Diocesan Rosary Congress Oct. 1 to 7

20 Parishes hosting opportunity to pray as a community

The month of October each year is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary. On Oct. 7 each year we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in honor of the Blessed Mother. October was also the month in which Mary appeared for the last time to shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, urging them to “say the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.”

In celebration of the month, 19 Parishes in the Diocese of Venice will be participating in a Rosary Congress from Oct. 1, to Oct. 8, 2022. During the Rosary Congress, the host Parishes (at least two in each Deanery) will provide the hourly praying of the Holy Rosary as well as Eucharistic Adoration. Many of the Parishes taking part will also have the celebration of the Mass at the opening and closing of a 24-hour period of Adoration. Several Parishes will make the Sacrament of Reconciliation available during specific times of the Rosary Congress.

Initiated in 2021, the Rosary Congress is encouraged by the Diocesan Office of Evangelization as a way to present a unique opportunity to place all prayer intentions and the needs of all the faithful into the loving arms of the Mother of God.

“The Rosary Congress offers a great means of grace, combining many aspects of our Faith,” explained Jim Gontis, Diocesan Director of Evangelization. “Each Parish session will include Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the hourly praying the Our Lady’s Rosary, and most importantly, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is an opportunity to experience a river of grace coming from the infinite ocean of God’s Mercy.”

Each hour the Rosary will be said for intentions such as the Church, the Faithful of the Diocese of Venice, our country, and difficulties for all throughout the world. The faithful are encouraged to renew themselves to the Blessed Mother and for a renewed love for Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.

This is of particular relevance as there is an ongoing National Eucharistic Revival which continues through to 2024. The Revival is an initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to reaffirm a devotion to, and belief in, the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

“What better way to do this than through praying to Mary, Mother of God, in the way She taught us, through the Holy Rosary,” Gontis said.

The Diocese of Venice has continually fostered its devotion to the Blessed Mother. Our Lady of Mercy is the Patroness of the Diocese. Under this patronage, the Diocese was formally consecrated to Our Lady during Advent of 2017.

Pope Francis frequently describes praying the rosary as armor to be used in the spiritual battle we all face each day.

“The recitation of the rosary is the most beautiful prayer we can offer to the Virgin Mary; it is a contemplation on the stages of the life of Jesus the Savior with his Mother Mary and is a weapon that protects us from evils and temptations,” the Holy Father said in 2021.

Pope Francis said that the Blessed Virgin Mary has urged the recitation of the Holy Rosary in her apparitions, “especially in the face of the threats looming over the world.”

In May 2022 Pope Francis invited all Catholics and led the world in praying the Holy Rosary for peace in Ukraine and around the world from Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary Major.

As part of his prayer, the Holy Father said, “Today we raise our hearts to You, Queen of Peace: intercede for us with Your Son, reconcile hearts filled with violence and vengeance, straighten thoughts blinded by the desire for easy enrichment, on all the earth may Your enduring peace reign.”

Some host Parishes have announced additional aspects of their Rosary Congress. For example: St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral (Oct. 1 to 2), will host a Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m. on Oct. 2; Ss. Peter & Paul the Apostles Parish in Bradenton, (Oct. 5 to 6) will host its Congress in the Chapel; Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria (Oct. 6 to 7) will conclude their Congress with a Eucharistic Procession throughout the community following 5 p.m. Mass on Oct. 7; St. Agnes Parish in Naples (Oct. 6 to 7) will be having its Congress in an Adoration Chapel and those wishing to participate in the overnight hours need to contact the Parish for details about accessibility; and finally, Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Fort Myers is hosting an abbreviated Rosary Congress from noon to 7 p.m., on Oct. 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.

More information regarding the Diocesan Rosary Congress may be found at www.dioceseofvenice.org or by contacting Jim Gontis at 941-484-9543 or gontis@dioceseofvenice.org.

Diocese of Venice Rosary Congress

Oct. 1 to 7, 2022

 

Saturday, Oct. 1 to Sunday, Oct. 2

  • 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. – St. Katharine Drexel Parish, 1922 S.W. 20th Ave., Cape Coral, 239-283-9501

Sunday, Oct. 2 to Monday, Oct. 3

  • 10:30 a.m. to noon – Christ the King Parish, 1900 Meadowood St., 1900 Meadowood St., Sarasota, 941-924-2777.

Monday, Oct. 3 to Tuesday, Oct. 4

  • 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. – Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave., Venice, 941-484-3505,
  • 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. – St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, 239-455-6895,
  • 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. – St. Francis Xavier Parish, 2157 Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers, 239-334-2161,
  • 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. – St. Charles Borromeo Parish, 21505 Augusta Ave., Port Charlotte, 941-625-4754.

Tuesday, Oct. 4 to Wednesday, Oct. 5

  • 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. – Our Lady of the Angels Parish, 12905 E. SR 70, Lakewood Ranch, 941-752-6770,
  • 6 p.m. to 6 p.m. – St. Peter the Apostle, 5130 Rattlesnake Hammock Road, Naples, 239-774-3337.

Wednesday, Oct. 5 to Thursday, Oct. 6

  • 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. – St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Ave. N.. Naples, 239-566-8740,
  • 11 a.m. to 8 a.m. – Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish, 2850 75th St. W., Bradenton, 941-795-1228.

