Pardon Our Dust – Parishes and schools – upgrades, renovations and new construction

Dusty construction zones have been a common sight at multiple Diocesan Parishes and Catholic schools during the summer months and in some locations more work is on the horizon.

Projects ranging from window upgrades to constructing new Parish Halls have forced some temporary closures of buildings and other disruptions throughout the summer and into the fall. However, Joe Rego, Diocese of Venice Director of Building and Construction, explained how all the work – nearly 80 active projects – has been necessary stressing the end results will be worth any temporary inconvenience.

“Each of these projects (active, ongoing, or planned) is a priority for the respective Parish and school,” Rego explained. “All of it is necessary and will have benefits that will last for years to come.”

One of the most common projects currently within the Diocese has been roof repair and/or replacement. Such work is often necessitated as buildings age.

For example, the faithful at Our Lady of Grace Parish have endured multiple projects to upgrade their Parish Church and Parish Hall. The roof was replaced on both in 2020 and now interior work is ongoing in the Church with new tile flooring, pews and look to the sanctuary. With Mass taking place in the Parish Hall, the faithful are anxious to return when the work is completed late in the fall.

“Our parishioners’ support has been very vital in the inception and the actual implementation of the project,” said Father Ronnie Sison, Pastor of Our Lady of Grace. “The new floors should be enjoyed and last for generations to come. They also provide us with a healthier and cleaner environment by removing the old carpeting and replacing it with something that will outlast us all.”

The Church at Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostle Parish in Bradenton was closed for a time, and Mass was temporarily held in the Parish Center, to allow the installation of a new roof, and now the pews are being refinished, reupholstered and installed.

Pews were also replaced during the summer at St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral and St. Ann Parish in Naples. Father William Davis, OSFS, Pastor of St. Ann Parish, said the upholstery on the pews was past its usefulness and the cost difference for new ones was close enough that it was a natural choice. Though there was an inconvenience for approximately seven weeks, Father Davis said the results exceeded expectations and “the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Meanwhile, the roof at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Sarasota is being worked on now with much more to come. The interior of the church, including the altar, will be renovated with Mass temporarily being held outside starting in late fall. Once all of that work is done, the faithful will see the construction of a new Parish Hall, replacing a structure that was torn down due to safety concerns.

Roof replacement is now taking place on the church building at St. Mary, Star of the Sea Parish on Longboat Key with additional buildings at other locations being scheduled for work in the coming year.

Holy Child Mission in Bowling Green has been going through a complete renovation with the interior gutted and replaced. Much of this work was necessitated because of damage caused by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. As that repair work progressed, more issues were discovered and are being addressed. Bishop Frank J. Dewane saw firsthand the progress of the work on Aug. 7, 2021. He was given a tour and learned that upgrades to the restrooms and a new roof were next on the to-do list.

Multiple construction projects are taking place at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Boca Grande and include a new Parish Life Center, for which the slab is installed with walls being erected. Work will extend into early 2022. Other tasks include modifications to the existing preschool which includes converting spaces and upgrading the play area. Father Jerome Carosella, Pastor of Our Lady of Mercy, said he has been impressed by the progress of the work and what is necessary as the Parish is in an historic district on a barrier island. “The anchors go deep into the ground, so it won’t be going anywhere if a big storm comes,” Father said.

Another Parish Life Center under construction is located at St. William Parish in Naples. The Parish Center is replacing an old structure to accommodate Parish growth. That project began in April 2021 and is at the phase where exterior walls are rising, and interior work will begin by the fall. This project is expected to be done by Easter 2022.

Two Parishes with newly constructed Churches are going through similar renovations to their properties. Both Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch and Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Immokalee have work that includes Hall renovations. Work in Immokalee is in the final stages while Lakewood Ranch the construction is in the preliminary phases. Both buildings will include a commercial kitchen and much needed space for the respective growing Parish community.

The most recent high-profile project completed was the new St. Paul Parish Church in Arcadia. This project included the renovation of a former large grocery store into a new Church which was Blessed and Dedicated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane in March 2021. The new Church quadrupled the capacity of the old to more than 1,300. Future work includes classrooms and office space as well as a Parish Hall all contained under one roof.

Smaller projects include work on installing hurricane impact windows at St. Patrick Parish in Sarasota, audio-visual upgrades at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice, a fence for Sacred Heart Parish in Bradenton and much more.

Diocesan Catholic schools were not immune to summer work and upgrades focused on the safety of students. Upgrades were made to Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice and Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota.

St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples replaced the fire and public address system which was previously damaged in a lightning strike. Several schools created or expanded dedicated classroom space for the growing STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum.

St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring and Ave Maria Catholic School in Ave Maria are both having work done to expand their facilities and make better use of existing space to accommodate growth in the schools.

