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/.

Marco Island Knights Council celebrates 50th

Knights of Columbus San Marco Council 6344 celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. On Thursday, January 13, 1972, approximately 30 Knights formed San Marco Council.

The Knights of Columbus are a fraternal Catholic organization that empowers Catholic men to live their Faith at home, in their Parish, in the Diocese, at work and in their community. Through various Knight programs and resources, the Knights of Columbus provides opportunities to enhance their Catholic identity and to live and spread the Faith.

The Knights of the San Marco Council, whose founding Grand Knight was Alexander Ayyot, was formed to focus on providing charity, a key focus of all Knights. This has been done to help the needy through countless food drives, clothing drives, toy drives and much more in support of such organizations at the St. Vincent de Paul Society and Catholic Charities. The Council also supports college scholarships and has assisted in purchasing ultrasound machines which are donated to local pregnancy clinics and serve a critical role in showing mothers their unborn child which ideally helps them choose life.

Current Grand Knight, John Coff explained how “50 years is a milestone for any organization, but for Knights Council 6344 it is a tribute to all the Knights came before and had the vision for the good work Council has done and will continue to do through our Church into the future… We are excited about our anniversary and are grateful to our Pastors who made our Council possible.”

Over the years, Coff said the Knights have done some wonderful work both supporting the Parish and area organizations. He is especially proud of the fact that Knights are always active in the support of San Marco Parish by volunteering as lectors, ushers, Eucharistic Ministers, as well as assisting at Parish events.

Soon after the Council formed, fundraising events were initiated to include bingo, Lenten fish fry, car shows, concerts and more.

The Council also has woman’s auxiliary, the Columbiettes, which was founded in 2008 and works hand-in-hand with the Knights in their programming.

As Grand Knight Coff noted, “It’s been a great 50 years.”

For more information about Knights of Columbus San Marco Council 6344, please call 239-389-5633 or visit www.sanmarcoknights.com.

News Briefs for the Week of January 14, 2022

Appointments

After consultation, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced the following appointments:

Father Alphonse Tri Vu, C.R.M., relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar and Chaplain of Our Lady of Lavang Community at St. Martha Parish in Sarasota, effective December 19, 2021, and thus, has returned to his Religious Community.

Father Joseph Toan Duc Vu, C.R.M., as Parochial Vicar and Chaplain of Our Lady of Lavang Community, as well as hospital ministries, at St. Martha Parish in Sarasota, effective December 22, 2021.

Youth mural represents Beatitudes

If you have a chance to stop by the St. Joseph Parish Center in Bradenton, you will notice a new mural hanging on the wall in the hallway leading from the gymnasium. It represents the Beatitudes and was created by both the high school and middle school youth groups. The mural includes 10 panels with elegant script of the words which are attributed to Jesus as recounted in the Sermon on the Mount. The panels also include various religious symbols that either represent the specific words of Christ on the panel or that of the Sacraments of the Church. The Parish maintenance team installed the mural the week of Jan. 3, 2022.The eighth-grade students at St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota will soon be reading the book “Animal Farm” by Kurt Vonnegut. On Jan. 6, 2022, the students had the chance to build wind turbines using LEGO “Spike” to represent the windmill created by the animals in the novel. This is an example of how the school integrates many of its studies across different classrooms, using the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art and Math) curriculum to present students a more well-round education that fosters increased creative thinkers while developing skills which will be useful later in life.

Donated lockers make debut

Lockers for students at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples made their debut when students returned from Christmas Break on Jan. 4, 2022. Those lockers are the first at the school and are courtesy of the Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria. The Academy replaced some of their school lockers with larger ones in the fall. The used lockers were then donated to the Naples school and were only recently installed.

STREAM fun with LEGOs

Epiphany Feast recognized at schools

The Feast of the Epiphany, Jan. 6, 2022, is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah, Son of God and Savior of the world. The great Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men from the East and was celebrated at different Diocesan Catholic Schools. Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice, the eighth graders led a procession and brief play retelling the story for the entire student body. At St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral, the Feast Day, was taught in second grade Spanish class, where students learned about how traditions are celebrated differently in Spain and Latin America. Both schools held celebrations which included food and the wearing of crowns.

