Faithful blessed to see Saint relics up close

St. Katherine Drexel Parish was filled with the Faithful looking to view a traveling exhibit of Saint relics.

Being in the presence of 165 relics was a powerful experience for many. Notable pieces in the recent exhibition include a portion of the True Cross and a piece of the veil of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A relic is a piece of the body of the saint, usually a bone, or an item used or owned by the Saint or an object that has touched the tomb of the Saint.

Even with several hundred people in the Parish Hall, everyone spoke in hushed tones and were in full reverence when they encountered relics of St. Joseph, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Maria Goretti, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Faustina Kowalska, Pope John Paul II and many more.

Some kneeled before certain relics, while other touched them with religious articles, such as medals or rosaries, and still others picked them up to place them close to their heart or kiss the item.

Sofia Thompson of St. Katharine Drexel was brought to tears by being in the presence of the relic of St. Catherine of Siena, a Doctor of the Church, known for her holiness, spiritual visions and writings who had great influence in the Church of the 14th century.

“She was such a strong remarkable woman that my whole family has adored forever,” Thompson said. “My late mother had a strong devotion to Catherine. She had several books about her and a large statue, which now sits in my bedroom.”

Hosted by Father Carlos Martins, C.C. (Companions of the Cross), the “Treasures of the Church” exhibit travels around the world to spread the experience of the living God, through an encounter with the relics in the form of an exposition. Father Martins explained what a relic is and isn’t, the history of why Catholics have relics from the Saints, and then the process of getting relics and verifying their authenticity.

The veneration of these sacred relics is a long tradition in the Church dating to the earliest days when the first Christians would gather near the tombs of the early martyrs. Miracles were connected with these sacred places and relics, which do not have some magical power in them, their power comes from God, Father Martins explained. “The fact that God uses the relics for healing miracles tells us that the Lord wants us to draw our attention to the Saints as models and intercessors.

In fact, every Catholic Church in the world possesses a relic on its altar, a tradition that dates back to the 4th century. The most recent example in the Diocese of Venice occurred in 2021 at the dedication of the new St. Paul Parish Church in Arcadia. At that time, Bishop Frank J. Dewane presided over the placing of the relic of St. Juan Diego in the altar.

While this major exhibition travels throughout the world by invitation, four stops were made in the Diocese from May 9-12, 2022, including St. Katharine Drexel, Incarnation Parish in Sarasota, St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples and Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria. Students from Incarnation Catholic School, St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School and Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish, were each given private time with the relics before evening Parish presentations.

The relics were placed on tables, with information cards adjacent, scattered throughout the hall, with six special pieces on tables where people lined up to wait to see them.

Each exposition began with a multi-media presentation on the Church’s use of relics that is scriptural, catechetical, and devotional, leading to a renewal of the Catholic Faith for many people.  After the teaching those in attendance had an opportunity to venerate the relics of some of their favorite saints.

Father Martins said each person has a different experience when in the presence of relics. He said that it was important that people leave behind the sins that hold them back from growing closer to the Lord. He used the example of St. Maria Goretti, an 11-year-old from Italy who was brutally murdered, but completely forgave her attacker before dying.

“Your job today is for you to find your Saint,” Father Martins said at the conclusion of his presentation. “No Saint will force themselves upon you. If you perceive within yourself a commitment to get your life right with the Lord, a Saint will accompany you on that journey.”

Father Ricky Varner, Pastor at St. Katherine Drexel, was impressed by the presentation and exhibition noting that it could have been held over many days with huge crowds. “This was wonderful to have so many people come together and celebrate the Faith in this unique way. The saints have an important role for all of us as they speak to us and connect with us.”

Last chances to participate in the Synod

Do you want to have a say in the future of the Universal Church? If so, then there are only two opportunities left for the Faithful to have their voices heard during the Diocesan Phase of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of Bishops, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” as requested by His Holiness Pope Francis.

You can sign up now for the last in-person Diocesan Listening Session from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday, May 23, 2022, at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge St., LaBelle (English and Spanish); or for the Virtual Listening Session via Microsoft TEAMS from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 25. To register for either or both, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/2022-synod-listening-sessions.

