Veterans Day Catholic Mass honors military service and sacrifice

The 14th Annual Catholic Mass on Veterans Day made a successful return to Sarasota National Cemetery as Bishop Frank J. Dewane prayed for those currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, those who have died, and their families.

More than 850 people attended the Mass which was celebrated in 2022 at St. Patrick Parish in Sarasota due to the threat of a tropical storm.

Bishop Dewane thanked the veterans for their service in defense of freedom, a freedom enjoyed to this day thanks to those who served and sacrificed throughout this nation’s history and for those who continue to serve, answering the call of their country.

“We gather here today at this National Cemetery in a unique expression of the Church of the Diocese of Venice,” Bishop Dewane said. “To those who came before us, may God bless them all. They are remembered deeply in this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”

Reflecting upon the vocation of servicemen and servicewomen who give themselves “for the love of their country and the love of others, seeking peace, protecting, and cherishing the common good,” the Bishop continued. “We become even more sensitive to the role of those in the military as well as live in a time when there are a number of touchpoints throughout the world that are in great conflict.”

“It is a vocation of both patriots and peacemakers,” Bishop Dewane said. “We have to acknowledge that and respect it. They give their lives so that you and I today live in a relative peace, and so that generations into the future will live in that peace.”

Bishop Dewane said the prayers of the Mass are offered in gratitude for what the veterans have sacrificed for, the greater good of society, noting that it is important that we be attuned to this, as we owe them. In some cases, these men and women in uniform do not return home, leaving a void and sadness in someone’s heart.

“Let us remember those who serve us and have served us, asking the Lord to care for them and their families,” Bishop Dewane concluded.

Prior to the opening of the Mass, all veterans – active and retired – were asked to stand and be recognized. This was followed by the singing of the National Anthem.

Before the concluding prayer of the Mass, Bishop Dewane led everyone in reciting a Prayer for Peace. The Sarasota National Cemetery celebration concluded with a procession, escorted by the Knights of Columbus Color Corps, to the nearby graves as those in attendance sang “God Bless America.”

Priests, Deacons, the Knights of Columbus Color Corps, and all present, gathered in silent prayer before “Taps” was played on a bugle.

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. (Ret.), Charles Voight, a 5-year veteran who served tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq and is a parishioner at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish in Sarasota, expressed his gratitude for the Mass.

“This means a great deal to me, and to all veterans,” Voight said. “We each served our country and would gladly do it again, but it’s a service that is not always recognized. Serving in combat was an experience which deepened my faith. My trust in God helped me to get through some difficult times.”

There are more than 25,000 veterans and eligible family members currently interred in the National Cemetery and some 18.5 million military veterans in the United States.

The Diocese of Venice coordinates the Catholic Mass at the National Cemetery with the backing of the Knights of Columbus and is grateful for the help and support of Sarasota National Cemetery.

Prayer for Peace

Lord of all, in this time of strife and suffering, we come before you with heavy hearts, seeking your divine intervention. We lift up to you the victims of the Holy Land conflict, asking for your mercy and healing touch.

Prince of Peace, grant solace to those who are in pain, strength to those who are weary and hope to those who are in despair. Let your guiding light shine upon all, that they may find a path to reconciliation and understanding.

Mary, Mother of Mercy, wrap your mantle of love around those who are suffering, and intercede for them before your Son. May your gentle compassion be a source of comfort and consolation.

We implore you, O God, to inspire leaders and all involved to seek avenues of peace and dialogue. Soften hearts that are hardened by hatred and division, and instill in them a desire for unity and harmony.

St. Francis of Assisi, patron of peace, pray for us. Help us to be instruments of your peace in this troubled world. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we pray.


News Briefs for the Week of November 10, 2023

Parish joins Knights in supporting vocations

The 25th anniversary of the priestly ordination of Father Bob Kantor, Pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Naples, was a cause for celebration on the weekend of Oct. 28-29, 2023. The celebration served the dual purpose of supporting vocations as well as honoring Father Kantor. A special second collection was held to raise funds for the Florida Knights of Columbus Charities Vocations Fund. The fifth Sunday of a month is used for charitable causes outside of the Parish. More than $8,000 was collected. The monies will be designated for use in support of seminarians studying for the Diocese of Venice. Father Kantor serves as State Chaplain for the Knights’ Florida State Council. The timing of the support coincides with National Vocations Awareness Week which was Nov. 5-11.

Students learn computer coding

Sixth-grade students at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral had an incomparable opportunity on Nov. 7, 2023, delving into the world of computer coding with the help of Jason Castaldo, a teacher from Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers. Under the guidance, inspiration, and expertise of Castaldo, the students explored the fascinating realm of programming and problem-solving. It was a journey filled with creativity, logical thinking, and the excitement of building digital wonders. Enthusiastically delving into the “Hour of Code” is paving the way for the future of these talented students.

Tasting the World!

Our Lady of Grace Parish in Avon Park hosted its annual International Food Festival on Nov. 5, 2023, in the Parish Center. Participants had the opportunity to “taste the world” in this culinary journey, sharing the flavors of their culture with food from many different countries, such as Colombia, Germany, Haiti, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Philippines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and more. There were even hot dogs, ice cream, and popcorn for the little ones.

