Diocese Principal’s Corner

Dr. Benjamin H. Moore, Ed.D. – Superintendent of Catholic Education

Every family has the fundamental right to choose the best school for their child. I am thrilled and humbled to welcome over 4,500 students whose families have made Catholic education their choice when the 2019-2020 school year begins on August 12.

The start of the school year is a time of excitement, hope, perhaps some anxiety, and always an opportunity for new beginnings. This school year we are introducing the “Principal’s Corner” to highlight the wonderful things happening in all our schools.

Each issue of the “Principal’s Corner” will focus on the unique attributes and accomplishments of one of our schools and offer readers the opportunity to learn more about how our schools pursue our mission of educating the whole child – mind, body, and spirit. The fifteen schools of the Diocese of Venice are vibrant faith communities where academic rigor is infused with Catholic values, teachings, and traditions.

Our goal is to prepare our students for a life of service to family, community, and Christ. Beyond academic excellence, athletic and extra-curricular success, accreditation and accolades Catholic schools continue traditions of discipline and reverence. The school’s partner with parents, as the primary educators of their children, to instill character and promote respect for oneself and others. Through the support of generous donors, multiple state scholarship programs, and a variety of financial resources a Catholic education remains an accessible and affordable option.

Throughout this school year, I invite you to continue to check on the “Principal’s Corner,” or take the opportunity to schedule a visit at one of schools and learn more about the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Venice. I wish all of our students, parents, administrators, faculty and staff a blessed and successful 2019-2020 school year.

From the Principal’s Corner:

Mr. Michael Buskirk – St. Ann Catholic School, Naples

Mrs. Coleen Curlett – Incarnation Catholic School, Sarasota

Dr. Denny Denison – Bishop Verot High School, Fort Myers

Dr. Dan Guernsey – Rhodora J. Donahue Academy, Ave Maria

Mr. John Gulley – St. Francis Xavier Catholic School, Fort Myers

Mrs. M.C. Heffner – Epiphany Cathedral School, Venice

Mr. Ben Hopper – Cardinal Mooney High School, Sarasota

Mrs. Nicole Loseto – St. Catherine Catholic School, Sebring

Mr. David Nelson – St. Andrew Catholic School, Coral Gables

Mrs. Maria Niebuhr – St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School, Naples

Mrs. Tonya Peters – St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, Port Charlotte

Mrs. Rebecca Reynolds – St. Mary Academy, Sarasota

Sister Patricia Roche, Salesian Sister of St. John Bosco – St. John Neumann High School, Naples

Ms. Deborah Suddarth – St. Joseph Catholic School, Bradenton

Mrs. Siobhan Young – St. Martha Catholic School, Sarasota

 

New Curriculum Specialist hired

Staff Report

Jennifer Falestiny has joined the Diocese of Venice Education Department as a Curriculum Specialist.

Falestiny has spent most of her career in School Instruction and Curriculum Development, most recently holding the position of STEM lab and Robotic Coordinator/ Instructor at Saint Gregory Catholic School in Plantation.

“It is very exciting to be part of the Diocese of Venice,” Falestiny said.

Diocese of Venice Superintendent of Catholic Education Dr. Ben Moore said Falestiny will be supporting teachers through a variety of professional development offerings in the areas of curriculum mapping and the vertical alignment of newly developed academic standards.

“She will provide leadership for the schools’ accreditation efforts including the pursuit of STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) designation from the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops,” Moore added. “Falestiny’s education and background utilizing instructional technology will enrich the students’ experience as she promotes innovative strategies.”

During her first month on the job, she visited most of the Catholic Schools in the Diocese to do an initial needs assessment.

“The plan is to work on creating a standardized curriculum that meets the academic and spiritual needs of each student,” Falestiny said. “This will be a lengthy process as the strengths of each school is evaluated.”

She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from University of Central Florida with a focus on special education, and a Master of Science Degree STEM Education from the University of San Diego. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Instructional Design and Technology at Keiser University. She is married with three young children and they live in Sarasota.

Jennifer Falestiny can be reach at falestiny@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-484-9543,

Summer camps engage young minds

Staff Report

Throughout the Diocese of Venice there have been a variety of camps taking place to engage thousands of young people during the summer months.

Vacation Bible School at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples was a huge success in June.

