News Briefs for the Week of Nov. 19, 2021

Parish has Family Weekend

St. Michael Parish in Wauchula had a Family Weekend on Nov. 13-14, 2021. Each day include talks in English and Spanish for the adults and children, fun for the whole family, dinner, prayer time, the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Mass. Some 150 participated each day. Speakers included Alejandra Ruiz, Gregory Stearn, Andrea and Spencer McSorley, Dr. Alenjandro Carvallo and Msgr. Mark Svarczkopf.

School robotics team gets first test

The St. Catherine Catholic School Warriors Robotics Team traveled to Fort Myers on Nov. 13, 2021, to participate in a robotics scrimmage “coopertitions” with other schools. This was a great experience for the students as they learned the fundamentals of operating their robots with the stress of a competition as well as how to work as team. Great Job Warriors!

Anniversary celebrations in Port Charlotte

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School hosted a weekend of activities Nov. 12-14, 2021, as part of the ongoing 60th anniversary celebrations. This included a Food Truck Friday with music for alumni, parishioners and families; an Alumni Cocktail Hour on the Saturday; and then an Alumni and Family Barbeque on Sunday. A great time was had by all.

Disguising turkeys ahead of Thanksgiving

Kindergartens at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers disguised turkeys in art class on Nov. 11, 2021, in the hopes that it would help the turkeys to not be eaten on Thanksgiving. The young artists went all out on their designs.

High school open house draws big crowd

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota hosted an Open House of prospective students and their families on Nov. 10, 2021. Current student ambassadors gave tours of the school and shared their experiences. Faculty and staff were on hand to answer any questions for the more than 140 families. It was a great night sharing all the special things about Mooney.

Inspired Diocesan Youth “Sent” – Rally draws 1,000 for rousing day

Amazing things happen when you put 1,000 teenage Catholics under one roof.

For some 8 hours on Nov. 6, 2021 teens heard from inspirational speakers, rocked to spiritual music, and participated in Eucharistic Adoration and the Mass. At the same time, they bonded with each other and learned how they are an important part of the Universal Church.

Judging by the smiling faces at the end of the day the impact was evidently strong. Most importantly was their instant reaction to the question: “How was the Youth Rally?”

The answers were simple and uncomplicated: “Powerful!” “Awesome!” “The Best!” “Inspiring!” “Impactful” “Unforgettable!” “Poignant!” “Overwhelming!” “Emotional!” “Prayerful!” “Memorable!”

The theme for 2021 Diocese of Venice Youth Rally was “Sent” which comes directly from the Bible – “As you sent me in the world, so I sent them in the world” (John 17:18).

Each speaker, each song, each moment encouraged and challenged the young men and women to examine how they are living out their Faith in their home, with their friends, in their Parish and in society. What they learned is that Jesus Christ does not expect anyone to be perfect in their Faith journey, but they must continue to work to live their Faith better. And when they inevitably face difficulty and may stumble along the way, the teens learned that they shouldn’t be discouraged but instead encouraged that Jesus will be there to accompany them. Many of the youth were inspired to the point that a large number received the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which was made available throughout the event.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane told the teens that above all else they must make room for the love of the Lord in their life.

“Allow that to be what fills you. Let that be what sends you out into the world,” Bishop Dewane continued. “And with that love of God, become the bearer of the Faith. Allow yourself to be the instrument that Christ has meant you to be… you have to make that happen. Use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to send you out; but know that it is you who has to then give of what you have to others. May you be filled ever more and learn to give because you have been sent out to communicate God’s Love.”

Bishop Dewane opened the Youth Rally to a rousing ovation from the young men and women. The Bishop said the Rally was the event he missed the most during the pandemic, reminding them how they are a blessed part of their Parish, the Diocese and the Universal Church and they should never forget their place.

“You are God’s gift to this Diocese,” the Bishop added. “You and the young people like yourself bring your talents and gifts, which are a reflection of the Lord. We celebrate those talents and gifts and call on all of you to use them in praise of Lord by the life you live.”