Students gather in the form of a Cross

Students at St. Ann Catholic School in Naples gathered Nov. 6, 2023, on the soccer field to stand in the form of a cross. This is an annual tradition at the school which is a fun day outside for the students as they gather in the form of an important symbol of the faith. The school has experienced rapid growth in recent years with enrollment topping 425, up 40 percent since 2020.

Parish celebrates All Saints’ Day with relics

For the second year in a row, Incarnation Parish in Sarasota had a special display set up for All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1, 2023). Saint relics, on loan from parishioners, were put on display for people to visit between Masses on the Solemnity. Many lined up to view the relics, touch rosaries to them, and pray for the powerful intercession of the Saints. The Second Vatican Council recalls that “the Saints have been traditionally honored in the Church, and their authentic relics and images held in veneration.” The term “relics of the Saints” principally signifies the bodies – or notable parts of the bodies – of the Saints who, as distinguished members of Christ’s mystical Body and as Temples of the Holy Spirit in virtue of their heroic sanctity, now dwell in Heaven, but who once lived on earth. Objects which belonged to the Saints, such as personal objects, clothes and manuscripts are also considered relics, as are objects which have touched their bodies or tombs such as oils, cloths, and images.

Hundreds Venerate Jesus in Eucharistic Procession

Reciting prayers and singing hymns, hundreds participated in a public Eucharistic Procession through the streets around St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples on Oct. 22, 2023.

This procession consisted mostly of the faithful from nearby St. Elizabeth Seton Parish and was led by their Pastor, Father Casey Jones, and is one of several initiatives scheduled as part of “The Year of Parish Revival,” the latest phase of a National Eucharistic Revival. Launched as an initiative of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in June 2022, the National Eucharistic Revival is a three-year movement that aims to deepen Catholics’ love for Jesus through encountering His Real Presence in the Eucharist.

“This event is all about bringing Jesus Christ to the neighborhoods of the people,” Father Jones said. “The message is that our God loves us so much that he comes to us, rather than waiting for us to approach him. Just as Jesus Christ of Nazareth walked the streets of Galilee, He’s still alive and walks among us on our streets… We hope to give a witness to our belief in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist as a sign of Hope to a world that needs a Savior.”

Starting in Neumann’s Our Lady of the Angels Chapel with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Solemn Vespers, the group lined up for the Eucharistic Procession through the surrounding Golden Gate neighborhood. Father Jones said additional processions in other neighborhoods within the Parish boundaries will take place in the coming months. This includes one with the students at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School during Catholic School Week in early February 2024.

With a Knights of Columbus Honor Guard and a dozen altar servers carrying candles, Father Jones and Deacon Roberto Landron rotated carrying the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament held high. Four volunteers carried a canopy to protect the Blessed Sacrament during the procession. This canopy served to create a sacred space that is reserved for the priest/deacon carrying the monstrance.

Hymns and prayers, both in English and Spanish, were heard as the group departed the Chapel and meandered their way to four stations where the monstrance was placed on a table and additional prayers were recited.

The National Eucharistic Revival will culminate in the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States in almost 50 years. In July 2024, more than 80,000 Catholics are expected to join together in Indianapolis for a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage in a celebration of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and our Catholic Faith.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane is leading a Pilgrimage to this 10th National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis. This historic 5-day gathering will take place July 17 – 21, 2024. It is a pivotal moment in the Church, and a unique opportunity for participants to draw into a deeper, more intimate relationship with Our Lord.

The cost of the Diocese of Venice pilgrimage package is $1,049. With the package, pilgrims receive the National Eucharistic Congress 5-day pass, which provides access to all speakers and events, as well as four nights’ accommodations in a 4-star hotel within walking distance of the convention center. Please note, the pilgrimage package does not include transportation or meals. Space is limited! Register today using Questions? Contact Carrie Harkey,

News Briefs for the Week of Oct. 27, 2023

Veterans Day Mass

On Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11, the Diocese of Venice will hold a Memorial Mass in honor of the men and women who have served our country and continue to serve and protect us today. This is the 14th year the Diocese has held a Mass on Veterans Day. Bishop Frank J. Dewane will celebrate the Mass at 3 p.m. at the Sarasota National Cemetery, 9810 State Road 72/Clark Road, approximately five miles east of I-75. The Priests, Deacons and Knights of Columbus in the Diocese will join Bishop Dewane for this important event. All are invited to attend, and active military personnel are asked to wear their uniform. Attendees are also encouraged to wear sunscreen and bring a hat. There is ample seating and parking at the cemetery. All guests are encouraged to arrive early. Please contact Gail Ardy at or 941-486-4714 for further information.

Knights support vocations

The Knights of Columbus of the St. John Council 11281 hosted a Vocations Dinner Dance on Oct. 21, 2023, in the St. John the Evangelist Parish Ballroom. The honorees were Father Nicholas Thompson and Father Mark Harris, Parochial Vicars at St. John the Evangelist. Bishop Frank J. Dewane offered the opening Benediction. The evening included dinner for more than 200 with numerous priest and women religious present. Entertainment was by the Manhattan Connection. The proceeds of the evening will help support Diocesan seminarians.

