2019 Youth Rally – CALLED BY NAME

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

The superlatives from the nearly 2,000 high school Catholic teens who attended the 2019 Diocese of Venice Youth Rally helped to best describe the day.

“Absolutely incredible!” “Amazing!” “Inspirational!” “Awesome!” “Powerful!” “Wonderful!” “Uplifting!” “Moving!” “Spiritual!” These are just some of the reactions from the teens who participated in the Nov. 2 Youth Rally at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center in Punta Gorda.

The theme for the 2019 Youth Rally was “Called by Name” (Isaiah 43:1), which served to remind the young women and men that the Lord knows them and calls each by name to become strong in the faith life.

Organized by the Diocese Office of Evangelization, the day was filled with talks, music, adoration, opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and a Eucharistic Procession through the streets of Punta Gorda. The lessons learned throughout the day were reinforced in the closing Mass, encouraging the teens to open their heart to the call of the Lord and receive the gift of faith.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane began the day asking the youth for a shout out to Jesus. The response of nearly 2,000 teens was inspiring.

“Let this Youth Rally be something that strengthens you in your faith,” Bishop Dewane added. “I want you to leave this day with a heart that is open to Jesus because you are each “Called by Name.” Jesus sees each of you as important. It is through that call that you are made to be a Disciple of Christ – created by your response to the call of the Lord, a response from the heart of each individual here.”

Appropriately, the Gospel reading for the closing Mass was from the Gospel of Luke, the story of Zacchaeus, a tax collector perched in a sycamore tree whom Jesus “Called by Name.”

“Zacchaeus received a gift of faith and accepted the Lord’s call with joy because he allowed his heart to be open,” Bishop Dewane said during the Mass. “You must respond to that gift of faith and act – be doers of your Faith. See Christ within yourselves and in those around you. Just as we know Zacchaeus was a sinner, so too are we. In this we are comforted knowing that the Lord calls us each by name – no matter our sins.”

The closing Mass was celebrated at nearby Sacred Heart Church. A time for Eucharistic Adoration led by the Bishop was followed by a public Eucharistic Procession through the streets of downtown Punta Gorda as the youth recited the Holy Rosary and sang hymns. At the church, to accommodate the vast number of participants, an overflow of youth was ushered into the Parish Hall where the Mass where the was live-streamed.

Throughout the day, the youth were encouraged to take selfie photos with Bishop Dewane and to post any images they took during the day to Instagram with the offer of a prize to two lucky people of Apple Air Pods.

Each participant received a Youth Rally t-shirt and during the dinner break there was time to go outside behind the Conference Center and relax with friends or enjoy several inflatables as well as a climbing wall.

The Youth Rally, which included young people from 9th through 12th grade, included talks from Noelle Garcia and D.J. Bernal as well as music from the Taylor Tripodi Band.

The first speaker of the day was Noelle Garcia, a Catholic recording artist and speaker, wife, and mom to five kids. She has travelled the country for more than 10 years sharing the faith through witness, Scripture, catechesis, and music. Her message was to explain how the love of the Lord can overcome any obstacle or feeling of loneliness that young people so often face today.

D.J. Bernal also speaks at conferences throughout the United States and works with young Catholics in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. He suggested to the youth that by opening one’s heart just a bit, life can be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The young men and women were spilt up for a time to hear specific messages directed toward them from Garcia and Bernal. During those sessions, the youth also heard about how to listen to God’s call and how they and sons and daughters of God.

In the split session, there was a special emphasis on answering one’s vocation in life, whether as a priest, religious, married or single.

Father Shawn Roser, the Diocese Vocations Director and Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton, spoke to the men about his vocations journey. Also present for the Rally were 13 of the 17 active Diocesan seminarians. They manned a booth and answered questions from fascinated teens and were altar servers during the closing Mass.

