Legion of Mary group renews promises

The Annual Acies of the Manasota Curia of the Legion of Mary took place March 23, 2024, at Incarnation Parish in Venice.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the Mass for the gathered members which represented nine different Legion of Mary praesidiums (chapters) 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.

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 throughout the year.

Kathy Bragdon said the annual Acies serves to rededicate each member of the Legion of Mary to Our Lady, providing the strength and guidance to continue forward with their work. Following the Mass, the Legionaries enjoyed a luncheon.

The Legion of Mary is a worldwide organization of lay Catholics focusing on Marian spirituality and apostolic works in more than 180 countries. The Legion has been active in the United States since 1931 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 of the Legion of Mary become instruments of the Holy Spirit through a balanced program of prayer and service in a family atmosphere. Works include door-to-door evangelization, parishioner visitation, visitation of the sick or aged, Catholic education, visiting the newly baptized, visiting families, 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. Members meet once a week for prayer, planning and discussion in a family setting. 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 prayer, attending Mass, and learning more about the Catholic Faith.

For a list of Parish praesidia (chapters) in the Diocese of Venice, please visit http://www.legionofmarymiamiregia.com.

News Briefs for the week for March 29, 2024

Palm Sunday opens Holy Week

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord brought the faithful together as the Lenten Season nears a close (Holy Thursday). This is the day we remember and honor Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, greeted by cheering crowds waving palm branches that they set out on the ground along his path, before his crucifixion on Good Friday.  As is tradition, the faithful received palms upon entering church, which were then blessed by the presiding priest. During this Mass, the Passion of the Lord from the Gospel of Mark was read.

Hour-long Easter Sunday Televised Mass schedule

The Diocese of Venice in Florida will air the televised Easter Sunday Mass for a full hour. This special Mass for the homebound and celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, can be viewed at noon on the CW Network in Sarasota, Manatee, Desoto, Charlotte, Hardee and Highland counties, and at 10:30 a.m. on FOX4 in Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Hendry, Glades and Desoto counties. The Mass is also available on the Diocese of Venice website at www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass.

Bishop Dewane inspires high schoolers

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass for students at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers on March 19, 2024. During the Mass, Bishop Dewane encouraged the students to finish Lent and the school year strong, while focusing on placing Christ before all else. The Bishop also complimented the faculty and students for their support of the wildly successful Diocesan Eucharistic Conference which was hosted by the school and included many student volunteers on March 16. Bishop Dewane said the actions of the faculty and students reflected well on the school and let others in the Diocese know what he already knew – Bishop Verot is a place where students are educated and formed to be leaders in the community.

Students learn about importance of having a vocation

Juniors and seniors at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota were blessed to have the opportunity to learn more about hearing the call to vocations in the priesthood and religious life on March 15, 2024. Father Alex Pince, Diocese of Venice Director of Vocations and Mooney Chaplain, and Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist spoke to men and women respectively, sharing their experiences and spiritual journey to the priesthood and/or religious life. The key message was to keep one’s heart open to the call of Jesus.

Couples retreat at Ave Maria University on April 6

Missionaries to the Family is hosting a FREE half-day couples retreat from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., April 6, 2024, in the St. Scholastica Honors lounge, Ave Maria University, 5050 Ave Maria Blvd., Ave Maria. “The Art of Catholic Family Life: Building a Holy Home” is a half-day retreat open to all married and engaged couples, offering a unique opportunity to explore what it means to live the spirit of Nazareth in your home. Note, the Feast of the Annunciation Mass will be celebrated at 1 p.m. Please register at https://paradisusdei.ticketleap.com/avemaria/. The Missionaries to the Family is an Ecclesial Lay Ministry of the Catholic Church and an Initiative of Paradisus Dei, well-known for THAT MAN IS YOU!

Briefs for the week of March 22, 2024

Seminarian installed as Acolyte

Congratulations to Diocese of Venice Seminarian Joseph Bao Quoc Nguyen was one of five men installed to the ministry of Acolyte on March 15, 2024, at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Boston, presided over the Mass of Institution which plays a significant role in the formation of these men as they journey towards their ordination to the priesthood. As an Acolyte, the primary responsibility will be assisting the Deacon and priest during Mass, with a focus on ensuring the altar is prepared. They may also serve as Extra-ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at Mass and bringing the Holy Eucharist to the sick.

