News Briefs for the Week of June 3 2022

Fire department fun

The Naples Fire-Rescue Department visited St. Ann Catholic School on May 25, 2022. In this annual visit, the ladders extended, and blasts of refreshing water sprayed all over delighted students. What a fun time for all the students as the school year ends.

Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate June 18

All are invited and encouraged to attend the Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate for the following candidate: Craig Dutka of Holy Cross Parish in Palmetto. The Ordination will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 18, 2022, at Holy Cross Parish, 506 26th St. W., Palmetto. A reception in the Parish Hall will follow.

Our Lady of Fatima Rosary Rally June 4

Please join our national “America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally” for the Traditional Family and Public Prayers in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to end abortion which will be held Saturday, June 4, from noon to 1 p.m., at the corner of Daniels Parkway and Daniels Commerce Blvd near Tile Outlet of America and TIAA Bank in Fort Myers. Parking is in an empty lot at Daniels Commerce Blvd. and Commerce Park Blvd. or John Yarbrough Linear Park off Daniels at Metro Parkway. Please arrive 10 minutes early and bring your Pro-Life signs, chairs, water, and umbrellas. For more information, please contact Toni at toni@defendingtheunborn.com.

22nd Annual Knights Liberty Ball June 18

The Knights of Columbus Assembly 2542 is hosting the 22nd Annual Liberty Ball, June 18, 2022, at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. Presented by the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, the evening will honor Knights who are veterans. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with Presentation of Colors at 6 p.m. with dinner to follow. Tickets are $35 and include dinner, two drink tickets and dancing. Dress code for Fourth Degree Knights is tuxedo with Social Baldric, all others, smart casual. This Gala is open to everyone. For ticket or event information, please contact any of the following: Jim Mendolera at 239-390-0346, Frank Haneline, 239-466-6883, or Ron Bekech at 239-437-4999.

Religious Freedom Week 2022

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is once again promoting the celebration of Religious Freedom Week beginning Wednesday, June 22 to Thursday, June 29. Each year the week encompasses the period between the Memorial of Saints Thomas More & John Fisher, through the Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul. The theme for this year is Life and Dignity for All. As we approach the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, we are especially mindful of the debates around our country about abortion. The Church plays a crucial role in both bearing witness to the gospel of life and serving all who will be affected by these discussions and their outcomes. Learn how you can pray, reflect, and act to promote religious freedom at www.usccb.org/ReligiousFreedomWeek.

Youth Conference in July

The 14th annual Ave Maria University Youth Conference – “Fearless” – is being held July 8-10. Featured talks are by Father Rick Martignetti, Father Joseph Lugalambi, Father Rich Pagano and Chris Padget. The event includes the talks, Mass, Adoration, praise and worship, fellowship, opportunities for confession and much more. The cost is $175 and includes lodging, all meals, a t-shirt and more. To register, call 239-348-4725, aveconferences@gmail.com or www.aveconferences.com.

News Briefs for the Week of May 27, 2022

Scouting religious awards presented

The Diocesan Scouting Religious Award Ceremony was held May 22, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. Catholic National and Diocesan Awards were presented to Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and American Heritage Girls as well as to adult leaders. Diocesan Scout Chaplain Father Lawton Lang, as well Scout Leaders Jim Fetterman and Bob Paquette, presented the awards. The ceremony followed a Mass in the Cathedral where they were also recognized.

Students artwork recognized

Congratulations to Blaire M., a first grader at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers, whose artwork now adorns the side of a Waste Pro recycling truck. Blaire won 1st Place in the Keep Lee County Beautiful and Waste Pro “Leave the Scene Clean” environmental art contest. The artwork included a caterpillar, flowers, trees, hearts and a butterfly with the words “Plant Trees.” The truck with Blaire’s artwork visited the school on May 19, 2022, for everyone to see.

 

 

 

Catholic Summer Camp Program

Totus Tuus (a Latin phrase meaning “totally yours”) is a summer Catholic youth camp program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness and Eucharistic worship. The weeklong program assists parents and parishes to evangelize and catechize youth by complementing the work they are already doing at the Parish and at home. This summer the program will be offered at eight parishes in the Diocese of Venice. The camp program is for grades 1-5 Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for grades 6-12 Monday to Thursday, from 7:30 p.m.to 9:45 p.m. Parishes hosting the program are as follows:

  • Katharine Drexel Parish, 1920 SW 20th Ave., Cape Coral, June 6-10.
  • Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, June 13-17.
  • Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge St., La Belle, June 20-24.
  • Catherine Parish, 820 Hickory St., Sebring, June 27-July 1.
  • John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers, July 11-15.
  • Joseph Parish, 3100 26th St. W., Bradenton, July 18-22.
  • Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, July 25-29.
  • Patrick Parish, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, August 1-5.

