Priesthood Sunday Sept. 27

It can sometimes be easy to take for granted that when one attends Mass or goes to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a priest will be available every time.

The COVID-19 Pandemic gave the faithful a glimpse of life without access to the Sacraments and it is more important than ever to express one’s appreciation for those Parish priests who answered the call of God to a life in service to His Church.

Therefore, it is appropriate each person take the time on Priesthood Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, to reaffirm the vocation of the priesthood of Jesus Christ and its central place in the life of the Church.

The reality is that without priests the Holy Sacraments could not be conferred. Priesthood Sunday was established as an opportunity to show gratitude to our priests who serve the faithful tirelessly throughout the year, and who are instrumental in the Sacramental life of all.

It is a chance to thank and honor priests in unique ways, praising God for their courage and their generosity. A simple note, a smile or a phone call to assure one’s priest of your loving care and gratitude for his presence in the life of your local Parish will go a long way to serve the greater good of the Catholic Church.

While the pandemic may curb any large celebration of the priesthood, the necessity to celebrate priests remains crucial.

The Diocese of Venice is blessed to have priests for each of its 61 Parishes. Bishop Frank J. Dewane ordained a new priest on June 27, 2020, and another 16 are discerning a vocation to the priesthood in seminary.

However, the need for more priests is a constant concern as the average age of priests serving in the U.S. is 67. This is why men who answer the call to priesthood are working harder than ever before.

A special Prayer for Priests (see below) has been shared with all Parishes in the Diocese of Venice for the occasion of Priesthood Sunday. In addition, the Diocese has available a Pray for Priests calendar, which can be found at www.dioceseofvenice.org/offices/daily-resources/pray-for-priest/.

The Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (VDCCW) has embraced Priesthood Sunday to help support its Vocation Fund. The idea is that people can send cards “In memory of” or “In Honor of” to their priests as a thank you for their service.

Currently organized for the VDCCW by Cornelia Zanetti, mother of Father Gordon Zanetti, Administrator of St. Thomas More Parish in Sarasota, the cards are appreciated by the priests because they know the donations help those who are actively discerning a vocation to the priesthood in the seminary.

“It is my privilege and honor to carry on this ministry for the past five years,” Cornelia Zanetti said. “This ministry is very close to my heart.”

Any donation is appreciated, and the amount will not be revealed to the recipient. To take part, please send $1.00, plus your donation, payable to “VDCCW Vocation Fund” to Cornelia Zanetti, 5808 Gulf Drive, #204, Holmes Beach, FL 34217. Please email corniez@aol.com with any questions.

Prayer for Priests

Lord Jesus Christ, eternal High Priest, You offered yourself to the Father on the altar of the Cross and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit gave Your priestly people a share in Your redeeming sacrifice.

Hear our prayer for the sanctification of our priests. Grant that all who are ordained to the ministerial priesthood may be ever more conformed to You, the Divine Master. May they preach the Gospel with pure heart and clear conscience.

Let them be shepherds according to Your own Heart, single-minded in service to You and to the Church and shining examples of a holy, simple and joyful life.

Through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Your Mother and ours, draw all priests and the flocks entrusted to their care to the fullness of eternal life where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Amen.

Oración por los Sacerdotes

Señor Jesucristo, eterno Sumo Sacerdote, tú que te ofreciste al Padre en el altar de la Cruz y por la efusión del Espíritu le dio a su pueblo sacerdotal una participación en tu sacrificio redentor.

Escucha nuestra oración por la santificación de nuestros sacerdotes. Concede a todos los que han sido ordenados al ministerio sacerdotal que sean cada vez más conformes a Ti, Divino Maestro. Que enseñen el Evangelio con el corazón puro y la conciencia clara.

Que sean pastores de acuerdo con tu propio Corazón, una sola mente en el servicio a Ti y a tu Iglesia y ejemplos luminosos de una vida santa, sencilla y alegre.

