News briefs for week of June 15

St. Jude Food Pantry open

The St. Jude  Parish Food Pantry is open and distributing food on Wednesdays from 5-6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:30-9:30 a.m. following all social distancing protocols. Please bring an ID and do not exit your vehicle. Volunteers will load cars.  Located at 3930 17th St., Sarasota, please call the food pantry at 941-955-3934 if you have any questions or visit https://www.stjudesarasota.com/info/st-jude-food-pantry-schedule, for updates.

Parish supports local charity

St. Agnes Parish in Naples has stepped up again to help the needy in the area. This time the Parish collected four pick-up truckloads of food and donated it to St. Matthew’s House, a program that provides innovative solutions to fight homelessness, hunger, substance abuse, and poverty in Collier County.

Food pantry open in Wauchula

St. Michael Parish in Wauchula is the home to a food pantry which has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 Pandemic response. To accommodate those who work, the food pantry is open each Saturday, 7–8:45 a.m., at the Parish 408 Heard Bridge Road, Wauchula. If you need food at a different time or would like to support the efforts to assist the community, please call the Parish at 863-773-4089.

Foundation life-planning seminars to resume June 24

Due to the coronavirus, many Parishes in the Diocese of Venice had to postpone the Life Planning Seminars that were originally scheduled for this past spring.  In response to numerous requests, the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. has scheduled three virtual seminars featuring a local Catholic estate attorney, a local Catholic Financial Advisor and Michael Morse, Executive Director of the Foundation. These free seminars are open to anyone wishing to attend, no matter where they are currently located, whether here in Florida or back up north. All attendees will need to register ahead of time in order to join the meeting. The following registration links are unique to each seminar at https://ccfdioceseofvenice.org/home/upcoming-events/. For more information, please contact Michael Morse at 941-441-1124 or by email at Morse@dioceseofvenice.org.

Bradenton food pantry available

The St. Joseph Parish Food Pantry, 2704 33rd Ave. W., Bradenton, is open and distributing food from 9a.m. to noon Monday-Friday, and 5-7 p.m. Wednesdays, following all social distancing protocols. New clients are welcome to register during regular pantry hours. Call 941-756-3732 if you have any questions or wish to make a donation of money or food. For more information on the St. Joseph Food Pantry go to https://www.stjoepantry.com/

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 until June 28, 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.

Livestreaming

The Diocese of Venice Mass will continue livestream through the Diocese website and Facebook pages from the Catholic Center in Venice 9:15 a.m. daily so long 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 their 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 homepage at www.dioceseofvenice.org. Resources include links to the Mass, the prayer for 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.

Year of Saint Joseph

On the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, March 19, 2020, Bishop Frank J. Dewane consecrated the Diocese of Venice to the care and protection of Saint Joseph in the context of the Coronavirus. The Bishop announced a “Year of Saint Joseph” beginning March 19, 2020 through March 19, 2021. Saint Joseph, often referred to as the Protector, can be our protector during this time of the pandemic. To pray a Novena to Saint Joseph please visit the Year of Saint Joseph webpage at www.dioceseofvenice.org.

 

 

Online Directed Retreats

During the current health crisis, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice is offering online 3-day, 5-day, and 8-day retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. In these online retreats, Father Mark Yavarone, OMV, or Father Lino Estradilla, OMV, trained spiritual directors, will meet with you for an hour each day via a link provided to you, to help you to pray and to recognize how God is speaking to you. A Bible and journal should be available for your use. Participants will be emailed any additional materials needed as the retreat unfolds. The cost is as follows: 3-day online retreat, $132.23; 5-day online retreat, $203.98; and 8-day online retreat, $306.48. All information will be confidential, and password protected. If you would like to participate in an online retreat, please email Denise Riley at riley@olph-retreat.org and a code will be provided for your online registration as well as an application. For planning purposes, please allow 7 days from your completed application until the beginning of your retreat.

