Permanent Deacon Ordained in Palmetto

As his wife and three sons looked on, Craig J. Dutka became a changed man, transforming from a member of the laity to a Permanent Deacon of the Diocese of Venice.

Dutka processed into Holy Cross Parish in Palmetto on June 18, 2022, dressed in the white alb of a candidate. It wasn’t until Bishop Frank J. Dewane laid his hands upon the head of the candidate that Dutka was officially ordained a Permanent Deacon. During this moment, in silence, Bishop Dewane placed his hands on Dutka’s head and prayed for an outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The imposition of the Bishop’s hands confers grace and spiritual power.

Deacon Dutka came to the Diocese of Venice on a spiritual journey from New Jersey, where he entered the permanent diaconate program in the Diocese of Metuchen, and one year shy of ordination there was forced to leave the program when he lost his business and moved to Florida. Undeterred, he was accepted as a Permanent Deacon candidate in the Diocese of Venice as long as he completed additional formation.

This led to the moment of his ordination, which Deacon Dutka said was made possible by his complete faith in the Lord, with the assistance of Bishop Dewane and others in the Diocesan Diaconate Formation Program, family and friends. He also credited the prayers and blessings of his wife and three sons with the achieving of his dream of becoming an ordained servant of the Lord.

During his homily, Bishop remarked that the new Deacon’s “soul has been indelibly marked; be conscious of the change that has taken place within you. As a Deacon you are loved by Jesus Christ in a particular way that comes with a grace from your response to His call. Be the instrument of Jesus Christ in response to that love.”

Bishop Dewane called on Dutka to be the leaven in the community and to be a pillar in their Parish while calling others to the Faith. “The Lord will give you the words,” he said. “Your life experiences will add meaning to those words and serve you well. Do the will of God from your heart and serve the people with love and joy.”

During his homily, the Bishop also took time to thank Dukta’s wife, Eileen, for her effort in joining her husband sacramentally, through marriage, on this spiritual journey. He noted that the partnership they have, and the support from the whole family has helped to shape the new Deacon into who he is today: a man of God.

At the start of the formal Rite, the candidate was called before Bishop Dewane by Father Kristian Villafana, temporary Administrator of Holy Cross Parish, and then presented to the Bishop for his examination. The election by Bishop Dewane includes the following prayer: “Relying on the help of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose this, our brother, for the Order of the Diaconate.” The gathered deacons, priests and faithful responded: “Thanks be to God.”

After the homily, the part of the Rite called the Promise of the Elect took place, when Dutka came forward, and the Bishop asked him whether he was willing to accept the responsibilities of the ministry: to live in humble charity, to hold fast to the Mystery of the Faith, to celebrate the liturgy of hours with and for the People of God, and to maintain and deepen his prayer life. To each question, the Candidate Dutka responded, “I do.” Then he approached and kneeled before Bishop to give his promise of obedience to the Bishop and his successors.

Next in the Rite was the Litany of the Supplicants when Dutka prostrated himself before the altar as the assembled kneeled. The Litany of Saints was then sung. At the conclusion, the Bishop outstretched his hands and recited a prayer. Next was the Laying on of Hands and Prayer of Ordination.

Father Villafana then placed a Deacon’s stole and a dalmatic on Deacon Dutka. Once vested, Dutka knelt again before the Bishop and then the last part of the Rite, the Handing On of the Book of Gospels took place. The Mass continued as usual at this point with the newly ordained Deacon Dutka serving as Deacon of the Altar.

The mission of the Permanent Deacons of the Diocese of Venice is to: serve as ministers of charity, leading in identifying the needs of others and striving to meet those needs; serve as ministers of the Word, proclaiming the Gospel, preaching and teaching in the name of the Church; serve as ministers of the Sacrament of Baptism; witness marriages; conduct wake and funeral services; and lead the faithful in prayer.

The Diocese was blessed to have seven men ordained to the Permanent Diaconate in 2020, and an additional 13 men are in diaconate formation class for possible ordination in 2025.

Celebrating the Real Presence – Corpus Christi marked with processions

Mary Dwyer quietly wept as she took part in a Corpus Christi procession at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota on June 19, 2022, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

“The power of Our Lord, and His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, brings me great comfort,” Dwyer said. “I feel so happy to be able to honor Jesus in this special way.”