A través de las oraciones de la Purísima Virgen María, tu Madre y nuestra, atrae e todos los sacerdotes y fieles a su cargo, a la plenitud de la vida eterna donde vives y reinas con el Padre y el Espíritu Santo, un Dios, por los siglos de los siglos.

Amén.

Catechists commissioned to share Faith

Catechists throughout the country were united and recognized on Catechetical Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, for the important role they play in the mission of the Catholic Church.

These catechists impart the Faith on people of all ages, whether it is in Parish religious education programs or in Catholic schools. The fact is all faithful Catholics are called to be catechists, Father Ricky Varner, Administrator of St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral, stressed this point during Mass.

Father Varner, like priests across the Diocese and country, commissioned those who are designated as Parish religious education teachers with a special blessing. In addition, recognizing the role of the entire Catholic community, in particular families, in handing on the Faith and being a witness to the Gospel, Father Varner imparted an additional blessing on everyone present.

“Part of our call is to serve as magnifying the message of the Gospel,” Father Varner said. “Live in a way that we know God is always present but not always apparent.”

The commissioning and blessing ceremony were powerful for Kristin Puzder, a catechist at St. Katharine Drexel for many years who teaches first grade and helps with the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) program. She started teaching religious education classes to young children when her son was in first grade.

The focus in teaching the first graders is to show that God is good, the Creator, and He loves everyone. She also helps her students learn the basic prayers and to find wonder in God’s creation while she tries to be an example for them in her own life.

“I feel blessed to be able to do what I do because I get more out of it than the children,” Puzder explained. “It is a privilege to teach children about God and the Faith.”

The theme for Catechetical Sunday is taken from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you.” The theme focuses on the primary substance of catechesis, which is an invitation to a whole new life given by Christ Himself. It emphasizes that living Faith necessitates movement, inspiring all those who hear the Word to share it as witnesses of the true and living God.

Rose Talbot-Babey, St. Katharine Drexel Director of Religious Education, said the blessing of the catechists and all the faithful took place at two Masses to accommodate the need for social distancing.

Religious education programs across the Diocese are either already running or starting by mid-October for the faithful of all ages. Some classes are working on requirements necessary to receive the various Sacraments, while others are continuing their religious education, which never formally concludes.

Because of the pandemic, there are limited class sizes where in-person instruction is taking place. To accommodate families who prefer distance learning, that option is also available. In such cases, relevant materials are sent home and the classes meet virtually.

Talbot-Babey said everything is being done to ensure each family and student is comfortable in the process while at the same time being confident that all religious education requirements are met.

Respect Life Sunday Collection Focuses on Youth

By Jeanne Berdeaux, Diocese of Venice Respect Life Director,

For the past few years some of the funds received from generous parishioners in the annual Respect Life Sunday (Oct. 4, 2020) special collection have been used to give students from Catholic high schools the unique experience of participating in Catholic Days at the Capitol. This annual three-day trip to Tallahassee draws hundreds of participants from all seven Dioceses in Florida to our state capitol during the two months of the annual legislative session.

They attend a briefing to learn about the bills that are the top priorities for Catholics before visiting their legislators and attending sessions and committee hearings. Finally, they join all the Bishops of Florida for the Red Mass to pray that the Holy Spirit guides and directs members of the legislative, judicial and executive branches of state government in their service to the people of Florida. Many public officials join the Bishops and Catholic Days participants in this special Red Mass, in keeping with a tradition that dates back to the 13th century.

Bishop Verot 2020 graduating senior Anna Latell said, “I gained a lot of knowledge on how the Florida government system functions, and I felt like as Catholics we were able to have a lot of influence in just a few days.” She added, “You should go because it is an eye-opening experience in learning about Florida legislature and the important topics concerning Catholic values.” Another student said, “I enjoyed getting to be on the Senate floor and use the Senate seating.”