The most common of these camps is the Vacation Bible School program which was offered at more than 35 parishes in the Diocese this summer. This weeklong Bible-themed camp focuses on learning the important lessons of Scripture in a fun and engaging way.

 

Students react to an experiement during a STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) Camp in June at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral.

For the athlete in many, the local Catholic high schools hosted a variety of sports camps such as soccer, football, basketball, cheerleading and many others.

 

This summer also saw the expansion of STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) camps. More than a dozen took place, either at Catholic schools or in parishes. Some were for a week while others, such as at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice and St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Port Charlotte, lasted all summer. The longer camps stressed different skills and would include field trips to augment the in-class experience.

 

Students participate in a STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) Camp in July at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice.

 

These are just some of the examples of the exciting activities parishes and schools have for the thousands of young people in the Diocese during the “slow” season.

 

 

 

 

Girls participate in a July cheerleading camp at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers.

News from Around the Diocese late July 2019

Seminarian admitted to Candidacy

Bishop Frank J. Dewane presided over the Rite of the Admission to Candidacy of Diocesan Seminarian Daniel Scanlan on June 27 at the Diocese Catholic Center in Venice. Scanlan recently graduated Valedictorian from St. Vincent de Paul College Seminary in Miami and is heading to Rome, Italy, to continue his priestly formation at the Pontifical North American College. Also present was Father Shawn Roser, Diocese Director of Vocations.

Youth take part in religious retreat in Georgia mountains

Youth from two different parishes took part in separate religious retreats in the Georgia mountains in late June. The Epiphany Cathedral group from Venice went to the Camp Covecrest retreat center for a week of fun activities and team-building exercises while also hearing inspirational talks and having time to reflect on their faith. Meanwhile, the boys and girls from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula went camping in the mountains of Georgia on consecutive weeks. The groups hiked to the start of the Appalachian Trail and took part in numerous other activities and were led by the religious sisters and priests from the parish.

Mooney student taking part in Ballet summer program

Lauren Garner, Class of 2022, is spending her summer at the Boston Ballet School Summer Dance Program. After an intense audition, she was accepted and will spend 5 weeks training 5-7 hours each day with internationally renowned faculty of the Boston Ballet School and prestigious collegiate dance institutions in the areas of ballet technique, choreography, improvisation and contemporary dance. She will be attending this program and living in college dorms with other students from the United States and around the globe.

 

 

Verot grad receives top Girl Scout award

Samantha Romero, who just graduated from Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Sarasota has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award. Following Hurricane Michael in 2018, she turned her passion for filmmaking to make a difference in the Florida Panhandle by documenting the damage and recovery at St. John Catholic School in Panama City. There was a local connection to that school in that the principal, Dr. Vikki Parks, previously served as Diocese of Venice Assistant Superintendent and a teacher at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral. Through the power of video, she was able to help the school share their story and spearhead their relief effort. Romero also created a video club at Bishop Verot, and through in-person workshops and online video classes she trained younger students in the art of film, editing, and techniques to create professional content. Romero was also a member of the Verot Catholics in Action Club and was very active in Pro-Life activities including a trip to the National March for Life in Washington, D.C. The Girl Scout Gold Award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award Girl Scouts, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

Mooney grad receives national lacrosse recognition

MJ McMahon, a recent graduate of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, has been named to the 2019 All-LaxRecords Second Team. McMahon completed his career with the Cougars tallying 410 points, good for top ten all time throughout the state. He racked up 235 goals, the fifth most ever for a high school lacrosse player from Florida. This past spring, McMahon helped guide Cardinal Mooney to a 21-win season. McMahon will be attending the University of Utah in the fall.

Diocesan Class of 2019 graduates

Staff Report

6/18/19

During the final two weeks of May, 330 Diocese of Venice Catholic High School students graduated, moving on in their personal journey, prepared for college, and a life of purpose.

The Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Venice foster an education centered in Christ, rooted in the Gospel, and alive in the Faith; leaving with an impressive record of Christian service as well as academic and athletic excellence.

The future engineers, doctors, teachers, priests and leaders of tomorrow received their diplomas from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota; St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples; Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers and the Donahue Academy in Ave Maria.

Some 98 percent of the graduates are going on to some of the greatest institutes of high learning across the country. These graduates also earned an impressive $32 million is scholarships and represent some of the best and brightest in Southwest Florida.