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) is a celebration of the Eucharist and the Real Presence of Our Lord which is a tradition that dates back centuries and is often marked by a Eucharistic Procession. This year’s celebration fell on Father’s Day.

At Incarnation, the procession began with a flower girl, sprinkling rose petals onto the ground, then the cross bearer, altar servers and a Knights of Columbus Honor Guard ahead of Father Eric Scanlan, Pastor of Incarnation, carrying the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament while it was under a canopy, as the Parish Choir led everyone in song.

The procession made its way from the main church into the Parish courtyard and then into the parking lot, stopping at four temporary altars where Father Scanlan led everyone in prayer and readings from the Gospel. The procession concluded in the Parish Chapel where Father led the Benediction.

Participating in a procession is viewed as an opportunity to reflect on this gift of the Holy Eucharist as the faithful pause at four “stations” for a reading and prayer and then conclude with Benediction. It is an opportunity to remind ourselves how special we are that God should want to nourish us with the body and blood of His Son, and it is an opportunity to thank God for these wonderful gifts.

During the Mass, Father Scanlan reflected on the importance of approaching one’s faith by focusing on the Real Presence – the true body and blood of Christ – that is found in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

“Brothers and sisters, Our God dwells among us,” Father said during the Mass. “He comes to honor us. To strengthen and heal us… But, the Lord can only do so much, unless we open our hearts to Him. We can say Lord, help me to believe; help me to receive You with love and affection; help me to allow you to heal me and to transform me, this heart and soul of mine. He wants so much for us to encounter Him, here today, each one of us. Brothers and sisters, this Great Feast offers us the opportunity to rekindle our love and our wonder and our gratitude of the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. He is here. He is here.”

The Corpus Christi celebration, and its associated Eucharistic Processions, which took place at Parishes within the Diocese, also marked the opening of the National Eucharistic Revival. This Eucharistic Revival is an effort by the U.S. Bishops to answer the call of Jesus Christ to return to the source and summit of Our Faith – the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.

The Diocesan Year of the National Eucharistic Revival is from June 19, 2022, to June 11, 2023. During the Diocesan Year there will be a series of events and retreats that encourage the renewal of the Church “by rekindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.” Please check the Diocese website regularly for the plans for implementing this Revival in the Diocese at  https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/eucharistic-congress-2023/.

Instituted in 1264 by Pope Urban IV, Corpus Christi is also known as the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

The Feast Day is an important affirmation of our belief that Our Lord is really and truly sacramentally present in the form of bread and wine. When Our Lord instituted the Eucharist, He said this IS My Body and this IS My Blood; not this represents or is symbolic of my body and blood. The Sacrament was defined as “an outward sign” of inward grace given to us by Jesus Christ for our sanctification and salvation.

The Feast of Corpus Christi is observed two weeks after Pentecost. The Feast of Pentecost, which was on June 5 this year, is celebrated 50 days after Easter Sunday, and commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem, as described in the Acts of the Apostles.

Faith Can Be Fun!

What do you get when upwards of 100 children gather for a special summer camp – a growth in Faith and lots of fun.

Part way into its second week, the inaugural Totus Tuus Summer Camp for children and teens has been a great success. The opening week, June 6-10, 2022, at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral, brought in 50 children each day and 27 teens each evening. The second week, June 13-17, is at St. Agnes Parish in Naples and there are more than 100 children and 60 youth taking part. Among the group at St. Agnes were also children from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Immokalee.

The goal of the Totus Tuus Summer Camp is to help young people grow in their understanding of the faith and strengthening of their faith in Jesus Christ. The camp is directed by a team of four missionaries and two Diocesan seminarians. Parish staff and volunteers augment the team and together they make the week one to remember for all who participate.

Each day of the weeklong camp, the children and youth learn lessons about the importance of prayer, and ways to pray, from the basics of the Our Father and Hail Mary to the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.

They also learn about the importance of the Eucharist and how Jesus walks with them all the time, explained Anne Chrzan, Diocesan Director of Religious Education.

The day begins with music to pump the children up and get them ready for the full day ahead with all the time focused on learning key lessons about their faith. In addition to dancing, music and prayer, the children have time for activities such as crafts and games.

