The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Christian Life

During the month of May, more than 3,000 young boys and girls throughout the Diocese of Venice will take part in the Sacrament of the Eucharist for the first time.

At St. Michael Parish in Wauchula, the First Communion group of 86 children was so large that two Masses were needed on May 6, 2023.

The girls in white dresses and boys in suits or white shirts with ties solemnly came forward as they reached this important milestone in their spiritual journey of faith. Sitting behind the First Communicants were their parents who beamed with joy.

Before Mass, the children were given final instructions by the catechists, told to clasp their hands together in prayer and then processed into the Church in two lines, boys and girls.

During his homily, Father Wilner Durosier, CS, Administrator of St. Michael Parish, explained the idea of the miracle of the Eucharist to the First Communicants. “It is through a miracle Jesus turned mere bread into the Body of Christ. This is why your priest will say: ‘The Body of Christ’ when giving you the Eucharist each time.”

Father Durosier asked the children if they recall in the lessons about the Last Supper, when Jesus turned bread into His Body, to make sure everyone knows He is there all of the time for everyone who receives Him.

“Jesus gave Himself over to us. Take advantage of the gift Jesus has made available for us at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,” Father continued. “Jesus is always there, waiting for you to return. While today you receive your First Communion, I pray that today will be the beginning of many, many Communions so that your heart may always, like today, be festive and full of joy and above all be blessed. Jesus will be waiting for you.”

The children at St. Michael also consecrated themselves to Mary after receiving their First Communion. After the Mass, a group picture was taken and the children proudly stood for individual photos with Father Durosier.

One of the girls, Gabriella, said she was nervous about receiving Jesus in the weeks leading up to her First Communion but was comforted when one of the women religious who serve at the Parish comforted her by saying that if she wasn’t ready, she could wait until she felt she was truly prepared to allow Jesus to become a greater part of her life.

“I am so happy right now,” Gabriella said after the Mass. “I love Jesus so much.”

Similar scenes have taken place at other Parishes in the Diocese or will occur throughout the month. At Our Lady of Grace Parish in Avon Park, the First Communion Mass was also on May 6. There, each child first gathered in the Parish Hall and processed to the church together before coming forward to receive their First Communion while on a kneeler.

At San Marco Parish, in Marco Island, the First Communion was incorporated into the Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Easter on May 7. While there were only 10 First Communicants, the importance for the children, parents, and Holy Mother Church was no less significant.

During a 2019 trip to Bulgaria, Pope Francis told First Communicants how the Lord wants them to share the joy of the Eucharist with others.

“Making your First Communion shows that you want to be closer to Jesus every day, to grow in friendship with Him and to lead other people to share in the joy He wants us to feel,” the Holy Father said. “The Lord needs you because He wants to work the miracle of bringing His joy to many of your friends and family members.”

The 3,000-plus First Communions taking place in the Diocese of Venice throughout May occur during a time of a National Eucharistic Revival. This revival is a three-year effort of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to reinforce the devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane spoke during a March 2023 Eucharistic Congress in Fort Myers, held as part of the National Eucharistic Revival, before groups of teens and adults about the importance of the Holy Eucharist in the life of every Catholic, from the youngest who receive their First Communion to the oldest.

“It is in a precise way in the Eucharist, the Lord is given to us, and we receive Him… Put yourself in a relationship with Jesus Christ, through the Eucharist. It is Christ. It is His Body and Blood. It is His Real Presence!” Bishop Dewane said. “Let His Real Presence in the Eucharist fill your heart, fill your mind, fill your soul with His indication of what it is He wants from you and for you to do in your life.”

Please pray for all children receiving their First Holy Communion during May, that they love the Lord with all their hearts and forever live faithfully.

News briefs for week of July 28 2020

VDCCW presents Bishop with check

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was honored at a special gathering of the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women on July 25, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall in Venice. The meeting coincided with the 14th anniversary of Bishop Dewane’s Episcopal Ordination as Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida in 2006. The VDCCW leadership presented the Bishop with a check for $9,000 to be used to support the Diocesan seminarians.

Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate Aug. 15

Bishop Frank J. Dewane will ordain to the Permanent Diaconate seven men at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. The candidates are: Jeffrey Ball of Ave Maria Parish, Ave Maria; Enrique (Rick) Castro of St. Cecilia Parish, Fort Myers; Ramiro Hernandez of St. Michael Parish, Wauchula; Jack W. Milholland Jr. of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Lakewood Ranch; Roberto Pagán of Jesus the Worker Parish, Fort Myers; Vern W. Smith of St. Martha Parish, Sarasota; and Dr. William Soscia of St. Joseph Parish, Bradenton. A reception in the Parish Hall will follow. All are invited and encouraged to attend.

Online master’s degrees offered through Ave Maria University

There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but one thing is clear: an online master’s degree from Ave Maria University will distinguish you from the competition when companies start hiring again. Online degrees available include a Master of Business Administration. For more information, contact or visit

Virtual Vacation Bible School a success

St. Joseph Church completed their virtual Vacation Bible School July 23, 2020 with a special Zoom celebration. The online sessions provided inspiration for the children who participated and performed different activities related to inspirational Bible messages. Parish Administrator Father Rafal Ligenza provided a lesson on the Eucharist and lead everyone in prayer for the final celebration.

First Communion face masks donated by sewing group

The Sewing Group of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples donated 200 white masks for use at Mass by First Communicants and their families on July 11, 2020. The Faith Formation team facilitated the distribution of the masks for the boys and girls as well as their families. Two Mass were scheduled for all of the children as all social distancing rules were followed.

3D face shield project update

The first phase of a STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts, math) 3D printing project to provide face shields to frontline workers has been a success. So far 100 face shield have been delivered for use by Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. staff and volunteers at food pantry distribution sites as well as for children participating in summer camps. The project was the idea of Jennifer Falsetiny, Curriculum Specialist for the Diocese Department of Education. The goal is to turn the Camillus Project, as it is called, into an ongoing club for schools that may wish to participate so as to give back to the community while providing solutions to a real-world problem. The plan is to re-launch the program again in the new school year to hopefully get more schools involved in the hands-on STREAM 3D printing service project.


While the celebration of public Mass resumed May 18, 2020, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect through Sept. 1, 2020 for those who are at greater risk or anxious about returning at this time. The Faithful ought not to worry about remaining home if they are concerned for their wellbeing or that of other parishioners. Of course, those who are sick or have symptoms associated with COVID-19 are to stay home. Please check the Diocese of Venice website for any updates.


The Diocese of Venice will continue live-streaming the Mass through the Diocese website ( and Facebook pages from the Catholic Center in Venice 9:15 a.m. daily as the dispensation to attend Mass remains.

Sunday Televised Mass

The Televised Mass for the Homebound is available throughout the Diocese each Sunday. In northern parts of the Diocese (Manatee, Highlands, Hardee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties) the Mass airs on television at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Collier, Lee, Glades, Hendry, Charlotte counties) the Mass airs at 10:30 a.m., on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). This same Mass can be found on the Diocese of Venice website at any time during the week, Please check local listings for channel information.

Parish donations

During this challenging time in the life and mission of the Diocese of Venice, our Parishes face increased risk of financial shortfalls due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its effects on everyday life. Parishes depend on weekly financial gifts to continue their ministries, especially in this critical time of crisis. The Diocese of Venice is providing an online platform and encourages the Faithful to support their Parish. Please visit to donate to your Parish. The Faithful may also contribute through usual channels (e.g., envelopes, and through the Parish online giving option). Together we will navigate through this crisis, provide assistance to those in need, and secure the road ahead for the Parishes within the Diocese of Venice.

Online Resources

A special coronavirus webpage is located on the Diocese of Venice website at Resources include links to the Mass, the prayer for an Act of the Spiritual Communion, videos of the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Pray the Rosary. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website,, also posts the daily Mass readings.

Act of Spiritual Communion

It has long been a Catholic understanding that when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an Act of Spiritual Communion which is a source of grace. Spiritual Communion means uniting one’s self in prayer with Christ’s sacrifice and worshiping Him in His Body and Blood.

The most common reason for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when a person cannot attend Mass, as is the case during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.

For all who will not be able to receive the Holy Eucharist in person, consider this special prayer, an Act of Spiritual Communion:

My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,

and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.