Thursday, Oct. 6 to Friday, Oct. 7

  • 5 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Ave Maria Parish, 5068 Annunciation Circle, Ave Maria, 239-261-5555,
  • 11 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Incarnation Parish, 1901 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, 941-921-6631,
  • 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. – Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge St., LaBelle, 863-675-0030,
  • 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. – San Pedro Parish, 14380 Tamiami Trail, North Port, 941-426-2500,
  • 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. – St. Catherine Parish, 882 Bay St., Sebring, 863-385-0049,
  • 10 a.m. to 10 a.m. – St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, 239-592-1949,
  • 2 p.m. to 2 p.m. – St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish, 12001 69th St. E., Parrish, 941-776-9097,
  • 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. – Holy Cross Parish, 505 26th Palmetto, 941-729-3891.

Friday, Oct. 7

  • Noon to 7 p.m., Resurrection of Our Lord Parish, 8121 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers, 239-481-7171 (*Not 24 hours).

Friday, Oct. 7 to Saturday, Oct. 8

  • 8 a.m. to 8 a.m., St. Patrick Parish, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, 941-378-1703.

New Evangelization Director brings extensive experience

James F. Gontis cherishes the opportunity to multiply the good of the Catholic Faith in his new position as Diocese of Venice Director of Evangelization.

Starting his new role on Aug. 1, 2022, Gontis brings to the Diocese his diverse experience in the evangelization and catechetical field. Most recently Gontis served in the Diocese of Harrisburg, first as Director of Religious Education and then for the last five years as Director of Evangelization and Catechesis.

In Harrisburg, he oversaw classes, workshops and presentations on theological and Catholic teachings, evangelization and much more and previously directed Adult Religious Education and related programs and workshops.

Gontis explained that his role as Director of the Department of Evangelization – which includes the Office of Family Life and the Office of Youth and Young Adult Outreach – is to draw people closer to God.

“Faith cannot be in the abstract but has to be lived out in the here and now,” he said. “I am grateful to serve the Church in this beautiful area, helping to remind everyone the role we all have – as the baptized – to live our Faith as God calls. We do this through the way we live, what we say, and what we do. It is easy to say and hard to do. But we must respond, confident that the Lord gives us sufficient grace to do what He asks; to live for the Glory of God and get into heaven, while bringing with us as many others as possible.”

Gontis earned a M.A. in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and before that a degree from Adams College (University) in Colorado. He was a teacher in Farmington, New Mexico and Fountain Springs, Pennsylvania, before taking a Diocesan position in Harrisburg.

Married for 25 years and counting, Gontis has eight children. Three are still in school, while the five oldest children are in college or working. His parents live in Punta Gorda, and a sister is also nearby, so he was not unfamiliar with the area before recently moving his family to the Sarasota area.

The Office of Evangelization is currently organizing a Diocesan Eucharistic Congress and Youth Rally for March 24-25, 2023, a large event in Fort Myers that is part on the ongoing National Eucharistic Revival. The Revival is an initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to reaffirm a devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

In addition, the office is also hosting a “Together in Holiness” Marriage Conference on Oct. 22 in Fort Myers as well as planning a Diocesan pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2023 in Portugal. Please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org for information about these and other events.

“As important as those events are, evangelization is not just about these mountaintop experiences,” Gontis explained. “The Parish is the primary focus of our work, building up the Faith – this is done through programs that reach out to support marriage, as well as youth and young adults. We know the family is a foundation of the Church, but at the same time we will work hard to keep youth and young adults engaged in the Faith, reminding them that they are not only the future of the Church, but they are also the present of the Church, crucial to the renewal of the Faith.”

James Gontis is the Diocesan Director of Evangelization and can be reached at 941-484-9543 or gontis@dioceseofvenice.org.

News Briefs for the week of August 9, 2022

School Masses with Bishop continue

 

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass for students at Ave Maria Catholic School and Donahue Academy in Ave Maria on Aug. 31, 2022, and at St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary Academy in Sarasota on Sept. 1. Bishop Dewane encouraged the students to use the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to grow closer to the Lord. These Masses are part of a series the Bishop will celebrate to open the 2022-2023 Academic Year at the 15 Diocesan Catholic schools from mid-August into October.

Verot Football reaches win milestone

The Bishop Verot Catholic High School football team reached 300 wins with a home victory on Sept. 2, 2022, over Lehigh 33-16. The Viking milestone appropriately comes as the Fort Myers school is in the midst of celebrating 60 years since its founding in 1962. Congratulations to all of the players, coaches and staff who have contributed to this program’s success.

School has STREAM Day

St. Mary Academy in Sarasota held a STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) Day on Sept. 2, 2022. The students had projects that reinforced the seven “Gifts of Christ” – truth, beauty, goodness, humility, prudence, fortitude, affability. Students participated in a variety of activities that both challenged their minds, but also built up their love for God.

