Knights donate ultrasound

The Knights of Columbus have done it again. They raised the money to purchase an ultrasound machine for a local pro-life pregnancy care center.

The Knights of Columbus Council 11281 of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples recently donated an ultrasound to the Community Pregnancy Clinics, Inc. (CPCI) pregnancy center at 2977 Goodlette-Frank Road, which is located across the street from a Planned Parenthood abortion facility.

Father Tomasz Zalewski, Pastor of St. John the Evangelist, led the Blessing and Dedication Ceremony at the CPCI clinic on Feb. 23, 2023. Father Nick Thompson, Parochial Vicar at St. John the Evangelist, proclaimed the Gospel reading. Then, Father Zalewski blessed the ultrasound.

Father Zalewski quoted God’s promise through the prophet Isaiah, “Can a mother forget her infant? Be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” Father also emphasized that all human life is a gift from God, and that we are each called to help build a Culture of Life in our community.

Scott Baier, CEO of CPCI, spoke about the importance of ultrasound technology and thanked St. John the Evangelist Parish and the Knights of Columbus for donating the machine. CPCI operates pregnancy clinics in Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota and Gainesville – as well as two mobile clinics. CPCI has established its presence as a trusted provider of life-affirming pregnancy and reproductive healthcare in the community.

The donated ultrasound is a Philips ClearVue 850 Ultrasound Machine. The machine includes 3D/4D imaging modes and color Doppler. This technology allows mothers to see their baby earlier than ever. Even at six weeks gestation, parents and family see in detail the beginning of their baby’s development. Approximately 90% of women who view these clear images choose life for their baby!

Leona and Tony Hernandez, parishioners of St. John the Evangelist, volunteered to help with the Ultrasound machine demonstration. Among the 25 attendees at the dedication ceremony were CPCI staff, Knights and other supporters of the clinic. All were extremely impressed with the clear and powerful images of the Hernandez’ preborn child.

Knights Council 11281 Grand Knight, Paul Curti, explained that the Council held various events (including a Baby Bottle Drive and an outdoor Country Life Fest concert) to raise money for the ultrasound machine and other donations to local Pro-Life organizations.

Central Florida Laps for Life provided additional funding, and the Supreme Knights of Columbus Council provides a dollar-for-dollar match for ultrasound purchases.

Through the Ultrasound Initiative, the Supreme Council of the US provides a 50 percent matching grant and has helped to place more than 1,600 ultrasound machines into pro-life pregnancy centers across the nation.

Since the program began in 2012, within the Diocese of Venice 22 ultrasound machines, as well as 1 mobile unit, have been placed in Pro-Life pregnancy resource centers thanks to the Knights.

“Diocese of Venice Councils have donated more than $400,000 for ultrasound machines,” Drew Dillingham, Knights of Columbus National Life and Faith Program Manager, stated. “The Supreme Council has matched that amount, so over $800,000 in total has been donated by the K of C. More machines have been placed in the (territory of the) Diocese of Venice, than in 23 U.S. states.”

To learn more about the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative, please visit


To learn more about Community Pregnancy Clinics, please visit


Standing as a witness for Life matters – 40 Days for Life opens in Fort Myers and Sarasota

A group of students from the Bishop Verot Catholic High School Respect Life Club were at the forefront of being public witnesses for life during the opening of the 40 Days for Life Spring Prayer Campaign on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023.

The students, joined by Bishop Frank J. Dewane and dozens of others, led everyone in praying the rosary in front of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Fort Myers. Simultaneously, a 40 Days for Life prayer campaign began in Sarasota.

40 Days for Life is an internationally coordinated 40-day campaign that aims to end abortion locally through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful all-day vigil in front of abortion mills. The spring campaign encompasses Lent and continues through April 2 (Palm Sunday). Since its 2007 beginnings, 40 Days vigils have led to the saving of more than 22,000 babies as thousands of cities participate. The Diocese of Venice has been involved with 40 Days for Life since the beginning with vigils taking place in the fall – to coincide with October, Respect Life Month – and in the spring – during Lent.

