Paschal Triduum celebrated throughout the Diocese

Thousands of the faithful of the Diocese of Venice gathered at Parishes throughout the Diocese of Venice for a celebration of the Paschal Triduum (April 6-9, 2023).

The Paschal Triduum of the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Thursday), has its center in the Easter Vigil, and closes with Vespers (Evening Prayer) of the Sunday of the Resurrection (Easter).

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper at St. Paul Parish included the commemoration when Jesus Christ established the Sacrament of Holy Communion prior to His arrest and crucifixion. It also observes His institution of the priesthood. This Liturgy included the presentation of the oils blessed and consecrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane during the April 12 Chrism Mass, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, which will be used for the Sacraments in the Parish throughout the year.  Later was the traditional washing of the feet, reenacting Jesus washing the feet of the Disciples. Following the Prayer after Communion, the Mass concluded with a procession to transfer the Holy Eucharist to a place of repose. This action left the tabernacle vacant until the Easter Vigil.

On Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion, the faithful at St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs participated in the Liturgy which included the reading of the Passion from the Gospel of John. Next was the presentation of the cross, brought forth by the priest and unveiled as the priest sang: “This is the wood of the cross, on which hung the salvation of the world,” and the congregation responded: “Come let us adore.” The faithful were then encouraged to come forward to venerate the cross. This was done by either touching, bowing, or genuflecting.

Either prior to, or after, the Good Friday Liturgy, many Parishes hosted the Stations of the Cross, sometimes led by children or including a dramatic retelling. For example, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Immokalee, the Living Stations began in a field behind the Parish church, and then travelled through the neighborhood as thousands participated. The Stations were inclusive to include the languages of the Parish (Spanish, English and Creole). By the time the procession returned to the Parish the crowd had swelled into the thousands.

Earlier on Good Friday, representatives from several Parishes in Sarasota County took part in the Sarasota Ministerial Association’s annual Good Friday Pilgrimage of the Stations of the Cross in downtown Sarasota. Representatives from 28 different congregations from 14 different denominations were present for the procession, which included approximately 900.

On Holy Saturday, the only Mass of the day is the Easter Vigil, which begins in darkness. However, several Parishes did host a blessing of the Easter baskets/food. This custom traditionally blesses food to be consumed at the first meal of Easter.

During the Easter Vigil, the Paschal Candle was lit and catechumens and candidates received the Sacraments and entered fully into the Catholic Faith. This year, a record 567 did so throughout the Diocese.

Bishop Dewane celebrated the Liturgy at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. The Liturgy begins in darkness when a fire was lighted and Paschal Candle lit. The candle was then brought forward as the Deacon proclaimed “Christ, Our Light” three times. Starting from the main candle, the flames were shared person to person, lighting the interior of the Cathedral. Next was the Easter Proclamation, also known as the Exsultet, sung in darkness.

After the Exsultet, was the Liturgy of the Word, which included a number of readings from Genesis into the New Testament. The third part was the Baptismal Liturgy during which eligible Catechumens were baptized (216 throughout the Diocese) or a Profession of Faith (for candidates, those who were previously baptized but were entering fully into the Church, with 351 in the Diocese) for receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Prior to the Confirmation, the Bishop blessed the holy water (removed after the Holy Thursday Mass), and after the faithful renewed their baptismal promises, they were blessed with holy water. At the Cathedral there were five candidates who came forward for their Confirmation. The Mass then continued as normal with the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

On Easter Sunday, several Parishes celebrated Mass at sunrise while extra Masses were added to accommodate the increased numbers common for this holiest of days.

Many Parishes also hosted fun for children which often included Easter egg hunts either on the Saturday or following a Children’s Liturgy on Sunday.

News Briefs for the Week of April 7, 2023

Bishop Lenten school Masses come to an end

Bishop Frank J. Dewane concluded March with the last of 15 Masses for students at Diocesan Catholic schools. The Bishop’s message throughout Lent was to use the three pillars of the Season (prayer, fasting and almsgiving) as a basis for having a productive Lent. As the Season drew to a close, the Bishop encouraged the students to finish their Lenten Season strong in anticipation of the Resurrection on Easter. The final three school Masses took place at St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton on March 30, 2023, at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice and Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota, both on March 31. Bishop Dewane celebrates Mass for students at each Diocesan Catholic school at least twice a year, usually at the start of the academic year (August and September) and then during Lent. The Bishop also celebrates Masses at schools on other special occasions when his schedule allows.