Kristallnacht Commemorative Program Nov. 6 in Naples

The Catholic-Jewish Dialogue of Collier County invites the community to a commemorative Program of the 84th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, recognized by most historians as “the Night the Holocaust began.” The event is free and will take place at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, at Temple Shalom, 4630 Pine Ridge Road, Naples. The guest speaker is Dr. Suzanne Brown-Fleming, Director of the International Academics Programs Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and her topic will be “November 1938: Perspective from the Vatican Archives. The event is sponsored by the Diocese of Venice, Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Federation of Greater Naples, GenShoah of SWFL, and the Holocaust Museum and Janet G. and Harvey D. Cohen Education Center. Please register at www.jewishnaples.org, or call 239-263-4205 to allow for adequate refreshments. For additional information please email cjdialogue@naples.net.

Club helps those in need

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School YACHT Club spent their Labor Day holiday helping to distribute food at nearby St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples. The food distribution is every Monday and is part of Naples community effort led by St. Matthews House. The YACHT Club (Youth And Christ Helping Together) is an instrumental component of the Neumann 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, prayer services, liturgies, and more. They also take “cruises” to perform service in the community. The students were joined by two Sisters of St. John Bosco who serve at St. John Neumann.

Students donate blood

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School students in Sarasota rolled up their sleeves and gave back to the community in a special way on Aug. 30, 2022, when they donated blood during a visit to the school by the SunCoast Blood Centers bus. There is a regional and national blood shortage and every pint donated helps to save lives.

Marriage Conference coming in October

Registration is now open for the Diocese of Venice Oct. 22, 2022, “Together in Holiness” Marriage Conference, presented in partnership with the Diocese of Venice Office of Family Life and the St. John Paul II Foundation. The theme of this year’s Conference is “Family: A Community of Prayer.” To register, please visit https://forlifeandfamily.org/events/th22-vnfl/. A video message from Bishop Frank J. Dewane can be found at www.dioceseofvenice.org/together-in-holiness-marriage-conference-october-22-2022. This marriage enrichment conference will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers. Grow together in holiness, learn to form your children in the Catholic Faith, enjoy a day of quality time with your spouse, witness dynamic presentations! The day will include the Mass and the availability of the Sacrament of Reconcilliation. This special event is for all couples, engaged, newlywed or long-married! On-site childcare will be provided. For more information, please contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseovenice.org.

Viking Class golf tournament in Fort Myers

The annual Bishop Verot Catholic High School Athletic Booster Viking Golf Classic is Oct. 15, 2022, at Stoneybrook Golf Club, 21251 Stoneybrook Gold Blvd., Estero. There is an 8 a.m. shotgun start. Take your best shot on a few holes, as there will be some mini-games: hole-in-one contest, longest drive, and closest to the pin. After the tournament, enjoy a luncheon at the clubhouse, complete with raffles and a silent auction! Tickets are $150/person or $600/group. Sponsorships at multiple tiers are available. Reach out to Jason Baumgardner for more information at either jason.baumgardner@bvhs.org or 239-274-6711.

5K Walk/Run for Life Oct. 8 in Naples

The 8th Annual St. Agnes 5K Walk/Run for Life will be held Oct. 8, 2022, with the goal of promoting a respect life message and raising funds for pro-life causes while encouraging healthy living (body and soul). Registration is at the Parish at 6 a.m., with the race at 7:15 a.m., at 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road in Naples. Only those registering by Oct. 2 will receive a race shirt. Registration is open at www.stagnesnaples.org. For more information, please call 239-592-1949 or email deaconroberto@stagnesnaples.org.

Priest appreciation dinners coming soon

The Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women invites all to one of two Priest Appreciation Dinners the group is hosting. The dinners are intended to honor all priests serving in the Diocese. The first dinner is 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 16, at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Hall, 1301 Center Road, Venice, while the second is at the same time on Friday, October 7, at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. The dinner is $45. For those interested in attending either dinner, please contact Ellen Bachman at 941-721-7393 or pennyln99@aol.com.

White Mass for Healthcare Professionals in Naples

Registration is now open for the annual White Mass for health care professionals at 8:30 a.m., Oct. 15, 2022, at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples. A blessing of the stethoscopes will also be held. Physicians are asked to wear their white coats. There will be a breakfast and lecture in the Parish Center with guest speaker Dr. Christina Puchalski, a pioneer and international leader in the movement to integrate spirituality into healthcare in clinical settings and medical education. Physicians and nurses may qualify for continuing education credit. For more information, and to register, please visit www.stagnesnaples.org.

Registration Open for golf tournament

The registration is open for the Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School 2022 Annual Golf Tournament on Monday, October 10 (rain date, October 17) at the Laurel Oak Country Club in Sarasota. Registration starts at 10:00 a.m., with a shotgun start at 12:00 p.m. The cost is $775 per foursome (early bird registration by September 12, is $725 per foursome). The cost includes golf, a boxed lunch, cocktails, buffet dinner and prizes. There will also be a 50/50 helicopter ball drop ($10 per chance/open to all). The tournament benefits the CMHS Adopt-A-Student Financial Assistance Program. For tickets and sponsorships, please contact Amy Gorman at agorman@cmhs-sarasota.org or visit www.cmhs-sarasota.org.

