National Eucharistic Revival to begin June 19

“The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.’” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324

The Bishops of the United States are calling for a three-year grassroots revival of devotion and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The U.S Bishops believe that God wants to see a movement of Catholics across the United States, healed, converted, formed, and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist—and sent out in mission “for the life of the world.”

The National Eucharistic Revival will culminate in the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States in almost 50 years. More than 100,000 Catholics are expected to join together in Indianapolis for a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage toward the “source and summit” of our Catholic Faith.

This three-year plan to revive the place of the Eucharist in the minds, hearts and lives of Catholics in the United States has its official start with the 2022 Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) on June 19. Parishes across the Diocese of Venice are planning Corpus Christi processions for June 19, in conjunction with similar celebrations around the country.

The Diocesan Year of the National Eucharistic Revival is from June 19, 2022, to 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.” During the Diocesan Year, Eucharistic Missionaries will be trained. These Missionaries are Catholics who through a deep encounter and experience with the Blessed Sacrament, become equipped to share the love and the truth of the Real Presence – Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The Diocesan Year will culminate with a Eucharistic Congress held in the Spring of 2023.

The Parish Year will be from June 11, 2023, to July 17, 2024. During the Parish Year, Eucharistic Missionaries will encourage increased Eucharistic Adoration in their Parishes, family prayer, and small group prayer. Free resources will be made available to facilitate and encourage an increased devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in families and Parishes.

The U.S. Catholic Church’s three-year eucharistic revival “is not a program but a movement” that is an invitation to the faithful from God to go on mission and be compelling witnesses of our faith, said Carrie Harkey, Director of the Diocesan Family Life Office and Interim Director of Evangelization.

“The National Eucharistic Revival is part of an exciting journey as the Eucharist stands at the center of our Faith,” Harkey said. “The timing of this is crucial in reminding the faithful about what the Second Vatican Council taught, that the Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life’ and is an opportunity to have an intimate encounter with Christ.”

Taking its title from the Bread of Life discourse in John’s Gospel, “My flesh for the life of the world/Mi carne para la vida del mundo,” the Eucharistic Revival is not a step-by-step plan or a series of meetings; it is a grassroots call and a challenge for every Catholic across the United States to rekindle the fire of love and devotion for the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. Over three years, every Catholic Diocese, Parish, school, apostolate, and family is invited to be a part of renewing the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The U.S. Bishops approved plans for the Revival and the Congress in November 2021 during their fall general assembly in Baltimore.

Stay tuned for more information about what is planned on the Diocesan level at www.dioceseofvenice.org. To learn more about the National Eucharistic Revival, please visit https://eucharisticrevival.org. There you will find a free online course from Bishop Andrew Cozzens, of the Diocese of Crookston and head of the Committee for Evangelization and Catechesis at the USCCB, “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” which can be utilized in parishes, small groups, or for individual study.

Prayer for the Revival

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You!

I beg pardon for those who do not believe, nor

adore, nor hope, nor love You. (Three times)

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I

adore You profoundly. I offer You the most

precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus

Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world

in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and

indifference by which He is offended. And,

through the infinite merits of the Sacred

Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

I beg of You the conversion of sinners.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Oración para el avivamiento

¡Dios mío, yo creo, adoro, espero y te amo!

¡Te pido perdón por los que no creen, no

adoran, no esperan, no te aman! (Tres veces)

Santísima Trinidad, Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo, yo

te adoro profundamente y te ofrezco el

Preciosísimo Cuerpo, Sangre, Alma y Divinidad de

nuestro Señor Jesucristo, presente en todos los

Sagrarios del mundo, en reparación de los ultrajes

con los que Él es ofendido. Por los méritos infinitos

del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús y del Inmaculado

Corazón de María, te pido la conversión de los

pecadores.

Nuestra Señora de Fátima,

ruega por nosotros.

Mass held to remember victims of child abuse

A Mass was celebrated on behalf of the victims of child abuse – the innocent and defenseless who have suffered a most terrifying violence to their body and soul.

This Mass on April 20, 2022, the Wednesday within the Octave of Easter, was celebrated by Msgr. Patrick Dubois at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. This was the 15th year the Diocese has held a Mass to pray for the victims of abuse, which takes place in April to coincide with National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Msgr. Dubois cited the Gospel Reading of the day of the two Disciples, who were weighed down by the terrible crucifixion of Christ, as they journey on the road to Emmaus in hope that Jesus’ Resurrection triumphed over evil.

“Just as the Disciples became witnesses to Jesus’ suffering, let us implore His Grace to weep with them; to make at least some amends for all victims of child abuse,” Msgr. Dubois said. “We recall with sadness how their precious dignity was violated much as Christ was also pierced because of our sins.”

Msgr. Dubois added that we must also weep for the heinous and terrible harm caused by the Church’s own sons and daughters, betraying their sacred mission only to abuse children who had been placed under their care and trust.

“The hurt of all of these innocent victims, that should never have happened, weighs heavy upon our hearts and upon the conscience of the entire Church,” he continued. “To these children, to all adults who lost their sacred innocence as minors violated by people who they trusted, we express another year of heartfelt sorrow and shame.”

Citing Pope Francis, who said the sins of clerical abuse of minors has a toxic effect on Faith and hope in God, Msgr. Dubois said some have maintained their Faith “while for others the experience of betrayal and abandonment has led to a weakening of Faith in God. It is the great miracle of hope which prevails against the deepest darkness that can be present in our lives. Our loving Lord is forever on the side of all who suffer, of all the victims – particularly the defenseless and abused child – bringing healing to so much pain and hurt.”

Msgr. Dubois concluded in prayer calling “upon the Lord to rebuild the broken lives and hearts; giving hope to all those who mourn a lost innocence; to all who suffered so terribly; to all who today so rightly hunger and thirst for justice and may they soon feel God’s miraculous and restorative grace. In this way, may they, like the Disciples on the road to Emmaus, deeply feel Christ’s blessing and Real Presence.”