Student get lesson in mosquitoes

St. Francis Xavier Catholic School seventh graders were visited on Jan. 10, 2022, by a representative of Lee County Mosquito Control who brought samples of the different bugs and types of mosquitoes found throughout the area and explained how some bugs are good for the environment while others can carry disease. Further, it was explained what the county does to control the mosquito population, including spraying, and what each student can do on a daily basis to help keep the mosquito population under control.

Respect Life opportunities for 2022

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.

 

Catholics nationwide are preparing to pray 9 Days for Life, the annual pro-life novena beginning this year on January 19. In the Catholic Church, a ‘novena’ consists of prayers or actions over nine successive days. This pro-life novena is an opportunity for recollection and reparation in observation of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade—the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the United States.

Sponsored by the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 9 Days for Life began in 2013 in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. This is the tenth year the novena is taking place. The overarching intention of the novena is the end to abortion. Each daily intention highlights a related topic and is accompanied by a reflection, educational information, and suggested daily actions. The novena encompasses the annual Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children on January 22. All are invited to sign up at 9daysforlife.com. Participants can receive the novena in English or Spanish via email or text message or access it online. Participants can share their pro-life witness and invite their social networks to pray on social media with the hashtag #9DaysforLife.

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.

 

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.

Christmas brings Light of Christ into Diocese

The Christmas Season is a time to celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ and an opportunity to let the Light of the Lord shine forth from within ourselves.

Celebrations abounded throughout the Diocese of Venice with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Masses bringing the faithful together in celebration of the Birth of the Christ Child – Our Savior Incarnate, the Word Made Flesh.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Masses on Christmas Eve and Day at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. He also recorded a Christmas Day Mass from St. Patrick Parish in Sarasota for broadcast on TV and online for the homebound.

The message of Bishop Dewane was that we must strive to be aware that Christ is in our lives. “He is the Word made Flesh and our Incarnate Savior. Let us fall in love again with the Christ Child this Christmas Season and be sent forward with the Light of Christ, magnifying it to the world.”

Aside from the decorated altars, behind the scenes it was the Faithful who magnified the Light of Christ through their generosity in supporting those in the community who are less fortunate.

Catholic Charities and Parish-based programs distributed thousands of toys and gifts to needy children throughout the region. Additionally, food was also collected in distributed to families who are struggling to make end meet.

One way this is made possible is through the support of the Parish religious education programs throughout the Diocese. These acts of kindness, great and small, made huge impacts on children and families who struggle to make ends meet.

New this year, Diocese of Venice Director of Religious Education Anne Chrzan had a special task for the Directors of Religious Education from each Parish. They were asked to participate in individual service opportunities outside of the one’s they were already coordinating at their Parish. The day of Dec. 16, 2021, was chosen because of the Gospel reading for the day stated: “Behold, I am sending a messenger ahead of you, he will prepare your way before you.” (Luke 7:24-30).

Chrzan explained that this task was not intended to be an added burden, but rather an opportunity to focus on how “they” were preparing as individuals, not “what are they” preparing? This served to rediscover the joy of service on a personal level and not as just another task or part of their work.

Among the tasks, were stopping by a nursing home and bringing flowers, unused cards, and stamps; paying for someone’s groceries; helping a neighbor with setting up their Christmas lights and more.  The DREs exchanged ideas and smiles as they came up with each small and significant act.  Several DREs reported back to Chrzan sharing how much fun they had by coming up with something that they could do alone and not with 30 children.

The Filipino Catholic community at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Port Charlotte continued with the custom, in preparation for Christmas, of participating in a novena of Masses at Dawn, known as Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo, from Dec. 15, 2021, to Christmas Eve. This is an important and growing Catholic tradition as the faithful prepare their hearts waiting for that dawn when the sun rises. The sun rise is associated with Jesus Christ, bringing with it a new hope, new life. It is believed that participating in the novena of Masses brings many blessings, mostly for the family. Some also believe that if you attended the Simbang Gabi you would find your future spouse, which naturally increased the popularity of the tradition.