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Televised Mass schedule

The Diocese of Venice in Florida will air the televised Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Masses, each for a full hour. These special Masses for the homebound can be viewed at noon on the CW Network in Sarasota, Manatee, Desoto, Charlotte, Hardee and Highland counties, and at 10:30 a.m. on FOX4 in Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Hendry, Glades and Desoto counties. The Mass is also available on the Diocese of Venice website at www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass.

Chrism Mass at Cathedral on March 26

The Chrism Mass, which takes place during Holy Week every year, will be held at 10:30 a.m., March 26, 2024, at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. During this Mass, Bishop Frank J. Dewane will bless the Holy Oils which are used in the administration of the Sacraments at each parish throughout the year. Priests and Deacons celebrating 25 and 50 years of Ordination will also be recognized. All are invited and encouraged to attend in support of our clergy and to participate in this important Holy Week celebration.

Lenten school Masses continue

Following the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Bishop Frank J. Dewane continued to celebrate Mass for students at each of the 15 Diocesan Catholic schools during the Lenten Season. The most recent Masses were March 14, 2024, at Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota, St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton on March 19 (the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary), and Donahue Academy of Ave Maria Catholic School in Ave Maria, on March 20. Bishop continued to encourage the students to finish the Lenten Season strong in preparation for Holy Week.

St. Joseph Feast celebrated in Italian

Epiphany Cathedral in Venice hosted a Mass for the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was celebrated in Italian on March 19, 2024, and included the active involvement of the Italian American Club of Venice. Following the Mass, the statue of St. Joseph was carried to the Parish Hall in a procession led by the Knights of Columbus. There, Msgr. Patrick Dubois, Cathedral Rector, blessed the traditional St. Joseph’s table of bread and sweets, which were later distributed.

School Gala has a Roaring 20’s theme

The St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School Roaring 20’s Gala & Auction took place on March 16, 2024, at the Vineyards Golf and Country Club in Naples. A vintage Duesenberg was on display as guests arrived, many of the woman in sequined flapper-style dresses with feather headbands, while the men dressed in 20’s style tuxedoes, complete with fedoras. Bishop Frank J. Dewane was the guest of honor and thanked the parents for entrusting their children’s education to St. Elizabeth Seton. In addition, Bishop Dewane praised the faculty and staff for consistently delivering a quality education centered on faith, while also managing rapid growth and improvement of the school facilities.

Cars blessed at Sarasota Parish

Priests at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota blessed about 70 vehicles on March 14, 2024. The blessing follows the tradition in Rome, Italy, where cars line up outside the Colosseum in front of the Monastery of St. Frances of Rome (the patron saint of drivers) for a blessing. This was observed by Incarnation Pastor Father Eric Scanlan and shared with drivers who drove under the church portico for their blessing and then made way for the next vehicle.

Bishop to students: It’s not too late to finish Lent strong!

In the final few weeks of Lent, leading to Holy Week and the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter, Bishop Frank J. Dewane has been encouraging Catholic school students to refocus their faith lives and finish the Lenten Season strong.

Bishop Dewane has celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for students at seven Diocesan Catholic schools in the past few weeks, with more to come before Holy Week. His message has been to pay attention to the lessons found in the Gospel of practicing their faith as Jesus did, in their prayers, in their interactions with family and friends, and in the community where they must seek the face of Christ in others.

“It is my prayer for the remainder of the Lenten Season that all of you students recommit yourselves, as you did at the time of Ash Wednesday, to live faithfully, to make the sacrifices that Jesus calls forth from you, and to take time during the rest of Lenten Season to improve your prayer life,” Bishop Dewane said during a Mass on March 13, 2024, for students at St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary Academy in Sarasota. “Focus on your prayers for the remainder of the Lenten Season, whether alone, in school or at home; in that way you will better come to know Jesus Christ.”

It is the call of all the faithful to work to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ and live as Jesus calls us to be as men and women of God. Bishop Dewane said there are basic features of being a Catholic, such as attending Mass every Sunday, having an active prayer life, knowing and living the 10 Commandments, and doing acts of charity or service.

“There is nothing stagnant in being a faithful Catholic,” Bishop Dewane said on March 11, to students at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota. “Being Catholic is not merely a state of being, because understanding our faith necessarily makes us people of action. This originates through Baptism and when we live our faith, we do it for the Lord and we become a conduit of God’s grace in the world.”

While we are all called to live our faith daily, as humans, we are not perfect and will sometimes stumble, Bishop Dewane continued.