Sister Gema Ruiz, S.S.V.M., of St. Michael Parish in Wauchula, spoke to the women. She shared a video of a woman who is from the Diocese and is currently working her way toward making her perpetual vows as a religious sister. Religious women from several parishes were present for the Rally and they each had a booth to generate interest in a vocation to the religious life.

The Taylor Tripodi Band performed throughout the day, opening the Youth Rally and then performing leading up to adoration. Taylor explained that she uses her talents as a singer and a musician to glorify the Lord and to inspire others to feel the same way she does about her faith. The band also served as musicians during the closing Mass.

The first Youth Rally was held in 2008 at the encouragement of Bishop Dewane and it has become so popular that the annual event has outgrown four previous venues. Organized by the Office of Evangelization and Office of Youth and Young Adults, planning for the 2019 Diocese of Venice Youth Rally is already taking place. See you all next year.

Putting aside distraction key to becoming a Disciple of Christ

Bob Reddy – Naples –

We are all called to be “Disciples of Christ.” The best way to achieve this goal is to put aside distractions such as cell phones and other devices so as to then focus on how best to serve the Lord.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane gave this message during separate Masses Oct. 3 in Naples for students at St. Ann Catholic School and St. John Neumann Catholic High School.

“You must put aside the distractions – cell phone, tablets, the internet – as these take your precious time and often moves you further from the Lord,” Bishop Dewane said. “I want you to work and concentrate on becoming a ‘Disciple of Christ.’ You can do this by making more room in your lives for Jesus. Sometimes this is easy to do and sometimes it is hard, but I know each of you can do it.”

The Bishop added that when Christ is with them, they are asked to be a certain kind of person. That is a person who strives to do what Christ asks of them, and in so doing, they become more a man or woman of God – a “Disciple of Christ.”

The theme of being a “Disciple of Christ” coincides with the commemoration of the 35th Anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Venice. Through the Diocese Education Office, students across the Diocese are being given lessons on how to become a “Disciple of Christ” through prayer as well as through their actions, particularly toward others. These building blocks will aide them in their spiritual journey.

The Masses for the students at St. Ann Catholic School and St. John Neumann Catholic High School were the last in a series of Mass at each Diocesan Catholic School to start the academic year. The Masses were delayed by a month because of the early September threat from Hurricane Dorian. Bishop Dewane made a note for the students to pray for the victims of the Hurricane.

News briefs from Around the Diocese September 2019

Mooney Golfer No. 1 in Florida, ranked nationally

Noah Kumar is captain of the Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Golf Team in Sarasota and has now cracked the top 100 nationally and is ranked 90th with Junior Golf Scoreboard. The Florida High School Athletic Association ranks Kumar the No. 1 high school golfer in the State of Florida. During his senior season with Cardinal Mooney, Kumar has an 18-hole tournament stroke average of 67.33, with six straight low round first place medal wins in a row. His nine-hole stroke average is 35.5 with a career low of 31. Kumar has been playing tournament golf since he was 10-years-old. He qualified to play in the U.S. Junior Amateur this past July and came in 12th in stroke play. Keep up the good work Noah!

Bishop celebrates Mass for Ave Maria University

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated a Mass for the faculty and student of Ave Maria University in Ave Maria on Sept. 23, delayed from Sept. 2 when the Mass was cancelled because of Hurricane Dorian. During the mass the Bishop encouraged the students to grow in their faith and to carry the message of the Lord into the world. At the conclusion of the Mass, the Bishop presided over a commissioning ceremony for nine new theology professors, during which each took an oath and vowed to remain faithful to the teachings of the Church.

Scout 10 Commandment Hike held Sept. 21

Scouts from across the Diocese of Venice gathered Sept. 21 for a 10 Commandments Hike at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice. The more than 100 Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls learned about the 10 Commandments at different stations located along the internal road of the property. The Scouts were presented with an achievement badge for participation at the end of the day.

