Celebrating the Real Presence – Corpus Christi marked with processions

Lily Palmer beamed with contented joy as she took part in a Corpus Christi procession at San Pedro Parish in North Port on June 11, 2023, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

“The power of Our Lord, and His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, brings me great comfort,” Palmer said. “I feel so happy to be able to honor Jesus in this special way.”

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) is a celebration of the Eucharist and the Real Presence of Our Lord which is a tradition that dates back centuries and is often marked by a Eucharistic Procession, a “public witness of faith and worship of the Most Blessed Sacrament.”

Prior to the solemnity, San Pedro Parish hosted a 40-Hours of Devotion (Eucharistic Adoration), as part of the ongoing celebration of the National Eucharistic Revival. The 40 Hours was opened on the afternoon of June 9 by Parochial Vicar Father Nathan Marzonie, Oblate of the Virgin Mary, as a large group participated. Parishioners filled in the hours through the day and night (with the exception of times for the celebration of Mass) to stand vigil with the Blessed Sacrament.

At the Mass on the Solemnity, Father Marzonie explained that Corpus Christi is a day to celebrate the gift of the Most Holy Eucharist, “not because it’s only worth celebrating that gift, or paying honor to honor Jesus in a special way once a year, but to help us grow in that for every day. To remind us that Jesus gave us this gift, to give His presence to us, to be always with us. Every day. All the time.”

After the celebration of the 10:45 a.m. Mass at San Pedro, the Corpus Christi procession began with the placement of a consecrated host in the monstrance (a sacred vessel that displays the sacred host to the faithful). After a brief time for all to pray before the Most Holy Eucharist, the procession, led by altar servers carrying candles and an incenser, began. Father Marzione carried the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament. Proceeding out of the church, the faithful followed; members of the Knights of Columbus escorted the Blessed Sacrament by carrying the canopy.

The canopy serves a dual purpose. On one hand, it protects the Blessed Sacrament against anything that might fall on it, including light rain, creating a “sacred space” that is reserved for the priest carrying the monstrance. Secondarily, the faithful in the large crowd can locate the Blessed Sacrament at the head of the procession more easily.

As the procession circled the church, the faithful sang. At three locations along the route there were decorated altars where the monstrance was placed and, after a period of prayer (which included a Gospel reading and intercessions), the people were blessed. In this way the Church shows that Christ, here among us, walks with us on our pilgrimage to heaven. A Eucharistic Procession is not only a tradition in the Catholic Church but is a public witness of our faith in the Blessed Sacrament in the community.

Launched as an initiative of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in June 2022, the National Eucharistic Revival is a three-year movement by the U.S. Bishops to answer the call of Jesus Christ to return to the source and summit of Our Faith – the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. This effort includes a National Eucharistic Congress next year in Indianapolis. The Revival’s first year was titled “The Year of Diocesan Revival,” and efforts focused on formation for Diocesan leadership and Diocesan-wide events (March 2023 Diocesan Eucharistic Congress and Youth Rally). The Revival’s second year, “The Year of Parish Revival,” aims to reach Catholics in their Parishes through renewed attention to the “art” of the Mass, Eucharistic devotions, and small-group faith sharing and formation.

Instituted in 1264 by Pope Urban IV, Corpus Christi is an important affirmation of our belief that Our Lord is really and truly sacramentally present in the form of bread and wine. When Our Lord instituted the Eucharist, He said this IS My Body and this IS My Blood; not this represents or is symbolic of my body and blood. The Sacrament was defined as “an outward sign” of inward grace given to us by Jesus Christ for our sanctification and salvation.

The Feast of Corpus Christi is observed two weeks after Pentecost. The Feast of Pentecost, which was on May 28 this year, is celebrated 50 days after Easter Sunday, and commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem, as described in the Acts of the Apostles.

Sebring third graders publish first book

Third graders at St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring have authored their first book.

The book, which includes illustrations from the students and their own reflections on the Most Holy Eucharist, was a part of a class effort inspired by the 2022-2023 Diocesan Catholic Schools Devotional Project on the “The Most Holy Eucharist: The Riches of His Glorious Inheritance.”

The devotional project theme was approved and encouraged by Bishop Frank J. Dewane as it supports the ongoing National Eucharistic Revival, led by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which began in 2022 and continues through 2024.

Father John Belmonte, SJ, Diocese Superintendent of Catholic Education, said the goal of this year’s devotional project was to bring “students a deeper awareness and more ardent love of our Lord’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.”

Another element of the devotional project was to encourage students to get into the habit of visiting the Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist by going to Mass or attending adoration.

As part of that project, the students at each school, including St. Catherine, learned from trained eighth-grade Junior Catechists about the Most Holy Eucharist.

St. Catherine third-grade teacher Frances Shipman said, “In listening to my students’ beautiful answers during this class discussion (with the Junior Catechists) on the body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Most Holy Eucharist, I thought that their understanding and answers needed to be shared in the form of a book.”

The illustrations were completed in their art class with teacher Mary Alexander. Then, Shipman partnered with Studentreasures Publishing for the publication.

“This project was a culmination of the foundation that parents and teachers, past and present, have set for our students on the greatest gift of the body and blood of Jesus Christ,” Shipman said.

Students shared what the Most Holy Eucharist means to them as they shared their deep understanding of the power of receiving the body of Christ.

