News Briefs for the week of July 22, 2022

Appointments

 After consultation, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announces the following:

Father Teofilo Ramirez Moreno, c.s., as Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Immokalee, effective July 16, 2022, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Administrator of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.

Father Phillip Schweda, as Administrator of St. Bernard Parish in Holmes Beach, effective July 18, 2022, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar of Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish in Bradenton.

Father Christian Chami, as Parochial Vicar of Holy Cross Parish in Palmetto, effective July 18, 2022, until September 30, 2022. Father then returns to Rome to complete his Licentiate Studies at the Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm.

Father David Portorreal, as Parochial Vicar at St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs, effective July 18, 2022.

Father Michael Young, as Parochial Vicar at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers, effective July 18, 2022.

Father Saji Ellickal Joseph, M.C.B.S., as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Lourdes in Venice, effective July 25, 2022, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers.

Religious sister, teacher, dies

Sister Marianne Baehr, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and longtime teacher at St. Mary Academy and St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota, died at St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham, New York on July 10, 2022, at the age of 80. Sister Marianne entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1960, professing vows final vows in August 1967.  She gained a degree from the College of Saint Rose, Albany, New York, and an advanced degree in education from SUNY Cortland, New York. For many years Sister ministered as a teacher and administrator in the schools of the Diocese of Syracuse, Sister Marianne moved to the Diocese of Venice when her brother, Father David Baehr, retired to the area. Within the Diocese, Sister Marianne was a teacher at both St. Mary Academy and St. Martha Catholic School between 2005 and 2017 before her retirement retiring to the Provincial House in Latham. A Mass of Christian Burial took place on July 20, 2022, at the St. Joseph’s Provincial House. Sister Marianne was predeceased by her parents and brother, Father David. Please pray for the repose of the soul of Sister Marianne Baehr.

Third Emmaus Congress held in Bonita Springs

Hundreds gathered for the 3rd Congress of Emmaus (Emaus) held July 16, 2022, at St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs. The event, which was in Spanish, was for those who have completed an Emmaus weekend retreat in the past and served as an opportunity to renew and recapture the fire that grew in them during their first retreat. This was the first Congress of Emmaus since 2019. The gathering at St. Leo the Great included music and reflections with a particular focus on the Eucharist, with Adoration and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. The day culminated with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Emmaus retreat program is a Diocesan-approved retreat weekend that takes place three times a year in both English and Spanish. It is open to all men and women ages 20 or older seeking to grow in their relationship with Christ regardless of their present level of faith and practice. To learn more about Emmaus retreats across the Diocese, contact your local parish or email emaus@dioceseofvenice.org or emmaus@dioceseofvenice.org.

Knights present check to benefit Ukrainian Relief

Two members of the Knights of Columbus, Father John J. Walsh Council 7052, of Venice, presented a check for $4,550 to Bishop Frank J. Dewane at the Catholic Center in Venice on July 12, 2022. The money was collected to support the Ukrainian Relief Fund of Catholic Relief Services, which is the designated agency in the U.S. to work with local Church partners to distribute lifesaving supplies like food and water. Anyone interested in supporting Ukrainian Relief can send Donations to the Diocese of Venice, with “Ukraine” indicated in the memo or note line at the following address: Diocese of Venice in Florida, Ukraine Relief, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285, or visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/ways-to-give/ and click the donate button.

Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week 

The Church has designated the week of July 24-30 as National NFP Awareness Week. This provides an opportunity to spread the word about Catholic teaching on marriage and conjugal love. Sharing basic information about the methods of NFP and why they support God’s design for love and life is at the heart of this national campaign. The Office of Family Life will be hosting free, virtual information sessions on the Creighton Model FertiltyCare System during NFP week. The Creighton Model allows women to monitor their reproductive health and couples to plan their families in a way that is moral, medically safe, and reliable. Find out if the Creighton Model System is right for you! To schedule a session contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-484-9543 ext. 3019. For more information about Natural Family Planning, please visit https://www.usccb.org/topics/natural-family-planning/national-nfp-awareness-week.

Catholic Charities Summertime Appeal ongoing

Every day, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., serves its most vulnerable population by feeding, housing, empowering, and helping all in need. This summer, you can be the one that makes a difference. Your acts of kindness have the power to transform lives and leave a positive impact in our community. The Catholic Charities Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal is asking for your 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.