CCW Eastern Deanery holds retreat

The Council of Catholic Women of the Eastern Deanery took part in a bi-lingual retreat Sept. 21 at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Avon Park. More than 70 women from parishes Hardee, Highlands, Hardee, Glades and Hendry counties took part. The retreat included presentations by a number of priests as well as group prayers with the praying of the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Bishop celebrates Mass for NET retreat in Bradenton

A National Evangelization Team (NET) Ministries group held a one-day retreat for middle school students on Sept. 29 at St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton. The retreat included several talks by youth ministers who travel across the nation trying to inspire young people to open themselves up to the Lord. Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the Mass for the retreatants and offered words of encouragement to the middle-schoolers for participating in the day and to the NET team for coming to the Diocese.

Laps for Life held Sept. 28

The Our Lady of Victory Knights of Columbus Council 3358 welcomed more than 200 to the 2nd Annual Sarasota Laps for Life at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota. The event was opened by a blessing for Deacon William Ladroga and the runners and walkers followed a path for three laps to complete the 5K event. The top finishes finished in 17:35 minutes. The event helped to raise money to purchase for a new ultrasound for My Choice Pregnancy Center in Sarasota.

Bishop celebrates Red Mass

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the annual Red Mass on Oct. 2 at St. Martha Parish in Sarasota. The Mass is held in honor of all members of the legal profession and has a history which dates back centuries. The most famous such Mass is held for the U.S. Supreme Court on the first Sunday in October. The Florida Bishops also celebrate a Red Mass for lawmakers in Tallahassee during the annual legislative session.

Pets blessed on Feast of St. Francis

A variety of pets wait to be blesses on Oct. 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, at Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota.

Pets great and small were blessed Oct. 4 on the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi at Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota. Administrator Father Eric Scanlan blessed everything from hermit crabs, ferrets, fish, birds, snakes, lizards, dogs and cats brought in by the students and parishioners.

Young Adult Missionary Discipleship Society starting

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Are you a young adult Catholic who wants to become more involved in your Faith? Are you a cradle-Catholic who needs an extra push?

If you think the answer is yes to these or other questions you may have about how to build a closer relationship with Jesus Christ and are from the southern areas of the Diocese, the soon-to-be-formed Society of Missionary Discipleship may be a starting point for you.

Under the direction of the Diocesan Office of Evangelization’s, Youth and Young Adult Outreach, the purpose of the Society of Missionary Discipleship is to form a group of Catholic young adults (ages 21-39) committed to prayer, community, and service. The plan is to begin meeting starting time in September.

The Society is to provide a place for those Catholics who desire to continue to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and helping others within the Diocese to do the same. Those participating will be like a family to one another, supporting, helping each other grow in holiness and serving the Lord. The aim of this is to increase the participation of the young adult faithful within all Parishes in the Diocese.

Diocese Director of Evangelization Joshua Mazrin said the Society is welcoming to all, just as the Church is welcoming. “Participants will commit to a year of becoming Missionary Disciples of Jesus Christ, as well as growing in fellowship with one another… Members will learn their faith like never before as they grow in a family environment with fellow Missionary Disciples.”

The group will offer a full retreat once a month for all who sign up as well as participation in a ministry/service project. The gatherings will serve as a means to evoke greater participation of the lay faithful within their faith, as well as the Diocese, and to provide them with a community of like-minded individuals. Throughout this process, participants will develop the core values of holiness, prayer, evangelization, fellowship, leadership, study (Biblical, theological, ministry, evangelism), and accountability.

The Mission statement for the Society is:

“The Society of Missionary Discipleship empowers the lay faithful within the Diocese of Venice to boldly proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Members are equipped spiritually, intellectually, and practically within a communal setting through comradery to take their faith out into the public square.”

Mazrin said the pilot program will include a group of 10-30 young adults from the Fort Myers and Naples area who attend 10 monthly retreats which will provide spiritual enrichment, education in ministry and theology, prayer, fellowship, and team-building. The group will also participate each month in a type of missionary activity (i.e. service to the community; e.g. Street Evangelization, Prison Ministry, Theology on Tap, other aspects of spiritual and corporal works of mercy). The year will conclude with participation in the annual Steubenville Conference.