At St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples a new portable classroom building is being installed for use by middle schoolers as the additional classroom space was needed. The old cafeteria is going through a renovation to convert to a building to be used for the arts and sciences. Eventually the school will be building a new administration building and enhanced entrance.

Rego, of Diocesan Buildings Department, said these are just some of the examples of the individual projects currently at different stages of completion throughout the Diocese. It should be noted that some of the projects have been impacted by the global Pandemic which caused shortages of building materials and workers.

“This resulted in delays for some projects,” Rego said. “It was unavoidable but something we strive to deal with. We are confident in the firms we use, as we have developed a good working relationship. When projects are put up for bid, each firms has a clear understanding of our needs.”

Parish helps dreams come true for youth

Over the years the parishioners of St. Leo the Great Parish have forged a strong bond with Catholic Charities programs in Bonita Springs.

“We proudly host their presence on our campus in the Juan Diego Center and constantly witness and support the good works provided by their staff and volunteers, many of whom are our own parishioners,” said Anne Bellows, Assistant to the Pastor.  “We partner in providing donations from our St. Leo Food Bank, as well as annual holiday food and gift drives at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. We receive the most delight in this relationship when it impacts our area children.”

The Positive Youth Development Program is one such Catholic Charities resource which helps area children and operates after-school tutoring and summer camps, explained Jose A. Perez, Positive Youth Development Program Manager.

Each of the 40 children who participated in the Program’s Summer Enrichment Camp received scholarships from parishioners of St. Leo the Great Parish. During the summer the children received tutoring in math and reading, as well as enjoying enriching activities during their seven weeks on campus including a number of day trips.

“This year we wanted to do something special for the youth we have the privilege of working with,” Perez said. “The last two years have been hard on everyone, but especially on youth who will look back and remember the Pandemic as a significant life event, and it has not been a very positive one.”

Perez figured that perhaps the Program could do something that will leave a positive memory for these challenging times in all this sadness.

“After much thought, I decided to reach out to the most magical place on earth (Disney World) since the kids have always asked about visiting since none had ever been,” Perez said. “Looking back on my first time at Disney, I remember what a fantastic experience it was, but it was also expensive.”

With this goal in mind, Perez worked tirelessly to put the pieces together to make this marvelous adventure happen within budget and without a hitch. The effort included reaching out to Disney for discounted tickets and to a local company for economical transportation.

“St. Leo Parish has always been there for our Positive Youth Development Program,” Perez said. “They help us with whatever comes up. Once the time came for us to meet about scholarships, they asked if we’re doing anything different this year, and I said ‘Yes!’ I explained what we were trying to accomplish making a lasting memory for the students, and they were on board. So, we came up with what we wanted to call the trip: ‘Making Dreams That Last Forever.’”

St. Leo the Great Parish covered the cost of nearly everything, including additional funding for t-shirts and money for souvenirs, Bellows noted. “’Making Dreams That Last Forever’ became a joyful reality made possible through the generosity of our parishioners.”

The parents were as excited as the kids were when they learned about the trip, Perez explained. One mother said: “Thank you for giving our children an opportunity we could never give them.”

Therefore, on the July 31, 2021, the group, including 40 youth, nine high school-aged volunteers, and Catholic Charities staff went on a trip of lifetime.

Upon entering the Magic Kingdom, a girl named Arianna said to Perez: “Mr. Jose, look, it’s the Castle! It’s real!”

Camper Briana described her experience this way: “This was amazing. I had always dreamed of going to Disney. I am so glad I was able to come to summer camp. Thank you!”

Other campers had similar reactions: “It was such a magical feeling when we entered the park.” “This is so cool!” “Thank you for making my dream come true!”  “This was the most fun I have ever had!”

Perez said the trip was “beyond what I thought possible, the kids had a fantastic time. Getting to see their faces as we entered the park as they were greeted with the sight and sounds was priceless.”

To learn more about the Catholic Charities Positive Youth Development Program please contact Lose Perez at 239-390-2928 ext. 2302 or email Jose.Perez@catholiccharitiesdov.org. To support the Program, visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org.

To learn about St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs, please visit www.stleocatholicchurch.org/ or call 239-992-0901.

News Briefs for the Week of Sept. 10, 2021

Bishop celebrates Mass for students in Fort Myers

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass for students at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School and Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers on Sept. 7, 2021. He stressed the importance of taking time for prayer in their lives. The Bishop cited the Gospel Reading for the day (Lk 6:12-19), when the Lord calls the 12 Disciples by name. “Jesus always took time for prayer before making a major decision or announcement,” Bishop Dewane said. “Find the time in your life to pray.”