News briefs for the week of June 8 2020

Food pantry open in Wauchula

St. Michael Parish in Wauchula is the home to a food pantry which has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 Pandemic response. To accommodate those who work, the food pantry is open each Saturday, 7–8:45 a.m., at the Parish 408 Heard Bridge Road, Wauchula. If you need food at a different time or would like to support the efforts to assist the community, please call the Parish at 863-773-4089.

Parish continues to support Our Mother’s House

The Peace and Justice Outreach of Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch adopted Catholic Charities Our Mother’s House as their charity for the month of May. During that time, the group made three delivers of donations for the babies and young mothers, with each larger than the previous. The donations were much appreciated by the facility which assists mothers and their young children who might otherwise be homeless.

Retired priest celebrates 70th anniversary of ordination

A small celebration marked the 70th anniversary of the Ordination to the Priesthood Father Ireneo Tovar on June 3, 2020, at St. James Parish in Lake Placid.  Father Tovar has been “retired” in Lake Placid for the past 21 years. He has one living sister, a religious sister who is more than 100 years old. He himself is 95 years old and enjoys celebrating Mass at St. James and working in his garden. The Mass was concelebrated by Father Jose Gonzalez, Pastor of St. Catherine Parish in Sebring and Dean of the Eastern Deanery, Father Vincente Clemente, Pastor of St. James, and Father Felix Gonzalez, Parochial Vicar of St. James. Father Tovar was born in Spain, and left Spain against his mother’s wishes because he wanted to become a missionary. He was sent to Africa during World War II to a country then-called Rhodesia, now called Zimbabwe, which he loved. He was the first Anglo many had seen. He spent 18 years as a priest there, establishing churches where there had been none. Later he was reassigned to Camden, N.J., where he worked for over 20 years with the Spanish-speaking migrant population, before retiring to Florida.

Online Prayed Retreats

During the current health crisis, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice is offering online 3-day, 5-day, and 8-day retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. In these online retreats, Father Mark Yavarone, OMV, or Father Lino Estradilla, OMV, trained spiritual directors, will meet with you for an hour each day via a link provided to you, to help you to pray and to recognize how God is speaking to you. A Bible and journal should be available for your use. Participants will be emailed any additional materials needed as the retreat unfolds. The cost is as follows: 3-day online retreat, $132.23; 5-day online retreat, $203.98; and 8-day online retreat, $306.48. All information will be confidential, and password protected. If you would like to participate in an online retreat, please email Denise Riley at riley@olph-retreat.org and a code will be provided for your online registration as well as an application. For planning purposes, please allow 7 days from your completed application until the beginning of your retreat.

Scam Alert

It has once again been brought to the attention of the Diocese of Venice that parishioners have received text/email messages from people pretending to be priests or Bishop Frank J. Dewane and requesting donations in the form of gift cards and/or wire transfers. The messages often greet the person by name and have the priests name in the closing signature of the message; this is a well-crafted and targeted attack on the Church across the country which has hit our Diocese again. These text/email messages are ‘spoofed’ fakes that should not be responded to or taken seriously by anyone. The best defense against this sort of scam is to raise awareness in the community and not respond or open any worrying attachments. It is Diocesan policy that no priest or staff within the Diocese request donations in the form of gift cards, PayPal, MoneyGram, etc.

There is already an established process in place on how parishioners can make donations and participate in the life of the Parish. Whenever a parishioner is worried about any request for money from the parish or a priest, they should immediately call their parish and under no circumstances should they respond to these scam requests.

Bradenton Food Pantry

The St. Joseph Parish Food Pantry, 2704 33rd Ave. W., Bradenton, is open and distributing food from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday, 5-7 p.m. Wednesdays, following all social distancing protocols. Cars will be directed through the parking lot and trunks will be loaded by volunteers in protective gloves and masks. Call 941-756-3732 if you have any questions. You do not need to be a regular client to receive food. To make a donation of money or food, please visit https://www.stjoepantry.com/.

News briefs for the week of June 1 2020

School shares virtual May Crowning images

These two students from St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples pray before a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary during May.

