News Briefs for the week of April 12, 2024

Naples students pack food for needy

Naples students from St. John Neumann Catholic High School, St. Ann Catholic School and St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School took part in a Collier County Food Bowl Competition supporting Meals of Hope, April 6, 2024. More than 350 students from schools across Collier County took part in the packing event. In all, more than 142,000 meals were packed in a single afternoon.

Eclipse helps make science fun

Students across the Diocese of Venice returned to the classroom from Spring Break on April 8, 2024, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. An added bonus was the arrival of an eclipse of the sun by the moon in the early afternoon. Students, donning protective eyewear, learned about how the sun and moon travel through the solar system and occasionally cross paths. While Southwest Florida only experienced about 60% blockage of the sun, the students were still impressed and in awe of the universe that was created by God.

Few spots remain for pilgrimage with Bishop to National Eucharistic Congress

Bishop Frank J. Dewane invites the Faithful of the Diocese of Venice to join him on a Pilgrimage to the 10th National Eucharistic Congress. This historic 5-day gathering will take place in Indianapolis July 17-21, 2024. The National Eucharistic Congress represents the culmination of the Church’s three-year effort to put an emphasis on the Real Presence of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Eucharist. This is a pivotal moment in the Church, and a unique opportunity for participants to draw into a deeper, more intimate relationship with Our Lord. The U.S. Bishops have announced that participants in the National Revival will be afforded the opportunity to obtain a plenary indulgence. The cost of the Diocese of Venice pilgrimage package is $1,049. With the package, pilgrims receive the National Eucharistic Congress 5-day pass, which provides access to all speakers and events, as well as four nights’ accommodations in a 4-star hotel within walking distance of the convention center. Please note, the pilgrimage package does not include transportation or meals. Only a few packages remain! Don’t miss this opportunity!  Deadline to reserve is April 17. Register at For further information, contact Jim Gontis at

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

“We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern” – Pope Francis. In this election year, please remember that shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith, and a basic part of the mission we have received from Jesus Christ. Guidance for Catholics in the exercise of their rights and duties as participants in our democracy is available from the USCCB, at Visit the website to deepen your understanding of Catholic Social Teaching, and the teachings of the Church that relate to the social, economic, and political issues of our time.

Theology on Tap Sarasota April 18

Theology on Tap takes place on the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Mandeville Beer Garden in Sarasota, 428 N. Lemon Ave, Sarasota. Join us outside in the garden for food and refreshments, presentations, and discussions about the Catholic Faith. The next scheduled date is April 18, 2024. The speaker will be Father Rafal Ligenza, Pastor of Saint Joseph Parish in Bradenton. Father Ligenza will speak on “Divine Mercy, Message and Devotion.” For any questions, please contact Jim Gontis at





News Briefs for the week of Oct. 14, 2022

Special Hurricane Ian collection to be held Oct. 22-23

Bishop Frank J. Dewane is calling on to continue to support the efforts of the Diocese of Venice and Catholic Charities in response to the destruction of Hurricane Ian. Several Parishes have lost Church buildings, and others have facilities severely damaged by the storm. In addition, many people throughout the region have endured significant suffering. To respond to these calamities, Parishes in the Diocese of Venice will take up a special collection the weekend of Oct. 22-23, 2022. The collection will help provide for the pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church, as well as the efforts of Catholic Charities in providing both immediate and long-term assistance to those impacted. It is asked that, in face of such significant loss, those who are able consider donating to help our brothers and sisters in Christ in their time of great need.

Retired priest dies in Avon Park

Father Leo Frechette, who was a retired priest that assisted at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Avon Park since 2007, died at the age of 93 in Sebring on Oct. 5, 2022. Father Frechette was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1955, and was a priest of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire where he served for 40 years until his retirement in 1995. A Mass of Christian Burial was held Oct. 13, 2022, at Our Lady of Grace Parish.