Bishop Dewane celebrated the Ash Wednesday Mass at nearby St. John XXIII Parish and stressed the importance of protecting life while offering words of encouragement to those who stand as public witnesses for life.

“Continue to give of yourself, always lifting up with prayer those who are harmed by abortion,” Bishop Dewane said. “We ask the Lord to be with us, giving us the courage to speak up for life, and to speak up for each individual made in the image and likeness of God.”

Mary, a sidewalk counselor, said she is a counselor today by the blessings and grace of God. She shared her journey of sadness and joy. Now a mother and grandmother, Mary was 16 when she got pregnant. The father was not around, she was a naïve girl who was terrified of the consequences her pregnancy might mean to her family, so she believed she had no other option than to kill her unborn child by having an abortion.

“Abortion was presented as an easy solution to my ‘problem,’” Mary said. “It just opened up other problems of self-destruction… because the guilt took over me.”

It took many years, with the help of the support of several different post-abortion groups (Support After Abortion and Project Rachel are available in the Diocese of Venice), and the care of an understanding husband before she could confront her demons. “I know what I did was wrong, and I know that God forgives me. The hardest part was that I needed to forgive myself.”

Once that forgiveness took hold in her life, Mary became a Pro-Life advocate and is now a sidewalk counselor, offering pregnant mothers positive alternatives to abortion through resources such as pregnancy help centers and counseling. “I know being out here makes a difference. I’ve seen the young mothers choose life. You are changing minds. You are saving lives.”

Many of the Bishop Verot students took part in the National March for Life on Jan. 20, in Washington, D.C. There they joined hundreds of thousands as they became the new “Pro-Life Generation.”

Jeanne Berdeaux, Diocese of Venice Respect Life Director, said 40 Days for Life remains an important component in the multifaceted fight to end abortion. The reason is many people think the fight ended in June 2022 when Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

While a great victory, the ruling did not end abortion, but put the issue in the hands of individual states. For example, in Florida, where there is a Pro-Life governor and legislature, the current law allows abortion up to 15 weeks. Proposed legislation, a so-called heartbeat law, would change that to 6 weeks. Berdeaux said that is not enough as life begins at conception and any access to abortion is wrong.

Bishop Dewane said we need to pray that everyone develops a respect for the dignity of life and for all to stand as a witness for life, being a voice for the voiceless – the unborn.

The Fort Myers prayer vigil is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily, on the public right-of-way in front of Planned Parenthood at 6418 Commerce Park Drive. In Sarasota, the vigil is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily outside the regional headquarters of Planned Parenthood, 736 Central Ave.

Participants are welcome to spend as much time as they wish with many Parishes having designated dates and times. Some commit to taking part for a few minutes, an hour, or all day as they stand in the public right-of-way. Appropriate signs will be provided at both sites but are not needed to stand and pray. For those unable to be present in front of an abortion facility, they are encouraged to pray from home and fast for the end of abortion.

Briefs for the Week of Feb. 24, 2023

Verot student recognized

Bishop Verot Catholic High School student Maren Pfleger has been named one of approximately 5,000 candidates in the 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Program candidates were selected from nearly 3.6 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in the year 2023. Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of outstanding test scores, superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character, and involvement in community and school activities. A distinguished panel of educators will review these submissions and select approximately 600 semifinalists in early April.

Mooney grad receives kidney transplant

Candie Barrameda, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Class of 2016, received an early Valentine’s Day present with a gift of a new kidney. In mid-2022, Barrameda was diagnosed with stage five kidney failure, but had no other health issues, which made her eligible for a transplant. At the time, Mooney posted a plea for donors on social media.  Sarasota resident and Pine View High School graduate, Kathryn Kochevar, heard  about Barrameda’s plight and discovered she was a match and wanted to make a difference. The transplant took place at Tampa General Hospital in early February and was a complete success. Kochevar was released within a day, and Barrameda, who had been having four-hour dialysis treatments three days a week, went home less than a week later. Barrameda thanks her amazing team, Kochevar and her family, and everyone for their prayers.