Here is a sample:

“I like the Eucharist because it gives me eternal life. The Eucharist means Jesus’ life and Jesus’ body. Jesus is always with us. Eucharist is important because it leads us to holiness, courage and goodness. It is the bread of life and the greatest story of love, it represents Jesus’ body and Jesus’ blood.” – Ismael

“The Eucharist means healing and eternal life to me.” – Catalina

“We cannot see God, but he is always with us. It is the most holy thing I have ever seen, when I see the Eucharist. I feel the Lord’s presence. The Eucharist is extremely precious to me.” – Anastacia

“I believe the Eucharist is how Jesus gave us very special holy gifts… The Eucharist means so much to me. People gather to accept the sacrifice that Jesus and God did for me. It makes my heart feel so good that the holiness and love felt during Communion makes so many people feel togetherness and praise in joy. The Eucharist is Jesus’ way to say I will always be with you in body and spirit, and this makes me so happy.” – Asia

“The Eucharist is the hidden baby Jesus. To me the Eucharist is like a baby in a mom’s tummy, you can’t see the baby, but the baby is there. You can’t see Jesus in the Eucharist, but He is there.” – Pia

“The Eucharist means that Christ is with me. It also means that Jesus and God are present through the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Sophia

“When we receive the Eucharist, our hearts are overcome with knowing that Jesus loves us. This means we belong to God forever.” – Elsa

“When we receive the Eucharist, we become pure in heart.” James

“When we celebrate the Eucharist at Mass, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice. The Eucharist makes me have courage.” – Jadelynn

“When I receive the Eucharist, I feel faith and affability and I can get along with everyone.” – Elena

“The Eucharist is how I can connect with Jesus Christ… The Eucharist is how you and me can be better people too. God wants us to be kind and loving to each other, so when we eat the Eucharist God can help our words and our actions to unite and be kinder.” Owen

St. Catherine Principal Dr. Christine Higgins said she is proud of the students for their reflections on the Holy Eucharist and their artwork, “We are grateful to Bishop Dewane and Father Belmonte, and our Pastor Father Jose Gonzalez for their leadership and inspiration of Faith to our students and teachers.”

Father Belmonte visited the third-grade students on May 9, 2023, and was presented a copy of the illustrated book.

“It is incredible how well these students grasp what they learned through this devotional project in the classroom about the Most Holy Eucharist and turned it into something beautiful,” Father Belmonte said. “The words and the artwork are outstanding.”

At the back of the book, Shipman wrote a note to the parents: “Thank you for entrusting your most precious treasures to me this school year. We have laughed, learned, lived, loved, studied, played, prayed, and even enriched our lives together this year. It was an honor to guide your children in writing a book on the Most Holy Eucharist and I want to thank you for raising Disciples of Christ.”

Charismatic Conference inspires

When we give our lives to Jesus, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we become more like Him.

This fundamental concept served as a guidepost for the participants in the 2023 Diocese of Venice English Catholic Charismatic Renewal two-day “For Such a Time as This” Spiritual Gifts Conference with a concert, June 2-3, 2023, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. The conference fell between the Solemnities of Pentecost (May 28) and the Most Holy Trinity (June 4).

English Charismatic Renewal groups from across the Diocese gathered to share in a day of uplifting talks, encouraging everyone to answer their personal call to holiness. Their goal was to establish, or reestablish, an immediacy of relationship with all three persons of the Holy Trinity, and through inner transformation, affect the whole of the person’s life.

The theme for the day “For Such a Time as This” comes from the writings of keynote speaker (author and musician) Tori Harris, whose book Holy Spirit 101 formed the structure of the conference. The conference offered a time of extraordinary praise and worship, healing prayer, and dynamic teaching. Everyone was encouraged to listen to the call of the Holy Spirit in their life and to share the joy and wonder with others.

The two-day event opened on June 2 in the Parish Hall with a free concert by Harris as she shared inspirational original songs mixed with traditional songs and stories to help the audience be moved by the fire of the Holy Spirit.

The mission of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, with faithfulness to the teachings of the Catholic Church, is to stir into flame the grace of Pentecost. This is accomplished by promoting knowledge of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1831), Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and creating a deepening awareness of the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our daily lives.

Harris said we are each called by the Holy Spirit in different ways, but importantly we must be open to hearing the call in the first place, because we are invited for a special reason.

“The whole point of this (Charismatic Renewal) is to declare Christ’s messianic mission” Harris said. “The Scriptures say that the Messiah will be able to give sight to the blind, raise the dead, and heal the sick. The Messiah alone can do that. Because if you are doing that it is because of the Messiah; the power of the Holy Spirit lives within you. You become a sign of Christ’s messianic mission to the world.”

If a prayer is just for someone to be healed, Harris said that doesn’t go far enough.

“The prayer is for them to be saved. For them to know Jesus. So, boldly proclaim Jesus to anyone that you are praying for,” Harris stressed.

Father Claudio Stewart, Diocesan English Catholic Charismatic Renewal Spiritual Advisor and Administrator at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Port Charlotte, led the group in prayer during the opening of the event.

Father Stewart said it is important for the faithful to realize that the saving power of Jesus can heal them physically and, more importantly, spiritually.

The conference in Venice offered a chance for Charismatics to recharge and refocus on their mission, explained Dr. John Gresham, President of the Diocesan English Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

Gresham said the Lord reveals the Glory of His Kingdom and longs for us to know His love which will cast out any fear we have in our heart. “God invites us to share in the anointing of Jesus to do the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. The Holy Spirit brings us into that Communion as co-workers with God.”

