Coalition for Life meets

Staff Report

6/18/19

Every year since the inception of the Coalition for Life in 2007 the Diocesan Respect Life Office has brought leaders together annually in the spring for updates, networking and to provide input on future activities.

Parish Respect Life Representatives (designated by Pastors), Knights of Columbus Culture of Life Chairmen, Council of Catholic Women Representatives, and others interested in serving, gathered June 2 at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Port Charlotte. Those gathered enjoyed their time with like-minded people who dedicate themselves to building a Culture of Life in the Diocese of Venice.  Some attendees have been volunteering for 30 or more years while others have recently felt called to do something to promote a greater respect for life.

Diocesan Respect Life Director Jeanne Berdeaux gave a brief overview of the pro-life strategy outlined by the U.S. Bishops. She celebrated the previous 12-months of activities with a PowerPoint presentation that included pictures from key events such as the State Respect Life Conference that the Diocese hosted in the fall of 2018, 40 Days for Life, and Prayer Walks for Life in four locations, the March for Life in Washington and Catholic Days at the Capitol in Tallahassee.

Looking ahead to the coming year, she announced that the movie UNPLANNED is due to be released on DVD and streaming in mid-August, providing a powerful tool for pro-life education.  The dates for Catholic Days at the Capitol in Tallahassee were announced:  January 28-30, 2020.  The three-day bus trip will be earlier since the Florida Legislative Session runs from January to March in even years, allowing legislators more time for campaigning in the summer and fall leading up to the 2020 elections.

Berdeaux also noted that there are excellent speakers available to present on a variety of life issue from conception to natural death. She also noted that video presentations from the 2018 Florida Respect Life Conference and events on the death penalty and other issues are available online at www.dioceseofvenice.org/respectlife.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane addressed the group and specifically spoke about the ramifications of recent events in states across the country with laws being enacted, both pro-life and pro-abortion, in anticipation of the day when the infamous Roe v Wade might be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, sending the issue back to the states. Bishop Dewane pointed out that Florida will still have a problem because of the privacy clause that was added to the State Constitution in 1980.

Attendees were given a new brochure explaining the Florida privacy clause and how this might impact any future legislation (available on the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops at www.flaccb.org/culture-of-life). A short video and other important resources which further explains the issue are also on the site.

Janine Marrone, founder of Luncheons 4 Life and member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice, shared with the group a special project that shows 30-second videos promoting pregnancy help centers and adoption to young women via YouTube and other social media, helping them to look at a difficult situation from a pro-life perspective.

Project Rachel Coordinator Sylvia Jimenez shared information and stories to highlight the need to be sensitive when talking about abortion with others as there could very well be women or men listening who have been hurt by abortion.

One of the most important and fun parts of the day was the time spent in round-table discussions with others sharing what they are doing in their local area.

For information on how you can become involved of pro-life activities in your parish or the Diocese, please contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-374-1068 or Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org.

Naples Knights take action

Staff Report

3/29/19

The Knights of Columbus is a group which serves to help defend the faith and supports the Catholic Church in a variety of ways.

The Knights from Assembly 3094 and Council 14202 of St. Agnes Parish in Naples recently expressed their frustration by sending an open letter to their U.S. Congressional delegation including U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, as well as U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Francis Rooney

In the letter, which appeared in the Naples Daily News, they specifically address derogatory remarks against the Knights by three U.S. Senators Mazie Hirona, Hawaii; and Kamala Harris and Diana Feinstein, both of California. The Senators bashed Federal Judicial nominees because they are members of the Knights of Columbus, because the Senators claimed the Knights of Columbus hold extreme positions, particularly on same sex marriage and abortion.

The letter states that: “By condemning the Knights as holding extreme positions and by denigrating the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, these three Senators are attempting to ban members of the Knights from holding public office. They went on to establish a religious test for public office holders, a contravention of Constitutional guarantees.”

The letter goes on to state that the members of the Knights of St. Agnes Parish chose the forum of an open letter so as to inform the Congressional Delegation and their fellow citizens of the Knights’ unequivocal support of the moral teaching of the Catholic Church on the matter of abortion and same sex marriage. They also condemned the recent enactment of a New York law allowing an abortion of a fetus up until the time of birth.

Knight Greg Russo shared the letter with the Naples Daily News and expressed his desire that, on behalf of the 400 members of the Knights St. Agnes Assembly and Council, and the thousands of Knights across Southwest Florida, that the Congressional Delegation condemn the vicious and unwarranted attacks on members of the Knights and moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, who was copied on the letter, said he stands with all Knights in highlighting and speaking out and against these attacks.

