Diocesan Eucharistic Congress March 24-25

“A renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ”

Catholics around the world are raised to be aware of the transforming power and mercy of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist – the Source and Summit of the Faith.

To this end, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops developed National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year revival of devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The U.S Bishops believe that God wants to see a movement of Catholics across the United States, healed, converted, formed, and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist—and sent out in mission “for the life of the world.”

The response of Bishop Frank J. Dewane and the Diocese of Venice is to host a special Eucharistic Congress from March 24 to March 25, 2023, at the Conference Center and Luminary Hotel on the riverfront of downtown Fort Myers. (More details and registration can be found at https://dioceseofvenice.org/eucharistic-congress/.)

The Eucharistic Congress, with a theme “The Word Made Flesh,” will encompass several parts, including three unique sessions. The first is for Diocesan Catholic middle school students; the second part is a Youth Rally for high-school aged teens; and the showcase event is for adult men and women and features special breakout sessions in English and Spanish as well as for both genders.

“The Diocesan Eucharistic Congress is an opportunity for the faithful of the Diocese to come together as one to jointly rekindle a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist,” Bishop Dewane said. “This is a time to grow deeply in your faith, along with others from the Diocese, accompanied by Jesus Christ.”

Elements of the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress include a procession with the Eucharist in a public setting, a significant amount of time for Eucharistic Adoration, substantial availability of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, talks and catechesis on important matters of faith, and the Holy Mass with Bishop Dewane.

“This is an opportunity for Catholics to bring those things which usually happen behind closed doors, in our Parishes, out into the wide open with the larger community,” explained James Gontis, Diocesan Director of Evangelization.

The schedule for the Congress and line-up of internationally acclaimed speakers will provide each participant the opportunity to become part of the great National Eucharistic Revival.

Gontis said it is expected that those who attend the Congress – be it middle schoolers, high schoolers, or adults – will leave “with their hearts and minds aflame for the love of Jesus, His Catholic Church, and especially the Most Holy Eucharist. Don’t miss the grace!”

Being part of the National Eucharistic Revival and Diocesan Congress is an invitation to the faithful from God to go on a mission, grow in faith, and be compelling witnesses of our Jesus’ love.

Everyone is invited to be a part of this exciting journey as the timing of this movement and the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress come at a critical moment for the Universal Church. The National Eucharistic Revival explains, this effort comes now, because the Church needs healing, and the world needs the Church.

“Scandal, division, disease, doubt. The Church has withstood each of these throughout our very human history. But today we confront all of them, all at once. Our response in this moment is pivotal,” National Eucharistic Revival documents state. “In the midst of these roaring waves, Jesus is present, reminding us that He is more powerful than the storm. He desires to heal, renew, and unify the Church and the world.”

As Pope Francis has stated, each time we are present before the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ it is “a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ.”

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

For more information about the schedule, and to register for the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress on March 24-25, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/eucharistic-congress/.

Parishes participate in the National Night of Prayer for Life

On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the 33rd annual National Night of Prayer for Life took place within the Diocese of Venice at four Parishes.

The National Night of Prayer for Life is an effort to unite people across the country, establishing a bridge between the Solemnity and the Feast of St. Juan Diego, to protect our culture, our Church and our land. Participating Parishes included San Pedro in North Port, St. Agnes in Naples, St. James in Lake Placid, and Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles in Bradenton.

The faithful were encouraged to make reparations for all the lives lost in this nation to abortion and to pray that parents may be conscious of their calling as they share in God’s creative power. Prayers were also made that those who have acted against human life experience forgiveness.

The National Night of Prayer for Life includes adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the holy rosary, prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, silent prayer and hymns.

The goal is to be united with churches across the country in prayer to end abortion and restore God’s blessings of Life and Religious Liberty in America.

At San Pedro Parish in North Port, the prayer vigil was led by Deacon Richard Frohmiller and corresponded with overlapping times across the different times zones in the country between 9 p.m. through 1 a.m. The unifying time when all major times zones in the country participated was between midnight and 1 a.m. (9 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the west coast).

During the San Pedro vigil, the faithful were able to complete each of the Mysteries of the Rosary, participate in an Act of Consecration, prayers to St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Pius XII Prayer to Our Queen (reign Prayer).

Deacon Frohmiller said the importance of participating in the National Night of Prayer was not diminished by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, but is actually now more important than ever as many states are focusing on allowing abortions until birth, and/or forcing more taxpayer funding for this evil act.

To learn more about abortion and respect life issues in general, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/respectlife.

Eucharistic Adoration brings one closer to Christ

The First Friday of September was a spiritually emotional day for Bonnie Coyle as it was the first time since March that she participated in Eucharistic Adoration.

Coyle has been a devotee of adoration for many years, finding great comfort in spending quiet time with the Lord in addition to attending Mass. The COVID-19 Pandemic physically separated her, and many others, from the Lord for an extended period and this distressed her greatly.

“I love coming to Mass, but adoration has always been special for me,” Coyle explained. “I just never realized how special it was and how much I would miss it when it wasn’t available. I was worried about coming back for health reasons, so I stayed away even longer. But I am back, and I feel a great relief to again be able to quietly pray before the Lord!”

Coyle was not alone, as many stayed for adoration on Sept. 4, 2020 following the Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice.

While public Mass resumed in the Diocese of Venice in late May, adoration followed more slowly as Parishes figured out the best way to do so while still ensuring health and safety protocols were being followed.

Instead of taking place in the Parish Chapel, the Mass and adoration at Our Lady of Lourdes took place in the main Church, thus allowing the 100 or so present plenty of space to participate in both without concern.

The Blessed Sacrament is carried in the back of a pickup truck as part of a vehicle procession from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula to nearby Missions on Sept. 29, 2020 in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel.

At Parishes throughout the Diocese, the offering of Eucharistic Adoration has required some changes. Most parishes have designated days and times for adoration with many including the First Friday of each month. When possible, Parishes with small Adoration Chapels have created a reservation system for adorers.

The occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula during the ongoing Pandemic led to a unique celebration Aug. 29, 2020.

Parish Administrator Father Oscar Mendoza Moya led a procession of vehicles, while riding in the bed of a pickup truck with the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance. The procession went from the Parish to Holy Child Mission in Bowling Green, then on to San Alfonso Mission in Zolfo Springs, before returning to the Parish. At each location, Father Moya offered a special blessing. The celebration concluded with a Mass of Thanksgiving in the main Church.

Lucinda Perez described the entire evening as amazing. “What a beautiful way to honor Jesus Christ and celebrate the Adoration Chapel and for the Parish and Missions to come together.”

Bishop Frank J. Dewane encouraged the expansion and availability of Adoration in an Aug. 5, 2020 letter to the priests of the Diocese. “This will be of great help and consolation to the Faithful during these turbulent times, when the People of God long to be close to the Lord,” Bishop Dewane wrote.

Pope Francis is a strong proponent of participating in Eucharistic Adoration, describing it as a way of putting the Lord at the center of one’s life. The Holy Father includes adoration in many public celebrations. Most notably, on March 27, 2020 Pope Francis presided over the Eucharistic Adoration before he imparted the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing from outside St. Peter’s Basilica, before the empty square where he usually has the general audience.

Please contact your local Parish for the latest Eucharistic Adoration schedule.

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