Palm Sunday marked throughout Diocese

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord marks the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem and starts the events which are marked throughout Holy Week which include the Lord’s crucifixion and Resurrection on Easter. Father Robert Tatman, Parochial Vicar at St. Jude Parish Sarasota, opened the Vigil Mass with the reading of the Gospel of Matthew (21: 1-11), prior to the blessing and procession with palms. This scene was repeated at Parishes throughout the Universal Church, with options to process from another location into the church, to start in the narthex of the church, or a simple opening with a blessing of palms and opening procession. The Mass includes the Passion of the Lord, also from the Gospel of Matthew (26:14-27:66 or 27:11-54).

Several Diocesan schools host Galas

Three Diocesan Catholic schools recently held their respective Galas, each serving as a celebration promoting the benefits of a Catholic education. The Incarnation Catholic School “Through the Years Gala” was March 30, 2023, at The Field Club in Sarasota. Honored during the evening was Sister Monica Paul Fraser, OP, former longtime Incarnation principal who continues to serve the school and Parish community. St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples hosted its annual Broadway Lights Gala & Auction on April 1, at The Players Club & Spa. Bishop Frank J. Dewane was present for this event which also featured a sampling of the first ever school musical “Godspell.” St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton hosted its own “A Night of the Red Carpet” event, also April 1, at The Celebration of Life Center in Lakewood Ranch. The evening highlighted the school’s performing arts program and focused on the fundraising for the north campus improvement project.

High school hosts “Easter Egg Hunt”

Pre-kindergarten students from St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers and St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral converged on Bishop Verot Catholic High School for the annual Easter Egg Hunt on March 31, 2023, in Fort Myers. The eager young students were greeted by an Easter bunny and they first gathered in prayer before enjoying coloring, as well as fun and games. The highlight, of course, was the mad scramble during the Easter Egg Hunt which took place on the football field.

Battle of robots in Naples

The “1st Annual Battle of the (Ro)Bots” took place during an assembly at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples on April 4, 2023.  The Neumann Robotics class has worked tirelessly to build, configure and battle for the top spots on the school leaderboard for the year. The “Battle of the (Ro)Bots” challenge determined which teams will be going to compete in the Diocesan Lions Cup Challenge on April 22 in Fort Myers. The winner was Los Robotos Hermanos.

Paschal Triduum celebrated throughout the Diocese

Faithful gathered at Parishes throughout the Diocese of Venice for a celebration of the Paschal Triduum (April 14-17, 2022).

The Paschal Triduum of the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Thursday), has its center in the Easter Vigil, and closes with Vespers (Evening Prayer) of the Sunday of the Resurrection (Easter).

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper at St. Catherine Parish in Sebring included the commemoration when Jesus Christ established the Sacrament of Holy Communion prior to His arrest and crucifixion. It also observes His institution of the priesthood. This Liturgy included the presentation of the oils blessed and consecrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane during the April 12 Chrism Mass, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, which will be used for the Sacraments in the Parish throughout the year.  Later was the traditional washing of the feet, reenacting Jesus washing the feet of the Disciples. Following the Prayer after Communion, the Mass concluded with a procession to transfer the Holy Eucharist to the place of repose in the Parish Hall. This procession led out the main doors of the church and to the hall. This action left the tabernacle vacant until the Easter Vigil.

On Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion, the faithful at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples participated in the Liturgy which included the reading of the Passion from the Gospel of John. Next was the presentation of the cross, brought forth by the priest and unveiled as the priest sang: “This is the wood of the cross, on which hung the salvation of the world,” and the congregation responded: “Come let us adore.” The faithful were then encouraged to come forward to venerate the cross. This was done by either touching, bowing, or genuflecting.

Either prior to, or after, the Good Friday Liturgy, many Parishes hosted the Stations of the Cross, sometimes led by children or including a dramatic retelling. (See related story on Page 3.).

On Holy Saturday, the only Mass of the day is the Easter Vigil, which begins in darkness. However, several Parishes did host a blessing of the Easter Baskets/food. This custom traditionally blesses food to be consumed at the first meal of Easter.

During the Easter Vigil, the Paschal Candle was lit and catechumens and candidates received the Sacraments and entered fully into the Catholic Faith. This year 397 did so throughout the Diocese.

On Easter Sunday, several Parishes celebrated Mass at sunrise while all added extra Masses to accommodate the increased numbers common for this holiest of days.

Many Parishes also hosted fun for children which often included Easter Egg hunts.

St. Michael Parish in Wauchula hosted their Easter Festival after the final Easter Sunday Mass. There, hundreds of plastic eggs with goodies were scattered across the lawn for eager children to pluck up, while 300 Easter baskets filled with donated items were distributed to families.

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