Of course, Christmas could not be celebrated without Nativity plays. One of the region’s largest takes place annually at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula. On Dec. 18, 2021, using live animals and including more than 100 children, the story of the Nativity is retold in both English and Spanish. The story includes a recreation of the town of Bethlehem and concludes with the arrival of the three kings on the Feast of the Epiphany. With the end of the program, the was a gift distribution for the children.

The celebration of the Epiphany was celebrated at Epiphany Cathedral with a Mass on Jan. 2, 2022, with Bishop Dewane as the celebrant. The trilingual Mass included the three primary language communities which the Cathedral serve – English, Spanish and Polish. Bishop Dewane explained how the three kings who sought out to pay homage to the Christ Child should serve as examples for all. We are all called, not just by the star the Magi followed, but by our heart, to hear the Message of Christ, but to understand who Jesus Christ truly was.

These are but a few examples of the spirit of Christmas which spread across the Diocese of Venice this Holiday Season.

 

Celebrating independence and fraternity

On the 218th Anniversary of the first Independent Republic in the Caribbean in Haiti, the Diocese of Venice, in conjunction with the Haitian Catholic Community, celebrated a Mass at St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs on Jan. 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God.

Faithful people from throughout the Diocese of Venice attended the Mass which was celebrated by Most Rev. Pierre-André Dumas, Bishop of the Diocese of Anse-a-Veau and Miragoane, with Bishop Frank J. Dewane concelebrating. There were several additional priests from the Diocese of Venice who also concelebrated.

Bishop Dumas spoke about the celebration of the independence of Haiti and how it importantly falls upon a major celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the World Day of Peace. This is particularly poignant as in Haiti there has been great turmoil in recent months following the assassination of the Haitian president and continued unrest due to fuel and food shortages and corruption in the government.

Bishop Dumas encouraged those gathered regarding unity and fraternity as well as how they should be proud of their roots in Haiti, reminding them they will always be Haitian. With this in mind, Bishop Dumas encouraged everyone to keep a connection to their homeland as well as with their Faith which will serve them well in whatever obstacles they may face in the future.

In a gesture of gratitude toward Bishop Dewane, Bishop Dumas noted that the Haitian Catholic Community within the Diocese of Venice is in good and capable hands and thanked Bishop Dewane for his support.

Bishop Dewane thanked Bishop Dumas for accepting his invitation to be a guest of the Diocese and for sharing his time, wisdom and faith with the Haitian Catholic Community in their native language. He also said it was an honor and privilege to participate in such an important cultural and religious celebration for the growing Haitian Catholic Community in the Diocese of Venice.

Bishop Dewane also thanked and recognized the Haitian priests serving in the Diocese for their continued dedication and passion for caring for the faithful, in particular those in the Haitian community. “The work you do does not go unnoticed,” the Bishop added. Further, he went on to thank St. Leo Parish for hosting the event.

There are currently Masses celebrated each weekend in Haitian Creole at the following Parishes: St. Charles Borromeo in Port Charlotte; St. Francis Xavier in Fort Myers; St. Michael in Wauchula; Sacred Heart in Bradenton; Our Lady of Guadalupe in Immokalee; and St. Peter the Apostle in Naples. The New Year’s Day celebration is one of the few times the entire community can gather in one place.

For the Haitian community, Jan. 1 is both a spiritual day, and an emotional day commemorating such an important day in their homeland. The Haitians defeated the largest and most powerful army at the time, the army of Napoleon, in Cap-Haitien, and Haiti became the second country in the Americas to declare its Independence on Jan. 1, 1804.

When the French were in control, they enacted a law that said the French were the only ones who could eat soup joumou. Prior to that revolution, joumou was considered a delicacy and slaves there were forbidden from eating it. When Haiti proclaimed its independence, revolutionary leaders decided the very first thing they would do would be a symbolic gesture –- eating the soup that was once forbidden to them. Thus, began the Haitian custom of cooking and eating soup on New Year’s Day in celebration of freedom.

