State CCW Conference held in Sarasota

The 25th Biennial Conference of the Florida Council of Catholic Women (FCCW), took place Oct. 20-22, 2022, at the Embassy Suites in downtown Sarasota. The theme for the Conference was “Love One Another.”

Members of Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (VDCCW) hosted the event just three weeks after Hurricane Ian struck the Diocese on Sept. 28.

FCCW President and Province Director Tammy Farr and Brenda Dolan, Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women Conference Coordinator, and FCCW Province Director Elect, said there was some doubt the Conference would take place when the hurricane struck, but everyone from the Diocese of Venice and across the state rallied to ensure the conference would come off without a hitch. In the end, more than 120 attended the event.

“We came together and persevered to have a joyous, resourceful and humorous gathering,” Farr said. “Council sisters, WE DID IT!!”

Bishop Frank J. Dewane offered the invocation and blessing at the closing banquet. The Bishop later remarked about how the CCW embodies what St. John Paul II called the “feminine genius” or “genius of women.”

“You, as women, have a very special place and purpose,” Bishop Dewane said. “Your impact on the life of the Church and in society is of inestimable value.”

During the banquet, FCCW President Farr presented Bishop Dewane and the Diocese of Venice with approximately $10,000, raised in just three weeks since the hurricane, to go toward disaster relief. The Bishop expressed his gratitude saying the money would go toward the ongoing work of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., which has been on the front lines responding in the hardest hit communities since the storm struck.

Farr also announced that the FCCW members had collected and donated a number of disaster relief supplies which were directed to help CCW members who were severely impacted by the hurricane.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski, of Miami, was the principal celebrant at the closing liturgy on Oct. 22 at St. Martha Parish, with Bishop Dewane concelebrating.

Both Archbishop Wenski and Bishop Dewane spoke at the closing banquet, praising the work of the FCCW and the role the women play in their home Dioceses, as well as in their legislative activism at the local, state, and national levels on issues that include life, and the death penalty.

Diocese to expand support for couples and families

The Diocese of Venice recognizes the importance of forming all married couples, from newlyweds to empty nesters, to live out their call to holiness and joy in the Sacrament of Marriage! As St. John Paul II famously said, “As goes the family, so goes the nation, and so goes the entire world in which we live.”

To promote greater support and formation for couples, the Diocese of Venice Office of Family Life and the St. John Paul II Foundation are working jointly to bring “Together in Holiness” to the entire Diocese. “Together in Holiness” is a comprehensive marriage enrichment initiative that includes an annual, one-day Conference series for couples, as well as a year-round Formation series for couples in Parishes, schools, and small communities.

“The Diocese of Venice continues to value the ongoing collaboration with the St. John Paul II Foundation in support of marriage and family,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane. “It is precisely the fruits that flow from the “Together in Holiness” Conference and the ongoing follow up Formation series, that the Sacrament of Marriage is all about. Through its Office of Family Life, the Diocese invites all couples to participate in these life-enriching opportunities.  Married couples are a sacramental representation of love, joy, and commitment, so I am thankful that “Together in Holiness” assists our married couples to contribute to the renewal of the family, Church and society.”

The second annual “Together in Holiness” Marriage Enrichment Conference will take place on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, the Feast of St. John Paul II, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be hosted at St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers. Couples will enjoy a day of quality time with their spouse accompanied by dynamic presentations! The day will include the Mass and the availability of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This special event is for all couples, engaged, newlywed or long married. Access to on-site childcare will be provided.

The inaugural “Together in Holiness” Marriage Enrichment Conferences on Oct. 2, 2021, in Sarasota and Naples drew some 120 couples.

Here are just a few of the positive comments from previous attendees:

  • “Incredible!” “Life-changing!” “Impactful!” “Educational!” “Just what we needed!”
  • “It was truly a great event, very inspiring and applicable to the everyday life. It helped me to take a fresh look at my marriage and the relationship with my husband.”
  • “We both got a lot out of the entire day. It was a day of connecting – with each other, with other couples, with own selves, and, most importantly, with God.”

Complementing the one-day conference, the “Together in Holiness” Formation series offers year-round marriage enrichment to small communities of spouses that equips them with the formation, encouragement, and practical tools to grow together in holiness and to form their children in the Catholic Faith.

The “Together in Holiness” Formation series is a 7-part series based on the life, witness, and teachings of St. John Paul II on marriage and family life. Highlights include short, compelling video presentations with national speakers, Host Couples who facilitate discussion, and a “Bring it Home” component that translates learning into living. The Formation series is also available for Spanish-speaking couples through translated materials and captioned videos.

To register, please visit A video message from Bishop Frank J. Dewane can be found at

For more information, please contact Carrie Harkey at 941-484-9543 or at

English Catholic Charismatic Renewal Annual Conference March 13

Come join the 2020 Diocese of Venice Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference, “Stir into Flame” a time for praise and worship, personal prayer ministry, powerful teachings, Eucharistic Adoration and fellowship. The Conference is 6 p.m., March 13, and 9 a.m.-8 p.m., March 14 at St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers.

“If you have been thinking about how to grow closer to the Lord, or long to hear God’s voice in your life, or if you need to be renewed in your walk with the Lord, this weekend is for you!” said Rene Mazaron, English Catholic Charismatic Renewal Commission President.

Listen to internationally renowned speakers including Auxiliary Bishop Peter L. Smith of the Archdiocese of Portland, Jim Murphy, Sister Linda Koontz, SNJM, and Father Anthony Lukka. Bishop Frank J. Dewane will celebrate Mass at 3:30 p.m., on March 14.

“Come as you are and expect to receive God’s healing and Spiritual Gifts,” Mazon said. “Invite friends and neighbors, even those who have been away from the Church. God has etched your name in His plan book.”

The goal of the conference is for participants to encounter Christ in new and powerful ways as the speakers will encourage and challenge everyone to a life more fully “in the Spirit,” Mazaron added. “Take this opportunity to open your heart to the Holy Spirit, because it is the Holy Spirit who fulfills our life. It is the promptings of the Holy Spirit that keep us on the path to heaven.”

Speakers will present talks about living in the Holy Spirit with courage, power, love, self-control, giving testimony to the Lord and becoming a true Disciple of Christ.

Auxiliary Bishop Smith was born in South Africa and is a member of CHARIS (Catholic Charismatic Renewal International); Jim Murphy is a lay Catholic evangelist who previously served in Rome as Director of Leadership Formation and President of CHARIS; Sister Linda lives in El Paso, Texas and ministers to the poorest of the poor in Juarez, Mexico through “The Spirit of the Lord International Mission” outreach program; and Father Lukka serves as Spiritual Advisor for the Diocese of Venice, English Catholic Charismatic Renewal and also serves as Parochial Vicar at St. William Parish in Naples.

The cost is $35 before Feb. 29, and $40 afterwards, and includes refreshments, lunch and a light dinner. Please register at Registrations are limited. No walk-ins.