Walking With Moms in Need

Would you know how to help a pregnant woman in need? Maybe it’s your daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, sister, or neighbor. Maybe it’s someone you see in a store, restaurant, or church. Perhaps she is crying, looks distraught or is obviously being treated poorly by someone. Through a new national initiative from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) called Walking with Moms in Need, now you will know how to help. Walking with Moms in Need teaches the faithful how to help pregnant women in need, starting by letting them know they are not alone. The nationwide Catholic program calls every parishioner to learn the names of their local pregnancy help centers, the first responders for women with unexpected or difficult pregnancies. If you know of someone who is pregnant and needs help immediately, visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/walking-with-moms-in-need.

Marriage Conference coming in October

Registration is now open for the Diocese of Venice Oct. 22, 2022, , “Together in Holiness” Marriage Conference, presented in partnership with the Diocese of Venice Office of Family Life and the St. John Paul II Foundation. To register, please visit https://forlifeandfamily.org/events/th22-vnfl/. Bishop Frank J. Dewane said, “It is my pleasure to welcome the second annual Together in Holiness conference to the Diocese of Venice on October 22, the Feast of St. John Paul II. An invitation to all married and engaged couples to join me at this inspiring event is warmly extended. This day of prayer and presentations will enable each couple to reflect upon the great gift of the marriage vocation entrusted to them. I pray that through the intercession of St. John Paul II, the ‘Pope of the family,’ this day will be fruitful for all.” This marriage enrichment conference will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers. Couples will enjoy a day of quality time with their spouse accompanied by dynamic presentations and the availability of the Sacraments, along with access to on-site childcare.

National Eucharistic Revival

A three-year revival of devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist begins with the Diocesan phase, from June 19, 2022, through June 11, 2023. During the Diocesan Year, there will be a series of events and retreats that encourage the renewal of the Church “by rekindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.” The pinnacle of the coming year will be a Diocesan Eucharistic Congress on March 24 and March 25, 2023. This event, which is in the early planning stages, will take place at the Convention Center and Luminary Hotel on the Fort Myers riverfront. The National Eucharistic Revival is a focused effort by the U.S. Catholic Bishops to revive a devotion to and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. To learn more about the National Eucharistic Revival, visit www.eucharisticrevival.org. Stay tuned for more information for the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress by visiting https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/eucharistic-congress-2023/. There you will find a free online course, “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” which can be utilized in parishes, small groups, or for individual study.

“Witnessing Faith with Bishop Dewane”

Join Bishop Frank J. Dewane for his monthly radio program on Relevant Radio on 106.7 FM and 1410 AM in Fort Myers and 93.3 FM and 1660 AM and in Naples. “Witnessing Faith with Bishop Dewane” can be heard at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, July 29. Outside of the listening area, access to the program is available at https://dioceseofvenice.org/our-bishop/relevant-radio-podcasts.

Support after abortion – Project Rachel

Most women who choose abortion eventually realize that they made the wrong choice and face a lifetime of regret. Even if they confess this sin to a priest, they often find it difficult to accept God’s forgiveness and forgive themselves. They will often confess the same sin over and over. Project Rachel is the Catholic Church’s program to help women and men come to terms with an abortion decision and find the hope and healing they need. Watch for more on post-abortion healing in the next edition of The Florida Catholic. For confidential help in English and Spanish, call 941-412-5860 or email project.rachel@dioceseofvenice.org.

Do You Need Help?

If you need assistance from Catholic Charities for food, financial assistance, or tele-mental health counseling, please call 941-355-4680 in Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto, Hardee, and Highlands Counties; 239-390-2928 in Charlotte, Lee, Hendry, and Glades Counties; and 239-793-0059 in Collier County between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 pm., Monday to Friday.

Retreat Center Fall Schedule Available Online

The Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center (OLPH) fall group retreats are now available for registration at www.olph-retreat.org. This includes a new one-day retreat on “Meditation in the Catholic Tradition,” scheduled for Saturday, October 22, the biannual silent Ignatian Preached Retreat, scheduled for Friday, November 18 to Monday, November 21, and the Monthly Day of Prayer series. Would you rather a private, directed retreat? OLPH offers 3-night, 5-night, and 7-night private retreats. To learn more about these retreats, please call 941-486-0233 or visit www.olph-retreat.org.

