Youth Mental Health workshop informs

Dozens of Parish staff from across the Diocese of Venice recently took part in one of two workshops, learning how to respond to a mental health crisis among youth.

The Youth Mental Health First Aid workshops on April 29, 2021 at St. Agnes Parish in Naples and May 1 at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish in Sarasota, were offered through the Diocese Department of Religious Education in an effort to teach those who interact with teens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.

Barry Groesch, seasonal resident who attends Sacred Heart Parish in Punta Gorda, is a retired law enforcement officer with 30 years of experience who has been teaching Mental Health First Aid to groups for the past decades. The target audience for the Diocesan workshops was priests, deacons, principals, teachers, and catechists.

Groesch said Youth Mental Health First Aid is the help offered to a young person experiencing a mental health challenge, mental disorder or mental health crisis. The first aid given is administered until appropriate help is received or until the crisis resolves. He stressed that Mental Health First Aid does not teach people to diagnose or to provide treatment. Through role-playing, participants worked through various scenarios which addressed some of the situations they might face.

The reality is that most mental health issues are not handled because of the societal stigma that comes with mental illness, Groesch said. He was quick to point out that no two people suffer from the same issues and that the goal is to create a more supportive and understanding environment. This is all done so that when a crisis does occur the signs are recognized and an action plan is in place, lending appropriate support and bridging the gap until professional help can arrive.

John Gulley, Principal of St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers, said he hoped to learn about identifying the symptoms of mental health issues and being more proactive.

Kelli Bonner, Director of Religious Education at St. Cecilia Parish in Fort Myers, expressed her desire to leave the workshop with the tools necessary to confidently respond when the next crisis occurs.

This was precisely the goal Groesch set forth for the day, teaching participants the risk factors and warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges common among adolescents. Participants learn to support a youth developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis by applying a core five-step action plan.

That action plan included: assessing for risk of suicide or harm; listening without judgement; giving reassurance and information; encouraging appropriate professional help; and encouraging self-help and other support strategies.

Each workshop participant also received a certificate upon completion of the workshop.

News Briefs for the week of May 7, 2017

Prayer service honor Mary held at Catholic Center

As May is a month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bishop Frank J. Dewane led a prayer service in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the staff of the Diocese of Venice Catholic Center on May 3, 2021. The prayer service took place in the entrance lobby where a statue of the Blessed Virgin is on display. In addition to prayers, the staff also sang two songs in honor of Our Lady.

Dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass ended May 1

As Bishop Frank J. Dewane continues to listen to public health data and hear from Priests and Parishioners about their experiences at Diocesan Parishes, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass was lifted in the Diocese of Venice beginning May 1, 2021. For a letter from Bishop Dewane and the revised guidelines updating Parish safety protocols which includes the need to continue to wear masks at Mass, as well as at all Diocesan and Parish activities, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/daily-resources/diocese-of-venice-responds-to-novel-coronavirus-covid19/ for English and for Spanish, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/hispanic-apostolate/.

Naples artist does well in county competition

St. John Neumann Catholic High School student Thomas Lund took second prize in the 2021 Collier County High School Art Competition hosted by the Marco Island Center for the Arts announced on April 27, 2021. Lund submitted a drawing of St. Mother Teresa for the competition. Well done.

Outdoor band concert impresses

The 6th grade band and the 7th/8th grade Advanced Band of St. Ann Catholic School in Naples performed an outdoor concert on April 29, 2021. Under the direction of Marjorie Huelsman, the bands played a wide selection of music for family, friends and supporters of the school. Attendees sat in lawn chairs as the evening concert was held on the basketball court and athletic field.

Cheer team wins competition

The Incarnation Catholic School Cheer Team from Sarasota took the National Champion and Grand Champion titles at the Crown Cheer and Dance Small Gym Nationals held May 1, 2021 at the Bradenton Convention Center. With flawless movement on the mat, and ignoring the fact that finding practice time leading up to this competition was a challenge, the team prevailed. Well done ladies!

English Charismatic Renewal Pentecost Celebration in Punta Gorda

The Diocese of Venice English Charismatic Renewal will hold a Pentecost Celebration from 2:30-5 p.m., May 23, 2021 at Sacred Heart Parish, 211 W. Charlotte Ave., Punta Gorda. The event will include praise and worship as well as Mass. No registration is required. For more information, please email info@dvccr.org or contact Renee Mazaron at 419-343-1604.

Diocesan CCW Convention June 4-5

The Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s 34th Annual Convention, with a theme of “What have you done for the least of my people?” (Matt 25:40), will be June 4 and June 5, 2021 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 1301 Center Road, Venice. The cost of the two-day convention is $75, or $65 for one day (lunch included). Each day will include personal development time, dynamic speakers and workshops, as well as providing the opportunity to meet women from around the Diocese along with the President of the Florida Council of Women. For registration information, please contact Bernadette Raftery at 704-968-9580 or raffs2@mindspring.com or Ellen Bachman at 941-721-7393 or pennyln99@aol.com. Please register by May 25.