A key point of the day was the large group Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which refocused the teens on the Supreme Sacrifice Our Lord made for all of us. Bishop Dewane lead the Adoration before a temporary altar on the stage. He took time to process through the crowd with the monstrance, allowing each person to come up close and to be personal with Christ.

Other highlights of the day included inspirational music, games, and a chance for fresh air outside the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center. There were also lots of opportunities to take photos and selfies, many of which Bishop Dewane was a part. Displays from religious orders, the Diocesan Respect Life and Religious Education offices, and a Vocations table staffed by active Diocesan seminarians, were also present as well as several groups selling religious articles.

Throughout the day, the 2021 Youth Rally included an exciting line-up of speakers including David Calavitta and Kelly Colangelo. They each shared their unique Faith journey while also offering poignant advice to the teens as to how they can keep their focus on the Lord. Both stressed that the mid-teen years are a critical time as it is when the tumultuous world is trying to lure them down a darker path. At one point the young men were moved to a separate part of the facility thus allowing talks geared more personally toward the young women and men. The split sessions also included vocations talks.

The speakers were accompanied by inspirational music provided by the Francis Cabildo Band as the youth enthusiastically joined in singing each selection.

The 2021 Youth Rally is one of the largest gatherings in the Diocese of Venice each year. Parish and high school groups ranged in size from 4 to 140. The largest groups were from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish in LaBelle, St. Paul Parish in Arcadia, and Jesus the Worker Parish in Fort Myers.

Visit the for a link to a slideshow of more photos

Diocesan Phase of Synod inaugurated with Mass

Bishop Frank J. Dewane inaugurated the beginning of the Diocesan Phase of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” with a Mass Oct. 17, 2021 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

Participating in the Mass were more than a dozen priests, as well as some 300 people from across the Diocese, representing many Parishes, various movements, Third Orders and many more.

In his opening remarks, Bishop Dewane said: “We ask the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts, our minds, and our souls, as we begin this journey.” Later, the Bishop said, “In this whole process, we have to make hopes flourish… to stimulate trust, one with the other.”

The Bishop explained that during the Diocesan Phase there will be a series of listening sessions which will take place in each part of the Diocese in the coming months. The goal of these sessions is to discern the Word of God in Scripture, what those Words are saying to us while remembering the living Mission of the Church. Bishop Dewane said this process must be based on co-responsibility in the Church, or an accurate synthesis with what was said in a process that is transparent and fair.

The sessions are being planned to allow for the maximum opportunity for as many of the faithful to participate as possible. A complete schedule of the listening sessions will be announced soon.

A reception in the Cathedral Parish Hall was full of anticipation as those present expressed their excitement for the opportunity for the faithful to provide input in planning for the future of the Universal Catholic Church.

Bishop Dewane stressed that the entire process will last more than two years, with the local listening session focused on transparency as the Diocese will record each session to ensure all that is said is heard.

“We want people to speak out, and as the Holy Father likes to say, ‘the Catholic Church is a field hospital;’ we are meeting to start binding up wounds,” Bishop Dewane said. “We will be there to listen, and to do it with a warm heart. We will search for healing and will increase the regard for one another. It is the common mission that we share what is most important.”

The entire effort to gather input from Dioceses around the world is viewed by many Church observers as the most deliberate, long-term and long-range process of seeking input for any Synod up to this point.

“While what comes from our Diocese will go to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), we are not tasked with putting together a document. We are tasked to listen, to get input, put it together and ensure the points that are made at the Diocesan level.

For more details on the Synodal Process, please visit the Diocese of Venice website at a

News Briefs for the Week of October 22, 2021

Bishop celebrates Mass for students in Sebring

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass for the students at St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring on Oct. 18, 2021. The Mass is the latest in a series of Masses celebrated by the Bishop for students at each of the 15 Diocesan Catholic schools. During the Mass, which took place on the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, Bishop Dewane encouraged the students to focus on developing their prayer life each day.

VDCCW Retreat held

The Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women hosted a retreat on Oct. 16, 2021 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. The bilingual retreat included talks from Father Janusz Jancarz, Spiritual Moderator for the VDCCW and Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice; Father Claudio Stewart, Diocesan Director of Hispanic Ministries, and Father Thomas Heck, a retired priest of the Diocese. The women also participated in Mass, adoration and praying of the rosary.