Several parishes still have openings. Please contact the Director of Religious Education at the Parish hosting the program or Carrie Harkey at 941-484-9543.

Our Lady of Fatima Rosary Rally

Please join our national America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally for the Traditional Family and Public Prayers in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to end abortion which will be held Saturday, June 4, from noon to 1 p.m., at the corner of Daniels Parkway and Daniels Commerce Blvd near Tile Outlet of America and TIAA Bank in Fort Myers. Parking is in an empty lot at Daniels Commerce Blvd. and Commerce Park Blvd. or John Yarbrough Linear Park off Daniels at Metro Parkway. Please arrive 10 minutes early and bring your Pro-Life signs, chairs, water, and umbrellas. For more information, please contact Toni at toni@defendingtheunborn.com.

Pentecost Celebration

The Diocese of Venice English Charismatic Renewal invites all to join them for a celebration on Pentecost Sunday at 3 p.m., June 5 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 211 West Charlotte Avenue, Punta Gorda. The afternoon will include praise and worship followed by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at 4:00 p.m. Please bring your Prayer Group Banner and Stand as there will be a Banner Procession. For further information, please contact Alice Keough at keough@epiphanycathedral.org or 941-484-3505 ext. 1104.

22nd Annual Knights Liberty Ball

The Knights of Columbus Assembly 2542 is hosting the 22nd Annual Liberty Ball, June 18, 2022, at the Our Lady of Light Parish Center, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. Presented by the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, the evening will honor Knights who are veterans. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with Presentation of Colors at 6 p.m. with dinner to follow. Tickets are $35 and include dinner, two drink tickets and dancing. Dress code for Fourth Degree Knights is tuxedo with Social Baldric, all others, smart casual. This Gala is open to everyone. For ticket or event information, please contact any of the following: Jim Mendolera at 239-390-0346, Frank Haneline, 239-466-6883, or Ron Bekech at 239-437-4999.

Religious Freedom Week 2022

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is once again promoting the celebration of Religious Freedom Week beginning Wednesday, June 22 to Thursday, June 29. Each year the week encompasses the period between the Memorial of Saints Thomas More & John Fisher, through the Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul. The theme for this year is Life and Dignity for All. As we approach the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, we are especially mindful of the debates around our country about abortion. The Church plays a crucial role in both bearing witness to the gospel of life and serving all who will be affected by these discussions and their outcomes. Learn how you can pray, reflect, and act to promote religious freedom at www.usccb.org/ReligiousFreedomWeek.

Youth Conference

The 14th annual Ave Maria University Youth Conference – “Fearless” – is being held July 8-10. Featured talks are by Father Rick Martignetti, Father Joseph Lugalambi, Father Rich Pagano and Chris Padget. The event includes the talks, Mass, Adoration, praise and worship, fellowship, opportunities for confession and much more. The cost is $175 and includes lodging, all meals, a t-shirt and more. To register, call 239-348-4725, aveconferences@gmail.com or www.aveconferences.com.

Blue Mass honors sacrifice of First Responders

St. Agnes Parish in Naples hosted an annual Blue Mass on Jan. 29, 2022, to honor and remember the service of active, retired and fallen law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders who offer their lives in service to the community to keep us all safe and well. A crowd of more than 500 were present.

The opening procession was led by a bagpiper, the Knights of Columbus Color Corps, then retired and active honorees and finally members of the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club.

The guest homilist. Msgr. Salvatore A. Criscuolo, a police and fire Chaplain in Washington DC., said the Mass was “to celebrate you and thank you as we know we can’t get along without you. You have an extremely difficult job as you are called upon every day to go out onto the streets to protect and to serve while continuing to live the oath you took at the academy on the day you were sworn in as a first responder.”

Msgr. Criscuolo said each first responder knows that not everyone always returns from their shift, making the ultimate sacrifice. He cited recent tragic instances of first responders who were killed in the line of duty including two New York Police Department officers who were gunned down when they were ambushed responding to a call for help; and three Baltimore City firefighters who died in a building collapse while fighting a fire to protect a neighborhood.

“We especially remember those men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” the Monsignor continued. “We remember them not how they died but how they lived. We remember their courage, commitment, dedication and their calling given to them by God Himself. We also remember the families, the loved ones, the coworkers, the friends and the neighbors they left behind.”

What first responders do daily is to stand in harm’s way in defense of human dignity, Msgr. Criscuolo concluded. “Do not despair. You are witnesses to the great hope that there is a better way. That’s who you are. You are that defense for each one of us, and are witnesses to hope, love and charity.”

Father Michael Orsi, Parochial Vicar at St. Agnes Parish as well as a police and fire Chaplain in Collier County, helped to spearhead the organization of the annual Blue Mass, and said he was humbled to be in the presence of so many who put their life on the line each day, committed to helping others.