There have been 10 Diocesan Listening Sessions to-date, with the most recent May 16, at St. Agnes Parish in Naples. These Listening Sessions have been available to offer the Faithful the opportunity to provide input into the future of the Universal Church. Each Session asks participants to discern the Word of God in Scripture, what those Words are saying to us while remembering the living Mission of the Church. The feedback has been both positive and passionate.

“For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” is a worldwide effort for a deeper communion, fuller participation, and greater openness to fulfilling our mission in the world. Bishop Frank J. Dewane said the input of the Faithful – with an open heart, mind and soul – is critical as the Universal Church contemplates the future.

The information gathered at the Diocesan Listening Sessions, as well as from direct or follow-up comments from the Faithful, will be synthesized into a document which will be shared with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and ultimately the Vatican. Similar Listening Sessions are being held across the country and around the globe.

Those interested in attending any of the Sessions are encouraged to confirm their attendance by registering at https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/2022-synod-listening-sessions. (NOTE: to participate in the Virtual Listening Session, you MUST register, so a link can be provided).

For any questions or comments regarding the Listening Sessions or the Synod, please email synod@dioceseofvenice.org.

Synod Listening Sessions winding down

An enthusiastic group of Faithful from Parishes in the Eastern Deanery shared their thoughts during the latest Diocesan Synod Listening Session on May 9, 2022, at St. Catherine Parish in Sebring.

This was the ninth of 12 such Listening Sessions as part of the Diocesan Phase of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of Bishops, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” as requested by His Holiness Pope Francis.

There are just three Listening Session left: 6:30-8 p.m., Monday, May 16, St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples; 6:30-8 pm., Monday, May 23, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge St., LaBelle (English and Spanish); and 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 25, Virtual Listening Session via Microsoft TEAMS.

To ensure everyone has a voice, the Faithful are encouraged to consider attending one of the final Listening Sessions, which started in February, with close to 1,000 having their voice heard in this process. Each Session has the goal of discerning the Word of God in Scripture and what those Words are saying to us while remembering the living Mission of the Church. The feedback has been both positive and passionate.

“For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” is a two-year, worldwide effort for a deeper communion, fuller participation, and greater openness to fulfilling our mission in the world. Bishop Frank J. Dewane said the input of the Faithful is critical as the Universal Church contemplates the future. The Faithful continue to be encouraged to respond to the Synod with an open heart, mind and soul, the Bishop added.

Each session is being recorded to allow for proper documentation. The information gathered at the Diocesan Listening Sessions, as well as from direct or follow-up comments from the Faithful, will be synthesized into a document which will be shared with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and ultimately the Vatican. Similar Listening Sessions are being held across the country and around the globe. The XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will take place at the Vatican in October 2023.

The format of the Listening Sessions includes an opening prayer and remarks before lively table discussions. Each Session concentrates on questions inspired by 10 Synod themes supplied by the Vatican. Participants are also able to share additional comments privately by emailing synod@dioceseofvenice.org.

Listening Session locations were selected based of geography and population to cover as much of the Diocese as possible and several have been offered in both English and Spanish.

Those interested in attending any of the Sessions are encouraged to confirm their attendance by registering at www.dioceseofvenice.org. A link will be provided for those interested in participating in the Virtual Listening Session.

For any questions or comments regarding the Listening Sessions, please email synod@dioceseofvenice.org.

Final Synod Listening Sessions in May

Time is running out to have your voice heard during the Diocesan Phase of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of Bishops, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” as requested by His Holiness Pope Francis.

To ensure everyone has a voice, the faithful are encouraged to consider attending one of the final four Listening Sessions in May; three of which will be in person, with a Virtual Session to close out the Diocesan Phase.

To date, eight Listening Sessions, starting in February, have been completed throughout the Diocese with hundreds having their voice heard in this process. Each Session has the goal of discerning the Word of God in Scripture, what those Words are saying to us while remembering the living Mission of the Church. The feedback has been both positive and passionate.

“For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” is a worldwide effort for a deeper communion, fuller participation, and greater openness to fulfilling our mission in the world. Bishop Frank J. Dewane said the input of the faithful is critical as the Universal Church contemplates the future. The Faithful are encouraged to respond to the Synod with an open heart, mind and soul, the Bishop added.