There is time for Mass each day with additional quiet reflective time in Eucharistic Adoration and three days when there is opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Mass portion of the day is more than participating in the important celebration of the Holy Eucharist. It is at this time during the camp when the children not only learn the various hymns but also learn about the different parts of the Mass and why they are so key to this important celebration. For example, when entering the Church, the children are brought to the Holy Water Font and taught how and why they are to respectfully dip their finger in the water and bless themselves.

Diocesan Seminarians Juan Contreras and James Gates are fully involved in the daily activities of the camp, serving as leaders in prayer and offering their discernment stories to the teens in the evenings. They serve as leaders when teaching about hearing the call of the Lord in one’s life, citing their own examples as a guide for others to follow.

The teen aspect of the summer camp is confined to the evenings and focuses on allowing the Totus Tuus missionaries and seminarians to share their stories and lead discussions on topics that are important to young people today. The teens also take part in Adoration and there is a special focus on growing their prayer life and relationship with the Lord.

There is a mid-week potluck during which families come and see firsthand what their children have learned as they perform skits or short plays about different aspects of their faith. The week concludes with a water day of outside fun and games.

Rose M. Talbot-Babey, Director of Religious Education at St. Katharine Drexel, sent a note to Chrzan about the week, saying she received lots of positive feedback from parents and children alike about how they enjoyed the Totus Tuus camp.

“In particular, the children were sharing what they had learned once they got home which is so encouraging and the parents were pleased with that,” Talbot-Babey wrote.

Only one Parish hosts the camp each week. The Parishes hosting Totus Tuus this summer are: St. Katherine Drexel; St. Agnes in Naples; Our Lady Queen of Heaven in La Belle, June 20-24; St. Catherine in Sebring, June 27-July 1; St. John XXIII in Fort Myers, July 11-15; St. Joseph in Bradenton, July 18-22; St. Elizabeth Seton in Naples, July 25-29; and St. Patrick in Sarasota, August 1-August 5.

The camp program, for grades 1-5, takes place Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for grades 6-12, it is Monday to Thursday from 7:30 p.m.to 9:45 p.m.

Several parishes still have openings for this program. Please contact the Director of Religious Education at the Parish hosting the program or Anne Chrzan at chrzan@dioceseofvenice.org.

Lay movement brings people back to Faith

Members of the John XXIII Parish Retreats Movement gathered at Campo San Jose Retreat Center in Lake Placid on June 12, 2022, to celebrate the conclusion of another retreat.

At total of 29 women took part in the three-day retreat with their family and others taking part on the final day for the closing Mass. This makes more than 1,000 who have returned to the faith in the Diocese of Venice through the John XXIII Movement.

The John XXIII Movement is a private international association of laity, with the goal of leading marginalized communities to God. To be part of the movement you must have experienced the initial retreat experience. After completing the retreat, participants are encouraged to attend faith-formation classes and weekly meetings to strengthen their faith and personal relationship with God. Rooted in Eucharistic Adoration, the ministry serves the Church and its people through love, surrender, and sacrifice.

The Movement is constituted according to the canons of Canon Law of the Catholic Church and inspired by the principles that emanated from the Second Vatican Council. The Movement, from its origins, goes out in search of the forgotten and the marginalized, of those, who due to their problems, live in the anonymity of life thinking that the Gospel cannot be preached to them. In addition to the John XXIII Movement, the Diocese has eight additional lay outreach efforts, many of which are directed toward the Hispanic faithful.

Father Claudio Stewart, Diocese of Venice Director of the Hispanic Apostolate and Movement Spiritual Director, celebrated the closing Mass of the retreat which was a graduation of sorts for the women and a joyous welcome back into the Faith.

“They come to this retreat not expecting anything and leave with everything, the love of their family, the love of the community, the love of Christ,” Father Stewart said. “It is an emotional journey as they must seek the Lord’s forgiveness for sins they have done to themselves and those done to others. This is not easy.”

Following the Mass, each woman stood up and offered their story. This was done while holding a crucifix for support, as they each first explained how they heard about the John XXIII Movement and then what they experienced during the retreat. Finally, as their family looks on, and everyone is smiling in encouragement, the woman then expresses their emotional apologies and remorse to their family and friends and also their gratitude for leading them back to Christ.

Once they are done with their testimonial, each woman is cheered and approaches their friends and family, who have been held back to allow them the space to be open and honest. The reunion is full of hugs and presentations of roses, a symbolic gesture of the Blessed Virgin Mary and their new closeness to the Lord. The celebration concludes with celebratory music and a fiesta of food and fellowship.

