Retreat Center Shrine dedication June 6

The newly completed Shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Help will be dedicated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane at 11:30 a.m., June 6, 2021 at the Retreat Center, 3989 S. Moon Drive, Venice.

The dedication will be followed by a barbecue lunch. All are invited to attend this special event in the life of the Diocese of Venice. However, space is limited and RSVP for the dedication is required via the website at https://olph-retreat.org/shrine-dedication-bbq or by calling 941-486-0233. There is no cost to attend, however donations are appreciated.

The Shrine memorializes Redemptorist Father Charlie Mallen, the founding director of the Retreat Center, known by most as OLPH, and is next to the Bell Tower, along a path which leads in one direction to nearby St. Joseph Chapel and in the other direction to the outdoor Stations of the Cross.

Father Mark Yavarone, OVM, Retreat Center Director of Spirituality, explained that the lake at the center of our property is called the Lake of the Blessed Sacrament, chosen by Father Mallen because he knew that the Eucharist was the center of the activity of the Church and the Retreat Center.

“The Blessed Sacrament, reserved in two places at our center, continues to be our retreatants’ favorite prayer setting,” Father Yavarone said.  “It is fitting to have the beautiful Shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Help close to the chapel and facing the Lake of the Blessed Sacrament.  This location speaks of the closeness of Mary to Jesus in the Eucharist.  At the back of the statue of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the crucifix and the plaque memorializing Father Charlie complete the shrine beautifully.

Sometimes we need to go to Mary in a very tangible way, and the new outdoor shrine affords this opportunity.  Also, many of our retreatants have a strong sense that God speaks through nature, and they like to pray outdoors, particularly during good weather.  We see many retreatants stopping at the shrine and briefly visiting Mary; many also pray there for longer periods of time.”

The main feature of the Shrine, the monument, is made of 15,000 pounds of Oolitic limestone. In a niche is a one-ton marble statue of Our Lady of Perpetual Help as the centerpiece with a small waterfall at Mary’s feet which is lit at night to striking effect. The reverse side of the limestone has a crucifix. Several Italian cypress trees produce a vaulted cathedral effect. Limestone was used to create a series of benches, each weighing two-tons. The stairs and floor of the Shrine are made of keystone, and the ramp access is made of travertine.

OLPH sits along the Myakka River and is the main retreat center for the Diocese of Venice.  The groundbreaking took place in 1995, with the first buildings opening later in the year. The site includes a conference center, villas for overnight guests, a dining center and chapel. In addition to the seven buildings on-site, retreatants have the opportunity to spend time enjoying the beautiful grounds which include the Way of the Cross, the Rosary Walk and the prayer decks located along the riverbank.

OLPH offers a variety of opportunities for people seeking solace and prayer. The public is welcome to visit the grounds during the week and there are Monthly Days of Prayer.  The center also offers group retreats of a few days duration that are open to the public. There are also one-on-one retreats that last one, three, five, eight, or 30 days.  These include lots of time for prayer and reflection, daily meetings with a priest, and availability of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Mass is also celebrated daily with all of these retreats, usually at 11:15 a.m. The schedule for retreats can be found by visiting www.olph-retreat.org, and clicking on “Schedule of Events.”

Built of Living Stones – New Church Dedicated in Arcadia

A Church building, dating from the ancient times, has been given the name – the Temple of the Lord. Because of this, a Dedication of a new Parish Church permanently makes the building a Sacred and Holy place where the faithful come to hear the Word of God, to pray together, to celebrate and receive the Sacraments, and to most precisely celebrate the Eucharist at the Table of the Lord.

The Church, as a building, is destined solely and permanently for the gathering of the faithful to give Glory and Praise to God, Bishop Frank J. Dewane stressed when he dedicated the new St. Paul Parish Church during a Mass on March 21, 2021 in Arcadia before a joyous assemblage.

While the Church is a visible building, Bishop Dewane said it is nothing without the faith-filled people of Arcadia. “You are the ‘living stones.’ You are the why we build this Church – to come to gather as a community to adore Christ… It fills my heart with joy to see so many here for this important moment.”