Food pantry needs help

The St. Joseph Food Pantry in Bradenton is in need of peanut butter. This staple is an important part of the pantry’s Family Bags and provides a key source of protein for children in need in Manatee County. The Food Pantry is happy to accept bulk, large, and small containers of peanut butter, as well as other non-perishable food items. If you wish to make a financial contribution, your donation can be doubled thanks to a partnership with the Flanzer Trust. Donations can be delivered to 2704 33rd Ave. W. Bradenton, FL  34205, Monday thru Friday 9 a.m. till noon. Please call 941-756 3732 or email directors@stjoepantry.com if you have any questions or if you need to make arrangements for drop off. For more information about how you can help, please visit www.stjoepantry.com.

Lay movement brings people back to Faith

Members of the John XXIII Parish Retreats Movement gathered at Campo San Jose Retreat Center in Lake Placid on June 12, 2022, to celebrate the conclusion of another retreat.

At total of 29 women took part in the three-day retreat with their family and others taking part on the final day for the closing Mass. This makes more than 1,000 who have returned to the faith in the Diocese of Venice through the John XXIII Movement.

The John XXIII Movement is a private international association of laity, with the goal of leading marginalized communities to God. To be part of the movement you must have experienced the initial retreat experience. After completing the retreat, participants are encouraged to attend faith-formation classes and weekly meetings to strengthen their faith and personal relationship with God. Rooted in Eucharistic Adoration, the ministry serves the Church and its people through love, surrender, and sacrifice.

The Movement is constituted according to the canons of Canon Law of the Catholic Church and inspired by the principles that emanated from the Second Vatican Council. The Movement, from its origins, goes out in search of the forgotten and the marginalized, of those, who due to their problems, live in the anonymity of life thinking that the Gospel cannot be preached to them. In addition to the John XXIII Movement, the Diocese has eight additional lay outreach efforts, many of which are directed toward the Hispanic faithful.

Father Claudio Stewart, Diocese of Venice Director of the Hispanic Apostolate and Movement Spiritual Director, celebrated the closing Mass of the retreat which was a graduation of sorts for the women and a joyous welcome back into the Faith.

“They come to this retreat not expecting anything and leave with everything, the love of their family, the love of the community, the love of Christ,” Father Stewart said. “It is an emotional journey as they must seek the Lord’s forgiveness for sins they have done to themselves and those done to others. This is not easy.”

Following the Mass, each woman stood up and offered their story. This was done while holding a crucifix for support, as they each first explained how they heard about the John XXIII Movement and then what they experienced during the retreat. Finally, as their family looks on, and everyone is smiling in encouragement, the woman then expresses their emotional apologies and remorse to their family and friends and also their gratitude for leading them back to Christ.

Once they are done with their testimonial, each woman is cheered and approaches their friends and family, who have been held back to allow them the space to be open and honest. The reunion is full of hugs and presentations of roses, a symbolic gesture of the Blessed Virgin Mary and their new closeness to the Lord. The celebration concludes with celebratory music and a fiesta of food and fellowship.

“This is a well-organized and transformative program,” Father Stewart said. “The people on these retreats have many reasons for being away from the Church, but with the support and encouragement they are given, their return is a true celebration for the individual, their family, their friends and everyone who is part of the Movement and the Church in the Diocese of Venice.”

For more information about the John XXIII Movement, please contact Father Stewart at stewart@dioceseofvenice.org or Jose Pastor Ramirez, Diocesan Coordinator, at JosePR72@hotmail.com.

Legion of Mary groups renew promises

The Annual Acies of the Manasota Curia of the Legion of Mary took place March 26 at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the Mass for the gathered members which represented 10 different Legion of Mary praesidiums from across the region.

Bishop Dewane praised the Legion of Mary for its commitment to carrying the message of the Blessed Virgin Mary to others. That message includes giving oneself over to the Lord by doing what He asks without question and without fail.

Annually, during the Acies ceremony, the members reconsecrate themselves to Mary by renewing their Legionary Promise, so that they may better work in union with the Blessed Virgin as they do their Legionary battle against the evils of this world.