Stepping into Marriage with Children

Did you know 60 percent of second marriages fail and the failure rate increases to 70 percent when there are children from a previous marriage in the home. The difficulties of parenting and stepparenting, seemingly insurmountable, are often the root cause of such failures. A free half day workshop, organized by the Diocese Office of Family Life, entitled “Stepping into Marriage with Children” is designed for those couples beginning or currently in a stepfamily situation. This workshop will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, May 15, 2021 at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. This workshop takes a realistic look at blended families and offers strategies and tools to meet unique challenges. There is no cost to attend but registration is required at https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/stepping-into-marriage-with-children. For further information please contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-484-9543.

Year of the Family

On March 19, 2021, the fifth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, on the joy and beauty of familial love, Pope Francis inaugurated the year “Amoris Laetitia Family” which will conclude on June 26, 2022 on the occasion of the next World Meeting of Families in Rome. When announced, the Dicastery said in a statement, “The Pandemic experience has highlighted the central role of the family as the domestic Church and has shown the importance of community ties between families”. To learn more about the effort and the initiatives occurring in the Diocese of Venice during this commemorative year visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/year-of-the-family/.

8th Annual Marian Eucharistic Conference

All are invited to the 8th Annual Marian Eucharistic Conference at Ave Maria University from May 14 to May 16, 2021. Featured speakers will include Dr. Mark Miravalle, John Paul II Chair of Mariology, Franciscan University of Steubenville; Kathleen Beckman L.H.S., author and President of Foundation of Prayer for Priests; Dr. Edward Sri, theologian, author, and co-founding leader of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students); and Roy Shoeman, speaker and author of “Salvation is from the Jews” and “Honey from the Rock.” Please visit www.aveconferences.com to register for this event. Lodging and meals available. For more information call 239-348-4725 or email aveconferences@gmail.com.

News Briefs for the Week of April 30, 2021

Appointment

After consultation with the Priest Personnel Board, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announces the following appointment: Father Daniel A. Flens, as Parochial Vicar of St. Andrew Parish, Cape Coral, effective March 1, 2021.

Dispensation to attend Mass ends effective May 1, 2021

As Bishop Frank J. Dewane continues to listen to public health data and hear from Priests and Parishioners about their experiences at Diocesan Parishes, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass will be lifted in the Diocese of Venice beginning May 1, 2021. For a letter from Bishop Dewane and the revised guidelines updating Parish safety protocols which includes the need to continue to wear masks at Mass, as well as at all Diocesan and Parish activities, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/daily-resources/diocese-of-venice-responds-to-novel-coronavirus-covid19/ for English and for Spanish, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/hispanic-apostolate/.

Youth group raises money for Earth Day

The St. Columbkille Parish Youth Group lesson for the week was Catholic Social Justice, and Caring for God’s Creation, and in turn they hosted a lemonade stand after Masses on April 18, 2021 with all donations going to help the earth. The group raised more than $600 and opted to split the money and shared it with ECHO in North Fort Myers and the Calusa Nature Center in Fort Myers. ECHO teaches sustainable farming and combats world hunger, while the Calusa Nature Center connects people with nature educating them about our unique ecosystem and environmental issues concerning the region. The success was attributed to the hard work of the youth and the support of the parishioners.

 

Volunteer recognized nationally

Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. Volunteer Tim Gunderman of Bonita Springs was recently named one of 6 finalists a finalist for the Catholic Charities USA Volunteer of the Year Award. Gunderman by virtue of his efforts to help people in the Bonita Springs and Naples areas during the past year first made the top 36 then the top 6. A video of each finalist was created as part of the selection process. Congratulations Tim for your time, knowledge and heart in helping to support Catholic Charities.

The St. Vincent de Paul Rummage Sale May 1

Please join the Sacred Heart Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in our continuing efforts to raise money to assist those in need in our community by taking part in a May 1, 2021 Rummage Sale from 9 a.m. to noon at 25200 Airport Road in Punta Gorda. There will be household items, furniture, linens, clothing, shoes, purses, jewelry, books and toys. The rain date is May 8.

Junior Class Retreat theme: “Have No Fear”

The peer ministry team at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples was on campus until late on April 22, 2021 and returned to school bright and early the next day to lead the Junior Class Retreat! The theme of the retreat was “Have No Fear” (Psalm 23) with the focus on letting go of our fears in order to trust more in God. The day included time for prayer and reflection as well as a variety of fun activities

Student places third in countywide Spelling Bee

Congratulations to Elizabeth Burke, a student at Donahue Academy of Ave Maria Parish, for taking third place in the 2021 Optimist Club of Naples Spelling Bee on March 24, 2021.

