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!

 

Second Diocesan Walk to Our Lady May 4

Staff Report

The month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary who serves as a guide for us to grow closer to the Lord.

To help celebrate Our Lady, the Diocese of Venice is holding its second annual “Walk to Our Lady: A Marian Pilgrimage to the May Crowning,” a public display of Faith and Devotion to the Blessed Mother.

Everyone is encouraged to register now for the May 4 walk in Venice from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1301 Center Road, to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center, 3989 S. Moon Drive.

Join Bishop Frank J. Dewane and other participants as they process 6.6 miles in prayer and song. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and then at 8 a.m., the walk will begin. The route takes walkers along Venice Avenue, then first under, and later over, Interstate 75 as they make their way to the Retreat Center.

The walk will have a Sheriff’s Office escort and have multiple rest stations with snacks, water and bathrooms available along the route. A trolley will follow the walkers for those who were unable to make the whole distance on foot or need the opportunity to cool off and rest.

At a steady pace, the walk will conclude around 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center where a May Crowning prayer service will take place. Once concluded, everyone is invited for a lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers. Trolleys will be available to drive people back to the starting point at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

The walk is co-sponsored by the Diocese Office of Communications and Evangelization and is building upon the success of the 2018 walk. During the first walk, more than 100 people took part, giving a powerful public witness and expression of devotion to Our Lady as they walked down streets while praying and singing aloud with joy. The rosary was recited as an International Rosary, meaning it was shared in multiple languages (Spanish, Vietnamese, Polish and English).

The walk is free, but advanced registration is required to help prepare for the number of participants. Please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/events/2019-walk-to-our-lady/ to register. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Gail Ardy at 941-484-9543 or ardy@dioceseofvenice.org.

News from Around the Diocese for late April

News from across the Diocese for April 2019

Staff Report

Mission Possible Immokalee 2019: June 10-14

The deadline to register for the June Mission Possible Immokalee 2019 trip is May 10. All teens between the ages of 15-17 years old are invited by the Diocese of Venice Mission Office to participate in the trip, which is June 10-14. This is a Mission experience of service to the marginalized in Immokalee and will include daily sites visits, Mass as well as evening prayer and reflection. The cost is $180 per person and includes meals, lodging and transportation to work sites. Registration is through local Parish Youth Group or Catholic Schools only. For more details about Mission Possible Immokalee 2019, please contact Lisa Dahn at 239-241-2233 or missionoffice@dioceseofvenice.org.

Lent project focuses on Passion

This Lenten Season students at St. Martha Catholic School were asked to draw the image of Jesus on the Cross. The drawings were put on display on the walls closest to the school Chapel. Bishop Frank J. Dewane, who was at the school April 17 to celebrate the Mass, was shown the images and he commented on how well they were done and appreciated that art is a unique way for students to connect with Jesus and His Passion.

 

 

Knights support St. Vincent de Paul Society

The Knights of Columbus San Marco Council 6344 sponsored the April 9 St. Vincent De Paul Dinner in the San Marco Parish Center on Marco Island. The event included a barbeque dinner and included lots of fun for more than 250 people who came out to support the programs at the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The Society provides emergency financial support for needy families in the area and thanks to the support of the Knights they will be able to help even more people this coming year.

 

 

Bible on the Beach in Venice

Epiphany Cathedral youth took part in a Bible of the Beach at Venice Beach following the Palm Sunday Mass. The annual gathering helps prepare the youth as they head into Holy Week. Diocese of Venice Director of Evangelization offered words of encouragement to the group.

How to become a 24/7 Catholic

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

3/29/19

It is the responsibility of those who know what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ to take the fire and to keep building upon that and share it with others.

Teresa Tomeo, author, journalist and radio host, delivered this message to the fourth annual joint gathering of Faith and Wine of Lee County/Faith and Ale which was held March 21 at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers. The basis of her topic was on her latest book: “Beyond Sunday: Becoming a 24/7 Catholic.”

“Like a choir, we need to practice and always learn something new about our faith and help others do the same,” Tomeo said.

Like so many others, Tomeo grew up and went to Catholic School in the Detroit area but when she went to college and lost herself. It was when she started diving into the teachings of the Church, especially about women, she asked herself: “Where have I been all of these years?”