Naples Parish hosts Peace Novena

St. Agnes Parish in Naples began a Peace Novena on Sept. 3, 2021, in the lead up to the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks and marking the end of the war in Afghanistan with its recent tragic consequences. The daily Peace Novena will conclude at 3 p.m., Sept. 11, in the Church, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road The service will include special decorations, candle lighting, scripture readings, a brief homily, intercessions, the completion of the Novena, and music, prior to the 4 p.m. Mass. The faithful were able to follow the novena through the Parish website.

Knights gifts Bibles to students

The sixth and seventh grade students at St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton were each presented with a personal Bible, courtesy of the Knights of Columbus. St. Joseph Pastor, Father Rafal Ligenza, visited each of the classrooms and blessed the Bibles on Sept. 3, 2021.

Students donate blood

More than 60 Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School students donated blood on Aug. 31, 2021 as part of a life-saving drive conducted at the Sarasota school by Suncoast Blood Centers.

 

Freshmen retreat includes pray and fun

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Class of 2025 participated in the annual Freshmen Retreat on Sept. 3, 2021 in Naples. It was a day of prayer, adoration, education, fun, games, trivia, and food!

Pastor installed in Naples

Father Leo Smith became emotional on Aug. 29, 2021 when Bishop Frank J. Dewane formally presented him as the new Pastor of St. Finbarr Parish in Naples.

Applause from the faithful was in recognition of the priest who served the faithful of St. Finbarr for six years. The appointment as Pastor solidified in the mind of the parishioners that Father Smith was there to stay, leading them into a bright future as the area around the Parish continues to grow rapidly.

“When I first came here, I was warmly welcomed and your support through the years has been a blessing,” Father Smith said.

As part of the installation process, Bishop Dewane first introduces the priest as Pastor to the parishioners. The priest later starts the Profession of Faith for all to hear, including an additional part solely for him. The new Pastor then recites an Oath of Fidelity and promises to “adhere to the teachings, which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise authentic magisterium.” The installation also includes prayers to provide the new Pastor the wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit to lead the Parish.

The ceremony concluded with the signing of documents by the Bishop, the new Pastor, and two official witnesses of the Parish community, who serve as witnesses for all of the parishioners. Those documents are split between the Parish and Diocese as well as the Pastor’s personnel records.

St. Finbarr Parish was established as a Mission Church of San Marco Parish in 2000 and was elevated by Bishop Dewane to become the 57th Parish of the Diocese of Venice on Dec. 12, 2010. During the peak winter season, each weekend approximately 1,500 attend Masses in English, Spanish and Creole.

News Briefs for Week of Sept. 3, 2021

Bishop Dewane continues to celebrate Mass for students

Bishop Frank J. Dewane continues celebrate Mass for the students in each of the 15 Diocese of Venice Catholic schools. The latest series of Masses took place Aug. 26, 2021 at Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota; Aug. 27 at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Port Charlotte; and Aug. 31 at both St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School and St. Ann Catholic School in Naples.

Diocesan principals meet

The Diocese of Venice Office of Catholic Education hosted a Principal’s Meeting Aug. 26, 2021 at the Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall. Father John Belmonte, SJ, Superintendent of Catholic Education, led the meeting and updated everyone on how the start of the new Academic Year has been going in the Diocese and how successful the COVID-19 safety precautions have been working. Father Jeff Puttoff, SJ, who assisted in recruiting and promoting the Step Up for Students Scholarship initiative in the Diocese, provided an update on that work which resulted in a more than 12% increase in enrollment. The principals also received updates on the implementation of a comprehensive curriculum update. Jennifer Falestiny, Diocese Director of Curriculum, spoke about training teachers in a variety of areas. Falestiny also focused on the work to expand the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs. This also included a progress report on the implementation of the robotics STREAM initiative which will include competitions starting in the fall. Bishop Frank J. Dewane joined the group for lunch.

Miss Florida 2021 grew up at Bradenton Parish

If the recently crowned Miss Florida 2021, Leah Roddenberry, looks familiar to you, it might be that she is a parishioner and a former altar server at Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish in Bradenton. Father Mark Heuberger, Pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul, congratulated Roddenberry during a Mass in early August and wished her luck for December, when she will compete in the 100th Miss America competition. She graduated in 2017 from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota and previously attended St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton. Congratulations, Leah! We’ll be cheering you on.

Students start garden

School gardens can make lasting differences in the lives of children. The lessons taught through these outdoor learning laboratories transcend gardening to impact children, their families and entire communities for years to come. St. Mary Catholic Academy Teacher A.J. Schiep engaged his students in this wonderful and meaningful activity on Aug. 26, 2021, in Sarasota. The new garden is just outside their classroom windows and the students used various gardening tools, getting their hands dirty, while preparing the soil for planting. The students will work on the garden throughout the year, following the progress and eventually eating the fresh food that grows.