The basic structure, or curriculum will include: evangelization practices; spirituality; basic Scripture; basic Sacraments; Theology of the Body; basic Doctrine (Christology, Soteriology, Trinitarian Theology, Ecclesiology, Mariology, etc.); and spiritual formation.

Done in a retreat-style, all content will provide solid teaching but be presented to the participants in the context of a retreat, Mazrin explained. The purpose of this is for all transmitted knowledge to be practical for their mission of evangelization as well as applied to their own spiritual lives to grow as disciples.

It is hoped that the members of the Society of Missionary Disciples will go on to the next step – a commitment to serve in a particular capacity with a Parish or Diocesan initiative for a year (while continuing to meet monthly for ongoing formation). The Society of Missionary Discipleship will serve as a means to evoke greater participation of the lay faithful within the Diocese and to provide them with a community of like-minded individuals.

To learn more details about the new Society of Missionary Discipleship, please contact Joshua Mazrin at 941-484-9543 or mazrin@dioceseofvenice.org.

Assumption: contemplating this mystery of the Blessed Virgin

Holy Day of Obligation Aug. 15

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

The upcoming Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to be celebrated Aug. 15, is a particular time in the year to reflect upon the story of eternal hope for the faithful.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Guido Reni, circa 1642.

Pope Francis said the Assumption (a Holy Day of Obligation) is a time when “the holy faithful people of God express with joy their veneration of the Virgin Mother. They do so in the common liturgy and also in a thousand different ways of piety; and thus, the prophecy of Mary herself comes true: ‘All generations will call me blessed’ (Luke 1:48), because the Lord has regarded His humble handmaid.”

The Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven, in soul and body, is a divine privilege accorded to the Holy Mother of God because of her particular union with Jesus, Pope Francis noted.

“It’s a corporal and spiritual union, which began with the Annunciation and matured throughout Mary’s life, through her singular participation in her Son’s mystery,” the Holy Father continued. “Mary always went with her Son: she went behind Jesus, and so we say she was His first disciple.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the Assumption in this way: “The Immaculate Virgin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of death.”

Pope Francis said that while the Blessed Virgin has entered into heavenly glory, this does not mean that She is distant or detached from us; “rather Mary accompanies us, struggles with us, and sustains Christians in their fight against the forces of evil. The stupendous reality of Mary’s Assumption manifests and confirms the unity of the human person, and it reminds us that we are called to serve and glorify God with all our being, soul and body. To serve God only with the body would be an action of slaves; to serve God only with the soul would be against our human nature.”

This Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the oldest celebration of Our Lady. The original celebration was known as the “Memory of Mary” or “Falling Asleep” of Mary for it initially centered on the end of her earthly existence, commonly known as her “dormition.”

Soon the name was changed to the “Assumption of Mary,” since there was much more to the feast than the end of her earthly life. The belief that Mary had been taken up, body and soul, into heaven dates back to the Apostles themselves.

Clear from the beginning was that there were no relics of Mary to be venerated, and that an empty tomb stood on the edge of Jerusalem near the site of the end of her earthly existence or dormition. That location also soon became a place of pilgrimage. (Today, the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary stands on the spot.)

In 1950, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Catholic Church, therefore, an ancient belief became Catholic Doctrine and the Assumption was declared a truth revealed by God.

The declaration of the dogma was to “make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective,” Pope Pius XII stated in a proclamation.

The proclamation went on to say that the definition of the Assumption “will contribute in no small way to the advantage of human society, since it (reflects and builds up) the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, to which the Blessed Mother of God is bound by such singular bonds.”

It was also expected that the faithful would be stirred up to a stronger piety toward their heavenly Mother; And that those who meditate upon the glorious example Mary offers be more and more convinced of the value of a human life entirely devoted to carrying out the heavenly Father’s will and to bringing good to others.