In speaking on this topic, Bishop Frank J. Dewane has repeatedly stated that the Diocese of Venice, and its entities, take very seriously the safety of all young people and vulnerable adults. In fact, the Diocese has a zero-tolerance policy, and works to prevent any instances of abuse, particularly against minors and vulnerable adults.

“The Diocese of Venice is steadfast in its commitment to providing a comprehensive program to protect the most vulnerable from all types of abuse while raising awareness to prevent abuse from happening in the first place,” Bishop Dewane further stated.

The Diocese of Venice Safe Environment Program works to provide education for all employees (clergy, religious and laity), those volunteers and others regularly working with minors, and parents. The program provides information on the issue of abuse of children, including the detection, prevention and reporting of child abuse. Thousands participate in this program each year. In addition, the Safe Environment Program has a component which includes training sessions for children and young people in Catholic schools.

The Diocese of Venice annually undergoes a comprehensive audit by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection to ensure that the Diocese is in compliance with current directives.

For more detailed information about what the Diocese of Venice does to prevent abuse or how to sign up for a Safe Environment class, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/safeenvironment.

Report any abuse against minors to the Florida Department of Children and Families at 800-962-2873. Further, if Diocesan personnel or volunteers are involved, also notify the Diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator, Susan Benton, at 941-416-6114.

PRAYER FOR HEALING VICTIMS OF ABUSE

During April, the Secretariat of the USCCB encourages the faithful to recite the Prayer for Healing Victims of Abuse.

God of endless love, ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just:

You gave your only Son to save us by his blood on the cross.

Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace, join to your own suffering the pain of all who have been hurt in body, mind, and spirit by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.

Hear the cries of our brothers and sisters who have been gravely harmed, and the cries of those who love them. Soothe their restless hearts with hope, steady their shaken spirits with faith. Grant them justice for their cause, enlightened by your truth.

Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts, heal your people’s wounds and transform brokenness into wholeness. Grant us the courage and wisdom, humility and grace, to act with justice. Breathe wisdom into our prayers and labors. Grant that all harmed by abuse may find peace in justice.

We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Courtesy of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection of the United States

Conference of Catholic Bishops

UNA ORACIÓN DE SANACIÓN VÍCTIMAS DE ABUSO

Dios del amor infinito, Siempre presente, siempre justo;

Tú nos cuidas y nos proteges Y nos diste a tu único Hijo Para salvarnos con su sangre en la cruz.

Jesús manso, pastor de la paz, Dígnate unir a tu propio sufrimiento

El dolor de todos los que han sido heridos De cuerpo, mente y espíritu

Por parte de aquellos que traicionaron la confianza puesta en ellos.

Escucha el clamor de nuestros hermanos y hermanas Que han sido lastimados gravemente, Así como el clamor de aquellos que los aman. Dales la esperanza que mitigue el desosiego de sus corazones, Dales la fe que calme sus espíritus perturbados. Concédeles justicia para su causa, Ilumínalos con tu verdad.

Espíritu Santo, consolador de corazones, Cura las heridas de tus hijos e hijas

Y devuelve la integridad a lo que ha sido quebrantado. Concédenos el valor y la sabiduría, La humildad y la gracia, para actuar con justicia. Sopla tu sabiduría en nuestras oraciones y empeños. Que todos los que han sido heridos por el abuso encuentren paz y justicia.

Te lo pedimos por Cristo, nuestro Señor. Amén.

Courtesy of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection of the United States

Conference of Catholic Bishops.

2022 Chrism Mass: A Sign of Unity

Renewal of Priestly Promises; Consecration and Blessing of Holy Oils

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was joined by 110 Priests and 30 Deacons from across the Diocese for the annual Chrism Mass on April 12, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

This celebration, which was witnessed by more than 1,000 of the faithful, including more than 350 students from Diocesan Catholic schools, marks the institution of the priesthood by Christ and is an expression of unity of the priests with their Shepherd, the Bishop of the Diocese.

During the Chrism Mass, Bishop Frank blessed and consecrated Holy Oils to be used in Parishes across the Diocese of Venice for the sacramental life of the Church throughout the coming year.

The Chrism Mass, which takes place during Holy Week every year, is one of the most solemn and important liturgies of the Catholic liturgical calendar. The celebration not only brings into focus the historical context of the priesthood but is also an opportunity for the priests to recall their ordination and to reflect upon their ongoing priestly vocation. Having all the priests of the Diocese come together at the Chrism Mass, on the eve of the Easter Triduum, reminds priests of their calling to act in the person of Christ – In persona Christi. This is one of the few times that so many priests are gathered together for the Mass.

During the Renewal of Priestly Promises the gathered priests stood as one, and spoke with one voice saying, “I am,” three times in response to questions asked by Bishop Dewane. These same questions were asked of them during their Ordination to the Priesthood.

Bishop Dewane publicly thanked the priests for their continued service to the People of God throughout the Diocese of Venice for what they do each day. “We have to know the faithful People of God, the people for whom a priest is called to be anointed, and in turn for those he is set to anoint. Allow that joy to penetrate your life, allow it to go deep within your heart. This is a guarded joy –a sense of safety – guarded and guided by God, the Father.”

The Bishop spoke about the poverty, fidelity and obedience as the sisterly guards of priests.

The poverty aspect isn’t only related to money, but the joyful sacrifice each priest makes when answering the call of the Lord in their life by “giving up” – according to the secular world – much to become a priest. But Bishop Dewane said “a priest is given much in return. Don’t look at the poverty; look to the richness the Lord gives.”

The fidelity of a priest is solely to the one Bride, the Church. “It is who you are called to be, precisely the living Church. A priest must share his life, as shepherd of the Parish, day in and day out.”