In honor of this unique tradition, soup was offered at the meal that followed the Mass in Bonita Springs. Before that meal, Bishop Dumas led everyone in singing the Haitian National Anthem.

Polish Catholic community hosts Christmas Luncheon

Dressed in their holiday best, the Polish Catholic community of Epiphany Cathedral in Venice hosted its annual Christmas Luncheon on Dec. 19, 2021.

The luncheon reflected what is a traditional Christmas Eve celebration in Poland, everyone joyfully sang Christmas Carols in Polish followed by a traditional meals and sweet desserts.

Father Sebastian Szczawinski, Administrator at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch, offered the opening prayer and welcoming. Father Leszek Trojanowski, Parochial Vicar at San Pedro Parish in North Port, offered the blessing of the meal. Fathers Szczawinski and Trojanowski share the duties of celebrating Mass and caring for the spiritual needs of the Polish Catholic Faithful.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was also present for the luncheon and expressed his gratitude to the thriving Polish Catholic community for their continued presence in the Diocese of Venice and unfailing devotion to the Lord.

Prior to the meal being served, there was a traditional breaking and sharing of the oplatek (Christmas wafer). The oplatek is a rectangular and paper-thin wafer, made of flour and water of consistency similar to a communion host that is stamped with a Christmas scene. This is meant to remind families of the Eucharistic at Mass and makes a stronger connection between Christmas and the gift of the Eucharist. This bread is not consecrated but blessed by the priest as a way to extend the fruits of the Mass into the home.

The tradition dates back centuries and calls for the eldest member of the family – or in the case of the luncheon, the table – to break a piece off of it, giving it to a spouse or dear friend and eventually distributing it to the rest of the people. Each person then offers a piece to everyone else, from the oldest to the youngest, generally stating in some way how they care about that individual. The purpose of this act is to express unconditional love and forgiveness to each member of his or her family. Among so many friends, the ceremony brought many smiles and hugs.

The luncheon concluded with the singing of Silent Night, the last carol traditionally sung by families on Christmas Eve and representing that everyone is prepared spiritually for the birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, on Christmas Day.

Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrated in Diocese

The Patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe, was honored across the Diocese of Venice with a variety of different celebrations including processions, prayer services and Masses on Dec. 11 and Dec. 12, 2021. Some Parish separated their celebration from the observance of the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, while others incorporated the Feast Day into the traditional, more low-key Advent Mass.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most revered patronesses within the Catholic Faith, and this is particularly so in the Hispanic community. The Feast Day, Dec. 12, is often described as all other holidays wrapped up into one.

The Virgin of Guadalupe appeared in 1531 to St. Juan Diego on the Hill of Tepeyac, in what is now modern-day Mexico City, during a time of conflict between the Spanish and the indigenous peoples. Our Lady asked St. Juan Diego to appeal to the local Bishop to build a church on the site of the apparition, indicating how she wanted a place where she could reveal to the people the compassion of her Son. Initially turned away, Diego returned to the site asking Our Lady for a sign to prove the authenticity of her message.

The Blessed Virgin instructed St. Juan Diego to gather the Castilian roses that he found blooming on the hillside, despite the fact that it was winter, and present them to the Spanish Bishop. St. Juan Diego filled his cloak – known as a tilma – with the flowers. When he presented them to the Bishop and the roses spilled upon the floor, an image of Our Lady was miraculously imprinted upon his tilma. Nearly 500 years later, Diego’s tilma with the miraculous image is preserved in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and visited by millions of pilgrims each year.

The significance of the moment was crucial as Mary took the appearance of a pregnant native woman, wore clothing in the style of the indigenous community, and spoke to Juan Diego in his native language, Nahuatl. The subsequent encounters paved the way for the rapid conversion of the people of Mexico to Catholicism and a passionate devotion to Our Lady lasts to the present day.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane led the celebration at St. Paul Parish in Arcadia, where he had dedicated the new Parish Church on March 21. This Mass brought together a massive crowd which was followed by an 1/3-mile procession to an outdoor festival that lasted into the night.

Bishop Dewane noted how the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe personally resonates with him. Partially for having visited the Basilica in Mexico City, but also knowing what it is like as a Bishop to be asked to build a church and how difficult the process is, something the faithful heartily appreciated with laughter.