Pregnancy help center reopens in Venice

Pregnancy Solutions, a help center for pregnancy women with three local locations (Port Charlotte, North Port and Venice), had a grand re-opening of its Venice offices on Jan. 31, 2023. The location utilized creative options to continue serving women in need during repairs needed after Hurricane Ian caused water and flood damage in September 2022. Pregnancy Solutions’ three locations served more than 1,300 in 2022 alone. A big thanks went out to the amazing staff and volunteers. Present for the reopening were Diocese of Venice Respect Life Director Jeanne Berdeaux and Father Shawn Monahan, OMV, assistant director of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice. The Venice location is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. If you would like a tour, please call 941-408-7100 or to learn more, please visit

Bishop radio show focuses on Diocesan Eucharistic Congress

The Diocese of Venice Eucharistic Congress and Youth Rally on March 24 and 25, at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center and Luminary Hotel, 1375 Monroe St., Fort Myers, was the focus for Bishop Frank J. Dewane on his monthly radio program on Relevant Radio. “Witnessing Faith with Bishop Dewane” can be heard at 8:30 a.m. on the last Friday of each month (Feb. 24), on 106.7 FM and 1410 AM in Fort Myers and 93.3 FM and 1660 AM in Naples. The program is also available at The February guests included Teresa Tomeo, a featured speaker for the March 25 Eucharistic Congress, and Father Timothy Anastos, the keynote for the March 24 Youth Rally. To learn more about the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress and Youth Rally, please visit

Basketball team goes undefeated

The St. Ann Catholic School varsity girl’s basketball team in Naples just finished their season undefeated while also winning the Sunshine Athletic Conference. Way to go Lady Dolphins!

Seton students work on Lego STREAM project

Second grade students at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples worked diligently on Feb. 17, 2023, to complete their first activity in the Lego WeDo 2.0 series. The students created Milo the Science Rover! The students had to apply the Engineering Design Process to complete the project. This is just one of many opportunities for Diocese of Venice Catholic school students at all levels to learn key STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and math) skills through a comprehensive Lego robotics program. These projects challenge students to think critically, work together, and overcome obstacles to achieve a goal. STREAM is a faith-infused program which not only teaches meaningful skills but upholds Catholic values by teaching the principles of strength, utility and beauty.

Prayer Walk held in Sarasota

The Prayer Warriors who stand vigil in front of the Planned Parenthood Regional Headquarters on Central Avenue in Sarasota were recently joined by dozens of like-minded people who stood as witnesses for life during the 25th Annual Prayer Walk for Life on Feb. 7, 2023.

Prior to the Prayer Walk, Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated a Mass at nearby St. Martha Parish, stressing the importance of protecting life from conception to natural death and encouraging everyone to speak out for life.

“Life has so much value,” Bishop Dewane said. “Respect the life of the unborn. Respect all life. Continue to be the voice in the wilderness. Let us speak out for life and be the witness the Lord calls us to be.”

Being a witness for life is the duty of all, the Bishop added, it is not just for those who were at the Sarasota Mass or who participated in the Prayer Walk or who are a weekly Prayer Warrior.

“We need to be sensitive; we need to evangelize; and we all need to be out speaking up for the issue of life,” Bishop Dewane said. “If you claim to be a person of love, but don’t honor the gift of life, you stand against all that Christ teaches… going against what the Church has taught for centuries. We all need to be witnesses to life.”

Among those participating was a group of young men from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School. Bishop Dewane was impressed with the participation and encouraged them to share with their classmates what it meant to be a witness for life.

The Mooney group participated in the Mass and Prayer Walk while also receiving a tour of the Community Pregnancy Clinics, Inc. offices which sit in the shadow of Planned Parenthood. CPCI is a crisis pregnancy center and the students were shown an ultrasound image of an unborn child in 4-D while learning that when a woman sees their child, they almost always choose life.