“The Knights of Columbus have a strong history of defending the moral teachings of the Church,” Bishop Dewane said. “As a Knight, I support this letter and strongly encourage others to speak out against this and other attacks against the Church. If these attacks go uncontested, they threaten to tear down the Religious Freedom upon which this nation was founded.”

Bishop leads Rosary on Immaculate Conception

National Night of Prayer for Life held

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

12/20/2018

For the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary several Pro-Life activities took place.

First, Bishop Frank J. Dewane led the praying of the Rosary at a prayer vigil in Fort Myers and that day many Parishes held National Night of Prayer for Life observances.

More than 150 people participated in a prayerful procession and praying of the Rosary in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion center in Fort Myers, found at the intersection of College Parkway and Winkler Road.

Students from Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers carried a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the procession from a nearby parking lot to the shopping plaza where the abortion facility is located. Members of the Knights of Columbus Color Corps escorted the students and the statue.

Paul Muri, who helped organize the procession and prayer vigil, said it is important to gather in honor of Our Lady on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary while seeking to create a culture of life. The Solemnity pertains to the conception of the Virgin Mary in the womb of Her mother St. Anne, wherein she (Mary) was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin by God’s grace in view of the merits of Jesus Christ.

Bishop Dewane led everyone in the reciting of the Rosary, with Ashley La Mar providing the descriptions of each Joyful Mystery.

Following the Rosary, the Bishop thanked everyone for participating in the prayer vigil.

“We are called to take time in the Advent season to prepare ourselves for Christmas and the coming of Our Lord,” Bishop Dewane said. “You have certainly given a demonstration of that today. Keep up the good work! God bless you!”

National Night of Prayer for Life

The annual National Night of Prayer for Life took place on the evening of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8). At several parishes within the Diocese of Venice, the faithful joined in prayer with Catholics throughout the country in an effort to bring the world back to Christ and to bring about an end to abortion so as to restore life, liberty, faith and peace.

San Pedro Parish in North Port, St. Agnes Parish in Naples, and San Marco Parish in Marco Island participated in the entire vigil, which began the evening at 9 p.m. and continued until 1 a.m. The evening spanned the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8 and continued into the anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s first apparition to St. Juan Diego on Dec. 9. It was in 1531, that Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and the Unborn, first appeared to St. Juan Diego and shared Her message of life.

Prayer services typically consisted of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the Rosary and other vocal prayers, intercessions, silent meditation and Benediction. Prayers were offered to end abortion and all offenses against the dignity of the human person, to make reparation for these sins and for the healing of those who are suffering. The goal of the National Night of Prayer for Life is intended to help build the culture of life and civilization of love in our nation.

The prayer vigil was designed to unite the two days which pronounce this important message of life from Our Lady. The Hour of Unity was at midnight in Florida. The overriding intent of the evening was to have the faithful across the United States be joined in prayer to end abortion as well as to restore God’s blessings of life and religious liberty in America.

Other Parishes held prayer services throughout Dec. 8, typically following the Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

At St. Raphael Parish in Lehigh Acres, Pastor Father Dennis Cooney stressed the importance to continue to pray for a culture of life. Members of the Youth Group led the praying of the rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

To commemorate the 46th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision which paved the way for legalized abortion in the U.S., a Mass will be celebrated at 8:30 a.m., Jan. 22 at St. Martha Parish, 200 N. Orange Ave., for a greater respect for life. The Mass will be followed by a peaceful Prayer Walk for Life at the nearby Planned Parenthood abortion facility at 736 Central Ave. For more information about Respect Life activities within the Diocese of Venice please contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-441-1101 or berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org.

News from Around the Diocese November 2018

Wrap-up of news from Across the Diocese in November

Wauchula Children’s Festival a big success

More than 200 children participated in a Children’s Festival at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula. Geared toward children aged 3 to 10, there were a number of fun activities and games as well as Mass and prayers.

 

 

 

Successful Vocations Awareness Weekend

The Diocese Vocations Office brought a group of young men to participate in the Nov. 9-11 Vocations Awareness Weekend at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami. Led by Vocations Director Father Eric Scanlan, several attended this engaging and prayerful discernment event.

