Young ladies honored with “Golden Rose” award

There are 23 high school girls who now have the distinct honor of being named Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (VDCCW) Golden Rose Leadership Award recipients.

The Golden Rose Awards were presented during an April 21, 2024, Mass and reception at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice. The Golden Rose Award seeks to recognize the tenets of the Council of Catholic Women – spirituality, leadership and service.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane and Father Jay Jancarz, VDCCW Spiritual Advisor and Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, presented the awards while Katie Morris, VDCCW President, gave each young lady a rose.

Bishop Dewane congratulated the young ladies for living out a particular call in their lives and encouraged them to carry that call forward into the future, and thanked the members of the VDCCW for recognizing these women for their contributions to the Church, their school, and the community.

“The Lord sees the accomplishments in what you do and what you continue to do in your life going forward,” Bishop Dewane said. “Your willingness to be a part of the Golden Rose Award will have a ripple effect going forward. Be proud of who you are as women of faith. You can speak about that and be an example to others – putting your foot forward and saying, ‘I am proud of who I am as a child of God.’”

Morris, the VDCCW President, told the young ladies that they are “the Church of today. We need to tap into your service and leadership. You are powerful, service-oriented, rooted in friendship, in love and service. Thank you! We need you!”

Ellen Bachman, VDCCW Past-President, helped bring the Golden Rose Award to Venice after having learned about similar recognition taking place by CCW groups in other Dioceses. Bachman said the nomination write-ups on the young ladies were inspiring. “You will make a difference in the world, as we all pray God walks closely with you on your journey.”

Nominees must currently be in high school, active in their Parish, and a practicing Catholic who regularly attends Sunday Mass, while also completing a meaningful service project. They were nominated by the respective Parishes and Catholic schools.

Brenda Dolan, the Florida CCW President and VDCCW Past-President, said that the young ladies were not randomly honored. “You are here because God chose you to be here before you were in your mother’s womb. Never forget that. Remember this day in your heart. Remember why you are here and continue to open your heart to the Holy Spirit so that He leads you and directs where you need to be in your lives.”

Dolan concluded by also recognizing the parents for their years of love and support of their daughters. “It has all come to fruition. Remember the basis is your faith and the Holy Spirit that you hold in your hearts.”

Each Golden Rose Award recipient was presented with a certificate and golden rose, as well as a membership into the National Council of Catholic Women.

The Golden Rose Award was first awarded in 2020 following the example of CCW affiliates, with the first in-person Venice Diocesan ceremony held in April 2021.

Those receiving 2024 VDCCW Golden Rose Leadership Awards were: Grace Breen, Resurrection of Our Lord Parish, Fort Myers; Abigail Rose Buckley, St. Cecilia Parish, Fort Myers; Ally Amalia Buckley, St. Cecilia Parish, Fort Myers; Ambrielle Calixte, St. Katharine Drexel Parish, Cape Coral; Abigail Crawford, Our Lady of Light Parish, Fort Myers; Addyson Domain, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Venice; Sofia Droullard, St. Agnes Parish, Naples; Valerie Gonzalez, St. Michael Parish, Wauchula; Kaela Harrington, St. Joseph Parish, Bradenton; Sloane Janopoulos, St. John the Evangelist Parish, Naples; Madelyn Jessup, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School and St. Thomas More Parish, Sarasota; Teresa Kucik, Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish, Ave Maria; Genesis Lemus, Holy Cross Parish, Bradenton; Sophia McCartney, St. John Neumann Catholic High School, Naples; Isabella Marulanda, St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Fort Myers; Fatima Munoz, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish, Sarasota; Marissa Peck, Bishop Verot Catholic High School and St. John XXIII Parish, Fort Myers; Valerie Rettig, St. Joseph Parish, Bradenton; Asha Sallapudi, Epiphany Cathedral Parish, Venice; Lauren Sawczyn, St. John XXIII Parish, Fort Myers; Kennedy Trompler, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, Sarasota, and Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Lakewood Ranch; Gabriela Vasquez, Bishop Verot Catholic High School, Fort Myers, St. Katharine Drexel Parish, Cape Coral; Jasmine Yamashita, St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Port Charlotte.