For more information about the Diocesan English Catholic Charismatic Renewal, please visit www.dvccr.org.

 

Diocesan Eucharistic Congress deepens faith, brings joy

4,400 youth and adults brought closer to the Lord

During the span of two days and three unique events, the Diocese of Venice Eucharistic Congress in Fort Myers was a massive success.

An estimated 4,400 (middle school students, youth and adults) participated from March 24 to March 25, 2023, at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center and Luminary Hotel on the Fort Myers riverfront.

Over the span of two days, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was celebrated twice (one for youth, one for adults), there were three Eucharistic Adorations (two outdoors for the younger participants and one indoors for the adults), and there was a 1,600-person strong public Eucharistic Procession in the streets of Fort Myers.

Additional high points included inspirational talks in both Spanish and English, live music, and fellowship as participants shared the beauty of our Catholic Faith, and its Sacraments, together.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane called for the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress as part of a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year revival of devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The U.S Bishops want the National Eucharistic Revival to serve as a reminder that 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.

“What a wonderful time to be together celebrating our Faith in the Most Holy Eucharist,” Bishop Dewane said at the opening of the main conference on Saturday morning, addressing both the English and Spanish language groups. “Let the Blessed Sacrament guide you, may you go forth in a deeper relationship with Our Lord, Jesus Christ.”

The Eucharistic Congress, with a theme “The Word Became Flesh,” encompassed several parts, including three unique sessions. The first was for 1,300 Diocesan Catholic middle school students; the second was a Youth Rally for 1,500 high-school aged teens (both on March 24); and the showcase event on March 25 was for 1,600 adults which featured special breakout sessions for men and women, and offerings in both English and Spanish.

The response to the Eucharistic Congress was enthusiastic with calls for this type of gathering to become an annual event.

“It was so glorious to be together for Christ,” said Amy Trask of St. Columbkille Parish in Fort Myers. “I can’t stop smiling. Everything was so wonderful!”

The public Eucharistic Procession circled the Luminary Hotel and stretched around the block as people prayed and sang while curious onlookers took photos, videos and asked questions about what was taking place.

“It was so great to be a part of such a public display of our faith,” said Joanne Collins of St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs. “It gave me goosebumps to be with everyone, accompanied by Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.”

Rosalia Hernandez of St. Paul Parish in Arcadia loved the entire day, from the message of the speakers to the procession and closing Mass.

“Beautiful,” Hernandez said. “I was brought to tears during adoration with everyone silently together in the room coming from the procession and properly honoring Our Lord as He was displayed before us in that beautiful monstrance. I will never forget this day.”

The inspirational talks throughout the Eucharistic Congress were presented by several well-known Catholic speakers with offerings in English and Spanish.

First up on the English track was Father Donald Calloway, MIC, who was a keynote, spoke on “Conversion and the Holy Eucharist,” and then on “St. Joseph and the Eucharist.” Teresa Tomeo focused her talks on “Rediscovering the Eucharist on my Journey,” and on “Becoming a True Daughter of the King by Way of the Eucharist.” Mallory Smith spoke about a “Eucharistic Faith in a Broken World,”

Speaking to both the English and Spanish participants was Hector Molina who focused on “The Eucharist as a Sacrifice, Real Presence, and Holy Communion,” and then “Men of the Eucharist: Taken, Blessed, Broken & Given.”

Also speaking to the Spanish track, was Joel de Loera, who focused on “The Eucharist: Strength and Joy of the Family,” and then “Men as Spiritual Leaders and Defenders of the Faith.” Mary Ann Weisinger-Puig spoke on the topic, “This is My Body Given Up for You,” and then on “Drawing Close to Jesus in the Eucharist: Meditations on Sacred Art.” Meanwhile, Martha Fernandez-Sardina talked about “The Eucharist and the Feminine Genius.”

Each speaker offered the faithful the opportunity to become part of the greater National Eucharistic Revival and to leave with their hearts and minds aflame for the love of Jesus, His Catholic Church, and especially the Most Holy Eucharist.

For additional photos from the Diocese of Venice Eucharistic Congress, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/eucharistic-congress/.

 

 

High schoolers from Diocese rally to focus of the Lord

The superlatives from the 1,500 high school-aged Catholic teens who attended the Diocese of Venice Eucharistic Congress Youth Rally helped to best describe the day.

“Absolutely incredible!” “Amazing!” “Spiritual!” “Inspirational!” “Awesome!” “Powerful!” “Wonderful!” “Uplifting!” “Moving!” These are just some of the reactions from the teens who participated in the March 24, 2023, Youth Rally in Fort Myers.

The theme for the Eucharistic Congress was “The Word Became Flesh” (John 1:14), which served to remind the young women and men of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and that the Lord knows them and calls each by name to follow Him.

The evening Youth Rally was bracketed by two high points, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and an outdoor Eucharistic Adoration by candlelight in a neighboring amphitheater.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane said he was humbled by the presence of so many youth representing dozens of Parishes and each Diocesan Catholic high school.

“You have to know, the Lord works through you,” Bishop Dewane said. “You can be a sign for people. You have to know that you can’t just aimlessly fumble through life. The Lord prompts you in any number of positive ways. The Lord does that for you in a very powerful way, demonstrated by all of you being here. But, do you respond?””