Thanks to Senate President Bill Galvano’s staff, the students were able to sit in the Senators’ chairs, conduct a mock debate and vote, giving them a first-hand experience of how the legislative process works.  When asked what they would say to someone thinking about going next year, one student said, “Do it; it was a blast!”

Another important use of funds is to support the Collier Community Abstinence Program (CCAP) which provides free workbooks and materials that impact our Catholic school students in the Diocese of Venice as well as those attending public school. This program promotes abstinence from risky behavior (sexual activity, alcohol and drug use) as the healthiest lifestyle. Parent components help open dialogue within the family. CCAP is developing new video programs for home and school use and a new website (www.AuthenticAbstinence.org). It’s a virtual world these days!  As news spread about the program and the statistics on the program’s success rate in Collier County, teachers across the country began clamoring for the four workbooks. Continuing to provide these resources free of charge to schools is a funding challenge. We are blessed to have funds from this special collection to help with the expansion of this program.

An agreement was made with world renowned “sexual risk avoidance” trainer Pam Stenzel to speak at our three Catholic high schools and the Donahue Academy in Ave Maria. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, this year’s events had to be cancelled, but Pam made a special video for graduating seniors and plans are underway for the current school year.

In his message on Diocesan World Youth Day, Palm Sunday 2020, Vatican News reported that Pope Francis said, “I would like to join you, young people, in calling for a cultural change, based on Jesus’ command to ‘arise.’  He calls us to embrace a reality that is so much more than virtual.”

“Arise!” he adds, is also an invitation to “dream”, to “take a risk”, to be “committed to changing the world, to rekindle your hopes and aspirations, and to contemplate the heavens, the stars and the world around you.”  The Pope then invited young people to “give their passions and dreams free rein, “and, through them, offer the world, the Church and other young people something beautiful, whether in the realm of the spirit, the arts or society… Make your voices heard.” Your generosity enables us to help our young people to answer that call.

The annual Respect Life collection in the Diocese of Venice is the weekend of Oct. 3-4, 2020. Thank you for your generosity in supporting this important collection.

To learn more about the Respect Life activities of the Diocese of Venice, you can contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-484-9543 or berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org.

 

 

 

News Briefs for week of Sept. 14, 2020

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

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

‘Fifth Sunday Rosary’ a success

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

Car Show Cookout in Lakewood Ranch Oct. 17

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

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

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

Year of Saint Joseph

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

Hurricane prayer

As the busy 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season continues (June 1-Nov. 30), a prayer is presented here by which one asks God for protection and safety from the storms that often threaten Southwest Florida. With the formation of nine storms, it has already been a busy season of watching the tropics with new storms seemingly forming and threatening each day . We all remember the devastating effect of Hurricane Irma from 2017 and what was witnessed when Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle in 2018, everyone in the Diocese of Venice knows and understands the power of these storms and the suffering which follows in their wake.

Prayer for Safety in Hurricane Season

O God, Master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of your children. The Sea of Galilee obeyed Your order and returned to its former quietude. You are still the Master of land and sea.

We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control: the Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy, overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land, and spread chaos and disaster.

During this hurricane season we turn to You, O loving Father. Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with passing of time.

O Virgin, Star of the Sea, Our beloved Mother, we ask you to plead with your Son on our behalf, so that spared from the calamities common to this area and animated with a true spirit of gratitude, we will walk in the footsteps of your Divine Son to reach the heavenly Jerusalem, where a stormless eternity awaits us. Amen.

Parish donations

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

Dispensation

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

Livestreaming

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

Sunday Televised Mass

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

Online Resources

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

Act of Spiritual Communion

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

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

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

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

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

Schools, Parish mark 9/11 anniversary

A global pandemic could not diminish the memories of Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists struck in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, leaving behind thousands of dead while showing the world the face of true heroism.

The 19th Anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks was marked throughout the Diocese of Venice at Parishes and Catholic schools. Toned-down a bit because of the pandemic, the commemorations still had powerful meaning for those who participated.