 

 

 

 

Retreat inspires catechists

A Diocesan Catechist Retreat themed: “Root of God’s Healing” took place Nov. 17 at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. About 100 catechists participated in the retreat which focused on reenergizing them as they approach the Advent and Christmas seasons. They were reminded that Jesus serves to free and restore them as they work to be the light and witness of the Lord for others.

 

 

 

VDCCW Latina Convocation held

The first ever Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women Latina Convocation took place Nov. 17 at Sacred Heart Parish in Bradenton. About 50 women took part in the gathering which served to educate about the role of the CCW and to inspire them to become more involved in their faith. Iris Gomez, VDCCW Past-President, organized the gathering and Father Juan Carlos Sack, Administrator at Sacred Heart Parish, provide inspirational talks.

 

 

Cities for Life gathering held

Praying for the end to the death penalty, a Cities for Life gathering was held Nov. 30 at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Port Charlotte. Cities for Life is a worldwide annual event that was begun in 2002 by the community of Saint’ Egidio in Rome where the Coliseum was lit up during the night. November 30th was chosen because it is the anniversary of the first civil state in the world to do away with the death penalty in Tuscany, Italy in 1786- 229 years ago. About 2,000 cities and 80 countries will call for the end of the use of the death penalty by lighting civic or religious buildings around the world, along with prayer services and educational programs. This was the fourth time the Dioceses of Florida participated in the prayer vigil. Participants in the Port Charlotte gathering saw a video presentation of a talk on the death penalty from the September 2018 Florida Respect Life Conference in Punta Gorda.

 

Sarasota Charity Ball Jan. 26 at The Westin

The Catholic Charities Ball will be held on Jan. 26,  at 6 p.m. at The Westin in Sarasota. All proceeds will benefit the programs and services of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. in Sarasota and Manatee counties which include Our Mother’s House, St. Martha’s Early Learning Center, Bethesda House, Catholic Charities Family Haven, housing counseling and foreclosure prevention, financial assistance, senior services, professional counseling, refugee services, and immigration services. The evening will include a cocktail hour, auctions, dinner, and dancing. Tickets are $300 a person. For information and tickets visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or call 941-355-4680, ext. 301 or email nmuth@ccdis1.org.

Donor-Advised Funds

Susan Laielli – Special to the Florida Catholic

11/15/2018

It’s difficult to imagine that with one simple phone call a person can donate to any number of their favorite Catholic, social service, and other pro-life causes such as Pregnancy Care Centers, abstinence programs, Catholic Schools, Catholic Charities and beyond, through the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida (CCFSF).

After investing in other foundations in Southwest Florida, philanthropists Janine Marrone, and her husband Steve, decided to place their hard-earned money into a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) at the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida, where their Catholic and pro-life passions could prosper, and hopefully change hearts and minds along the way.

A Donor-Advised Fund is a charitable investment account for the sole purpose of supporting charitable organizations you care most about, while offering an immediate tax deduction. Donors make a charitable contribution to their fund and recommend grants from it over time to their favorite Catholic, pro-life or social service programs and ministries.

In the Marrone’s case, they advance many Catholic and pro-life missions, such as creating Luncheons4Life. They are assisted by many good people in Sarasota, Lee and Collier counties within the Diocese, each offering monthly luncheons in support of life. The luncheons, also held in Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Georgia, and Alton, Illinois, bring like-minded supporters of life together without politics, and with no cost or “ask” at the end.  Through their Donor-Advised Fund, the Marrone’s are able to raise awareness in hopes of bringing an end to abortion and offering healing to those who have had an abortion.

“The Donor-Advised Fund allows our contributions to be forwarded to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center for the luncheons, or to our Parish, the Catholic Faith Appeal, and Catholic Schools,” said Janine Marrone, who was excited to open the first Donor-Advised Fund with the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida this year.

“We can also contribute to the Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation, Pregnancy Care Centers, and to Catholic Charities through this fund,” added Marrone, who was well-versed and experienced in donor-advised funds.

She approached the Catholic Community Foundation when she heard they were launching their own Donor-Advised Fund program that was more in alignment with her faith and values.

Funds with the Catholic Community Foundation are invested in socially responsible, Catholic-screened investments.  Distributions can only be made to Catholic, pro-life or social service agencies whose mission and services are in keeping with the teachings of the Church.

“Earlier in 2018, the Catholic Community Foundation Board approved the launch of our Donor-Advised Fund program in response to numerous requests from donors within the Diocese who were looking for a Catholic option,” said Michael Morse, Executive Director of the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida. “I was so blessed to work with the Marrone’s on the program’s launch.”