In this consecration the members open their hearts to Mary, so that Our Lady may guide them and bless them through the year. This ceremony is held as close as possible to the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (March 25). Following the Mass, the Acies included a luncheon and followed by the recitation of the rosary.

Janine Marrone, who serves as President of the Manasota Curia and a member of the praesidium at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice, said the gathering is a great boost of energy and vitality for the Legion of Mary.

“This is great to see so many of us together,” Marrone said. “That is particularly true this year, with (approximately) 90 members able to attend; this the largest Curia gathering in three years, or before the pandemic began. We are going strong.”

Jeannine Byrnes, of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, said the annual Acies rededicates each member of the Legion of Mary to Our Lady, providing the strength and guidance to continue forward with their work.

The Legion of Mary is a worldwide organization of lay Catholics focusing on Marian spirituality and apostolic works. It is the largest apostolic organization of lay people in the Catholic Church, with millions of members in nearly every country of the world.

It has been active in the United States since 1931, has been approved by the last six popes (including St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II), and was endorsed by the Second Vatican Council. The main purpose of the Legion of Mary is to give glory to God through the sanctification of its members.

Members become instruments of the Holy Spirit through a balanced program of prayer and service. Works include door-to-door evangelization, parishioner visitation, prison ministry, visitation of the sick or aged, crowd contact, religious education, visiting the newly baptized, Pilgrim Virgin Statue rotations, and meeting the other spiritual needs of the parish community. Legionaries are under the guidance of a spiritual director who is appointed by the Pastor. The Legion is, in essence, an extension of the heart and hands of the Pastor.

Members meet once a week for prayer, planning and discussion in a family setting. Then they do two hours of work each week in pairs and under the guidance of their spiritual director.

A main apostolate of the Legion is activities directed towards Catholics and non-Catholics, encouraging them in their faith or inviting them to become Catholic. This is usually done by encouraging them in prayer, attending Mass and learning more about the Catholic Faith.

For a list of Parish praesidia (chapters) in the Diocese of Venice, visit:

http://www.legionofmarymiamiregia.com.

Emmaus leaders gather

The advisory council of Emmaus Retreats in the Diocese of Venice recently organized a daylong meeting for more than 100 Parish retreat leaders.

The meeting was Feb. 19, 2022, at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish in LaBelle, and the focus was on finding ways to reenergize the Emmaus Retreats within the Diocese of Venice in the wake of the global pandemic. Emmaus Retreats are offered in numerous Parishes and available in both English and Spanish.

The advisory council includes three spiritual directors – Father Jiobani Batista, Father Luis Pacheco, and Father Luis Albarracin – as well as 10 lay faithful. Meeting topics also included refresher presentations on “The vision and mission of Emmaus,” “What does Emmaus mean?” as well as updates on Diocesan regulations and guidelines. It has been more than two years since Emmaus retreat leadership met.

“We can truly say the day was filled with the love of God and the Holy Spirit,” said Diana De La Fuente, Diocesan Coordinator for Emmaus Retreats. “We shared discussions of how we can bring our groups back to the way we were prior to the pandemic. We have noticed a great reduction in participation in our groups and we all want to regain what we had before.”

As disciples of Jesus, the Emmaus Retreat provides an opportunity for lay faithful to bring the Word of God to others, so they too might recognize Jesus, experience burning in their hearts, and invite Jesus to stay with them and with their families (Lk 24: 32). Lay faithful present their personal experiences and offer a new way of life, an open invitation for participants to seek God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit at all times in their life.

“As we are now able to invite parishioners once again to experience for themselves this retreat, we are faithful that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit we will be able to foster Evangelization and faithful involvement in the life of the church in a very special and unique manner,” De La Fuente said.

The basis of the Emmaus Retreat is taken from Luke 24:13-35. This is an account of the profound encounter of Jesus with the two disciples on the road of Emmaus. In a similar way, retreatants are invited to enter into the same journey with its summit in the breaking of the bread. This experience offers participants the tools they need to return to their daily lives, with their hearts burning within them as they walk with the Risen Lord.

“With the help from our Lord, Jesus Christ, we are confident that we will be able to serve the Church as enthusiastically as this movement was prior to the pandemic,” De La Fuente said.