The Prayer Walk took place on a Tuesday because that is the day surgical abortions are done. It has been well documented that the presence of people praying in front of abortion facilities makes a difference. Because of the presence of these people, women change their mind comforted in the knowledge that someone cares about their unborn child. Others take the literature or listen to the Prayer Warriors who offer counseling and when convinced to choose life the necessary support is just a few feet away.

This was the 25th Annual Prayer Walk for Life in Sarasota, which had traditionally taken place in late January to correspond to the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision which paved the way for the legalization of abortion in the U.S. While Roe was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022, the issue is now based on state law, where in Florida abortion is legal up to 15 weeks. Much more work needs to be done in Florida and beyond to ensure each child is protected.

As one regular Prayer Warrior explained to someone participating in the Prayer Walk: “This won’t be over until we save every child.”

Anne Clifford participates in the 40 Days for Life campaigns in the spring and fall with her Parish (Incarnation in Sarasota), but is now compelled to do more.

“Being here on ‘Abortion Day’ is different and heartbreaking,” Clifford said. “My heart goes out to each woman who enters that monstrosity of a building. These women need to know we love them. That Jesus loves them. Knowing our presence can help mothers choose life is an awesome opportunity and I will be here as often as I can.”

To help get a strong start for the spring 40 Days for Life prayer campaign in Sarasota (Feb. 22 to April 2), a special kickoff event is taking place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Feb. 18, at the Church of Saint Patrick, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. The day begins with Mass and Holy Hour followed by speakers. The cost to attend is $10 and includes lunch. Registration is required at by Feb. 10 as space is limited. Please email for further information.

For more information about the Sarasota 40 Days for Life spring campaign, please check with your local Parish, or visit

Standing for Life – Hundreds participate in local and national walks

Pro-Life prayer warriors, many of them youth, went to St. Augustine, Washington, D.C., and Ave Maria, in mid-January 2023 to be witnesses for life marking the tragic 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision which cleared the way for legalized abortion in the U.S.

The difference in 2023 is that on June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization effectively overturned five decades of unlimited access to abortion.

This allowed the three Marches for Life to be celebratory in nature but tempered with the political reality that now each state has different laws regarding abortion ranging from outright bans to allowing an abortion up until birth. This means the Catholic Church’s fight to protect life from conception until natural death continues.

Several groups from the Diocese participated in the State March for Life in St. Augustine on Jan. 14, 2023, while some 200 from the Diocese were in D.C. for the National March for Life on Jan. 20. The next day, nearly 1,000 took part in the second annual March for Life organized by Ave Maria Parish.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, who was in DC and Ave Maria, said he was impressed by the signs in DC carried by the young people which proclaimed, “Our Generation Is Pro-Life.”

“There was a determination and excitement – it electrified the whole crowd,” Bishop Dewane said when speaking at the Ave Maria March. “The message I gave those young pilgrims, and for all of us, is to take on in their life the message of Jesus Christ and live it always, that is understanding the absolute value that life must have as we live as men and women of God.”

Living one’s life this way comes with certain challenges, Bishop Dewane admitted.

“Let us be the radical witness that is called for in today’s society,” Bishop continued. “Let us be that voice in the wilderness that cries out repeatedly about the value of life – just like what happened to Christ when he was among his neighbors in Nazareth – and as we heard in today’s Gospel (Mk 3:20-21), you are going to get bullied. Someone is going to yell back and respond. That’s fine. Address them – remember it is personal for you and we must work to change the heart of that person, so they value life, and come to know the truth of Christ.”

Annabella Augustine, a pilgrim to DC from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, is taking up the call to spread the word of life.

“This is my first time coming to the March for Life and I can say this was such an exhilarating experience that I will never forget. My goal is to be a voice for the younger generations and help them see the truth in a world of chaos.”

Mooney schoolmate James Rowan described the March less as a peaceful protest and more as a “celebration of life and recognition for the families who are going through or have gone through an abortion.”