 

 

News Briefs for the Week of August 19, 2022

Our Mother’s House director retires

Joyce Scott, who for 17 years has led Our Mother’s House of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., has retired. A reception in her honor was held on July 15, 2022. During her time at Our Mother’s House, the program has seen three major expansions. The mission of Our Mother’s House is to offer single mothers and their preschool-age children transitional housing in a safe and secure environment to achieve increased self-sufficiency through education, vocational training, and personal growth.

Priest founder of Diocesan Marriage Tribunal dies

Father Dennis C. Klemme, who helped establish the Diocese of Venice Marriage Tribunal, and was a longtime priest in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and died Aug. 9, 2022, at the age of 90. Father Klemme was born in West Alice, Wisconsin, studied at St. Francis Minor and St. Francis Major Seminaries in Milwaukee. Father was ordained to the priesthood on May 25, 1957. Father Klemme served in Parishes in the Archdiocese for several years before further studies as a Canon Lawyer at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Father was assigned to the Archdiocese Matrimonial Tribunal and Chaplain at the Carmelite Monastery in Pewaukee. In early 1985, Father Klemme was loaned to the newly established Diocese of Venice to use his experience to set up a Marriage Tribunal, gaining many friends. He returned to the Archdiocese in 1988 and was appointed as Judicial Vicar, a position he served in until retirement in 1999. In his later years, he continued to assist at Parishes and minister to the Carmelite Monastery. A Mass of Christian Burial was held Aug. 18, 2022, at the Basilica and National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Hubertus.

Priest appreciation dinners coming soon

The Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women invites all to one of two Priest Appreciation Dinners the group is hosting. The dinners are intended to honor all priests serving in the Diocese. The first dinner is 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 16, at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Hall, 1301 Center Road, Venice, while the second is at the same time on Friday, October 7, at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. The dinner is $45. For those interested in attending either dinner, please contact Ellen Bachman at 941-721-7393 or pennyln99@aol.com.

Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal ending soon

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

First Responders Mass

The Knights of Columbus Saints Cosmas and Damian Council 13341 is honored to sponsor the First Responders Mass at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10, Our Lady of the Angels Parish, 12905 E. State Road 70, Lakewood Ranch. The Mass will honor the work of public safety personnel, including law enforcement officials, firefighters, and emergency medical service personnel. This Mass is a way to recognize the sacrifice of first responders and to remember those who have given their lives in service to their communities. All are welcome.

40 Days for Life Fall Campaign begins soon

The Fall Campaign of 40 Days for Life begins Sept. 28, 2022, and ends Nov. 6. Check with your Parish coordinator to join your Parish’s day on the sidewalk or go to www.40daysforlife.com (look under the locations tab for Sarasota or Fort Myers). Your presence can be a powerful sign to women in need that there are better options available. Questions? Contact Jeanne Berdeaux at Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-374-1068.

Support CCW Seminarian Fund

Support, encourage and educate future priests through the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women Seminarian Fund. Join the VDCCW in celebrating Priesthood Sunday on Sept. 25, 2022, in a special and lasting way by sending your Parish a Seminarian Fund “IN HONOR OF” card. This is a gift that keeps on giving. The Diocese is currently educating 13 men in various seminaries and a donation of any amount would be a great help (The donation amount will not be revealed to the recipient. To take part, please send your donation, made out to VDCCW Seminarian Fund (plus $1 to cover postage and printing) to: Cornelia Zanetti, Seminarian Fund Guardian, 5808 Gulf Drive #204, Holmes Beach, FL 34217. If you have any questions, email Cornelia Zanetti at corniez@aol.com.

2022 Sarasota Laps for Life 5K in October

The Knights of Columbus Our Lady of Victory Council 3358 is hosting the 2022 Laps for Life sunrise beach run/walk in support of SOLVE maternity homes in Bradenton, Sarasota and Englewood. The run/walk is 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 8, at Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota. The respect life event brings people of all ages and backgrounds together in support of at-risk women during and after pregnancy. Enjoy the family fun and post-race celebration with music, free food and games at the playground and pavilion area. The race will be chip-time and the first 200 registrants are guaranteed an event shirt. The cost is $40 for adults and $20 for ages 9-13 (under 9, free). To register, create a team or donate online, please visit http://srqLapsforLife.net.

Statewide Culture of Life Conference

The Diocese of St. Petersburg is hosting the 2022 annual Culture of Life (Respect Life) Conference at the Bethany Center in Lutz on Oct. 14-15, 2022. It includes an opening prayer and one session on Friday evening starting at 7 p.m. with the main conference on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year’s theme is Commitment to Care. Conference attendees will be informed, inspired and equipped to understand, engage with and respond to some of the most pressing issues of the culture. Topics will include gender ideology and youth, political commitments, Walking with Moms in Need, end of life, death penalty and human trafficking. For details and registration, see www.dosp.org/culture-of-life-conference/. If you are interested in a possible bus trip to attend the conference, contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-374-1068 or Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org.

