Bishop extends dispensation into 2021

Below is a letter from Bishop Frank J. Dewane letter to faithful regarding extension of dispensation”

November 20, 2020

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King and Advent approaches, please accept my pastoral greetings and concern for you, the good Faithful in the Diocese of Venice. My prayer is that the preparation for the Lord’s coming in the Advent Season will enliven our hope in the promises of Christ.

Allow me to update you regarding Masses as the Covid-19 Pandemic continues to impact the Diocese and all of us. In my October 9, 2020 letter, it was said that the General Dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass would remain in effect until November 28, 2020, and perhaps longer. Considering the present circumstances of the virus spread, the General Dispensation is extended into the New Year and I will advise regarding its conclusion at a future date.

There are some optimistic signs and there are increasing numbers of the Faithful returning to Church for Sunday Mass. Also, there is greater weekday attendance. Please continue to make every reasonable effort to return to in-person worship if you are able. With gratitude, I acknowledge all who have returned and commend those who continue to join the live streaming of Mass due to vulnerabilities and those who care for them. Further, let us all keep in prayer our brothers and sisters who have had the virus and their families.

As Christmas and the New Year approach, it is crucial to maintain vigilance regarding safety precautions in Parishes.  This will necessitate scaling back special Feast Day celebrations and holiday related events.  Unfortunately, it cannot be as it was in the past. Particularly, I underscore the need for the wearing of masks, maintaining appropriate distances, as well as cleaning and sanitizing measures. Parishes have been encouraged to schedule more Masses for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day than is customary. Having additional Masses, perhaps at different times or in different locations (Parish hall or gymnasium), will safely accommodate the potential numbers of Faithful who may attend Mass for Christmas.

At this challenging time, let us be united in prayer as we journey through the Advent Season in preparation for the Birth of Our Lord and Savior.  Be assured of my prayers for you and your family!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Frank J. Dewane

Bishop of the Diocese of

Venice in Florida

Letter to Faithful from Bishop Dewane Oct. 16, 2020

Oct. 16, 2020

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On March 19, 2020, as the Covid-19 was beginning its impact in Florida, I dedicated a year to St. Joseph, Protector for the Faithful of the Diocese of Venice. God appointed St. Joseph the Guardian of the Word Incarnate. Hope in the truth that our prayers to St. Joseph during these days will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Like many moments in her History, Holy Mother Church now faces difficult challenges. However, the hard work of many Priests and Faithful alike have allowed our Parishes to weather these trying times with courage and zeal; and for this I am grateful.

Be assured, I continue to listen to public health data and hear from Priests and Parishioners about the experiences of our Parishes. The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass has been extended until Nov. 27, 2020, and depending on conditions, perhaps longer. At the same time, I wish to invite the Catholic Faithful who are able, to return to their Parish for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. How good it would be to see more join their fellow Parishioners who have already returned to Sunday Mass.

It is well known that there are immeasurable spiritual graces imparted when we participate in the Mass. Attending the Eucharist strengthens our Faith and Christian discipleship as the Holy Spirit empowers us to know, love, and serve God. The Blessed Sacrament is also a source of hope and unity for our Parishes, communities, country, and the world. Going forth from the Mass, be confident that you are true witnesses of Christ.

Certainly, Catholics who are ill or because of age or underlying health conditions are vulnerable, and those who care for them, should prudently remain home. Parishes will continue to livestream Masses for those who cannot attend in person.  However, as we have experienced during these days, hunger for the Eucharist is only genuinely satisfied when together as the Body of Christ, we draw close to the Real Presence of Our Lord and Savior.

The invitation to return in person for Sunday Mass is accompanied by the promise that safety protocols will continue. That is, masks are still required, and respect for distancing is needed, as well as cleanliness of hands and surfaces remain important.  Many have worked diligently to allow us to venture out to restaurants, stores, and other public events, so, too, we can safely return to our Parish and do what is most essential to Catholics, attend Sunday Mass.

Jesus promised to be with us when we gather in His name. Therefore, let us cherish the Lord’s Goodness and be fed with the Bread Come Down from Heaven. Please accept this “Pastoral Invitation” and prayerfully consider a return to Sunday Mass if you have not already done so. Your Priests look forward to welcoming you once again at the Table of the Lord.

Through St.  Joseph’s intercession, I pray that God will bless you and your family. Let us remain united in prayer, lifting up each other’s needs to the Heavenly Father.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Frank J. Dewane

Bishop of the Diocese of

Venice in Florida

 

Updated Diocese prayers and resources during the Pandemic

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, 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

Bishop Frank J. Dewane raises the host during the Mass at St. Ann Parish in Naples in January, 2020.

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.

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/.

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.