Children pray for peace

More than 100 children and teens took part in a special prayer service at St. Paul Parish in Arcadia on Oct. 21, 2023, during which they prayed for peace in the world. This gathering included children in the religious education program praying the Rosary. A paper rosary (green, red, white, blue and yellow) was laid out on the floor in front of the altar before a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This paper rosary was in place so that as each prayer was recited, a child would come forward and placed a yellow flower on the corresponding “bead.”

Theology on Tap continues

Father Mark Yavarone, OMV, Director of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice was the featured speaker at the Oct. 19, 2023, gathering of Theology on Tap for young adults at the Mandeville Beer Garden in Sarasota. Theology on Tap is for young adults and takes place on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m., outside in the garden for food and refreshments, presentations, and discussions about the Catholic Faith. The Nov. 16 guest is Father Anthony Armstrong, O. Carm., Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Osprey. The Dec. 21 guest is Bishop Frank J. Dewane. For any questions, please email Carrie Harkey at

Youth Holy Hour Nov. 5 in Naples

Middle school, high school and college youth are invited to attend a Holy Hour once a month at St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Ave. N., Naples. The hour will consist of Adoration, prayer and an opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The evening follows the 5 p.m. Mass and lasts until 7 p.m. The next Youth Holy Hour is Nov. 5, 2023, with gatherings scheduled for Dec. 3, and Jan. 7. For further information, please contact St. John the Evangelist Youth Ministry Director Juliana LoGiudice at

Science fair impresses

Middle school students at Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota took part in a Science Fair on Oct 19, 2023. Students were asked to create a science experiment on any topic. They started with a hypothesis, used a variety of materials and procedures and then came up with conclusions. Project titles included, “Wind Beneath My Electrons,” “Soap vs. Microwave,” “Colorful Chemistry,” Ink Incident,” “The Rise of the Cupcake,” “Hand in the Sand,” “Robots Lead the Way,” “That’s Metal!” and “Does water or coffee make plants grow faster?” Parents and Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School students served as judges.

Volunteers Needed

Join Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., dedicated staff to help in the mission of serving all. There are many opportunities to volunteer in many different programs, located throughout Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, Hendry, Glades, Collier, Desoto, Hardee, and Highlands counties. Catholic Charities offers programs for infants, afterschool programs, the elderly, and much more. Join and make a difference. To learn more about amazing volunteer opportunities, please visit


Silver Rose completes journey through Diocese

Escorted by a member of the Knights of Columbus Knights on Bikes, a white-gloved man, wearing a biker vest, solemnly lead the opening procession at a prayer service. In his hands was a small object, a silver rose.

When the procession reached the front of the church, the rose was then displayed on a table in front of the altar.

Each year, since 1960, from early March through mid-December, eight Silver Roses are stewarded by Knights of Columbus councils along routes in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Every stop the Silver Rose makes throughout the pilgrimage is a rosary-centered occasion for Knights, parishioners and community members to pray for respect for life, for the spiritual renewal of each nation, and for the advancement of the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The Silver Rose Program demonstrates the unity between Knights of Columbus in Canada, the United States and Mexico, and reaffirms their dedication to the sanctity of human life.

The Silver Rose was transferred from the Diocese of Orlando Aug. 6, 2023, when members of the Knights on Bikes met with their counterparts in Davenport. It was put on public display at six Parishes in the Diocese of Venice. The first stop was Aug. 7, at St. Martha Parish in Sarasota, and was followed by St. Catherine Parish in Sebring on Aug. 8, St. Katharine Drexel Parish and St. Andrew Parish, both in Cape Coral and both on Aug. 9, Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria on Aug. 10, and St. Ann Parish in Naples on Aug. 11. The Silver Rose was then transferred by members of the Knights on Bikes to their counterparts in the Archdiocese of Miami at exit 50 on Interstate 75, which is the border of Collier and Broward counties and the two Dioceses.

While at Ave Maria, the Silver Rose was on display in the church on a table in front of a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for 24 hours. During the 24 hours, the rosary was prayed 75 times (3 rosaries per hour), each led by Ave Maria Grand Knight John Lanham, who stayed with the Silver Rose from 8 a.m. Aug. 10, to 6 a.m. Aug. 11.

During each of the prayer services, the faithful joined in praying the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary (the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, and the Coronation of Mary as Queen), and an Act of Consecration, as well as hearing select readings, including the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the Gospel of Luke (1:26-38).

Afterward, many came forward to have a closer look at the Silver Rose, which is only 6-inches tall. Still others remained behind to continue to pray.

Before each prayer service, an escorting Knight shared the history of the Silver Rose, which dates to 1960. It was in Mexico where Columbian Squires, a youth organization of the Knights, wanted to give something back to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas. It was decided that a rose would travel from Knights Council to Knights Council on a path from Canada to the Old Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Monterrey, Mexico.

Our Lady of Guadalupe has a long history in Mexico dating to 1531 when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Indian peasant, St. Juan Diego, near the present-day Mexico City. To help convince the local Ordinary of the message of Our Lady, St. Juan Diego was able to present his garments which contained live roses in winter and an emblazoned image of Our Lady on the fabric, in what is known as the “Miracle of the Roses.” The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is Dec. 12, the day each of the Silver Roses concludes its nine-month journey.

