News Briefs for the week of September 23, 2022

Bishop inspires students

Bishop Frank J. Dewane inspired students to use the Gifts of the Holy Spirit during Mass on Sept. 16, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice, and then on Sept 19 at St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring. Bishop Dewane told the students how they need to work to hear a call from the Lord and respond in a particular way, using those Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Naples student earns Do the Right Thing Award

Congratulations to St. Ann Catholic School fifth Grader Nicholas Radosti for winning the 2022 Do the Right Thing Award, awarded by the Naples Police Department. Nicholas was nominated for this award because of his kind and honest heart. One day during Mass, Nicholas saw a teacher drop money on the ground. Nicholas made sure to find the teacher right when Mass ended and give the money back to her. Nicholas is a kind person who is filled with honesty and integrity.

Neumann reaccredited

St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples has been reaccredited by the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops. The reaccreditation process included a Sept. 16, 2022, visit to the campus and an evaluation of the courses and programs offered at Neumann following state and national Catholic education guidelines. Each Diocesan Catholic school in accredited and the reaccreditation process takes place every seven years.

Student Bibles blessed

Sixth grade and new middle school students at Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota were presented personal Bibles following Mass on Sept. 13, 2022. Father Eric Scanlan, Pastor at Incarnation Parish, blessed the Bibles and encouraged the students to not just read the words, but grow to understand what the Lord teaches in Sacred Scriptures and then use the lessons learned in their daily life.

Read a book, build a robot

Students in a St. Martha Catholic School language arts class read Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451,” as part of the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum which enhances the educational experience for students in multiple disciplines. As part of that curriculum, the Sarasota students engineered robotic dogs out of Lego bricks on Sept. 16, 2022. The dogs are based on the robotic dog featured in the novel. The students’ robot dogs were more cute than vicious, but they had a great time with the challenge!

Eagle Run a success

St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton held its annual Eagle Run on Sept. 16, 2022. This fundraising event was a huge success as students of all ages participated in the run as well as other related activities all in support of the school. St. Joseph officials thanked the parents and community for their continued support of the school and this 2022 Eagle Run.

Verot celebrates homecoming in style

A weeklong celebration led up to the Bishop Verot Catholic High School football Homecoming Game Sept. 16, 2022, versus Gulf Coast High School in Fort Myers. The Vikings won 27-14. Prior to the game, the students participated in a variety of fun activities to boost the excitement for the students. This included a Spirit Day, fun and games and several dress-down days and competitions between boys and girls, the various houses, and grade levels, in the courtyard and gymnasium. A key component was schoolwide Mass.

School raises awareness about cancer

Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice took time out on Sept. 15, 2022, to raise awareness and support for pediatric cancer. Donations will be given to the Children’s Cancer Center. Thank you to everyone who donated. Please keep all those currently battling cancers, and those in remission, in your prayers. Local businesses donated items which were then used in a raffle to raise the money.

Model UN team excels

The weekend of Sept. 17-18, 2022, the St. John Neumann Catholic High School Model U.N. group competed in the SharkMUN conference at Gulf Coast High School. Seven schools were represented, and the Neumann team came away with the Best Delegation Award. Five members of the team received individual awards: Bella Fernandez, Alessio Cirino, Mason Wagner, Jake Marks and Hunter Lund.

News Briefs for the week of August 16, 2022

Bishop celebrates Mass for students in Bradenton, Sarasota and Naples

Bishop Frank J. Dewane recently celebrated Mass for students at three Diocesan Catholic schools, visiting St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton, Sept. 7, 2022, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, Sept. 12, and St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples, Sept. 13. Bishop Dewane continues to be impressed by the increased enrollment at each of the schools as the students filled churches, chapels and gymnasiums. The Bishop is also continuing to invoke the Holy Spirit to descend upon the students as they go forth into the 2022-2023 Academic Year.