A large percentage of the graduates are going on to study at Catholic colleges and universities, while others will be continuing their studies at Ivy League schools, with one accepting an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy. The exceptions are either entering the workforce or military, and two are going on mission trips.

During the May 24 Baccalaureate Mass for Bishop Verot Catholic High School at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers, Bishop Frank J. Dewane commended the graduates for their accomplishment by expressing his confidence that they will reflect the good that the Lord calls forth from them as they go out into the world.

“What you celebrate today is not an end, but you step forward in your life,” Bishop Dewane added. “Go forward! Find your path. Walk in that journey of faith, of maturing and of becoming more that man or woman of God you are called to be.”

Bishop Dewane also took time to thank the parents for having the confidence to send their children to a Catholic high school knowing that doing so is a sacrifice for them. He also thanked the faculty and staff for their commitment to providing a safe and supportive environment for the students in their charge.

The Bishop Verot graduation was May 25 at the high school. The Baccalaureate Mass for Cardinal Mooney was May 16 at Incarnation Parish and the graduation May 17 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota. The St. John Neumann Baccalaureate Mass was May 22 at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples and the graduation at the high school on May 23. The Donahue Baccalaureate Mass and graduation were both May 31 at Ave Maria Parish.

Mooney seniors graduate

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Congratulations to Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Class of 2019. They are now high school graduates who leave their time with a Diocesan Catholic education that has prepared them well for their journey into adulthood.

The commencement exercises were held May 17 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota. Valedictorian Lorca Looney Stainton and Salutatorian Sam Dillion Koscho both spoke during the commencement, sharing words of wisdom and reflecting upon the benefits of their Catholic education.

The Commencement Address was given by Dr. Janina Morusiewicz Krajewski, Mooney Class of 1994, who owns a veterinary hospital in Palmetto.

The 102 graduates earned a combined $9.5 million in scholarships with all of the students going on to some of the finest college and universities in the country.

The students participated in a May 15 Baccalaureate Mass at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota, which was celebrated by priests of the Diocese, with Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis and uncle of two of the graduates, as the main celebrant. Mooney Chaplain Father Eric Scanlan delivered the homily and said the students were taught to learn that the Catholic Faith is “a Faith that calls us to love our God above all things and our neighbor as oneself. A Faith that sees God in all that is good and true and beautiful.”

Father Scanlan also encouraged the graduate to believe as they go forward that Christ will do everything He can to deliver them to fulfillment and true happiness. “To do this, you need to stay close to Him. Stay close to Him in the years to come. All he wants is you; your heart, and whatever comes, if you are with Him – all will be well.”

The most inspiring moment of the graduation was when Jaelen Childs received his diploma. It was on Jan. 31 when the baseball player was critically injured in a traffic crash not far from the high school. The baseball player has struggled to recover from a shattered left femur and pelvis as well as internal injuries and received a great deal of support from the school and classmate which helped him to persevere and to be at the commencement.

Childs is still recovering from his injuries and was in a wheelchair on stage during the ceremony. After each of the other students were presented their diplomas, Assistant Principal Stefan Gates called out his name. With the aid of crutches, he walked across the stage to a standing ovation to receive his high school diploma.

News for mid May 2019

Bishop blesses Knights on Bikes

The Knights of Columbus Knights on Bikes of the Diocese of Venice welcomed Bishop Frank J. Dewane as he blessed their motorcycles May 19 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice. Bishop Dewane first celebrated a Mass for the group and then led a prayer service and blessing. Organized by George Lopez of Ave Maria Parish, the motorcyclists came from across the Diocese. The Knights on Bikes is a worldwide organization consisting of members of the Knights of Columbus who are also motorcycle riders. The Knights on Bikes was formed in the United States in April 2005. Members proudly wear a vest that clearly promotes the Knights of Columbus organization.

Seminarians graduate from college

Diocesan Seminarian Daniel Scanlan gives the valedictorian address May 9 at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami.

Three Diocesan Seminarians recently graduated from college. Transitional Deacon Carlos Encinas earned his Master’s in Divinity from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach on May 9. The day before, Seminarians Daniel Scanlan and Juan Contreras graduated from St. john Vianney College Seminary in Miami. Scanlan graduated at the class valedictorian. Deacon Encinas will be ordained to the priesthood in the fall, while Scanlan and Contreras will next go on to St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary.