In the 50 years since the Roe decision more than 63 million unborn children were deprived of their right to life.

The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a Jan. 22 statement, the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, that the Dobbs decision “is a fruit of prayer, born of a commitment to justice.”

However, subsequent Florida legislation still allows abortion to the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. “Our advocacy for the legal protection of life in the womb must continue to make the most of the opportunities presented by Dobbs. The legislature must enact further limits on abortion,” the Florida Bishops stated.

Sharon Levesque, who is President of the Respect Life Outreach at Ave Maria Parish and helped organize the community march, was pleased with the large turnout, but said it would return in 2024.

There will be a third annual March for Life on Jan. 20, 2024, because “we will continue to march so long as the life of any unborn child is threatened in the world.”

At Ave Maria, the gathering began at the university football field, where various dignitaries, including Bishop Dewane, spoke. Then everyone marched through the Ave Maria University campus more than a mile to the steps of the Parish Church, all while praying the rosary and singing along the way.

Among the larger groups in DC were representatives from Cardinal Mooney, Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers, St. Michael Parish in Wauchula, Ave Maria University and the Ave Maria School of Law. Several smaller groups from a variety of Parishes also took part.

Two Diocesan priests, Father Eric Scanlan, Chaplain at Cardinal Mooney as well Pastor of Incarnation Parish in Sarasota, and Father Mark Yavarone, Oblate of the Virgin Mary, Director of Spirituality at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice, were part of the March.

Participants from the Diocese attended the Vigil Mass on Jan. 20 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, and a Mass on the day of the March for all Florida pilgrims at St. Peter Parish on Capitol Hill where the main celebrant was Bishop Dewane.

Diocesan seminarians from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach and Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts, participated with their respective schools.

Bishop Dewane gave the group in DC and Ave Maria direction to go forward and be agents of change in society.

“We must act because being in a personal relationship with the Lord does not allow us to permit abortion at any time,” Bishop Dewane said. “Let us speak out! Be the strength! Be the message of the Lord that you are called to be! Let us stand up next to Jesus Christ and proudly be Pro-Life!”

If you would like to learn more about the Respect Life issues and how you can be a witness for life, please visit

Opportunities to stand witness for Life

The listing below are events planned with the Diocese of Venice during the coming months to help promote a Pro-Life culture.

Catholic Days at the Capitol

The Diocese of Venice is organizing a trip to the annual Catholic Days at the Capitol in Tallahassee from March 7-9, 2023. The three-day trip joins faithful from across Florida and includes a legislative briefing on important bills relating to human life and dignity, a breakfast with legislators and the Florida Bishops, tours of the capitol and museum, scheduled visits with legislators and the annual Red Mass of the Holy Spirit with the Florida Bishops and public officials. Bus transportation is provided at no cost as long as space is available. Register by Feb. 6 at For further details contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-374-1068 or

Sarasota Prayer Walk for Life

The 25th Annual Sarasota Prayer Walk for Life is Feb. 7. The event begins with the 8:30 a.m. Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane at St. Martha Parish, 200 N. Orange Ave. A bus will shuttle people from the church to 7th Street where walkers will circle the block around Planned Parenthood in prayer. The shuttle will run between 9 a.m. and noon. Light refreshments will be available near the bus stop on 7th Street. Questions? Contact Jeanne Berdeaux at or 941-374-1068.

Fort Myers Prayer Walk for Life

Join others on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22, for the Fort Myers Prayer Walk for Life, beginning with the 8 a.m. Mass at St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, will be celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. A bus will shuttle participants to the area in front of Planned Parenthood at 648 Commerce Park Drive (parking is limited) where students will lead the rosary to kick off the 40 Days for Life Spring Campaign. Contact Jeanne Berdeaux at or 941-374-1068 for additional information.