“This is a well-organized and transformative program,” Father Stewart said. “The people on these retreats have many reasons for being away from the Church, but with the support and encouragement they are given, their return is a true celebration for the individual, their family, their friends and everyone who is part of the Movement and the Church in the Diocese of Venice.”

For more information about the John XXIII Movement, please contact Father Stewart at stewart@dioceseofvenice.org or Jose Pastor Ramirez, Diocesan Coordinator, at JosePR72@hotmail.com.

National Eucharistic Revival to begin June 19

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

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

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

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

The Diocesan Year of the National Eucharistic Revival is from June 19, 2022, to June 11, 2023. During the Diocesan Year there will be a series of events and retreats that encourage the renewal of the Church “by rekindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.” During the Diocesan Year, Eucharistic Missionaries will be trained. These Missionaries are Catholics who through a deep encounter and experience with the Blessed Sacrament, become equipped to share the love and the truth of the Real Presence – Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The Diocesan Year will culminate with a Eucharistic Congress held in the Spring of 2023.

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer for the Revival

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

I beg pardon for those who do not believe, nor

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

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

adore You profoundly. I offer You the most

precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus

Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world

in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and

indifference by which He is offended. And,

through the infinite merits of the Sacred

Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

I beg of You the conversion of sinners.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Oración para el avivamiento

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

¡Te pido perdón por los que no creen, no

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

Santísima Trinidad, Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo, yo

te adoro profundamente y te ofrezco el

Preciosísimo Cuerpo, Sangre, Alma y Divinidad de

nuestro Señor Jesucristo, presente en todos los

Sagrarios del mundo, en reparación de los ultrajes

con los que Él es ofendido. Por los méritos infinitos

del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús y del Inmaculado

Corazón de María, te pido la conversión de los

pecadores.

Nuestra Señora de Fátima,

ruega por nosotros.

Longtime Pastor of San Pedro Parish in North Port Dies

Funeral Arrangements Included

The Diocese of Venice mourns the passing of Father Patrick C. Organ, who has served as Pastor of San Pedro Parish in North Port since 1992. Father Organ died June 9, 2022, in Sarasota after experiencing some health challenges; he was 77.

Father Organ served in the Diocese of Venice for 39 years and was a priest for 51 years.

The funeral arrangements for Father Patrick Organ are as follows:

A viewing will take place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday, June 20, at San Pedro Parish, 14380 Tamiami Trail, North Port.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m., Tuesday, June 21, at San Pedro Parish.

The Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice, expressed his profound sadness at the loss of Father Organ.

“Let us keep the soul of Father Patrick in our prayers. As a longtime parish priest and Pastor, Father participated in many important moments in the pastoral and sacramental life of his parishioners. Baptisms, first communions, weddings, and funerals, he was there for it all; it pained him greatly to bear witness to the sad moments and gave him great happiness to share in the joyous moments.

“This is what we shall remember: Father’s big heart, and his profound commitment to serving others as a priest.  We will also always remember his fine sense of humor and his pride in his Irish heritage! May he rest in peace!”

Bishop Dewane also expresses his deepest condolences for the parishioners of San Pedro Parish who are also suffering from this great loss. “Know you are in my prayers during this difficult time, and may you find comfort in the knowledge that Father Patrick is now on his journey to Our Lord.”

It was on May 21, 1992, when Father Organ was appointed as Pastor of San Pedro, following four years as Pastor of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Parish in Bokeelia (1988-1992). Under the direction of Father Organ, San Pedro Parish flourished and was well-positioned for future growth: A Parish Life Center with education space was completed in 1995, and further renovations added space for youth outreach in 2010. The Parish currently has 1,826 families.

Before his passing, Father Organ was planning to retire in August, and was looking not only to experience new adventures but also to staying involved with San Pedro Parish, a place that, after 31 years, he called his “home and family.”

Born in Ennistymon, County Clare, Ireland in 1944, Father Patrick C. Organ was the eldest of five children. Having attended Ennistymon Christian Brothers Seminary and St. Kieran’s Seminary in Kilkenny, Ireland, he was ordained on June 13, 1971, for the Archdiocese of Miami.