Each session is being recorded to allow for proper documentation. The information gathered at the Diocesan Listening Sessions, as well as from direct or follow-up comments from the faithful, will be synthesized into a document which will be shared with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and ultimately the Vatican. Similar Listening Sessions are being held across the country and around the globe.

The format of the Listening Sessions includes an opening prayer and remarks before lively table discussions. Each Session concentrates on questions inspired by 10 Synod themes supplied by the Vatican. Participants are also able to share additional comments privately by emailing synod@dioceseofvenice.org.

Listening Session locations were selected based of geography and population to cover as much of the Diocese as possible and several have been offered in both English and Spanish.

Upcoming in-person Sessions will take place from 6:30-8 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Monday, May 9, St. Catherine Parish, 820 Hickory St., Sebring (Eng./Sp);
  • Monday, May 16, St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples (Eng.);
  • Monday, May 23, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge St., LaBelle (Eng./Sp);

Please note, there will also be a Virtual Listening Session from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 25.

Those interested in attending any of the Sessions are encouraged to confirm their attendance by registering at www.dioceseofvenice.org. A link will be provided for those interested in participating in the Virtual Listening Session.

For any questions or comments regarding the listening sessions, please email synod@dioceseofvenice.org.

Earlier Listening Session

Diocesan Phase for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of Bishops, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”

To date, eight in-person Listening Sessions have been completed, and they include:

  • (Completed) Feb. 9, St. Thomas More Parish, Sarasota (Eng.);
  • (Completed) Feb. 16, Epiphany Cathedral, Venice (Eng./Sp.);
  • (Completed) Feb. 22, Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish, Bradenton (Eng./Sp.);
  • (Completed) March 3, St. Andrew Parish, Cape Coral (Eng./Sp.);
  • (Completed) March 14, St. John XXIII Parish, Fort Myers (Eng.);
  • (Completed) March 16, Sacred Heart Parish, Punta Gorda (Eng.);
  • (Completed) March 24; St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225, Golden Gate Parkway, Naples (Eng./Sp.).
  • (Completed) March 28, St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Ave. N., Naples (Eng.).

News Briefs for week of April 29, 2022

Priest dies

Father Russell Ruggiero died at his home in Lakewood Ranch on April 18, 2022, at the age of 59. Father Ruggiero was ordained to the priesthood on May 29, 2010, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. He served as Parochial Vicar at Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish in Bradenton, San Marco Parish in Marco Island, and St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers. Father served as Administrator of St. Elizabeth Seton Parish from Jan. 8, 2017 to Oct. 19, 2018 before taking a leave of absence. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on April 25 at Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish. Father Mark Heuberger, Pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul was the main celebrant with Bishop Frank J. Dewane in attendance. Please pray for the repose of the soul of Father Ruggiero and the consolation of his family. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in eternal peace.

 Retreat improves communication for couples

A MDS (Matrimonio, Diálogo y Seguimiento – Matrimony, Dialogue and Follow-Up) Wedding Retreat took place at Campo San Jose Retreat Center in Lake Placid on April 22-24, 2022. MDS, a Catholic-based Spanish-language enrichment program directed to all married couples which is designed to improve communication in the conjugal life for the couple. Participating couples are paired with mentor couples to help them daily live out their Sacramental Marriage, accompanied by Jesus. These intensive retreats are offered several times a year and the couples and their mentors have follow-up contact to ensure the lessons have a lasting impact. Father Claudio Stewart, Diocesan Director of the Hispanic Apostolate addressed the retreatants offering encouragement.

Final Synod on Synodality Listening Sessions in May

There are only four more opportunities to take part in the Diocesan Phase for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of Bishops, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” as requested by His Holiness Pope Francis. Everyone is invited as the Diocese of Venice is holding various sessions for an evening of listening with the goal to discern the Word of God in Scripture, what those Words are saying to us while remembering the living Mission of the Church. To date, eight in-person listening sessions have been completed, and they include:

  • (Completed) Feb. 9, St. Thomas More Parish, Sarasota (Eng.);
  • (Completed) Feb. 16, Epiphany Cathedral, Venice (Eng./Sp.);
  • (Completed) Feb. 22, Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish, Bradenton (Eng./Sp.);
  • (Completed) March 3, St. Andrew Parish, Cape Coral (Eng./Sp.);
  • (Completed) March 14, St. John XXIII Parish, Fort Myers (Eng.);
  • (Completed) March 16, Sacred Heart Parish, Punta Gorda (Eng.);
  • (Completed) March 24; St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225, Golden Gate Parkway, Naples (Eng./Sp.).
  • (Completed) March 28, St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Ave. N., Naples (Eng.).