A note of congratulation from District 28 State Senator Kathleen Passidomo was read at the conclusion of Mass. In addition, each active and retired first responder present was asked to come forward to receive a token of appreciation including a red, white or blue rosary made by a group of parishioners, and a St. Padre Pio token which read Hope, Pray, Don’t Worry, and was donated by the Robert L. Zore Fallen Officers Foundation.

Father Orsi was presented with several commemorative items including a U.S. Flag which was flown over the National 9/11 Memorial in New York City, as well as a Rolling Thunder motorcycle vest.

A barbeque, hosted by the Knights of Columbus, followed in the Parish Hall.

Marco Island Knights Council celebrates 50th

Knights of Columbus San Marco Council 6344 celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. On Thursday, January 13, 1972, approximately 30 Knights formed San Marco Council.

The Knights of Columbus are a fraternal Catholic organization that empowers Catholic men to live their Faith at home, in their Parish, in the Diocese, at work and in their community. Through various Knight programs and resources, the Knights of Columbus provides opportunities to enhance their Catholic identity and to live and spread the Faith.

The Knights of the San Marco Council, whose founding Grand Knight was Alexander Ayyot, was formed to focus on providing charity, a key focus of all Knights. This has been done to help the needy through countless food drives, clothing drives, toy drives and much more in support of such organizations at the St. Vincent de Paul Society and Catholic Charities. The Council also supports college scholarships and has assisted in purchasing ultrasound machines which are donated to local pregnancy clinics and serve a critical role in showing mothers their unborn child which ideally helps them choose life.

Current Grand Knight, John Coff explained how “50 years is a milestone for any organization, but for Knights Council 6344 it is a tribute to all the Knights came before and had the vision for the good work Council has done and will continue to do through our Church into the future… We are excited about our anniversary and are grateful to our Pastors who made our Council possible.”

Over the years, Coff said the Knights have done some wonderful work both supporting the Parish and area organizations. He is especially proud of the fact that Knights are always active in the support of San Marco Parish by volunteering as lectors, ushers, Eucharistic Ministers, as well as assisting at Parish events.

Soon after the Council formed, fundraising events were initiated to include bingo, Lenten fish fry, car shows, concerts and more.

The Council also has woman’s auxiliary, the Columbiettes, which was founded in 2008 and works hand-in-hand with the Knights in their programming.

As Grand Knight Coff noted, “It’s been a great 50 years.”

For more information about Knights of Columbus San Marco Council 6344, please call 239-389-5633 or visit www.sanmarcoknights.com.

Looking back on 2021

The continuing global pandemic did little to curb the important work of spreading the Good News of the Lord to the faithful throughout the Diocese of Venice in 2021.

While some events were modified, delayed or even postponed, the Diocese was blessed to have two men Ordained to the Priesthood; welcome hundreds into the Church at the Easter Vigil; start a massive robotics program in its Catholic schools; host a successful Youth Rally, as well as Women’s and Men’s Conferences; honor the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony; continue to pray for victims of abuse; honor our veterans; prayer walks for an end to abortion; assist tens of thousands with food and other support; evidence major enrollment gains in its Catholic schools; dedicate a new Parish Church and Retreat Center Shrine; continue to expand the outreach to the Hispanic Catholic community; inaugurate the Diocesan Phase of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” and conclude the “Year of St. Joseph.”

This list is just a small sample of what took place across the Diocese of Venice in 2021, all while the Diocese as well as the Parishes and Catholic schools modified operations to ensure that everyone remained safe. Each activity during the year was carefully planned to ensure participants would benefit from participating and ultimately working to the goal of helping the faithful grow ever closer to the Lord.

While taking time to look back covers many pivotal events in the life of the Diocese, the following is by no means a comprehensive listing of the initiatives and events which take place throughout the Diocese.

Priestly Ordination and Vocations

One of the most important building blocks of the Catholic Church is the ordination of men to the priesthood. The Diocese of Venice was blessed to have two men ordained in 2021 presided over by Bishop Frank J. Dewane at Epiphany Cathedral. Three other seminarians were ordained to the Transitional Diaconate in 2021 and are expected to be ordained to the priesthood in 2022.

Also encouraging is that there are currently 16 active seminarians in the Diocese, including the transitional deacons. The Vocation’s Office hosts several informational trips to the seminaries in Florida for prospective young men.

Chrism Mass and Celebration of Jubilarians

During Holy Week the priests of the Diocese gathered for the annual Chrism Mass; a powerful sign of unity with more than 100 priests on the altar with Bishop Dewane at the Cathedral. This annual Mass is one of the most critical and unifying moments for the Diocese during Holy Week. At the Chrism Mass, priests and deacons who celebrate milestone anniversaries were honored. To accommodate the latest guidance on social distancing and limiting the size of gatherings at the time, only priests and Permanent Deacons and their wives were present for the Mass. The public was able to view this Mass via livestream.