St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School did not want to let the COVID-19 pandemic cancel a favorite annual tradition, the May Crowning of Mary. Seton families were sent a request to submit pictures of students at home praying the rosary, placing flowers at a statue of Mary, coloring pages of the Blessed Mother, etc., and the results were inspiring. The results were so impressive that the school created and shared a short video which can be found on the school’s Facebook page. What a great way to honor Our Lady during the Month of May.

These are some of the drawings created by students from St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples created to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary during May 2020.

Bishop Dewane celebrates Pentecost Vigil at Cathedral

 

Sarasota student continues to help front line workers

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School student Malory Albritton helped pack and load the donations of blueberries to Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton in mid-May 2020.

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School student Malory Albritton is continuing to serve the community during COVID-19 pandemic. She helped pack and load the donations of blueberries from Albritton Fruit Farms made to Manatee Memorial Hospital nursing staff and doctors. Thank you for all that you do!

Ordination to the Priesthood June 27

The Ordination to the Priesthood of Transitional Deacon Franckel Fils-Aime will take place at 11 a.m., June 27, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this important event in the life of Deacon Franckel and the Diocese of Venice. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.

New basketball coach for Mooney

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota announced the appointment of Clayton Slentz as the new head varsity coach for the boys’ basketball team. Coach Slentz will continue to build on the growing strength of the Cougar athletic program. He has been an assistant varsity basketball coach with the Cougars for the past three years and currently teaches history at Cardinal Mooney. Slentz earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in 2015 and his master’s degree in history in 2017. For nine years, Slentz has been coaching basketball at the high school level.

Incarnation student receives honor for writing play

Incarnation Catholic School student Cora Thayer was one of 20 script submissions selected from more than 7,600 entries as part of the Florida Studio Theater “Write-A-Play” program. A participant in the Florida Studio Theater’s Writing Workshop, Cora’s “Big Dreams Under the Big Top,” will be performed during the Young Playwright’s Festival in the Spring of 2021. Her play is about a tiny inchworm named Illianna who overcomes many obstacles to become a circus Ringmaster.

Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota hosted a Florida Studio Theater Writing Workshop for students in January.

Online Preached Retreats

During the current health crisis, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice is offering online 3-day, 5-day, and 8-day retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. In these online retreats, Father Mark Yavarone, OMV, or Father Lino Estradilla, OMV, trained spiritual directors, will meet with you for an hour each day via a link provided to you, to help you to pray and to recognize how God is speaking to you. A Bible and journal should be available for your use. Participants will be emailed any additional materials needed as the retreat unfolds. The cost is as follows: 3-day online retreat, $132.23; 5-day online retreat, $203.98; and 8-day online retreat, $306.48. All information will be confidential, and password protected. If you would like to participate in an online retreat, please email Denise Riley at riley@olph-retreat.org and a code will be provided for your online registration as well as an application. For planning purposes, please allow 7 days from your completed application until the beginning of your retreat.

News briefs for the week of May 25 2020

An act of kindness

Representatives from Children First Inc., a childcare provider, recently visited Our Mother’s House, a program of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc., with a chicken dinner for each mother from Paradise Grill. The mothers were so grateful for their generosity! Our Mother’s House in Venice provides housing and support for mothers and their children who would otherwise be homeless.

Catholic Charities Responds to Pandemic

If you need help

If you need assistance from Catholic Charities for food, financial assistance or tele-mental health counseling, please call the number for your area listed below 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday:

  • Sarasota/Manatee/DeSoto/Hardee/Highlands counties: 844-385-2407,
  • Charlotte/Lee/Hendry/Glades counties: 844-385-2423,
  • Collier County: 844-385-2404.

Food distribution

Catholic Charities food distribution will take place only at the following times and locations. Please call the regional number for more information.