Marriage Conference coming in October

Registration is now open for the Diocese of Venice Oct. 22, 2022, “Together in Holiness” Marriage Conference, presented in partnership with the Diocese of Venice Office of Family Life and the St. John Paul II Foundation. To register, please visit https://forlifeandfamily.org/events/th22-vnfl/. A video message from Bishop Frank J. Dewane can be found at www.dioceseofvenice.org/together-in-holiness-marriage-conference-october-22-2022. This marriage enrichment conference will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers. All Catholic married and engaged couples throughout the Diocese of Venice and beyond are welcome. Grow together in holiness, learn to form your children in the Catholic Faith, enjoy a day of quality time with your spouse, witness dynamic presentations! The day will include the Mass and the availability of the Sacrament of Reconcilliation. This special event is for all couples, engaged, newlywed or long-married! On-site childcare will be provided. For more information, please contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseovenice.org.

‘Totus Tuus’ leaves impacts for a lifetime

When you note something took 40 days, that number has a significant connection to Sacred Scriptures, uniquely elevating the impact and meaning of an activity.

For example, the Bible states: 40 days and nights of rain during the great flood, Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai; Jonah preached 40 days to Nineveh; Goliath taunted Israel for 40 days; and Jesus fasted for 40 days, as well as other examples.

Therefore, there is a special significance in that the “Totus Tuus” summer camp was active in the Diocese of Venice for 40 days. This is not only because of its symbolic connection to the Bible, but for its wide-reaching impact on the hundreds of children and teens who participated. However, this positive impact was not limited to the campers; it was felt at the host Parishes, by the volunteers, and in the families, not to mention the missionaries and seminarians who led the camp each week.

In the Bible, after 40 days a great event always occurs, and the same is true in the Diocese at the completion of the “Totus Tuus” camp on Aug. 5, 2022.

Word has been spreading about the passionate growth in a love for Christ by the children at the host Parishes achieved in a single 5-day period. There is already a call to bring the missionaries back in the summer of 2023 at more Parishes, reaching even more children and teens.

Beginning June 6, at St. Katherine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral, host Parish priests have raved all summer about how this summer camp was different than anything that has been offered. Each of the five days of the “Totus Tuus” camp was an intensive and enriching time for the young participants as they learned about their faith and grew closer to the Lord.

By the time the camp reached its eighth weekly home, St. Patrick Parish in Sarasota from Aug. 1 to Aug. 5, the results were abundantly clear, the camp was a success and there was a demand for more of the same.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane visited the St. Patrick camp on Aug. 4, witnessing what the young children (aged from kindergarten to sixth grade) learned in just a few days.

The children, led by the “Totus Tuus” missionaries and accompanying Diocesan seminarians, were able to recite a variety of prayers and enthusiastically sang songs. When asked about the camp, eager little hands rose in excitement because the lessons of the week excited their minds and souls helping them to grow in their passionate relationship with the Lord.

Bishop Dewane praised the children on their knowledge of the lessons they had learned. These lessons focused on the Luminous Mysteries of the rosary, prayer, key aspects of a devotion to Jesus, all with a special focus on the Mass.

“You learned so much,” Bishop Dewane said. “That is very good. Remember, we all have more to learn about the Lord and our relationship with Jesus Christ and how that must continue to grow.”

Among the lessons during the camp, the children were taught how to view others as brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, when they see someone in need, they are to help, acting as Christ did.

“Totus Tuus” is a Latin phrase meaning “Totally Yours.” It was a motto of St. John Paul II, taken from St. Louis de Montfort’s “True Devotion to Mary.” It signifies our desire to give ourselves entirely to Jesus Christ through Mary.

Each Parish hosting the event welcomed children and teens from Monday morning to Friday afternoon.  These sessions were divided into daytime camp for children from first grade through sixth, and evening retreats for teens seventh grade through recent high school graduates. The weeks were filled with faith, fun, and friendship as well as games, crazy skits, and music. Throughout, the college-age leaders provided an authentic witness to the students. They were in turn supported by teen helpers for the day camp and adult volunteers in the evenings.

During this initial introduction to the “Totus Tuus” summer camp in the Diocese, only one Parish hosted the camp each week. In addition to St. Katharine Drexel and St. Patrick bookending the summer, other host Parishes included: St. Agnes in Naples (June 13-17); Our Lady Queen of Heaven in La Belle (June 20-24); St. Catherine in Sebring (June 27-July 1); St. John XXIII in Fort Myers (July 11-15); St. Joseph in Bradenton (July 18-22); and St. Elizabeth Seton in Naples (July 25-29).

The “Totus Tuus” program strives to bring an awareness of vocations to the young adults who serve as missionaries. Each missionary begins the day with morning prayer, praying the rosary and attending daily Mass. These missionaries serve as teachers for the camp by leading a small group of children or teens each day with lessons and activities to enhance the theme of prayer.

“Totus Tuus” missionaries were Stephanie Lovetere of the Diocese of Venice, Epiphany Cathedral and a student at Ave Maria University, Sam Salyer of the Diocese of Gary, Kate Ihlefeldt, of the Diocese of Colorado Springs, and Garrett Willie of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Additionally, assisting the missionaries were Diocese of Venice Seminarians Juan Contreras and James Gates.

Salyer finished his missionary work on fire for the Lord. “It has been an amazing journey,” he said. “I grew as a person, as a missionary and as a man of God. The interaction with the children of different ages opened up a whole new way for me to see how the Lord works in each of us. I saw the transformation of these children from uninterested to totally engaged in a short period of time. It was incredible.”