Catholic schools

The Diocese of Venice uniformly strengthened STREAM education in 15 Diocesan Catholics Schools through an investment in a partnership with FIRST®, a global robotics community, “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” placing students ahead of the curve in primary fields while continuing to promote core Catholic virtues. A gift of 500 robots and curricular resources were presented by Bishop Dewane to Diocesan Catholic Schools on March 10, 2021. Since that announcement Catholic schools throughout the Diocese have been enhancing STREAM-based learning and taking the time to continuously engage students through playful learning activities to think critically and solve complex problems, regardless of their learning level.

Also of good news, a report from the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCC) has revealed that the Diocese of Venice leads all other Arch/diocese in enrollment gains in the past year. This trend also wipes out enrollment losses that occurred due to the pandemic. The Diocesan numbers – a 15.2% enrollment increase in elementary schools and 8.9% percent increase in secondary schools – compare favorably to the rest of the state.

Throughout the year, many schools implemented programs to improve sustainability through water conservation and energy reduction effort all in the spirit of Laudato Si, an encyclical from Pope Francis on the care for our common home.

Respect Life Outreach

The Diocese of Venice had huge numbers participate in prayer vigils at abortion facilities throughout the Diocese of Venice. With this topic gaining national attention due to laws restricting access to abortion in Texas and Mississippi and pending decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, the vigils took a renewed sense of urgency. A focused prayer walk takes place each January in Sarasota to coincide with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, while two 40 Days for Life campaigns take place at multiple locations each Lent and again in the fall to coincide with October, National Respect Life Month.

Honoring the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

As the sanctity of marriage continues to be attacked from many different levels, Bishop Dewane takes time out each year to honor the men and women who have dedicated their lives to living the Sacrament of Marriage. Two Mass are held during the year which the Bishop celebrates for couples enjoying significant wedding anniversaries; many celebrating more than 50 years of marriage and some more than 70 years. These couples represent a shining example of this important Sacrament in the face of many attacks on this vital institution. In addition, the Diocese hosted the inaugural Marriage Enrichment Conference in October in Sarasota and Naples. The goal was to help form married couples to live out their vocation in holiness and joy.

Safe Haven Sunday

To help bolster the family, the Diocese also participated in the first ever Safe Haven Sunday in March 2021. Safe Haven Sunday was set aside so as to give focused time and resources to address the harmful effects of pornography on youth, marriages, and families. Resources to protect individuals, marriages and families were given to families attending Masses that weekend. This was followed up by a series of Cyber Safety workshops for parents, religious educators, and principals.

Catholic Charities

Each year the programs of Catholic Charities within the Diocese of Venice assists thousands of individuals and families and through the pandemic the numbers remained high as inflation has caused housing and food prices to skyrocket further impacting families. More than a million pounds of food was served to some 150,000 individuals at food pantries throughout the Diocese. Catholic Charities also hosted several volunteer vaccinations sites in rural communities with great success. An additional 2,000 received mental health counseling through in-person and tele-mental health programs. Nearly as many received some sort of emergency financial assistance. This support was in addition to the 30 other programs Catholic Charities has at locations throughout the region and ranges from afterschool tutoring to senior care.

Year of St. Joseph

Because St. Joseph is Protector of the Universal Church, Bishop Dewane consecrated the Diocese of Venice to a “Year of St. Joseph” in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic beginning March 19, 2020. The Diocesan dedication to a “Year of Saint Joseph” was extended to continue until Dec. 8, 2021. This was in direct support of Pope Francis creating a Universal “Year of Saint Joseph” from Dec. 8, 2020 to Dec. 8, 2021. Among the activities which took place to honor St. Joseph, the Diocesan Office of Family Life introduced a 30-day St. Joseph Devotional for the month of September 2021, as a way to continue to mark the ongoing “Year of St. Joseph,” as well as the celebration of the Year of Amoris Laetitia Family.

Synod on Synodality

Bishop Dewane inaugurated the beginning of the Diocesan Phase of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” with an afternoon Mass on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, at Epiphany Cathedral. Participating in the Mass were Diocesan priests, as well as some 300 people representing many Parishes, various movements, and many other groups. During the Diocesan Phase there will be a series of listening sessions which will take place in each part of the Diocese in the coming months. The goal of these sessions is to discern the Word of God in Scripture, what those Words are saying to us while remembering the living Mission of the Church. Two episodes of the Bishop radio show, “Witnessing Faith with Bishop Dewane,” were dedicated to covering the intricacies of the Synod.

Dedications

Two major dedications took place in the first half of 2021. First was the Dedication and Blessing of a new Parish Church for St. Paul Parish in Arcadia on March 21, 2021. The building more than quadrupled the capacity of the previous church and offers room for future Parish offices, classrooms and a Parish Hall. The project followed strict guidelines to ensure the building is energy efficient is the context of Laudato Si. A centerpiece feature of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice was dedicated and blessed by Bishop Dewane before an enthusiastic crowd on June 6, 2021. The Shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a fitting memorial to the Blessed Virgin who serves as the exemplar for all to follow.