“I could not believe how deep and beautiful the Church was; and how much I didn’t know,” she added. “In order to grow in a relationship with God and find purpose and meaning, we must integrate faith into our daily lives… While essential, dedicating one hour of our lives to Sunday Mass alone won’t satisfy our deep longing for more.”

Joan Chance said she appreciated the insight and perspective Tomeo provided during the presentation. “She was funny and said some things that made me think and reassess how I live my own faith.”

This was the last of five seasonal gatherings for Faith and Wine Lee County which is a community of faithful women who come together socially uniting all backgrounds and ages to develop friendships and to support one another as they apply the Gospel to their lives. Events for the women’s outreach run from October through March. For more information about the group, please visit www.faithandwineleecounty.com.

Faith and Ale, the outreach to help men learn more about their faith and grow closer to the Lord, meets monthly from October through April. The last event of the season is April 11, featuring John Knuth, coach and Catholic author, and the topic will be: “Coaching 100 Days with Jesus.” The gathering begins at 6 p.m., and will be held at St. John XXIII Parish, 16060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers. Tickets are $10 and available at www.faithandale.com or at the door.

Scripture Series looks at Bible in fresh way

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Curtis Mitch describes studying Sacred Scripture as a journey to discover God’s will in your life.

This was the starting point for the latest Diocese of Venice Office of Evangelization Scripture Series which was held Feb. 21 at St. Patrick Parish in Sarasota. Mitch co-authored the Ignatian Study Bible and is from the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology at Franciscan University in Steubenville. He also spoke later that same day at a gathering of Theology on Tap in Sarasota.

By gaining greater understanding for Sacred Scriptures, we begin to have a greater appreciation for the gift of Salvation, Mitch explained. He compared the Old Testament with the New Testament as a bad news, good news story. The Old Testament begins with the failure and disobedience of Adam and in the New Testament the obedience and success of Jesus.

Mitch explained that his goal for the day was for everyone to walk away with a means to personally bridge the language of Scripture with the language of the Church.

Participants in the talk expressed their appreciation for the continued opportunity to learn from world-renowned speakers. “I think I know the Bible fairly well, but get so much out of these talks, that I can’t wait for the next one,” said one woman from St. Patrick Parish.

The next Scripture Conference will feature Scott Hahn on May 18, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Bishop Verot Catholic High School, 5598 Sunrise Drive, Fort Myers. This conference will feature several talks on aspects of the Scriptures and includes lunch. Bring your Bible. Tickets are $20 in advance and $30 at the door. Students receive a discount. Please register at www/dioceseofvenice.org/calendar.

Lenten Season focuses on prayer, fasting and almsgiving

By Joshua Mazrin – Florida Catholic

2/21/19

As the Liturgical Calendar and all of creation turn its eyes toward the Passion of Jesus Christ this Lent and the following Resurrection, how ought we to give the proper response to the love of God?  The common practices of Lent include prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

Joshua Mazrin, Diocese of Venice Director of Evangelization.

These practices begin with a day of fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday, March 6, abstaining from meat each Friday, and another day of fasting and abstinence on April 19, which is Good Friday.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, Eve sees a threefold description of the fruit, “the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desired to make one wise” (Gen 3:6).  St. John explains this threefold distinction in his first epistle, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16).

Basically, what this means is that we primarily struggle in three ways: 1) the lust of the flesh is when we give into bodily temptations which may be gluttony, sloth, or lust for example, 2) the lust of the eyes pertains to wanting possessions or money, and 3) the pride of life is pride and vanity, wanting our own importance and glory rather than God’s.

Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are set up directly to combat those dispositions in our lives.  Prayer gives us humility rather than pride, relying on God rather than ourselves.  Fasting is denying the body and the lusts of the flesh in order to grow in discipline and gain mastery over the body.  Almsgiving brings about detachment to material goods so that we might rule them rather than us being ruled by the cares of the world, it also helps us to become generous people!