Eighth graders display leadership

St. Francis Xavier Catholic School eighth-grade each year take part in Falcon Academy students where they are excited to display the skills they have developed throughout their years here while serving the school community. This leadership program includes journaling, discussion, and feedback exercises help students self-reflect on their experiences. During the year, they will explore patience, empathy, active listening, reliability, dependability, creativity, positivity, effective feedback, timely communication, team building, flexibility, risk-taking, and mentoring. Host teachers provide mentorship as the eighth graders embark on an exciting year St. Francis Xavier before heading off to high school! For their first session on Aug. 27, 2021, the older students introduced themselves to their younger counterparts with activities, presentations, and read aloud time. Some of the students played a Fun Friday game while working on color recognition and taking turns with the PreK Falcons. Although our eighth graders had a lot of nervous excitement at first, they eventually settled right into the role and had a blast!

Verot students have many Club opportunities

There are so many great ways to be involved at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers. Students discovered their many options at an Aug. 26, 2021 Club Fair. Clubs come in various forms and focus, such as Catholics in Action; National Honor Society; Model UN; Academic Team; Black and Gold Delegation; or American Sign Language. While others are more generalized, such as environmental, art, chess, math, creative writing, robotics, theater, debate, and more.

Football team takes part in pre-game Mass

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School football team took part in the traditional pre-game Mass before their opener on Aug. 26, 2021 in Sarasota celebrated by Chaplain Father Eric Scanlan. The home game was against Booker High School of Sarasota. The Mooney Cougars won 36-0.

Two Pastors installed

The Catholic Church relies on its Parish Pastors to lead and to be a guide in the spiritual and everyday life of any Parish. These priests are called to serve in persona Christi bringing the Body and Blood of Christ on the altar of the Lord.

From time to time a Parish requires a new Pastor and on this occasion the Bishop will appoint – after consultation with the Priest Personnel Board – and install this new leader marking a new chapter in the life for the faithful.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane installed Father Eduardo Coll as Pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral on Aug. 22, 2021 and Father Casey Jones as Pastor of St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples on Aug. 23, 2021. Both Masses were in English and Spanish reflecting the diversity of each Parish.

“It is my prayer that you continue to join your new Pastor at the Altar of the Lord,” Bishop Dewane said. “A Pastor, and the priests who serve at your Parish, call down upon this altar the Body and Blood of Christ for themselves and for all of you.”

The Bishop asked that the faithful listen to their Pastor and accept decisions that are made. While they may not always agree with all of his decisions, they must strive to understand that any action is based on prayerful contemplation and the good of all centered on Christ.

“If there are differences, I ask you to strive to understand,” Bishop Dewane said. “People weren’t always in agreement with what Christ. They walked away. Don’t walk away. Stay with Christ. It is about the priest being the instrument of the Lord and bringing about the Eucharist at this Parish and you the faithful coming forward to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. When you return to the pew, with the help of your Pastor, you will go out into the society and gnaw on the Presence of Christ in your life.”

As part of the installation process, Bishop Dewane first introduces the priest as Pastor to the parishioners. The priest later begins the Profession of Faith for all to hear, including an additional part solely for him. The new Pastor then recites an Oath of Fidelity and promises to “adhere to the teachings, which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise authentic magisterium.” The installation also includes prayers to provide the new Pastor the wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit to lead the Parish.

The ceremony concluded with the signing of documents by the Bishop, the new Pastor, and two official witnesses of the Parish community, who serve as witnesses for all of the parishioners. Those documents are split between the Parish and Diocese as well as the Pastor’s personnel records.

In Cape Coral, a blessing of newly installed pews was added to the conclusion of the Mass. Father Coll was also recognized for being the leader of St. Andrew Catholic School.

At. St. Elizabeth Seton, the Bishop blessed a newly installed icon of Jesus the Eternal High Priest. Father Jones was also recognized for being the leader of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School and Chaplain of Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers.

News Briefs for the Week of Aug. 20, 2021

Bishop celebrates Mass for Parish

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass for the faithful of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Port Charlotte in what was to be a Parish Feast Day celebration on Aug. 15, 2021. While the Mass was on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, there was planned celebration after Mass to honor the Patron Saint of the Parish, St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose Feast Day is Aug. 14. Bishop Dewane noted the sacrifice of St. Maximilian Kolbe a Polish Franciscan friar who was active in the promotion and veneration of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and was martyred in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland when he volunteered to die in the place of a stranger. Bishop Dewane said the devotion of the Saint to his faith and to his fellow prisoners is well documented and should serve as an example for all to follow. The man saved by St. Maximilian Kolbe’s sacrifice survived the Holocaust and was present for the Saint’s beatification and canonization. While the after-Mass celebration was cancelled, present was Father Mark Heuberger, founding-Pastor of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish and current Pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish in Bradenton. Current Pastor Father Teofilo Useche said the threat of Tropical Storm Fred and the ongoing Pandemic caused the celebration to be cancelled.