Students celebrate Chaplain’s birthday

The students at St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary Catholic Academy in Sarasota serenaded their Chaplain, Pallottine Father Fausto Stampiglia, to a rendition of “Happy Birthday” on October 15, 2021. The more than 500 students gathered outside, near the main entrance of the two schools, as Father Stampiglia was delighted by the outpouring of love from the students. As a special surprise, in honor of Father, a wall-mounted sculpture of St. Mary and St. Martha with Jesus was unveiled and is now on permanent display outside of the front lobby of the schools. Happy Birthday Father Fausto!

Heading Up ‘STREAM’

The Diocese of Venice Department of Education hosted its first Middle School Robotics Coaches and Teachers training seminar Oct. 15, 2021 at its Innovation & Simulation Teaching & Learning Lab at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice. Led by Jennifer Falestiny, curriculum coordinator at the Diocese of Venice in Florida, the seminar challenged teachers to build Lego robots then program them to complete various logistical and mechanical challenges on a 3D map. The seminar is part of a comprehensive training program to help teachers prepare their students for the FIRST Lego Lead Challenge in 2022. This and other competitions encompass the Diocese of Venice’s Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STREAM) strategic initiatives.

New mural completed in Naples

What an amazing experience for St. Ann Catholic School in Naples to enjoy and participate in the creation of a beautiful mural. Artist Marcus Zotter created the work which spans the wall between two classrooms in the main courtyard. Included in the image is a cross, two doves, angel wings, a dolphin (the school mascot) and a beach. While the mural was being created, art students at St. Ann’s assisted in creating different aspects of the work.

Parent Book Club in Sarasota

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Theology Teacher Timothy Shipe hosted a Cougar Parent Book Club on Oct. 13, 2021 in Sarasota. A large number of parents joined in to study Trent Horn’s, “Why We Are Catholic?” book. The discussions about the Faith were lively and interesting, taking place in the school’s multi-media lab. All are welcome to join. Contact

Students gain engineering skills

Fifth-grade students at Donahue Academy of Ave Maria Catholic School built bridges on Oct. 14, 2021, while sixth-grade students used engineering skills to build a ballista, a trebuchet and two kinds of catapults as part of the study of medieval history.

Sophomore retreat in Naples

Sophomores at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples covered the campus Oct. 14, 2021 and enjoyed every aspect of their class retreat. It was a day that included skits and projects, discussions and reflections, prayer and adoration, and, of course, fun and games. In Neumann style, the class of 2024 celebrated Faith, family, sports, school, independence and friendship. “When you pass through waters, I will be with you; through rivers, you shall not be swept away.” – Isaiah 43:2a

Students go on “Safari”

Kindergartners at St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota went on an amazing “Nature Safari” Oct. 14, 2021. They trekked to the front field and searched for soil, sun, butterflies, spider webs, grass, flowers and more. They then went to the pond to collect water samples, which they studied using eye-droppers, hand lenses, and mini forceps. It was a great adventure!



News Briefs for the week of Oct. 15, 2021

Educators learn about athletic outreach effort

Principals, athletic directors and coaches from Diocese of Venice Catholic schools heard a presentation Oct. 12, 2021 at St. Ann Catholic School in Naples, titled “Play Like a Champion.” This is a comprehensive education program aimed at encouraging true character development while showing off core Catholic values in sports and being proactive in creating a positive environment for all levels. The group heard from Kristin Sheehan, Program Director, who explained how the outreach targets coaches, sport parents and athletes, teaching the positive character of sports with the aim of giving the game back to the children. St. Ann Principal Michael Buskirk shared his positive experience with implementing the “Play Like a Champion” program in his previous school and how it sets expectations and switches the current emphasis on sports from the “me” to the “we.”

Parish hosts youth festival

St. Michael Parish in Wauchula hosted 75 junior high students for a day-long festival on Oct. 8, 2021 with a theme: “Whatever I did for the one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” Matt 25:40. The day included Mass, confessions, prayer time, talks, food, games and fun.