Seminarian prepares for Transitional Diaconate Ordination

In preparation for their upcoming diaconate ordination, the fourth-year class at Pontifical North American College (NAC) in Rome publicly professed the Faith of the Church and made an Oath of Fidelity in the presence of the NAC community on Sept. 13, 2022. Among those taking their oath was Diocese of Venice Seminarian Daniel Scanlan, who will be ordained on Sept. 29 at St. Peter’s Basilica. Please continue to pray for Daniel and all seminarians as they approach this milestone of their formation journey.

Robot building engages students

Students at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral were busy on Sept. 12, 2022, building Lego Education Spike Prime Robots in Robotics class. The robotics program at St. Andrew allows students to learn and excel using skills that will prepare them for the future. Eventually, teams will be formed to compete in completing various tasks or taking part in a robot obstacle course within the school, and as the year progresses, against other robotics teams from other Diocesan Catholic schools.

 

Faith Formation kicks off in Fort Myers

The faith formation program at Our Lady of Light Parish and St. Cecilia Parish, both in Fort Myers, got a kick-start on Sept. 11, 2022, when hundreds of children began a new educational journey as they grow closer to the Lord. Our Lady of Light has some 150 in its K-5 formation program called “Footsteps in Faith.” St. Cecilia had their first classes learn Patriotic songs in conjunction with Patriot’s Day.

Life skills learned at school

St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples had its own version of the TV reality show “Chopped!” on Sept. 9, 2022. Students in a life skills class created a menu, recipe, budget and learned about how to read nutritional labels on grocery items. This included a trip to a grocery store and then preparing and serving the delicious creations for the judges, which included the Principal, Sister Patricia Roche, Salesian Sister of St. John Bosco. The results were delicious.

Students celebrate Our Lady’s birthday

To honor the Blessed Virgin Mary on her birthday, Sept. 8, 2022, students at Ave Maria Catholic School and Donahue Academy in Ave Maria made special efforts to mark this joyful event. This outpouring of love for Our Lady included homemade cookies, handmade cards and paper flowers for the Mother of God. The kindergarten students also made private visits to a statue of Our Lady, offering their prayers and best wishes on Mary’s special day.

Scientific method learned in classroom

Sixth grade science students at St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring have been learning about the scientific method – consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses. For example, on Sept. 12, 2022, they grew bacteria in a petri dish and conducted a scientific investigation and observed their bacteria specimens under a microscope. This type of project offers a hands-on approach to learning which helps students use multiple skills in order to complete their experiments.

Kindness rocks found on school campus

If you visit Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, you might spot colorful rocks on the ground. These rocks were not lost during some science experiment gone awry, they were in fact created by freshmen in their theology class as part of a “Kindness Project.” With the assistance of guidance counselors, each small rock was colorfully decorated and included a simple message of kindness, such as “Live your best life!” “Be You!” “Smile!” and more. The reaffirming artistic creations were then placed throughout the campus on Sept. 9, 2022.

‘Totus Tuus’ leaves impacts for a lifetime

When you note something took 40 days, that number has a significant connection to Sacred Scriptures, uniquely elevating the impact and meaning of an activity.

For example, the Bible states: 40 days and nights of rain during the great flood, Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai; Jonah preached 40 days to Nineveh; Goliath taunted Israel for 40 days; and Jesus fasted for 40 days, as well as other examples.

Therefore, there is a special significance in that the “Totus Tuus” summer camp was active in the Diocese of Venice for 40 days. This is not only because of its symbolic connection to the Bible, but for its wide-reaching impact on the hundreds of children and teens who participated. However, this positive impact was not limited to the campers; it was felt at the host Parishes, by the volunteers, and in the families, not to mention the missionaries and seminarians who led the camp each week.

In the Bible, after 40 days a great event always occurs, and the same is true in the Diocese at the completion of the “Totus Tuus” camp on Aug. 5, 2022.