Regarding obedience, it must always be to the Church, which was set up as a hierarchy. “All are called to live it, know it, and let it be a comfort rather than something else,” Bishop Dewane said. “It is something we must internalize in our life – a strength – called for in union with God. We need to be obedient with our service, our availability, our readiness to go out and allow the Lord to make us the servant we are called to be. It is not easy. No one said it would be easy.”

At their core, priests must be spiritual beings, by having an interior unity through being in Communion with Christ.

“This fundamental Union with Christ is our gift,” Bishop Dewane said. “The Anointed One has anointed us, to still anoint others in the sacraments. This union with the Anointed One must be the hallmark of the things we do. Our response to the filling of the Holy Spirit in your life, in my life, must come from within; allowing us, always in Communion with Him, to act as an instrument of the Lord.”

Bishop Dewane explained how young people are also in search of their own spirituality, a challenge for priests, parents and families. “It is my prayer that you (young people) will begin to live that interior unity of life – you are made in the image and likeness of God – finding idealism, generosity for life and a love for Jesus Christ and His Church.”

The Bishop then challenged the Faithful present for the Mass, and across the Diocese, to be close to their priests – through prayer, through friendship, through supporting him in any way – and in the expressions of proper affection. “This goes a long way in the life of the priest, to let them know that the gift the Lord gave them sometimes takes a lot out of them. It is my prayer that you make them feel that they are the gift – a gift to the Diocese.”

The six Priests and three Permanent Deacons serving or living in the Diocese celebrating the 25th and 50th anniversaries of their ordination were individually recognized by the Bishop for their years of service to Christ and Holy Mother Church.

While the Oil of the Sick and Oil of the Catechumens are blessed, the Sacred Chrism is also blessed consecrated; and each will be used at Parishes throughout the year in the administration of the Sacraments.

The annual Chrism Mass, which is celebrated on or before Holy Thursday, takes place in every Diocese in the world. In the Diocese of Venice, the Chrism Mass is celebrated on the Tuesday of Holy Week to accommodate the priests who need to travel substantial distances.

In attendance for this special occasion were religious men and women; seminarians; the Knights and Dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem; the Knights and Dames of the Sovereign Order of Malta; the Color Corps of the Knights of Columbus; approximately 350 students representing most of the Diocesan Catholic Schools; members of the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women; as well as the Faithful of the Diocese of Venice.

Sacred Chrism Oil

The Chrism Mass takes its name from the Sacred Chrism Oil, the most eminent of the three holy oils, which the Bishop consecrates and blesses for use by Parishes of the Diocese. Bishop Dewane described the oils as “Oils of Gladness” which represent the indelible mark each bestows.

The blessing of the oils takes place at different times during the Chrism Mass. Vested in white, Bishop Dewane raised hands and first blessed the Oil of the Sick at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer as it was held by the Deacon. Following the Prayer After Communion, the Bishop blessed the Oil of the Catechumens.

Next, the final portion of the Rite is the blessing and consecration of the Sacred Chrism Oil. First balsam is poured into the oil and then mixed. The balsam is added so that it gives the oil a sweet smell intended to remind those who encounter it of the “odor of sanctity.” All of the Faithful are called to strive for sanctity. Next, the Bishop breathes on the Sacred Chrism “to symbolize the Holy Spirit coming down.” At a particular point in the consecration of the Sacred Chrism, all the priests present joined the Bishop in extending their right hand toward the Chrism, as the Bishop concluded the prayer of consecration.

The Oil of the Sick, used for those who seek anointing, and the Oil of the Catechumens, which is imposed on those preparing for baptism, are “blessed,” by the Bishop. The Sacred Chrism is “blessed and consecrated.” The verb “consecrate” is applied to the action of making holy the chrism and indicates its use to spiritually separate, sanctify and purify its recipients.

After Mass, the oils were given to each Pastor to use in their Parish.

Jubilarians

A reception was held in the Parish Hall following the Mass to honor Priests and Deacons celebrating their jubilee in 2022.

Father Hugh McGuigan, Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, Pastor of Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers, spoke for the priest jubilarians. Father McGuigan marks the silver jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood in 2022 and described his journey first for 23 years as an Oblate Brother before becoming a priest. He also expressed his gratitude to Bishop Dewane and the Diocese for the support of the Ministry of the Oblates as they serve the Diocese at four Parishes.

Deacon Raymond Barrett spoke on behalf of the jubilarian Deacons, marking his 50th anniversary of ordination, as part of one of the earliest diaconate classes in the U.S. Deacon Barrett spoke about how his service evolved through the years to include prison and hospital outreach and then assisting for two decades at a retired priest nursing home.

Also celebrating 50 years were Msgr. Joseph Stearns, who assists at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch; Father Adrian Wilde, O. Carm., who is Prior of a Carmel at Mission Valley in Nokomis, Father David Foley assists at Parishes in Collier County.

Additional silver jubilarians were Father Patrick O’Connor, OSFS, Pastor of Jesus the Worker Parish and San Jose Mission in Fort Myers, Father Leszek Sikorski, a U.S. Navy Command Chaplain, Deacon Henry de Mena who serves at St. Agnes Parish in Naples, and Deacon Mark Miravalle, who teaches at Ave Maria University.

Diocese of Venice 2022 Holy Week Mass times

Below, please find the 2022 Holy Week Mass times for the Parishes and Missions of the Diocese of Venice, including the address and phone number. The list is in order of the cities where the Parish/Mission is located. If you have any questions, please contact the Parish/Mission directly.

ARCADIA

St. Paul, 1330 E. Oak St.; 863-494-2611; https://www.stpaularcadia.org/

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m. (bilingual); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 5 p.m. (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m. (bilingual)

EASTER – 9 a.m., noon (Spanish)

AVE MARIA

Ave Maria, 5068 Annunciation Circle, Suite 101; 239-261-5555; www.avemariaparish.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. (Latin)

AVON PARK

Our Lady of Grace, 595 E. Main St.; 863-453-4757; www.ologap.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 6 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.