Other items of note

  • For the 14th consecutive year, during Child Abuse Awareness Prevention Month – April, the Diocese of Venice offered a Mass to pray for the victims of abuse at Epiphany Cathedral. Normally there are two Mass, but the pandemic necessitated only one Mass in 2021. So as to accommodate a larger audience, the Mass was live-streamed. The Diocese of Venice, and its entities, take very seriously the safety of all young people and vulnerable adults. To this end, the Diocese, with a zero-tolerance policy, works to prevent any instances of abuse, particularly against minors and vulnerable adults.
  • The 12th Annual Veterans Day Catholic Mass made a successful return to Sarasota National Cemetery as Bishop Dewane prayed for those currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, those who have died, and their families. More than 500 people attended the Mass which was celebrated in 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice out of caution because of the pandemic and the threat of a hurricane.
  • For the past four years the Hispanic Ministries outreach of the Diocese of Venice has strived to meet the needs of those desiring to be better formed in their Faith. The Spanish-language Faith Formation Program recently distributed certificates of completion to 219 students who have completed an educational program to better understand the teachings of the Catholic Faith, bringing the four-year total to more than 1,500. Spanish Faith Formation Program sessions were developed following the local consultation process of the V Encuentro in 2016 and 2017.
  • The Diocese also hosted successful Women’s and Men’s Conferences as well as a full-scale Youth Rally with some 1,000 attendees. Each of these events was necessarily scaled back in 2020.
  • A Catechetical Conference, hosted by Diocese of Venice Department of Education and spearheaded by the Office of Religious Education, provided an understanding as to how to bring Jesus Christ into the classroom as a catechist according to Church teachings. The bilingual Conference was Sept. 25, 2021, and offered catechetical leaders, catechists, religion coordinators and religion teachers a training day aimed at helping them to grow spiritually and professionally.

While 2021 brought great challenges to many, including to the Diocese of Venice, the Catholic Church remains strong and 2022 looks to be a time of celebration and hope.

Stay tuned to learn about the events of 2022 coming in the Jan. 14, 2022 e-Edition of The Florida Catholic.

Thanksgiving a time to give back

Throughout the Diocese of Venice, Thanksgiving 2021 was a time to reflect and be grateful for all of the bountiful blessings God has bestowed upon the world as uncertainty and turmoil continues to be ever present.

For many, expressing their gratitude was achieved by going to Mass, giving back to the community through donations of food or money, and by cooking Thanksgiving Day dinners for those who were in need of a hot meal or might otherwise be alone this holiday.

On Thanksgiving morning, Bishop Dewane celebrated Mass at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch, something he has done for nearly a decade. Bishop Dewane spoke of how we all have so much for which to be thankful for, even during the continuing pandemic. “We gather together to be thankful for the graces God bestows upon us; for our presence here and for those around us. We must use that grace to express our gratitude to the Lord by being the leaven; going out into the world as the voice to change things through bringing Christ into the lives of all. Be the example to the world. Tell others where it is you find gratitude – in the Lord.”

Food distribution took place in the days leading up to Thanksgiving at multiple locations.

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., distributed food and turkey at each of its food pantries and even delivered food to homes in Naples, Arcadia and Immokalee.

A partnership between St. Elizabeth Seton Parish and St. Matthew’s House in Naples meant that for two days vehicles lined up to receive food, including a frozen turkey. Bishop Dewane helped load turkeys on the first day, and over the two days some 700 turkeys and food for meals were distributed.

Meanwhile, at the St. Joseph Food Pantry in Bradenton, some 900 turkeys and bags of food were distributed in two days. This effort is an outreach of the Parish and takes place throughout the year. However, Thanksgiving week a special bag of food and a turkey are offered for all. Countless volunteers on the car line and in the background made the distribution a success.

Jesus the Worker Parish in Fort Myers distributed extra food from its pantry and provided gift cards to families for the purchase of a turkey or other food that was appropriate for the large Hispanic community.

The Knights of St. Columbkille Parish in Fort Myers went above and beyond the call of duty when they delivered 204 turkeys and all the trimmings to a local food pantry and then gave 129 turkeys to St. Margaret Parish in Clewiston and 380 turkeys to St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Moore Haven.

The Sarasota Ministerial Association and St. Martha’s Church held the 21st Annual Thanksgiving Wednesday Community Luncheon Nov. 24, 2021, in the Father Fausto Parish Hall. Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School students were among the volunteers who assisted in making the event a success. The luncheon is the combined effort of many different groups in the area by providing hot food for the local homeless population.

On Thanksgiving Day, several groups hosted hot meals for the community.