When coming up with the National Eucharistic Revival (the impetus of the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress), the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wanted to encourage the faithful to devote time to getting to know better Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, the Bishop explained.

“It is in a precise way, in the Eucharist, the Lord is given to us, and we receive Him,” Bishop Dewane said. “We must have the strength to spend time in front of the Eucharist – in Adoration – to learn precisely what it is the Lord asks of you.”

“Put yourself in a relationship with Jesus Christ, through the Eucharist,” the Bishop continued. “It is Christ. It is His Body and Blood. It is His Real Presence! What better place to go and spend some time with the Lord? Let the strength that Jesus Christ is, Let His presence, in the Eucharist, fill your heart, fill your mind, fill your soul with His indication of what it is He wants from you and for you to do in your life.”

The Mass, was for the Vigil of the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, appropriately as the Blessed Virgin is known as Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

Organized by the Diocese Office of Evangelization, the day was filled with inspiring talks, worship music, opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and an outdoor Eucharistic Adoration.

Prior to the opening Mass, the youth were uplifted by the music of The Vigil Project, which also performed inspirational music during the outdoor adoration where the teens knelt in the dark, holding candles and reciting prayers. Bishop Dewane concluded the Eucharistic Adoration by leading everyone in reciting the Divine Praises.

The featured speaker was Father Timothy Anastos, one of only 50 Eucharistic Preachers in the U.S. He reminded the youth how the Eucharist reveals that Jesus wants to be close to each of us, delights in us for all of our flaws and uniqueness, and He wants to be helped by us in spreading His glory into the world.

“So often we can think that Jesus is really far away, He’s up in heaven, he doesn’t really care about us, He’s doubted us,” Father Anastos said. “But in the Eucharist, the Lord reveals Himself. He comes down to us. At every single Mass He is present in the tabernacle. He is there waiting for us. He is there. He will never abandon us. You will always have access to Him.”

After a dinner break, the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and breakout sessions took place. The youth were split into men and women sessions offered in English or Spanish. The men heard from Jimmy Mitchell and Joel de Loera, with a talk themed “Men as Defenders of the Faith.” Meanwhile the women heard a talk titled, “The Eucharist and Authentic Womanhood,” presented by Andrea Thomas and Mary Ann Weisinger-Puig.

 

The success of the day was apparent in the smiles and delight of the teens as they departed from the closing adoration with their friends preparing for their journey home.

“What can I say, but WOW! That was great! I wish all of my friends had been here. I want them all to experience something like this!” said one young lady before heading home from Our Lady of Grace Parish in Avon Park. She was overcome with emotion during the adoration, being among so many other teens who thought about Jesus in the same way that she did.

Middle school students come together

In colorful shirts, students from each of the 12 Diocese of Venice middle schools gathered as one group for the first time to pray, to sing, to praise Jesus, and to adore Him in the Blessed Sacrament.

The more than 1,000 middle school students were part of the kick-off event to the Diocese of Venice Eucharistic Congress on March 24, 2023, in Fort Myers.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was there to greet the students as they arrived and said a special effort was made to ensure the middle schoolers were a part of this important moment in the Diocese, this Eucharistic Congress. The Congress is itself part of the larger U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops three-year National Eucharistic Revival.

“I have a beautiful view (from the stage), standing here, knowing you are ready to open your hearts to the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament,” Bishop Dewane said. “Each one of us here has an obligation to recognize the Eucharist, and to pray to the Lord in our life.”

In addition to music and inspirational speakers, the day concluded with an outdoor Eucharistic Adoration in the nearby amphitheater with live music by The Vigil Project.

There, the students, wearing their designated colored t-shirts were a sight to behold as they knelt in silence as the Blessed Sacrament was brought forward as music played in the background.

Bishop Dewane then led the closing Benediction, which included leading everyone in praying the Divine Praises.

“It was neat to see a bunch of students in other Catholic schools come together for a good message, love Jesus more through the Most Holy Eucharist,” said Cora, a student at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Port Charlotte, who was impressed by the entire day.

Meanwhile, Blake, a student at Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota said, “I liked being there with my class to learn about everything.”

Students from other schools used words to describe their experience with phrases such as: “Fun!” “Cool!” “Awesome!” “Incredible!” “Great!”

One of the highlights for the students was seeing Shevin McCullough, of Studio 3:16, a multi-media Catholic curricular program promoting the Gospel and biblical themes to students in an engaging and relatable way.

McCullough, who has a popular social media channel geared toward middle school students, energized the students with music and key phrases to get the students excited about God, the Church and the Most Holy Eucharist. He used easy-to-remember tips to keep the youth focused on the Lord in their lives, specifically trust, honesty, prayer, and truth.

Father John Belmonte, SJ, Diocese Superintendent of Catholic Education, opened by asking the students: “Do you love Jesus?” and the students responded with a resounding “Yes!” When asked “Do you love Our Lady?” the hall reveberated with a “Yes!” and finally they were asked “Do you love our Church?” and the hall boomed with “Yes!”

“That is what today is all about,” Father Belmonte said.

After hearing from McCullough, the students were split into smaller groups for breakout sessions. There they took part in a rotation of presentations, including: Catholic trivia; a talk from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Diocese of Venice seminarians; and finally they heard from the Sister Servants of the Pierced Heart of Jesus and Mary of Miami.