First graders learn about science

The first-grade class of Anne Boddison at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers recently enjoyed reading stories on inventing and engineering things. The students then had fun working together and using different items from their S.T.R.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, Math) bins to build many unique objects such as flying houses, robots, mazes, and much more. The students then recorded what they built by drawing and writing about what they created in their journals.

Online fundraiser to support Our Mother’s House

Honor your mother, daughter, sister, friend, or someone who has been like a mother to you with a gift that will help homeless mothers and their children. Our Mother’s House of Catholic Charities provides a safe environment for residents to achieve self-sufficiency through education, vocational training, and personal growth. This year they are holding their annual Mother’s Day fundraiser so everyone can help a needy mother succeed. To support Our Mother’s House please visit www.dov.regfox.com/mothers-day-2021.

Porn: Seven Myths Exposed event May 4

The porn industry has taken our culture hostage! The Diocese of Venice Family Life Office is hosting an event at 6:30 p.m., May 4, 2021 at the Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall, 399 Sarasota St., Venice, to address and educate teens, parents and all others on the tyranny of pornography in our society. Matt Fradd is the speaker who has authored and coauthored several books, and creates and hosts the podcast, “Pints with Aquinas”. There is no cost to attend. For further information, please contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-484-9543.

Stepping into Marriage with Children

Did you know 60 percent of second marriages fail and the failure rate increases to 70 percent when there are children from a previous marriage in the home. The difficulties of parenting and stepparenting seemingly insurmountable are often the root cause of such failures. A free half day workshop, organized by the Diocese Office of Family Life, entitled “Stepping into Marriage with Children” is designed for those couples beginning or currently in a stepfamily situation, and will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, May 15, 2021 at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. This workshop takes a realistic look at blended families and offers strategies and tools to meet unique challenges. There is no cost to attend but registration is required at https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/stepping-into-marriage-with-children. For further information please contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-484-9543.

Year of the Family

On March 19, 2021, the fifth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, on the joy and beauty of familial love, Pope Francis inaugurated the year “Amoris Laetitia Family” which will conclude on June 26, 2022 on the occasion of the next World Meeting of Families in Rome. When announced, the Dicastery said in a statement, “The Pandemic experience has highlighted the central role of the family as the domestic Church and has shown the importance of community ties between families”. To learn more about the effort and the initiatives occurring in the Diocese of Venice during this commemorative year visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/year-of-the-family/.

8th Annual Marian Eucharistic Conference

All are invited to the 8th Annual Marian Eucharistic Conference at Ave Maria University from May 14 to May 16, 2021. Featured speakers will include Dr. Mark Miravalle, John Paul II Chair of Mariology, Franciscan University of Steubenville; Kathleen Beckman L.H.S., author and President of Foundation of Prayer for Priests; Dr. Edward Sri, theologian, author, and co-founding leader of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students); and Roy Shoeman, speaker and author of “Salvation is from the Jews” and “Honey from the Rock.” Please visit www.aveconferences.com to register for this event. Lodging and meals available. For more information call 239-348-4725 or email aveconferences@gmail.com

Prayer Vigils continue abortion centers

40 Days for Life continues year-round in Fort Myers and Sarasota! Please join in prayer outside of Planned Parenthood. Help is needed in Fort Myers on Wednesdays and Thursdays when abortions take place and in Sarasota Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays. Your presence makes a difference! When people are there on the sidewalk, the “no show rate” for abortion appointments can go up 75%. For more information about the Fort Myers vigils, please email monash127@aol.com and for Sarasota  40dflsarasota@gmail.com.

Foster Homes Needed in Florida

There are over 20,000 children requiring foster care in the State of Florida with only 5000 families certified to meet their needs. During May, National Foster Care Awareness Month, please consider providing a loving home where a child can heal and thrive. To learn more about foster parenting children in Florida who do not have relatives who are able to care for them, please call 1-83-FOSTERFL or visit MyFloridaMyFamily.com.

News Briefs for the week of April 23 2021

“A Seminarian Story” ninth installment available

The Diocese of Venice in Florida Office of Vocations launched a video series titled, “A Seminarian Story,” to celebrate the 16 Seminarians currently in formation for the Diocese. The first eight videos have been released and more will follow approximately every few weeks. The most recent video features Seminarian Jacob Gwynn who is in formation at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. Developed with the assistance of the Diocese Communications Department, the goal of the series is to inspire others to follow in the path to the priesthood or religious life, as well as encourage the faithful to continue to support the seminarians as they continue their formation process at different seminaries. “A Seminarian Story” featuring Jacob Gwynn can be found at https://vimeo.com/521110630.

Online fundraiser to support Our Mother’s House

Honor your mother, daughter, sister, friend, or someone who has been like a mother to you with a gift that will help homeless mothers and their children. Our Mother’s House of Catholic Charities provides a safe environment for residents to achieve self-sufficiency through education, vocational training, and personal growth. This year they are holding their annual Mother’s Day fundraiser so everyone can help a needy mother succeed. To support Our Mother’s House please visit www.dov.regfox.com/mothers-day-2021.