To learn more about Emmaus Retreats, please email emmaus@dioceseofvenice.org.

Charismatic Conference inspires

When we give our lives to Jesus, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we become more like Him.

This fundamental concept served as a guidepost for the participants in the 2022 Diocese of Venice English Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference which was held Jan. 15, at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers.

The Conference brought together English Charismatic Renewal groups from across the Diocese to share in a day of uplifting talks, encouraging everyone to answer their personal call to holiness.

The theme for the day “Come, and You Will See,” comes from the Gospel of John (1:37-39). In the passage we learned that the disciples knew who Jesus was as a man and prophet, but they did not know the true Jesus, Son of God the Father. They decided to take the path to stay with the Lord.

This message is important, not just for Charismatics, but for all, said Bishop Frank J. Dewane, during a Mass at the conclusion of the Conference.

“They came to this Conference to listen to the Lord in their life, and to fill their hearts, minds and souls with the Holy Spirit and hear the call that the Holy Spirit has for them,” Bishop Dewane said. “We all need to listen to the charism, the call in our own life.”

Father Anthony Lukka, Diocesan English Catholic Charismatic Renewal Spiritual Advisor and Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice, led the group in prayer several times throughout the day.

Father Lukka repeatedly stressed the importance for the faithful to realize that the saving power of Jesus will heal them from pain and suffering, physically or spiritually.

“The only thing that is required of us is to ask Jesus to bring healing into our lives,” he said. “It is by His wounds; you have been healed. It was on the cross where Jesus suffered and shed His Precious Blood that we are all healed of our sins. That healing should permeate who you are in your life.”

Renee Marazon, President of the Diocesan English Catholic Charismatic Renewal, said that on a daily basis the Lord reveals the Glory of His Kingdom and longs for us to know His love which will cast out any fear we have in our heart. “Speak to Jesus; talk to Jesus, he wants you to be His best friend. Talk to Him and listen to His voice.”

Dr. John Gresham, recently retired Director of the Diocese of Venice Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation, spoke about the way we should be healed through all prayer and through the generosity and love of the Holy Spirit. God invites us to share in the anointing of Jesus to do the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. The Holy Spirit brings us into that Communion as co-workers with God.”

Before Mass, the Conference concluded with a presentation from participants on the successful introduction of the Alpha Catholic Course at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral. This 12-week course is a way to reintroduce the faithful through group encounters and discussions is done at a smaller group level and is structured to help people feel comfortable talking about their faith and welcome in the Church beyond the pews on Sunday.

Marazon explained how the program started small and has grown exponentially and created a sense of community at the Parish that was lacking in the past.

One attendee said participating in the Alpha course was a spiritual gift where his faith in Jesus jumped. “We learn that God meets us where we are.”

For more information about the Diocesan English Catholic Charismatic Renewal or how to start an Alpha Catholic Course at your Parish, please visit www.dvccr.org or email Renee Marazon at renee.marazon@dioceseofvenice.org.

Cursillo lay movement celebrates 25 years

For the past 25 years the Spanish Cursillos lay movement has been encouraging individuals and families to make a deeper commitment as living witnesses to the Lord by how they live their lives.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated a Mass on Aug. 7, 2021, at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula, to mark the anniversary and thanked the participants for bringing the faithful closer to the Lord by being that example for others to follow.

“Take this anniversary as a time to celebrate what you have accomplished and know the seeds of faith are planted for the future,” Bishop Dewane said. “I stand before you humbled, as you are part of something symbolic and concretely spiritual.”

The keynote speakers were Jose Sanchez, Cursillos Region Vll Coordinator, and Ángel Delgado, who started Cursillos in the Diocese of Venice in 1986 at St. James Parish in Lake Placid. Both were pleased to witness such a strong lay movement with the Diocese. They also offered encouragement to the members to not rest on their laurels and to continue their effort to spread it and to bring others to the movement in the future. The day-long celebration also included prayer and music.

Cursillos is a lay movement which attempts, from within the Church, to give life to the essential Christian truths in the singularity, originality and creativity of the person. The goal of Cursillo is the same as the goal of the Church: to bring all to Christ. This is done when informed, trained leaders set out with the support of others having a similar commitment.