Father Organ served at Parishes in Lake Worth, Miami, Coral Springs, and Hollywood. Within the Diocese of Venice (established in 1984), Father served as Parochial Vicar at San Marco Parish on Marco Island, St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Port Charlotte, and then as Pastor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish. In addition, through the years, Father also served on various Diocese of Venice boards and committees.

Details regarding funeral arrangements are pending and will be posted on the Diocese of Venice website at www.dioceseofvenice.org as well as on social media.

Sacrament of Confirmation – More Perfectly Bound to the Church as True Witnesses to Christ

Through the Sacrament of Confirmation the Christian initiation is completed as the recipients become more perfectly bound to the Church as true witnesses to Christ. This season almost 1,500 have been confirmed in the Diocese of Venice.

Pope Francis said Confirmation is a Sacrament which must be understood as a continuation of the faith journey, beginning with Baptism, along with the Eucharist, to constitute a single saving event – Christian initiation – “in which we are brought into Christ who died and rose again, and become new creatures and members of the Church.”

Throughout much of history, these three Sacraments were celebrated together, at the end of the catechumenal path – normally on Holy Saturday, Pope Francis continued. “This concluded the process of formation and gradual insertion into the Christian community that could take several years. It was a step-by-step process, first reaching Baptism, then Confirmation, and finally the Eucharist.”

The term ‘confirmation’ must remind one that this Sacrament involves growth from baptismal grace, Pope Francis said. “It unites us more firmly with Christ; it completes our bond with the Church; it accords to us the special strength of the Holy Spirit in order to spread and to defend the faith, to confess the name of Christ and never to be ashamed of His Cross.”

It should be noted that while the order of the Sacraments may have changed over time, Pope Francis said that “Confirmation, like every Sacrament, is not the work of men, but rather the work of God, Who takes care of our lives in order to mold us in the image of His Son, to make us able to love like Him. He infuses us with the Holy Spirit whose action pervades the whole person and all of life, as is shown by the Seven Gifts that Tradition, in the light of the Sacred Scriptures, has always made clear: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord.”

When we welcome the Holy Spirit into our hearts and allow it to act, Christ Himself is made present in us and takes form in our lives; through us, it will be He Who prays, forgives, brings hope and consolation, serves our brothers, is close to the needy and the abandoned, Who creates communion and sows peace.”

Here in the Diocese of Venice, a group of young men and women recently completed their own final step of Christian initiation by being “sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit” during their Confirmation at Sacred Heart Parish in Bradenton on April 22, 2022. Bishop Frank J. Dewane used sacred Chrism oil to anoint the confirmandi in Bradenton. This has been repeated by Bishop Dewane, and delegated Parish priests, since the fall of 2021, with more than 1,411 young men and women receiving the Sacrament during that time. Among that number were 397 adults who received the Sacrament of Confirmation at their home Parishes on Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil on April 16, 2022.

Bishop Dewane told the confirmandi at Sacred Heart Parish that their sacramental life is key to who they are becoming by growing in the “Grace of God.” In order to do that, they must carry the Gifts of the Holy Spirit with them beyond the four walls of their Church. They must be doers of their Faith because there is nothing passive about being Catholic. The Sacrament of Confirmation is not an ending to the faith journey, but a beginning.

“You are on a journey to become women and men of God,” the Bishop said. “We are each called to follow the lead Jesus gives us. You are old enough to do so freely in receiving this Sacrament,” Bishop Dewane added. “Allow this sacramental gift to enter into your life and carry the Holy Spirit with you from this point forward.”

“This Sacrament makes you more,” he explained. “Be filled with the Holy Spirit and let this conscious action you take be a sign of who you have become as Catholics, and who you are going to be going forward as women and men of God. Be an inspiration to others as you let the light and the gifts of the Holy Spirit shine forth in your words and your deeds.”

During the Sacrament of Confirmation, the candidates renew their baptismal promises, which Bishop Dewane said is done to publicly proclaim who they are as Catholics and to have the courage, hope, faith and perseverance to be true followers of Christ.

As the Rite continues, the Bishop, the attending priests, and all the faithful, pray in silence for the candidates and then the Bishop recites a prayer aloud. Finally, the candidates were presented with the sponsor placing their right hand on the candidates’ right shoulder. Then with his right thumb, the Bishop makes the sign of the cross on their forehead with the holy Chrism oil and says “Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” It is at this point, the Bishop said, that their unity to the Church was complete.

