Hispanic Festival a part of Parish Jubilee

When it comes to planning the 50th Jubilee of the Parish, there is an option to host one large celebration or to be more inclusive and include commemorations which reflect the broad cultural diversity of the faith community. St. Peter the Apostle Parish, erected in Naples on June 11, 1974, has opted to host many Jubilee celebrations in the coming months, culminating in a big event in June 2024.

Therefore, Oct. 22, 2023, was the day of a Hispanic Festival at St. Peter’s, with more than 1,000 celebrating this diverse community with food, music, dance and ethnic clothing.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was present and offered a prayer for the Festival participants, as well as for the continued success of the ongoing Parish Jubilee celebrations.

Father Gerard Critch, St. Peter the Apostle Pastor, said he was pleased by the response to the Hispanic Festival and said he was delighted to have such a vibrant Parish community that includes people of many different backgrounds.

Father Wilian Montalvo Tello, Parochial Vicar at St. Peter who supports the spiritual needs of the Hispanic community, was overjoyed by the celebration, and held a wide grin as he wore the traditional clothing of his native Peru.

Also present was Father Alejandro Giraldo-Roldan, Parochial Vicar serving the Hispanic faithful at nearby St. Elizabeth Seton and St. Agnes Parishes. Father is a native of Columbia who was ordained to the priesthood in July.

The Festival began with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This was followed by a procession and music led by performers dressed in Mayan and Aztec garb.

Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, participants had the opportunity to sample cuisine from more than a dozen Latin American countries. On the stage, there was a constant rotation of singers and dancers from the various countries.

As the music played, many sang along with the more traditional ballads. Throughout, nearly everyone present had small flags on their lapels, while most wore hats and traditional clothing or the colors of their homeland. Another option was to wear a shirt of the national sports team.

No matter where everyone was from, be it Latin America, the United States or elsewhere, a great time was had by all. As Father Critch explained, everyone better be prepared to party over and over again as the Jubilee celebration continues!

2022 Chrism Mass: A Sign of Unity

Renewal of Priestly Promises; Consecration and Blessing of Holy Oils

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was joined by 110 Priests and 30 Deacons from across the Diocese for the annual Chrism Mass on April 12, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

This celebration, which was witnessed by more than 1,000 of the faithful, including more than 350 students from Diocesan Catholic schools, marks the institution of the priesthood by Christ and is an expression of unity of the priests with their Shepherd, the Bishop of the Diocese.

During the Chrism Mass, Bishop Frank blessed and consecrated Holy Oils to be used in Parishes across the Diocese of Venice for the sacramental life of the Church throughout the coming year.

The Chrism Mass, which takes place during Holy Week every year, is one of the most solemn and important liturgies of the Catholic liturgical calendar. The celebration not only brings into focus the historical context of the priesthood but is also an opportunity for the priests to recall their ordination and to reflect upon their ongoing priestly vocation. Having all the priests of the Diocese come together at the Chrism Mass, on the eve of the Easter Triduum, reminds priests of their calling to act in the person of Christ – In persona Christi. This is one of the few times that so many priests are gathered together for the Mass.

During the Renewal of Priestly Promises the gathered priests stood as one, and spoke with one voice saying, “I am,” three times in response to questions asked by Bishop Dewane. These same questions were asked of them during their Ordination to the Priesthood.

Bishop Dewane publicly thanked the priests for their continued service to the People of God throughout the Diocese of Venice for what they do each day. “We have to know the faithful People of God, the people for whom a priest is called to be anointed, and in turn for those he is set to anoint. Allow that joy to penetrate your life, allow it to go deep within your heart. This is a guarded joy –a sense of safety – guarded and guided by God, the Father.”

The Bishop spoke about the poverty, fidelity and obedience as the sisterly guards of priests.

The poverty aspect isn’t only related to money, but the joyful sacrifice each priest makes when answering the call of the Lord in their life by “giving up” – according to the secular world – much to become a priest. But Bishop Dewane said “a priest is given much in return. Don’t look at the poverty; look to the richness the Lord gives.”