Aug. 26, 2020 Letter from Bishop Dewane

August 26, 2020

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

During the month of September, as Holy Mother Church devotionally commemorates Our Lady of Sorrows, allow me to express my ongoing concern for the wellbeing of the Faithful of the Diocese of Venice. Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may you and your family be uplifted in hope as together we face the challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Subtle signs of hope are emerging. For example, our Catholic Schools were able to open. The Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese have done commendable work in promoting safety. As a result, Church attendance is gradually Improving. More of the Faithful, feeling the urgent need for the Holy Eucharist, have decided it is safe to return to worship in person. With your fellow citizens, you are adjusting to safety measures as you shop, return to restaurants, and resume much of your normal activities. Data about the Coronavirus, while not indicating the threat is over, appears to be slowly moving in a positive direction.

There is still a need to protect those most at risk, persons in convalescent homes or with serious health conditions as well as the elderly. For this reason, after consultation, the dispensation given to all the Faithful, from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass, will be extended in the Diocese of Venice until All Saints Day, November 1, 2020. Also, live streaming of the Mass will continue during this time.

The continuation of this extraordinary measure allows those who are sick to feel comfortable staying home as well as helps the vulnerable avoid the risk of larger gatherings. It is hoped that those who are healthy and involved in other activities while observing the necessary precautions will, despite the dispensation, return to their Parishes for Sunday Mass. Our Parishes are safely celebrating the Holy Eucharist with a congregation. If necessary. Parishes could adjust Mass schedules to allow for the observance of COVID-19 protocols and safely accommodate those who wish to attend Sunday Mass. As Catholics, our worship is not an individual exercise. Rather, it is the way of experiencing communion with God and unity with our brothers and sisters.

Please remember the importance of being united in prayer. Your prayers bring needed comfort to those affected by COVID-19 and inspire you to practice the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love. Through prayer we manifest empathy and show solidarity with all who are engaged in a physical or spiritual battle with the Coronavirus.

Your understanding and cooperation in these matters has been greatly appreciated. Let us continue to remain safe, observe the protocols about face-coverings, carefully wash hands, and maintain safe distances. In addition, you are encouraged to extend a helping hand to your neighbors in need of hope or healing. No doubt, there are challenging times ahead. Still, we can face these days with faith and courage because Our Lord is with us, and Our Lady and the Saints intercede for us.

Be assured of my prayer for the wellbeing of the Faithful, as well as the prayers of our Priests. May God bless and protect you and your family.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Frank J. Dewane

Bishop of the Diocese of

Venice in Florida

Bishop extends dispensation for Mass through Sept. 1, 2020

Encourages all continue to wear masks, follow safety guidelines

The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass has been extended through at least Sept. 1, 2020 due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic. At the same time Bishop Frank J. Dewane continues to thank the Faithful of the Diocese for following health and safety guidelines by the wearing of face coverings and maintaining social distancing.

This announcement was made by Bishop Dewane in a June 26, 2020 letter to the Faithful. “Catholics are encouraged to stay at home if ill or are not comfortable returning to public gatherings for the celebration of Mass.”

The decision, Bishop Dewane wrote, comes after consultation with priests of the Diocese and the decisions addressed will allow everyone to remain focused on the health and well-being of the Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese, as well as those in the larger community, as we move forward. (Visit www.dioceseofvenice.org to read the Bishop’s letter.)

The decisions were also based on the reality that while restrictions due to the Pandemic have been somewhat lessened and, at the same time, confirmed cases are on the rise in Florida.

“The Faithful of the Diocese of Venice are to be commended for their cooperation and compassion during these difficult times. We are all in this together, and your support and assistance are needed and deeply appreciated,” the letter states.

The letter also addresses the use of face coverings during Mass, which remains an essential part of the protocols for remaining open.

While the wearing or not wearing of masks has become a political statement for some, the letter states, “face coverings are essential because of the guidance that wearing a mask lessens the likelihood of transmission of the virus. Therefore, I ask for your cooperation in wearing masks, particularly at Mass and any public gathering at your Parish. Please consider the use of face coverings a mandatory step taken in genuine concern for the well-being of our brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Lastly, the letter notes that Pastors/Administrators have been asked to use their discretion as to whether small groups who are gathering for prayer or to coordinate ministries may meet safely while at the same time ensuring that guidance for face coverings and social distancing be observed.

However, the letter continues that it is not yet time for large groups to assemble for social or fraternal purposes to meet safely.

“Let us remember the importance of prayer for those who are affected by the Coronavirus and for a quick end to the threat associated with the virus. Be assured that Our Merciful Father hears and answers our prayers.”