Upcoming in-person Sessions will take place from 6:30 p.m.- 8 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Monday, May 9, St. Catherine Parish, 820 Hickory St., Sebring (Eng./Sp);
  • Monday, May 16, St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples (Eng.);
  • Monday, May 23, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge St., LaBelle (Eng./Sp);

Please note, there will also be a Virtual Session from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 25. Those interested in attending any of the sessions are encouraged to confirm their attendance by registering at www.dioceseofvenice.org. For any questions or comments regarding the listening sessions, please email synod@dioceseofvenice.org.

Robotics team prepares for competition

The St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School Robotics team from Port Charlotte has been preparing for their very first competition which takes place on May 14 in Fort Myers. These students have been working extremely hard and coming up with different strategies for this upcoming competition against other teams from throughout the Diocese. The students are working hard to build a strong team while developing skills in programming, modeling and design, all needed to ensure a successful competition.

 

Students vote for their favorite books

With the assistance from members of the St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School National Junior Honors Society, students returned from their Easter break on April 19, 2022, to vote on their favorite Sunshine State books. They did this by using real voting machines. Students from all levels, pre-kindergarten-3 through eighth grade, had the opportunity to vote. The machines were programmed to allow the students to choose from the different books. Everyone had fun using the machines while also learning about books and the voting process.

Love of baseball shared by students

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School students in Sarasota continued its 10-year partnership with the Miracle League of Manasota by continuing the service outreach on April 23, 2022. The goal of the Miracle League is to provide opportunities for differently-abled children and adults to play baseball. Members of the Mooney club volunteer each weekend, giving back by teaching various skills and being vocal cheerleaders for those who take part in the program.

House Olympics lots of fun in Naples

The annual House Olympics at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples took place on April 22, 2022, with Raley House taking the victory. Teams from each house participate in a variety of fun and games competing for points and ultimately a victory over their fellow competitors. Neumann has four “Houses” which serve as a form of student government, dividing students into different teams. Throughout the year these teams earn points for success in various academic and athletic individual and team competitions. The House Olympics is just one of the latest competitions. The championship team will be announced at the end of the year. This system was implemented to help younger students become more familiar with Neumann as freshman and through the years the older students serve as mentors to their House members.

New Pro-Life Documentary

“The Matter of Life,” a new Pro-Life documentary, will be in theaters for a limited engagement on Monday, May 16 and Tuesday, May 17 only. The documentary takes you on a journey to unravel the complexities of the abortion debate by addressing the issue through science, philosophy, history and powerful personal stories with testimonies from some of the best pro-life national speakers such as Scott Klusendorf, Stephanie Gray Connors and Dr. Anthony Levatino, a former abortionist. The film answers hard questions and provides hope for the future. With the impending Supreme Court ruling on the Dobbs case (a review of the Alabama abortion law and could ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade – www.prayfordobbs.com), now is the time to learn all you can about this important issue. See www.thematteroflife.org for a trailer, theater locations and more. Questions? Contact Jeanne Berdeaux, Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-441-1101.

Treasures of the Church coming to Diocese

An Exposition of Sacred Relics will take place in several locations within the Diocese of Venice and elsewhere in Florida in the month of May. Each evening begins with a presentation and teaching on relics which features the catechetical and spiritual basis for the “Walk with the Saints” where over 150 relics will be displayed. In the Diocese of Venice, the following dates and locations are available for all to attend: May 9, Incarnation Parish, 2929 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota; May 10, St. Katharine Drexel Parish, 1922 SW 20th Ave., Cape Coral; May 11, Ave Maria Parish, 5088 Annunciation Circle, Ave Maria; May 12, St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples. Each exposition will begin at 6:30 p.m. and there is no fee to attend.