Pope Francis said the current devotion that the faithful throughout the world have toward the Blessed Virgin confirms, the earlier expectations of Pope Pius XII.

Diocesan news briefs from early August 2019

Missionary Discipleship Society starting

The Diocese is kicking off a new Missionary Discipleship Society beginning in the Naples and Fort Myers area this September. The Missionary Discipleship Society is a group of young adults (ages 21-39) who will dedicate a year to becoming Missionary Disciples of Jesus Christ as well as growing in fellowship with one another. The group will offer a full retreat once a month for all who are signed up as well as participate in a ministry/service project monthly.  Members will learn their faith like never before as they grow in a family environment with other members –then they will even be given the chance to attend a major Catholic Conference at the end of the year! For more information, please contact Joshua Mazrin at mazrin@dioceseofvenice.org .

Blue Mass in Venice on Sept. 8

Please join in honoring all active, retired and deceased first responders during the 9th annual Blue Mass, Sept. 8, 10 a.m., Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1301 Center Road, Venice. This event is free and is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Council 9924. A procession into the Church starts at 9:45 a.m. A brunch will immediately follow.

Parish celebrates Feast Day

 

The Hispanic Mission Santiago, a mission of St. James Parish in Lake Placid, celebrated the Feast of St. James on July 25 with a Mass and a series of fun activities. Father Victor Caviedes celebrated the Mass which was followed by a fiesta in the hall. Outside, the youth made “snowballs” and had fun with them in the parking lot.

 

 

Verot student earns prestigious award

Congratulations to rising Bishop Verot Catholic High School Senior Connor Shovlin, who was recently awarded the Rensselaer Medal Award, a scholarship opportunity worth $100,000. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute awards the Rensselaer Medal to promising secondary school students who have distinguished themselves in mathematics and science.

 

Summer music camp a success

St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples hosted a summer music camp which culminated in the July 21 participation in the Mass. The children of all ages learned to sing, play the ukulele, the tin whistle and the handbells all for Jesus!

 

Florida Catholic Chamber of Commerce meeting Aug. 29

Please join the Florida Catholic Chamber of Commerce for their next networking/lunch meeting Aug. 29, 11:30 a.m., at Calusa Harbor, 2525 1st St., Fort Myers. The Florida Catholic Chamber of Commerce promotes Catholic businesses and ministries supporting one another! The Chamber’s purpose is to inform and unite Catholic businesses to encourage the use of Catholic values and a culture of life in the home, community and workplace. All Catholic businesses and ministries are invited to attend all networking meetings. The gatherings are free, and no membership is required. Please RSVP to toni@floridacatholicchamber.com or 239-980-0921.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter Sept. 20-22

Take time to give your marriage a well-deserved vacation. Take a break from the heat and plan to go on a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend and come back with a marriage that is refreshed and full of energy! The next Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend in this area is Sept. 20-22 at the Hampton Inn in Oldsmar. Space IS limited, so please apply early! For more information about taking a private time away, check out flwc-wwme.org or call 813-270-7832.

Faithful Catholics kayak and pray with new friends

Staff Report

A new young adult group initiative launched in late June with a day of kayaking, fellowship, food and the participation in the Mass.

The Frassati Society is a group for young adults (ages 18-39) in the Diocese of Venice that focuses on growing in community and holiness inspired by the spirituality and active lifestyle of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. The first gathering was June 29 at Robinson Preserve in Bradenton where like-minded young adults rented kayaks to spend time together while taking the time to discuss their faith.

Modeled after the spirituality of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, who had a great devotion to serve the poor and the work of evangelization. Born in Italy in 1901, Blessed Pier Giorgio would often organize hiking trips, attend the theatre, museums, and the opera. Through these cultural and active engagements, he would be the example of faith and witness to his friends through the praying of the rosary, reading the Scriptures, and bringing them to Mass.