The day also included hearing music and worship from The Vigil Project.

Earlier in the day, Bishop Dewane recognized an ongoing Devotional Project taking place this academic year in the Diocesan Catholic Schools. This project calls for an increased understanding of the Most Holy Eucharist, which has a component that encourages students to visit the Blessed Sacrament.

“So far, 50,073 is the number of times you and your classmates have visited the Blessed Sacrament in all of your schools,” the Bishop said. “I’m proud of that number, and I’m proud of you.”

Bishop Dewane said the students were “a late addition” to the Eucharistic Congress, but No. 1 in his book, as they were the first group to participate and the first to carry the power of what they learned about the Most Holy Eucharist forward in their daily life.

News Briefs for the Week of Jan. 6, 2023

Retired religious priest dies

Father Joseph P. Jocco, Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, a retired priest who assisted at St. Ann Parish in Naples and Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers, died on Dec. 24, 2022. Father was born in Chicago and served in the U.S. Navy as corpsman prior to entering the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, professing his first vows in 1977.  He was ordained a priest on June 9, 1984. Father Jocco worked in a variety of ministries in secondary education in Philadelphia, Wilmington, Delaware, Daytona Beach, and at Bishop Verot in Fort Myers. He was also the Vocation Director for the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province and Superior of the Salesian community at Parishes in Philadelphia, Robesonia, Pennsylvania and St. Ann Parish in Naples. Father Jocco is survived by several brothers and sisters, as well as many nieces and nephews. A Mass of Christian Burial was held Jan. 3, in Childs, Maryland, with burial following in the Oblate Cemetery.

Bishop celebrates Feast Day Mass in Naples

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass on the Feast of St. Elizabeth Seton (Jan. 4, 2023), at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples. The Mass included the participation of the students from St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School. Bishop Dewane encouraged the students to learn about their patroness who served as an example to follow in how she answered a call from the Lord and helped launch Catholic education in the United States.

Mooney starts equestrian club

Adventure awaits students in Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School’s newest club! The first outing for the Equestrian Club was Dec. 10, 2022, at a local dressage stable, where students learned about horse safety, grooming, and horse care. Members saddled up the beautiful horses at Rosaire’s Riding Academy to learn the basics of riding so that they can go on future trail rides together. The Equestrian Club also had fun hearing presentations by fellow Mooney students that compete in horse shows on the events that comprise equestrian sports – show jumping, hunter trails, and dressage. The next goal is a ride at the beach! The new Equestrian Cub was founded by sophomore Marianna Cardona Ortiz.

Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal continues

The 21st Annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal is continuing through January 2023. A donation to the Appeal strengthens Catholic Charities ability to provide much-needed support, for those recovering from Hurricane Ian, or who need any type of assistance in the region. This outreach is accomplished through more than 35 programs in locations throughout the 10-county Diocese. These programs annually support more than 100,000 individuals and families in ways both large and small. To support the Christmas Appeal, please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or mail a contribution to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285.

Time running out for hotel rooms for Eucharistic Congress

The two-part Diocese of Venice Eucharistic Congress and Youth Rally is coming March 24 and 25, 2023, to the Conference Center and Luminary Hotel on the riverfront of downtown Fort Myers. The Eucharistic Congress Youth Rally is 5 to 10 p.m., Friday, March 24, 2023, while the main Eucharistic Congress for adults is Saturday March 25. Exciting speakers and musicians are scheduled for these two events. Both events will include Eucharistic Processions and the opportunity to grow closer to the Lord through the Blessed Sacrament. Visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/eucharistic-congress/ to register and for additional details. For those wishing to spend the evening of the 24th or 25th at the Luminary Hotel, the deadline to obtain a special rate is closing soon, please make your reservation by visiting https://www.marriott.com/event-reservations/reservation-link.mi?id=1658159545793&key=GRP&app=resvlink.

News Briefs for the Week of August 5, 2022

Appointments

After consultation, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announces the following:

Father Thomas Carzon, Oblate of the Virgin Mary, as Pastor of San Pedro Parish in North Port, effective Aug. 1, 2022, and thus is relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar of Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

New Marian statue blessed

St. Cecilia Parish in Fort Myers hosted the blessing of a new Marian statue on July 31, 2022. The statue of Mary was donated courtesy of Retired Pastor Father Stanley Dombrowski, Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, and his sister Mary. Father Dombrowski led the blessing ceremony for the statue which sits outside, under the portico at the entrance of Marian Hall. The statue was dedicated to their parents, Stanley and Mary Dombrowski.

Men’s Retreat held in Lake Placid

Members of the John XXIII Retreats Movement gathered at Campo San Jose Retreat Center in Lake Placid on July 31, 2022, to celebrate the conclusion of another retreat. More than 25 men took part in the three-day retreat with their family and others taking part on the final day for the closing Mass. This makes more than 1,000 who have returned to the faith in the Diocese of Venice through the John XXIII Movement. The Movement is a private international association of laity, with the goal of leading marginalized communities to God. After completing an initial retreat, participants are encouraged to attend faith-formation classes and weekly meetings to strengthen their faith and personal relationship with God. Rooted in Eucharistic Adoration, the ministry serves the Church and its people through love, surrender, and sacrifice. For more information about the John XXIII Movement, please contact Father Stewart at stewart@dioceseofvenice.org or Jose Pastor Ramirez, Diocesan Coordinator, at JosePR72@hotmail.com.