Lent is a season to focus on these in light of Jesus’ ministry, self-denial, and Passion that we might grow in conformity to Christ and His divine life.  It is a season to truly grow in charity, which covers a multitude of sin and is the true measure of holiness.  Growth in holiness is truly the perfection of charity (the perfection of ourselves in love of God and neighbor).  As we progress along this path of sanctity, our lives become more perfectly united to that of Christ’s on the Cross, so that in dying with Him in death, we might rise with Him in life, including the growth and possible perfection of virtue and great union with God even on earth!

This Lenten Season, be encouraged to do more than you have ever done because you are given a unique opportunity to receive grace from God that you will never have the opportunity to receive again. Expect to receive abundant blessings this Lenten season!  Remember the scandal of the Cross and the foolishness of God’s love for us, He desires to pour more and more grace into your heart and to love you in exactly the way you need.  He offers healing, love, and mercy if only you would provide the open door of your heart and cooperate with His grace.

The Office of Evangelization is also offering many opportunities to encounter the love of God in your daily lives this Lent. There are daily reflections and prayerful resources on the Diocesan website under the new section “Liturgical Calendar” with a dedicated webpage to Lent. There will also be Diocesan “Mercy Nights” throughout the Diocese at different Parishes you can find on the website. These nights will include Eucharistic Adoration, praise & worship, a short reflection, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)—where we all might draw from the spring of eternal life and be transformed by the scandalous love of God.

LENTEN REGULATIONS ON FASTING AND ABSTINENCE

Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019, and Good Friday, April 19, 2019, are days of fast and abstinence. All Fridays of Lent are also days of abstinence from meat.

Fasting is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all Catholics between the ages of 18 years and 59 years (inclusive). On a fast day one full meal is allowed. Two smaller meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids are allowed. If possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night) as the “Paschal Fast” to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, and to prepare ourselves to share more fully and to celebrate more readily His Resurrection.

Abstinence from meat is to be observed by all Catholics who are 14 years of age and older. Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent (and Good Friday) are days of abstinence.

Note: If a person is unable to observe the above regulations due to ill health or other serious reasons, they are urged to practice other forms of self-denial that are suitable to their condition. 

Fasting, almsgiving, and prayer are the three traditional disciplines of Lent. The faithful and catechumens should undertake these practices seriously in a spirit of penance and of preparation for baptism or of renewal of baptism at Easter.

 

Lent 2019 – Mercy Nights

The Office of Evangelization is hosting several “Mercy Nights” throughout the Diocese during Lent. Mercy Nights are designed to give the faithful the opportunity to encounter God particularly through His unfathomable mercy. Each night will have Eucharistic Adoration, lively praise and worship music, a short reflection, and the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). Make your Lent a time to truly encounter what the Lord has in store for you in prayer, come to Mercy Night! For more information, contact evangelization@dioceseofvenice.org (see a list below for the dates, locations and musicians).

All are welcome to the Mercy Nights, which begin at 7 p.m., unless otherwise noted. There is no cost to attend.

  • March 13, St. Peter the Apostle Parish, 5130 Rattlesnake Hammock Road, Naples, music by Jon Niven;
  • March 20, Incarnation Parish, 2901 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, music by Out of Darkness;
  • March 27, St. Katharine Drexel Parish, 1922 SW 20th, Cape Coral, music by Jon Niven;
  • April 5, St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th N., Naples, (starts at 6:30 p.m.) music by Jennine Fuentes “Encounter on the Mountain;”
  • April 9, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1301 Center Road, Venice, music by Nathan Boock;
  • April 17, St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, music by Jon Nevin.

For more information, please call 941-484-9543 or email evangelization@dioceseofvenice.org.

Web Lenten resources

Be sure to check out https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/daily-resources/liturgical-seasons/, especially the “Lent” section for daily Lenten resources such as reflections, prayer, devotions, and teachings.

Joshua Mazrin is the Diocese of Venice Director of Evangelization and can be reach at 941-484-9543 or at mazrin@dioceseofvenice.org.

Mass to honor Widows and Widowers Jan. 20

Staff Report – Florida Catholic

12/20/2018

Throughout Scriptures we are reminded to care for widows and widowers who are protected by God. For this reason, the Bishop Frank J. Dewane is celebrating a Mass for all widows and widowers at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 20 at Epiphany Cathedral, 310 Sarasota Street, Venice. A dinner will follow in the Parish Hall.