While six of the eight travelling Silver Roses will arrive at the Old Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the others will conclude their journey at key locations in the U.S. which honor Our Lady. One of these will complete its journey at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., while the other will end at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Friary in Griswold, Connecticut.

The Silver Rose, which visited the Diocese of Venice previously, made stops in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. In Florida since July 23, the tour will continue throughout the state until Sept. 2, before moving on to Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and finally Mexico.

The Knights of Columbus expansive pro-life initiative includes taking part in prayer vigils at abortion facilities, supporting the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., and placing more than 1,000 ultrasounds in pregnancy resource centers throughout the world, including many within the Diocese of Venice.

News Briefs for week of August 18, 2023

Knights honor clergy

The Knights of Columbus of Saints Cosmas and Damian Council 13341 of Bradenton hosted a Clergy Appreciation Dinner on Aug. 12, 2023, at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch. Among the honorees were Bishop Frank J. Dewane; Father Sebastian Szczawínski, Pastor of Our Lady of the Angels; Father Shawn Roser, Parish Parochial Vicar and Diocesan Vocations Director; Msgr. Joseph Stearns who is retired but assists at the Parish; Deacon Jack Milholland; and Deacon G. Thomas Harencher. The evening included dinner for more than 200 and each of the honorees was presented with a commemorative compass. Grand Knight Jerry Graceffo Jr. said it was appropriate for the Knights to honor the clergy who serve the spiritual needs of the faithful is many different ways.

High school welcomes new assistant director

Bishop Verot Catholic High School has announced the hiring of a new Assistant Director of Special Events, Donor & Alumni Relations. Crystal Melton will lead Bishop Verot’s events and alumni relations efforts as the school continues to have record enrollment and growth. Melton brings with her experience in the field of events, fundraising and community relations. Melton earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, and a master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. She previously was on the Verot School Board and the chair of the Curriculum & Academic Affairs Committee for the school. Most recently, she was a teacher and Director of Development at St. Andrew Catholic School.  Melton grew up in Alaska and Virginia, before moving to Florida in 2010 with her husband and their two children. Her daughter is a Verot Alum and her son is an 8th grader at St. Andrew Catholic School, and a future Viking.

Support our seminarians

Support, encourage and educate future priests through the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women Seminarian Fund. Join the VDCCW in celebrating Priesthood Sunday on September 24, 2023, in a special and lasting way by sending your Parish Priest 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 Zaneƫti, Seminarian Fund Guardian, 5808 Gulf Drive, #204, Holmes Beach, FL 34217.

Early bird registration for the Marriage Conference

Registration is now open for the Oct. 21, 2023, Diocese of Venice “Together in Holiness” Marriage Conference, presented in partnership with the Diocese of Venice Office of Family Life and the St. John Paul II Foundation. 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. Early bird couple registration is $54, ($64 after Aug. 28). To register, please visit Please contact Carrie Harkey at for further information.

Catholic Charities event to benefit programs in DeSoto County

The 2023 Boots and Bandannas event to benefit the programs of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., in DeSoto County will take place, at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, at Our Lady of Angels Parish, 12905 SR. 70 E., Lakewood Ranch. Enjoy a fun night of great food, live auction, and live music by Andy Pursell and his band.  Kick up your heels for a great cause with programs such as a food pantry, farmworker and senior housing, youth and afterschool educational enrichment programs, financial and housing assistance and disaster response and recovery.  For more details, and to register for Boots and Bandannas 2023, please visit,

Red Mass for legal professionals to be held in Sarasota

The Red Mass, a medieval tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, is observed annually in the Diocese of Venice. The Red Mass will be celebrated at 5:30 p.m., Oct. 18, 2023, at St. Martha Parish, 200 N. Orange St., Sarasota. Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Bishop will be the main celebrant. A reception hosted by the Catholic Lawyers Guild (CLG) follows immediately at the Fr. Fausto Parish Hall. The first recorded Red Mass was held in the Cathedral of Paris in 1245. The popular name “Red Mass” refers to the traditional red vestments of the clergy and the judges when convened at the royal courts in Europe. Prayers at the Red Mass are offered to invoke the gifts of the Holy Spirit upon those who serve in law and the administration of justice. Hence, lawyers, judges, public officials, law enforcement officers, and law students are specifically invited to participate at the Red Mass, although everyone is welcome to attend. In the United States, an annual Red Mass is held in Washington, D.C., before the opening of the U.S. Supreme Court. Similarly, Red Mass is held at the start of the legislative session in Tallahassee. The first Red Mass in the Diocese of Venice was held in March 2008 at St. Martha. At the Red Mass, prayers are for wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord, to help us through these challenging times. For further information, please contact Atty. Paul Consbruck at 866-558-7285; 941-966-6706 or

News Briefs for the Week of August 11, 2023

Knight’s Silver Rose visits Sebring

A special prayer service was held Aug. 8, 2023, at St. Catherine Parish in Sebring, when members of the Knights of Columbus brought the travelling Silver Rose to the Parish. Each year, from early March through mid-December, Silver Roses are stewarded by Knights of Columbus councils along routes from Canada to Mexico. Every stop the Silver Rose makes throughout the pilgrimage is a rosary-centered occasion for Knights, parishioners and community members to pray for respect for life, for the spiritual renewal of each nation, and for the advancement of the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Knights of Columbus expansive pro-life initiative includes supporting the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., and placing more than 1,000 ultrasounds in pregnancy resource centers throughout the world, including many within the Diocese of Venice.