  • Mondays and Wednesdays, 9-11 a.m., Guadalupe Social Services, 211 S. 9th St., Immokalee;
  • Tuesdays, 9-11:30 a.m., Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center, 3174 Tamiami Trail E., Naples;
  • Thursdays, 9 a.m.-noon, St. Margaret Parish, 208 Dean Duff St., Clewiston;
  • Fridays, 9-11 a.m., St. Leo the Great Parish, 28360 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs;
  • Fridays, 9 a.m.-noon, Elizabeth K. Galeana Pantry, 4235 Michigan Avenue Link, Fort Myers;
  • 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., St. Paul Parish, 1208 E. Oak St. Arcadia;
  • Saturdays, 7–8:45 a.m., St. Michael Parish, 408 Heard Bridge Road, Wauchula.

How to Help

Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. is in urgent need of your financial support during its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To help, please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org/donate or send a check to: Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc., 5824 Bee Ridge Road, PMB 409, Sarasota, FL 34233-5065.

Online Prayer Resources and Live Mass

A special coronavirus webpage is located on the Diocese of Venice website homepage at www.dioceseofvenice.org.

Resources include links to the Mass, the prayer for Act of the Spiritual Communion, videos of the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Pray the Rosary by following the links for the Diocese response to Coronavirus included on the Diocese homepage. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org, also posts the daily Mass readings.

While the celebration of public Mass has resumed (effective May 18, 2020), Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced that for those who are at greater risk or anxious about returning at this time, that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect until June 28, 2020. 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.

While Parishes have been asked to continue live streaming until the dispensation is lifted, the Diocese of Venice Mass live stream will continue from the Catholic Center in Venice 9:15 a.m. daily through June 28, 2020, and is available through the Diocese website and Facebook pages.

In addition, 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 coronavirus (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 their 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.

Please continue to pray for the repose of those who have died, for the recovery of those who are sick, for the strength of healthcare workers and caregivers, as well as for an end to this health crisis. Thank you for your generosity.

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.

Year of St. Joseph

On the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, 2020, Bishop Frank J. Dewane consecrated the Diocese of Venice to the care and protection of St. Joseph in the context of the coronavirus. 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 www.dioceseofvenice.org.

Online Preached Retreats

During the current health crisis, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice is offering online 3-day, 5-day, and 8-day retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. In these online retreats, Father Mark Yavarone, OMV, or Father Lino Estradilla, OMV, trained spiritual directors, will meet with you for an hour each day via a link provided to you, to help you to pray and to recognize how God is speaking to you. A Bible and journal should be available for your use. Participants will be emailed any additional materials needed as the retreat unfolds. The cost is as follows: 3-day online retreat, $132.23; 5-day online retreat, $203.98; and 8-day online retreat, $306.48. All information will be confidential, and password protected. If you would like to participate in an online retreat, please email Denise Riley at riley@olph-retreat.org and a code will be provided for your online registration as well as an application. For planning purposes, please allow 7 days from your completed application until the beginning of your retreat.

Modern take on Lourdes found in Venice

On the quiet banks of the Myakka River in Venice is a hidden gem of the Diocese of Venice, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center.

Surrounded by giant live oaks with a cool lake at its center, the Retreat Center, known by most as OLPH, offers a place full of God’s peace and beauty which encourages guests to develop a deeper relationship with the Lord, improve prayer life, and perhaps meet a new friend with whom to walk the spiritual journey of life.

In its illustrious 25-year history, tens of thousands have flocked there for retreats, conferences and prayer. The goal of OLPH is to give people the time and place to briefly “leave the world behind” and return to daily living refreshed and renewed.

To help enhance that experience, a Shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Help is currently being installed. Well along in the construction process, the Shrine sits next to the Bell Tower and is along a path which leads in one direction to nearby St. Joseph Chapel, another to the outdoor Stations of the Cross and is a short distance from the bridge which leads to the main conference areas.

OLPH Director, Father Mark Yavarone, Oblate of the Virgin Mary, said the concept of the Shrine Project “began with several donations made to memorialize Redemptorist Father Charlie Mallen, the founding director of the Retreat Center. The Diocese of Venice added to these donations so that the construction could be done in a beautiful and enduring way.”