9th Annual Marian Eucharistic Conference in May

All are invited to the 9th Annual Marian Eucharistic Conference May 13 to May 15 at Ave Maria University, Ave Maria. The theme is “Do Whatever He Tells You.” Featured speakers will include Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Coffey, of the Archdiocese of the Military Services, Father Larry Richards, Father Rick Martignetti, Deacon Dr. Mark Miravalle, EWTN’s Steve Ray, and Johnnette Benkovic plus music by Martin Doman and the AMU Band. In addition to the talks, the Conference will include a Rosary Walk, Holy Mass, Benediction, and more. The cost is $180 per person and includes lodging, meals and conference fee for the weekend. For more information visit www.aveconferences.com,call 239-348-4725 or email aveconferences@gmail.com.

Paschal Triduum celebrated throughout the Diocese

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News Briefs for the week of April 22, 2022

Computers, robotics and Legos make learning fun

St. Andrew Catholic School third grade students learned about landmarks on April 6, 2022, in Cape Coral. To do this, they researched various landmarks on their computers and then, with their new Robotics programing software, used their Lego kits to bring what they learned to life. This is another example of a cross-curricular activity using the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) model.

Fresh salsa made from school garden

The Bishop Verot Catholic High School Environmental Club members enjoyed the fruits of their labor with homemade salsa in Fort Myers on April 17, 2022. Each of the ingredients were cultivated from the school garden. The results were tasty.

Schools, Catholic Charities in northern counties to benefit from Giving Challenge

Diocesan Catholic schools and programs of Catholic Charities in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties will be beneficiaries of the 2022 Giving Challenge, from noon April 26 to noon April 27, 2022. The Giving Challenge is presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The giving is being augmented by The Patterson Foundation which will match all donations between $25 and $100. All donations made during the 24-hour Giving Challenge are unrestricted gifts to the nonprofit organization of your choice. You can visit www.givingchallenge.org to search for participating organizations. Note that many of the organizations also have Challenge Matches from various supporters. These matches serve to multiply the value of individual donations. Schools participating in the 2022 Giving Challenge include: Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School, Incarnation Catholic School, St. Mary Academy, St. Martha Catholic School, St. Joseph Catholic School, and St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School. In addition to Catholic Charities, other organizations within the Diocese that are part of the Giving Challenge include the St. Joseph Food Pantry, St. Vincent de Paul – St. Joseph Conference Bradenton Inc., as well as the Society St. Vincent de Paul – Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Conference.

Treasures of the Church coming to Diocese

An Exposition of Sacred Relics will take place in several locations within the Diocese of Venice and elsewhere in Florida in the month of May. Each evening begins with a presentation and teaching on relics which features the catechetical and spiritual basis for the Walk with the Saints where over 150 relics will be displayed. In the Diocese of Venice, the following dates and locations are available for all to attend: May 9, Incarnation Parish, 2929 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota; May 10, St. Katharine Drexel Parish, 1922 SW 20th Ave., Cape Coral; May 11, Ave Maria Parish, 5088 Annunciation Circle, Ave Maria; May 12, St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples. Each exposition will begin at 6:30 p.m. and there is no fee to attend. For further information please visit www.treauresofthechurch.com.

Students and parents help Needy

During a day off from school on April 18, 2022, students and parents from St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota volunteered to help pack 728 food boxes at All Faiths Food Bank in south Sarasota. This outreach, during a rare weekday off from school during the Monday within the Octave of Easter, reflected well the commitment to service Diocesan Catholic schools instill in its students and families. Great job everyone!

Breakfast with Bishop Joseph Coffey

The TMIY (That Man is You) Men’s Ministry of Ave Maria Parish is hosting a breakfast with Most. Rev. Joseph L. Coffey, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of the Military Services, at 8:15 a.m., May 13, 2022, in the Parish Hall at 5068 Annunciation Circle, Ave Maria. Bishop Coffey will speak on “The Causes of Canonization of Military Chaplains Father (Vincent) Capodanno and Father (Emil) Kapuan.” There is no cost or registration required. For more information, call Dom Micillo at 904-536-1480.

Port Charlotte school hosts first responders

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Port Charlotte was swarmed with first responders and their various emergency response vehicles on April 13, 2022. There was no emergency, in fact the first responders were present to give the students a variety of public safety demonstrations. Students were treated to a visit from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, including helicopter landing on the athletic field, K-9 units, and more. Also present were representatives from Charlotte County Fire and EMS, Charlotte County Public Safety, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife and Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The day also included an opportunity for the students to thank the first responders for keeping the community safe.