Word has been spreading about the passionate growth in a love for Christ by the children at the host Parishes achieved in a single 5-day period. There is already a call to bring the missionaries back in the summer of 2023 at more Parishes, reaching even more children and teens.

Beginning June 6, at St. Katherine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral, host Parish priests have raved all summer about how this summer camp was different than anything that has been offered. Each of the five days of the “Totus Tuus” camp was an intensive and enriching time for the young participants as they learned about their faith and grew closer to the Lord.

By the time the camp reached its eighth weekly home, St. Patrick Parish in Sarasota from Aug. 1 to Aug. 5, the results were abundantly clear, the camp was a success and there was a demand for more of the same.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane visited the St. Patrick camp on Aug. 4, witnessing what the young children (aged from kindergarten to sixth grade) learned in just a few days.

The children, led by the “Totus Tuus” missionaries and accompanying Diocesan seminarians, were able to recite a variety of prayers and enthusiastically sang songs. When asked about the camp, eager little hands rose in excitement because the lessons of the week excited their minds and souls helping them to grow in their passionate relationship with the Lord.

Bishop Dewane praised the children on their knowledge of the lessons they had learned. These lessons focused on the Luminous Mysteries of the rosary, prayer, key aspects of a devotion to Jesus, all with a special focus on the Mass.

“You learned so much,” Bishop Dewane said. “That is very good. Remember, we all have more to learn about the Lord and our relationship with Jesus Christ and how that must continue to grow.”

Among the lessons during the camp, the children were taught how to view others as brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, when they see someone in need, they are to help, acting as Christ did.

“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 welcomed children and teens from Monday morning to Friday afternoon.  These sessions were divided into daytime camp for children from first grade through sixth, and evening retreats for teens seventh grade through recent high school graduates. The weeks were filled with faith, fun, and friendship as well as games, crazy skits, and music. Throughout, the college-age leaders provided an authentic witness to the students. They were in turn supported by teen helpers for the day camp and adult volunteers in the evenings.

During this initial introduction to the “Totus Tuus” summer camp in the Diocese, only one Parish hosted the camp each week. In addition to St. Katharine Drexel and St. Patrick bookending the summer, other host Parishes included: 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 (July 18-22); and St. Elizabeth Seton in Naples (July 25-29).

The “Totus Tuus” program strives to bring an awareness of vocations to 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.

“Totus Tuus” missionaries were Stephanie Lovetere of the Diocese of Venice, Epiphany Cathedral and a student at Ave Maria University, Sam Salyer of the Diocese of Gary, Kate Ihlefeldt, of the Diocese of Colorado Springs, and Garrett Willie of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Additionally, assisting the missionaries were Diocese of Venice Seminarians Juan Contreras and James Gates.

Salyer finished his missionary work on fire for the Lord. “It has been an amazing journey,” he said. “I grew as a person, as a missionary and as a man of God. The interaction with the children of different ages opened up a whole new way for me to see how the Lord works in each of us. I saw the transformation of these children from uninterested to totally engaged in a short period of time. It was incredible.”

Seminarian Gates enjoyed helping connect the children with the wonders of Christ through the lessons, during Eucharistic Adoration and at Mass. “When you see the faces, the reactions, it is very special. Their enthusiasm validated the hard work we put into each day.”

Carrie Harkey, Diocesan Director of the Office of Family Life, who helped bring the “Totus Tuus” summer camp to the Diocese, said the praise from priests, religious education leaders and parents has been 100% positive. The only negative reaction was the request that the camp be longer than one week at a Parish.

“With the feedback we have received, we are going to bring the camp back for the summer of 2023,” Harkey said. “The enthusiasm is contagious and that is a god thing. This summer was a test to see how it worked and we have our results. Going forward, we now have an established program which directly engages young people, from kindergarten through high school, about their faith. That is very special.”

Teen “Service Week” in Sarasota

Service, prayer, music, fun and food.