Father Mallen founded OLPH in 1995 at the direction of then-Bishop John J. Nevins. With the assistance of Sister Carmella DeCosty, Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Father Mallen developed an overgrown piece of land into a refuge.

Although there will be a plaque to memorialize Father Mallen, when completed, a large marble statue of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is going to be the centerpiece of the Shrine.  While the statue is being made, another statue of Our Lady is temporarily in place.

The backdrop of the statue consists of a single large piece of limestone and several Italian cypress trees which produce a vaulted cathedral effect, Father Yavarone explained.

“There is a small waterfall at Mary’s feet which is stunningly lit at night,” Father added. “What I like most about the shrine is that it makes Mary the center of the Retreat Center property in a very visible way.  Let’s hope that it will foster devotion to Mary and many fond memories and prayers for Father Charlie!”

While the shrine is not finished yet: the plans include an area for votive candles that will be enclosed to comply with fire regulations and sidewalks which will lead to the steps of the shrine.

The main feature of the Shrine, the monument is made of 15,000 pounds of Oolitic limestone quarried in Coral Bay Florida by Epic Stonework. The same material was used to créate a series of benches, each weighing 4,000lbs. The stairs and floor of the Shrine are made of keystone, and the ramp Access is made of travertine.

Features include a variety of landscaping such as assorted bromeliads, two Montgomery palms, 14 Italian cypress, five Adonidia palms, three European fan palms, and three Ligustrum trees.

Following the completion of the Shrine, a blessing and dedication will take place.

Fondly known as “The Miracle on the Myakka,” OLPH hosts more than 8,500 guests each year. The Retreat Center has villas for overnight visitors and the St. Joseph Chapel for Masses and Eucharistic Adoration. Activities at the Retreat Center include weekend retreats for families, catechists, pastoral ministers and various parish organizations, as well as day retreats, days of reflection, workshops, and seminars for many Diocesan organizations, schools, churches, and leadership teams.

The Oblate Fathers also offer a number of preached retreats that are in varying lengths from three days up to one month.

To learn more about Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center, please visit www.olph-retreat.org.

Aging Retreat Center bridge in need of replacement

Staff Report

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure to visit Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center (OLPH) in Venice for a retreat, conference, Mass or to reflect along the peaceful shores of the Myakka River, either saw or crossed a simple bridge which spans the large lake at the middle of the Retreat Center.

The bridge is a lifeline at the heart of the 54-acre OLPH which was built in 1995, nearly 25 years ago. During those 25 years the bridge has carried thousands of people back and forth from the conference and dining area to the St. Joseph Chapel and Villa side of the grounds. It has endured several floods and still stands as a testament to the resilience of itself.

In preparation for the 25th Anniversary, OLPH is undergoing a campaign to raise the funds to build a new bridge, explained Denise Riley, OLPH Business Manager.

“We are asking our benefactors, friends and family of OLPH to help rebuild it,” Riley said. “In recognition of the upcoming 25th Anniversary of the Retreat Center, a $25 donation would enable us to rebuild the bridge, plank by plank and replace the railings.”

Remembering the words of Father Charles (Charlie) Mallen, C.Ss.R., the founder of OLPH, “if you build it, they will come.” The rebuilding, continues the vision, so all can come to this place of grace and encounter God… and bridge the outside world to our faith.

OLPH brings in more than 8,000 visitors each year, not only from throughout the Diocese, but around the U.S. and world. They are the laity, priests, religious and even Bishops using the facilities. Those visitors come to OLPH for a variety of reasons, either for individual or group retreats, perhaps a conference, youth gatherings or even the monthly Luncheons 4 Life meetings. Each guest adds to the use of the bridge and other facilities.

Riley stressed that the bridge is safe, but instead of waiting for emergency repairs, now is the time for a replacement bridge with a structure that will last the next quarter century and beyond.

“Without this bridge, the walk around to each area, while beautiful, would however prove to be a hardship for some of our guests,” Riley added.

There are also plans to update the villas with new furniture and other cosmetic improvements and eventually upgrade the aging septic system.