40 Days for Life Sarasota and Fort Myers

There will be two locations within the Diocese to participate in the 40 Days for Life Spring/Lenten Campaign in Sarasota and Fort Myers which begins Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22 and concludes on Palm Sunday, April 2. This Campaign encompasses 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion. Stand and peacefully pray during vigils in the public right-of-way outside Planned Parenthood in Fort Myers or Sarasota. Contact your Parish Coordinator for specific information about your Parish’s commitment days. For the 40 Days for Life flier and additional information, please visit or

Chastity talk for youth

Teens, grade 7 and older (and their parents), are invited to hear national speaker Pam Stenzel provide her informational talk, “The Courage to be Chaste Teens,” at 6 p.m., Feb. 23, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish Hall, 12001 69 St. E., Parrish. Contact the Parish Office at 941-776-9097 for additional information.

News briefs for the week of Jan. 20, 2023

Naples teens attend Florida March for Life

A group of 27 (six parents, two teachers, and 19 students) represented St. John Neumann Catholic High School of Naples at the March for Life in St. Augustine on Jan. 14, 2023. The group marched for the sanctity of life in a trip sponsored by Florida Right for Life President Lynda Bell.

Cougar Experience held for visiting students

On January 11, 2023, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota hosted 130 8th graders from their partner schools for The Cougar Experience. It was a great day of games, lunch, athletics and learning more about Cardinal Mooney’s arts and academics. The partner schools are St. Martha Catholic School, Incarnation Catholic School, and St. Mary Academy, all in Sarasota, as well as Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice and St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton.

Learning the Sacraments

Fourth grade students at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers are learning about the seven Sacraments, and the role water plays in the sacraments. The students renewed their baptismal promises Jan. 11, 2023, while working on a craft project related to the Sacraments.

Jr. Thespians take stage in state competition

The Jr. Thespians Troupe from St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton received four Superior Awards and four Excellent Awards at the Jan. 12-14, 2023, Florida State Junior Thespian Festival – Thespian Jam, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Some 6,000 participated in the festival which gives theater lovers the chance to celebrate the best middle school theatrical work and have an unforgettable experience. The students put in many hours of practice and hard work, which definitely paid off.

Basketball player reaches milestone

St. John Neumann Catholic High School basketball player Sophia McCartney reached the 1,000-point milestone during a game on Jan. 14, 2023. After the home game in Sarasota, the star player was honored and recognized for this remarkable achievement, something that is rare in high school basketball.

Cape Coral students hone their robotics skills

Middle school students at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral were able to hone their robotic coding skills on Jan. 17, 2023. They worked on coding and working with Lego Spike Prime Robots. These small robots are made out of Lego pieces and can follow paths on an established course. The robots can be coded to perform various tasks as well. These skills are being learned as part of a larger Diocesan-wide robotics STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts, math) curriculum which helps students learn the skills needed to excel in a high-tech modern society.

News Briefs for the Week of Jan. 13, 2022

Cathedral celebrates Feast Day

Epiphany Cathedral in Venice celebrated its Feast Day, the Epiphany of the Lord, with a trilingual (English, Spanish, Polish) Mass on Jan. 8, 2023. Msgr. Patrick Dubois, Cathedral Rector, said the Feast Day is an important moment for the Parish community as well as for the Universal Church. The day marks the moment when the three magi come to pay homage to the Child Jesus, something we must do each day as we celebrated the love of the Lord in our lives. Readings and music alternated between the three languages and at the conclusion of Mass, Msgr. Dubois asked all to wish one another a “Happy Feast of the Epiphany.” A multicultural celebration followed in the Parish Hall.

Basketball player reaches milestone

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School basketball player Olivia Davis reached the 1,000-point milestone during a game on Jan. 6, 2023. After the home game in Sarasota, the star player was honored and recognized for this remarkable achievement, something that is rare in high school basketball.