Cardinal Mooney Girls Track win Districts for first time in 26 years

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Girls Track and Field team are District Champs for the first time in 26 years. The Sarasota team won on April 15, taking the top spot in multiple disciplines including shot put, discus, javelin, triple jump, pole vault and 4×400 relay. Just one day earlier, the Mooney Girls Beach Volley team became Regional Champs. The Lady Cougars beat Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers and then Bradenton Christian on April 14 for the regional title. With the title comes an automatic berth to the State Championship tournament field of 12 teams on May 1. Congratulations to all!

Science students learn how to help in emergencies

Students in the Principles of Biomedical Science class at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers recently worked together in small groups to learn how to stop an uncontrolled bleed during their Emergencies Unit. They had three minutes to control different types of bleeding by either applying compression or by packing the wound and then compression. They ended the lesson by learning to control a bleed using a tourniquet as well as to clamp and legate an artery.

 

 

Pre-K-4 students attend “drive-in” movie

Students at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral recently attended a drive-in movie. Their fancy cars were creative and amazing as each student created their own cars with designs ranging from sports cars to superhero vehicles.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Workshop

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, Directors of Religious Education, Youth Ministers, Principals and Teachers how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. The course will be held on April 29, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, and on May 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish, 833 Magellan Drive, Sarasota. Advanced registration is required, and the cost is $25. Visit www.dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/workshop-on-youth-mental-health-first-aid for registration. The cost includes the book, lunch and certificate of completion.

Porn: Seven Myths Exposed event May 4

The porn industry has taken our culture hostage! The Diocese of Venice Family Life Office is hosting an event at 6:30 p.m., May 4, 2021 at the Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall, 399 Sarasota St., Venice, to address and educate teens, parents and all others on the tyranny of pornography in our society. Matt Fradd is the speaker who has authored and coauthored several books, and creates and hosts the podcast, “Pints with Aquinas”. There is no cost to attend. For further information, please contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-484-9543.

Stepping into Marriage with Children

Did you know 60 percent of second marriages fail and the failure rate increases to 70 percent when there are children from a previous marriage in the home. The difficulties of parenting and stepparenting seemingly insurmountable are often the root cause of such failures. A free half day workshop, organized by the Diocese Office of Family Life, entitled “Stepping into Marriage with Children” is designed for those couples beginning or currently in a stepfamily situation, and will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, May 15, 2021 at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. This workshop takes a realistic look at blended families and offers strategies and tools to meet unique challenges. There is no cost to attend but registration is required at https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/stepping-into-marriage-with-children. For further information please contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-484-9543.

Year of the Family

On March 19, 2021, the fifth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, on the joy and beauty of familial love, Pope Francis inaugurated the year “Amoris Laetitia Family” which will conclude on June 26, 2022 on the occasion of the next World Meeting of Families in Rome. When announced, the Dicastery said in a statement, “The Pandemic experience has highlighted the central role of the family as the domestic Church and has shown the importance of community ties between families”. To learn more about the effort and the initiatives occurring in the Diocese of Venice during this commemorative year visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/year-of-the-family/.

News Briefs for the week of April 16, 2021

2 Diocesan Seminarians to be ordained Transitional Deacons April 17

Diocese of Venice Seminarians José Grullón and David Portorreal are among a group of nine who will be ordained as Transitional Deacons at 11 a.m., April 17, 2021 at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. His Excellency, Bishop William A. Wack, CSC, Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, will ordain the men and the liturgy will be livestreamed at www.svdp.edu/live from St. Joan of Arc Parish in Boca Raton. As newly ordained Deacons, these men will be assigned to Parishes where they will exercise their ministry in preparation to become priests in the following year. Among many duties, they will preach, perform baptisms, witness marriages, as well as preside over wakes and funerals.

Cape Coral students at state competition

A team of seven St. Andrew Catholic School students from Cape Coral competed on March 13, 2021 in the Florida Odyssey of the Mind State Competition at the Orlando Convention Center. The team took the judges to a magical storybook land by building a life-sized magical beanstalk which appeared to grow using a combination of springs, magnets, and an intricate pulley system.  They proudly took 4th place in the State Finals and will be moving on to compete in The Odyssey of the Mind World Finals which will take place in Orlando in the upcoming months. These students began preparing their solution in September of 2020 and have worked hard throughout the course of the 2020-2021 school year. Team members were: Addison Baker, Kiley Lebid, Ryan Peterson, Ellianna Trunkett, Ana Cerna, Laura Cerna and Isabella Smith.

