Transitional Deacon prepares for Oct. 5 priestly ordination

Bob Reddy

Venice – Transitional Deacon Carlos Encinas had only to complete his final exams in medical school when he realized his desire to become a priest was something he could no longer ignore.

He left his hometown in Argentina and went to New York City, ostensibly to visit a friend, but actually to seriously discern a vocation to the priesthood. “I needed to separate myself from medical school and home, a place I lived my entire life. I wanted to focus on this process with my whole heart.”

While in New York City, Deacon Encinas discerned with the Franciscan Friars, helping in a homeless shelter. While this experience helped him to realize he was on the right path, he did know that religious life was not a good fit because he wanted to be a parish priest. Thus, he began his formal studies toward the priesthood for the Archdiocese of New York at Cathedral Seminary House of Formation in Douglaston. N.Y., where he graduated with a degree in philosophy.

It was just before his final year in college seminary when Deacon Encinas decided he wanted to serve in a Diocese which had distinct Hispanic populations, unlike New York City where the population is more diffuse. A friend suggested he look at the Diocese of Venice. A week-long visit, including a meeting with Bishop Frank J. Dewane, solidified his decision to join the Diocese as a seminarian upon graduation in 2014.

Throughout his entire discernment process, Deacon Encinas said God was always gentle in asking more of him, showing him signs that he is on the right path. “God never forces you to do something you don’t want to,” he added. “It was at Mass that I would see signs that led me to realize what God wanted from me.”

The recent graduate of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach is now on the cusp of reaching his goal of becoming a priest. The Ordination to the Priesthood of Deacon Encinas will take place at 11 a.m., Oct. 5 at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. Bishop Dewane will preside over the ordination.

Now 40, Deacon Encinas was born and raised in Corrientes, Argentina, and said he had a desire to become a priest off and on since he was 19-years-old. When he decided to enter seminary in the U.S., his parents, Alberto and Josefina Encinas, were skeptical, and his father was upset because he wanted his son to become a physician.

“As time passed, he appreciated more what I was doing and now everyone is very happy,” Deacon Encinas explained.

Because of the distance and cost, none of his family was able to attend his April 14, 2018, ordination to the transitional diaconate at St. Joan of Arc Parish Church, Boca Raton. The family did watch via a livestream on social media. He is pleased to know that in October, his parents, sisters, a niece and nephew and three cousins are all coming to the U.S. for the ordination.

While a seminarian for the Diocese of Venice, Deacon Encinas had several pastoral assignments including: St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Naples; St. Andrew Parish, Cape Coral; St. Joseph Parish, Bradenton, and Our Lady of Grace, Avon Park.

The ordination of a transitional deacon to the priesthood is considered one of the pivotal moments in the life of a Diocese. It is one of the most beautiful and often unseen Sacraments in the Church. It is a public response to the Call to Holiness, which comes with great responsibility and accountability.

While an ordination is the final step to priesthood, it is not the conclusion of priestly formation, it is just the beginning.

During ordination to the priesthood Deacon Encinas will freely presents himself to serve God, the Church and the Bishop of the Diocese of Venice and his successors. He will also make a renewed commitment to celibacy and promise obedience. The reward for that choice is to have his life filled with the message of God.

Faithful line up for Confession

Staff Report

A steady stream of the faithful at St. Jude Parish in Sarasota waited patiently for their opportunity to take part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation on the last weekend before Holy Week.

This scene was repeated at Parishes throughout the Diocese of Venice after Bishop Frank J. Dewane, with the agreement of the Presbyteral Council, designated April 12 (4-8 p.m.) and April 13 (9 a.m.-noon) as time for Confession at each Parish. This was done to allow the faithful ample opportunity to receive God’s Mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Lenten Season.

The response was so impressive at some parishes that the confession times were extended upwards of two hours to accommodate the need.

Maria Cortez of St. Jude Parish tries to go to confession at least once a month but admitted she had lapsed since the start of 2019.

“I let unimportant things get in the way of my love for Christ,” Cortez said. “I am not a saint, and this is good for me to be here. With Holy Week here, I knew it was time to return to the confessional and ask for forgiveness.”

Pope Francis often remarks about the healing power of the confessional and urges the faithful to go as often as possible. Parishes and Missions in the Diocese of Venice have regular reconciliation times throughout the year, please visit for contact information on the parish or mission nearest you.

Sacrament of Confirmation: More Perfectly Bound to the Church as a True Witnesses to Christ

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Through the Sacrament of Confirmation, Christian initiation is completed, as the recipients become more perfectly bound to the Church as a true witness to Christ.

This is how Pope Francis views Confirmation which he said is a Sacrament which must be understood as a continuation of the faith journey, beginning with Baptism, along with the Eucharist, to constitute a single saving event – Christian initiation – “in which we are brought into Christ who died and rose again, and become new creatures and members of the Church.”