EASTER – 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon (Spanish)

BOCA GRANDE

Our Lady of Mercy, 240 Park Ave.; 941-964-2254

HOLY THURSDAY – 5 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.

EASTER – 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m.

BOKEELIA

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, 12175 Stringfellow Road; 239-283-0456; www.miraculousmedalch.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 6 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 6 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.

EASTER – 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

BONITA SPRINGS

St. Leo the Great; 28290 Beaumont Road; 239-992-0901; www.stleocatholicchurch.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 5 p.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. (Spanish – new Auditorium)

EASTER – 6 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. (Polish), 5 p.m. (Spanish)

BOWLING GREEN

Holy Child Mission; 4315 Chester Ave.; 863-773-4089; http://michaelwauchula.weconnect.com/

EASTER – 7 p.m. (Spanish)

BRADENTON

Sacred Heart; 1220 15th St. W.; 941-748-2221; www.sacredheartbradenton.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 6 p.m. (English, Spanish, Creole); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m. (English, Spanish, Creole)

EASTER – 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. (Spanish), 4 p.m. (Creole)

Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles; 2850 75th St. W.; 941-795-1228; www.sspeterandpaul.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.;

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

St. Joseph Parish; 2704 33rd Ave. W.; 941-756-3732; www.sjcfl.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

BUCKHEAD RIDGE

St. Theresa of the Child Jesus; 1027 Chobee Loop; 863-946-0696

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 6:30 p.m.

EASTER – 10 a.m.

CAPE CORAL

St. Andrew; 2628 Del Prado Blvd. S.; 239-574-4545; www.standrewrcc.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m. (bilingual); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m., (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m., noon (Spanish)

St. Katharine Drexel; 1922 S.W. 20th Ave.; 239-283-9501; www.drexelcc.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 7 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m.

CLEWISTON

Santa Rosa de Lima; 835 N. Mayoral St.; 863-983-8585

HOLY THURSDAY – 6 p.m. (Spanish); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m. (Spanish)

EASTER – 8 a.m. (Spanish)

St. Margaret; 208 N. Deane Duff Ave.; 863-983-8585

HOLY THURSDAY – 8 p.m. (bilingual); GOOD FRIDAY – 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m. (bilingual)

EASTER – 10 a.m., noon (Spanish)

ENGLEWOOD

St. Raphael; 770 Kilbourne Ave.; 941-474-9595; www.strapheng.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

EVERGLADES CITY

Holy Family; 200 Datura Ave.; 239-394-5181; sanmarcochurch.com

GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.

EASTER – 10:30 a.m.

FORT MYERS

Jesus the Worker; 881 Nuna Ave.; 239-693-5333; www.jesustheworker.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m. (Spanish); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m. (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL- 8:30 p.m. (Spanish)

EASTER – 9 a.m. (Spanish), noon (Spanish)

Our Lady of Light; 19680 Cypress View Drive; 239-267-7088; www.ourladyoflight.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 7 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.

EASTER – 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.

Resurrection; 8121 Cypress Lake Drive; 239-481-7171; www.resurrectionch.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 5 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 6:15 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon, 12:15 p.m. (Latin)

San Jose; 10750 Gladiolous Drive; 239-481-1143; www.jesustheworker.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m. (Spanish); GOOD FRIDAY – 5 p.m. (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m. (Spanish)

EASTER – noon (Spanish)

St. Cecilia; 5632 Sunrise Drive; 239-936-3635; www.saintcecilias.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 2 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m.

St. Columbkille; 12171 Iona Road; 239-489-3973; www.stcolumbkille.com/

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 9:15 a.m. (Iona Hall), 11 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.

St. Francis Xavier; 2157 Cleveland Ave.; 239-334-2161; www.stfrancisfm.org/

HOLY THURSDAY – 6 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. (Polish), 4 p.m. (Creole)

St. John XXIII; 13060 Palomino Lane; 239-561-2245; www.johnxxiii.net

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 8 p.m. (Vietnamese); EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.

EASTER – 7:15 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:30 p.m. (Spanish), 4 p.m. (Vietnamese)

St. Vincent de Paul; 13031 Palm Beach Blvd.; 239-693-0818; www.stvincentftmyers.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

FORT MYERS BEACH

Ascension; 6025 Estero Blvd.; 239-463-6754;

HOLY THURSDAY – 5:30 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.

EASTER – 6:45 a.m., 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m.

GROVE CITY

St. Francis of Assisi; 5265 Placida Road; 941-697-4899; www.sfoachurch.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 6:30 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

HOLMES BEACH

St. Bernard; 248 S. Harbor Drive; 941-778-4769; www.stbernardcc.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 6 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.

EASTER – 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

IMMOKALEE

Our Lady of Guadalupe; 207 S. 9th St.; 239-657-2666

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m. (English, Spanish, Creole); GOOD FRIDAY – 4 p.m. (Spanish), 5 p.m. (Creole), 7 p.m. (English); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m. (English, Spanish, Creole)

EASTER – 7:30 a.m. (Spanish), 9 a.m. (English), 10:15 a.m. (Creole), 12:15 p.m. (Spanish), 7 p.m. (Spanish)

LA BELLE

Holy Martyrs; 4290 Crescent Ave. S.W.; 863-675-0030; www.olqh.weconnect.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 6 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 4 p.m.

Our Lady Queen of Heaven; 355 S. Bridge St.; 863-675-0030; www.olqh.weconnect.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 5 p.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 5 p.m. (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m. (bilingual)

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. (Spanish), noon (Spanish)

LAKE PLACID

St. James; 3380 Placid View Drive; 863-465-3215; www.stjameschurchlp.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m.