Naples Parish hosted State Knights for Conference

St. Agnes Parish in Naples hosted the 139th Supreme Convention virtually for the Florida State Council Delegation from Aug. 3-4, 2021. Father Bob Kantor, Pastor of St. Agnes, is the Knights State Chaplain, and participants watching the Supreme Convention as a group. While together, the State Exemplification Team conducted a ceremony Aug. 3, welcoming new Knights and elevating existing ones to the third degree, 12 in all. Father Kantor also celebrated Mass for the State delegation.

Fort Myers and Sarasota 40 Days for Life campaigns begin Sept. 22

The Fall 40 Days for Life campaign begins worldwide on Sept. 22, 2021 through Sunday, Oct. 31, including in Fort Myers and Sarasota. Prayerfully discern where God is calling you. Is it to peaceful sidewalk prayer? Fasting? Adoration? Please consider the many ways in which you can participate. For information about the Fort Myers 40 Days for Life visit www.40daysforlife.com/fortmyers for location and details or to sign up. Also consider joining the monthly respect life meetings on the third Wednesday of the month in the Parish Life Center at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers following the 8 a.m. Mass (approximately 8:45 a.m.). All are welcome! Contact Maureen at 239-823-6800 with questions. For information about the Sarasota 40 Days for Life, go to www.40daysforlife.com/sarasota or contact Rich at 40DFLSarasota@gmail.com or 941-923-0752.

Congreso Pro Vida

Registrations are now open! The Archdiocese of Miami is hosting the 6th national Congreso Pro Vida at St. Thomas University the weekend of Oct. 29-31, 2021 (first time in Florida!) Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities will join Archbishop Thomas Wenski for the event and will be a keynote speaker. See www.congresoprovida.org for details including registration, hotel, schedule, and speakers. Simultaneous interpretation in English or Spanish will be available via headsets. For questions, contact Sylvia Jimenez at c-Jimenez@DioceseofVenice.org or call 941-412-5860.

 Congreso Pro Vida

¡Ya están abiertas las inscripciones! La Arquidiócesis de Miami está organizando el 6° Congreso Pro Vida Nacional en la Universidad de St. Thomas el fin de semana del 29 al 31 de octubre de 2021 (¡primera vez en la Florida!). El arzobispo Joseph Naumann, presidente del Comité de Actividades Pro-Vida de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de EE. UU. se unirá al arzobispo Thomas Wenski en el evento y será el orador principal. Visite www.congresoprovida.org para obtener detalles, incluido el registro, el hotel, el horario y los oradores. Interpretación simultánea de las presentaciones en inglés o español estarán disponibles a través de auriculares. Si tiene preguntas, comuníquese con Sylvia Jimenez at o al 941-412-5860 o c-Jimenez@DioceseofVenice.org.

Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal

Every day, Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice serves the most vulnerable population by feeding, housing, empowering, and striving to help those in need. This summer, you can leave your footprint by helping your neighbors. The Catholic Charities Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal is asking for your support. Donate to your choice of assistance, such as food, shelter, education or other support. The giving is easy! Your gift will make a positive impact on our less fortunate brothers and sisters! Please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or mail a check to Catholic Charities,1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285.

Labor Day Pig Roast

Join the Epiphany Cathedral Knights of Columbus for a Labor Day Pig roast, Sept. 6, 2021, at the Knights Hall, 512 Substation Road, Venice. Doors open at 3 p.m., dinner buffet starts at 4 p.m. Menu includes roasted pig, plantains, barbecue beans, potato salad, cole slaw, dessert, iced tea, lemonade, water. Cost is $20 per person. Beer and wine available. Credit cards accepted. Register at epiphanyknights.org or call Nancy Kraszewski at 281-814-9954.

CCW Vocation Fund fundraiser

Support and encourage our future priests by contributing to the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women Vocation Fund by joining them in celebrating Priesthood Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. Send a donation to the VDCCW Vocation Fund “In Honor of” the priest(s) in your Parish. Our Diocese is educating 16 MEN in various seminaries so your donation of any amount will be a great help! To take part, please send $1.00 for each card in addition to your donation. The extra $1.00 covers the cost of the “IN HONOR OF” card(s) and mailing them to you so you can deliver to your Priest(s). Your donation amount will not be revealed to the Priest(s). And please remember that this is a gift that keeps on giving!  Please send $1.00 plus your donation made out to “VDCCW Vocation Fund” to: Cornelia Zanetti, 5808 Gulf Drive, #204, Holmes Beach, FL 34217. Questions? Please email Corniez@aol.com.