Recently, the Holy Father repeatedly stressed how important of how important it is that all children receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. While there is a logical emphasis on the Sacrament of Baptism, there tends to be less of a focus on the Sacrament of Confirmation. Therefore, those who are baptized remain at a halfway point, and as Pope Francis said, they do not “receive the Holy Spirit that gives us the strength to go forward in Christian life.”

The Diocese of Venice has a religious education program which emphasizes the importance of the Sacrament of Confirmation with a two-year process. The young men and women go through a process where they complete one phase of their faith journey and prepare to begin the next phase as full Christians who are called to be more and reflect the love and goodness of Christ in their heart and soul. There is an additional program called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, which not only assists adults in receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, but other Sacraments they might be missing, thus allowing them to be in full Communion with the Church.

Pentecost: the Holy Spirit descends upon all – Church celebrates its “Birthday”

The Solemnity of Pentecost, which is celebrated 50 days after Easter, marks the descent of the Holy Spirit.

The twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit are charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity.

Pope Francis addressed the faithful on Pentecost at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican saying that the Holy Spirit “rejuvenates the Church” and teaches the Church “to be an open house without walls of division.”

“Brothers and sisters, let us sit at the school of the Holy Spirit, so that he can teach us all things. Let us invoke him each day, so that he can remind us to make God’s gaze upon us our starting point, to make decisions by listening to his voice, and to journey together as Church, docile to him and open to the world,” the Holy Father said.

At Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, Rector Msgr. Patrick Dubois said the Holy Spirit was sent down with the power to proclaim the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

“Since then, the Church has spread throughout the world to include more than 1.2 billion Catholics,” Msgr. Dubois said. “The Holy Spirit accompanied the Disciples throughout the world as they began their journey on this birthday of the Church. This accompaniment by the Holy Spirit is not only exclusive to Bishops, priest, deacons and those in religious life – who each have a key role to fill – but to the lay faithful, who are called to spread the Gospel within society.”

“It is through the lay faithful that the Holy Spirit work to transform the affairs of this world according to God’s core values,” Msgr. Dubois continued. “This is done by giving witness to Christ wherever it is that you live. Wherever you are, be it in Venice, Fort Myers, Bradenton, you are the light of the world, you are called by the Lord Jesus to spread the Gospel and advance the Kingdom of God. May this day be a new birthday, that we may consecrate ourselves with renewed zeal to be God’s witness in this world.”

The latest generation of faithful who are guided by the Holy Spirit are those who have recently entered into full Communion with the Church, namely the recent recipients of the Sacrament of Confirmation.

On Pentecost, Msgr. Dubois bestowed the Sacrament of Confirmation upon 60 people from 17 different Parishes across the Diocese. The confirmandi were people who otherwise missed being confirmed either at the Easter Vigil or by the Bishop at the Parish.

The candidates were told that that they are called and equipped by Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit – a special strength to give witness to Christ and perform the acts of good Christians.

“Confirmation will make you a frontline fighter for the Faith of Christ,” Msgr. Dubois added. “With the Sacrament, the Holy Spirit will confirm you in your path and from there the Holy Spirit will give you the gifts and strength to sanctify your mission according to God’s Commandments.”

News Briefs for the Week of June 10, 2022

Our Lady of Fatima Rosary Rally a success

More than 30 people took part in the national “America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally” on June 4, 2022, in Fort Myers. The Rally was held at the corner of Daniels Parkway and Daniels Commerce Boulevard, and was focused on the Traditional Family and Public Prayers in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to end abortion, and. The threat of rain kept some away as the region was under a Tropical Storm Warning at the time. Rally organizer Toni Holmlund said the weather cooperated and most of the drivers passing by were supportive.

Sarasota school recognized

St. Mary Academy won the Family Living Magazine’s Reader’s Choice 2022 award for Best Special Education School in the area! Parents with special needs children often find that a typical classroom setting isn’t ideal for their child. They may have tried the traditional classroom setting only to have their child struggle and fall behind academically. Now, imagine finding that perfect school, one that meets your child’s particular needs. From the moment you visit the secure campus, you realize St. Mary Academy is a very unique environment. To learn more about St. Mary Academy, please visit www.stmarysarasota.org/.