Mision Santiago Apostol; 685 County Road 621 E.; 863-385-0049; www.stjameschurchlp.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m. (Spanish); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m. (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m. (Spanish)

EASTER – 10 a.m. (Spanish)

LAKEWOOD RANCH

Our Lady of the Angels; 12905 State Road 70 E.; 941-752-6770; www.olangelscc.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 6 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 6 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:45 p.m.

LEHIGH ACRES

St. Raphael; 2514 Lee Blvd.; 239-369-1831; www.saintraphaelcc.net/

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. (Spanish), noon, 5:30 p.m. (Spanish)

LONGBOAT KEY

St. Mary, Star of the Sea; 4280 Gulf of Mexico Drive; 941-383-8758; www.stmarylbk.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 5 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 7:45 p.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

MARCO ISLAND

San Marco; 851 San Marco Road; 239-394-5181; www.sanmarcochurch.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m. (The Charter School), 10:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m., (The Charter School), 12:30 p.m.

MOORE HAVEN

St. Joseph the Worker; 24065 U.S. Highway 27; 863-946-0696

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m. (bilingual); GOOD FRIDAY – 6:30 p.m. (bilingual); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m. (bilingual)

EASTER – 8 a.m. (bilingual)

NAPLES

Corpus Christi; 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road; 239-592-1949; www.corpuschristifssp.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 5:15 p.m. (Latin); GOOD FRIDAY – 5:15 p.m. (Latin); EASTER VIGIL – 7:30 p.m. (Latin)

EASTER – 7:15 a.m., (Latin), 8:45 a.m. (Latin)

St. Agnes; 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road; 239-592-1949; www.stagnesnaples.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 10 a.m. (Palmetto Ridge High School), 11 a.m., 11:15 p.m., 1 p.m. (Spanish), 5 p.m.

St. Ann; 475 9th Ave. S.; 239-262-4256; www.naplesstann.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 9:15 a.m. (Jubilee Center), 11 a.m., 11:15 a.m. (Jubilee Center)

St. Elizabeth Seton; 5225 Golden Gate Parkway; 239-455-3900; www.stelizabethseton.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m. (Bilingual); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 5 p.m. (Spanish)

St. Finbarr; 13520 Tamiami Trail E.; 239-417-2084; www.stfinbarr.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 6 p.m. (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 8 a.m., (Spanish), 10 a.m., 11:45 a.m.

St. John the Evangelist; 625 111th Ave. N.; 239-566-8740; www.saintjohntheevangelist.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.

EASTER – 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1 p.m., 5 p.m.

St. Peter the Apostle; 5130 Rattlesnake Hammock Road; 239-774-3337; www.stpeternaples.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m. (English, Spanish, Creole); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 5 p.m. (Creole), 7 p.m. (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m. (English, Spanish, Creole)

EASTER – 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. (Spanish), 3:45 p.m. (Creole), 7 p.m. (Spanish)

St. William; 601 Seagate Drive; 239-261-4883; www.saintwilliam.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m.

NOCATEE

Capilla Católica de San Juan Diego

5247 S.W. Highway 17; 863-494-2611

EASTER – 1 p.m. (Spanish)

NORTH FORT MYERS

St. Therese; 20115 N. Tamiami Trail;

239-567-2315; www.sainttheresechurch.net

HOLY THURSDAY – 6 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

NORTH PORT

San Pedro; 14380 Tamiami Trail; 941-426-2500; www.sanpedrocc.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 7 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:45 a.m.

OSPREY

Our Lady of Mount Carmel; 425 S. Tamiami Trail; 941-966-0807; www.olmc-osprey.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon

PALMETTO

Holy Cross; 505 26th St.; 941-729-3891; www.holycrossdov.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m. (Bilingual); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 6 p.m. (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m. (bilingual)

EASTER – 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. (Spanish)

PARRISH

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini; 12001 69th St. E.; 941-776-9097; www.sfxcparrish.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 2 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 8 a.m.,10:15 a.m.

PORT CHARLOTTE

San Antonio; 24445 Rampart Blvd.; 941-624-3799; www.sanantoniorcc.org/

HOLY THURSDAY – 5 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.

EASTER – 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

St. Charles Borromeo; 21505 Augusta Ave.; 941-625-4754; www.stcharlespc.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:15 p.m.

EASTER – 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. (Creole)

St. Maximilian Kolbe; 1441 Spear St.; 941-743-6877; www.stmaxcatholic.org/

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m. (bilingual); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m. (bilingual)

EASTER – 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon

PUNTA GORDA

Sacred Heart; 211 W. Charlotte Ave.; 941-639-3957; www.sacredheartfl.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7 a.m. (Ponce de Leon Park), 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

SANIBEL

St. Isabel; 3559 Sanibel Captiva Road; 239-472-2763; www.saintisabel.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

SARASOTA

Christ the King; 1900 Meadowood St.; 941-924-2777; www.christthekingsarasota.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m. (Latin); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m. (Latin); EASTER VIGIL – 10 p.m. (Latin)

EASTER – 8:30 a.m. (Latin), 10:30 a.m. (Latin), 12:30 p.m. (Latin)

Incarnation; 2929 Bee Ridge Road; 941-921-6631; www.incarnationchurch.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. (Polish)

EASTER – 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. (Polish)

Our Lady Queen of Martyrs; 833 Magellan Drive; 941-755-1826; www.olqm.net

HOLY THURSDAY – 6 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 10 a.m.

St. Jude; 3930 17th St.; 941-955-3934; www.stjudesarasota.com/

HOLY THURSDAY – 5 p.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m. (Bilingual)

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m. (Spanish), 10:30 a.m., noon (Spanish), 1:30 p.m. (Spanish)

St. Martha; 200 N. Orange Ave.; 941-366-4210; www.stmartha.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. (Vietnamese); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. (Vietnamese); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m., 11 p.m.

