Each year the Diocese of Venice holds a Memorial Mass on Veterans Day in honor of the men and women who have served our country and continue to serve and protect us today. The restrictions regarding public gatherings at the Sarasota National Cemetery have precluded holding the Mass at that beautiful site.
This year, the virtual Memorial Mass to be celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, will be held at 3p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. The Mass will be livestreamed so all may participate and can be found at www.facebook.com/dioceseofvenice.org/videos. You do not need to have an account to view the Mass.
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. “While we will not be able to gather this year in person at Sarasota National Cemetery, it is important to continue the tradition of honoring the sacrifices of the soldiers who fought for the many freedoms that we enjoy today.”
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. In 2019, some 1,500 attended the Mass. More than 24,000 veterans and their spouses are interred in the National Cemetery since opening.
The 12th annual Red Mass for judges, lawyers, lawmakers, their families and staff, was livestreamed on Oct. 28, 2020 from the Catholic Center in Venice.
The Mass, which was celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, invokes the blessing and guidance of the Holy Spirit upon those in the legal community. Bishop Dewane called upon the Holy Spirit to guide the work of all those involved in the formation, implementation and judgement pertaining to the law.
“As judges, lawyers and legal experts, your vocation is a most noble one and it ensures the good order of society,” the Bishop continued. “The work that you carry out pertains directly to express God’s will, God’s love for all people through justice which is due to every human being. The law is indeed a noble vocation.”
The Mass was organized by the Catholic Lawyers Guild and while the faithful were not present, the livestreaming in fact allowed more to access the celebration and hear the words of Bishop Dewane.
The Bishop took the opportunity to note that the law of the land and the law of the Gospel should balance each other. “The Founding Fathers were well aware that the law of the land is based on the law of God. However, God’s law is one that goes beyond the letter of the code of the Constitution, and that is why you (in the legal profession) play a crucial role in the life of the law as Catholic lawyers and judges and as men and women of Faith.”
Bishop Dewane said those in the legal profession are on the front line when it comes to protecting religious freedom, human life, dignity and many other rights. It is his prayer that all strive to make a difference by what is said and done with their responsibilities and by the way each offers leadership in the legal profession.
Evelyn Moya, executive director of Cenacle Legal Services Inc., said that since Bishop Dewane celebrated the first Red Mass in the Diocese on March 14, 2008, at St. Martha Parish in Sarasota, the interest and participation among the laity have steadily increased.
Moya noted that with a history intimately connected with medieval European royalty and the appeal to Divine sustenance by those entrusted with governance, legislation and public service; the Red Mass is assured of continued observance.
“Technology may increase the popular knowledge and understanding about the Red Mass,” Moya added. “The first virtual Red Mass celebrated by Bishop Dewane was viewed by over 250 people, many who were seeing a Red Mass for the first time. I myself shared the livestream to my family and friends abroad… There is awesome power in prayer. And splendor in any celebration where the Holy Spirit is invoked.”
In the United States, the Red Mass tradition was inaugurated in 1928 at Old Saint Andrew’s Church in New York City. Each October, before the start of the U.S. Supreme Court’s new term, a Red Mass is celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington. Florida Bishops celebrate a Red Mass for the Florida Legislature in Tallahassee each year.
Bishop Dewane concluded his remarks by saying “May we all continue to be connected to the Light of the Eucharist and reconnect ourselves to the noble profession that is the law.”
To view the Mass, please visit www.facebook.com/dioceseofvenice/videos.
During this challenging time in the life and mission of the Diocese of Venice, our Parishes face increased risk of financial shortfalls due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its effects on everyday life. Parishes depend on weekly financial gifts to continue their ministries, especially in this critical time of crisis. The Diocese of Venice is providing an online platform and encourages the Faithful to support their Parish. Please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/ways-to-give/parish-donations-online/ to donate to your Parish. The Faithful may also contribute through usual channels (e.g., envelopes, and through the Parish online giving option). Together we will navigate through this crisis, provide assistance to those in need, and secure the road ahead for the Parishes within the Diocese of Venice.
While the celebration of public Mass resumed, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect through Nov. 1, 2020 for those who are at greater risk or anxious about returning at this time. The Faithful ought not to worry about remaining home if they are concerned for their wellbeing or that of other parishioners. Of course, those who are sick or have symptoms associated with COVID-19 are to stay home. Please check the Diocese of Venice website for any updates.
The Diocese of Venice will continue livestreaming the Mass through the Diocese website (www.dioceseofvenice.org) and Facebook pages from the Catholic Center in Venice 9:15 a.m. daily as the dispensation to attend Mass remains.
Sunday Televised Mass
The Televised Mass for the Homebound is available throughout the Diocese each Sunday. In northern parts of the Diocese (Manatee, Highlands, Hardee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties) the Mass airs on television at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Collier, Lee, Glades, Hendry, Charlotte counties) the Mass airs at 10:30 a.m., on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). This same Mass can be found on the Diocese of Venice website at any time during the week, www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass. Please check local listings for channel information.
Year of Saint Joseph
On the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, in the context of the Coronavirus, consecrated the Diocese of Venice to the care and protection of St. Joseph. The Bishop announced a “Year of St. Joseph” beginning March 19, 2020 through March 19, 2021. St. Joseph, often referred to as the Protector, can be our protector during this time of the pandemic. To pray a Novena to St. Joseph please visit the Year of St. Joseph webpage at https://dioceseofvenice.org/a-year-of-st-joseph/.
A special coronavirus webpage is located on the Diocese of Venice website at www.dioceseofvenice.org. Resources include links to the Mass, the prayer for an Act of the Spiritual Communion, videos of the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Pray the Rosary. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org, also posts the daily Mass readings.
Act of Spiritual Communion
It has long been a Catholic understanding that when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an Act of Spiritual Communion which is a source of grace. Spiritual Communion means uniting one’s self in prayer with Christ’s sacrifice and worshiping Him in His Body and Blood.
The most common reason for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when a person cannot attend Mass, as is the case during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.
For all who will not be able to receive the Holy Eucharist in person, consider this special prayer, an Act of Spiritual Communion:
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there
and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.