Lourdes Virtual pilgrimage June 25

Holy Cross Parish, 505 26th St. W., Palmetto, is hosting a “Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience,” at 9 a.m., June 25, 2022. Presented by the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospitality North American Volunteers, the presentation will be in English and Spanish. Present at the presentation will be a Grotto Rock and water from Lourdes, a Eucharistic blessing, and a Holy Rosary procession. Participants will have the opportunity to earn a plenary indulgence. There is no cost to attend. For more information, please call Holy Cross Parish at 941-729-3891.

Volunteers needed

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Naples is looking for thrift store volunteers. If you would like to offer your time as a cashier, sorter, receiver or customer assistance representative for SVdP Naples, call Samantha at 239-775-2907 ext. 1014 or email info@svdpnaples.org

Ordination to the Priesthood

Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice, invites the faithful to the Ordination to the Priesthood of Transitional Deacons Christian Chami, David Portorreal, and Michael Young. The Ordination will take place at 11 a.m., on Saturday, July 16, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this important event in the lives of the Deacons as well as the Diocese of Venice. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.

Religious Freedom Week 2022

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is once again promoting the celebration of Religious Freedom Week beginning Wednesday, June 22 to Wednesday, June 29, 2022. Each year the week encompasses the period between the Memorial of Saints Thomas More & John Fisher, through the Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul. The theme for this year is Life and Dignity for All. The Church plays a crucial role in both bearing witness to the gospel of life and serving all who will be affected by these discussions and their outcomes, especially in light of an upcoming Supreme Court decision in June. Learn how you can pray, reflect, and act to promote religious freedom at www.usccb.org/ReligiousFreedomWeek.

Catholic Summer Camp Program

Totus Tuus (a Latin phrase meaning “totally yours”) is a summer Catholic youth camp program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness and Eucharistic worship. The weeklong Parish summer catechetical camp program assists parents and parishes in evangelizing and catechizing youth by complementing the work they are already doing at the parish and at home. This summer the program will be offered at eight parishes in the Diocese of Venice. The camp program is for grades 1-5 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for grades 6-12 Monday to Thursday from 7:30 p.m.to 9:45 p.m. Parishes hosting the program in the coming weeks are as follows:

  • St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, June 13-17.
  • Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge Street, LaBelle, June 20-24.
  • St. Catherine Parish, 820 Hickory Street, Sebring, June 27-July 1.
  • St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers, July 11-15.
  • St. Joseph Parish, 3100 26th Street West, Bradenton, July 18-22.
  • St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, July 25-29.
  • St. Patrick Parish, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, August 1-5.

Several parishes still have openings for this program. Please contact the Director of Religious Education at the Parish hosting the program or Anne Chrzan at chrzan@dioceseofvenice.org.

Vacation Bible School in Grove City

St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 5265 Placida Rd., Grove City, is hosting Vacation Bible School “God’s Wonder Lab,” from 9:00 a.m. to noon daily from Monday June 20 to Friday, June 24, 2022. Plunge in for VBS fun at God’s Wonder Lab! Our God makes the impossible possible! Participants will delve into five Bible stories and discover that Jesus does the impossible for us. He does wonderful things for us because he loves us. Open to children first to sixth grade, 2022-2023. Register online at www.sfoachuch.com or contact Jim Brantner at 941-697-4899 Press 3.

Vacation Bible School in Venice

Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice, is hosting a Vacation Bible School “Monumental – Celebrating God’s Greatness,” from 9:00 a.m. to noon, daily Monday, June 27 to Friday, July 1, 2022. The week offers the opportunity to meet new friends, participate in amazing games, have surprising adventures and much more. Please register at www.epiphanycathedral.org or call 941-484-3505. Adult and teen volunteers needed.

Youth Conference

The 14th annual Ave Maria University Youth Conference – “Fearless” – is being held July 8 to10, 2022. Featured talks are by Father Rick Martignetti, Father Joseph Lugalambi, Father Rich Pagano and Chris Padget. The event includes the talks, Mass, Adoration, praise and worship, fellowship, and opportunities for confession. The cost is $175 and includes lodging, all meals, a t-shirt and more. To register, call 239-348-4725, aveconferences@gmail.com or www.aveconferences.com.