“We need healing in the spiritual sense, because we are all sinners,” Bishop Dewane said. “You must open yourselves to being healed by Christ through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As you practice your faith, being men and women of God, it is how you respond; do you stand before the Lord and seek the healing you need?  The Lord calls us to respond to His call, if we stumble, the Lord heals us.”

Masses celebrated by Bishop Dewane in the past week were at St. John Neumann Catholic High School, Naples, March 7; St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School and St. Ann Catholic School, Naples, March 8; and St. Catherine Catholic School, Sebring, March 12. Additional Masses will be celebrated prior to Easter.

When time permitted, Bishop Dewane spoke with eighth grade students while also answering their questions. In addition, at St. Catherine Catholic School, the Bishop was presented with a large birthday card signed by the students. The students also sang “Happy Birthday” to him. At St. Martha Catholic School, the Bishop blessed Lenten crosses made by the sixth grade students.


Diocesan-wide opportunity for Confession March 21-22

With Holy Week fast approaching, it is not too late to ponder how well prepared we are for the Resurrection of the Lord on Easter Sunday.

One way to help in this effort is through participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation as the precept of confessing grave sins and receiving Holy Communion at least once during the Lenten Season merits a reminder to all.

To facilitate this requirement, the Diocese of Venice will have the Sacrament of Reconciliation available at the same time at ALL Parishes to allow the faithful ample opportunity to receive God’s Mercy. To make this opportunity as convenient as possible, in consultation with the Diocesan Presbyteral Council, Bishop Frank J. Dewane has designated the following days and times for Confession at Each Parish: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., on Friday, March 22, 2024, and from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 23, 2024.

Bishop Dewane said that many people view the idea of confessing one’s sins as so unbearable that they either completely avoid the Sacrament or go infrequently.

“It is heartbreaking to hear from those who have avoided confession for many years after carrying around a burden,” Bishop Dewane said. “It is heartwarming to talk to people of all ages who go to confession and are relieved and overjoyed at the benefits. Some even scold themselves for missing such a beautiful Sacrament for so long.”

Throughout the Lenten Season, Parishes have offered extended hours for the Sacrament, in addition to offering Penance Services, where multiple priests from the region were made available to hear confessions.

Pope Francis often speaks about the healing benefits of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, explaining that he goes about once every two weeks.

“In Confession, let’s give God first place,” the Holy Father said. “Once He is in charge, everything becomes beautiful and confession becomes the Sacrament of joy, not of fear and judgement, but of joy.”

As the Catechism teaches, the priest is acting in Persona Christi, that is in the person of Christ, within the confessional. So, like presenting oneself at the altar to be nourished by Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist, a person going to confession is not ultimately confessing to a priest, but confessing to and receiving forgiveness from Jesus Christ.

“The Lord comes to us when we step back from our presumptuous ego… He can bridge the distance whenever, with honesty and sincerity, we bring our weaknesses before him,” Pope Francis said. “He holds out his hand and lifts us up whenever we realize we are ‘hitting rock bottom’ and we turn back to him with a sincere heart. That is how God is. He is waiting for us, deep down, for in Jesus he chose to ‘descend to the depths.’”

The Pope emphasized that God waits for us, especially in the Sacrament of Penance, where he said the Lord touches our wounds, heals our hearts, and leaves us with inner peace.

Please contact your local Parish for additional available confession times.

Rite of Election – Record 662 set to enter Church in Diocese at Easter Vigil

A large number of women and men set to enter the Catholic Church within the Diocese of Venice at the Easter Vigil were recognized during the annual Rite of Election at Epiphany Cathedral on the First Sunday of Lent, Feb. 18, 2024. This annual tradition is a formal Rite during which catechumens are presented and their names are entered into the Book of the Elect.

The 316 catechumens (individuals who are not yet baptized) were joined by an additional 346 candidates (already-baptized Christians preparing for confirmation and First Eucharist). The candidates participate in the formal ceremony and are recognized during the celebration for answering the “Call To Their Continuing Conversion.” The Cathedral was at capacity as family members were also present to show their support.

The Rite of Election was presided over by Bishop Frank J. Dewane who said the large number of catechumens and candidates was impressive, noting that the 662 are the most ever set to enter the Church in the Diocese in a single year through the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) program, topping the 2023 total of 567.

“The Diocese is blessed and graced by the presence of the catechumens and candidates,” Bishop Dewane said. “That 662 is a massive number for a Diocese our size.”

The group was complimented by Bishop Dewane for making a commitment to publicly announce the call of the Holy Spirit in a particular way by becoming active members of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Venice. “All of you should see the strength and demonstration of the Holy Spirit in bringing you together for the Rite of Election.”