Picnic tables installed at Bradenton school

April 13, 2022, was a scheduled day off at St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton. However, the campus was busy as volunteers and the maintenance team assembled and moved 22 new picnic tables into the courtyard. The hard work paid off and when students and teachers returned on April 19, they received a pleasant surprise as there are new places for outdoor study, projects, lunch and relaxation.

Catholic athletes continue to excel

Teams from Bishop Verot Catholic High School earned both girl’s and boy’s tennis team district titles on April 13, 2022, in Fort Myers. Meanwhile, the Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School boy’s lacrosse team earned a district title on April 15. The Mooney girl’s lacrosse team defeated the Verot girls in the district playoffs on April 11.

Neumann seniors reflect on high school

Scientium Veritatis ~ Senior Reflection Day at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples was April 19, 2022. The seniors presented before the faculty and staff their reflection projects, which called for them to dive deep and reflect on their last four years and the growth they have experienced. Students focused on Don Bosco’s Oratory (Home, School, Playground and Church) while showcasing important artifacts from their high school years.

OLPH Day of Prayer in May

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center’s final Monthly Day of Prayer Retreat for the season will be Sunday, May 8, 2022, and Wednesday, May 11. The cost for each retreat is $40 and includes a continental breakfast, two conferences, lunch, adoration, and Mass. The conference topics are the same for both sessions. The final Group retreat for the season is the Ignatian Preached Retreat scheduled for May 20-23. The cost is $460 and includes a private room and all meals. The Fall 2022 private retreat schedule is now available on the OLPH website and includes 3-day, 5-day, and 8-day directed retreats on their beautiful campus. To learn more about each retreat and to register, please visit: www.olph-retreat.org or call 941-486-0233. OLPH is located at 3989 South Moon Drive, Venice.

9th Annual Marian Eucharistic Conference in May

All are invited to the 9th Annual Marian Eucharistic Conference May 13 to May 15 at Ave Maria University, Ave Maria. The theme is “Do Whatever He Tells You.” Featured speakers will include Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Coffey, of the Archdiocese of the Military Services, Father Larry Richards, Father Rick Martignetti, Deacon Dr. Mark Miravalle, EWTN’s Steve Ray, and Johnnette Benkovic plus music by Martin Doman and the AMU Band. In addition to the talks, the Conference will include a Rosary Walk, Holy Mass, Benediction, and more. The cost is $180 per person and includes lodging, meals and conference fee for the weekend. For more information visit www.aveconferences.com,call 239-348-4725 or email aveconferences@gmail.com.

Diocesan Listening Sessions feedback continues

Three-quarters of the way through the Diocesan Phase of “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission” and the feedback reflects the passion the faithful have for the Universal Church.

Participants come to the Diocesan Listening Sessions focused and ready to share where they believe the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church today. The latest Listening Sessions took place in Naples on March 24, 2022, at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish and March 28 at St. John the Evangelist Parish. Discussions were both positive and passionate.

The format of the Listening Sessions includes an opening prayer and brief remarks from Bishop Frank J. Dewane, with the focus shifting to lively table discussions. Each Session concentrates on questions inspired by 10 Synod themes supplied by the Vatican. Participants are also able to share additional comments privately through the Synod email, synod@dioceseofvenice.org.

Among the 10 themes under consideration is “Sharing Responsibility.” This is described by the Synod as follows: “The synodal process calls each member of the People of God to equally participate and take responsibility for the method of listening and dialogue being called by the Spirit. The participation of each member of the faithful is required to further the mission of the Church.” Other themes include: “Companions on the Journey,” “Listening,” “Speaking Out,” “Celebration,” and more.

Bishop Dewane has stressed during each Session how important it is to respond to the Synod, and the questions posed, in the context of what the Holy Spirit is asking of us, and can only be accomplished with an open heart, mind and soul. Bishop Dewane encouraged the faithful in attendance to share their dreams for the Church, and when the floor was open for a free discussion, many shared their hopes and dreams for the Universal Church.

Each session is being recorded to allow for proper documentation. The information gathered at the Diocesan Listening Sessions, as well as from direct or follow-up comments from the faithful, will be synthesized into a document which will be shared with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and ultimately the Vatican. Similar Listening Sessions are being held across the country and around the globe.