Youth pray for priests

On the Feast of St. John Vianney, Aug. 4, 2023, youth from St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral offered a Holy hour & Divine Mercy Chaplet for all priests in honor of the feast day of St. John Vianney. The French saint (1786-1759) was known for his faithfulness, his devotion to the Virgin Mary, and to St. Philomena, and for dedication to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) for his parishioners. St. John Vianney was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925. He is the patron saint of clergy throughout the world.

Student commits to West Point

Sophia McCartney, a senior at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples, has announced her commitment to accept an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2024. McCartney is a star basketball player at Neumann and intends to play at West Point.

Rosary makers hold luncheon

The rosary makers of Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria held a luncheon on Aug. 5, 2023, to honor Our Blessed Mother. Our Lady’s Rosary Makers is a nationwide apostolate founded by Xaverian Brother Dylan in 1949. Rosary makers of Ave Maria meet Wednesdays 1-3 p.m. in the Oasis Club Craft Room – Del Webb. All are welcome; however, reservations are required. For more information, please contact Virginia Patterson at 916-616-8007, or

Bradenton students represent school in golf tournament

Congratulations to St. Joseph Catholic School students Niko and Tobias on attending the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship. Niko placed 72 among 170 in his division, and Tobias placed 33 among the 200 in his division. The Championship is played every August in Pinehurst, N.C., and gathers 1500 plus golfers in the age range of 5-12 years old from many different countries around the world. Niko and Tobias are pictured with family and friends at the event.


Youth celebration in Fort Myers Aug. 27

St. John XXIII Parish Youth Council in Fort Myers is hosting a Youth Celebration Family Event from 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023, in the Parish Hall, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers. The evening is titled: “Celebrating the Catholic Family,” and will include a live performance by The Camp Veritas Band, dynamic speakers, adoration, a 50/50 raffle, and concessions. The event is free and is for youth (middle and high school age) and parents. For more information, please contact Kelly Evers at 239-561-3022 or

Retreats Returning to OLPH

Registration is now open for several retreats at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center, 3989 South Moon Drive, Venice. The Monthly Days of Prayer start September 13. Also, several dates are available for our Desert Day retreats, a one day overnight private retreat. In addition, starting this fall, OLPH is offering single-day Youth Retreats for grades 6-12. The following Fall group retreats are also available for registration: Matt Talbot Men’s Retreat scheduled for October 15-17, and the Can You See Me? retreat scheduled for October 27-29. If you are interested in the 3-night, 5-night, or 7-night private, directed retreat schedule, fall dates are now available. To learn more or to register for a group or private retreat, please visit, or call 941-486-0233.

Vocational Retreat in Arcadia Aug. 26

St. Paul Parish in Arcadia is hosting a one-day Vocational Retreat, “Encounter with Christ” from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Aug. 26, 2023, for males and females ages 15 to 30. The cost for the day is $20 and includes meals and materials. Pre-registration is available by emailing For further information contact the Parish office at 863-494-2611.

Scam Alert

Parishioners of several Parishes in the Diocese of Venice have been contacted by imposters pretending to be their pastor and/or Parish staff, and asking them to send gift cards, cash or money orders via email or text. These requests are a scam and under no circumstances should you reply to these emails or comply with these requests. Nor should you divulge any personal information to anyone that is not a trusted source. If you are contacted with a request for money via email or text, and the message appears as though it is from a Diocesan priest or employee, do not reply. Instead, make direct contact with the person by calling the Parish and asking to speak with the priest or employee.

Answering the Call – Ordination brings blessings upon new priests, Diocese

In a public response to a “call to holiness,” Alejandro Giraldo Roldán and Daniel Joseph Scanlan were Ordained to the Priesthood by Bishop Frank J. Dewane during a Mass on July 15, 2023, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

The poignant and emotional Rite places Fathers Roldán and Scanlan in new roles as they are raised to the Order of the Presbyterate where they will now celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, confer the Sacraments, and teach the Gospel.

Bishop Dewane congratulated the ordinandi for answering the call to holiness and advancing in formation through prayer, discernment, guidance and direction which helped them grow closer to the Lord. Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the ordinandi are called to reflect and magnify Christ, and are sent out to build up the Church of Christ and to build up the People of God.

“You have chosen a particular life and continue to hear that call,” Bishop Dewane stated. “The Diocese is grateful for your having listened to that call to live in response to ministerial priesthood. Do it with joy. Do it with a genuine love for Christ, for others, and for yourself. It is who you are. To achieve this, keep your eyes on the example given by Christ, the High Priest, the Good Shepherd. See Him as your role model.”

Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, a priest is transformed and marked indelibly as an instrument through which others receive the Sacraments, Bishop Dewane said. “Take God in your heart as you carry out the mission of sanctifying the faithful by uniting them to Christ’s sacrifice.”

When the rite of ordination began, Roldán and Scanlan were each called forth to the presence of the Bishop by Diocese Director of Vocations Father Shawn Roser, and upon hearing their names called out, each responded, one saying “Present,” and the other “Presente.”

Following the homily, Roldán and Scanlan each knelt before the Bishop to promise respect and obedience to him and his successors. Then they lay prostrate before the altar for the Litany of Supplication/Litany of Saints. The whole assembly joined in the prayer which invoked God’s grace and the intercession of the saints in heaven.

After this solemn act of prayer, the Sacrament of Ordination was conferred when Roldán and Scanlan each knelt before Bishop Dewane. In silent prayer, the Bishop imposed his hands on the head of each ordinand as a sign of the sharing of the priesthood; each priest the present laid his hands on the head of the newly ordained.

The ordinandi again knelt before the Bishop, who then recited the consecratory Prayer of Ordination; which, together with the Bishop’s imposition of hands, is the essential to the Rite of Ordination.

After the prayer, the newly ordained were vested in the stole and chasuble, vestments which are worn when celebrating the Eucharist that symbolize the responsibility and authority in service to Christ.

Father Roldán was vested by Father Lawton Lang, the new Administrator of San Antonio Parish in Port Charlotte, while Father Scanlan was vested by his oldest brother, Father Eric Scanlan, Pastor of Incarnation Parish in Sarasota.

The palms of the new priests were anointed with the Sacred Chrism by Bishop Dewane, the sign of the special anointing of the Holy Spirit who will make the priest’s ministry fruitful. Next, the Bishop presented Fathers Roldán and Scanlan with the chalice and paten which all priests are called to present to God in the Eucharistic sacrifice saying: “Receive the oblation of the holy people, to be offered to God. Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s Cross.”

The Rite of Ordination ended with the Bishop giving a fraternal kiss of peace to the newly ordained priests, welcoming them into the Diocesan Presbyterate or priesthood. The priests present followed the Bishop’s example. The newly ordained then joined Bishop Dewane at the altar to the applause and joy of all present.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist followed as Fathers Roldán and Scanlan joined for the first time in concelebrating the Eucharist with Bishop Dewane, offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, acting in the person of Christ. From this sacrifice their whole priestly ministry will draw its strength.

Some 700 people witnessed this joyous occasion, including more than 40 priests, men and women religious, permanent deacons, the Knights of Columbus, the Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta and the Knights and Dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.

Father Roldán’s sister and several friends from his native Colombia were able to be present for the ordination, but unfortunately his mother and another sister were unable to attend. Sadly, his father passed away in April.

Father Scanlan was blessed to have his entire family present (he is the seventh of 11 children). Also present were several nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins and more.

Both men also had large groups supporting them from the several Parishes they served at during pastoral assignments as seminarians.

Father Roldán, 29, a native of Columbia, said the ordination was an overwhelming experience that brought him great joy and solace.

“Giving myself completely over to the Lord through the priesthood is something I have thought about for many years. It is finally here, and it is wonderful. I will now follow the Lord in my ministry to help others find the joy I have,” Father Roldán said.

During his discernment, Father Roldán initially studied with a religious order before later joining the Diocese of Venice as a seminarian. He studied at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami before going on to St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. As a seminarian, he served pastoral assignments at St. Mary, Star of the Sea Parish on Longboat Key and at St. Thomas More Parish in Sarasota where he celebrated his first Mass as a priest. His first assignment is Parochial Vicar of St. Agnes Parish and St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, both in Naples given special responsibility to the Spanish-speaking community at each Parish.

Father Scanlan, 28, was born and raised in Fort Myers in a large family. He was inspired to discern a vocation to the priesthood when his oldest brother, Father Eric, told the family about his own discernment 15 years ago and then he witnessed his brother’s ordination in 2013. Fast-forward 10 years and they are both now part of the Diocesan Presbyterate.

“When I was young, it never occurred to me that becoming a priest was a thing that I would consider, but seeing my brother go through the process and growing in my own personal relationship with Jesus, when the time came, it was an easy decision” Father Scanlan said. “It was such a wonderful experience to have my whole family present to share this experience with me. Then my brother helped me put on my priestly vestments. That was amazing. This whole experience has been an affirmation of God putting me in this position as a priest, where I was called to serve Him in His earthly Kingdom.”

Father Scanlan first studied at Ave Maria University before becoming a Diocesan seminarian at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami. He later studied in Rome at the Pontifical North American College and received a degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Most recently, he initiated his studies in moral theology at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce. As a seminarian, he served pastoral assignments at the following Parishes: St. Vincent de Paul in Fort Myers; Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles in Bradenton; St. Francis Xavier in Fort Myers; St. Joseph in Bradenton; and St. Katharine Drexel in Cape Coral. Father Scanlan’s first Mass was celebrated at Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria, where his parents reside. Following his ordination, Father is initially assisting at Epiphany Cathedral and then will serve as Parochial Vicar at St. Thomas More Parish in Sarasota, effective Aug. 9.