ECS Tigers on the Air

Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School Principal Nicole Loseto and faculty members appeared on WCCF News Radio’s Sunrise Charlotte County Oct. 6, 2021. Loseto and her fellow guests promoted ECS’ Catholic Identity, STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Arts, Engineering, Mathematics) initiatives and the Young Marines program.


News Briefs for the Week of Oct. 1, 2021

Scout 10 Commandment Hike held

The Knights of Columbus of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Council 15821, led by Grand Knight Anthony Hopfinger, presented a dialogue with the Cub Scouts about the Ten Commandments held on Sept. 25, 2021, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice. The Cub Scouts hiked around the Lake of the Blessed Sacrament to 10 different points to discuss the Commandment with the Knights. Patches were blessed and distributed by Father Lawton Lang, Diocesan Scout Chaplain. A light lunch was provided by the staff at Our Lady of Mount Carmel. All were pleased with the weather, the program, and the presentations.

Religious Sister dies

Sister Maria del Carmen Peña, Salesian Sister of St. John Bosco, died unexpectedly Sept. 25, 2021 in Haledon, New Jersey at the age of 87 and a Salesian Sister for 65 years. Sister Carmen retired at the age of 86 after six years of service in the finance office of St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples. The high school posted a message of her passing on social media and stated: “She loved our school and we loved her even more.  She was small in stature, but captured a big piece of your heart once you met her. Her legacy will live on through all those who were blessed to know her.  May you rest in peace Sr. Carmen.  No doubt some of the first words she heard was, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’” Born in 1934 in Saltillo, Mexico, Sister Carmen served in various roles of leadership for more than 40 years, including Provincial Treasurer and Provincial Vicar and much more. A Mass of Christian Burial was held Sept. 27, 2021, at the St. Joseph Provincial Center in Haledon, New Jersey.

Latest Catholic Charities vaccination clinic a success

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. continues to reach out to underserved portions of the community by hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics throughout the Diocese. The latest clinic was hosted Sept. 25, 2021 at the Casa San Juan Bosco Farmworker Housing community in Arcadia. Representatives of the DeSoto County Department of Health and Florida Department of Health administered the vaccines with volunteers assisting and handing out gift bags of food and other essentials to all who came. Catholic Charities has hosted more than a dozen vaccination clinics throughout the region.

Interest in science blossoms in Chemistry Club

The after-school St. Catherine Catholic School Chemistry Club explored chemical changes in matter during various scientific experiments at their Sept. 27, 2021 meeting. Everyone in the club loves science.

Students donate care packages

Members of the Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School St. Vincent de Paul Society in Sarasota donated more than 100 care packages to the families and clients of Bethesda House of the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Venice, Inc. on Sept. 24, 2021.

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated in school

Students at St. Ann Catholic School in Naples celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by doing research on the different Spanish-speaking countries in the world. Students then created a presentation to share what they learned with the rest of the class on Sept. 21, 2021.

Students learn about Moses

The first grade students of Christine Macaluso at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers learned about the story of Moses in class the week of Sept. 20, 2021. They ended their week by creating colorful drawings of baby Moses in a basket.

Schools hold Boosterthon

St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary Catholic Academy in Sarasota held a Boosterthon the week of Sept. 20-24, 2021. One of the highlights was a fun run and other games, topped off by ice cream at the end of the week. Money raised during the week will go toward various programs in the two schools.

Students celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day outside

Pre-K-3 and Pre-K-4 classes at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples celebrated Johnny Appleseed Day with an outdoor class on Sept. 27, 2021. Students sat on blankets while they learned about a man who not only introduced apples to North America but promoted conservation.

Cloistered Religious Sisters celebrate Feast Day

On Wednesday, Aug. 11, Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass for the Poor Clare Sisters at the San Damiano Monastery on Fort Myers Beach.

The Mass was celebrated on the Feast Day of St. Clare of Assisi, foundress of the Poor Clare Order and a contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi.

The small group of women Religious live a cloistered life and pray for the faithful in the Diocese of Venice, something Bishop Dewane said is a blessing for the Diocese.

“I express my gratitude for your presence, your prayers, your witness, your testimony and you are living as a community of women religious who live by a severe rule,” Bishop Dewane said. “You live in the Lord, and the Lord lives in you.”