The St. Elizabeth Seton and St. John the Evangelist Listening Sessions were the seventh and eighth of 12 planned through May. Due to Holy Week and the Easter celebrations, the next Listening Sessions will take place in May in Sebring, Naples and LaBelle. Locations for the Sessions were selected based on geography and population to cover as much of the Diocese as possible.

For additional Synod details, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org. To register for any of the Listening Sessions, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/2022-synod-listening-sessions.

“For A Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”

Listing of 12 Diocese of Venice Listening Sessions

  • (Completed) Feb. 9, St. Thomas More Parish, Sarasota (Eng.);
  • (Completed) Feb. 16, Epiphany Cathedral, Venice (Eng./Sp.);
  • (Completed) Feb. 22, Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish, Bradenton (Eng./Sp.);
  • (Completed) March 3, St. Andrew Parish, Cape Coral (Eng./Sp.);
  • (Completed) March 14, St. John XXIII Parish, Fort Myers (Eng.);
  • (Completed) March 16, Sacred Heart Parish, Punta Gorda (Eng.);
  • (Completed) March 24; St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225, Golden Gate Parkway, Naples (Eng./Sp.).
  • (Completed) March 28, St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Ave. N., Naples (Eng.);
  • Monday, May 9, St. Catherine Parish, 820 Hickory St., Sebring (Eng./Sp);
  • Monday, May 16, St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples (Eng.);
  • Monday, May 23, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge St., LaBelle (Eng./Sp);
  • Virtual Session from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 25.

To register for a Listening Session of the Virtual Session, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/2022-synod-listening-sessions. Email synod@dioceseofvenice.org for any questions or comments regarding the Listening Sessions.

 

 

Diocesan Listening Sessions building bridges

Halfway through the Diocesan Phase of “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission” and the ultimate goals have not changed – to ignite minds, to warm hearts, and to restore strength in the common mission of the Universal Church.

The faithful taking part in the Diocesan Listening Sessions come prepared to answer the fundamental concept of what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church today. The latest Listening Sessions took place March 14, 2022, at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers and March 16 at Sacred Heart Parish in Punta Gorda. The feedback continues to be both positive and passionate.

The format of the Listening Sessions includes an opening prayer and remarks from Bishop Frank J. Dewane and then to lively table discussions. Each Session concentrates on questions inspired by 10 Synod themes supplied by the Vatican. Participants are also able to share additional comments privately through the Synod email, synod@dioceseofvenice.org.

Among the 10 themes under consideration is “Celebration.” This is described by the Synod as follows: “Journeying together is only possible if rooted in the Church’s communal listening to the Gospel and the celebration of the Eucharist. A synodal Church discerns how prayer and liturgical celebration inspires and empowers the community’s active participation in our communal mission.” Other themes include: “Companions on the Journey,” “Listening,” “Speaking Out,” and more.

Bishop Dewane has stressed during each Session how important it is to respond to the Synod, and the questions posed, in the context of what the Holy Spirit is asking of us, and can only be accomplished with an open heart, mind and soul.

Each session is being recorded to allow for proper documentation. The information gathered at the Diocesan Listening Sessions, as well as from direct or follow-up comments from the faithful, will be synthesized into a document which will be shared with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and ultimately the Vatican. Similar Listening Sessions are being held across the country and around the globe.

The St. John XXIII and Sacred Heart Listening Sessions were the fifth and sixth of 12 planned through May, with the next two taking place in Naples, first on Thursday, March 24, St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225, Golden Gate Parkway, and then Monday, March 28, St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Ave. N., Naples.

Locations for the Sessions were selected based on geography and population to cover as much of the Diocese as possible. Additional Listening Sessions will take place through May and will include a newly scheduled virtual session from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 25.

To register for any of the Listening Session, including the virtual session, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/2022-synod-listening-sessions. For additional Synod details, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org.

Listing of 12 Diocese of Venice Listening Sessions

(Completed) Feb. 9, St. Thomas More Parish, Sarasota (Eng.);

(Completed) Feb. 16, Epiphany Cathedral, Venice (Eng./Sp.);

(Completed) Feb. 22, Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish, Bradenton (Eng./Sp.);

(Completed) March 3, St. Andrew Parish, Cape Coral (Eng./Sp.);

(Completed) March 14, St. John XXIII Parish, Fort Myers (Eng.);

(Completed) March 16, Sacred Heart Parish, Punta Gorda (Eng.);

Thursday, March 24; St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225, Golden Gate Parkway, Naples (Eng./Sp.).