Fittingly, the dedication began in the old church, which lies a short distance to the west of the new worship space and was built more than 50 years ago. Present for the dedication were Father Pablo Ruani, IVE, Administrator of St. Paul Parish, and Father Remigious Ssekiranda, Parochial Vicar.  In addition, also present were Father Jose Gonzalez, Dean of the Eastern Deanery and Pastor of St. Catherine Parish in Sebring, as well as several priests who previously served at St. Paul and others serving in the Deanery.

Bishop Dewane began the Rite by proclaiming: “Beloved brothers and sisters, we have gathered with joy to dedicate a new church by celebrating the Lord’s Sacrifice. Let us take part in these sacred rites with loving devotion, listening to the Word of God with faith, so that our community, reborn from the one font of Baptism and nourished at the same table, may grow into a spiritual temple and, brought together at one altar, may advance in the love from on high.”

Led by the cross bearer, the priests and Bishop then processed from the old church to the front doors of the new church. Accompanying the procession were members of the Parish youth group dressed in festive Mexican garb as they led the singing of a chant. Once at the new church, the building was symbolically handed over to the Bishop and he said: “Enter the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving, his courts with songs of praise.” Father Ruani then opened the door.

The next part of the Rite began with the opening process and with Bishop arriving in the sanctuary and blessing of the water. Then he, along with Father Ruani, blessed the people with Holy Water as a symbol of the spiritual Temple of the Lord so as to recall their Baptismal promises. This was followed by the sprinkling of the walls of the Church, marking the Church as a holy place from that day forward – before finally blessing the altar and the sanctuary.

During his homily, Bishop Dewane emphasized the importance behind the new church by citing the Gospel of Matthew (16:13-19), which was proclaimed during the Mass. In Matthew, Jesus questions the disciples about who other people say He is. When their answers were unsatisfactory or seem to fall short, Jesus challenges Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” The Bishop noted that each one of those present is called to answer that question by the life that they live.

“Here in Arcadia, we set about to build this new Church to assist everyone in answering that question,” Bishop Dewane continued. “It is not just for the Fathers to answer it, or for those who are here often…  We put up this Church so that no one will have the chance to say: ‘Let someone else enter there.’ Let it be – in this Church of St. Paul – where everyone begins their response to the Lord, the question of ‘Who do you say that I am?’ and they end with their response by carrying the Lord with them throughout their daily life.”

After the homily, as part of the Rite, the Litany of Saints replaced the general intercessions, and was the followed by the placing in the altar a relic of St. Juan Diego.

Bishop Dewane then gave the Prayer of Dedication, which was followed by the anointing, when he spread Sacred Chrism Oil – blessed at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week – first on the altar and then in the sign of the cross at four points on the walls of the Church. This is done to mark, through sacred designation, the altar and Church. Next was the incensation, symbolic of the “prayers rising up to the Lord, not just for today, but for generations to come” of the altar and then of the nave of the Church.

The formal lighting of the altar and the Church began with the Bishop presenting Father Ruani with a lighted candle, who then proceeded to light the candles on the newly anointed altar while the lights of the building were turned on. With the Rite concluded and the altar prepared, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass continued.

Bishop Dewane thanked the many people who worked behind the scenes in getting the new church ready and open and acknowledged the local dignitaries from Arcadia who were present. After the Mass, there was a celebratory reception.

Leticia Flores said she cried during the Mass of Dedication, noting how beautiful the new worship space is and how important this day is for the Parish community. Following the Mass, she stayed with her family in the Church to not only pray but to admire the beautiful worship space.

“What a wonderful day,” Flores said. “Bishop Dewane has blessed this community with this new church. We are so grateful. Incredible!”

Manuel Rojas has only been at St. Paul for two years, but said he was in shock when he entered the new church and saw its massive size and bright interior.

“Stunning!” Rojas said while examining the altar which is flanked by statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Paul. “You could fit several of our old churches in here. It is the perfect place to pray and worship to Our Lord.”

The new Church addresses the Pastoral needs of the growing and vibrant multicultural community and greatly increases the seating capacity from the existing worship space. The new Church was previously a supermarket and the necessary liturgical and canonical features were included in the redesign. The front façade is in a traditional style that borrows from Spanish Mission Revival archetypes. The central entrance features fusion glass windows with a rose window above the triple arched entrance. On the roofline is a large cross as well as 11-foot-tall bronze statues of St. Paul and St. Peter. Baker Liturgical Arts, LLC of Plantsville, Connecticut, was the contractor; Prime Design Professional was the architect and engineer.