The Ordination to the Priesthood is considered one of the most critical events in the life of the Diocese as it ensures the continuation of the Church and the availability of the Sacraments to the faithful.

A reception followed in the Cathedral Parish Hall where the newly ordained formally greeted the public and imparted their priestly blessing upon them.

News briefs for the week of July 28, 2023


A very warm welcome is extended to Father Alejandro Roldán and Father Daniel Scanlan, the newest members to the Presbyterate of the Diocese of Venice in Florida.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane announces the following assignments:

Father Lawton Lang, appointed as Administrator of San Antonio Parish, Port Charlotte, effective July 31, 2023, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar of St. Thomas More Parish, Sarasota.

Father Alejandro Roldán, as Parochial Vicar of St. Agnes Parish, Naples and St. Elizabeth Parish, Naples, effective July 17, 2023.

Father Daniel Scanlan, initially to assist at Epiphany Cathedral, Venice, and effective August 9, 2023, as Parochial Vicar of St. Thomas More Parish in Sarasota.

Knights on Bikes ride for life

The Knights on Bikes group took part in a charity ride for life on July 22, 2023. The motorcyclists met at St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples and prayed the rosary before proceeding to the Community Pregnancy Clinic in downtown Naples. There the Knights dropped off pampers, baby wipes, and many other supplies. They also raised and donated money to the Clinic to help support the pregnancy resource center which has four clinics throughout the Diocese, providing life-affirming solutions to real-world problems, saving thousands of lives as a result.

Sarasota parishioner earns Gold at Special Olympics

Congratulations to Mollie O’Connell, of St. Martha Parish in Sarasota, for earning a Gold Medal in the 2k Cycling Time Trial race at the Special Olympics held in Berlin, Germany, on June 21, 2023, with a winning time of 5:56.78. The Special Olympics were held from June 17-25, with more than 7,000 athletes competing in 26 sports. Well done, Mollie!

Bradenton student plays lacrosse for a cause

St. Joseph Catholic School student, Cooper Kolbe, plays on a competitive lacrosse team called Owen’s Heroes, which was named for a 5-year-old who has type 1 diabetes. The team plays and raises money for research and to help families of children struggling with juvenile diabetes. Cooper is the team goalie and this summer, Owen’s Heroes made it all the way to the Youth Lacrosse World Series competing against 25 teams from around the world. After the tournament, Owen’s Heroes was ranked #11 in the world. What a great experience, and what a great cause these young athletes have embraced!

Scam Alert

There have been recent incidents where parishioners have been contacted supposedly by their pastor and/or parish staff to send gift cards, cash or money orders via email or text. These requests are a scam and under no circumstances should you reply to these emails or comply with these requests. Nor should you divulge any personal information to anyone that is not a trusted source. If you are contacted with a request for money via email or text, and the message appears as though it is from a Diocesan priest or employee, do not reply. Instead, make direct contact with the person by calling the Parish and asking to speak with the priest or employee.

Decline to Sign Petition for Dangerous Pro-Abortion Ballot Initiative

An extremely grave initiative is underway in Florida that seeks to erase pro-life protections by banning government regulation of abortion in our state constitution. Abortion activists are working to gather petition signatures to have a pro-abortion constitutional amendment placed on the statewide ballot in the November 2024 election. Floridian Catholics should not sign the petition. The amendment would hinder the Florida legislature’s ability to protect women and children from abortion. Please also continue your prayers for the protection of the unborn and spread the word to your spheres of influence.

Communal First Saturdays

Beginning Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, and every first Saturday thereafter is an opportunity to answer our Lady’s call with Communal First Saturdays at Incarnation Parish, 2929 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. In this call, she said, “Many souls will be saved and there will be peace,” if we satisfy her special request for Communal First Saturdays. Fulfill the First Saturday Devotion through these four practices: Holy Rosary at 7:30 a.m.; Holy Mass with Communion of Reparation at 8:30 a.m.; Confession after Mass; and an additional scriptural meditation on the mysteries of the rosary in Our Lady’s company at 9:20 a.m., with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. If you are interested, Communal First Saturdays are open to all. For more information, please contact Joe Moniz at, or 941-444-0560.

Execution Prayer Vigils Aug. 3

James Barnes is scheduled to be executed in Florida at 6 p.m. on Aug. 3, 2023. Barnes was sentenced to death for the 1988 murder of a young woman named Patricia Miller in Melbourne, and he has been on Florida’s death row since 2006. Prayer vigils will be held at 5:30 p.m., Aug. 3, at San Pedro Parish, 14380 Tamiami Trail, North Port, and at 5:30 p.m., Aug. 3, at the outdoor Last Supper table at Sacred Heart Parish, 211 W. Charlotte Ave., Punta Gorda. All are invited to attend! If you are not able to attend, please pray for Barnes and his family as well as Miller and her family, and all tasked with his execution.

Vocational Retreat in Arcadia in August

St. Paul Catholic Church is hosting a one-day “Encounter with Christ” Vocational Retreat, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Aug. 26, 2023, for males and females ages 15 to 30. The retreat will take place in the Parish Hall located at 1208 East Oak St., Arcadia. The cost for the day is $20 and includes meals and materials. Pre-registration is available by emailing For further information contact the Parish office at 863-494-2611.