An annual 9/11 Memorial Mass took place at St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, where retired New York Police and Fire Department members participated at the home of the 9/11 Cross, a cross rendered out of the steel of the collapsed South Tower of the destroyed World Trade Center.

Father Gerard Critch, Pastor of St. Peter the Apostle, worked at Ground Zero for several weeks following the terror attacks and spoke about the vivid memories and scars people carry from that day, both externally and internally.

“We gather not in a spirit of vengeance and anger, but in a spirit of hope,” Father Critch said. “We pay tribute and remember what was lost, but we also remember what we are all called to be; the light of Christ in the world.”

At St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota, third graders in Christina Via-Reque’s class learned about and honored the memory of September 11th with several different activities. One included reading Heroes mini-book which focuses on specific heroes, such as police, firefighters, doctors and nurses, military, teachers and more. The students also created an Agamograph, which is a colored foldable art piece that looks different when you look at it at different angles. The message on one side was “9-11” and the other side read “We Remember.”

“The kids were totally engaged all day and loved learning about 9/11 and seeing how America came together to help one another during such a tragic time,” Via-Reque said. “They had many questions that led to long discussions about what it means to be a Hero in our society and that even they themselves can be Heroes in their communities.”

Students at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers were invited to dress in red, white, and blue, in observance of Patriot Day, a national day of service and remembrance. This annual tradition serves to remind students about the significance of the day, as none of the students were born in 2001, and the wearing of different clothes than the school uniform also serves as a fundraiser. Combined, the students raised more than $2,000 in support of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which provides a mortgage free home to families of fallen soldiers and first responders with small children.

A 9/11 Tribute ceremony took place following Mass for students at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples. Led by grades 5-8, the Tribute honored and remembered those who lost their lives on that fateful day while also recognizing the ongoing efforts of local first responders to keep everyone safe. During the ceremony, students placed several items beside a red, white and blue wreath, including scrolls printed with the names of 9-11 victims; roses; and flags. The school also dedicated an inscribed brick to be placed at the Collier County Freedom Memorial located on Golden Gate Parkway. Present for the ceremony were several local dignitaries and first responders.

These were just a sample of the many commemorations which took place across the Diocese.

CCUSA anniversary to be celebrated by Bishop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

40 Days for Life Sept. 23-Nov. 1 in Fort Myers, Sarasota

The fall campaign of 40 Days for Life begins on Sept. 23, and runs until Sunday, Nov. 1, with local vigils taking place in Sarasota and Fort Myers.

40 Days for Life is an internationally coordinated 40-day campaign that aims to end abortion locally through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful all-day vigil in front of abortion businesses. For those not yet ready to be among crowds due to the pandemic, they are encouraged to pray from home and fast for the end of abortion. Others are welcome to come to the sidewalk and social distance to their level of comfort.

Diocese of Venice Respect Life Director Jeanne Berdeaux said having prayerful witnesses in front of abortion facilities serves as a powerful message of hope for those mothers who may think abortion is the only alternative they have for their unborn child.

The Diocese of Venice has been involved with 40 Days for Life since the campaign went nationwide in 2008 with vigils taking place in the fall – to coincide with October, Respect Life Month – and in the spring – during Lent.

The success of 40 Days for Life has been seen locally when women approach vigil participants and tell their story of how their mind was changed by those present who were there to pray for their unborn child. More than 120 cases of lives being saved have been documented.

It was recently announced that Shawn Carney, President of 40 Days for Life, will be in the Diocese of Venice to support the kick-off of the campaign.

Carney will appear at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 22 for the opening prayer vigil on the sidewalk in front of the Planned Parenthood at 6418 Commerce Park Drive, Fort Myers. The evening prayer service has become an annual tradition in Fort Myers, serving a rallying point for the long 40 days ahead. The Fort Myers vigil takes place 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Saturday.

