Bishop encourages students in Cape Coral to pray

When Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrates Mass at Diocese of Venice Catholic schools he challenges the students to take upon a task during the coming year to help them grow closer to the Lord. This year, he asked them to pray more often.

This was the challenge given to the students at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral on Oct. 21, 2020.

To introduce the concept of an increased prayer life, Bishop Dewane first asked the students how many of them want to be friends with Jesus. After a bit of a hesitation they all raised their hands.

“When you want to be friends with someone, you talk to them, you speak to them often and you come to know them and become friends,” the Bishop explained. “With cell phones you communicate a lot. Well, one way is to communicate with the Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints, is through prayer.”

Prayer is important, particularly during the time of a global pandemic, Bishop Dewane continued. Signs of the pandemic were everywhere, as students wore masks and were seated apart and the Mass was livestreamed to the students who were learning virtually from home.

“Do you think you can pray more this year?” “Yes!!” the students enthusiastically replied.

“I accept that. I know you can. During this time, we need to remain united in prayer. Sometimes we must keep a distance to be safe, but that doesn’t have to mean we are distant from the person. Jesus is in Heaven but also close to us. We can be close to Him in a different way, through prayer.”

The Bishop said he will ask the teachers to encourage more daily prayer and that the students should include not only each other but also the people of the Parish who sacrifice to support the school.

“I never ask you anything I think you can’t do,” Bishop Dewane concluded. “You all have to discipline yourselves when you might not feel like praying. Take the time to talk to Jesus. Talk to His Mother Mary. Pray to the Patron Saint of your School, St. Andrew. Know that I pray for you daily. Be young men and women of prayer.”

After the conclusion of Mass, the eighth graders were brought forward to take an oath of leadership. Following the oath, Bishop Dewane presented each with a pin marking them as St. Andrew Catholic School Leaders.

When they were dismissed to returned to school, Bishop Dewane wished them each a blessed day and school year. They also did elbow bumps in lieu of handshakes.

After the younger students left, Bishop Dewane spoke with the eighth graders and encouraged them to consider choosing Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers where he assured them that they would excel. He also answered their questions which ranged from what the Bishop does, likes and dislikes, to in-depth inquiries which focused on the Church teachings on a variety of subjects. Before returning to the classroom, Bishop Dewane stood for a group photo with the eighth graders.

Confirmation held in outdoor pavilion

Bishop Frank J. Dewane bestowed the Sacrament of Confirmation on a group of more than 90 young men and women on Oct. 17, 2020 at the Pioneer Park Pavilion in Zolfo Springs.

The youth were from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula, San Alfonso Mission in Zolfo Springs and Holy Child Mission in Bowling Green.

The alternate location was used to ensure that not only the youth and their sponsors could attend, but also family members. The facility is also used for the annual celebration of Our Lady of a Guadalupe.

News briefs for week of July 28 2020

VDCCW presents Bishop with check

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was honored at a special gathering of the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women on July 25, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall in Venice. The meeting coincided with the 14th anniversary of Bishop Dewane’s Episcopal Ordination as Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida in 2006. The VDCCW leadership presented the Bishop with a check for $9,000 to be used to support the Diocesan seminarians.

Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate Aug. 15

Bishop Frank J. Dewane will ordain to the Permanent Diaconate seven men at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. The candidates are: Jeffrey Ball of Ave Maria Parish, Ave Maria; Enrique (Rick) Castro of St. Cecilia Parish, Fort Myers; Ramiro Hernandez of St. Michael Parish, Wauchula; Jack W. Milholland Jr. of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Lakewood Ranch; Roberto Pagán of Jesus the Worker Parish, Fort Myers; Vern W. Smith of St. Martha Parish, Sarasota; and Dr. William Soscia of St. Joseph Parish, Bradenton. A reception in the Parish Hall will follow. All are invited and encouraged to attend.

Online master’s degrees offered through Ave Maria University

There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but one thing is clear: an online master’s degree from Ave Maria University will distinguish you from the competition when companies start hiring again. Online degrees available include a Master of Business Administration. For more information, contact Elizabeth.ODonnell@avemaria.edu or visit https://avemariauniversity.lpages.co/gradprograms-r2/.

Virtual Vacation Bible School a success

St. Joseph Church completed their virtual Vacation Bible School July 23, 2020 with a special Zoom celebration. The online sessions provided inspiration for the children who participated and performed different activities related to inspirational Bible messages. Parish Administrator Father Rafal Ligenza provided a lesson on the Eucharist and lead everyone in prayer for the final celebration.

First Communion face masks donated by sewing group

The Sewing Group of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples donated 200 white masks for use at Mass by First Communicants and their families on July 11, 2020. The Faith Formation team facilitated the distribution of the masks for the boys and girls as well as their families. Two Mass were scheduled for all of the children as all social distancing rules were followed.

3D face shield project update

The first phase of a STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts, math) 3D printing project to provide face shields to frontline workers has been a success. So far 100 face shield have been delivered for use by Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. staff and volunteers at food pantry distribution sites as well as for children participating in summer camps. The project was the idea of Jennifer Falsetiny, Curriculum Specialist for the Diocese Department of Education. The goal is to turn the Camillus Project, as it is called, into an ongoing club for schools that may wish to participate so as to give back to the community while providing solutions to a real-world problem. The plan is to re-launch the program again in the new school year to hopefully get more schools involved in the hands-on STREAM 3D printing service project.

Dispensation

While the celebration of public Mass resumed May 18, 2020, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect through Sept. 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.

Livestreaming

The Diocese of Venice will continue live-streaming 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.

Parish donations

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.

Online Resources

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:

My Jesus,
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.
Amen.

 

Bishop Verot graduates outdoors

The 55th Commencement Exercises of Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers may have been more spread out than normal on July 18, 2020, but a delay of two months did little to spoil the significance the day meant for both the graduates and their proud families.

Entering down the middle of Viking Stadium, which is emblazoned with VEROT between the hash marks, the graduates sat on folding chairs six feet apart, on either side of the stage which was placed on the goal line. Folding chairs were set up on the field with family groups sitting together to best ensure social distancing. When social distancing was not possible, everyone was required to wear a mask.

The Verot Class of 2020 overcame the impacts of Hurricane Irma in 2017 which closed their school down for weeks and it took more than a year to complete repairs. Then, just as they were on the brink of the final quarter of their senior year in high school, the world changed. The COVID-19 Pandemic cancelled in-person classes and the resulting quarantine and online classes put a new and trying meaning to distance learning for the close-knit group of 157 graduates.

These students have achieved much, having been offered more than $22 million in scholarships and nearly all with plans for higher education. Because of the delay in graduation, a few students were unable to attend, therefore the graduation was streamed live through the Verot website.

Important commencement traditions remained, such as parents who are Verot alumni were invited to the stage to present their child with their diploma. Because of the pandemic, there were no handshakes when diplomas or awards were presented.

One moment which brought a spontaneous applause was when the father of Mateo Devito accepted the diploma on his behalf, the same day he was being inducted into the U.S. Navy at the U.S. Naval Academy. The closing benediction was given by Father John Belmonte, a Jesuit priest who is the new Diocese of Venice Superintendent of Education.

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