EASTER – 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m. (Spanish), 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon, noon (Vietnamese), 5:30 p.m.

St. Michael the Archangel; 5394 Midnight Pass Road; 941-349-4174; www.stmichaelssiesta.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 6 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon

St. Patrick; 7900 Bee Ridge Road; 941-378-1703; www.churchofstpatrick.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 6 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

St. Thomas More; 2506 Gulf Gate Drive; 941-923-1691; www.stthomasmoresrq.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:15 a.m., noon, 12:10 p.m.

SEBRING

St. Catherine Parish; 882 Bay St.; 863-385-0049; www.stcathe.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish – Youth Center); GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m., 6 p.m. (Spanish – Youth Center); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. (Spanish – Youth Center)

EASTER – 6:30 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon (Spanish)

VENICE

Epiphany Cathedral; 310 Sarasota St.; 941-484-3505; www.epiphanycathedral.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – 3 p.m.; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 6 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 9:10 a.m. (Parish Center), 11 a.m., 11:10 a.m. (Parish Center), 12:30 p.m. (Polish)

Our Lady of Lourdes; 1301 Center Road; 941-497-2931; www.ollvenice.org

HOLY THURSDAY – 7 p.m.; GOOD FRIDAY – noon; EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m.

EASTER – 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:15 a.m., noon

WAUCHULA

St. Michael; 408 Heard Bridge Road; 863-773-4089; www.michaelwauchula.weconnect.com

HOLY THURSDAY – 5 p.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish); GOOD FRIDAY – 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. (Spanish); EASTER VIGIL – 8:30 p.m. (bilingual)

EASTER – 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. (Spanish), 3 p.m. (Creole)

A Sign of Hope: 15,756 years of Sacramental Commitment

More than 300 couples celebrating 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 and 50+ years of marriage were recognized and honored by Bishop Frank J. Dewane during a Mass Feb. 19, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, the second of two such Masses within the Diocese of Venice.

The combined years married for the couples present in Venice was well over 15,756, with 57 couples present celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, and five couples each celebrating 70 or more years.

Bishop Dewane called it a beautiful sight when he looked out upon so many couples who give a fantastic witness of their sacramental commitment.

“All of you represent love, joy and commitment to each other in a sacramental way, as a sign of hope,” Bishop Dewane said. “You were called to make a sacrifice, to live out the sacramental commitment, the important vocation that contributes greatly to the Church and to society as a whole. You are an example to others, not just to your children and grandchildren but to society that looks to you for guidance, inspiration and hope.”

The longest couple married present in Venice were Donald and Nonna Rassier of Epiphany Cathedral, who will be celebrating 74 years together on Oct. 2, 2022. Four additional couples, celebrating 70 or more years, were present for the Mass including: Carl and Natalie Pensak, Raymond and Gayle Bickowski, both 70 years; Thomas and Dolores Martorana, 71 years, and Leon and Ann Reser, 73 years.

The first Anniversary Mass was held Feb. 12, at St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs and included 180 couples. The couples present for the two Masses combined for a staggering 24,570 years of marriage. The Anniversary Mass is held in two locations each year to accommodate the large and growing number of participating couples and in recognition of the difficulty for some couples to travel great distances.

Naples Men’s Haitian Choir Delights Cathedral faithfu

The faithful of Epiphany Cathedral in Venice received a special treat with a guest choir during a Mass on Feb. 20, 2022.

The Men’s Haitian Choir of St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples was delightfully received when they participated in the 9 a.m., and later 11 a.m. Mass which was celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane.

Bishop Dewane invited the Choir to come to the Cathedral after hearing them sing several times during the annual Diocesan Mass for Haitian Independence which takes place each New Year’s Day, also the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. This Mass brings together the Haitian Catholic Community from across the region for a major celebration. Highlights of that celebration, the Bishop explained, include the performance of the choirs from different Parishes.

Following the Mass, the faithful gave enthusiastic applause in honor of the Choir for their contribution to the celebration. After Mass, several from the Cathedral individually thanked members of the Choir for their inspiring singing.

Marriage: A beautiful vocation

Love was in the air when 180 couples celebrating milestone wedding anniversaries stood united as a testament to commitment through the Grace of God just a few days before Valentine’s Day.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the first of two Masses on Feb. 12, 2022, at St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs, honoring the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and couples celebrating 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 and 50+ years of marriage. A second Mass is scheduled for Feb. 19 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

“Today is, for me, one of the most personally uplifting and humbling experiences throughout the year,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane said. “Couples coming together in the Sacrament of Marriage is such a powerful image of God’s love in the world for the rest of us. You continue to live that commitment as the living ministers of the Sacrament and that is humbling to see and important that we celebrate it!”

Alphonse and Lottie Kuznicki, of St. Columbkille Parish in Fort Myers, celebrating their 75th anniversary in October, were recognized as the longest married couple present for the Bonita Springs Mass. The high school sweethearts from Detroit, Michigan, waited until after his service in the U.S. Army during World War II, before getting married in 1947. Al gave Lottie an engagement ring before he departed for his service, and she happily waited. They were married within a few months of his returning from overseas and have not spent a day apart since.

Al Kuznicki said their strong faith created a lasting bond during their courtship, and held them together as they were married and later had children. “We had our ups and downs, but we had a strong faith to keep us going. This is very important.”

Also present at the Mass were Norman and Doris Brinkman of Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers, celebrating 72 years; Frank and Lucia Sylvester of St. Agnes Parish in Naples celebrating 61 years the day of the Mass; and 26 couples who are celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2022. In total, the couples present combined for an impressive 8,820 years of marriage.

The Holy Father calls married couples the “Icon of God’s image,” speaking about the love and witness they give as the years pass and their sacramental commitment to each other deepens.