Combine those things and you have a formula for a successful “Teen Service Week” for youth who are preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at St. Thomas More Parish in Sarasota.

Robbie Anderson, the Director of Religious Education and Youth Outreach at St Thomas More, views the service week as an opportunity to challenge the youth and get them thinking about the world in which they live. The theme for Service Week 2022 was “On a Mission of Peace.”

On each morning of the week of Aug. 1-5, the teens met with assigned leaders at the Parish and prayed together. Several days during the week, depending on the daily schedule, there was the opportunity to participate in Mass.

Father Gordon Zanetti, Pastor of St. Thomas More, encouraged the youth remain open to the Lord as they participated in the service. They must also be open to a vocation, or calling of the Lord, whether it is as a priest, in religious life, or in a vocation to help the poor. “Whatever vocation you are called to, hear the Lord and respond.”

Among the activities the youth took part in throughout the week included a trip to the Sarasota National Cemetery where they assisted in a cleaning project; delivered food for Meals on Wheels; organized the Moms Helping Moms store; heard a talk from counselors at NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness), and helped at their youth center; built a garden around the Parish peace pole near the main entrance to the property; made and delivered lunches to homeless on the streets of Sarasota (with adult chaperones); and lastly, sorted and packed food at All Faith’s Food Bank.

The service week provided Lilly Mae Stewart, 17, an opportunity to challenge herself as the group reached out into the community and helped people in a variety of ways. “It was about making a real connection.”

Charlie Flint, 15, said “this week has been really touching,” because he saw how “good work can really effect the people in the community.”

Each day began by 7 a.m. and concluded by 9 p.m. To keep their experience humble, they made their own bag lunches each day, and were allowed limited time on their phone, something that can sometime be a hardship, but did not bother the team as they remained focused on their tasks. In addition, as the week progressed, the teens were asked to create a banner with key images, words, and messages they learned, as well as symbols from their “Service Week.” The words and messages on the banner included: “Peace!” “Give!” “Happiness!” “Forming Strong Connections!” “I Love Humility!” “Friends!” “Helping Mothers!” “God Loves You!”

At the conclusion of each day, the teens finished with a sponsored meal, played outdoor games and prayed together. There was also time for group reflections. This time gave the teens the opportunity to discuss their experiences and properly put them into the context of their living as children of God.

It was obvious to Anderson, as well as to the other adult volunteers, that the week made a real impact on the youth in various ways.

“At our daily reflection many said they were made much more aware of the poverty right here in Sarasota that they never imagined existed,” she said. “They were also saying they need to raise awareness about what they learned.”

‘Totus Tuus’ going strong

The “Totus Tuus” summer camp continues to wow children of all ages.

With six Parishes visited through July 22, 2022, the summer camp has brought hundreds of children and teens closer to the Lord. Recent stops included St. Catherine Parish in Sebring, St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers and St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton.

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 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. The intent of the program is to assist parents and Parishes in the evangelizing and catechizing of their youth by supplementing the work they are currently doing.

Father Rafael Ligenza, Pastor of St. Joseph Parish which hosted Totus Tuus the week of July 18-22, said he was impressed by the response of the children.

“It’s wonderful to see how the children are responding to everything they are learning,” Father Ligenza said.

Each week there is a potluck when the missionaries get to meet the parents and the participants in the camp show off some of the things they learned. The potluck at St. Joseph on July 19 was a double celebration with a cake marking Father Ligenza’s birthday.

Missionary Garrett Willie, of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and student at Xavier University in Cincinnati, told the parents about Totus Tuus.

“We are here teaching the children to have an intimate relationship with their faith, seeing God as their Father and Jesus as their friend,” Willie said. “We do this by taking them through the Sacraments… and in the classroom we spend time with fun games and activities and really diving in on the power of prayer. It’s cool to see them at the beginning of the week hearing them say – ‘Do we really have to talk about this?’ and then come Wednesday or Thursday, they are like – ‘Oh my gosh, Jesus is so cool, we loved learning about Him!’ – and you see the light go off in their eyes. It’s beautiful.”