Evangelizing Catechesis: Survey of the new Directory for Catechesis

The Diocese Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation is offering an online course surveying the new how-to guide, the Directory for Catechesis, published by the Vatican in 2020. This new edition of the Directory emphasizes how to incorporate evangelization throughout the entire process of catechesis. This course is for Directors and Coordinators of Religious Education, catechists, schoolteachers, adult faith formators, RCIA teams, parents — anyone who teaches the Faith. Co-teachers of the course are Dr. John Gresham, Director of the Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation, Anne Chrzan, Director of Religious Education for the Diocese of Venice, and Joshua Mazrin, Director of Evangelization for the Diocese of Venice. The six-week course starts April 19, 2021. There is a $25 fee to take the course. Visit the Institute website for more information and to register at www.institute-dov.org or contact the director for more information: john.gresham@institute-dov.org.

Marriage Prep Retreat for Couples over 55 coming soon

The Office of Family Life is hosting a one-day sacramental marriage preparation retreat for those couples over 55 years of age who are preparing for marriage or convalidation, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., April 24, 2021 at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1301 Center Road, Venice. Lunch is included. The program builds an appreciation for the joy of Sacramental Marriage while offering insight and tools to address the unique challenges and responsibilities. Registration is required at https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/two-become-one.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Workshop

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, Directors of Religious Education, Youth Ministers, Principals and Teachers how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. The course will be held on April 29, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, and on May 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish, 833 Magellan Drive, Sarasota. Advanced registration is required, and the cost is $25. Visit www.dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/workshop-on-youth-mental-health-first-aid for registration. The cost includes the book, lunch and certificate of completion.

Porn: Seven Myths Exposed event May 4

The porn industry has taken our culture hostage! The Diocese of Venice Family Life Office is hosting an event at 6:30 p.m., May 4, 2021 at the Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall, 399 Sarasota St., Venice, to address and educate teens, parents and all others on the tyranny of pornography in our society. Matt Fradd is the speaker who has authored and coauthored several books, and creates and hosts the podcast, “Pints with Aquinas”. There is no cost to attend. For further information, please contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-484-9543.

Stepping into Marriage with Children

Did you know 60 percent of second marriages fail and the failure rate increases to 70 percent when there are children from a previous marriage in the home. The difficulties of parenting and stepparenting seemingly insurmountable are often the root cause of such failures. A free half day workshop, organized by the Diocese Office of Family Life, entitled “Stepping into Marriage with Children” is designed for those couples beginning or currently in a stepfamily situation, and will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, May 15, 2021 at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. This workshop takes a realistic look at blended families and offers strategies and tools to meet unique challenges. There is no cost to attend but registration is required at https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/stepping-into-marriage-with-children. For further information please contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-484-9543.

Year of the Family

On March 19, 2021, the fifth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, on the joy and beauty of familial love, Pope Francis inaugurated the year “Amoris Laetitia Family” which will conclude on June 26, 2022 on the occasion of the next World Meeting of Families in Rome. When announced, the Dicastery said in a statement, “The Pandemic experience has highlighted the central role of the family as the domestic Church and has shown the importance of community ties between families”. To learn more about the effort and the initiatives occurring in the Diocese of Venice during this commemorative year visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/year-of-the-family/.

Tele-Mental Health Counseling Services available

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc. is offering Mental Health Counseling for adults and children provided by licensed mental health therapists. If you or someone you know are feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, depressed or helpless, Catholic Charities can help. For more information, please call 239-455-2655.

Vaccines for Homebound Seniors

Seniors and/or their caregivers can sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in their home by sending their request by email to HomeboundVaccine@em.myflorida.com. Also, Senior Friendship Centers (Sarasota, Venice, Fort Myers and Arcadia) has organized a program to connect seniors with volunteers who can drive them to their scheduled vaccine appointment. Anyone needing a ride to their vaccination appointment should contact Lillian Cleveland, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 941-556-3223 or lcleveland@friendshipcenters.org. The above is for information purposes only and are independent programs. Inquiries should be directed to the email/phone numbers for each program.

Women of God: Women of Strength

On a recent beautiful Saturday, 350 Catholic women consciously chose to take part in a Conference that would not only encourage but guide them as they continue to become more the Women of God they are called to be.

The 2021 Diocese of Venice Women’s Conference was held March 13, 2021 at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers and featured a day of rousing talks and the opportunity to be together amongst other women of Faith.

Roberta Bunch of Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers was thrilled to be able to attend the event with so many other like-minded and motivated women.

“I really wanted to be here so I could get some insight into how to keep up my passion for Christ,” Bunch said, noting it was the first large gathering she had been to in more than a year. “Each part of the day struck me in different ways. Truly wonderful. My heart is filled with joy.”

Bishop Frank J. Dewane praised the women for taking time out of their busy lives to participate in the Conference, something he is confident the Lord sees.

“Because of this, you have been given a mission in the Church as the peacemakers,” Bishop Dewane continued. “You can do so much. Your love is undeniable. Know the Lord will give you the rest – the strength, humility and honesty to set you on a new direction, changing who you are as a Woman of God.”