Pope Francis also says marriage is a “silent homily” by the life lived, by the commitment the spouses share, and by the nice things they do, one for the other.

Bishop Dewane agrees, saying that in our society, the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is threatened and challenged in so many ways. Therefore, the daily action of each sacramentally married man and woman, whether large and small, “gives a witness to those around you, in the love and commitment you have, one to the other… God has given you husbands and wives the grace to live within the context of this challenging time as God’s icon of love. Know that and live it each day, whether married for one year, 25 years or 75 years. What you witness each day matters as you continue to be that icon, that image for others to follow and find God’s love in your own life.”

During the Masses, the married couples renewed their wedding vows. In addition, each couple was presented with commemorative certificates, signed by the Bishop, for their enduring commitment to marriage. A reception followed with lunch and the opportunity to have complimentary pictures taken with the Bishop.

At the reception, George and Paula Wright of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples and who will be celebrating their 56th anniversary in June, said being part of a Mass honoring the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony was inspiring.

“We have had a good run and there is no slowing down,” Paula explained, “but being among these couples together for 70 or more years is wonderful because you know it hasn’t been easy, but it is still possible if you chose the right partner and allow the Lord to accompany you on your journey.”

The Anniversary Mass in held in two locations each year to accommodate the large and growing number of participating couples and in recognition of the difficulty for some couples to travel great distances.

Bishop celebrates Mass for Collier County students

On the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of the Sick, Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass for hundreds of Catholic school students in Collier County.

The Mass was held Feb. 11, 2022, at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish. Among those present were the entire St. John Neumann Catholic High School student body, along with middle-schoolers from St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School, St. Ann Catholic School, Royal Palm Academy, each in Naples, as well as those from Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria.

Bishop Dewane opened his remarks by complimenting the students on their uniforms (ties, jackets, sweaters), saying the view from the ambo was impressive. “I see you all here; and be proud to know you are each recognized as a Child of God.”

Stressing that this designation of “Child of God” needs to mean something to each student, the Bishop said the Lord is always present to heal them. “But, you have to be the one who comes to Christ. He is there all the time and knows you.”

The healing powers of the Incarnate Savior are profound, able to set one off to rekindle the graces given at birth and to live a new life moving forward. The Gospel reading of the day recounted the story of Jesus healing a deaf man with a speech impediment, described in graphic details in the Gospel of Mark: 31-37. “He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.”

“You must recognize Christ as the doer of mighty deeds,” Bishop Dewane continued. “Try and understand what the Lord wants you to do when you realize Jesus didn’t just heal this man, He did it out of compassion and affection for another human being – follow that example of Christ.”

“It is my prayer that each one of you will look at today’s Gospel message and learn something about your spiritual wellbeing and the grace you need in your life,” the Bishop said. “We work at helping each other, anyone we see in need – and I know you do that well. However, it is also about looking to ourselves and understanding how Christ wants to help you grow spiritually, using the graces that have been bestowed upon you as you continue to become more the man or woman of God you are called to be in your life.”

Following Mass, many of the students went to St. John Neumann, joining the high schoolers for lunch, and for some fun activities including outdoors games, a dunk tank and several inflatables inside the gymnasium.

The Mass for Catholic students in Collier County usually takes place during Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 30-Feb. 5), but scheduling conflicts among the schools this year moved the celebration to the week following.

Looking ahead to 2022 in the Diocese of Venice

Opportunities abound for the faithful of the Diocese of Venice to grow closer to the Lord as the new year begins while continuing to deal with the impacts of the global COVID-19 Pandemic. A variety of Diocesan events are scheduled or in the planning stages while at the same time numerous Parishes are in the process of either completing or beginning major construction work. Therefore, 2021 is sure to be an exciting year for Catholics across Southwest Florida.

In the coming months there will be the Ordination to the Priesthood of three men, the Diocesan Phase of the Synod on Synodality, Masses for couples celebrating significant wedding anniversaries, a first-time joint Men’s and Women’s Conference, a continuing initiative to curb the impacts of pornography on society, opportunities to promote the sanctity of life, and learning experiences of various types.

During the first half of 2022, taking center stage will be the Diocesan Phase of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” Specifically, there will be a series of listening sessions which will take place in each part of the Diocese and to be announced in the next few weeks. The goal of these sessions is to discern the Word of God in Scripture, what those Words are saying to us while remembering the living Mission of the Church. This Diocesan Phase was inaugurated with an opening Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on Oct. 17, 2021, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

Coming in March is one of the most valuable opportunities to grow in the Faith, a first-ever joint Women’s and Men’s Conference. This year, the Conference agenda has been supercharged with dynamic speakers addressing relevant topics within the Church for Catholic men, women and their families. The 2022 Diocese of Venice Men’s & Women’s Conference is Saturday, March 5, at the Charlotte Harbor Event Center, 75 Taylor Street, Punta Gorda. Speakers include Trent Horn, Matthew Leonard, Emily Wilson, Dr. Michael Dauphinais, and Nicole Caruso with several breakout sessions geared specifically toward men or women. The large venue is ideal for allowing all participants to grow closer to the Lord. In addition, there will opportunities to participate in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Confession all day. Bishop Dewane will conclude the day by celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Doors open at 8 a.m. with the day beginning at 9 a.m. and concluding with the closing Mass at 4 p.m. To register, visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/2022-menswomens-conference. If you have any questions, contact the Diocesan Evangelization Office at 941-484-9543 or evangelization@dioceseofvenice.org.

For all couples celebrating a significant wedding anniversary (25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, or more than 50 years of marriage) in 2022, Bishop Dewane will be the celebrant of two Masses in your honor. The Masses will be celebrated at 11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 12 at St. Leo the Great Parish, 28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs, and at 11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 19 at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Avenue, Venice. The Masses will be followed with a lunch and include the opportunity for complimentary anniversary photos taken with Bishop Dewane. To register, please contact your local parish office for reservations no later than a week prior to the event you choose to attend.

