scholarship that can be used for tuition, books, fees, and housing expenses. This is available to a student graduating from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota that is interested in pursuing a degree in education.
  • Steve Toner Math Award, a single non-renewable college scholarship per year to a graduating senior at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples who is pursuing a career in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) field. No application is necessary as it is assigned by the school.

All applications and supporting documents for each of the scholarships must be submitted electronically by no later than Feb. 21, 2023.

 

To find out which Catholic Community Foundation scholarship you qualify for, please visit www.ccfdioceseofvenice.org/scholarships.

 

Foundation offers Personal Estate Planning Record Book

By Michael Morse, Special to the Florida Catholic

The importance of vigilance, readiness, and preparation is central to our Catholic Faith.  In Chapter 24 of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus reminds His disciples of what happened to those that ignored Noah’s warnings and failed to prepare for the flood.  He also tells them, “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Many of us do not like to think about end-of-life issues and preparing for a time when we, or a loved one, will no longer be here. In addition to being spiritually prepared, we must also be prepared in all other aspects of our lives. On far too many occasions, we delay our preparations until it is too late, and our families are left guessing about our wishes and scrambling to find important documents and information.

As each of us think about and plan for the future, we can quickly become overwhelmed by all of the items that need to be considered. Even if we have a will or trust, we need to make sure we have other important documents in place like a Financial Power of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate, and Living Will (Healthcare Directive). In addition, we need to have a record of all our assets, important documents, passwords, personal advisor information, funeral instructions, charitable considerations, and more.

To help ease the burden of the planning process, the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida has made available a free Personal Estate Planning Record Book. This record book is intended to help collect and organize important information and to serve as a valuable tool for your estate planner and loved ones. By being prepared, you will save both time and money. You will also simplify the process for those you love when they need to access your important life documents.

The record book will allow your personal representative, executor, or trustee to easily locate your beneficiaries, safe deposit box, titles, stocks, bonds, Will, Trust Agreements, and other important documents. It will also help you create and/or review your estate plan to better provide for your loved ones and the causes about which you care most. It is important to remember that as you move forward with your estate planning, it is highly recommended that you consult with your attorney, CPA and financial adviser.

To request your free copy of the Personal Estate Planning Record Book, please email the Foundation at CCF@dioceseofvenice.org.

Michael Morse is the Executive Director of the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida. To learn more about the Catholic Community Foundation, please contact Morse at 941-441-1124 or Morse@dioceseofvenice.org, or visit www.CCFDioceseofvenice.org.

Qualified Charitable Distributions – A Real Life Example

By Michael Morse – Special to the Florida Catholic

If you have reached the age that you must take a required minimum distribution (RMD) from your IRA, did you know that you can transfer up to $100,000 each year from your IRA directly to a qualified charity like the Catholic Community Foundation, your Parish, School or other Catholic Program or Ministry? By rolling over your IRA distribution directly to a charity, it qualifies as your RMD and you avoid having to include the distribution as taxable income.  Beginning in 2020, the age at which RMDs must start is 72. However, individuals can begin making Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from their IRAs as early as age 70½.

Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) provide a powerful opportunity for donors from all income levels to support the Catholic Parishes, Schools and Ministries about which they care most. Some of today’s retirees have more money in their IRAs than they need for daily living expenses and/or their long-term care. They are able to use the surplus in their IRAs to help make a significant difference in the lives of others, without negatively impacting their own quality of life. Other retirees with more modest incomes, like Mike and Ronda, can also benefit from QCDs.

Mike and Ronda are both retired Catholic School teachers and have always been loyal supporters of their Parish, contributing their time, talent, and treasure on a regular basis. In addition to their other retirement income, they have two small traditional IRAs, from which they are required to take $1,000 per year as their Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). Since they pay 10% income tax in their retirement, they are bringing home a total of $900 per year from their IRAs after taxes. Simply by having their IRA custodian transfer the full $1,000 RMD directly to their Parish instead of receiving the distribution themselves, they will receive the following benefits:

  • Entitles them to tax benefits without requiring them to itemize their deductions;
  • They increase their Parish giving by 10% without costing them one additional penny;
  • Instead of giving $100 in taxes to the government, they are giving it to the Church.

By using QCDs for their charitable giving, donors like Mike and Ronda can decide each year if and/or how much of their RMD they would like to use.  In fact, they can distribute up to $100,000 each calendar year from their respective IRAs regardless of the size of their RMDs. They can even decide to support multiple charities from the same IRA.  However, they must make sure that donations are dispersed from their IRA directly to a qualified charity to qualify for the tax benefits.

Michael Morse is the Executive Director of the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. To learn more about the Foundation, please call 941-441-1124, email Morse@dioceseofvenice.org or visit www.CCFDioceseofvenice.org.

 

 

 

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