Following his example, the Frassati Society, which will meet in the northern and southern parts of the Diocese of Venice, engages young adults through activities they desire to do, such as hiking, kayaking, arts and music, as well as partaking in spiritual enrichment through prayer, discussion, and attending the Mass, explained Joshua Mazrin, Diocese of Venice Director of Evangelization.

“In today’s culture of fleeting relationships and superficiality, young adults are craving authenticity and genuine friendships to combat the growing loneliness,” Mazrin added. “Through the Frassati Society, they are able to come together with like-minded people, to be present to one another as friends and family, and to grow together in the faith.”

The principle goals of the Frassati Society are to bring healing into the culture by providing a real community of people and to enculturate the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he concluded.

At the first gathering, the group kayaked for a time and gathered for the Mass, which was celebrated outdoors by Father Shawn Roser, Diocese Vocations Director and Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton. While the initial group was small, the reception was overwhelmingly positive as the act of combining outdoor activity with a strong spiritual component appealed to those who participated.

The next Frassati Society gathering will take place July 20, 10 a.m. at the Celery Fields County Park, 6893 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota. There will be hiking, food and prayer. There is no cost to participate. A gathering in the southern part of the Diocese is currently in the planning stages.

There are several other outreach efforts within the Diocese which target Catholic young adults, including Theology on Tap in Sarasota and Naples, and other parish-based groups in Lee County.

The last Theology on Tap of the season in Sarasota took place June 20 at the Mandeville Beer Garden in Sarasota with Zander Waves giving a concert and offering his personal testimony before the largest crowd of the year. The gatherings will resume in September.

In Naples, Theology on Tap gathers each Thursday of the month at different parishes and sites in the area and has been doing so for at least four years. Host parishes include St. John the Evangelist, St. Agnes, St. Peter the Apostle, and St. William.

In Lee County, there are two active young adult outreach programs. At St. Raphael Parish in Lehigh Acres the LOFT young adult group meets at 6p.m. on the last Thursday of each month. Meanwhile, at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers, the “Rooted” gatherings take place on the first Thursdays on each month at 7:15 p.m.

Each of these programs exists in order to reach out to young adults, foster moments of conversion, and lead them home to Christ and His Church.

For more details about the Frassati Society, Theology on Tap or any other young adult outreach efforts within the Diocese of Venice, please email evangelization@dioceseofvenice.org or contact Joshua Mazrin at mazrin@dioceseofvenice.org.

Hispanic Emmaus group holds gathering

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

For about 1,000 people a recent Sunday was spent growing and better rooting their love for the Lord while also gaining a profound sense of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

These were some of the things learned during the 2nd Diocese of Venice Congress of Emmaus (Emaus) which took place May 19 at the Lee Civic Center in North Fort Myers. The event, which was in Spanish, was for those who have completed an Emmaus weekend retreat in the past and served as an opportunity to renew and recapture the fire that grew in them during their first retreat.

It was during that retreat during where they learned a new way to live their life, as Jesus taught in the Gospel of Luke with a particular emphasis on the story about the Road to Emmaus.

“Beautiful!” “Amazing!” “Powerful” “I felt Christ’s love!” These were just some of the reactions of people as they finished a 10-hour day. Between the speakers, the music and the community that everyone felt, the day was a huge success. Many commented on how uplifting and unifying the day was, bringing them closer to Jesus Christ is ways they did not expect.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the closing Mass for the day and said he was very pleased to see such an enthusiastic group dedicating an entire day to growing closer to the Lord through the Blessed Sacrament.

The Bishop specifically credited the Diocesan Spiritual Directors for Hispanic Emmaus, Fathers Jiobani Batista, Luis Pacheco and Luis Albarracin, for their commitment in supporting the Emmaus retreats and for bringing everyone together for the gathering to celebrate the Lord in a special way.

Father Batista, Pastor of St. Margaret Parish in Clewiston, said the goal of the gathering was to inflame the participants with the miracle of Risen Lord as we continue our spiritual journey during this Easter Season.