The Office of Respect Life will be busy throughout 2022 with a variety of activities, all to raise awareness about important issues regarding the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. First up is the 24th annual Sarasota Prayer Walk for Life on Tuesday, Jan. 18, outside of the Planned Parenthood in downtown Sarasota. Bishop Dewane will celebrate Mass at 8:30 a.m. at St. Martha Parish, 200 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota. A bus will shuttle participants to the abortion center on Central Avenue to circle the block in prayer as many times as desired. The walk coincides with the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade court decision which paved the way for legalized abortion in the U.S.

In addition, there are two Parish-based prayer walks Saturday, Jan. 22. Members of the Ave Maria Parish Respect Life Outreach, along with Ave Maria University and Community Pregnancy Clinics Inc., will be hosting a March for Life from the Ave Maria University football field 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Special guests include Bishop Dewane and Pro-Life speaker Pam Stenzel. The same day, the St. Leo the Great Parish Respect Life Outreach in Bonita Springs is hosting its 3rd Annual Walk for Life on U.S. 41 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Participants are asked to park in the Parish parking lot at 28290 Beaumont Road and everyone will meet on nearby U.S. 41.

Later in the year, there will be an opportunity to participate in the national 40 Days for Life Spring Campaign during Lent in Fort Myers and Sarasota, then the Fall Campaign (October) at multiple locations in the Diocese.

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., will be hosting several events to support its more 30 than programs throughout the Diocese. First up on Wednesday, Jan. 19, is the “Celebration of Hope Luncheon” to benefit the programs in Lee, Hendry and Glades counties, The Luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m., at the Lexington Country Club, 16257 Willowcrest Way, Fort Myers. For tickets to this event, please contact Victoria Guevara at victoria.guevaranunez@catholiccharitiesdov.org or call 239-334-4007 ext. 2100.

In the beginning of February, make plans for an elegant evening at the “Together Again” Catholic Charities Ball, which supports the programs of Catholic Charities in Sarasota, Manatee, Highlands, Glades, DeSoto and Hardee counties. The Ball is 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 5, at the Ritz-Carlton, 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Sarasota. For tickets or to sponsor the event, please visit https://catholiccharitiesdov.org/event-on/ or call 941-909-7817.

Coming later in February is the Our Mother’s House Annual Wine Tasting, Auction & Dinner Dance at 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 24, at the Venice Community Center, 326 Nokomis Ave. S., Venice. Funds raised by this event will ensure that Our Mother’s House is able to offer the support needed to the mothers and their children as they journey towards self-sufficiency. For more information, please contact Lisa Ventura at 941-485-6264 ext. 1500 at lisa.ventura@catholiccharitiesdov.org. For tickets, please visit https://catholiccharitiesdov.org/event-on/.

Next among the Catholic Charities events in early 2022 is the Emerald Ball 2022. This evening supports the Catholic Charities programs in Collier County and will take place at 6 p.m., Thursday, March 10, at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort, 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples. For more information or to sponsor the event, please contact Rosa Aspilcueta 239-455-2655 ext. 3100 or emeraldball@catholiccharitiesdov.org, or visit https://catholiccharitiesdov.org/event-on/.

Continuing on the success of the first Safe Haven Sunday in 2021, the Diocesan Office of Family Life is working on developing the second phase of the initiative for the fall of 2022. This phase help to raise awareness about the harmfulness of pornography in the family and society. Pornography creates unsafe environments for children and confuses others about attitudes towards sex and marriage. This day of awareness describes the impacts pornography can have on marriages, families, and culture, while providing helpful resources for all. Detailed information will be shared with the faithful about how to combat this scourge in the weeks leading up to Safe Haven Sunday.

In the coming months, Bishop Dewane will preside over a variety of celebrations which occur each year, including the Rite of Election on the first Sunday of Lent, March 6, when Bishop Dewane welcomes those in Parish RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) programs from throughout the Diocese who will be fully entering the Church at the Easter Vigil; a Mass for Victims of Abuse will take place in April – National Child Abuse Awareness Month; later in the year a Veterans Day Mass at Sarasota National Cemetery, a Red Mass for legal professionals and more. As earlier mentioned, three men will be Ordained to the Priesthood by the Bishop this summer at Epiphany Cathedral.

Throughout 2021 there will be a variety of Parish-based celebrations coming in 20211. Among those is the 40th Anniversary of the founding of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples, which is also going through an expansion project slated to begin in 2022. The dedication of new Parish Life Centers for Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Boca Grande and St. William Parish in Naples will be happening in the first half of the year; and renovations to existing buildings as new Parish Life Centers at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Immokalee and Our Lady of the Angels Parish Lakewood Ranch are nearing completion. The coming year will be a big one at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Sarasota which is nearing the completion of a major Church renovation and ground will be broken on a new Ministry Center. There will also be a renovation of the baseball fields at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers as well as the expansion of the religious education building at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula. Additional smaller, but no less important, projects are slated throughout the Diocese in an effort to benefit current and future generations.

As 2022 moves forward, check the Diocesan website (www.dioceseofvenice.org) frequently for information about these and other upcoming events. As always, check the weekly Florida Catholic e-Edition to read stories and view photos from these and other happenings across the Diocese. If you would like to read the story looking back at life in the Diocese during 2021, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/looking-back-on-2021/.

Looking back on 2021

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

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

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

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

Priestly Ordination and Vocations

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

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

Chrism Mass and Celebration of Jubilarians

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

Catholic schools

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

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

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

Respect Life Outreach

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

Honoring the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

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

Safe Haven Sunday

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

Catholic Charities

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

Year of St. Joseph

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

Synod on Synodality

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

Dedications

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

Other items of note

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

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

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

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