One of the largest was the Knights of Columbus Our Lady of Victory Council 3358, which hosted its annual Thanksgiving Dinner at their Hall on Fruitville Road in Sarasota. This was open to anyone including those who are alone or in need a hot meal. Bishop Dewane helped plate the mashed potatoes and corn. Bishop Dewane frequently assists at this meal.

Before the meal, the Bishop blessed the Knights and all of the volunteers who made the meal possible. Some 250 boxed meals were delivered throughout the area to elder housing and low-income housing facilities, while at the same time there was a steady stream of grateful people arriving throughout the afternoon for a meal with all the trimmings, including pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top. The leftovers were donated to help feed the homeless. The Knights in Sarasota have been hosting this annual meal with all of the trimmings since the late 1980s.

The Knights of Columbus of Epiphany Cathedral in Venice hosted their own Thanksgiving Dinner for the community with Msgr. Patrick Dubois, Rector of the Cathedral, helping to serve apple and pumpkin pie.

St. Peter the Apostles Parish in Naples also hosted its annual Thanksgiving Dinner for those who might otherwise be alone for the holiday, a tradition that goes back a number of years.

These were just a few of the ways the faithful of the Diocese lived their faith in celebration of Thanksgiving.

News Briefs for the Week of November 8, 2021

Bradenton students do well in Knights soccer challenge

Three St. Joseph Catholic School students in Bradenton won awards at the Knights of Columbus State Soccer Challenge on Nov. 6, 2021 in Melbourne, Florida. Connor and Karol placed 2nd in the state in their age division, and Cooper placed 3rd in the state! Congratulations!

Student wins top junior horsemanship title

Alexa Dahl, a junior at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples, won the 2021 World Championship for American Saddlebred in the 17 and under Three Gated Country Pleasure Division which she won with her mount CH Undulata’s Satchmo on Aug. 27, 2021 at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville, Kentucky. The Fair is host to the World Championships and the team made two top notch performances in to claim the title of Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure 14-17 World’s Champion and World’s Champion of Champions! This team captured numerous other wins earlier in the year and is sure to continue their show ring success.

Students mourn classmate

Bishop Verot Catholic High School students, faculty, and family gathered Nov. 3, 2021, in the Senior Courtyard for a candlelight prayer vigil to remember senior Juan Roa, who died unexpectedly. The vigil included students sharing stories of Juan and the impact he had on so many lives. On All Soul’s Day, Nov. 2, the entire student body, along with members of the Roa family, took part in a Mass in his memory.

Three-year-olds dig for dinosaurs

The pre-kindergarten-3 students at St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota played Jr. Paleontologists on Nov. 3, 2021 during a dino dig. A packed sand pit was created for the children to dig through in their own grip section as they happily searched out the “dino bones” and then tried to figure out how to put them together to assemble a “full-sized” dinosaur. Afterwards the whole group took a well deserved nap.

Volunteers at local soup kitchen

Junior girls at the Donahue Academy of Ave Maria Catholic School took part in a Nov. 5, 2021, service day volunteering at the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen at Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities in Immokalee. The students set up the dining room tables, served the food and washed the dishes, learning valuable lessons about giving back and seeing first-hand the need of the poor in the community, some 10 miles for their home.

School hosts Fall Festival

St. Ann Catholic School in Naples hosted a Fall Festival on Nov. 6, 2021, put on by the school PTA. Beautiful weather brightened everyone’s day there were lots of fun activities and good food too.

Department of Education holds marketing and development workshop

The Diocese of Venice Department of Education hosted a Catholic Schools Marketing & development Collaboration Event and Workshop Nov. 8, 2021, at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice. Some 30 school representatives took part in the day which included sharing best practices, learning new strategies and brainstorming on how to continue to work together. The workshop was presented by John Carkeet, Department of Education Marketing Coordinator. Father John Belmonte, SJ, Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Education was also present and encouraged that continuing to build the Catholic culture at their respective schools must be a large part of any marketing and development plan.

All encouraged to attend 12th Annual Veterans Day Catholic Mass

The Diocese of Venice will be hosting the 12th Annual Veterans Day Catholic Mass on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, at the Sarasota National Cemetery in honor of all the men and women who have served our country and continue to serve to this day.

The Mass, preceded by an opening ceremony at 2:45 p.m., will allow the faithful an opportunity to honor veterans and pray for them, many of whom are laid to rest at the Sarasota National Cemetery. All are welcome to attend the Mass. Active military personnel are asked to wear their uniforms for the occasion.

Organized by the Diocese of Venice, with the support of the Knights of Columbus, the annual Mass started in 2010, just two years after the National Cemetery was dedicated. Since that time, the cemetery and Mass have grown. More than 25,000 veterans and their spouses are interred in the National Cemetery since opening.