The day camp program is for grades one to five, and evenings are for grades six through 12.

Each day, the children’s camp 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 with a focus on the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. 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.

Evening sessions with the teens are less formal and focus on putting a renewed focus on growing in their personal relationship with the Lord. The missionaries and seminarians share their personal spiritual journey and then the teens gather in prayer and reflection. This group also takes part in Eucharistic Adoration with the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Diocesan group attends National Conference

A group representing the Diocese of Venice took part in a national conference on evangelization and catechesis the week of July 11-15, 2022, at Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio.

Franciscan University’s 27th annual St. John Bosco Conference for Evangelization and Catechesis, with a theme of Jubilee, took inspiration from Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor … to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

The conference included an opening keynote address from Bishop Donald J. Hying, of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin. There were daily opportunities for participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, numerous workshops, and other featured speakers each evening.

The Diocesan delegation was led by Carrie Harkey, Diocese of Venice Coordinator of Family Life. Other participants included: Leily Lopez Ramirez, catechist at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish in LaBelle; Andres Prias, Director of Religious Education at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Avon Park; Angelica Pena, Director of Religious Education at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish; Natalie Campbell, Director of Religious Education at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples; Hector Salazar, Director of Faith Formation at St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples; as well as Joshua Carlson and Jim Whealan, theology teachers at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers.

“This is the best conference in the nation,” Harkey explained. “It served as a chance for each member of the delegation to hear from the finest in the field, network with others to hear about and share best practices, learn of new initiatives, all while being spiritually enriched ourselves.”

Each participant can take part either in a open track (attending whichever workshop fits their needs), or a focused track, which included youth outreach, Catholic schools and Hispanic outreach.

After the conference, Campbell, from St. John the Evangelist in Naples, said she “learned so much, as well as felt renewed in my own faith and mission.”

Youth Conference draws more than 400

Youth from across the Southeastern United States spent July 8 to 10, 2022, listening to dynamic talks, hearing moving music, praying, participating in Eucharistic Adoration, going to Confession, attending daily Mass, and making new friends.

With a theme of “Fearless,” the goal of the 14th annual Ave Maria University Youth Conference was to allow high school-aged youth to come to know God in a more personal way as well as to learn how to touch the lives of others through their own life. Many young men and women from throughout the Diocese of Venice participated in the Conference and they were joined by youth from each part of Florida and beyond.

The youth raved about the weekend, one young man from Naples said “this was so awesome. Jesus was everywhere.”

The weekend was not just simply listening to inspirational speakers and musicians who encouraged the young people to become more involved in their faith and to be guided by the Word of Christ; it was an interactive experience meant to awaken the Holy Spirit for the Conference goers.

The Conference was capped with Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane at Ave Maria Parish on July 10, directly across from the University.

Bishop Dewane said he prayed the youth took advantage of the Conference and that they “will go forward for the Lord, and the Lord with them.”

Citing the Gospel reading, Luke 10:25-37, the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Bishop said the lesson is for each of us to follow the Lord’s example, showing mercy and compassion.

“We have been made in the image and likeness of God; called to live that ethical moral example of the Good Samaritan, that is given to you, and to me, in our lives,” Bishop Dewane concluded. “It is my prayer that you go forward and live that life, to be the Good Samaritan, in union with Christ.”

Following the Mass, Bishop Dewane took part in a large group picture and other individual and Parish-centered photos, while the youth thanked him for celebrating the Mass and offering his inspiring words. In return, the Bishop again challenged them to live those words each day.

One young lady from Cocoa Beach summed up the weekend this way: “My spirit is filled with Christ’s love. I am now ready to do more, to show my friends and family how much love, joy and comfort the Church provides.”