The fidelity of a priest is solely to the one Bride, the Church. “It is who you are called to be, precisely the living Church. A priest must share his life, as shepherd of the Parish, day in and day out.”

Regarding obedience, it must always be to the Church, which was set up as a hierarchy. “All are called to live it, know it, and let it be a comfort rather than something else,” Bishop Dewane said. “It is something we must internalize in our life – a strength – called for in union with God. We need to be obedient with our service, our availability, our readiness to go out and allow the Lord to make us the servant we are called to be. It is not easy. No one said it would be easy.”

At their core, priests must be spiritual beings, by having an interior unity through being in Communion with Christ.

“This fundamental Union with Christ is our gift,” Bishop Dewane said. “The Anointed One has anointed us, to still anoint others in the sacraments. This union with the Anointed One must be the hallmark of the things we do. Our response to the filling of the Holy Spirit in your life, in my life, must come from within; allowing us, always in Communion with Him, to act as an instrument of the Lord.”

Bishop Dewane explained how young people are also in search of their own spirituality, a challenge for priests, parents and families. “It is my prayer that you (young people) will begin to live that interior unity of life – you are made in the image and likeness of God – finding idealism, generosity for life and a love for Jesus Christ and His Church.”

The Bishop then challenged the Faithful present for the Mass, and across the Diocese, to be close to their priests – through prayer, through friendship, through supporting him in any way – and in the expressions of proper affection. “This goes a long way in the life of the priest, to let them know that the gift the Lord gave them sometimes takes a lot out of them. It is my prayer that you make them feel that they are the gift – a gift to the Diocese.”

The six Priests and three Permanent Deacons serving or living in the Diocese celebrating the 25th and 50th anniversaries of their ordination were individually recognized by the Bishop for their years of service to Christ and Holy Mother Church.

While the Oil of the Sick and Oil of the Catechumens are blessed, the Sacred Chrism is also blessed consecrated; and each will be used at Parishes throughout the year in the administration of the Sacraments.

The annual Chrism Mass, which is celebrated on or before Holy Thursday, takes place in every Diocese in the world. In the Diocese of Venice, the Chrism Mass is celebrated on the Tuesday of Holy Week to accommodate the priests who need to travel substantial distances.

In attendance for this special occasion were religious men and women; seminarians; the Knights and Dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem; the Knights and Dames of the Sovereign Order of Malta; the Color Corps of the Knights of Columbus; approximately 350 students representing most of the Diocesan Catholic Schools; members of the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women; as well as the Faithful of the Diocese of Venice.

Sacred Chrism Oil

The Chrism Mass takes its name from the Sacred Chrism Oil, the most eminent of the three holy oils, which the Bishop consecrates and blesses for use by Parishes of the Diocese. Bishop Dewane described the oils as “Oils of Gladness” which represent the indelible mark each bestows.

The blessing of the oils takes place at different times during the Chrism Mass. Vested in white, Bishop Dewane raised hands and first blessed the Oil of the Sick at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer as it was held by the Deacon. Following the Prayer After Communion, the Bishop blessed the Oil of the Catechumens.

Next, the final portion of the Rite is the blessing and consecration of the Sacred Chrism Oil. First balsam is poured into the oil and then mixed. The balsam is added so that it gives the oil a sweet smell intended to remind those who encounter it of the “odor of sanctity.” All of the Faithful are called to strive for sanctity. Next, the Bishop breathes on the Sacred Chrism “to symbolize the Holy Spirit coming down.” At a particular point in the consecration of the Sacred Chrism, all the priests present joined the Bishop in extending their right hand toward the Chrism, as the Bishop concluded the prayer of consecration.