In 2019, some 1,500 attended the Mass. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the 2020 Mass was livestreamed from Epiphany Cathedral in Venice as Hurricane Eta struck Florida.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane said it is a special privilege that the Diocese of Venice celebrates this Mass for the intention of our veterans each year. “We gather to thank all the men and women who served, and continue to serve, in the armed forces for what they have done so that we can live as we do today. We also comfort those who mourn, honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

The opening ceremony will include patriotic music, hymns, as well as the Presenting and Posting of the Colors. The Mass, concelebrated by priests from across the Diocese of Venice, will follow immediately.

After the Mass, Bishop Dewane and concelebrating priests, escorted by the Knight of Columbus Color Corps, will proceed to the nearby graves where they will stand in silent prayer as “Taps” is played.

A military display will be nearby with flags representing the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines.

Sarasota National Cemetery is located on State Road 72 (exit 205 at Clark Road), approximately four miles east of Interstate 75. A water station and restrooms will be in place for the ceremony. There is ample on-site parking available for those in attendance. There will be handicapped parking and golf carts available to shuttle those who need extra assistance. Everyone is encouraged to arrive early.

News Briefs for the Week of Sept. 10, 2021

Bishop celebrates Mass for students in Fort Myers

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass for students at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School and Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers on Sept. 7, 2021. He stressed the importance of taking time for prayer in their lives. The Bishop cited the Gospel Reading for the day (Lk 6:12-19), when the Lord calls the 12 Disciples by name. “Jesus always took time for prayer before making a major decision or announcement,” Bishop Dewane said. “Find the time in your life to pray.”

Naples Parish hosts Peace Novena

St. Agnes Parish in Naples began a Peace Novena on Sept. 3, 2021, in the lead up to the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks and marking the end of the war in Afghanistan with its recent tragic consequences. The daily Peace Novena will conclude at 3 p.m., Sept. 11, in the Church, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road The service will include special decorations, candle lighting, scripture readings, a brief homily, intercessions, the completion of the Novena, and music, prior to the 4 p.m. Mass. The faithful were able to follow the novena through the Parish website.

Knights gifts Bibles to students

The sixth and seventh grade students at St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton were each presented with a personal Bible, courtesy of the Knights of Columbus. St. Joseph Pastor, Father Rafal Ligenza, visited each of the classrooms and blessed the Bibles on Sept. 3, 2021.

Students donate blood

More than 60 Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School students donated blood on Aug. 31, 2021 as part of a life-saving drive conducted at the Sarasota school by Suncoast Blood Centers.

 

Freshmen retreat includes pray and fun

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Class of 2025 participated in the annual Freshmen Retreat on Sept. 3, 2021 in Naples. It was a day of prayer, adoration, education, fun, games, trivia, and food!

News Briefs for the Week of Aug. 20, 2021

Bishop celebrates Mass for Parish

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass for the faithful of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Port Charlotte in what was to be a Parish Feast Day celebration on Aug. 15, 2021. While the Mass was on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, there was planned celebration after Mass to honor the Patron Saint of the Parish, St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose Feast Day is Aug. 14. Bishop Dewane noted the sacrifice of St. Maximilian Kolbe a Polish Franciscan friar who was active in the promotion and veneration of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and was martyred in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland when he volunteered to die in the place of a stranger. Bishop Dewane said the devotion of the Saint to his faith and to his fellow prisoners is well documented and should serve as an example for all to follow. The man saved by St. Maximilian Kolbe’s sacrifice survived the Holocaust and was present for the Saint’s beatification and canonization. While the after-Mass celebration was cancelled, present was Father Mark Heuberger, founding-Pastor of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish and current Pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish in Bradenton. Current Pastor Father Teofilo Useche said the threat of Tropical Storm Fred and the ongoing Pandemic caused the celebration to be cancelled.

Naples Parish hosted State Knights for Conference

St. Agnes Parish in Naples hosted the 139th Supreme Convention virtually for the Florida State Council Delegation from Aug. 3-4, 2021. Father Bob Kantor, Pastor of St. Agnes, is the Knights State Chaplain, and participants watching the Supreme Convention as a group. While together, the State Exemplification Team conducted a ceremony Aug. 3, welcoming new Knights and elevating existing ones to the third degree, 12 in all. Father Kantor also celebrated Mass for the State delegation.

Fort Myers and Sarasota 40 Days for Life campaigns begin Sept. 22

The Fall 40 Days for Life campaign begins worldwide on Sept. 22, 2021 through Sunday, Oct. 31, including in Fort Myers and Sarasota. Prayerfully discern where God is calling you. Is it to peaceful sidewalk prayer? Fasting? Adoration? Please consider the many ways in which you can participate. For information about the Fort Myers 40 Days for Life visit www.40daysforlife.com/fortmyers for location and details or to sign up. Also consider joining the monthly respect life meetings on the third Wednesday of the month in the Parish Life Center at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers following the 8 a.m. Mass (approximately 8:45 a.m.). All are welcome! Contact Maureen at 239-823-6800 with questions. For information about the Sarasota 40 Days for Life, go to www.40daysforlife.com/sarasota or contact Rich at 40DFLSarasota@gmail.com or 941-923-0752.