The remaining space at the new location will be improved in the coming years to eventually accommodate the Parish offices, space for religious education instruction, as well as a Parish Hall.

St. Paul Parish has a rich history in Arcadia that dates back to the 1880s. The first permanent priest arrived in 1910 and the first Church was built in 1915. St. Paul was canonically erected as a Parish on July 25, 1958 in the Diocese of St. Augustine which then covered the entire state of Florida. Currently, St. Paul serves more than 3,100 individuals and 600 families.

As necessitated by the Pandemic, the number of people inside the church for the dedication and blessing was limited to ensure appropriate social distancing.

Naples Parish Life Center dedicated and blessed

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

3/29/19

The new Pulte Family Life Center at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples was dedicated and blessed by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on March 16.

The building is dedicated to the memory of Bill Pulte, a builder of homes who passed away in 2018. Representatives of the Pulte family were present for the ceremony and led the ribbon-cutting.

Bob Pulte, Bill’s son, said the legacy left behind by the Family Life Center is something the Parish community will use and enjoy for years to come. “Please know what this place and this community meant to my father,” Bob Pulte said.

Bishop Dewane described the Pulte Family Life Center as a place where all will come to know the presence of Christ, to experience friendship and joy, and to grow in Christ’s love.

Following the dedication ceremony, the Bishop, joined by St. John the Evangelist Parish Pastor Father Tomasz Zalewski, blessed the building with holy water.

The Center is 29,277 square-feet and encompasses a café, two fitness rooms, a gym with courts for basketball, volleyball and more, as well as a community room that can be subdivided. In addition, there are offices and maintenance areas. There is also a playground and two bocce ball courts. The front lobby has a large cross and a quote from St. Ignatius of Loyola: “Teach us to give and not count the cost.” The facility was designed by Studio+ Architects and the construction done by Gates Construction.

This new space is home to the growing Catholic Youth Organization – which focuses on engaging younger parishioners; and the new Catholic Adult Organization which is a set of programs to enrich and engage every age of adult, from 18 to 118, in body, mind, soul, and spirit.

Following the blessing, the Bishop celebrated the Mass in the gym, which is serving as a temporary overflow worship space while hurricane repairs on the Parish Church continue.

New Church Dedicated and Blessed in Lakewood Ranch

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Richard and Monica Rice have been going to Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch since Mass was held in a nearby Lutheran Church where just a few dozen people initially attended.

Those days are long in the past as the Parish now has 5,133 individuals and 1,946 families. To accommodate the growth, a new 21,060-square-foot Parish Church was built and on April 22 Bishop Frank J. Dewane dedicated and blessed the people and the building, proclaiming it to be a sacred space from this day forward.

The Rice’s, and many others, were impressed by the Dedication Mass itself which has many parts that are unique and rich with tradition. “It was beautiful,” Monica Rice said. “It was really emotional at times. To have the Bishop come here for this was a special blessing. It is truly wonderful for the whole Parish Community.”

Bishop Dewane explained that a Church dedication and blessing has many parts the purpose of which is to solely and permanently dedicate the building as a sacred space. However, the more important part of a Church is the people who worship there. “I have a distinct advantage point to see the true beauty of this church today,” the Bishop said from the altar. “I don’t have to look up, but it’s right in front of me. It’s here. It’s all of you.”

The Bishop also noted that several hundred people were watching the Mass from the former church. “You simply outgrew it. And that’s a good thing!”

At the conclusion of the dedication and blessing, Parish Administrator Father Scheip, who has been at the Parish since early 2017, proclaimed: “Bishop we made it!” Father thanked the many people who were involved in the vision and contributions necessary in making the new Church possible. He also made a special point of joy to note that the Mass was the first time the parish had kneelers and everyone knelt.

“This is just the beginning. This is all for you. Priests come and go. Bishops come and go. But the people of God remain faithful and steadfast,” Father Scheip said.