Explaining how Advent is about anticipating the second coming of Christ, the Bishop stressed the need to hold Jesus in our hearts. He remarked how strongly he could see that in the faithful of St. Paul Parish as evidence by their devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and to Her Son.

“The evidence you give to the love of Her Son, Jesus Christ. To carry Him with you. To be the Disciples of Christ. That is the beauty here in Arcadia. That discipleship you evidence by your presence here.”

Father Luis Pacheco, Pastor of St. Paul, delivered the homily in English and Spanish. He expressed the power that the image of Our Lady was for the people of Mexico, appearing as a pregnant indigenous princess bearing a message of love and hope for an oppressed people.

“Our Lady is a symbol of God’s love for us all,” said Maria Valenzuela of St. Paul. “God sent Mary to spread His Grace upon Mexico and the world. Beautiful Mary is a special gift to celebrate and honor.”

At Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Immokalee, a triduum of evening Masses preceded an overnight pray vigil, sunrise Mass and a larger Feast Day celebration.

St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples served as host for a combined celebration with the Hispanic faithful of St. Agnes Parish. Father Carlos Encinas was the celebrant and serves the Spanish-speaking population of both communities. The Mass was the largest in the history with an estimated 1,500 participating. Following Mass, youth participated in a play which retold the story of St. Juan Diego and Our Lady, something which takes place at many Parish celebrations. Outside, Aztec dancers performed under the lights in the parking lot while a festival of food took place.

Jesus the Worker Parish in Fort Myers had two shrines to Our Lady. One was in the main church, below the permanent Our Lady of Guadalupe image on the wall, left of the altar. There, the faithful placed hundreds of flowers and other religious articles. A temporary shrine was constructed outside. The celebration began with singing in the church and continued overnight and into the next day.

The faithful at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula and Holy Child Mission in Bowling Green gathered at the Frontier Park pavilion in Zolfo Spring for a trilingual Mass (Spanish, Creole and English). The Mass was preceded by a procession of children and families behind a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Mass was followed by a crowning of Our Lady which led into a fiesta.

The events at the locations noted above were just a small sample of the many activities which took place in celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe throughout the Diocese.

2021 Diocesan Parish Christmas Mass times

Below, please find the 2021 Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Mass times for Parishes throughout the Diocese of Venice. The listings are in alphabetical order by the city the Parish is located.

For details on youth choirs or musical accompaniment, please contact the Parish via the phone number or website listed for further information.

As a reminder, the televised Christmas Day Mass for the Homebound with Celebrant Bishop Frank J. Dewane will air for a full hour on Christmas Day. For viewers in the northern portions of the Diocese (DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Manatee, and Sarasota counties), the Mass will air at 10 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee counties), the Mass will air at 6 a.m. on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). Please check your cable provider for channel listings.

The Mass will also be available on the Diocesan website at dioceseofvenice.org/televisedmass.

Leaflet missals are available upon request by calling Gail Ardy at 941-486-4714 or by writing: TV Mass, Diocese of Venice, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285. For more information email ardy@dioceseofvenice.org.

ARCADIA

■ St. Paul, 1208 E. Oak St., www.stpaularcadia.org, 863-494-2611

CHRISTMAS EVE 5 p.m., 8 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY 9 a.m., 11 a.m. (Spanish)

AVE MARIA

■ Ave Maria, 5078 Pope John Paul II Blvd., www.avemariaparish.org, 239-261-5555

CHRISTMAS EVE 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. (Latin)

AVON PARK

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish), 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon (Spanish)

BOCA GRANDE

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 5 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

BOKEELIA

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 3 p.m., 7 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

BONITA SPRINGS

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 9 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 5 p.m. (Spanish)

BOWLING GREEN

■ Holy Child; 4315 Chester Ave.; 863-773-4089; michaelwauchula.weconnect.com

CHRISTMAS DAY  2 p.m. (Spanish)

BRADENTON

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 5 p.m., 9:30 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY 9 a.m., 11 a.m. (Spanish)

■ Ss. Peter and Paul, 2850 75th St. W., www.sspeterandpaul.org, 941-795-1228

CHRISTMAS EVE 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

■ St. Joseph, 3100 26th St. W., www.sjcfl.org, 941-756-3732

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

BUCKHEAD RIDGE

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 10 a.m.