With the launch of this new program the CCFSW is now a full-service community foundation that can meet the needs of donors looking for a faith-based alternative for their giving. All Donor-Advised Funds, similar to all funds held by the Foundation, are governed by fund agreements signed by the donor, which specify how they may be used.

“With the recent changes to the tax laws, Donor-Advised Funds with the Catholic Community Foundation may be a great way to maximize your tax benefits this year and going forward,” added Morse.

Marrone exhibits much enthusiasm when she talks about charitable giving and making a difference, but she also is very active and engaged in the community, so there’s not a lot of time to waste.

“Working with the Foundation is easy, and with the Donor-Advised Fund it’s essentially one-stop-shopping, really,” said Marrone.

For more information on donor-advised funds or the Catholic Community Foundation, please contact Michael Morse at 941-441-1124.

Praying for Life

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

All of us must realize that a central part of Catholic Social Teaching calls for a respect for human life and ultimately the support for all life.

This was the message of Bishop Frank J. Dewane as he encouraged the faithful and students from St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School to respect life from conception to natural death prior to a Feb. 20 Prayer Walk for Life in Port Charlotte.

Bishop Dewane spoke during Mass noting the goal of the walk was to ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to push aside the scourge of abortion in the world. “We have to continue to pray, be vigilant, and speak up for the value and right to life.”

Following the Mass, the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders led everyone to the Prayer Walk for Life, about a half-mile to a nearby site across from an abortion doctor’s office. There, the students led a praying of the rosary.

Meanwhile, during the Lenten Season, the Spring 40 Days for Life prayer campaign has been active in Fort Myers and Naples and will continue until March 25.

The Fort Myers location, at the intersection of College Parkway and Winkler Road, about 70 people marked the midpoint of the 40 Days with a procession and prayer service near a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. The service included special guest Shawn Carney, CEO and President of 40 Days for Life.

Carney offered words of encouragement noting they were part of a larger prayer movement which was taking place in 354 cities in 25 countries. Started in 2007 in Texas, more than 14,200 babies have been saved, including 215 in the first 20 days of the 2018 Spring campaign.

“You are making an impact by your presence,” he added. “No matter the rhetoric, there are great and terrible consequences when an abortion happens. A life is lost. A great injustice is done to the mother.”

It has been reported that there is up to a 75 percent cancellation rate at the facilities when people are out praying on days when abortions are scheduled. “We need to be here,” Carney said. “To stand for life, because we cannot detach ourselves from the fact that life begins in the womb.”

The closing prayer was from Father Dennis Cooney, Pastor of St. Raphael Parish in Lehigh Acres and Diocese Respect Life Spiritual Advisor.

To learn more about Respect Life activities in the Diocese of Venice, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/respectlife.

2018 Catholic Days at the Capitol

2/1/2018

For two days, each year Catholics from around the state gather in Tallahassee to participate in Catholic Days at the Capitol.

A group from the Diocese of Venice, 29 strong, traveled by bus to the Capitol from Jan. 30-31 to put into action the faith’s call to political responsibility. Participants strengthened the presence of Catholic values in the public square. They did this by advocating for laws that protect and defend human life and dignity, giving a voice to some of the most vulnerable and marginalized people and helping to promote the common good for all of Florida’s residents.

One participant said the trip offered better understanding of the importance of one-on-one meetings with legislators. Another would recommend the trip to everyone saying it was “an awesome experience that should not be missed. Seeing our government in action and ending with the most wonderful ‘Red Mass’ and feeling that you can make a difference.”

The Diocesan group, led by Respect Life Director Jeanne Berdeaux, met with Bishop Frank J. Dewane while in Tallahassee. Nine of the participants were first-timers, while the rest were veterans of this important annual journey. Epiphany Cathedral Parochial Vicar Chuck Ruoff joined the bus trip and gave the final prayer at a Civic Center briefing for more than 300 representatives of each Floridian Arch/diocese before heading they headed to the Capitol.

Catholic Days at the Capitol included such organized activities as: a legislative briefing on policy issues affecting human life and dignity; pre-scheduled meetings with lawmakers; a luncheon for Catholic Days participants, Florida’s Bishops and legislators; tours of the current and historic Capitol buildings; and the opportunity to view the legislative process in action during committee meetings or floor sessions. A highlight is the annual Red Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrated by the Bishops of Florida to pray for those working in the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government. The homily this year was by Bishop William Wack, CSC, of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee.

To learn more please visit http://www.flaccb.org.

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