Cursillo (pronounced ” kur – see – yoh”) or Cursillo de Christiandad is a Spanish term which means “short course in Christianity.” Cursillo begins with a three-day experience, which takes a New Testament look at Christianity as a lifestyle. It is a highly structured weekend designed to strengthen and renew the faith of Christian people and through them their families, Parishes and the world in which they live.

Retreats serve as reflection and evangelization

When given the opportunity to ask Bishop Frank J. Dewane a question, several young men and women directly inquired where they fit in today’s Catholic Church.

These questions came Nov. 24 during a visit by Bishop Dewane to a Spanish-language Youth Catholic Charismatic Renewal Retreat at the Lake Placid Camp and Conference Center. This was one of several retreats taking place during late November for Spanish-language participants in a number of movements.

 

John XXIII Parish Retreats Movement

On the weekend of Nov. 15-17, members of the John XXIII Parish Retreats Movement gathered at Campo San Jose Retreat Center in Lake Placid. About 25 men took part in the retreat with family and others taking part on the final day for the closing Mass.

The John XXIII Movement is a private international association of laity, with the goal of leading marginalized communities to God. After completing the retreat, participants are encouraged to attend faith-formation classes and weekly meetings to strengthen their faith and personal relationship with God. Rooted in Eucharistic Adoration, the ministry serves the Church and its people through love, surrender, and sacrifice.

MDS retreat

On Nov. 24, the MDS, (Matrimony, Dialogue and Accompaniment) group gathered at Campo San Jose for a retreat. This is a Catholic based enrichment program directed to all married couples; which is designed to improve communication and the conjugal life for the couple. About 60 couples participated in the retreat.

Bishop Dewane celebrated Mass, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, for the retreatants and praised the effort of the leadership in promoting the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony to others. The Bishop noted that by joining in the Sacrament the couples come together by sharing their life with each other and place themselves before Christ the King. “Let the Lord be the King of your marriage and put your focus there.”

Following the Mass, Bishop Dewane and Spiritual Director Father Pablo Ruani were presented with certificates of appreciation.

Hispanic Apostolate meeting

The Bishop also hosted a gathering of priests who serve the Hispanic community in the Diocese for a meeting at the Diocese Chancery in Venice on Nov. 26. This meeting provided the Bishop an update on the engagement of Hispanic Catholics, including success stories and the challenges faced in the Parishes, Diocese and on the national levels.

The group also spoke about implementing more of the ideas developed during the V Encuentro process, a nationwide initiative of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops to discern ways for the Church in the United States to better respond to the ever-growing Hispanic presence. The ultimate goal is to strengthen the ways in which Hispanics/Latinos respond to the call of the New Evangelization as integral parts of the Church in the United States.

Answering questions from the young

In front of the youth participating the Catholic Charismatic Renewal retreat, the Bishop was asked questions related to the same issue, specifically about what he is doing to reach out to young Hispanics. The questioner noted that there is a real desire for many to become more involved in the Church, but they do not know where to turn for answers.

Emphasizing that this is an imperative issue for him, Bishop Dewane said more needs to be done to reach Hispanics throughout the Diocese. He is working to do that in a variety of ways, including increasing the number of Spanish-speaking clergy, and by having more Spanish-speaking presenters come to the Diocese and to parishes. The first part of that effort in the Diocese has been the rapid expansion of the Hispanic Apostolate.

While talking to the retreatants, the Bishop spoke about how they are at a critical time in the life with regards to their Faith. For this reason, he stressed the importance for them to limit their interaction with people and things that pulls them from developing their relationship with the Lord.

“You each know the people that turn you away from the Lord,” Bishop Dewane said. “You know better than anyone how that phone or that computer can take you to dark places. Only you can make the choice to put aside those distractions and focus on the Lord.”

Continuing, Bishop Dewane noted that each one of them have been given the strength to answer the call of the Lord and to be ‘A Disciple of Christ.’

“Learn what Jesus taught,” the Bishop added. “Use the saints and the apostles as examples of how to answer that call. Know that you will not always be perfect in your response to that call, but also know that the Lord will help pick you up so you can carry on this journey.”

The Bishop was also asked about his own discernment for a vocation to the priesthood; to explain the concept of predetermination; as well as how to balance in one’s life the perceived conflicts between science and religion.