Diocesan Rosary Congress a success

The 2022 Diocesan Rosary Congress was a huge success, even with Hurricane Ian causing a few Parishes to cancel or alter their participation. Initially, 19 Parishes were registered to offer a 24-hour period of Eucharistic Adoration, hourly praying of the rosary and the celebration of the Mass. Diocesan Evangelization Director James Gontis said that while five of 19 Parishes were forced to cancel their participation because of Ian, the balance enthusiastically stayed a part of the Congress. “It was a beautiful outpouring of Faith at each location,” Gontis said, noting several had large groups while others ensured that each hour of the 24 was covered by at least one person.

Last chance to register for Oct. 22 Diocesan Marriage Conference

Recognizing that this is a time of suffering and trial for many, we continue to pray for those affected by Hurricane Ian. As we move forward with the mission of Christ in the Diocese of Venice, we hope you will join us at the “Together in Holiness” Marriage Conference, presented in partnership with the Diocese of Venice Office of Family Life and the St. John Paul II Foundation, is Saturday, Oct. 22. To register for the conference , please visit This marriage enrichment conference will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers. All Catholic married and engaged couples throughout the Diocese of Venice and beyond are welcome. Grow together in holiness, learn to form your children in the Catholic Faith, enjoy a day of quality time with your spouse and witness dynamic presentations! The day will include Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This special event is for all couples, engaged, newlywed or long married! On-site childcare will be provided. For further information, please contact Carrie Harkey at

Veterans Day Mass

On Veterans Day, Friday, November 11, the Diocese of Venice will hold a Memorial Mass in honor of the men and women who have served our country and continue to serve and protect us today. This is the 13th year the Diocese has held a Mass on Veterans Day. Bishop Frank J. Dewane will celebrate the Mass at 3:00 p.m. at the Sarasota National Cemetery, 9810 State Road 72/Clark Road, approximately five miles east of I-75. The priests, deacons and Knights of Columbus in the Diocese will join Bishop Dewane for this important event. All are invited to attend, and active military personnel are asked to wear their uniform. Attendees are also encouraged to wear sunscreen and bring a hat. There is ample seating and parking at the cemetery. Please contact Gail Ardy at or 941-486-4714 for further information.

World Youth Day 2023 Registration Open

Registration is now open for World Youth Day 2023 to Lisbon, Portugal. You are invited to join Bishop Frank J. Dewane for the trip to Lisbon with two nights in Fatima. This 11-day pilgrimage is from July 29 to August 8, 2023. The theme for World Youth Day 2023 is “Mary arose and went with haste”. (Luke 1:39) Travel arrangements are facilitated by Peter’s Way Tours. Space is limited and registration must be completed by Monday, October 31. For more information, travel and registration details, please visit

General Election

Be an informed voter on November 8, 2022. Catholic Faithful are urged to see beyond party politics, to analyze political campaigns critically, and to choose political leaders according to principle, not just self-interest. The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB) has created a guide offering information about Catholic teaching on moral and social concerns facing our nation and state. The guide includes questions to help voters evaluate candidate positions on key issues for the 2022 general election. Consider using this tool for prayer and reflection before casting your ballot. Click FCCB Voter Guide/Guía de la FCCB para el Votante – Diocese of Venice for the FCCB Voter Guide and the Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Comparison.

 Elecciones Generales

Sea un votante informado el 8 de noviembre de 2022. Se insta a los Fieles Católicos a ver más allá de la política partidista, a analizar críticamente las campañas políticas y a elegir a los líderes políticos de acuerdo con los principios, no solo con el interés propio. La Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Florida (FCCB) ha creado una guía que ofrece información sobre la enseñanza católica sobre las preocupaciones morales y sociales que enfrenta nuestra nación y estado. La guía incluye preguntas para ayudar a los votantes a evaluar las posiciones de los candidatos sobre temas clave para las elecciones generales de 2022. Considere usar esta herramienta para la oración y la reflexión antes de emitir su voto. Haga clic en FCCB Voter Guide/Guía de la FCCB para el Votante – Diocese of Venice para la FCCB Guía del Votante y comparación de Candidatos a Gobernador de Florida.