The Oil of the Sick, used for those who seek anointing, and the Oil of the Catechumens, which is imposed on those preparing for baptism, are “blessed,” by the Bishop. The Sacred Chrism is “blessed and consecrated.” The verb “consecrate” is applied to the action of making holy the chrism and indicates its use to spiritually separate, sanctify and purify its recipients.

After Mass, the oils were given to each Pastor to use in their Parish.


A reception was held in the Parish Hall following the Mass to honor Priests and Deacons celebrating their jubilee in 2022.

Father Hugh McGuigan, Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, Pastor of Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers, spoke for the priest jubilarians. Father McGuigan marks the silver jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood in 2022 and described his journey first for 23 years as an Oblate Brother before becoming a priest. He also expressed his gratitude to Bishop Dewane and the Diocese for the support of the Ministry of the Oblates as they serve the Diocese at four Parishes.

Deacon Raymond Barrett spoke on behalf of the jubilarian Deacons, marking his 50th anniversary of ordination, as part of one of the earliest diaconate classes in the U.S. Deacon Barrett spoke about how his service evolved through the years to include prison and hospital outreach and then assisting for two decades at a retired priest nursing home.

Also celebrating 50 years were Msgr. Joseph Stearns, who assists at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch; Father Adrian Wilde, O. Carm., who is Prior of a Carmel at Mission Valley in Nokomis, Father David Foley assists at Parishes in Collier County.

Additional silver jubilarians were Father Patrick O’Connor, OSFS, Pastor of Jesus the Worker Parish and San Jose Mission in Fort Myers, Father Leszek Sikorski, a U.S. Navy Command Chaplain, Deacon Henry de Mena who serves at St. Agnes Parish in Naples, and Deacon Mark Miravalle, who teaches at Ave Maria University.

Religious women recognized for service to Church

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

In gratitude and recognition for the contributions of men and women religious within the Universal Church, but more precisely in the Diocese of Venice, a jubilee celebration was held Feb. 17 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice.

Appropriately, the day began with the celebration of the Mass by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. During the Mass, there was a renewal of the vows for the jubilarians, the same ones they took when professing a commitment to a religious life, that of poverty, chastity and obedience.

The Bishop thanked the religious for answering a specific call of the Lord to live a life of holiness, and then taking that commitment a step farther by reaching out and serving others. Bishop Dewane added that the celebration of consecrated life is a celebration of goodness, a blessing to the Church as a whole.

Four religious women celebrating significant anniversaries were specifically recognized during the Mass and at a following reception. The religious honored were: 75 years, Sister Mary Paschal Sadlier, Poor Clare Nun (Order of St. Clare); 60 years, Sister Liliette Ouellette and Sister Mary Josine Perez, School Sisters of Notre Dame; and 25 years, Sister Maria Pilar Alindogan, Poor Clare Nun (Order of St. Clare).

Sister Liliette explained that her call to a religious life was a path she followed with great joy. As a teacher, she followed the charism of her religious order with passion knowing that she was accompanied by the Lord along the path she had chosen. “It has been a good life,” Sister Liliette said.

Sister Josine spent a lifetime teaching at every level from elementary to college level, but now, in her “retirement,” she remains active at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice assisting with funeral planning and the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. “As a religious sister, I have been called by Christ to serve. That service helps bring others close to His love.”

Sister Mary Paschal and Sister Maria Pilar were unable to attend the celebration. Present at the Mass were religious brothers, priests and or women religious as a sign of support for those celebrating their jubilee in 2019. Following the Mass, the was a luncheon where jubilarians were again recognized for their commitment to a service to others and their continued service within the Diocese of Venice.