OLPH Director Father Sean Morris, OMV, said the facilities are being booked/reserved non-stop throughout the year, a priest retreat and Parish Spanish Emaus group retreat were both held within the past two weeks, OLPH is starting to show its age.

“OLPH is a treasure which belongs to the people of the Diocese of Venice,” Father Morris said. “It is for all. Therefore, we are asking for everyone who has encountered the Lord here at a retreat or during a quiet visit, to prayerfully consider giving their support.”

While not everyone can provide financial support, Father Morris noted that OLPH is always seeking those who not only wish to offer their treasure but also their time and talent in support of the Retreat Center.

“We are always seeking volunteers to assist our guests,” Father added. “Perhaps someone has a talent they want to share, or time that they want to give in support of our work. We need support of all types.”

Volunteer opportunities run a wide range, such as assisting at annual events, groundskeeping/gardening, set-up and service in the kitchen and dining areas, clerical help that might include answering phones or helping with paperwork or mail, assisting with the gift shop or even someone who can assist with maintenance projects.

“All of this support helps us live up to our mission as a Diocesan Retreat Center, helping people of Faith grow closer in their relationship with the Lord,” Father Morris said.

The groundbreaking ceremony for OLPH took place in January 1995, and eight months later the Retreat Center became a reality. A conference center and two villas were the first buildings completed. In a short span of five years the two villas increased to four, a dining center and chapel were added to complete phase one of the master plan.

In addition to the seven buildings on site, retreatants have the opportunity to spend time enjoying the beautiful grounds which include the Way of the Cross, the Rosary Walk and the prayer decks located along the river bank.

Events Commemorating the 25th Anniversary OLPH are in the planning stages and will be announced before the end of the year.

To help support the OLPH bridge building campaign or to learn more about other giving or volunteer opportunities, please visit www.olph-retreat.org, or contact Denise Riley at riley@olph-retreat.org or call 941-486-0233.

Religious women recognized for service to Church

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

In gratitude and recognition for the contributions of men and women religious within the Universal Church, but more precisely in the Diocese of Venice, a jubilee celebration was held Feb. 17 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice.

Appropriately, the day began with the celebration of the Mass by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. During the Mass, there was a renewal of the vows for the jubilarians, the same ones they took when professing a commitment to a religious life, that of poverty, chastity and obedience.

The Bishop thanked the religious for answering a specific call of the Lord to live a life of holiness, and then taking that commitment a step farther by reaching out and serving others. Bishop Dewane added that the celebration of consecrated life is a celebration of goodness, a blessing to the Church as a whole.

Four religious women celebrating significant anniversaries were specifically recognized during the Mass and at a following reception. The religious honored were: 75 years, Sister Mary Paschal Sadlier, Poor Clare Nun (Order of St. Clare); 60 years, Sister Liliette Ouellette and Sister Mary Josine Perez, School Sisters of Notre Dame; and 25 years, Sister Maria Pilar Alindogan, Poor Clare Nun (Order of St. Clare).

Sister Liliette explained that her call to a religious life was a path she followed with great joy. As a teacher, she followed the charism of her religious order with passion knowing that she was accompanied by the Lord along the path she had chosen. “It has been a good life,” Sister Liliette said.

Sister Josine spent a lifetime teaching at every level from elementary to college level, but now, in her “retirement,” she remains active at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice assisting with funeral planning and the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. “As a religious sister, I have been called by Christ to serve. That service helps bring others close to His love.”

Sister Mary Paschal and Sister Maria Pilar were unable to attend the celebration. Present at the Mass were religious brothers, priests and or women religious as a sign of support for those celebrating their jubilee in 2019. Following the Mass, the was a luncheon where jubilarians were again recognized for their commitment to a service to others and their continued service within the Diocese of Venice.