The catechumens and candidates, who were recognized by Bishop Dewane, are on a continuing journey that will culminate when they come into full communion with the Catholic Church at the March 30 Easter Vigil Mass in their respective Parishes.

“As you prepare, come to realize the Lord calls you to continue your journey,” Bishop Dewane said. “That doesn’t end at the Easter Vigil. That is a continuation of the journey that the Holy Spirit has prompted from each one of you and continues to prompt you in your daily lives. If you listen and pay attention, you will come to evidence the Holy Spirit in your life to become more that man or woman of God the Lord calls us all to be.”

Bishop Dewane encouraged each catechumen and candidate telling them that they are each given a task by the Lord to continue to be the leaven to their family and those around them.

“Each one of you has received a call to holiness,” the Bishop said “What are you doing to be ever more holy? Your response is found in the Word of God. You must be aware and know that Word of God; that it is the voice of the Lord in your heart and soul. Let these words grow and resonate in your heart!”

Many who participated in the Rite of Election expressed their joy in joining with others on this important step in their faith journey. One candidate from Holy Cross Parish in Palmetto said, “What a beautiful celebration! I will remember the Rite … the rest of my life. With a deep sense of awe and gratitude I thank Almighty God for blessing me so!”

The group of catechumens and candidates come from 47 Parishes/Missions in the Diocese of Venice and are accompanied by tens of thousands of others across the country that will also join the Catholic Church this year. The largest groups of catechumens and candidates came from the following Parishes: Jesus the Worker in Fort Myers, Our Lady Queen of Heaven in LaBelle, St. Peter the Apostle in Naples, Holy Cross in Bradenton, Ave Maria in Ave Maria, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Immokalee. St. Leo the Great in Bonita Springs, and St. Katherine Drexel in Cape Coral.

The catechumens are part of the OCIA, which is for those who are unbaptized and unchurched, who come to inquire about becoming part of the Roman Catholic Faith in a process that takes about a year. Often catechumens are those who have begun to seek and understand God in their lives and have been led by the Holy Spirit to become Catholic. OCIA is a journey of discovery and faith. This is most commonly done in three distinct phases: discernment, acceptance into the catechumenate, along with purification and enlightenment.

Each catechumen will go through a series of scrutinies during which they examine their readiness to accept Christ and the Catholic Faith in the form of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation). This time culminates at the Easter Vigil when the catechumens are received through Baptism into the Catholic Church. The final period of the OCIA is the time of “Mystagogy” (post-baptismal catechesis). During the weeks following the Easter Vigil, the newly initiated live more profoundly their experience of Baptism and the Eucharist as they begin the journey of discipleship and their growing union with Christ.

For candidates, those who have been correctly baptized with a Trinitarian formula, the Catholic Church does not require re-Baptism. Candidates have already experienced a journey of faith and understand how Jesus leads us to the Father through the work of the Holy Spirit. In fact, many have been attending Mass with their families for years but may have never received the Sacrament of Holy Communion or the Sacrament of Confirmation.

The candidates are invited to the Cathedral for the Rite of Election as a form of welcome, but because they are already in the Book of the Elect as baptized Christians, they do not bring their names forward. To symbolize that baptism, and as a sign of their continuing conversion, they come forward and make the sign of the cross with holy water.

Everyone is encouraged to pray for and welcome the catechumens and candidates at their own Parish as they continue their journey of discovery in their Faith.

Ash Wednesday: Lenten Journey begins

The opening of the Lenten Season began with the traditional Ash Wednesday Mass, starting a journey which ends prior to the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, March 28, 2024.

During this journey, one must take time to live the Lenten Season in a particular way, through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, the three traditional disciplines of Lent.

On Ash Wednesday, the imposition of ashes is a solemn ritual that signals the beginning of the holy season of Lent. The ceremony is distinctive; there is no liturgical action like it throughout the entire liturgical year. Ashes come from a previous Palm Sunday. The palms are burned, the ashes collected and then crushed into a fine, sooty powder and placed into bowls, where they are blessed by the priest during the Ash Wednesday Mass after the homily. Then, in a Communion-like procession, people are invited to come forward, and the ashes are applied to each person’s forehead in the shape of a cross as the minister says either, “Turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15), the usual prayer, or “Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19), the older, more traditional invocation.