“We also wanted to convey a renewed and deep devotion to the Eucharist,” Father Batista said. “After going on an Emmaus retreat, the powerful impact can fade over time. This gathering is a renewal so that everyone will carry this message and bring their excitement back to their parishes, spreading the message of the Lord to others.”

Each of the talks focused on the Eucharist. During the say, there was Eucharistic Adoration, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and music all building upon the theme. This led everyone toward the climatic conclusion of the day, the celebration of the Eucharist during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Speakers included Father Emilio Acevedo, Father Jose Asuncion Briones Barrientos, and Sister Maria Mercedez Rodriguez-Gomez, MHML, of St. Margaret Parish. Music was provided by the Custodia de Cristo and Son del Senor del Miami. The featured music was provided by Catholic singer-songwriter Jon Carlo.

The Emmaus retreat program is a Diocesan-approved retreat weekend that takes place three times a year in both English and Spanish. It’s open to all men and women ages 20 or older seeking to grow in their relationship with Christ regardless of their present level of faith and practice. The purpose of the weekend is to give adults the opportunity to reflect upon themselves, their relationship with God and their community.

The next full gathering of Emmaus retreatants will be April 25, 2020 at the Lee Civic Center. To learn more about Emmaus retreats across the Diocese, contact your local parish or email emaus@dioceseofvenice.org or emmaus@dioceseofvenice.org.

Scouting Awards presented

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Girls and boys from throughout the Diocese of Venice participated in a Mass on May 5 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice wearing the uniforms of their Scout troop.

Designated as “Scouting Sunday,” the Mass was followed by an award ceremony in the Parish Hall to celebrate and recognize the girls and boys who commit themselves to scouting while remaining true to the Faith. Members of the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies, American Heritage Girls (AHG) and the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Society participated in the ceremony.

During a reception following Mass, Bishop Frank J. Dewane presented more than 250 awards, with some Scouts receiving multiple honors. The awards included: Rosary Series, Faith Series, Footsteps of American Saints, Modern Saints, Women in Scripture, Models of Faith, Child of God, Family of God, Mother Mary, Queen of the Rosary, Mary, the First Disciple, I Live My Faith, Priesthood Sunday, Light of Christ, Parvuli Dei, Ad Altare Dei awards. Each award requires the Scout to participate in different activities which help increase their Faith and become more difficult to earn as the Scout advances.

During the awards ceremony, Diocesan Scout Awards Coordinator Bob Paquette presented Dewane was presented with the Quality Diocese Award, which is given to a Diocese for its commitment to supporting Catholic Scouting. This is the 10th year in a row the Diocese of Venice has received this award.

Three American Heritage Girl Troops earned the Pope Paul VI Catholic Quality Unit Award: Troop 1203 of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Fort Myers; Troop 2112 of Epiphany Cathedral in Venice; and Troop 1029 of Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria. Additional adult recognition included the Duty to God, the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and the Bronze Pelican awards.

Lastly, Melissa Harkness of the American Heritage Girl Troop 1203 at St. Francis Xavier parish in Fort Myers was presented the Companions on the Journey Award, the highest recognition from the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry for a Diocese to confer to an adult working in youth ministry.

Recognizing the hard work and commitment that the Scouts from throughout the Diocese of Venice make to earn the Catholic Religious Awards, Bishop Dewane congratulated each of the award recipients and all Scouts.

Participating in the ceremony was Scouts Chaplain Father Lawton Lang, who is an Eagle Scout, and Diocese of Venice Director of Evangelization Joshua Mazrin.

News from Around the Diocese early May

Sarasota school expands offering

Incarnation Catholic School, 2911 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, will be expanding their early learning classes to include a PreK-3 program. The program will offer a monthly theme-based curriculum that will include math, science, language and basics of our Catholic faith. Our little learners will discover answers to big questions like “How do Plants Grow?” and “ Who lives in the Ocean?”. Small class sizes will allow for individual attention and differentiate instruction. Playground time will provide an opportunity to work on gross motor skills.  The program will offer full and part time options, perfect for every family. Children must be potty trained and three years old by Sept. 1. For more information please call 941-924-8588.