Abbess Sister Mary Frances Fortin and the other Religious Sisters at the Monastery expressed their appreciation for the Bishop’s presence, particularly on the Feast Day of their Founder, which is an annual occasion. They noted that the continued support of the Bishop and the faithful of the Diocese are a comfort to them.

The Poor Clare Nuns are a religious community of women begun 800 years ago when Clare Offreduccio, a young noble woman of Assisi, Italy, cast off her rich garments and donned the simple garb of St. Francis to live as he did the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Long before this dramatic moment, Francis, while rebuilding the little church of San Damiano, exclaimed to those passing by, “Come and help me in building the monastery of San Damiano because ladies will dwell here who will glorify Our Heavenly Father throughout His Holy Church by their celebrated and holy manner of life.”

Clare and her sisters joyfully embraced a life of poverty, prayer and contemplation, solitude and seclusion that they might serve the Lord and His church through this holy manner of living as Francis had foretold. This life continues today in the San Damiano Monastery on Fort Myers Beach.

The San Damiano Monastery is located on the same property as Ascension Parish on Fort Myers Beach which that have called their home since 1988. The Monastery became independent in 2009. Although the Sisters never solicit donations, many parishioners bring them groceries and send them money each month. There is a daily Mass which is open to the public.

The daily life of the Poor Clare Sisters is set into a traditional monastic framework of prayer and work. Holy Mass and Liturgy of the Hours are the anchor of their day. Outside these times, the Sisters engage in all the ordinary tasks of life in a spirit of sisterly sharing, joy and peace. A Sister might be found packing up an order of hosts for one of the local parishes, taking care of the altar, sweeping the cloister walk or doing some laundry. Or you may find a Sister at a desk, doing bookkeeping, answering mail, preparing spiritual cards or planning the liturgy.

You can contact the Poor Clare Sisters by calling 239-463-5599, emailing prayer requests to, or learn more about Mass times or their daily life by visiting

Donations in support of the Poor Clare Sisters can be sent to: San Damiano Monastery of St. Clare, 6029 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931.


Two join Presbyterate – Ordination draws large crowd

In a public response to a “call to holiness,” Transitional Deacons Mark Harris and Alexander Pince were ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on July 31, 2021 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice as more than 500 people rejoiced.

The newly ordained responded to a particular call in their life and evidenced their response in a profound way by coming forward for ordination. The two men reflected afterwards about the powerful emotion of the moment that brought about an inner calm. They also expressed the genuine joy and love for the Lord they each witness.

The poignant and emotional Rite places Fathers Harris and Pince in a new role as they are raised to the Order of the Presbyterate where they will now celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, confer the Sacraments and teach the Gospel.

Bishop Dewane congratulated the ordinandi for answering the call to holiness and advancing in their formation through prayer, discernment, guidance and direction. This helped them grow closer to the Lord while at the same time reminded each they are called to reflect and magnify Christ and bring others closer to the Lord.

Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, a priest is transformed and marked indelibly as an instrument through which others receive the Sacraments, Bishop Dewane added. It is through ordination that Harris and Pince have a new beginning, configured to Christ.

“Let the holiness of your life be an example to the People of God; to those you encounter,” Bishop added. “Let it be evident that you are a holy man – live the life the Lord calls you to be – to be holy.”

Bishop Dewane concluded his remarks explaining to Harris and Pince, “Holy Mother Church reminds you that you do this while united to the Body of Christ. Know that nobody can do this alone. It is not always easy. At some times you will be a bit fearful as was stated in our first reading from the Prophet Jeremiah. At other times you will feel a little bit imprisoned by this as our second reading from St. Paul noted. But pause and remember the Scriptures read on this day and know that it is the Lord who has chosen you. That you are living the life, the gift, the sacrament, that the Lord has given to you. May you be blessed always as you go forward.”

When the Rite of Ordination began, the elect were called forth by Father Shawn Roser, Diocesan Vocations Director, and upon hearing their names, each stood and answered “Present.” After the homily, individually, the ordinand knelt before the Bishop so as to promise respect and obedience to him and his successors. They then prostrated before the altar for the Litany of Supplication/Litany of Saints. The whole assembly joined in the prayer which invoked God’s Grace and the intercession of the Saints in heaven.