75 years of religious life

Sister Mary Paschal Sadlier, OSC

Born Honora Sadlier in Lisheen Cashel Co., Tipperary, Ireland, now nearly 101, Sister Mary Paschal Sadlier, Poor Clare Nun (Order of St. Clare), was born to Martin and Mary Sadlier, and is last surviving of 10 children. Sister entered religious life on Jan. 22, 1936 with the Sisters of St. Anne in Wimbledon, England and she received her habit and the name Sister Paschal Baylon of the Sacred Heart. After working at a hospital in Plymouth helping the victims of the bombing of England in the early years of World War II, she took a rest at a Poor Clare convent and felt called to a contemplative life. In July 1942 she was accepted as a Poor Clare in Cornwall and Sister Mary Paschal made her profession on July 31, 1944. She remained in the convent in Cornwall until becoming Abbess which exhausted her. Sister Mary Paschal then went to Arundel, before moving on the to Poor Clares in Darlington. There she was the Portress – second in charge – which suited her temperament better and later she was named infirmarian, caring for the older sisters in the monastery. At the age of 70, in 1988 she made her final transfer to live with the Poor Clare Sisters at San Damiano Monastery of St. Clare on Fort Myers Beach. The religious community joyfully embraces a life of poverty, prayer and contemplation, solitude and seclusion that they might serve the Lord and His Church. In her spare time, she likes to read.

60 years of religious life

Sister Liliette Ouellette, SSND

Sister Liliette Ouellette, School Sister of Notre Dame, was bornin Dracut, Mass. To Arthur and Beatrice Ouellette and has three sisters. The earned a Bachelor’s in French at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisc., a Master’s in Elementary Education from the University of Detroit in Michigan, and a Master’s in Education Administration from Manhattan College in New York. Sister Liliette entered religious life on Aug. 28, 1957 and made her profession on July 14, 1959. She taught elementary school in Michigan for nine years before moving to Long Island, N.Y. to teach junior high from 1970 to her retirement in 2009. Since her move to Port Charlotte in 2014 she serves as a lector and Eucharistic Minister at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish. She also volunteers with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The day of Sister Lilliete’s profession was one of her happiest memories, because it was when her family shared in the joy she had in consecrating her life to God in expression of her vows. Another happy memory was becoming cancer-free, something she sees as a sign of God’s love and presence in her life. In her spare time, she loves any form of needlework and even crotchets mats for the homeless using plastic bags.

Sister Mary Josine Perez, SSND

Sister Mary Josine Perez, School Sister of Notre Dame, was born in New York to Joseph and Alice Perez, and has one brother. Sister Maria received a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore, Md., and then a Master’s in Education from Loyola College in Baltimore and Master’s in Religious Studies from Barry University in Miami and finally a certification in administration/supervision from the University of South Florida in Tampa. She entered religious life on Sept. 8, 1957 and made her profession on July 25, 1959. Sister Maria was an elementary and then junior high school teacher in Baltimore before becoming a principal in Hollywood, Fla. She was then a teacher later dean at a high school in St. Petersburg before becoming Assistant Academic Dean at the College of Notre Dame in Maryland. After leaving the College of Notre Dame, she returned to Catholic Schools as a principal of an elementary school in St. Petersburg. It was 25 years ago that she moved to the Diocese of Venice where she was the Director of Religious Education at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Port Charlotte and then from 1993 to 2017 as DRE and involved in parish ministry at Sacred Heart Parish in Punta Gorda. She retired in 2017 to Venice where she now assists with funeral planning and with the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

25 years of religious life

Sister Maria Pilar Alindogan, OSC

One of 14 children, Sister Maria Pilar Alindogan, Poor Clare Nun (Order of St. Clare), was born in San Fernando Masbate, Philippines, to Effigenio and Elsie Alindogan. She is a graduate from Emilio Aguinaldo College in Manila, Philippines. Sister Maria Pilar entered religious life on June 27, 1991 and made her profession on June 27, 1994. She entered the monastery in Quezon City, Philippines and was there until she came to Florida in 2007. Since that time Sister Maria Pilar has been with the Poor Clare Sisters at San Damiano Monastery of St. Clare on Fort Myers Beach. She loves to play the organ and guitar, as well as draw, cut letters for sign boards and to do little things for others to let them know that she loves and cares for them.