The memory of previous Administrator Father Dan Smith, who died in 2016, was present throughout, as major aspects of the design of the Church were part of his vision. In addition, the chalice used during the consecration was Father Smith’s personal chalice.

The Dedication of a Church was done as part of a Mass and began with a procession from the former church to the new building of concelebrating priests, escorted by the Color Corps of the Knights of Columbus. Gathering outside of the Church, the Rite began with prayer and a hymn. Parish representatives then presented the Bishop with a certificate of dedication, copies of the architectural plans, and a ceremonial key.

The Bishop then said: “Go within His gates giving thanks, enter His courts with songs of praise.” The opening procession then began. Once inside, the next part of the Rite included the Bishop blessing the water in the Baptismal Font and then he, along with Father Scheip and Parochial Vicar John Haong, blessed the people with Holy Water as they are the spiritual temple of the Lord and so as to recall their Baptismal promises and repentance. This was followed by the sprinkling of the walls of the Church, marking the Church as a holy place from that day forward — before finally blessing the altar and the sanctuary.

The Mass then proceeded with some minor adjustments, such as the Litany of Saints replacing the general intercessions. Following the Litany, the rites of anointing, incensing, covering and lighting the altar followed. During the anointing, Bishop Dewane spread Sacred Chrism Oil – blessed at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week – first on the altar and then in the sign of the cross at four points on the walls of the Church. This is done to provide a sacred designation for the altar and Church. Next was the incensation of the altar to signify Christ’s sacrifice, and then of the nave of the Church and of the people throughout symbolizing “prayers rising up to the Lord.”

The new Church has a seating capacity for 1,074 people, doubling the seating capacity from the previous worship space, where weekly Masses have been held. The cruciform design comprises a hybrid pre-engineered steel building frame with a steel roof, and concrete masonry structural walls with cementitious stucco finish system and aluminum window systems.

The exterior design style borrows from Italian Renaissance and Spanish Mission Revival archetypes. There are prominent gold domed towers and central gold domed cupola with a cross frame central entrance gable. Both an interior and exterior focal point is a 11-foot 4-inch diameter rose window of Our Lady of the Angels, the patroness of the Parish, the beauty of which drew a great deal praise. It is located above a triple arched entrance canopy. Another lovely element is an oculus between the narthex and the nave which offer views of the rose window at the exterior wall. The church design features 68 exterior windows, which will soon display colorful stained glass.

Located on the west side of the Church, there is a Daily Mass Chapel, which will seat an additional 194 people. To preserve the history of Parish, all the Sanctuary items from the now Parish Hall, which has previously served as the worship space, will be placed in the Daily Mass Chapel, including the altar, tabernacle, cross, presider and assistant chairs, along with statue of Our Blessed Mother, as well as 18 of the stained-glass panels. On the south side of the Church is Adoration Chapel which will accommodate 30. The multipurpose building used as the church will now become the Parish Hall and undergo future renovations to include the installation of a new kitchen.

All construction was respectful of the natural habitat of the eagle’s nest, which made its home on Church property several years ago. There is a permanent 100’ protection zone around the nest, which was in place during construction of the new Church and required monitoring and certain restrictions to construction times.

McIntyre, Elwell & Strammer, of Sarasota, is the contractor, George F. Young, Inc., of Lakewood Ranch, is the civil engineer. The architect is parishioner John J. Holz of Plunket Rayisch Architects, LLP, of Sarasota.

Our Lady of the Angels Parish was first established in 1999 as a Mission Church of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish was led by Third Order Regular Franciscan priests sharing worship space with a nearby Lutheran Church. The original church was opened in 2003 and has more than doubled the number of registered families in the past 10 years.

Ray and Robbie Phaneuf have been parishioners for four years and are impressed with the new Church, pleased that the hard work has paid off. “What a special day,” Ray said. “This has been a long time coming. With so many people moving to the area, we were crammed into the old church,” Robbie said. “Now we have a big open space to worship. Just perfect.”

Two of the newest parishioners, Julia Barreda and Kellen Braren, parishioners for just a few months, are excited to see the new Church. The couple is engaged to be married next February and Julia even remarked that the new Church is so beautiful that little will need to be done for the wedding. “It is already so wonderful. I don’t know if I would change anything.”

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