While the ashes marked on one’s forehead do not last very long, their purpose is to cleanse and purify our inner heart. Having a clean heart is a key part of living one’s faith life, and the precept of confessing grave sins at least once during the Lenten Season merits a reminder.

To facilitate this requirement, every Parish in the Diocese of Venice will be open with a confessor present 4 to 8 p.m., Friday, March 22, and 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 23. Check with your local Parish for additional confession times or the availability of a Penance Service. These opportunities are made available so that the faithful may find ample opportunity to receive God’s Mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


Lent – a time of spiritual renewal

The Lenten Season is an important time to take the opportunity to refocus one’s thinking on how to grow closer to God and farther away from evil.

Lent is one of the most important liturgical seasons of the Church’s calendar and begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. The faithful are prepared this season for Holy Week, those sacred days in the Church calendar when we celebrate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“The faithful are all called to know better their faith, to live it more deeply, and share their love of the Lord with others,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane said. “This ties in directly with our Lenten call to turn our lives over to Christ and to be more the man or woman of God calls us to be.”

Many opportunities are offered by the Lenten Season to take advantage of that concept of knowing, living, and sharing the faith, Bishop Dewane said. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reads, “The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all in several forms; fasting and abstinence, prayer and charity, and almsgiving and self-denial, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others” (CCC 1434).

These three pillars of the Lenten observance, fasting, prayer, almsgiving, express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. The Lord calls each person to total commitment. By practicing these observances together, they become more than the sum of their parts. They become part of a faith that flourishes and a heart that is increasingly dedicated to the Lord.

Fasting and abstinence

Fasting and abstinence is not about food, or lack of it, but instead about sacrifice for the benefit of our spiritual lives. Sacrifice and self-denial should not be viewed as something to lament, but instead should be viewed as an opportunity to remove anything that distracts us from Jesus Christ.

For early Christians, fasting was an important and meaningful Lenten practice in commemoration of Christ’s Passion and Death. The current Lenten discipline, set forth by the Roman Catholic Church, consists of both fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 14) and Good Friday (March 29), as well as abstaining from meat each Friday of Lent. Fasting and abstinence are about spiritual conversion and renewal, not solely about meat and no food.

“I encourage each of you to reexamine fasting and abstinence this Lenten Season and possibly rediscover them as virtues in the living of your life,” Bishop Dewane said. “When fasting, or abstaining from meat, this Lenten Season try not to just ‘follow the motions,’ so to speak, make an extra effort to improve upon the spiritual areas of one’s life.”


The second Lenten pillar is prayer, which the Catechism tells us is coupled with charity. All Catholics are called to a meaningful prayer life. A prayer life includes both personal, which comes from the heart, and traditional prayer, with both dimensions the faithful grow closer to both Christ Himself — as well as to His Church.

“During Lent our prayer life should not only grow, but it should focus upon the areas of life in which we might have fallen short of God’s expectation—in other words, where we have sinned,” Bishop Dewane said.

Prayer is an indispensable component of the Catholic Faith. By growing and maturing in faith, prayer becomes an act of worship. As life progresses and one receives more of the Sacraments, and more often, prayer is recognized as a critical act of public worship in the Church, especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Vatican II called the Mass “The Source and the Summit.”

The five basic forms of prayer are blessing, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise. When someone prays in any one of these forms, they are expressing a different emotion, need, concern or appreciation. No two prayers from the heart are the same, just as no two conversations are the same.

“In prayer, we grow in the love of God and greater appreciation of who God is and what God does,” Bishop Dewane said. “In a world so full of uncertainty and loneliness, great comfort should be taken in knowing that by praying, God will offer His blessings and grace. By praying, the blessing upon us is returned. This is the beautiful exchange that needs to be part of one’s daily life.”


The third pillar of Lent is almsgiving is coupled in the Catechism with self-denial. While often mentioned as the last of the three traditional pillars of the Lenten observance, is certainly not the least of the three and is often completely misunderstood. The Church’s expression of almsgiving is an act of self-denial, or an expression of charity and assistance extended to the needy.

By almsgiving during Lent, one not only expresses care for those in need, but also expresses a sign of gratitude for all God has provided in one’s own life. These acts of charity are connected to the responsibilities of living the faith that begins with baptism and is reignited in the Sacrament of Confirmation.

“All bear responsibility in helping our brothers and sisters in Christ, but it takes prayer and reflection to understand how God is calling each of us to give of oneself,” Bishop Dewane said. The Catechism states, “almsgiving, together with prayer and fasting, are traditionally recommended to foster the state of interior penance.”