Food sorting from Post Office drive

A volunteer helps sort donations at St. Joseph Food Pantry in Bradenton on May 11 following the Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

The St. Joseph Food Pantry in Bradenton received food deliveries from five U.S. Post Offices as part of a Letter Carries “Stamp Our Hunger Food Drive.” On May 11, some 300 volunteers helped sort the food in the St. Joseph Parish School gymnasium and stock the Food Pantry. The food pantry serves all of Manatee County and in 2018 the Food Pantry served more than 5,300 families with 12,772 family members of which 4,443 were children and 442 were veterans. These families visited the pantry and received food over 19,600 visits during the past 12 months. In addition, the Food Pantry distributed more than 550 bags of food and toiletries to the homeless of Manatee County during the year. An additional 1,000 bags of food are distributed Thanksgiving Week. For more information about the St. Joseph Food Pantry, call 941-756-3732, email directors@stjoepantry.com or send donations to St. Joseph Food Pantry, 2704 33rd Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205.

Sarasota school expands offering

Incarnation Catholic School, 2911 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, will be expanding their early learning classes to include a PreK three program. The program will offer a monthly theme-based curriculum that will include math, science, language and basics of our Catholic faith. Our little learners will discover answers to big questions like “How do Plants Grow?” and “ Who lives in the Ocean?”. Small class sizes will allow for individual attention and differentiate instruction. Playground time will provide an opportunity to work on gross motor skills.  The program will offer full and part time options, perfect for every family. Children must be potty trained and three years old by September 1. For more information please call 941-924-8588.

Verot grad tapped to head ATF

Regina Lombardo, a 1981 graduate of Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers, was announced on May 1 as the new acting deputy director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the first woman to head the federal agency. Lombardo has served as the associate deputy director and chief operating officer for the agency since March 2018, with responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the agency. She has served as a special agent at ATF since 1992 and has risen through the ranks as a career employee, holding numerous management positions that include assistant director of Human Resources and Professional Development, deputy assistant director of Field Operations’ Central Region, special agent in charge of the Tampa Field Division, assistant special agent in Charge of the New York Field Division, and assistant country attaché in Toronto, Canada.

Youth event May 31 on Sanibel

Youth from across the Diocese are invited to take part in an event 7-10 p.m., May 31 at St. Isabel Parish, 3559 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel. This event is open to everyone but the Youth Groups in the area are encouraged to participate. The event, titled “Immeasurable Mercy!” will feature our well-known local musician Mark Shapic and vocalist Jennine Fuentes! Also included is pizza, refreshments, games, Adoration and Reconciliation along with some praise and worship. It’s a time for music, fun, and fellowship! RSVP to Dr. Sue Ellen Nolan at @sueellen.nolan@saintisabel.org.

Taize Prayer service May 31 in Sarasota

St. Thomas More Parish, 2506 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota, invites people to a special Taize Prayer Service, 7 p.m., May 31. The feast of Pentecost commemorates the beginning of the Church in a new way, with the arrival of the Holy Spirit and with the disciples speaking so that many people heard the gospel in their own language. The prayer in the manner of Taizé is a good way to discover a shared gospel in many languages. Celebrate Pentecost with Song, Silence and Scripture in the style of Taizé monastery in France. The simple and beautiful chant music is dedicated to the renewal of spirits and the healing of our planet. The repetitive nature of the chanted prayer can promote a kind of inner unity of the person, allowing the spirit to be more open and more attentive to what is essential. Silence is a fundamental part of the Taizé service. For more details, please call 941-923-1691.

News from Around the Diocese early May

Sarasota school expands offering

Incarnation Catholic School, 2911 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, will be expanding their early learning classes to include a PreK-3 program. The program will offer a monthly theme-based curriculum that will include math, science, language and basics of our Catholic faith. Our little learners will discover answers to big questions like “How do Plants Grow?” and “ Who lives in the Ocean?”. Small class sizes will allow for individual attention and differentiate instruction. Playground time will provide an opportunity to work on gross motor skills.  The program will offer full and part time options, perfect for every family. Children must be potty trained and three years old by Sept. 1. For more information please call 941-924-8588.