Catholic Charities Summertime Appeal ongoing

Every day, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., serves its most vulnerable population by feeding, housing, empowering, and helping all in need. This summer, you can be the one that makes a difference. Your acts of kindness have the power to transform lives and leave a positive impact in our community. Catholic Charities, “Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal” is asking for your support. The giving is easy! Your gift will make a positive impact on our less fortunate brothers and sisters! Please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or mail a check to Catholic Charities, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285.

Walking With Moms in Need

Would you know how to help a pregnant woman in need? Maybe it’s your neighbor, cousin, niece, sister, granddaughter, or daughter. Maybe it’s someone you see in a store, restaurant, or church. Perhaps she is crying, looks distraught or is obviously being treated poorly by someone. Through a new national initiative from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) called Walking with Moms in Need, now you will know how to help. Walking with Moms in Need teaches the faithful how to help pregnant women in need, starting by letting them know they are not alone. The nationwide Catholic program calls every parishioner to learn the names of their local pregnancy help centers, the first responders for women with unexpected or difficult pregnancies. If you know of someone who is pregnant and needs help immediately, visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/walking-with-moms-in-need.

Parish youth help out  Do not run on same page as above brief

The St. John XXIII Parish Youth Outreach in Fort Myers has been working hard. First they organized shoes and backpacks collected from parishioners and to be delivered to families in need. Then they shifted their efforts to helping to organize and clean the Parish thrift store. Please keep all the youth in your prayers that they too will also say yes to living His word through action.

National Eucharistic Revival

A three-year revival of devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist begins with the Diocesan phase, from June 19, 2022, through June 11, 2023. During the Diocesan Year, there will be a series of events and retreats that encourage the renewal of the Church “by rekindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.” The pinnacle of the coming year will be a Diocesan Eucharistic Congress on March 24 and March 25, 2023. This event, which is in the early planning stages, will take place at the Convention Center and Luminary Hotel on the Fort Myers riverfront. The National Eucharistic Revival is a focused effort by the U.S. Catholic Bishops to revive a devotion to and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. To learn more about the National Eucharistic Revival, visit www.eucharisticrevival.org. Stay tuned for more information for the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress by visiting https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/eucharistic-congress-2023/.

Support after abortion – Project Rachel

Most women who choose abortion eventually realize that they made the wrong choice and face a lifetime of regret. Even if they confess this sin to a priest, they often find it difficult to accept God’s forgiveness and forgive themselves. Project Rachel is the Catholic Church’s program to help women and men come to terms with an abortion decision and find the hope and healing they need. Watch for more on post-abortion healing in the next edition of The Florida Catholic. For confidential help in English and Spanish, call 941-412-5860 or email project.rachel@dioceseofvenice.org.

Do You Need Help?

If you need assistance from Catholic Charities for food, financial assistance, or tele-mental health counseling, please call 941-355-4680 in Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto, Hardee, and Highlands Counties; 239-390-2928 in Charlotte, Lee, Hendry, and Glades Counties; and 239-793-0059 in Collier County between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 pm., Monday to Friday.

Retreat Center Fall Schedule Available Online

The Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center (OLPH) fall group retreats are now available for registration at www.olph-retreat.org. This includes a new one-day retreat on “Meditation in the Catholic Tradition,” scheduled for Saturday, October 22, the biannual silent Ignatian Preached Retreat, scheduled for Friday, November 18 to Monday, November 21, and the Monthly Day of Prayer series. Would you rather a private, directed retreat? OLPH offers 3-night, 5-night, and 7-night private retreats. To learn more about these retreats, please call 941-486-0233 or visit www.olph-retreat.org.

Food pantry needs help

The St. Joseph Food Pantry in Bradenton is in need of peanut butter. This staple is an important part of the pantry’s Family Bags and provides a key source of protein for children in need in Manatee County. The Food Pantry is happy to accept bulk, large, and small containers of peanut butter, as well as other non-perishable food items. If you wish to make a financial contribution, your donation can be doubled thanks to a partnership with the Flanzer Trust. Donations can be delivered to 2704 33rd Ave. W. Bradenton, FL  34205, Monday thru Friday 9 a.m. till noon. Please call 941-756 3732 or email directors@stjoepantry.com if you have any questions or if you need to make arrangements for drop off. For more information about how you can help, please visit www.stjoepantry.com.

Friends of the Seminary Gala

Please mark your calendars to participate in the St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary Friends of the Seminary Gala, in person or via our on-line experience, on Friday, October 21, 2022. You will find information at www.svdp.edu/friends2022 (This page will continue to update as we get closer to the event). This event is the Seminary’s largest fundraiser and your support is essential to ensure the continuity of this important mission: Forming priests after the Heart of Christ for the future of the Catholic Church. The virtual portion will be open to all and include live feed of the Mass at 5:30 p.m., and an online auction. We pray that with your support and God’s Providence, we will have a successful event. For more information, please call 561-732-4424, Ext. 162.

News Briefs for the week of July 29, 2022

Young adult group meets in Sarasota

Young adults gathered for a night of food and fellowship July 21, 2022, at the Mandeville Beer Garden in Sarasota, 428 N. Lemon Ave, Sarasota. Father Eric Scanlan, Pastor of Incarnation Parish in Sarasota, spoke to all about the importance of living as a disciple! This young adult group meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month for fellowship, prayer and fun. For more information, please contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org.