Seminarian Gates enjoyed helping connect the children with the wonders of Christ through the lessons, during Eucharistic Adoration and at Mass. “When you see the faces, the reactions, it is very special. Their enthusiasm validated the hard work we put into each day.”

Carrie Harkey, Diocesan Director of the Office of Family Life, who helped bring the “Totus Tuus” summer camp to the Diocese, said the praise from priests, religious education leaders and parents has been 100% positive. The only negative reaction was the request that the camp be longer than one week at a Parish.

“With the feedback we have received, we are going to bring the camp back for the summer of 2023,” Harkey said. “The enthusiasm is contagious and that is a god thing. This summer was a test to see how it worked and we have our results. Going forward, we now have an established program which directly engages young people, from kindergarten through high school, about their faith. That is very special.”

News briefs for the week of Aug. 12, 2022

Retired priest dies

Father Edward A. Kearns Jr., a longtime priest in the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey, died July 11, 2022, at the age of 86 in Sarasota. Father Kearns was born in Paterson and attended Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., and Immaculate Conception Seminary in Mahwah, N.J. He was ordained May 25, 1963 in Paterson. He served as Parishes in Parsippany, Boonton, Oak Ridge and was founding Pastor of a Parish in Three Bridges, N.J. He retired to Sarasota in 1998 and assisted part-time at St. Thomas More Parish. He is survived by a sister, numerous nieces and nephews and grandnieces and nephews. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Three Bridges on Sept. 10, 2022.

2022 Sarasota Laps for Life 5K in October

The Knights of Columbus Our Lady of Victory Council 3358 is hosting the 2022 Laps for Life sunrise beach run/walk in support of SOLVE maternity homes in Bradenton, Sarasota and Englewood. The run/walk is 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 8, at Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota. The respect life event brings people of all ages and backgrounds together in support of at-risk women during and after pregnancy. Enjoy the family fun and post-race celebration with music, free food and games at the playground and pavilion area. The race will be chip-time and the first 200 registrants are guaranteed an event shirt. The cost is $40 for adults and $20 for ages 9-13 (under 9, free). To register, create a team or donate online, please visit http://srqLapsforLife.net.

Statewide Culture of Life Conference

The Diocese of St. Petersburg is hosting the 2022 annual Culture of Life (Respect Life) Conference at the Bethany Center in Lutz on Oct. 14-15, 2022. It includes an opening prayer and one session on Friday evening starting at 7 p.m. with the main conference on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year’s theme is Commitment to Care. Conference attendees will be informed, inspired and equipped to understand, engage with and respond to some of the most pressing issues of the culture. Topics will include gender ideology and youth, political commitments, Walking with Moms in Need, end of life, death penalty and human trafficking. For details and registration, see www.dosp.org/culture-of-life-conference/. If you are interested in a possible bus trip to attend the conference, contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-374-1068 or Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org.

40 Days for Life Fall Campaign begins soon

The Fall Campaign of 40 Days for Life begins Sept. 28, 2022, and ends Nov. 6. Check with your Parish coordinator to join your Parish’s day on the sidewalk or go to www.40daysforlife.com – look under the locations tab for Sarasota or Fort Myers. Your presence can be a powerful sign to women in need that better options are available to her.  Questions? Contact Jeanne Berdeaux at Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-374-1068.

Looking for a movie with a positive message?

“LIFEMARK” is a powerful film that celebrates adoption, reconciliation and love. It will run in many local theaters for one week, September 9-15. Inspire by a true story, it stars Kirk Cameron.  Watch the trailer, find local theater times and ticket information at www.lifemarkmovie.com. Groups of 25+ can purchase discounted tickets through the website.  Questions? Contact Respect Life Director Jeanne Berdeaux at Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-374-1068.

Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal continues

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

Marriage Conference coming in October

Registration is now open for the Diocese of Venice Oct. 22, 2022, “Together in Holiness” Marriage Conference, presented in partnership with the Diocese of Venice Office of Family Life and the St. John Paul II Foundation. To register, please visit https://forlifeandfamily.org/events/th22-vnfl/. A video message from Bishop Frank J. Dewane can be found at www.dioceseofvenice.org/together-in-holiness-marriage-conference-october-22-2022. This marriage enrichment conference will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers. All Catholic married and engaged couples throughout the Diocese of Venice and beyond are welcome. Grow together in holiness, learn to form your children in the Catholic Faith, enjoy a day of quality time with your spouse, witness dynamic presentations! The day will include the Mass and the availability of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This special event is for all couples, engaged, newlywed or long-married! On-site childcare will be provided. For more information, please contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseovenice.org.

Support after abortion – Project Rachel

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

Want to Help a Pregnant Mother in Need?

Maybe she’s being evicted or having her electricity turned off. Imagine being in her shoes, perhaps with other young children in the home. Think about what happens to food in a refrigerator without power for even a few hours. Your donation can assist pregnant women in need with rent, utilities, and other necessities. Send your donation to Catholic Charities Pennies for Babies Fund, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285. No administrative fees are taken so your money goes directly to those in need who have been screened by case managers. Questions? Contact Jeanne Berdeaux at Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-374-1068.