Biographies

75 years of religious life

Sister Mary Paschal Sadlier, OSC

Born Honora Sadlier in Lisheen Cashel Co., Tipperary, Ireland, now nearly 101, Sister Mary Paschal Sadlier, Poor Clare Nun (Order of St. Clare), was born to Martin and Mary Sadlier, and is last surviving of 10 children. Sister entered religious life on Jan. 22, 1936 with the Sisters of St. Anne in Wimbledon, England and she received her habit and the name Sister Paschal Baylon of the Sacred Heart. After working at a hospital in Plymouth helping the victims of the bombing of England in the early years of World War II, she took a rest at a Poor Clare convent and felt called to a contemplative life. In July 1942 she was accepted as a Poor Clare in Cornwall and Sister Mary Paschal made her profession on July 31, 1944. She remained in the convent in Cornwall until becoming Abbess which exhausted her. Sister Mary Paschal then went to Arundel, before moving on the to Poor Clares in Darlington. There she was the Portress – second in charge – which suited her temperament better and later she was named infirmarian, caring for the older sisters in the monastery. At the age of 70, in 1988 she made her final transfer to live with the Poor Clare Sisters at San Damiano Monastery of St. Clare on Fort Myers Beach. The religious community joyfully embraces a life of poverty, prayer and contemplation, solitude and seclusion that they might serve the Lord and His Church. In her spare time, she likes to read.

60 years of religious life

Sister Liliette Ouellette, SSND

Sister Liliette Ouellette, School Sister of Notre Dame, was bornin Dracut, Mass. To Arthur and Beatrice Ouellette and has three sisters. The earned a Bachelor’s in French at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisc., a Master’s in Elementary Education from the University of Detroit in Michigan, and a Master’s in Education Administration from Manhattan College in New York. Sister Liliette entered religious life on Aug. 28, 1957 and made her profession on July 14, 1959. She taught elementary school in Michigan for nine years before moving to Long Island, N.Y. to teach junior high from 1970 to her retirement in 2009. Since her move to Port Charlotte in 2014 she serves as a lector and Eucharistic Minister at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish. She also volunteers with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The day of Sister Lilliete’s profession was one of her happiest memories, because it was when her family shared in the joy she had in consecrating her life to God in expression of her vows. Another happy memory was becoming cancer-free, something she sees as a sign of God’s love and presence in her life. In her spare time, she loves any form of needlework and even crotchets mats for the homeless using plastic bags.

Sister Mary Josine Perez, SSND

Sister Mary Josine Perez, School Sister of Notre Dame, was born in New York to Joseph and Alice Perez, and has one brother. Sister Maria received a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore, Md., and then a Master’s in Education from Loyola College in Baltimore and Master’s in Religious Studies from Barry University in Miami and finally a certification in administration/supervision from the University of South Florida in Tampa. She entered religious life on Sept. 8, 1957 and made her profession on July 25, 1959. Sister Maria was an elementary and then junior high school teacher in Baltimore before becoming a principal in Hollywood, Fla. She was then a teacher later dean at a high school in St. Petersburg before becoming Assistant Academic Dean at the College of Notre Dame in Maryland. After leaving the College of Notre Dame, she returned to Catholic Schools as a principal of an elementary school in St. Petersburg. It was 25 years ago that she moved to the Diocese of Venice where she was the Director of Religious Education at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Port Charlotte and then from 1993 to 2017 as DRE and involved in parish ministry at Sacred Heart Parish in Punta Gorda. She retired in 2017 to Venice where she now assists with funeral planning and with the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

25 years of religious life

Sister Maria Pilar Alindogan, OSC

One of 14 children, Sister Maria Pilar Alindogan, Poor Clare Nun (Order of St. Clare), was born in San Fernando Masbate, Philippines, to Effigenio and Elsie Alindogan. She is a graduate from Emilio Aguinaldo College in Manila, Philippines. Sister Maria Pilar entered religious life on June 27, 1991 and made her profession on June 27, 1994. She entered the monastery in Quezon City, Philippines and was there until she came to Florida in 2007. Since that time Sister Maria Pilar has been with the Poor Clare Sisters at San Damiano Monastery of St. Clare on Fort Myers Beach. She loves to play the organ and guitar, as well as draw, cut letters for sign boards and to do little things for others to let them know that she loves and cares for them.

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