The Bishop then laid his hands on the head of each man and prayed silently. Next was the Prayer of Ordination. These combine to form an essential part of the Liturgy of the Sacrament of Holy Orders

Next, the newly ordained priests were vested in the stole and chasuble, vestments which are worn when celebrating the Eucharist and symbolize their responsibility and authority in service to Christ. Father Harris was vested by Father Jerry Kaywell, Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Punta Gorda. Father Pince was vested by Msgr. Roberto Garza, former Rector of St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami.

The palms of the new priests were then anointed with the Sacred Chrism by Bishop Dewane, the sign of the special anointing of the Holy Spirit who will make their ministry fruitful. Next, the Bishop presented each new priest with the chalice and paten which they are called to present to God in the Eucharistic sacrifice saying: “Receive the oblation of the holy people, to be offered to God. Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s Cross.” He repeated this commission, once each for the newly ordained priests.

The Rite of Ordination ended with the Bishop giving a fraternal kiss of peace to each newly ordained priest, welcoming them into the Diocesan Presbyterate or priesthood. The priests present then followed the Bishop’s example. The newly ordained then joined Bishop Dewane at the altar to the applause and joy of all present.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist then followed. The new priests joined all the priests for the first time in concelebrating the Eucharist with Bishop Dewane, reciting together the words of Consecration. For the first time, they offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, acting in the person of Christ. From this sacrifice their whole priestly ministry will draw its strength.

During the ordination, Deacons Harris and Pince freely presented themselves to serve God, the Church and the Bishop of the Diocese of Venice, and his successors. They also made a promise to celibacy and a promise to obedience. The reward for that choice is to have their life filled with the message of God.

In addition to family and friends, also present at the ordination were more than 50 priests, men and women religious, permanent deacons, the Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.

The Ordination Mass was followed by a reception in the Cathedral Parish Hall where the newly ordained priests were available to greet the public and impart their priestly blessings on them.

Bios of the new priests

Father Harris, 54, was born in Miami and spent his childhood alternating between living in Florida and Connecticut. He earned degrees in Commercial Art and then Business Marketing and Management from Florida Metropolitan University, before earning a Master’s in Education from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., and worked at interior design, marketing, career development and teaching.

Becoming a seminarian in 2017, Father Harris studied at St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts where he graduated in May 2021. He previously served summer assignments at Epiphany Cathedral, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice and Resurrection Parish in Fort Myers. His first Mass was celebrated Aug. 1 at Sacred Heart Parish in Punta Gorda and his first assignment is as Parochial Vicar of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples.

Father Pince, 30, was born in Concord, New Hampshire, to a large family and is the middle of seven children. He graduated from Ave Maria University in Ave Maria with majors in business and economics and worked for a few years before answering the call of service to the Lord.

During the summer of 2015, Deacon Pince started as a Diocesan seminarian with studies at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami, earning a philosophy degree. He then studied in Rome, Italy, earning a Sacred Theology Bachelor’s Degree (STB) from the Gregorian University. He will soon be entering the second year of a two-year Licentiate program specializing in moral theology at the University of the Holy Cross in Rome. His summer assignments included Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostle Parish in Bradenton, Resurrection Parish in Fort Myers, St. William Parish in Naples, St. Thomas More Parish in Sarasota and St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral. He will serve as Temporary Parochial Vicar at St. Andrew Parish before returning to Rome to complete his studies.

Camps teach lessons in Faith

Two groups of youth from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula participated in separate camping trips to the mountains of north Georgia in a journey designed to develop self-confidence while at the same time helping to build a stronger relationship with the Lord.

Twenty-two young men travelled from June 7 to 15, 2021 to Vogel State Park in Blairsville, while the 25 young ladies were there from June 17 to June 25.

While based at the state park, the groups began each day with morning prayers, then travelled throughout the region and made certain to attend daily Mass at one of the local Catholic Churches. The evening routine included 30 minutes of talks and small group discussion, 30 minutes of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by dinner and light recreation such as board games and ping pong.