Diocesan Marriage Conference Oct. 2

The Diocese of Venice in Florida and the St. John Paul II Foundation announce the “Together in Holiness Marriage Conference” that will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 2, 2021, at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples and St. Thomas More Parish, 2506 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota. The speakers are Kevin and Lisa Cotter. For more details contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org.

Stepping into Marriage with Children

The Diocese Office of Family Life is offering a free half day workshop for couples beginning or currently in a stepfamily situation. This program takes a realistic look at blended families and offers strategies and tools for success.  The program is being offered 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Oct. 9, 2021, at St. Leo the Great Parish, 28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs, and 9 a.m. to noon, Nov. 6, 2021, at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1301 Center Road, Venice. To register https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/stepping-into-marriage-with-children.

White Mass in Naples Oct. 16

A White Mass and lecture for physicians and medical professionals will be 8:30 a.m., Oct. 16, 2021, at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples. A blessing of the stethoscope will also be held. Please wear your white coat. Following Mass, a lecture and breakfast will take place in the Parish Center. The lecture is entitled “Spiritual Leadership in a Secular Healthcare Setting” presented by speaker Paul Hiltz followed by a discussion with Dr. Gloth and other panelists. There is a $50 fee per person (reduced rates for physicians in training and non-physician health professionals). Register and pay online at www.stagnesnaples.org. For more information, please contact Maggie Brady 239-592-1949. (1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit)

 

 

New Cathedral Rector installed

A new Rector was installed at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, marking only the fifth time in its history.

In the context of the Mass on Aug. 8, 2021, Bishop Frank J. Dewane installed Msgr. Patrick Dubois as Rector starting a new chapter in life of the priest and the faithful of Epiphany Cathedral.

Bishop Dewane encouraged the people of the Cathedral to be united behind Msgr. Dubois as he will be called upon to make difficult decisions going forward.

“A priest can’t listen to everyone because it is full of contrasting opinions, but he will make a decision after listening to the people of God,” the Bishop added. “Remember, we receive Christ individually but it’s up to you to lift up the community. It is for all of us.”

As part of the installation process, Bishop Dewane first introduces the priest as Rector to the parishioners. The priest later begins the Profession of Faith for all to hear, including an additional part solely for him. The new Pastor then recites an Oath of Fidelity and promises to “adhere to the teachings, which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise authentic magisterium.” The installation also includes prayers to provide the new Rector the wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit to lead the Parish.

The ceremony concluded with the signing of documents by the Bishop, the new Rector, and two official witnesses of the Parish community, who serve as witnesses for all of the parishioners. Those documents are split between the Cathedral and Diocese as well as Monsignor’s personnel records. A celebratory reception was held in the Parish Hall.

Msgr. Dubois, who is also a part of the Diocesan Tribunal, expressed his gratitude to Bishop Dewane for having the confidence in him to be the Rector of the Cathedral. He also thanked his parents, who were present and brought up the gifts during Mass, for being his living example of the faith.

To the people of the Cathedral, Msgr. Dubois promised that he will live out his ministry grounded in prayer and “together we will continue to make the Cathedral a place of encounter of Jesus to the faithful.”

The history of the Parish dates to the 1930s when the Church of the Epiphany was created as a Mission of St. Martha Parish in Sarasota. It was in 1955 when the Mission was elevated to Parish status. With the Catholic population in Florida steadily increasing, St. Pope John Paul II in 1984 established two new dioceses, one of which was the Diocese of Venice. The Church of Epiphany was selected to become the Cathedral for the new Diocese. Mass is celebrated at the Cathedral in English, Spanish and Polish and representatives from each group were present for the Mass, as well as friends and family of Msgr. Dubois from his previous pastoral assignements.

News Briefs for the Week of Aug. 13, 2021

Parish collects shoes in Back-to-School Drive

The Faithful of Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers took part in a Back-to-School Shoe Drive collecting more than 170 pairs of shows for local foster children the weekend of Aug. 5, 2021. The Shoe Drive was organized by the Office of Faith Formation. Well done!

Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal

Every day, Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice serves the most vulnerable population by feeding, housing, empowering, and striving to help those in need. This summer, you can leave your footprint by helping your neighbors. The Catholic Charities Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal is asking for your support. Donate to your choice of assistance, such as food, shelter, education or other support. The giving is easy! Your gift will make a positive impact on our less fortunate brothers and sisters! Please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or mail a check to Catholic Charities,1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285.