The Conference featured acclaimed speakers Kimberly Hahn and Mary Ann Weisinger-Puig. Both focused on the importance of placing one’s trust in the Lord and being hope-filled women.

Hahn explained that hope is a “confidence in the Lord’s presence and His power. Hope is about placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength but on the help and grace of the Holy Spirit.”

Weisinger-Puig spoke about key women throughout Church history who should be looked up to as “radiant witnesses to God’s love.” Examples included St. Joan of Arc and St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross (St. Edith Stein), to name a few. The final woman covered was Servant of God Chiara Corbella Petrillo. An Italian woman who had carried two children to term even though she knew they would die shortly after birth. During her third pregnancy she was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer but chose the life of the unborn child over undergoing any invasive treatments. Her son was born healthy, but she died within a year, in 2012, at the age of 28.

New to the Conference was a question and answer session with Bishop Dewane joining Hahn and Weisinger-Puig. Questions covered issues raised in the earlier presentations, but one poignant moment came when the panel was asked for advice on how to respond when a family member strays from the Faith.

The Conference opened with Eucharistic Adoration, which continued throughout the day in a nearby classroom. The opportunity for Confession was also available all day. Aspects of the Conference were adapted this year to comply with social distancing requirements necessitated by the Pandemic. These included extra space for seating during the talks and lunch, as well as limiting the total number of participants.

News Briefs for the Week of March 19, 2021

Bishop celebrates Mass at Donahue Academy

Bishop Frank J. Dewane continued celebrating Mass for students in Diocese of Venice Catholic schools with the latest stop on March 16, 2021, at the Donahue Academy of Ave Maria. During these Masses, Bishop Dewane stressed how the Lenten Season is a time for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as we prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of our Faith.

Religious education group makes lunches for homeless

The St. Martha Parish religious education program and service club in Sarasota took part in a “It takes and village – Made with love,” project on March 9, 2021 to make bag lunches for the homeless in the area.

Each bag included a colored drawing and inspirational message, as well as a sticker that read: “Made with love & care by the St. Martha Service Club.”

Divine Mercy Sunday Prayer Service

On Divine Mercy Sunday, April 11, 2021, everyone is invited to participate in a Prayer Service for Forgiveness and Healing from Pregnancy Loss. The service will take place from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice, and will be available for viewing online at www.facebook.com/DioceseofVenice. Contact Sylvia at 941-412-5860 or project.rachel@dioceseofvenice.org for any questions.

Divine Mercy Sunday in Naples

Come to the Feast of Divine Mercy as St. William Parish, 601 Seagate Drive, Naples, celebrates with a special service from 2:15-3:30 p.m., Divine Mercy Sunday, April 11. The service will start with the rosary, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, chanting of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a reflection on Divine Mercy followed by Benediction. All are welcomed. For information, please contact Fred or Barb Goduti at 239-261-4810

Parent cyber security event in April

The Diocese of Venice Offices of Family Life and Religious Education are hosting a free parent event “Protecting God’s Children Online in a Hyper Digital Age.” Cyber security expert Liz Repking will cover keeping kids safe from cyber bullying, online predators, sexting, online gaming, and how to help children create an escape plan when trouble arises. Two opportunities to attend: April 14, 2021 at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1301 Center Road, Venice, and April 15 at St. Francis Xavier Parish, 2057 Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers. Both presentations are from 6:30-8 p.m. There is no cost. Registration is required for planning purposes by April 10 at

https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/protecting-gods-children-online-in-a-hyper-digital-age.

Marriage prep retreat for couples over 55 in April

The Diocese Office of Family life is hosting a one-day sacramental marriage preparation retreat for those couples over 55 years of age preparing for marriage or convalidation from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., April 24 Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1301 Center Road, Venice. Lunch is included. Preregistration is required at https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/two-become-one. The program builds an appreciation for the joy of sacramental marriage while offering insight and tools to address the unique challenges and responsibilities.

Shifting from Condemnation to Compassion

Do you know someone who has had an abortion?  Chances are they don’t know where to go for help.  Have you ever heard someone condemning a person for having an abortion?  The Church does not condemn them; we welcome them and want to help them with compassion and healing that will change their lives.  In our diocese, Project Rachel, the Church’s healing after abortion outreach, is partnering with Support After Abortion, a new worldwide networking organization that sees healing as a necessary part of ending the demand for abortion. Change the way you see Pro-Life.  Go to https://supportafterabortion.com/shifting-from-condemnation-to-compassion/ to read an article that will give you a new perspective. Questions?  Contact Sylvia at 941-412-5860 or project.rachel@dioceseofvenice.org.

‘Follow Me:’ Men’s Conference inspires

Each encounter with the Lord, whether through prayer, Mass or by attending a conference, must fundamentally change us in our hearts, minds and souls.

How we respond to the ‘Call of the Lord’ in our life was a central theme of the 2021 Diocese of Venice Men’s Conference, Feb. 20, 2021 at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers.