Opportunities upcoming to support life

There are several opportunities for the faithful to support life in the coming months. First, one can Pray for the protection of all human life during the 9 Days for Life campaign from Jan. 19-27, 2023. Sign up now at to receive each day’s intention and reflection via email or text message. Second, the annual Ave Maria March for Life will take place at 10 a.m., Jan 21, at the Ave Maria University football field. The walk is held in recognition of the right to life of every human being from conception to natural death, and will conclude in front of Ave Maria Parish Church. Bishop Frank J. Dewane is the featured speaker. A lunch of hot dogs, chips and drink will follow the march.  For more information including registering for small or large groups, please contact Sharon Levesque at Next, join others for the 25th Annual Sarasota Prayer Walk for Life on Feb. 7. The event begins with the 8:30 a.m. Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane at St. Martha Parish, 200 N. Orange Ave. A bus will shuttle people from the church to 7th Street where walkers will circle the block around Planned Parenthood in prayer. Lastly, join others from around the state for the annual Catholic Days at the Capitol in Tallahassee from March 7-9. The three-day trip includes a legislative briefing on important bills relating to human life and dignity, a breakfast with legislators and the Florida Bishops, tours of the capitol and museum, scheduled visits with legislators and the annual Red Mass of the Holy Spirit with the Florida Bishops and public officials. Bus transportation is provided at no cost as long as space is available. The registration deadline is February 6. For further details contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-374-1068 or

World Youth Day 2023 Deadline EXTENDED

The deadline to register is open for the Diocesan 11-day pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal, has been extended to Jan. 15, 2023. You are invited to join Bishop Frank J. Dewane for the trip to Lisbon with two nights in Fatima. This pilgrimage is from July 29 to August 8, 2023. The theme for World Youth Day 2023 is “Mary arose and went with haste”. (Luke 1:39) Travel arrangements are facilitated by Peter’s Way Tours. Space is limited and registration must be completed by January 15. Please visit for registration and further information.

Lee County schools gather for joint Mass

Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers welcomed students from St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers and St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral for Mass on Jan. 10, 2023. The younger students led everyone in song and afterwards Principal Suzie O’Grady invited students to participate in the “Three Kings” celebration. Following the Mass, the “Three Kings” went around campus writing the following on every door: 20 + C + M + B + 23. For centuries, faithful Catholics have marked the entrance to their homes with a symbol of faith, asking that Jesus bless all who live within the home. The message is as follows: [the first two digits of the year] + C + M + B + [the last two digits of the year]. The “C”, “M”, and “B” stand for the names of the three Magi – Caspar, Malchior & Balthazar, and the “+” represents the cross. The message also abbreviates the Latin phrase, Christus Mansionem Benedicat, meaning “May Christ bless the house.”

Parish marks Three Kings celebration

St. Paul Parish in Arcadia held a special “Three Kings” celebration on the Feast of the  Epiphany of Our Lord, Jan. 8, 2023.

Parishes participate in the National Night of Prayer for Life

On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the 33rd annual National Night of Prayer for Life took place within the Diocese of Venice at four Parishes.

The National Night of Prayer for Life is an effort to unite people across the country, establishing a bridge between the Solemnity and the Feast of St. Juan Diego, to protect our culture, our Church and our land. Participating Parishes included San Pedro in North Port, St. Agnes in Naples, St. James in Lake Placid, and Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles in Bradenton.

The faithful were encouraged to make reparations for all the lives lost in this nation to abortion and to pray that parents may be conscious of their calling as they share in God’s creative power. Prayers were also made that those who have acted against human life experience forgiveness.

The National Night of Prayer for Life includes adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the holy rosary, prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, silent prayer and hymns.

The goal is to be united with churches across the country in prayer to end abortion and restore God’s blessings of Life and Religious Liberty in America.

At San Pedro Parish in North Port, the prayer vigil was led by Deacon Richard Frohmiller and corresponded with overlapping times across the different times zones in the country between 9 p.m. through 1 a.m. The unifying time when all major times zones in the country participated was between midnight and 1 a.m. (9 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the west coast).

During the San Pedro vigil, the faithful were able to complete each of the Mysteries of the Rosary, participate in an Act of Consecration, prayers to St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Pius XII Prayer to Our Queen (reign Prayer).