Marriage prep for couples over 55

The Office of Family Life is offering a one-day marriage prep seminar for those couples over 55 years of age preparing for marriage or convalidation from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Aug. 28, 2021, at Our Lady of Lourdes. 1301 Center Road, Venice. A specially prepared volunteer team share their experiences and information with the intention of enabling couples to be more aware of the privileges and responsibilities of marriage. Pre-registration is required. Please register online at: https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/two-become-one.

Life in the Spirit Seminar coming to Fort Myers

Resurrection Parish, 8121 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers, is hosting a Life in the Spirit Seminar, Monday mornings from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., beginning Aug. 23, 2021, through Nov. 11. To register call 239-482-7172 or email AdultFaith@resurrectionch.org. The cost of books is $7. Any questions, please call or text Janet at 708-525-4352 or email jalmen11@att.net.

New Catholic Institute Course Aug. 24

The Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation is offering a 16-week graduate level online course starting Aug. 24, 2021 that introduces students to the principles, practices, and sources of Catholic Theology. The course “What is Catholic Theology? (Ecclesial Nature and Mission of Theology)” counts as a pre-requisite for those beginning the online MA in Theology and Christian Ministry at Franciscan University of Steubenville. (Franciscan offers Diocese of Venice students discounted tuition for this online MA). This course is also available to those who wish to attend for their own personal enrichment. For cost and other information and to register for the course, visit the Institute website at https://institute-dov.org/ or call 941-766-7334.

Cathedral Concert series resumes Aug 29

The latest in the Epiphany Cathedral Concert Series, “A Night At The Opera” featuring Soprano: Robyn Rocklein, Tenor: Russell C. Andrade, and our Music Director: Andi Zdrava, will take place at 7 p.m., Aug. 29, 2021, Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall, 375 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. Tickets are $25 per person and available at www.EpiphanyCathedral.org. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information, please call 941-484-3505.

Invitation to all widows and widowers

Come join the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish faith-sharing group to grow together in holiness and the devout life. This 8-week series will be held on Wednesday mornings from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. beginning Sept. 1, 2021, at the Parish, 425 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey. The topic will be: “Praying with the saints, our mentors in the faith.” All are welcome!  For information and to join this group, please contact Marianne Cano at 941-966-0807, ext. 314, or mcano@olmc-osprey.org

Labor Day Pig Roast

Join the Epiphany Cathedral Knights of Columbus for a Labor Day Pig roast, Sept. 6, 2021, at the Knights Hall, 512 Substation Road, Venice. Doors open at 3 p.m., dinner buffets starts at 4 p.m. Menu includes roasted pig, plantains, barbecue beans, potato salad, cole slaw, dessert, iced tea, lemonade, water. Cost is $20 per person. Beer and wine available. Credit cards accepted. Register at epiphanyknights.org or call Nancy Kraszewski at 281-814-9954.

Catholic Alpha Online

Alpha Online is a course where individuals meet virtually once a week via Zoom to discuss and share ideas about faith and God in an open, caring and non-judgmental way. The Diocese of Venice English Catholic Charismatic Renewal invites you to experience Catholic Alpha online from the comfort of your home, and to hear from notable Catholic speakers. These include newly appointed Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap., longtime Preacher of the Papal Household; Dr. Mary Healy; Father John Ricardo; and Father Mike Schmitz. Each course is Monday from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 13 through Nov. 29, 2021.  For further information please contact Theresa Salvo at asolotogod@gmail.com or 804-387-8282.

CCW Vocation Fund fundraiser

Support and encourage our future priests by contributing to the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women Vocation Fund by joining them in celebrating Priesthood Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. Send a donation to the VDCCW Vocation Fund “In Honor of” the priest(s) in your Parish. Our Diocese is educating 16 MEN in various seminaries so your donation of any amount will be a great help! To take part, please send $1.00 for each card in addition to your donation. The extra $1.00 covers the cost of the “IN HONOR OF” card(s) and mailing them to you so you can deliver to your Priest(s). Your donation amount will not be revealed to the Priest(s). And please remember that this is a gift that keeps on giving!  Please send $1.00 plus your donation made out to “VDCCW Vocation Fund” to: Cornelia Zanetti, 5808 Gulf Drive, #204, Holmes Beach, FL 34217. Questions? Please email Corniez@aol.com.

Magnificat breakfast for women Oct. 2

Be Blessed and Encouraged at the next Magnificat breakfast for women, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Oct. 2, 2021, at the Holiday Inn Airport, Gulf Coast Town Center, Fort Myers. The guest speaker is Peg Mengle, a member of St. Cecilia Parish in Fort Myers. Seating is limited. No walk-ins or payment at the door! Advanced registration only. Please send a $23 check, payable to Magnificat Fort Myers, to Margaret Mengle, 5017 Westminster Dr., Fort Myers, FL. 33919. Your mail request must be postmarked by Sept. 22. You can also make a reservation at https://magnificatfortmyers.com/order-tickets/. For more information, please call 239-826-7475.