Bishop Dewane said this Mass is an important opportunity to recognize those who have suffered the loss of a spouse but remain strong in their faith.

The concept for the Mass grew out of the annual Mass honoring couples celebrating significant wedding anniversaries. Those Masses, which will be, March 2 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice and March 16 at St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs, are extraordinarily popular, however each year there are empty spaces in the pews when a spouse passes away.

“Widows and widowers are not forgotten but are in fact recognized and in particular revered by the Church,” Bishop Dewane said. “The Book of Revelation says the Lamb will shepherd and lead those who grieve to the springs of life-giving water and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. This reminds us that we can persevere…”

The celebration will include a display of photos available for viewing and be part of the Mass for widows and widowers. Should an attendee wish to share a photo for the display, they can either bring the image to the event, email it to ardy@dioceseofvenice.org, or mail it to Diocese of Venice, Attn: Family Life Office, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, Florida  34285.

To register, or for further information about the Widows and Widowers Mass with Bishop Dewane, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/calendar, email Kim Elsmore at elsmore@dioceseofvenice.org, or call 941-484-9543.

Renewed Theology on Tap in Sarasota

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

12/20/2018

Theology on Tap offers an innovative solution to one of today’s most pressing pastoral concerns: how to reach out to young Catholic adults.

With successful ongoing efforts in Naples, Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres, Joshua Mazrin, Diocese Director of Evangelization, decided to try to reintroduce the Theology on Tap concept in the Northern Deanery.

The first gathering was Dec. 6 at the Mandeville Beer Garden in downtown Sarasota, just a few blocks from St. Martha Parish. The bar includes an outdoor deck which offered the ideal location for fellowship and a discussion about the Faith in a comfortable and relaxed setting.

Several years ago, Theology on Tap rotated between Parishes in the Northern Deanery, but interest waned when there was a large gap one summer.

Mazrin said this first reintroduction, which had little promotion, drew about 20 people, and served to gauge interest in the concept as well as to help build momentum for having future monthly gatherings with different topics and speakers.

“It can often be difficult for young adults to stay connected to the Faith,” Mazrin added. “As a young Catholic, it can be easy to feel left out of the Parish because few activities even hold their interest. Sadly, young adults can sometimes be overlooked to the extent that even their absence goes unnoticed.”

Two priests were present for the Sarasota gathering. Father Eric Scanlan, Administrator of Incarnation Parish in Bradenton and Diocese Vocations Director, as well as Father Shawn Roser, a Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton who was ordained in July, joined in the fellowship.

Father Roser also offered the opening prayer, which included a blessing for success of the event, the growth in faith for all and for the beverages being consumed.

The idea of Theology on Tap is to bring together young adults where they feel most comfortable while inviting them to discover how Faith can give sense to their everyday lives. The evenings are about coming together to socialize, collaborate, pray, and grow in their spiritual understanding all while building a strong core community.

“This has real potential,” Mazrin said. “We just need to spread the word.”

Based on the response of those who attended in Sarasota Theology on Tap, the word will spread.

One young lady had several people in mind whom she plans to invite to future Theology on Tap gatherings. “This was really nice,” she said. “Meeting Catholics my age is always hard. Plus, it is a struggle to live my Faith because I just don’t have a real connection to my Parish.”

Mazrin noted that the next gathering will be Jan. 24 and more details to announced through the Diocese Young Adults Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DOVYoungAdults.

While the Sarasota area Theology on Tap is just returning, the Naples area gatherings are going strong. The site of the gatherings rotates each Tuesday throughout the month at different parishes and are held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays: First Tuesday at St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Avenue North; Second Tuesday at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road; Third Tuesday at St. Peter the Apostle Parish, 5130 Rattlesnake Hammock Road; Fourth Tuesday at St. William Parish, 601 Seagate Drive. Call the individual parishes for further details as some gatherings are held off-site.

In Lehigh Acres, the LOFT young adult group meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at St. Raphael Parish, 2514 Lee Blvd. Call 239-369-1831 for further information.

In Fort Myers, ROOTED meets first Thursday of the month, St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Call 941-561-3022 ext. 107.

For more information about Theology on Tap, or if you have ideas about how to reach out to young adults Catholics, please contact Joshua Mazrin at mazrin@dioceseofvenice.org.

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