Featured talks were by Father Rick Martignetti, Father Joseph Lugalambi, Father Rich Pagano and Chris Padget. The event included the talks, Mass, Adoration, praise and worship, fellowship, and opportunities for confession.

Totally Yours! Hundreds having fun with faith

The new Diocese of Venice Totus Tuus Summer Camp has been generating a lot of buzz as it moves from Parish to Parish each week. Hundreds of children and teens have been having fun learning about the Catholic Faith throughout the Diocese.

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 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.

Father Jiobani Batista, Pastor of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish in LaBelle – which hosted Totus Tuus the week of June 20-24, 2022 – said if he had his way, he would welcome a Totus Tuus Summer Camp every week, all summer.

“The enthusiasm and wonder of the young children have been great,” Father Batista said. “Then, the engagement and excitement from the teens was incredible. I am having young kids come up to me at each break asking me questions about everything. That is amazing. To see their interest and excitement about Jesus, the Mass and everything about their Faith is very exciting.”

The day camp program is for grades one to five, and is Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and evenings are for grades six through 12, is Monday to Thursday from 7:30 p.m.to 9:45 p.m. The camp opened the week of June 6 at St. Katherine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral, where 50 children, and 27 youth participated. Then the following week at St. Agnes Parish in Naples some 100 young children and more than 60 teens participated, with a group coming from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Immokalee.

The Our Lady Queen of Heaven week engaged more than 100 children during the day and some 60 youth in the evening. This group also included children from St. Margaret Parish in Clewiston. This was followed by a week at St. Catherine Parish in Sebring, with participants (about 100 youth and 60 teens) also coming from St. James Parish in Lake Placid and Our Lady of Grace Parish in Avon Park.

Each day of the children’s camp, the participants 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.

Diocesan Seminarians Juan Contreras and James Gates are fully involved in the daily activities of the camp, taking charge of some classes of the younger campers and being team leaders for the older groups in the evenings.

“I think this camp is making a difference and it’s fun to see how much enthusiasm the little kids have and compare that to the teens and their questions, which are much more serious and profound,” Contreras said.

“It is great to see the reaction of the little kids when they learn something new,” Gates said. “The teens just like to hang out, but they are interested and that is important.”

Seeing the seminarians every day, in a relaxed setting, gives the campers of all ages a positive role model whom they can look up to and interact with, which is an opportunity they might not otherwise have. Some of their impactful actions by the seminarians are subtle: such as a compliment here, or a smile there, and perhaps a high five for a job well done. At other times, the seminarians teach the young children the basics of praying the Our Father and Hail Mary, or they are leaders in prayer, such as during the Liturgy of the Hours with the youth in the evening, or perhaps when they join in the crazy dancing and fun games.

“Having the young children and youth see the seminarians is really inspiring,” Father Batista said. “They are great with the little ones and can answer any question for the teens. In fact, I already have some inquiring to be a Totus Tuus missionary next year and others who are expressing an interest in a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. That is great. I wish we had all of the seminarians here.”

After the final evening prayer with the youth at Our Lady Queen of Heaven, many of the teens sought out the two seminarians, as well as the other four missionaries, to personally thank them, often seeking a high-five, fist-bump or even a hug, always with a big smile.

Angelica Pena, Director of Religious Education at Our Lady Queen of Heaven, praised the structure and focus of Totus Tuus. She was amazed at how well her students were picking up the most complex of topics and then remembering the next day.

“This is a whole year of religious education crammed into one week for the young ones, and they love it, and more importantly the parents love it,” Pena said. “They are learning, and they are remembering prayers and lessons in a way that just doesn’t happen when you see them for 90 minutes each week.”

Only one Parish hosts the camp each week. The Parishes hosting Totus Tuus for the rest of the summer are: 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.

There are still some openings for this program. Please contact the Director of Religious Education at the Parish hosting the program or Anne Chrzan at chrzan@dioceseofvenice.org.