Bishop Dewane concluded the letter expressing his empathy with the difficulties being experienced by everyone during these uncertain times, but to always remember to stand united to safeguard the well-being of all, including the larger community.

Prayer needed in time of crisis: Diocese of Venice responds to COVID-19 Pandemic

In this time of challenge Bishop Frank J. Dewane calls on every person to turn toward prayer as the Diocese, state, nation and world continue to face an uncertain future which bring unique difficulties during the ongoing pandemic.

“As Catholics, we trust in the power of prayer, God’s Hope and Mercy,” Bishop Dewane said. “Please join me is praying for those that have lost loved ones to this virus and may God console them and grant them peace. We also pray for the sick, caretakers, medical providers and all those impacted by this pandemic in different ways. When we unite for a common good, we can overcome fear and courageously face the challenges in the days ahead.”

Bishop Dewane, working in consultation with clergy and other Diocesan leadership are meeting daily in response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

“Rest assured that together with our Priests and Diocesan Staff, I have been closely monitoring developments regarding the threat posed by the Coronavirus, particularly for the most vulnerable among us,” Bishop Dewane said. “

After consultation, on March 14 the Bishop issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass to all the Catholic Faithful until further notice. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist, for now, will continue in our churches with the necessary precautions.

All the Catholic Faithful are asked to observe the Lord’s Day with reverence and in spiritual communion with one another, whether you attend Mass or not during this time. The Diocese of Venice offers a Sunday Televised Mass throughout the Diocese at www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass. (Additional information is location below about the Televised Mass and other ways to stay connected to your Faith while home.)

A special Coronavirus webpage has been created for your easy reference. Located on the Diocese of Venice website homepage at www.dioceseofvenice.org. It will be updated throughout this crisis providing the latest communications from the Diocese to the Faithful including letters or notices from Bishop Dewane, as well as resources to assist in your prayer and spiritual life.

The following additional precautions are effective immediately throughout the Diocese of Venice:

  • Classes are suspended in all Catholic Schools within the Diocese of Venice until at least March 30.
  • All Parish Religious Education and Youth activities are suspended until at least March 30.
  • Parish events are postponed or canceled through at least March 30.
  • Parish and Diocesan offices will remain open during this time.

The Diocese continues to closely monitor the situation and will issue updates as appropriate on the Diocesan website.

Additional precautions have been taken or will be implemented by the weekend of March 21-22. They include:

  • All missals and other printed material that may be handled by parishioners is to be removed.
  • Collection baskets are being retrofitted to include a handle for the ushers to use and will eliminate the need to pass the basket from person to person. Where this is not possible, central collection points are being designated.
  • The doors to Churches are being propped or held open by greeters before and after Mass so as to diminish the number of people touching the handles.
  • Extensive handwashing and parish cleaning guidelines have been shared with all parishes.

Previous guidelines implemented in February include:

  • Communion from the Chalice has been temporarily suspended in Parishes of the Diocese of Venice until further notice.
  • The Faithful should avoid the shaking of hands or making physical contact during the time designated for the Sign of Peace. A verbal indication of peace or a bow of the head to one another is sufficient. Further, please recall that the Sign of Peace is an OPTIONAL PRACTICE in the Liturgy which may be omitted.
  • There should be no holding of hands during the recitation of the Our Father.
  • Holy Water fonts are emptied. However, a dispenser with a spigot will be provided to allow the Faith to take Holy Water home, therefore allowing continued access to this important Sacramental. In the absence of Holy Water fonts, the Faithful may be encouraged simply to make the Sign of the Cross as they enter the Church.
  • The Faithful are encouraged to receive communion in the hand during this period. Please remember that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal indicates, “The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant” (160).

Please note that because of the specific risk facing clergy and Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Communion, separate guidelines have gone out to all parishes regarding procedures for distribution of Holy Communion in the Church as well as making visits to those at home or in hospitals.

Resources online

As mentioned earlier, a special Coronavirus webpage is located on the Diocese of Venice website homepage.

Resources include the prayer for Act of the Spiritual Communion, videos of the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Pray the Rosary by following the links for the Diocese response to Coronavirus included on the Diocese homepage.  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org, also posts the daily Mass readings.

Additionally, Magnificat is offering the online version of this devotional at https://us.magnificat.net/free.

As noted, during this time when many are unable to attend Mass, the Televised Mass for the Homebound is available throughout the Diocese each Sunday and on the Diocese of Venice website at www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass.

In northern parts of the Diocese (Manatee, Highlands, Charlotte, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties) the Mass airs 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).

Please check local listings for channel info. Leaflet missals are available upon request by writing to TV Mass, Diocese of Venice, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285. Or contact Gail Ardy at 941-486-4714, ardy@dioceseofvenice.org.

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