Verot bowlers make junior championship event

Two Bishop Verot Catholic High School seniors, Adam Belof and Gavin Hart, spent the week of July 18-22, 2022, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, representing Southwest Florida at the Junior Gold Bowling Championships. This is an annual national tournament for the top male and female youth bowlers in the United States. Only the best bowlers in the nation qualify, and these two certainly represented the Fort Myers area and Bishop Verot very well!

Football players help nearby Parish

Members of the St. John Neumann Catholic High School football team took a break from practice on July 23, 2022, to do some community service at nearby St. Elizabeth Seton Parish and Catholic School in Naples. The team assembled new desks for the elementary school and refurbished the pews in the church. It was noted that team bonding does not just happen on the football field.

Catholic Charities Summertime Appeal ongoing

Every day, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., serves its most vulnerable population by feeding, housing, empowering, and helping all in need. This summer, you can be the one that makes a difference. Your acts of kindness have the power to transform lives and leave a positive impact in our community. The Catholic Charities “Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal” is asking for your support. The giving is easy! Your gift will make a positive impact on our less fortunate brothers and sisters! Please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or mail a check to Catholic Charities, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285.

First Friday Prayer Intention

The Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. invites you to join them, Friday, August 5, 2022, for a prayer session led by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on https://www.facebook.com/ccfdov for all of the prayer intentions that were submitted for the First Friday Prayer Intentions. Everyone is encouraged to submit their prayer intentions in the comment section of the video post on Facebook. The Foundation also posts the video at www.ccfdioceseofvenice.org. If you would like to submit a private prayer via email, please send it to CCF@dioceseofvenice.org. Please know that First Friday Prayer Intentions with Bishop Dewane are a free service brought to you by the Catholic Community Foundation and donations are not expected nor encouraged as part of this program. To learn more about the First Friday Prayer Intentions with Bishop Dewane you can visit our website at https://ccfdioceseofvenice.org/first-friday-prayer-intentions/

Walking With Moms in Need

Would you know how to help a pregnant woman in need? Maybe it’s your daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, sister, or neighbor. Maybe it’s someone you see in a store, restaurant, or church. Perhaps she is crying, looks distraught or is obviously being treated poorly by someone. Through a new national initiative from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) called Walking with Moms in Need, now you will know how to help. Walking with Moms in Need teaches the faithful how to help pregnant women in need, starting by letting them know they are not alone. The nationwide Catholic program calls every parishioner to learn the names of their local pregnancy help centers, the first responders for women with unexpected or difficult pregnancies. If you know of someone who is pregnant and needs help immediately, visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/walking-with-moms-in-need.

Marriage Conference coming in October

Registration is now open for the Diocese of Venice Oct. 22, 2022, “Together in Holiness” Marriage Conference, presented in partnership with the Diocese of Venice Office of Family Life and the St. John Paul II Foundation. To register, please visit https://forlifeandfamily.org/events/th22-vnfl/. Bishop Frank J. Dewane said, “It is my pleasure to welcome the second annual Together in Holiness conference to the Diocese of Venice on October 22, the Feast of St. John Paul II. An invitation to all married and engaged couples to join me at this inspiring event is warmly extended. This day of prayer and presentations will enable each couple to reflect upon the great gift of the marriage vocation entrusted to them. I pray that through the intercession of St. John Paul II, the ‘Pope of the family,’ this day will be fruitful for all.” This marriage enrichment conference will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers. Couples will enjoy a day of quality time with their spouse accompanied by dynamic presentations and the availability of the Sacraments, along with access to on-site childcare. This special event is for all couples, engaged, newlywed or long-married!

National Eucharistic Revival

A three-year revival of devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist begins with the Diocesan phase, from June 19, 2022, through June 11, 2023. During the Diocesan Year, there will be a series of events and retreats that encourage the renewal of the Church “by rekindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.” The pinnacle of the coming year will be a Diocesan Eucharistic Congress on March 24 and March 25, 2023. This event, which is in the early planning stages, will take place at the Convention Center and Luminary Hotel on the Fort Myers riverfront. The National Eucharistic Revival is a focused effort by the U.S. Catholic Bishops to revive a devotion to and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. To learn more about the National Eucharistic Revival, visit www.eucharisticrevival.org. Stay tuned for more information for the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress by visiting https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/eucharistic-congress-2023/.

“Witnessing Faith with Bishop Dewane”

Join Bishop Frank J. Dewane for his monthly radio program on Relevant Radio on 106.7 FM and 1410 AM in Fort Myers and 93.3 FM and 1660 AM and in Naples. “Witnessing Faith with Bishop Dewane” can be heard at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, July 29. Outside of the listening area, access to the program is available at https://dioceseofvenice.org/our-bishop/relevant-radio-podcasts.

Support after abortion – Project Rachel

Most women who choose abortion eventually realize that they made the wrong choice and face a lifetime of regret. Even if they confess this sin to a priest, they often find it difficult to accept God’s forgiveness and forgive themselves. Project Rachel is the Catholic Church’s program to help women and men come to terms with an abortion decision and find the hope and healing they need. Watch for more on post-abortion healing in the next edition of The Florida Catholic. For confidential help in English and Spanish, call 941-412-5860 or email project.rachel@dioceseofvenice.org.

Do You Need Help?