Monday, March 28, St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Ave. N., Naples (Eng.);

Monday, May 9, St. Catherine Parish, 820 Hickory St., Sebring (Eng./Sp);

Monday, May 16, St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples (Eng.);

Monday, May 23, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge St., LaBelle (Eng./Sp);

(NEW) Virtual Session from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 25.

To register for a Listening Session of the Virtual Session, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/2022-synod-listening-sessions. Email synod@dioceseofvenice.org for any questions or comments regarding the Listening Sessions.

Prayer for the Synod: Adsumus Sancte Spiritus (We stand before You, Holy Spirit)

We stand before You, Holy Spirit,

as we gather together in Your name.

With You alone to guide us,

make Yourself at home in our hearts;

Teach us the way we must go

and how we are to pursue it.

We are weak and sinful;

do not let us promote disorder.

Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path

nor partiality influence our actions.

Let us find in You our unity

so that we may journey together to eternal life

and not stray from the way of truth

and what is right.

All this we ask of You,

who are at work in every place and time,

in the communion of the Father and the Son,

forever and ever. Amen.

 

Equipping the Family: Having Critical Conversations

The consequences of pornography for the internet generation are being discussed with more frequency at every level, including in the Catholic Church. Pornography is one of the leading causes of abuse, adultery, divorce, addictions and human trafficking: it is, in short, a pervasive evil inflicting grave wounds on our families.

“It has been a year since the Diocese of Venice celebrated its first annual Safe Haven Sunday, but this was just the beginning of the pursuit to directly address the harmfulness of pornography to marriages, families, the culture and particularly to our youth and young adults,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane. “Therefore, on Sunday, March 27, 2022, the Diocese will continue efforts by celebrating the second annual Safe Haven Sunday.”

This weekend of awareness will provide free resources to parents and grandparents so as to give them confidence in how to talk to their children and grandchildren about internet dangers, as well as their personal online and offline choices. To assist in these efforts, each household attending Mass the weekend of March 26-27 will receive a copy of “Confident: Helping Parents Navigate Online Exposure.”

“Confident” is a step-by-step conversation guide that includes: information about the prevalence of pornography use today; a four-step process for discussing pornography with a child or teen; scripts for conversing with a child about pornography in the light of Biblical sexuality; information about porn use versus porn addiction; and a plan for protecting your home and devices.

The content for Safe Haven Sunday was created by Covenant Eyes, a company that provides internet accountability software. Their goal is to equip people with tools that offer protection online and encourage accountability and trust in the fight against temptation.

“It is my prayer that the resources provided to you on Safe Haven Sunday will teach parents and grandparents how to effectively address pornography in the home and encourage the steps it takes to make our homes safe havens for all,” Bishop Dewane said.

Safe Haven Sunday was developed in direct response to the 2015 statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), “Create In Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography.” The document states: “The use of pornography by anyone in the home deprives the home of its role as a safe haven and has negative effects throughout a family’s life and across generations.”

The USCCB statement discusses Church teaching on sexuality, the human person and chastity and explains why pornography is sinful and harmful. It also covers the effects of pornography on the culture and individuals.

“The Church’s teaching on the harm and sinfulness of pornography is grounded in the greater ‘yes’ or affirmation of the inviolable dignity of the human person revealed fully in Christ and the gift of human sexuality and marriage in God’s plan,” the Bishops wrote.

The statement encourages parents to be cautious about media in the home. “Be vigilant about the technology you allow into your home and be sensitive to the prevalence of sexual content in even mainstream television and film and the ease by which it comes through the internet and mobile devices,” the Bishops wrote.

For more information about the issue of pornography and its impact on the family, please visit https://cleanheart.online/diocese-venice-0. This is a customized page specific to the Diocese of Venice which contains resources for parents, educators, clergy, and all those who struggle; all content is in line with Catholic Teaching.

For questions or more information about Safe Haven Sunday, please contact Carrie Harkey, Diocesan Coordinator of Family Life, at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-484-9543.

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