News Briefs for the Week of June 24, 2022

Appointments

After consultation, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announces the following:

Father Joseph Clifford, has taken an assignment in the Diocese of Lansing, as Chaplain of St. Joseph Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI, effective February 2, 2022.

Father Piotr Paciorek, retired as Parochial Vicar of Ave Maria Parish, effective May 31, 2022, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar of Ave Maria Parish.

Father Chester Domaszewicz, retired as Pastor of St. Bernard Parish, effective June 1, 2022, and thus, is relieved of his duties as Pastor of St. Bernard Parish.

Msgr. Patrick Dubois, has been appointed as Vicar Forane of the Northern Deanery, effective June 17, 2022.

Ordination to the Priesthood July 16

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. The event will be livestreamed via the Epiphany Cathedral Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/EpiphanyCathedral – you do not need to be a subscriber to view the ordination.) A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.

Where is Totus Tuus this Week?

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. During the week of June 20-24, 2022, the team was at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish in LaBelle. The weeklong Parish summer catechetical camp program assists parents and parishes in evangelizing and catechizing the youth by complementing the work they are already doing at the parish and at home. This summer the program is offered at eight parishes in the Diocese of Venice with two sessions now completed. The camp program takes place for grades 1-5, Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and for grades 6-12, Monday – 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. The remaining Parishes hosting the program are as follows:

  • 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.

Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help June 27

All are welcome to attend the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at 11:15 a.m., Monday, June 27 in the St. Joseph Chapel on the grounds of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center, 3989 S. Moon Drive, Venice to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. In preparation, you are invited to pray a novena starting Saturday, June 18. The daily prayers are published on the website at www.olph-retreat.org. The Fall 3-night, 5-night, and 7-night private, directed retreat schedule is also published on the website. To learn more about a private retreat and to register, please visit www.olph-retreat.org or call 941-486-0233.

Independence Day Bike and Golf Cart Parade

The Knights of Columbus Ave Maria Assembly 3862 is hosting the 6th annual “God Bless America” Independence Day Bike and Golf Cart Parade, at 10 a.m., Monday, July 4, 2022. The ceremony starts in the Piazza of the town and will include a reflection from an Ave Maria veteran on the “Blessing of Freedom,” then patriotic songs, prayers for our country, then a “Blessing of the Bikes.” The parade, which will include bikes, trikes, golf carts, skateboards, strollers (decorated or not), will be led by a fire truck and pass through several neighborhoods, ending approximately 2 miles later back in the Piazza where there will be treats available. All are welcome. For more information, contact Dominick Micillo at 904-536-1480.

Mooney grad takes Junior golf title

Wyatt Plattner, a recent graduate of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, won the 50th Southern Junior Championship at the Country Club of Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2022. To take the title, Plattner notched four birdies on the back nine holes to post a final-round 67, earning a three-shot win in the 54-hole event at 9-under-par 201. The Mooney grad will play at the college level at the University of Cincinnati beginning this fall.

Volunteers needed in Naples

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.

Youth Conference July 8-10

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.

Men’s Support after Abortion Program

One in 4 women will have experienced at least one abortion by age 45. A man is connected to every pregnancy and abortion. Men are hurting from their abortion experiences too. Men often push down their experience or cover it up with unhealthy behaviors. For six weeks beginning on Saturday, July 9, 2022, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples, Father Mark Harris will team up with Nathan Misirian from Support After Abortion to co-facilitate a program just for men wounded, angry or hurt by abortion. If you (or someone you know) are a man ready for healing, or you know someone who is, confidentially call 941-412-5860 today or email project.rachel@dioceseofvenice.org to register for this series.

Volunteer to Help Pregnant Mothers

Looking for a way to help pregnant women in need?  Your tax-deductible donation will help with rent, utilities, or other necessities.  Give to the Catholic Charities Pennies for Babies Fund, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285 where no administrative fees are taken from any donations. Questions?  Contact Jeanne Berdeaux, Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-374-1068.

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.

X