Larry Montreux of Resurrection Parish in Fort Myers left the Conference with a new perspective on how he lives his Faith.

“I think I am a good Catholic, but I know I can do more,” Montreux explained. “Christ needs to be at the forefront of my life. It is a struggle, but I know Jesus is there and that provides great comfort.”

The Conference featured speakers were Patrick Madrid, of Relevant Radio fame, and Joel Stepanek who is Vice President of Parish Services for Life Teen International. Both focused their talks about what it means to be a Catholic man and how to respond to the “Call of the Lord’ in their life as well as how to talk about their Faith with family members.

New to the Conference was a question and answer session with Bishop Frank J. Dewane joining Madrid and Stepanek. Questions covered a wide assortment of topics including how to respond to answer questions.

Bishop Dewane took direct questions about the impacts of the Pandemic on the Diocese including about when he would lift the dispensation of the obligation of attending Mass for those who are sick or vulnerable or have a fear of getting sick, something Bishop said was much closer than far away. “The reality is that some exceptions will still be necessary.”

Bishop Dewane celebrated the closing Mass for the Conference and stressed that he prays the men have grown closer to the Lord during the day and will leave the event with open hearts and minds to hear the message of Christ in their lives.

The Gospel Reading of the day, LK 5:27-32, was appropriate, the Bishop noted, for the Conference: “Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.”

“It is a command, more than a question,” Bishop Dewane added. “It is not by chance that you are here. You have answered a ‘Call of the Lord.’ Just as you and I have made mistakes, the disciples were sinners… The Lord didn’t come to just call the virtuous. He has you and I in mind, because we are sinners. Christ loves us all the same.”

Christ wants us to change our life for the better, the Bishop continued, but it’s not going to keep the Lord away from us. “It may keep us away from Christ. That is our problem and we must strive to overcome that… Let that ‘follow me’ be part of who we are as men of God. You have to hear it, because Christ is saying it over and over again throughout the day.”

The Conference opened with Eucharistic Adoration, which continued throughout the day in a nearby classroom. The opportunity for Confession was also available all day. Aspects of the Conference were adapted this year to comply with social distancing requirements necessitated by the Pandemic. These included extra space for seating during the talks and lunch, as well as limiting the total number of participants.

Women’s Conference March 13

Registration remains open for the 2021 Women’s Conference! The Conference will feature speakers Kimberly Hahn and Mary Ann Weisinger-Puig at Bishop Verot Catholic High School, 5598 Sunrise Drive, Fort Myers on Saturday, March 13. The day begins at 9:00 a.m. (doors open at 8:00 a.m.) and ends with Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane at 2:00 p.m. Confession will be available all day. Register at www.dioceseofvenice.org/adultconferences.

A night with Jesus in the Eucharist

Every time one sits down to pray, the Lord is there. The encounter is new, filled with grace, love and mercy. It is a time to be healed, strengthened, and transformed.

This idea of creating new encounters with the Lord was the purpose behind a series of seven evening sessions in late January to mid-February called “All Things New: An evening of praise and worship, Eucharistic Adoration and Confession.”

Presented by the Diocese of Venice Office of Evangelization, the theme of the evenings was from the Book of Revelations, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev 21:5)

“This is the best place to be,” explained Joshua Mazrin, Director of Evangelization during the Feb. 11, 2021 gathering at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota. “Sitting here, before Our Lord and the Blessed Sacrament on the altar is the greatest place to be; save for the Holy Mass; it where we are supposed to be; where we are meant to be tonight.”

Noting that there are many obstacles in the world which can create distance in our relationship with the Lord, Mazrin said that opening our heart while in His Presence will allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate and till the soil so that His Graces will be accepted.

Father Eric Scanlan, Administrator of Incarnation Parish, hosted the Feb. 11 evening and said the theme was appropriate during a time when many see things that they feel are not right, make them angry or upset, they feel unjust or stressed, and they question where the Lord is in the world.

“Every time we join together the Lord comes to be with us,’ Father Scanlan said. “Our God is a God who makes all things new.”

He explained that every time we come together to pray with Him or receive the Eucharist, it’s a new encounter of God’s grace, love and mercy. Just as every time we go to the Sacrament of Confession, it is a new experience with God, never the same.

“Each prayer and time before the Lord are a new opportunity for the Lord to heals us, strengthen us and transform our hearts,” Father continued. “Allow the Lord to make your heart new. Allow Him to love you. Allow Him to take away the stress, anxiety, doubts, anger of the outside world… This is an opportunity for the Lord to love you and heal you.”

Brad Fournier was among the 75 or so who took part in the Feb. 11 “All Things New” and described how he tries to spend as much time in Adoration as he can. “This was a wonderful evening with so many focused on one spot in the church, the Lord present on the altar. That helped bring me into focus as well. I think we all need that once in a while. This happened just in time for Lent to begin and I feel refreshed and ready for that journey to begin.”