Deacon Frohmiller said the importance of participating in the National Night of Prayer was not diminished by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, but is actually now more important than ever as many states are focusing on allowing abortions until birth, and/or forcing more taxpayer funding for this evil act.

To learn more about abortion and respect life issues in general, please visit

“Walking with Moms in Need” still relevant

It has been five months since the historic U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs decision which effectively overturned five decades of unlimited access to abortion. However, the Catholic Church’s fight to protect life from conception continues.

In the wake of the Dobbs decision on June 24, 2022, Bishop Frank J. Dewane said the “legal protection must be accompanied by more care for mothers and their children. The Catholic Church, and the Diocese of Venice, stand ready to help mothers in need. Pregnant women are not alone… Parishes in the Diocese of Venice have redoubled their efforts to accompany women and couples who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies, offering them loving and compassionate care.”

At that time, the Diocese introduced “Walking with Moms in Need,” a program which educates Parish staff and the faithful about how to help pregnant moms in need, including where to send them for help ( All resources are available in both English and Spanish.

There are 22 Pregnancy Help Centers and nine residential maternity and after-birth homes within the Diocese, standing ready to help. Importantly, there are many financial and volunteering opportunities available to support these Pregnancy Help Centers.

For decades, the Diocese of Venice has supported these Pregnancy Help Centers and will continue to do so. Our Mother’s House of Catholic Charities in Venice is one of the programs in the Diocese that supports single mothers and their children, providing not just housing and material needs, but valuable counseling and education.

A recently released video from Bishop Dewane (available at the “Walking with Moms in Need website noted above) discusses “Walking with Moms in Need” within the Diocese. The Bishop stresses how the Church has built a Culture of Life and how we must all stand as a voice for the voiceless – the unborn. It is through the “Walking with Moms in Need” program that Parishes are to be “Islands of Mercy” in a sea of indifference and a field hospital for those in search of support, as called on by Pope Francis.

Bishop Dewane extends an invitation for the faithful to join in the “Walking with Moms in Need” program “guided by the Holy Spirit, let us offer Christ’s presence and love to mothers in their time of need through our faithful service and support.”

Jeanne Berdeaux, Diocese of Venice Respect Life Director, said the message from Bishop Dewane and the “Walking with Moms in Need” program are crucial. “The Catholic Church needs to be there for pregnant women to help with their needs. We need to come alongside the Pregnancy Help Centers, Maternity Homes and After Birth Homes as they continue to work diligently with each mom, the dad and other important family members.”

Berdeaux said that the abortion issue will be in the news again when the Florida Legislature gathers in their upcoming 2023 session from March 7 to May 5.

As the Bishop statement pointed out following the Dobbs decision: “In God’s eyes, all human life is sacred, from conception to natural death; this is the teaching of the Catholic Church.”

As the Diocesan statement concludes, we are reminded: “Let us all continue to pray for the end to abortion, and the end to taking the lives of an entire category of human beings, the preborn.”

To learn more about “Walking with Moms in Need” please visit, or contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-374-1068 or

Opportunities to Support Life

St. Augustine March for Life

The 17th annual March for Life will be held in St. Augustine on Friday, January 13 and Saturday, January 14 with speakers, music, and activities at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche. For details please visit (Plans are underway to move the march to Tallahassee in 2024.) Make your hotel reservation soon! Questions?

Catholic Days at the Capitol

Join others from around the state for the annual Catholic Days at the Capitol in Tallahassee from March 7-9, 2023. The three-day trip includes a legislative briefing on important bills relating to human life and dignity, a breakfast with legislators and the Florida Bishops, tours of the capitol and museum, scheduled visits with legislators and the annual Red Mass of the Holy Spirit with the Florida Bishops and public officials. Bus transportation is provided while space is available at no cost.

National March for Life

A group of youth and adults will take place in the 50th Annual National March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20. 2023. The Diocese participates in this March each year and it includes groups from Parishes as well as the Diocesan Catholic high schools. The Diocesan group will also participate in the Vigil Mass on Jan. 19, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.