Naples club meets for final time, honor former advisor

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Y.A.C.H.T. Club (“Youth and Christ Helping Together”) held their final Fun Night April 28 at Naples Beach. Students attended Mass at St. Ann Parish before enjoying a beautiful sunset in memory of Shelley Raley, with Sister Katie Flanagan, FMA, and teacher Laura Roszkowski. Ralley, who passed away in 2018 was the group moderator and each of the club members had sunflowers in her honor. The YACHT Club is an instrumental component of the Campus Ministry Program. The mission of the club is to invite all students to the fullness of Christ’s love through service to others. Students plan and implement retreats, prayers services, liturgies and other events/services. They also take “cruises” to perform service in the community.

Neumann Track relay places 2nd at States

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School 4×100 Relay Team from Naples took the silver medal in Class 1A at the State Championships May 4 in Jacksonville.

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School boys track 4×100 relay team was the FHSAA 1A State Runnerup May 4 during the Track and Field Championships at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. The Naples relay team placed second with a school record-breaking time of 42.23. The runners were Daniel DeSantis, Justin Mathieu, JP Raiger and Alex Myrin. No long after, Mathieu later placed second in the 1A Long Jump finals. Way to Go Celtics!

 

Camp Mercy in Sarasota

St. Patrick Parish, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, will be hosting Camp Mercy 2019 for the third year in a row from June 24-28, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.. This service-oriented summer camp is for children ages kindergarten to fifth grade. The cost is $75 for the week and includes a camp t-shirt. Registration is required by June 1. For more information, please call 941-378-1703 ext. 300 or visit www.churchofstpatrick.org/campmercy.

Catholic Center May Crowning

On May 2, the staff of the Diocese of Venice Catholic Center gathered for a May Crowning ceremony led by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. The ceremony included a few songs and a Litany to Our Lady. In the Catholic tradition, May is devoted to Our Lady and many Diocesan parishes and a retreat center are dedicated to Mary.

Teacher, students earn Excellence in Education awards

On April 29, the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education Awards ceremony took place at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers. The chamber recognized educators and students in 30 Cape Coral elementary, middle and high schools. St. Andrew Catholic School Art teacher, Diana Villadolid, and eighth grader, Jackalyn Flynn, were honored for excellence as educator and student. Villadolid has taught Art at St. Andrew for 15 years.  She facilitates the students’ participation in community art events such as those sponsored by the Alliance of the Arts and the Edison Ford Estate.  She also serves as the school’s Marketing Director. Jackalyn Flynn will be graduating from St. Andrew Catholic School in May and has won awards for tennis (Cape Coral Parks and Recreation-First Place), soccer (SACS First Place team), art (Alliance of the Arts), and a three-time Sunshine State Luncheon attendee for achieving top levels in reading. She plans to attend Bishop Verot High School. She would enjoy becoming a writer or story editor someday.

Donation to Catholic Charities

The Venice Yacht Club Foundation recently presented a check for $5,000 to support the Family Haven of Catholic Charities which helps families in South Sarasota County transition from being homeless to finding more permanent housing.

 

Ave Maria University graduation

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass for the Ave Maria University graduating class on May 3 in Ave Maria. The Bishop encourages the graduates to carry Christ with them always beyond college and into the next phase in their lives. Having the Lord by their side will give them the strength to overcome any obstacle they may face in the future.

VBS in Fort Myers June 24-28

St. Francis Xavier Parish in Fort Myers is hosting the “ROAR! Totally Catholic Vacation Bible School from June 24-28. It is a week of fun, games, snacks, crafts, and learning more about our faith!  The cost is $30 per child, or $70 per family.  Registration forms are found at www.stfrancisfm.org. Please all 239-246-2635 for more details. Register early as space is limited and VBS usually fills up!

 

Cathedral teacher honored

Staff Report

The Christian Chamber of Southwest Florida has honored Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School teacher Joyce Kiegher with its “Golden Halo Award” during an April 5 gathering in Naples.

Kiegher won the Grade 3-5 category and to mark the occasion she received a special congratulations at the school in Venice during the April 11 morning assembly and prayer service.

Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School Principal MC Heffner described 3rd Grade Teacher Kiegher as someone who embodies Catholic Education in everything she does, by giving all of herself to her students each day.