Scam Alert

In the wake of Hurricane Ian, the possibility of being contacted by someone posing to be a contractor or offering aid is heightened. There are those who will take advantage of the vulnerable during a crisis such as seen with the hurricane. Please be diligent that you are corresponding with a legitimate person or business before handing over any money or personal information. You may also be contacted with a request for money and the email will appear as though it is from one of our priests or Diocesan employees. Please make direct contact with the person by calling the Parish and asking to speak with the priest or sender of the email, and do not reply to the email or text.

News briefs for week of Aug. 10, 2020

Ordination to the Transitional Diaconate Aug. 29

Diocese of Venice Seminarian Alex Pince will be ordained to the Transitional Diaconate by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on Aug. 29, 2020, at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. The Transitional Diaconate Ordination Mass will begin at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow. All are invited to attend.   

Diocesan Prayer Campaign begins Aug. 15

A Diocese of Venice Fall Prayer Campaign for Peace and Conversion in our country begins on Aug. 15, 2020 (the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and includes a 54-day Rosary Novena. These daily prayers and devotions are designed to help each of us truly encounter Christ and be transformed by His love. This transformation is that of true holiness. Each one of us is called to continuously offer ourselves to God, growing in holiness day by day. To learn more, please visit

Voter Guides available

Please be advised that the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops Candidate Questionnaire is available at Candidate responses are posted on the website and appear in two formats: 1) lists of all candidates on the primary and general election ballots; and 2) primary election candidates in table format by Diocese. If you have any questions, please contact Jeanne Berdeaux at or 941-374-1068.

Religious sisters renew vows

Congratulations to Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco Katie Flanagan (Immaculata La Salle Catholic High School, Miami), April Cabaccang (St. John Neumann Catholic High School, Naples), April Hoffman (St. John Neumann) and  Maria Fe Tansioco (Immaculata La Salle) on the renewal of their vows on Aug. 4, 2020 at Our Lady of the Angels Chapel of St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples. Father Bob Kantor, Pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Naples presided over the renewal of vows. The ceremony was witnessed by members of the student government. The temporary professed sisters usually renew their vows in Haledon, N.J., at their Mother House, but because of pandemic travel restrictions, the Salesian Sisters who minister in Florida renewed their vows in Our Lady of the Angels Chapel at Neumann.

1,800 books devoured in summer reading program

Congratulations to St. Joseph Catholic School summer readers who participated in the Patterson Summer Reading Challenge! These students read more than 1,800 books, completed Accelerated Reader goals, shared books weekly via Zoom, and completed book activities. Because of our new start date, our readers still have until Aug. 14, 2020, to achieve their High Points goals, and some are very close! Great work! Each student earned a wristband for completing books and achieving goals.

New windows being installed

The installation of stained-glass windows at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch is making excellent progress. The newly constructed Church was dedicated in 2019 but the stained-glass windows were not ready at the time. Since mid-June 2020, the new windows are being installed and adding greater beauty to the interior of the worship space.

Sarasota priest joins reading campaign

Pallottine Father Patrick Wilson, Parochial Vicar of St. Martha Parish in Sarasota recently took part in a webcast series of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading “This Book is Cool!” hosted by Director Beth Duda. The featured book on the July 12, 2020 episode, was “The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders” written by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Petra Mathers. The project is generously funded by The Patterson Foundation, is designed to encourage children, PreK- Gr. 3, to read, and includes a selected book, a special guest, new vocabulary words for the Word Bank, and a suggested activity that goes with the book.

Bradenton food pantry benefits from postal drive

The National Association of Letter Carriers headed up an employee food drive at all five post offices in Bradenton all to benefit the St. Joseph Parish Food Pantry, the largest such pantry in Manatee County.  The postal carriers.  collected food throughout the month of July 2020 and brought it, along with a monetary check in the amount of $1,000, to the food pantry on July 29, 2020.  This action took the place of a national food drive which was cancelled, impacting food banks through the country. Thank you, Bradenton letter carriers, for your generosity.