Adoption services available

Catholic Charities Adoption Services is a state-wide agency that provides counseling to birth parents, and provisions or resources to meet the needs of birth parents considering adoption planning. If you or a loved one would like to learn more, please call Joan Pierse at 941-355-4680.

 

TOTUS TUUS – New type of summer camp aims to inspire

For 10 days in late May and early June a group of young men and women gathered at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice as they prepared to lead a new type of summer camp at eight different Parishes throughout the Diocese of Venice.

These missionaries will lead the Totus Tuus Summer Camp, dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic Faith through catechesis, evangelization, Christian witness, and Eucharistic worship. This program assists parents and Parishes in the evangelizing and catechizing of their youth by supplementing the work they are currently doing.

“The goal of the Totus Tuus Summer Camp is to help young people grow in their understanding of, and strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ,” explained Anne Chrzan, Diocesan Director of Religious Education. “Each day of the weeklong camp, the children and youth learn lessons about prayer, from the basics of the Our Father to the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.”

The concept of this unique outreach was started in Wichita, Kansas in 1987 as a summer catechetical program and has grown into a weeklong summer camp which is now active in more than 50 Dioceses with the Diocese of Venice the latest to join in this effort. The program has a proven track record of inspiring active stewards, fruitful vocations and a lifelong love for the Church.

Totus Tuus is a Latin phrase meaning “Totally Yours.” It was a motto of St. John Paul II, taken from St. Louis de Montfort’s “True Devotion to Mary.” It signifies our desire to give ourselves entirely to Jesus Christ through Mary.

Each Parish hosting the event will welcome children and teens from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon.  These sessions are divided into daytime camp for children from first grade through sixth, and evening retreats for teens seventh grade through recent high school graduates. The week is filled with faith, fun, and friendship and there are messy games, crazy skits, and music. The college-age leaders provide an authentic witness to the students.

Only one Parish hosts the camp each week. The Parishes hosting Totus Tuus this summer are: St. Katherine Drexel in Cape Coral, June 6-10; St. Agnes in Naples, June 13-17; Our Lady Queen of Heaven in La Belle, June 20-24; St. Catherine in Sebring, June 27-July 1; St. John XXIII in Fort Myers, July 11-15; St. Joseph in Bradenton, June 18-22; St. Elizabeth Seton in Naples, July 25-29; and St. Patrick in Sarasota, August 1-August 5.

Additionally, Totus Tuus strives to bring an awareness of vocations in the young adults who serve as missionaries. Each missionary begins the day with morning prayer, praying the rosary and attending daily Mass.  These missionaries serve as teachers for the camp by leading a small group of children or teens each day with lessons and activities to enhance the theme of prayer.

From May 26 to June 6, the missionaries prepared and trained at the Venice retreat center structuring their studies around how the daily camp will progress. Hannah Tuong, of the Diocese of Tulsa, headed the training program.

The 2022 Totus Tuus missionaries are Sam Salyer of the Diocese of Gary, Kate Ihlefeldt, of the Diocese of Colorado Springs, Garrett Willie of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and Marianna Evangelista of the Archdiocese of Denver. Additionally, assisting the missionaries will be Diocese of Venice Seminarians Juan Contreras, James Gates and Daniel Scanlan.

These missionaries were selected for their energy, enthusiasm, love of the Faith, commitment to spiritual growth, ability to work with a team and a desire to work with youth.

Ihlefeldt took part in Totus Tuus from second grade into high school and described it as the highlight of her summer. She loves singing, playing piano and guitar, reading, hiking, and of course, spending time with Our Lord.

“God is my nearest and dearest friend, and I could not imagine who I would be without Him,” she explained. “One of the many passions in my life is bringing people closer to God, and I think the best way to do that is through the example and testimony of our own lives… The youth need this program now more than ever, and it’s a huge blessing to be part of a team that is dedicated to that mission.”

Slayer is an artist who loves images that give glory to God. While his goal is to help teach everyone he encounters how to fall in love with Christ, “as a missionary, I not only want to help those I teach. I want to have a heart that can be moved by what they teach me about my faith.”

Chrzan said while many of the Parish Totus Tuus camp slots are full, some openings are available by contacting the individual Parish religious education office which can be found by visiting www. https://dioceseofvenice.org/find-a-parish/, For Further information regarding this program contact Anne Chrzan@chrzan@dioceseofvenice.org.

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