Congreso Pro Vida

Registrations are now open! The Archdiocese of Miami is hosting the 6th national Congreso Pro Vida at St. Thomas University the weekend of Oct. 29-31, 2021 (first time in Florida!) Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities will join Archbishop Thomas Wenski for the event and will be a keynote speaker. See www.congresoprovida.org for details including registration, hotel, schedule, and speakers. Simultaneous interpretation in English or Spanish will be available via headsets. For questions, contact Sylvia Jimenez at c-Jimenez@DioceseofVenice.org or call 941-412-5860.

 Congreso Pro Vida

¡Ya están abiertas las inscripciones! La Arquidiócesis de Miami está organizando el 6° Congreso Pro Vida Nacional en la Universidad de St. Thomas el fin de semana del 29 al 31 de octubre de 2021 (¡primera vez en la Florida!). El arzobispo Joseph Naumann, presidente del Comité de Actividades Pro-Vida de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de EE. UU. se unirá al arzobispo Thomas Wenski en el evento y será el orador principal. Visite www.congresoprovida.org para obtener detalles, incluido el registro, el hotel, el horario y los oradores. Interpretación simultánea de las presentaciones en inglés o español estarán disponibles a través de auriculares. Si tiene preguntas, comuníquese con Sylvia Jimenez at o al 941-412-5860 o c-Jimenez@DioceseofVenice.org.

Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal

Every day, Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice serves the most vulnerable population by feeding, housing, empowering, and striving to help those in need. This summer, you can leave your footprint by helping your neighbors. The Catholic Charities Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal is asking for your support. Donate to your choice of assistance, such as food, shelter, education or other support. The giving is easy! Your gift will make a positive impact on our less fortunate brothers and sisters! Please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or mail a check to Catholic Charities,1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285.

Labor Day Pig Roast

Join the Epiphany Cathedral Knights of Columbus for a Labor Day Pig roast, Sept. 6, 2021, at the Knights Hall, 512 Substation Road, Venice. Doors open at 3 p.m., dinner buffet starts at 4 p.m. Menu includes roasted pig, plantains, barbecue beans, potato salad, cole slaw, dessert, iced tea, lemonade, water. Cost is $20 per person. Beer and wine available. Credit cards accepted. Register at epiphanyknights.org or call Nancy Kraszewski at 281-814-9954.

CCW Vocation Fund fundraiser

Support and encourage our future priests by contributing to the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women Vocation Fund by joining them in celebrating Priesthood Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. Send a donation to the VDCCW Vocation Fund “In Honor of” the priest(s) in your Parish. Our Diocese is educating 16 MEN in various seminaries so your donation of any amount will be a great help! To take part, please send $1.00 for each card in addition to your donation. The extra $1.00 covers the cost of the “IN HONOR OF” card(s) and mailing them to you so you can deliver to your Priest(s). Your donation amount will not be revealed to the Priest(s). And please remember that this is a gift that keeps on giving!  Please send $1.00 plus your donation made out to “VDCCW Vocation Fund” to: Cornelia Zanetti, 5808 Gulf Drive, #204, Holmes Beach, FL 34217. Questions? Please email Corniez@aol.com.

Diocesan Marriage Conference Oct. 2

The Diocese of Venice in Florida and the St. John Paul II Foundation announce the “Together in Holiness Marriage Conference” that will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 2, 2021, at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples and St. Thomas More Parish, 2506 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota. The speakers are Kevin and Lisa Cotter. For more details contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org.

Stepping into Marriage with Children

The Diocese Office of Family Life is offering a free half day workshop for couples beginning or currently in a stepfamily situation. This program takes a realistic look at blended families and offers strategies and tools for success.  The program is being offered 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Oct. 9, 2021, at St. Leo the Great Parish, 28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs, and 9 a.m. to noon, Nov. 6, 2021, at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1301 Center Road, Venice. To register https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/stepping-into-marriage-with-children.

White Mass in Naples Oct. 16

A White Mass and lecture for physicians and medical professionals will be 8:30 a.m., Oct. 16, 2021, at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples. A blessing of the stethoscope will also be held. Please wear your white coat. Following Mass, a lecture and breakfast will take place in the Parish Center. The lecture is entitled “Spiritual Leadership in a Secular Healthcare Setting” presented by speaker Paul Hiltz followed by a discussion with Dr. Gloth and other panelists. There is a $50 fee per person (reduced rates for physicians in training and non-physician health professionals). Register and pay online at www.stagnesnaples.org. For more information, please contact Maggie Brady 239-592-1949. (1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit)

 

 

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