“In a sense, almsgiving is a type of prayer,” Bishop Dewane said. “Because almsgiving requires sacrifice. It is also a sort of fasting from the material world, in that what could have been purchased.”

In addition, Bishop Dewane said the precept of confessing grave sins and receiving Holy Communion at least once during the Lenten Season merits a reminder.

To facilitate this requirement, every Parish in the Diocese of Venice will be open with a confessor present 4 to 8 p.m., Friday, March 22, and 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 23. Check with your local Parish for additional confession times or the availability of a Penance Service. These opportunities are made available so that the faithful may find ample opportunity to receive God’s Mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

News Briefs for the Week of April 7, 2023

Bishop Lenten school Masses come to an end

Bishop Frank J. Dewane concluded March with the last of 15 Masses for students at Diocesan Catholic schools. The Bishop’s message throughout Lent was to use the three pillars of the Season (prayer, fasting and almsgiving) as a basis for having a productive Lent. As the Season drew to a close, the Bishop encouraged the students to finish their Lenten Season strong in anticipation of the Resurrection on Easter. The final three school Masses took place at St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton on March 30, 2023, at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice and Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota, both on March 31. Bishop Dewane celebrates Mass for students at each Diocesan Catholic school at least twice a year, usually at the start of the academic year (August and September) and then during Lent. The Bishop also celebrates Masses at schools on other special occasions when his schedule allows.

Palm Sunday marked throughout Diocese

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord marks the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem and starts the events which are marked throughout Holy Week which include the Lord’s crucifixion and Resurrection on Easter. Father Robert Tatman, Parochial Vicar at St. Jude Parish Sarasota, opened the Vigil Mass with the reading of the Gospel of Matthew (21: 1-11), prior to the blessing and procession with palms. This scene was repeated at Parishes throughout the Universal Church, with options to process from another location into the church, to start in the narthex of the church, or a simple opening with a blessing of palms and opening procession. The Mass includes the Passion of the Lord, also from the Gospel of Matthew (26:14-27:66 or 27:11-54).

Several Diocesan schools host Galas

Three Diocesan Catholic schools recently held their respective Galas, each serving as a celebration promoting the benefits of a Catholic education. The Incarnation Catholic School “Through the Years Gala” was March 30, 2023, at The Field Club in Sarasota. Honored during the evening was Sister Monica Paul Fraser, OP, former longtime Incarnation principal who continues to serve the school and Parish community. St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples hosted its annual Broadway Lights Gala & Auction on April 1, at The Players Club & Spa. Bishop Frank J. Dewane was present for this event which also featured a sampling of the first ever school musical “Godspell.” St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton hosted its own “A Night of the Red Carpet” event, also April 1, at The Celebration of Life Center in Lakewood Ranch. The evening highlighted the school’s performing arts program and focused on the fundraising for the north campus improvement project.

High school hosts “Easter Egg Hunt”

Pre-kindergarten students from St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers and St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral converged on Bishop Verot Catholic High School for the annual Easter Egg Hunt on March 31, 2023, in Fort Myers. The eager young students were greeted by an Easter bunny and they first gathered in prayer before enjoying coloring, as well as fun and games. The highlight, of course, was the mad scramble during the Easter Egg Hunt which took place on the football field.

Battle of robots in Naples

The “1st Annual Battle of the (Ro)Bots” took place during an assembly at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples on April 4, 2023.  The Neumann Robotics class has worked tirelessly to build, configure and battle for the top spots on the school leaderboard for the year. The “Battle of the (Ro)Bots” challenge determined which teams will be going to compete in the Diocesan Lions Cup Challenge on April 22 in Fort Myers. The winner was Los Robotos Hermanos.

News Briefs for the week of March 31, 2023

Lenten school Masses continue

Following the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Bishop Frank J. Dewane continued to celebrate Mass for students at each of the 15 Diocesan Catholic schools during the Lenten Season. The most recent Masses were March 27, 2023, at St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring, March 28 at St. Ann Catholic School and St. John Neumann Catholic High School, both in Naples, and March 29 at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples.

Fun STREAM day for students

The Bishop Verot Catholic High School Science National Honor Society hosted a STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, art, math) event March 27, 2023, on their Fort Myers campus for students from St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers and St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral. The students each got a chance to interact with three different experiments. First, they learned about the principles of carbon dioxide by observing soda bubbles; next up was a lesson about everything plants need to grow; finally, things got a little messy as everyone learned how to make silly putty with shaving cream!!