Days were filled with a variety of activities, including daily hiking, rafting, swimming, as well as visits to water parks and more casual walks through mountain towns. Two destinations included Brasstown Bald, the tallest peak in Georgia at 4,784 feet, and whitewater rafting on the Middle Ocoee River near Ducktown, Tennessee. The one difference between the two youth trips was the men opted to take part in a paintball course, while the ladies chose horseback riding,

One young man described his camp experience saying, “This year’s boys summer camp was above my expectations. This would have to be the best one I have been to. It had an equal amount of fun and spiritual learning. The highlights would have to be paintball and whitewater rafting. I also looked forward to the talks we would have in the evening. Overall, I enjoyed it. I will definitely go for years to come.”

One of the young ladies described here experience saying, “This year’s girls summer camp was everything that I hoped for. I was glad that COVID-19 didn’t stop us from going to Georgia as it did last year… The hikes were challenging, but they taught me not to give up even when things are hard to do. In the end, I was able to reap the reward of the beautiful scenery at the mountain tops. We went tubing, horseback riding and ate ice cream. We began each day with morning prayers and finished the day with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. We were always well fed. My favorite activity was white water rafting. I have been going to this camp since 2017 and by far this was my favorite year.”

Another young lady described the trip as the one of the best decisions she has ever made, explaining how she grew in her Faith. This occurred not only through the participation in Mass, prayers and Adoration, but through being in the forest amongst nature, reaching magnificent vistas and seeing waterfalls, all part of the glory of God’s creation. While she said there were challenges, she returned home with new and amazing friends and memories to last a lifetime.

The groups were led by religious women from the Parish, the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará, and they were assisted by a number of adult chaperones. Father Juan Lorenzo, St. Michael Parochial Vicar, was able to participate in the first five days of the boy’s camp.

Sister Maria Gema de Jesus Ruiz, SSVM, Director of Religious Education at St. Michael, who organized the trips, said that they “enabled everyone to overcome unexpected obstacles placed before them and to grow stronger in their Faith at the same time by putting their life and experience into the Hands of God.”

Sister Gema said the trip was made possible thanks to a number of benefactors and with the support of Bishop Frank J. Dewane. “It has been an incredible experience for them, and we pray to our good Lord they will always remember the good things they learned.”

The religious sisters have a short time to rest as they will be hosting a two-week day camp at the Parish for elementary-aged children from July 5 to July 16.

If you would like to support the children and youth programs led by the religious woman at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula, please send donations to: St. Michael Church, Attn: Sisters Program, 409 Alice St., Wauchula, FL 33873.

Diocesan Priest Honored 

Susan Laielli – Special to the Florida Catholic

The Very Rev. Fausto Stampiglia, S.A.C., V.F., Pastor of St. Martha Catholic Church in Sarasota, was honored as a “Good and Faithful Servant” by the Sarasota Ministerial Association (SMA) at its 20th Anniversary Luncheon in Sarasota on May 26, 2021.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane attended the luncheon and gave a special blessing for Father Stampiglia, who was handed the “Good and Faithful Servant Award” by previous recipients.

Father Stampiglia, who celebrates 30 years as Pastor of St. Martha Parish this year, was joined by Deacon Pat Macaulay and Administrative Assistant Sarah Brinn, both of St. Martha Parish, Father Celestino Gutiérrez, Pastor of St. Jude Parish, Deacon Humberto Alvia of St. Jude Parish, and Rabbi Howard Simon, and his wife Rona of Sarasota.

Chaplain Tom Pfaff, President of the Ministerial Association says Father Fausto is a very deserving and dedicated priest who has been with the organization since the early days of its founding.

“He was reluctant to accept this year’s award, but about a year after we started the Association, Father Stampiglia joined as a member,” Pfaff said. “He builds pathways among faith-based organizations and the Sarasota community.”

Father Stampiglia was born and raised in Rome, Italy and ordained there on Nov. 27, 1960, as a priest of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, known as the Pallottines. Father has the distinction of being the first Pastor of St. Martha Church who belongs to a religious order.