If you need assistance from Catholic Charities for food, financial assistance, or tele-mental health counseling, please call 941-355-4680 in Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto, Hardee, and Highlands Counties; 239-390-2928 in Charlotte, Lee, Hendry, and Glades Counties; and 239-793-0059 in Collier County between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 pm., Monday to Friday.

Retreat Center Fall Schedule Available Online

The Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center (OLPH) fall group retreats are now available for registration at www.olph-retreat.org. This includes a new one-day retreat on “Meditation in the Catholic Tradition,” scheduled for Saturday, October 22, the biannual silent Ignatian Preached Retreat, scheduled for Friday, November 18 to Monday, November 21, and the Monthly Day of Prayer series. Would you rather a private, directed retreat? OLPH offers 3-night, 5-night, and 7-night private retreats. To learn more about these retreats, please call 941-486-0233 or visit www.olph-retreat.org.

Food pantry needs help

The St. Joseph Food Pantry in Bradenton is in need of peanut butter. This staple is an important part of the pantry’s Family Bags and provides a key source of protein for children in need in Manatee County. The Food Pantry is happy to accept bulk, large, and small containers of peanut butter, as well as other non-perishable food items. If you wish to make a financial contribution, your donation can be doubled thanks to a partnership with the Flanzer Trust. Donations can be delivered to 2704 33rd Ave. W. Bradenton, FL  34205, Monday thru Friday 9 a.m. till noon. Please call 941-756 3732 or email directors@stjoepantry.com if you have any questions or if you need to make arrangements for drop off. For more information about how you can help, please visit www.stjoepantry.com.

National Eucharistic Revival to begin June 19

“The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.’” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324

The Bishops of the United States are calling for a three-year grassroots revival of devotion and belief in 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 National Eucharistic Revival will culminate in the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States in almost 50 years. More than 100,000 Catholics are expected to join together in Indianapolis for a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage toward the “source and summit” of our Catholic Faith.

This three-year plan to revive the place of the Eucharist in the minds, hearts and lives of Catholics in the United States has its official start with the 2022 Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) on June 19. Parishes across the Diocese of Venice are planning Corpus Christi processions for June 19, in conjunction with similar celebrations around the country.

The Diocesan Year of the National Eucharistic Revival is from June 19, 2022, to June 11, 2023. During the Diocesan Year there will be a series of events and retreats that encourage the renewal of the Church “by rekindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.” During the Diocesan Year, Eucharistic Missionaries will be trained. These Missionaries are Catholics who through a deep encounter and experience with the Blessed Sacrament, become equipped to share the love and the truth of the Real Presence – Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The Diocesan Year will culminate with a Eucharistic Congress held in the Spring of 2023.

The Parish Year will be from June 11, 2023, to July 17, 2024. During the Parish Year, Eucharistic Missionaries will encourage increased Eucharistic Adoration in their Parishes, family prayer, and small group prayer. Free resources will be made available to facilitate and encourage an increased devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in families and Parishes.

The U.S. Catholic Church’s three-year eucharistic revival “is not a program but a movement” that is an invitation to the faithful from God to go on mission and be compelling witnesses of our faith, said Carrie Harkey, Director of the Diocesan Family Life Office and Interim Director of Evangelization.

“The National Eucharistic Revival is part of an exciting journey as the Eucharist stands at the center of our Faith,” Harkey said. “The timing of this is crucial in reminding the faithful about what the Second Vatican Council taught, that the Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life’ and is an opportunity to have an intimate encounter with Christ.”

Taking its title from the Bread of Life discourse in John’s Gospel, “My flesh for the life of the world/Mi carne para la vida del mundo,” the Eucharistic Revival is not a step-by-step plan or a series of meetings; it is a grassroots call and a challenge for every Catholic across the United States to rekindle the fire of love and devotion for the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. Over three years, every Catholic Diocese, Parish, school, apostolate, and family is invited to be a part of renewing the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The U.S. Bishops approved plans for the Revival and the Congress in November 2021 during their fall general assembly in Baltimore.

Stay tuned for more information about what is planned on the Diocesan level at www.dioceseofvenice.org. To learn more about the National Eucharistic Revival, please visit https://eucharisticrevival.org. There you will find a free online course from Bishop Andrew Cozzens, of the Diocese of Crookston and head of the Committee for Evangelization and Catechesis at the USCCB, “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” which can be utilized in parishes, small groups, or for individual study.

Prayer for the Revival

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You!

I beg pardon for those who do not believe, nor

adore, nor hope, nor love You. (Three times)

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I

adore You profoundly. I offer You the most

precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus

Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world

in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and

indifference by which He is offended. And,

through the infinite merits of the Sacred

Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

I beg of You the conversion of sinners.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Oración para el avivamiento

¡Dios mío, yo creo, adoro, espero y te amo!

¡Te pido perdón por los que no creen, no

adoran, no esperan, no te aman! (Tres veces)

Santísima Trinidad, Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo, yo

te adoro profundamente y te ofrezco el

Preciosísimo Cuerpo, Sangre, Alma y Divinidad de

nuestro Señor Jesucristo, presente en todos los

Sagrarios del mundo, en reparación de los ultrajes

con los que Él es ofendido. Por los méritos infinitos

del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús y del Inmaculado

Corazón de María, te pido la conversión de los

pecadores.

Nuestra Señora de Fátima,

ruega por nosotros.

X