Co-Coordinator of the Fort Myers campaign, Paula Hellenbrand, said the pandemic is not keeping abortion-minded woman away from abortion facilities such as Planned Parenthood and that participation in 40 Days for Life is as important now as it has ever been.

“I have to believe that in the hard process of making this decision they are also looking for a sign that would encourage them in the right direction,” Hellenbrand said. “We are that sign. We are there to say we care. We are there praying for you and your baby and we are there to help.”

In Sarasota, the vigil is 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily outside the regional headquarters of Planned Parenthood, 736 Central Ave. Carney will appear there at 11 a.m. on the first day, Sept. 23.

Participants in the prayer vigil will be joining other like-minded individuals in communities around the nation and world. Some commit to taking part for a few minutes, an hour, or all day as they stand in the public right-of-way. Check with your Parish to learn what hours they have committed to 40 Days for Life, as many often commit to several days of prayer on the front lines.

Those interested in taking part in a local prayer vigil are encouraged to sign up in advance at www.40daysforlife.com (search for Fort Myers or Sarasota). While registration is encouraged, all are welcome to come for any amount of time they can to help save a life.

MORE INFORMATION

40 Days for Life Sept. 23-Nov. 1

Sarasota campaign details

When: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily,

Where: 736 Central Ave.;

Contact: Rich 40DFLSarasota@gmail.com

Fort Myers campaign details

When: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday;

Where: 6418 Commerce Park Drive;

Contact: Paula and Rick at 40DaysforLifeFM@gmail.com

Diocese Safe Environment program adjusts to changing times

With the onset of the global pandemic, the Diocese of Venice Safe Environment training has transitioned online as of Sept. 1, 2020.

Donna Foti, Diocese of Venice Safe Environment Manager, said that the pandemic sped up a process to transition from in-person classes to online training. This training program is for all active employees and volunteers and clergy through Virtus Online.

“Online training provides flexibility and a streamlined process which allows users to complete the training and receive certification prior to starting their service within the Diocese,” Foti explained.

The training modules are available in English and Spanish and users are directed by their Parish/School/entity to register in Virtus as part of their onboarding process.

As part of the Safe Environment Program, the Diocese of Venice requires that all employees and those volunteers who work with children and/or vulnerable adults be fingerprinted and trained in Safe Environment. Retraining and recertification is required every five years.

The Diocese of Venice is committed to providing a comprehensive program in an effort to protect the most vulnerable from abuse.

The mission of the Safe Environment Program is to provide education for all employees (clergy, religious and laity), those volunteers and others regularly working with minors, and parents, about the issue of abuse of children, including the detection, prevention and reporting of child abuse. In addition, the Safe Environment Program has a component which includes training sessions for children and young people in Catholic schools.

The Diocese annually undergoes a comprehensive audit by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection to ensure that the Diocese of Venice is in compliance with current directives.

For further information about the Diocesan Safe Environment Program, please visit the www.dioceseofvenice.org/safeenvironment.

Report any abuse against minors to the Florida Department of Children and Families at 800-962-2873. To report abuse by Diocesan personnel or volunteers also notify the Diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator, Susan Benton, at 941-416-6114.

News Briefs from the week of Sept. 18 2020

Verot student named National Merit Semifinalist

Congratulations to Bishop Verot Catholic High School senior Xavier Caangay who has been named a 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalist. This makes Caangay one of 16,000 students nationwide to be recognized among the 1.5 million juniors who entered the competition by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. Finalists are announced in the spring and have the opportunity to compete for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists.

Naples Catholic school recognized

St. Ann Catholic School has been selected for the 2020 Best of Naples Award in the Schools category by the Naples Award Program. This is the 2nd consecutive year the school has won the award. Each year, the Naples Award Program identifies entities that it believes have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local entities that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and the community. These exceptional companies help make the Naples area a great place to live, work, and play. The Naples Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Naples area.  Recognition is given to those entities that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value. The school was also the runner-up for best school in Collier County in Gulfshore Life magazine For more information on St. Ann Catholic School, please call 239-262-4110 or visit www.stann.net.