Surviving Divorce program

If you or someone you know is navigating the challenges of a separation or divorce, consider participating in the Surviving Divorce Program developed by Rose Sweet, a well-known Catholic author, and speaker. The 12-week program begins at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 17, 2023, at St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Ave., Naples. To register, contact Michael Dana at or 301-332-9055.

Parish renewal key to second phase of National Eucharistic Revival

The National Eucharistic Revival has entered its second year and as planned shifted its focus to Parish level. It is expected that Parishes will increase the Eucharist’s visibility in their communities through an increase in Eucharistic processions and adoration.

Launched as an initiative of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in June 2022, the National Eucharistic Revival is a three-year movement that aims to deepen Catholics’ love for Jesus through encountering him in the Eucharist. The Revival’s second year leads up to a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in July 2024. Having enkindled a missionary fire in the hearts of the American faithful, the Holy Spirit will send the faithful out on mission to share the gift of our Eucharistic Lord as we enter the universal Church’s jubilee year in 2025.

Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Evangelization, and the chairman of the Bishops’ advisory group for the Revival, spoke about the Revival during the June Plenary Assembly of the USCCB in Orlando. Bishop Cozzens outlined how the “small group initiative” in the Parish Year could help deepen people’s relationship to Christ in the Eucharist.

“We all know how much our Church needs to move from maintenance to mission … this is really the heart of what we’re attempting to do,” he said.

In the Diocese of Venice, Bishop Frank J. Dewane and the Office of Evangelization staff have worked hard to help promote the National Eucharistic Revival and plans are in the works to have a unified effort at the Parish level.

“This is a time to grow deeply in your faith, along with others from the Diocese, accompanied by Jesus Christ,” Bishop Dewane said of the Parish Year. “It is in a precise way, in the Eucharist, the Lord is given to us, and we receive Him. We must also have the strength to spend time in front of the Eucharist. Let the strength that Jesus Christ is; let His presence in the Eucharist, fill your heart, fill your mind, fill your soul. Let these dimensions evidence Christ’s indication of what it is He desires from you and for you to accomplish in your life.”

Parish leaders seeking guidance for the National Eucharistic Revival’s Parish Year now have a 24-page resource to assist their discernment. The “Leader’s Playbook,” released in May, helps Parishes answer the question “what are we being asked to do?” through four “invitations” for the Year of Parish Revival, which began on the solemnity of Corpus Christi June 11, 2023.

To allow better accessibility for all (individuals, families and Parishes) to become part of the Revival, these educational resources can be found at the Diocese of Venice website at This includes resources, available in both English and Spanish, for: Pastors and Parish leaders; teachers and Directors of Religious Education; Children and/or those teaching children; teenagers; young adults; not so young adults; and more. Updated monthly, the links from the site are to informational videos, documents, websites and other information.

The playbook was created primarily for Pastors and Parish leaders. Based on the Revival’s four “pillars,” the playbook’s “four invitations” for the Year of Parish Revival are reinvigorating worship, personal encounter, robust faith formation and missionary sending.

“Parishes can use this manual to strengthen their Eucharistic culture and share the gift of the Eucharist with all people, regardless of where they are on their faith journey,” Bishop Cozzens said.

The Revival’s first year was titled “The Year of Diocesan Revival,” with efforts focused on formation for diocesan leadership and Diocesan-wide events. Within the Diocese of Venice, a Eucharistic Congress and Youth Rally took place March 24-25, 2023, in Fort Myers, when Bishop Frank J. Dewane welcomed more than 4,500 to the event.

The Eucharistic Congress, with a theme “The Word Made Flesh,” encompassed several parts, including three unique sessions. The first was for Diocesan Catholic middle school students; the second part was a Youth Rally for high-school aged teens; and the showcase event was for adult men and women and featured special breakout sessions in English and Spanish as well as for men and women.

A major component of the Congress was the celebrateion of the Mass. In addition, there was private and public Eucharistic adoration, and for the main conference for adults, a Eucharistic procession, led by Bishop Dewane, around the event facility in downtown Fort Myers.

The Revival’s second year, “The Year of Parish Revival,” aims to reach Catholics in their Parishes through renewed attention to the “art” of the Mass, Eucharistic devotions, and small-group faith sharing and formation.

Eucharistic processions — which consist of the Eucharist, typically displayed in a monstrance, followed by the faithful for any length of distance inside or outside of a church — became common forms of public devotion for Catholics at points in the Church’s history when the teaching on the Real Presence was questioned. Catholics believe the Eucharist truly is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, who instituted this Sacrament at the Last Supper.

David Spesia, executive director of the Committee for Evangelization and Catechesis at the USCCB committee spearheading the Revival said, “the goal is really this encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, and to understand that, when He promised He was with us always, the most unique and precious way that happens is with the gift of the Eucharist and the celebration of the Mass.”

The National Eucharistic Revival will culminate in the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States in almost 50 years. More than 80,000 Catholics are expected to join together in Indianapolis for a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage in a celebration of our Catholic Faith in July 2024.

Our Sunday Visitor contributed information to this report.