Each evening of Adoration included prayerful music from Zander, a musician who performed during the 2020 Diocese of Venice Youth Rally. The other six evenings took place at the following Parishes: St. Elizabeth Seton, Naples, Jan. 26; Ave Maria, Ave Maria, Jan. 29; Our Lady of Light, Fort Myers, Feb. 2; Our Lady of the Angels, Lakewood Ranch, Feb. 3; St. John the Evangelist, Naples, Feb. 4; St. Joseph, Bradenton, Feb. 16.

For more information about upcoming events sponsored by the Diocese Office of Evangelization, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/evangelization.

News briefs for week of February 26, 2021

Verot artists shine in chalk

The Bishop Verot Catholic High School Art Club members participated in the Chalk Block contest on Feb. 5-6, 2021 on the waterfront in Fort Myers. More than 40 Lee County high school teams participated in the Chalk Block event which was sponsored by Lee Health and Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

 

Verot seniors Angela Hopkinson, Letitia Tiranayake-Siriwardena, and Rachelle Hartig won the Golisano Children’s Hospital “Sunny and Sparkle” award in addition to taking third place overall. Ainsleigh Ellis, Sophie Purdue, and MacKenzie Housler won a judge’s award for their sun garden. The theme this year was CommUNITY. The girls are currently considering making their chalk block design into a t-shirt that will raise money for art therapy programs at the Children’s Hospital.

 

Sarasota Charity Ball a success

The 2021 Sarasota Charity Ball was a huge success on Feb. 13 at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in downtown Sarasota. The proceeds from the event will benefit the programs of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice in Sarasota and Manatee counties including the St. Martha Early Learning Center, Bethesda House, Our Mother’s House, North Port Family Haven and more, all which help to serve the needy in the area.

The elegant evening included a live auction and dinner catered by Michael’s on East and was chaired by Bridget Speiss.

Mooney student medals in State Weightlifting

Congratulations to Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School student McKayla Cantrell who medaled and finished 4th in the 2021 Class 1A Girls Weightlifting State Championship on Feb. 12, 2021 at Suwanee High School in Live Oak. Her combined lift was 305 pounds (165 pounds in the bench press and 140 in the clean and jerk). McKayla is Mooney’s first state medalist in this event.

Parish adds spiritual touch to food distribution

St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples are now partnering with St. Matthew’s House for a weekly food distribution. This outreach began in January and more than 400 families are coming by for food each week. In addition to giving food, the Parish Prayer Team provides something different to help the recipients connect to the Lord. For example, the team recently provided rosaries along with information in the Divine Mercy Devotion. As the team prays with their guests, they also learn if there are any other needs, such as rent or utilities, which are then addressed by the Parish St. Vincent DePaul Society.

Migrant Care Grants deadline Feb. 28

Grant requests for funding of 2021 projects from the Foundation for the Care of the Migrant Poor are available and need to be submitted no later than Feb. 28, 2021. To be considered by the Board of Directors for a Grant, the project must clearly be seen as a service to the migrant poor or new immigrants. Preference will be given to those projects under Catholic auspices. Applications can be submitted by going to the Foundation page on the Diocese website at https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/organizations/foundation-for-the-care-of-the-migrant-poor/.

Volunteers needed

The St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift stores in Bonita Springs and Naples are in need of more volunteers. If you feel you can help, please contact Samantha Maturo, Program/Volunteer Coordinator, at smaturo@svdpnaples.org or 239-775-2907 ext. 1014.

Safe Haven Sunday

Pornography is one of the leading causes of addictions, abuse, adultery, divorce, and even human trafficking: it is, in short, a pervasive evil inflicting grave wounds on our families. Pornography creates unsafe environments for children and confuses others about attitudes towards sex and marriage. It is a moral issue. For this reason, March 7 has been designated as Safe Haven Sunday in the Diocese of Venice. This day for awareness will give an opportunity to address the harmfulness of pornography in marriages, families, and culture, while providing helpful resources for all. Detailed information about the implementation of this program will be shared in the coming weeks through your Parishes. If you have any questions, please contact Carrie Harkey, Diocesan Coordinator of Family Life at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-484-9543.

Women’s Conference March 13

Registration is now open for the 2021 Women’s Conference on March 13, which will feature speakers Kimberly Hahn and Mary Ann Weisinger-Puig. The Conference will be held at Bishop Verot Catholic High School, 5598 Sunrise Drive, Fort Myers. The Conference is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (doors open at 8 a.m.) with Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. Confession will be available all day. For more information or to register, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/adultconferences.

40 Days for Life now until Palm Sunday

Join other Christians from now through March 28, for the Spring 40 Days for Life campaign. This Campaign encompasses 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion. Stand and peacefully pray during vigils in the public right-of-way outside Planned Parenthood in Fort Myers or Sarasota. For more information, go to www.40daysforlife.com and click on the location nearest you.

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