Naples club meets for final time, honor former advisor

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Y.A.C.H.T. Club (“Youth and Christ Helping Together”) held their final Fun Night April 28 at Naples Beach. Students attended Mass at St. Ann Parish before enjoying a beautiful sunset in memory of Shelley Raley, with Sister Katie Flanagan, FMA, and teacher Laura Roszkowski. Ralley, who passed away in 2018 was the group moderator and each of the club members had sunflowers in her honor. The YACHT Club is an instrumental component of the Campus Ministry Program. The mission of the club is to invite all students to the fullness of Christ’s love through service to others. Students plan and implement retreats, prayers services, liturgies and other events/services. They also take “cruises” to perform service in the community.

Neumann Track relay places 2nd at States

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School 4×100 Relay Team from Naples took the silver medal in Class 1A at the State Championships May 4 in Jacksonville.

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School boys track 4×100 relay team was the FHSAA 1A State Runnerup May 4 during the Track and Field Championships at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. The Naples relay team placed second with a school record-breaking time of 42.23. The runners were Daniel DeSantis, Justin Mathieu, JP Raiger and Alex Myrin. No long after, Mathieu later placed second in the 1A Long Jump finals. Way to Go Celtics!

 

Camp Mercy in Sarasota

St. Patrick Parish, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, will be hosting Camp Mercy 2019 for the third year in a row from June 24-28, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.. This service-oriented summer camp is for children ages kindergarten to fifth grade. The cost is $75 for the week and includes a camp t-shirt. Registration is required by June 1. For more information, please call 941-378-1703 ext. 300 or visit www.churchofstpatrick.org/campmercy.

Catholic Center May Crowning

On May 2, the staff of the Diocese of Venice Catholic Center gathered for a May Crowning ceremony led by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. The ceremony included a few songs and a Litany to Our Lady. In the Catholic tradition, May is devoted to Our Lady and many Diocesan parishes and a retreat center are dedicated to Mary.

Teacher, students earn Excellence in Education awards

On April 29, the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education Awards ceremony took place at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers. The chamber recognized educators and students in 30 Cape Coral elementary, middle and high schools. St. Andrew Catholic School Art teacher, Diana Villadolid, and eighth grader, Jackalyn Flynn, were honored for excellence as educator and student. Villadolid has taught Art at St. Andrew for 15 years.  She facilitates the students’ participation in community art events such as those sponsored by the Alliance of the Arts and the Edison Ford Estate.  She also serves as the school’s Marketing Director. Jackalyn Flynn will be graduating from St. Andrew Catholic School in May and has won awards for tennis (Cape Coral Parks and Recreation-First Place), soccer (SACS First Place team), art (Alliance of the Arts), and a three-time Sunshine State Luncheon attendee for achieving top levels in reading. She plans to attend Bishop Verot High School. She would enjoy becoming a writer or story editor someday.

Donation to Catholic Charities

The Venice Yacht Club Foundation recently presented a check for $5,000 to support the Family Haven of Catholic Charities which helps families in South Sarasota County transition from being homeless to finding more permanent housing.

 

Ave Maria University graduation

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass for the Ave Maria University graduating class on May 3 in Ave Maria. The Bishop encourages the graduates to carry Christ with them always beyond college and into the next phase in their lives. Having the Lord by their side will give them the strength to overcome any obstacle they may face in the future.

VBS in Fort Myers June 24-28

St. Francis Xavier Parish in Fort Myers is hosting the “ROAR! Totally Catholic Vacation Bible School from June 24-28. It is a week of fun, games, snacks, crafts, and learning more about our faith!  The cost is $30 per child, or $70 per family.  Registration forms are found at www.stfrancisfm.org. Please all 239-246-2635 for more details. Register early as space is limited and VBS usually fills up!

 

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