Heffner presented Kiegher with a vase of flowers and a pair of students shared a banner saying “Congratulations” with a golden halo mounted on top, as the entire student body applauded and cheered.

“This is just so incredible,” Kiegher said. “I do what everyone else does – I care about my students. They are my children.”

She noted that she started her teaching career in public schools but that didn’t last long. “I found a beautiful home in Catholic Schools and here at Epiphany,” Kiegher said. “I feel so blessed to have the opportunity each day to come here and help young minds learn. That is a wonderful gift I have been given.”

Each year since 2007, the Christian Chamber of Southwest Florida honors the very best teachers in Christian education with the “Golden Halo Awards.” The mission of the awards is “Recognizing Christian teachers who educate motivate and Inspire their students.”

The organization has grown over the years and with the inception of the “Golden Halo Awards” has made it possible for teachers in Christian based schools to be recognized for their professionalism, love for teaching, and love of their faith. There are four awards that are presented each year, one for each category for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

The awards process includes nominations, school visits and interviews and references. The Golden Halo Program gives a $1,000 scholarship to the school of each winner.

Also nominated in the same Grade 3-5 category was Michelle Marks of St. Ann Catholic School in Naples. St. Ann teacher Lynn Hoffman, who won the 2018 Grade 3-5 Golden Halo Award, was a feature speaker at the awards banquet.

News briefs from Around the Diocese March 15 2019

Bishop serves as Grand Marshal to Marco St. Patrick’s Parade

Bishop Frank J. Dewane served as the Grand Marshal for the 2019 Marco Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 3. The parade included a variety of floats and various musical performers including the St. John Neuman Catholic High School Band from Naples.

Parish celebrates 20 years

Our Lady of the Angels Parish Lakewood Ranch celebrated their 20th anniversary with a Mass and party on Feb. 24. Bishop Frank J. Dewane was the principal celebrant for the Mass with current, past and neighboring priests concelebrating. It was noted that the faith community, which has been in a new parish church for about a year, has grown thanks to the efforts of the priests and of the strong support of the people who make Our Lady of the Angels what it is today.

Order of Malta retreat brings in Archbishop

Archbishop Jerome Listecki, of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, was the retreat master for an Order of Malta retreat in Naples from March 1-3. Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated a Mass for the knights and dames of the order on March 1 at St. Ann Parish and was joined by Archbishop Listecki.

St. Andrew student saves father, receives “Do The Right Thing Award”

Kendall Sullivan, a seventh grader at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral, was recently honored at the Cape Coral “Do The Right Thing” Awards. She was recognized for her fast thinking and calm demeanor in a very stressful situation when her father had a medical emergency while driving here and a her younger sister to school. After a minor traffic accident, the quick-thinking student was able to remove the keys from the ignition and turn off the car. She then explain to bystanders and emergency medical personnel about her father’s medical history which was credited with helping him make a full recovery. She was presented the ‘Do the Right Thing Award” for being able to prevent injury to her family and others on the road all while putting her fear aside.

Two Diocesan teams going to state Odyssey of the Mind competition

The St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton and St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral both qualified teams for the state Odyssey of the Mind competition at the University of Central Florida in April! The teams did well in regional qualifiers on March 2 competing against more than 100 schools from across the area. Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving program where teams work together to solve complex problems.

Parish holds annual Gala

St. Jude Parish in Sarasota held their annual Gala Feb. 15 at Michael’s on East. The theme of the evening was “One World, One Family,” and in addition to fine dining, there was dancing, photo booth, raffles and live auction, including for Father Celestin Gutierrez’s famous paella dinner.

Epiphany Cathedral students participate in Kids Heart Challenge

Students at Epiphany Cathedral School know that February celebrates St. Valentine and is American Heart Month by participating in the Kids Heart Challenge which educates them on how their heart works, ways to stay healthy and how to make a difference in the lives of others. American Heart Association Youth Marketing Director, Emily Helter visited the Venice to the school on Valentine’s Day to speak with the 2nd & 3rd grade class about the fundraiser and ways to stay heart healthy.  This year the student’s goal is to raise $5,000 with the school raising $8,000 in the past two years. The Kid’s Heart Challenge fundraiser culminated with a school-wide event with jumping rope, hula hooping, dance and many fun activities designed to illustrate that being active is both fun and life-saving.

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