Following his question and answer session, the Bishop had lunch with the young men and women. Several took that opportunity to ask their questions in private.

Hispanic Emmaus group holds gathering

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

For about 1,000 people a recent Sunday was spent growing and better rooting their love for the Lord while also gaining a profound sense of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

These were some of the things learned during the 2nd Diocese of Venice Congress of Emmaus (Emaus) which took place May 19 at the Lee Civic Center in North Fort Myers. The event, which was in Spanish, was for those who have completed an Emmaus weekend retreat in the past and served as an opportunity to renew and recapture the fire that grew in them during their first retreat.

It was during that retreat during where they learned a new way to live their life, as Jesus taught in the Gospel of Luke with a particular emphasis on the story about the Road to Emmaus.

“Beautiful!” “Amazing!” “Powerful” “I felt Christ’s love!” These were just some of the reactions of people as they finished a 10-hour day. Between the speakers, the music and the community that everyone felt, the day was a huge success. Many commented on how uplifting and unifying the day was, bringing them closer to Jesus Christ is ways they did not expect.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the closing Mass for the day and said he was very pleased to see such an enthusiastic group dedicating an entire day to growing closer to the Lord through the Blessed Sacrament.

The Bishop specifically credited the Diocesan Spiritual Directors for Hispanic Emmaus, Fathers Jiobani Batista, Luis Pacheco and Luis Albarracin, for their commitment in supporting the Emmaus retreats and for bringing everyone together for the gathering to celebrate the Lord in a special way.

Father Batista, Pastor of St. Margaret Parish in Clewiston, said the goal of the gathering was to inflame the participants with the miracle of Risen Lord as we continue our spiritual journey during this Easter Season.

“We also wanted to convey a renewed and deep devotion to the Eucharist,” Father Batista said. “After going on an Emmaus retreat, the powerful impact can fade over time. This gathering is a renewal so that everyone will carry this message and bring their excitement back to their parishes, spreading the message of the Lord to others.”

Each of the talks focused on the Eucharist. During the say, there was Eucharistic Adoration, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and music all building upon the theme. This led everyone toward the climatic conclusion of the day, the celebration of the Eucharist during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Speakers included Father Emilio Acevedo, Father Jose Asuncion Briones Barrientos, and Sister Maria Mercedez Rodriguez-Gomez, MHML, of St. Margaret Parish. Music was provided by the Custodia de Cristo and Son del Senor del Miami. The featured music was provided by Catholic singer-songwriter Jon Carlo.

The Emmaus retreat program is a Diocesan-approved retreat weekend that takes place three times a year in both English and Spanish. It’s open to all men and women ages 20 or older seeking to grow in their relationship with Christ regardless of their present level of faith and practice. The purpose of the weekend is to give adults the opportunity to reflect upon themselves, their relationship with God and their community.

The next full gathering of Emmaus retreatants will be April 25, 2020 at the Lee Civic Center. To learn more about Emmaus retreats across the Diocese, contact your local parish or email emaus@dioceseofvenice.org or emmaus@dioceseofvenice.org.

Legion of Mary groups renew promises

Staff Report

3/29/19

The 49th Annual Acies of the Manasota Curia of the Legion of Mary took place March 23 at San Pedro Parish in North Port, home of the Our Lady Queen of Peace Praesidium.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the Mass for the gathered member which represented nine different Legion of Mary Praesidium’s from across the region.  Bishop Dewane praised the Legion of Mary for its commitment to carrying the message of the Blessed Virgin Mary to others. That message includes giving oneself over to the Lord by doing what He asks without question and without fail.

Annually, during the Acies ceremony, the members consecrate themselves to Mary by renewing their Legionary Promise, so that they may better work in union with the Blessed Virgin as they do their Legionary battle against the evils of this world. In this consecration the members open their hearts to Mary, so that Our Lady may guide them and bless them through the year. It is said that one cannot be truly devoted to Our Lady’s Legion if one does not attend this ceremony, as you will not have within you her spirit. This ceremony is held as close as possible to the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord (March 25).

The Curia Spiritual Leader for the Legion of Mary within the Diocese of Venice is Father Ronnie Sison, who is also the Parochial Vicar of Incarnation Parish in Sarasota. Following a lunch, the group participated in Eucharistic Adoration which included the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

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