“Two Become One” Seminar Sept. 10

The last of the “Two Become One” Sacramental Marriage Retreats is scheduled for Sept. 10, 2022, at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1301 Center Road, Venice. Registration is at 9:00 a.m. and the seminar ends at 5:00 p.m. A specially prepared volunteer team share their experiences and information with the intention of enabling couples to be more aware of the privileges and responsibilities of a Sacramental Marriage. The retreat is designed to be completed after the couple has done the initial consultation with their priest. For the prerequired registration, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/two-become-one-2022. If you have any questions, please contact Carrie Harkey at 941-484-9543 or harkey@dioceseofvenice.org.

Do You Need Help?

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

Equipping the Pro-Life Church

Community Pregnancy Clinics Inc., which has pregnancy resource clinics throughout the Diocese, is hosting two conferences to equip the Pro-Life Church on Tuesday, September 13. The first one is from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in Bonita Springs, and the second is 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Bradenton. The featured speaker at both events is Seth Gruber, who is a professional public speaker focused on equipping Christians and pro-life advocates to make a persuasive case for their pro-life beliefs in the public square. His approach, while not shying away from the moral question of abortion, focuses on giving participants the tools needed to effectively and lovingly engage others on the issue of abortion. Participants will learn how to effectively build a culture of life within their community. There is no cost to attend. All priests, deacons, ministry leaders, and Pro-Life advocates throughout Southwest Florida are encouraged to attend. To register for either event, please visit www.supportcpci.com or call 239-262-6381.

Catholic Women’s Bible Study begins in September

Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish in Bradenton will be hosting a 20-week study “Blessed Conversations: Rooted” beginning Wednesday, September 14, through March 29, 2023. This study for women contains lessons and short videos on seven topics: the virtues; ways to pray; God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the seven Sacraments; the 10 Commandments; the Our Father; and the Beatitudes. Each lesson includes a layperson summary of Catechism selections; short Scripture passages from the Old and New Testaments; a reflection by the author; and questions for discussion. Rooted is a study from Blessed is She, a Catholic women’s online outreach. The cost is $25 for books and materials. The Wednesday gatherings are at 9:45 a.m. in the Moretti Center, 2850 75th St. W., Bradenton. Childcare is provided (donations appreciated). To learn more please call the Parish at 941-795-1228 or visit www.sspeterandpaul.org.

Registration Open for golf tournament

The registration is open for the Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School 2022 Annual Golf Tournament on Monday, October 10 (rain date, October 17) at the Laurel Oak Country Club in Sarasota. Registration starts at 10:00 a.m., with a shotgun start at 12:00 p.m. The cost is $775 per foursome (early bird registration by September 12, is $725 per foursome). The cost includes golf, a boxed lunch, cocktails, buffet dinner and prizes. There will also be a 50/50 helicopter ball drop ($10 per chance/open to all). The tournament benefits the CMHS Adopt-A-Student Financial Assistance Program. For tickets and sponsorships, please contact Amy Gorman at agorman@cmhs-sarasota.org or visit www.cmhs-sarasota.org.

 

Diocese to expand support for couples and families

The Diocese of Venice recognizes the importance of forming all married couples, from newlyweds to empty nesters, to live out their call to holiness and joy in the Sacrament of Marriage! As St. John Paul II famously said, “As goes the family, so goes the nation, and so goes the entire world in which we live.”

To promote greater support and formation for couples, the Diocese of Venice Office of Family Life and the St. John Paul II Foundation are working jointly to bring “Together in Holiness” to the entire Diocese. “Together in Holiness” is a comprehensive marriage enrichment initiative that includes an annual, one-day Conference series for couples, as well as a year-round Formation series for couples in Parishes, schools, and small communities.

“The Diocese of Venice continues to value the ongoing collaboration with the St. John Paul II Foundation in support of marriage and family,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane. “It is precisely the fruits that flow from the “Together in Holiness” Conference and the ongoing follow up Formation series, that the Sacrament of Marriage is all about. Through its Office of Family Life, the Diocese invites all couples to participate in these life-enriching opportunities.  Married couples are a sacramental representation of love, joy, and commitment, so I am thankful that “Together in Holiness” assists our married couples to contribute to the renewal of the family, Church and society.”

The second annual “Together in Holiness” Marriage Enrichment Conference will take place on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, the Feast of St. John Paul II, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be hosted at St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers. Couples will enjoy a day of quality time with their spouse accompanied by dynamic presentations! The day will include the Mass and the availability of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This special event is for all couples, engaged, newlywed or long married. Access to on-site childcare will be provided.

The inaugural “Together in Holiness” Marriage Enrichment Conferences on Oct. 2, 2021, in Sarasota and Naples drew some 120 couples.

Here are just a few of the positive comments from previous attendees:

  • “Incredible!” “Life-changing!” “Impactful!” “Educational!” “Just what we needed!”
  • “It was truly a great event, very inspiring and applicable to the everyday life. It helped me to take a fresh look at my marriage and the relationship with my husband.”
  • “We both got a lot out of the entire day. It was a day of connecting – with each other, with other couples, with own selves, and, most importantly, with God.”