CAPE CORAL

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m. (Spanish), 11 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon (Spanish)

■ St. Katharine Drexel, 1922 S.W. 20th Ave., saintkatharinedrexelparish.org, 239-283-9501

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 6 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.

CLEWISTON

■ Santa Rosa de Lima, 835 N. Mayoral St., Montura Ranch Estates, www.saintmargaretparish.org, 863-983-8585

CHRISTMAS EVE 7 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY noon (Spanish)

■ St. Margaret, 208 N. Deane Duff Ave., www.saintmargaretparish.org, 863-983-8585

CHRISTMAS EVE 5:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY 10 a.m.

ENGLEWOOD

■ St. Raphael, 770 Kilbourne Ave., www.StRaphEng.org, 941-474-9595

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 8 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

EVERGLADES CITY

■ Holy Family, 200 Datura Ave., www.sanmarcochurch.org

239-394-5181

CHRISTMAS DAY 10:30 a.m.

FORT MYERS 

■ Jesus the Worker, 881 Nuna Ave., www.jesustheworker.org, 239-693-5333 (All MASSES IN SPANISH)

CHRISTMAS EVE 7 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY noon

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 7 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

■ Resurrection of Our Lord, 8121 Cypress Lake Drive, www.ResurrectionCh.org, 239-481-7172

CHRISTMAS EVE 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. (Latin)

■ Sagrada Familia, 4235 Michigan Ave. Link, 239-657-2666

CHRISTMAS DAY 6 p.m. (Portuguese)

■ San Jose, 10750 Gladiolus Drive, 239-639-5333, (All MASSES IN SPANISH)

CHRISTMAS EVE 7 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY noon

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

■ St. Columbkille, 12171 Iona Road, www.stcolumbkille.com, 239-489-3973

CHRISTMAS EVE 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

■ St. Francis Xavier, 2157 Cleveland Ave., www.stfrancisfm.org, 239-334-2161

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m., (Creole), 8 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. (Polish)

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 11 p.m. (Vietnamese)

CHRISTMAS DAY 7:15 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m.,    1:30 p.m. (Spanish)

■ St. Vincent de Paul, 13031 Palm Beach Blvd., www.stvincentfortmyers.org, 239-693-0818

CHRISTMAS EVE 7 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

FORT MYERS BEACH

■ Ascension, 6025 Estero Blvd., 239-463-6754

CHRISTMAS EVE 7 p.m., 9 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10 a.m.

GROVE CITY

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 8 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10 a.m.

HOLMES BEACH

■ St. Bernard, 248 S. Harbor Drive, www.stbernardcc.org, 941-778-4769

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 7 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

IMMOKALEE

■ Our Lady of Guadalupe, 219 S. 9th St., 239-657-2666

CHRISTMAS EVE 6 p.m., 8 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY 10 a.m., noon (Spanish)

LABELLE

■ Holy Martyrs, 4290 Crescent Ave. S.W., www.olqhhmm.org, 863-675-0030

CHRISTMAS EVE 7 p.m. (Spanish)

■ Our Lady Queen of Heaven, 355 S. Bridge St., 863-675-0030

CHRISTMAS EVE 5 p.m., 8:30 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. (Spanish), noon (Spanish)

LAKE PLACID

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 5:30 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10 a.m.