Diocesan Marriage Conference Oct. 2

The Diocese of Venice in Florida and the St. John Paul II Foundation announce the “Together in Holiness Marriage Conference” that will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 2, 2021, at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples and St. Thomas More Parish, 2506 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota. The speakers are Kevin and Lisa Cotter. For more details contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org.

Virtual Laps for Life in October

The Knights of Columbus Virtual Laps for Life will be from Oct. 2 to 9, 2021. Show your support for the cause by being a part of this virtual event. Your contributions help fund the life changing services provided to expectant mothers at no cost to them at My Choice Pregnancy Center in Sarasota Florida. There is a $30 Race Fee, and registration ends Oct. 9. Sign up at http://srqlapsforlife.net. For more information, contact Knights of Columbus Council 3358 Pro-Life Chair Joe Gina at 941-702-1700 or srqLapsforLife@gmail.com.

Parish hosting day of renewal for men and women

St. Agnes Parish in Naples is hosting a day of renewal given by the Parish Men’s and Women’s “WELCOME” retreat teams. Come celebrate the Parish being fully open with an incredible day of God’s love, friendship, and revitalization. The Women’s Welcome Day is Oct. 9, 2021 and the Men’s Welcome Day is Oct. 23, 2021 at the Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples. For more information, including free registration, please visit our website at www.StAgnesNaples.org.

Stepping into Marriage with Children

The Diocese Office of Family Life is offering a free half day workshop for couples beginning or currently in a stepfamily situation. This program takes a realistic look at blended families and offers strategies and tools for success.  The program is being offered 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Oct. 9, 2021, at St. Leo the Great Parish, 28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs, and 9 a.m. to noon, Nov. 6, 2021, at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1301 Center Road, Venice. To register https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/stepping-into-marriage-with-children.

White Mass in Naples Oct. 16

A White Mass and lecture for physicians and medical professionals will be 8:30 a.m., Oct. 16, 2021, at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples. A blessing of the stethoscope will also be held. Please wear your white coat. Following Mass, a lecture and breakfast will take place in the Parish Center. The lecture is entitled “Spiritual Leadership in a Secular Healthcare Setting” presented by speaker Paul Hiltz followed by a discussion with Dr. Gloth and other panelists. There is a $50 fee per person (reduced rates for physicians in training and non-physician health professionals). Register and pay online at www.stagnesnaples.org. For more information, please contact Maggie Brady 239-592-1949. (1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit)

Summer camps bring smiles to young faces

For one week each summer many parishes throughout the Diocese of Venice make an amazing transformation to accommodate Vacation Bible School for the youngest of the faithful.

While this option was not available in the summer of 2020 due to the global Pandemic, the summer of 2021 brought the children back in droves.

A Vacation Bible School is intended to teach children to love God and thank the Lord for all the wonderful gifts in the world. Throughout a typical day of Vacation Bible School, the children learn about Bible stories, and then sing and dance in praise of God.

Team leaders – often middle school and high school student volunteers – lead the children through a variety of activities which included arts and crafts, games, reenacting Bible adventures and just having fun. Each day in the week has a different theme and different activities to keep the children engaged and learning.

One of the highlights for the volunteers is during the quieter moments when they hear the children explain their “God Experiences.” These are explained encounters with God’s creation or with good people, such a seeing butterflies or rainbows or having a good friend help with a project. The week concludes with a joyous celebration.

Some VBS programs are coordinated with neighboring Parishes to pool resources as was the case the week of July 19-23 with St. Cecilia and St. Francis Xavier Parishes in Fort Myers. A bonus for the St. Cecilia group was the opportunity to commemorate “World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly” on July 25, by singing at the conclusion of Mass.

Meanwhile, multiple Diocesan Catholic schools hosted STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) camps. Some of these camps covered several weeks and introduced the eager students to new projects such as arts and crafts, engineering various objects and other activities that incorporated the different aspects of STREAM.

St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples held its annual Summer Music Camps in mid-July with the budding musicians (ages 4-12) showing off their newly learned skills during Mass.

For the athlete in many, the area Catholic high schools hosted a variety of sports camps for children such as soccer, football, basketball, cheerleading and many others. These camps offer a chance for younger children to learn the skills needed to excel in different sports while at the same time having a bit of fun.

Catholic Charities in Bonita Springs holds a summer-long camp for children which includes a variety of fun games and projects giving the children the opportunity to show off their athletic, artistic and other skills. The campers also take a variety of fun field trips.

These are just some of the examples of the exciting activities that took place for the thousands of young people in the Diocese during the “slow” season.

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