Complementing the one-day conference, the “Together in Holiness” Formation series offers year-round marriage enrichment to small communities of spouses that equips them with the formation, encouragement, and practical tools to grow together in holiness and to form their children in the Catholic Faith.

The “Together in Holiness” Formation series is a 7-part series based on the life, witness, and teachings of St. John Paul II on marriage and family life. Highlights include short, compelling video presentations with national speakers, Host Couples who facilitate discussion, and a “Bring it Home” component that translates learning into living. The Formation series is also available for Spanish-speaking couples through translated materials and captioned videos.

To register, please visit https://forlifeandfamily.org/events/th22-vnfl/. A video message from Bishop Frank J. Dewane can be found at www.dioceseofvenice.org/together-in-holiness-marriage-conference-october-22-2022.

For more information, please contact Carrie Harkey at 941-484-9543 or at  harkey@dioceseovenice.org.

‘Totus Tuus’ going strong

The “Totus Tuus” summer camp continues to wow children of all ages.

With six Parishes visited through July 22, 2022, the summer camp has brought hundreds of children and teens closer to the Lord. Recent stops included St. Catherine Parish in Sebring, St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers and St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton.

Totus Tuus (a Latin phrase meaning “totally yours”) is a summer Catholic youth camp program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic Faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness and Eucharistic worship. The camp is directed by a team of four missionaries and two Diocesan seminarians. Parish staff and volunteers augment the team and together they make the week one to remember for all who participate. The intent of the program is to assist parents and Parishes in the evangelizing and catechizing of their youth by supplementing the work they are currently doing.

Father Rafael Ligenza, Pastor of St. Joseph Parish which hosted Totus Tuus the week of July 18-22, said he was impressed by the response of the children.

“It’s wonderful to see how the children are responding to everything they are learning,” Father Ligenza said.

Each week there is a potluck when the missionaries get to meet the parents and the participants in the camp show off some of the things they learned. The potluck at St. Joseph on July 19 was a double celebration with a cake marking Father Ligenza’s birthday.

Missionary Garrett Willie, of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and student at Xavier University in Cincinnati, told the parents about Totus Tuus.

“We are here teaching the children to have an intimate relationship with their faith, seeing God as their Father and Jesus as their friend,” Willie said. “We do this by taking them through the Sacraments… and in the classroom we spend time with fun games and activities and really diving in on the power of prayer. It’s cool to see them at the beginning of the week hearing them say – ‘Do we really have to talk about this?’ and then come Wednesday or Thursday, they are like – ‘Oh my gosh, Jesus is so cool, we loved learning about Him!’ – and you see the light go off in their eyes. It’s beautiful.”

The day camp program is for grades one to five, and evenings are for grades six through 12.

Each day, the children’s camp begins with music to pump the children up and get them ready for the full day ahead with all the time focused on learning key lessons about their Faith with a focus on the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. In addition to dancing, music and prayer, the children have time for activities such as crafts and games. There is time for Mass each day with additional quiet reflective time in Eucharistic Adoration and three days when there is opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Evening sessions with the teens are less formal and focus on putting a renewed focus on growing in their personal relationship with the Lord. The missionaries and seminarians share their personal spiritual journey and then the teens gather in prayer and reflection. This group also takes part in Eucharistic Adoration with the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

News Briefs for the week of July 29, 2022

Young adult group meets in Sarasota

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

Verot bowlers make junior championship event

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

Football players help nearby Parish

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

Catholic Charities Summertime Appeal ongoing

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

First Friday Prayer Intention

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

Walking With Moms in Need

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

Marriage Conference coming in October

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

National Eucharistic Revival

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

“Witnessing Faith with Bishop Dewane”

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

Support after abortion – Project Rachel

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

Do You Need Help?

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

Retreat Center Fall Schedule Available Online

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

Food pantry needs help

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

Diocesan group attends National Conference

A group representing the Diocese of Venice took part in a national conference on evangelization and catechesis the week of July 11-15, 2022, at Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio.

Franciscan University’s 27th annual St. John Bosco Conference for Evangelization and Catechesis, with a theme of Jubilee, took inspiration from Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor … to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

The conference included an opening keynote address from Bishop Donald J. Hying, of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin. There were daily opportunities for participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, numerous workshops, and other featured speakers each evening.

The Diocesan delegation was led by Carrie Harkey, Diocese of Venice Coordinator of Family Life. Other participants included: Leily Lopez Ramirez, catechist at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish in LaBelle; Andres Prias, Director of Religious Education at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Avon Park; Angelica Pena, Director of Religious Education at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish; Natalie Campbell, Director of Religious Education at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples; Hector Salazar, Director of Faith Formation at St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples; as well as Joshua Carlson and Jim Whealan, theology teachers at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers.

“This is the best conference in the nation,” Harkey explained. “It served as a chance for each member of the delegation to hear from the finest in the field, network with others to hear about and share best practices, learn of new initiatives, all while being spiritually enriched ourselves.”

Each participant can take part either in a open track (attending whichever workshop fits their needs), or a focused track, which included youth outreach, Catholic schools and Hispanic outreach.

After the conference, Campbell, from St. John the Evangelist in Naples, said she “learned so much, as well as felt renewed in my own faith and mission.”

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