Teens consecrated to Jesus through Mary

Five teens from Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers were consecrated to Jesus through Mary on Aug. 16, 2020, after six weeks of learning about the lives of different saints. This consecration is part of 33 Days to Morning Glory. One teen said of the achievement: “The Marian Consecration has helped me, because Mary is like the voice in your head that steers you away from what’s wrong and gives you a road to what’s right. I also learned that when Mary is present in your life you can tell her all your worries knowing she is listening which gives me a sense of peace.”

 

7th season of Faith & Wine coming virtually in October

Faith & Wine is returning to Lee County with its first ever virtual event on Oct. 22, 2020 featuring Liz Larson, a nurse and parishioner at Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers, presenting “Lessons from Emma: A Walk in Faith.” Larson will share her life-changing experience following the devastating diagnosis of her unborn child. To learn more and to register, please visit www.faithandwineleecounty.com.

Eucharistic Adoration brings one closer to Christ

The First Friday of September was a spiritually emotional day for Bonnie Coyle as it was the first time since March that she participated in Eucharistic Adoration.

Coyle has been a devotee of adoration for many years, finding great comfort in spending quiet time with the Lord in addition to attending Mass. The COVID-19 Pandemic physically separated her, and many others, from the Lord for an extended period and this distressed her greatly.

“I love coming to Mass, but adoration has always been special for me,” Coyle explained. “I just never realized how special it was and how much I would miss it when it wasn’t available. I was worried about coming back for health reasons, so I stayed away even longer. But I am back, and I feel a great relief to again be able to quietly pray before the Lord!”

Coyle was not alone, as many stayed for adoration on Sept. 4, 2020 following the Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice.

While public Mass resumed in the Diocese of Venice in late May, adoration followed more slowly as Parishes figured out the best way to do so while still ensuring health and safety protocols were being followed.

Instead of taking place in the Parish Chapel, the Mass and adoration at Our Lady of Lourdes took place in the main Church, thus allowing the 100 or so present plenty of space to participate in both without concern.

The Blessed Sacrament is carried in the back of a pickup truck as part of a vehicle procession from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula to nearby Missions on Sept. 29, 2020 in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel.

At Parishes throughout the Diocese, the offering of Eucharistic Adoration has required some changes. Most parishes have designated days and times for adoration with many including the First Friday of each month. When possible, Parishes with small Adoration Chapels have created a reservation system for adorers.

The occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula during the ongoing Pandemic led to a unique celebration Aug. 29, 2020.

Parish Administrator Father Oscar Mendoza Moya led a procession of vehicles, while riding in the bed of a pickup truck with the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance. The procession went from the Parish to Holy Child Mission in Bowling Green, then on to San Alfonso Mission in Zolfo Springs, before returning to the Parish. At each location, Father Moya offered a special blessing. The celebration concluded with a Mass of Thanksgiving in the main Church.

Lucinda Perez described the entire evening as amazing. “What a beautiful way to honor Jesus Christ and celebrate the Adoration Chapel and for the Parish and Missions to come together.”

Bishop Frank J. Dewane encouraged the expansion and availability of Adoration in an Aug. 5, 2020 letter to the priests of the Diocese. “This will be of great help and consolation to the Faithful during these turbulent times, when the People of God long to be close to the Lord,” Bishop Dewane wrote.

Pope Francis is a strong proponent of participating in Eucharistic Adoration, describing it as a way of putting the Lord at the center of one’s life. The Holy Father includes adoration in many public celebrations. Most notably, on March 27, 2020 Pope Francis presided over the Eucharistic Adoration before he imparted the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing from outside St. Peter’s Basilica, before the empty square where he usually has the general audience.

Please contact your local Parish for the latest Eucharistic Adoration schedule.

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