■ Santiago Apostol, 685 County Road 621 E., 863-385-0049

CHRISTMAS EVE 8 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY 10 a.m. (Spanish)

LAKEWOOD RANCH

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

LEHIGH ACRES

■ St. Raphael, 2514 Lee Blvd., www.saintraphaelcc.net, 239-369-1831

CHRISTMAS EVE 5 p.m., 8 p.m. (Spanish), 10 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10 a.m. (Spanish), noon

LONGBOAT KEY

■ St. Mary, Star of the Sea, 4280 Gulf of Mexico Drive, www.stmarylbk.org, 941-383-1255

CHRISTMAS EVE 5 p.m., 8:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

MARCO ISLAND

■ San Marco, 851 San Marco Road, www. sanmarcochurch.org, 239-394-5181

CHRISTMAS EVE 3:45 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

MOORE HAVEN

■ St. Joseph the Worker, 1800 N. U.S. Highway 27, 863-946-0696

CHRISTMAS EVE 7:30 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m.

NAPLES

■ Corpus Christi, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, www.corpuschristifssp.com/, 402-659-5531, (All Masses in Latin)

CHRISTMAS DAY 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m.

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 5 p.m. (Palmetto Ridge High School), 7 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. (Spanish)

■ St. Ann, 985 Third St. S., www. naplesstann.org, 239-262-4256

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 7 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 5 p.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish), midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10 a.m.

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 4:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m. (Spanish), 10 a.m.

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m.

■ St. Peter the Apostle, 5130 Rattlesnake Hammock Road, www.stpeternaples.org, 239-774-3337

CHRISTMAS EVE 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m. (Creole), midnight (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. (Spanish), 3:45 p.m. (Creole)

■ St. William, 750 Seagate Drive, www.stwilliam.org, 239-261-4883

CHRISTMAS EVE 2:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6:15 p.m., 10 p.m., midnight (Latin)

CHRISTMAS DAY 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

NOCATEE

■ Capilla Católica de San Juan Diego, 5247 S.W. Highway 17, 863-494-2611

CHRISTMAS EVE 6 p.m. (Spanish)

NORTH FORT MYERS

■ St. Therese, 20155 N. Tamiami Trail, www.sainttheresechurch.net, 239-567-2315

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10 a.m.

NORTH PORT

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 5:30 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:45 a.m.

OSPREY

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

PALMETTO

■ Holy Cross, 505 26th St. W., www.holycrossdov.org, 941-729-3891

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 7 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. (Spanish)

PARRISH

■ St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, 12001 69th St. E., www.sfxcabrini.com, 941-776-9097

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 6 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY 10:30 a.m.

PORT CHARLOTTE

■ San Antonio, 24445 Rampart Blvd., www.sanantoniorcc.org, 941-624-3799

CHRISTMAS EVE 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 9 a.m.

■ St. Charles Borromeo, 2500 Easy St., www.stcharlespc.org, 941-625-4754

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 6 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. (Creole)

■ St. Maximilian Kolbe, 1441 Spear St., Stmaxcatholic.org, 941-743-6877

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 8 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon

PUNTA GORDA

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 9 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

SANIBEL

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 10:30 a.m.

SARASOTA

■ Christ the King, 1900 Meadowood St., www.Christthekingsarasota.org, 941-924-2777, (All MASSES IN LATIN)

CHRISTMAS EVE midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

■ Incarnation, 2901 Bee Ridge Road, www.incarnationchurch.org, 941-921-6631

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 7 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

■ Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, 6600 Pennsylvania Ave., www.olqm.net, 941-755-1826

CHRISTMAS EVE 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10 a.m.

■ St. Jude, 3930 17th St., www.stjudechurchsarasota.com, 941-955-3934

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 11 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m. (Spanish), 10:30 a.m., noon (Spanish)

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. (Vietnamese), 10 p.m., midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon, noon (Vietnamese), 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m.

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 7 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10 a.m.

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 10 a.m., noon

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 10 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 10 a.m., noon

SEBRING

■ St. Catherine, 820 Hickory St., www.stcathe.com, 863-385-0049

CHRISTMAS EVE 4 p.m., 9 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon (Spanish)

VENICE

■ Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., www.epiphanycathedral.org, 941-484-3505

CHRISTMAS EVE 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m. (Polish), midnight

CHRISTMAS DAY 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m.

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 8 p.m.

CHRISTMAS DAY 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon

WAUCHULA

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

CHRISTMAS EVE 6 p.m., 8 p.m. (Spanish)

CHRISTMAS DAY 8:30 p.m., noon (Spanish)

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