Throughout much of history, these three Sacraments were celebrated together, at the end of the catechumenal path – normally on Holy Saturday. “It was a step-by-step process, first reaching Baptism, then Confirmation, and finally the Eucharist,” the Holy Father explained

The term ‘confirmation’ must remind one that this Sacrament involves growth from baptismal grace, Pope Francis continued. “It unites us more firmly with Christ; it completes our bond with the Church; it accords to us the special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and to defend the Faith, to confess the name of Christ and never to be ashamed of His Cross.”

It should be noted that while the order of the Sacraments may have changed over time, “confirmation, like every Sacrament, is not the work of men, but rather the work of God, who takes care of our lives so as to mold us in the image of His Son, to make us able to love like Him,” the Holy Father added. “He infuses us with the Holy Spirit whose action pervades the whole person and all of life, as is shown by the Seven Gifts that Tradition, in the light of the Sacred Scriptures, has always made clear: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord. When we welcome the Holy Spirit into our hearts and allow it to act, Christ Himself is made present in us and takes form in our lives; through us, it will be He who prays, forgives, brings hope and consolation, serves our brothers, is close to the needy and the abandoned, who creates communion and sows peace.”

A group of young men and women recently completed their own final step of Christian initiation by being “sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit” during their Confirmation at St. Jude Parish in Sarasota on April 28. Bishop Frank J. Dewane used Holy Chrism oil to anoint the confirmandi.

This was repeated by Bishop Dewane throughout the year, with more 1,792 men and women receiving the Sacrament during since last fall at 54 different Parishes and in area prisons. An additional 398 women and men received the Sacrament of Confirmation at their home Parishes on Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil.

Bishop Dewane told the confirmandi at St. Jude Parish that their sacramental life is key to who they are becoming by growing in the “Grace of God.” In order to do that, they must carry the Gifts of the Holy Spirit with them beyond the four walls of their Church. They must be doers of their Faith because there is nothing passive about being Catholic. The Sacrament of Confirmation is not an ending to the faith journey, but a beginning.

“You are on a journey to become women and men of God… We are each called to follow the lead Jesus gives us. You are old enough to do so freely in receiving this Sacrament,” Bishop Dewane added. “Allow this sacramental gift to enter into your life and carry the Holy Spirit with you from this point forward. You must each be changed by this encounter!”

During the Sacrament of Confirmation, the candidates renew their baptismal promises and then the Bishop, the attending priests, and all the faithful, pray that the Holy Spirit descend upon and remain on the Confirmandi. The Bishop then recites a prayer. Finally, the candidates are presented to the Bishop with their sponsor placing his/her hand on the candidates’ right shoulder. Then with his right thumb, the Bishop makes the sign of the cross on their forehead with the Holy Chrism oil and says “Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” The newly confirmed replies: “Amen.”

Choosing Confirmation names such as St. Jude, St. Edward the Confessor, St. Maria Goretti, St. Padre Pio, St. Patrick, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Peter, St. Martha, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Luisa, St. Juan Diego, St. Magdalena, and many more, the youth spoke about what it meant to receive this Sacrament which fully welcomes them into the full benefits of the Universal Church.

“This was an important day for me,” one young man explained. “I have struggled with my faith in the past, however, during my catechism classes I found myself realizing I had developed a special bond with Christ. That makes me very happy.”

One young lady who got emotional when the Bishop anointed her forehead explained that she was nervous because she had doubts about being worthy of the Sacrament. “When the Bishop made the sign of the cross on my forehead I immediately felt a calm and joy wash over me. That was very powerful.”

Pope Francis explains that when we are anointed with Holy Chrism we are conformed, “by the power of the Holy Spirit, to Christ, who is the only true ‘anointed one’ the Messiah, the Saint of God.”

The Holy Father often stresses how important it is that all children receive the Sacrament of Confirmation because while there is an important emphasis on the Sacrament of Baptism, there tends to be a less of a focus on the Sacrament of Confirmation. He explained that those who are only baptized remain at a halfway point, and do not “receive the Holy Spirit that gives us the strength to go forward in Christian life.”

The Sacrament of Confirmation requires good preparation – often years of study and spiritual growth – as it aims to lead candidates toward “personal adhesion to faith in Christ and to reawaken in them a sense of belonging to the Church,” the Holy Father added. He also reminded the faithful to thank the Lord for receiving the gift of confirmation. “Then ask Him for His help in living as true Christians, to always journey with joy according to the Holy Spirit that has been granted to us.”

The Diocese of Venice has a religious education program which emphasizes the importance of the Sacrament of Confirmation with a two-year program. The young women and men go through a process where they complete one phase of their faith journey and prepare to begin the next phase as with the fullness of their Baptism and as Christians who are called to be more and reflect the love and goodness Christ in their heart and soul.

In addition, through Epiphany Cathedral, there is Religious Education for Special Needs Individuals (RESI) program, which is an outreach for those with Special Needs. The program welcomes God’s children by acknowledging that all children can learn, pray and have a relationship with God. This program is specifically designed to meet the spiritual needs of persons with developmental disabilities and intellectual challenges and welcomes candidates from age 10 to adulthood. Through this program they are incorporated into the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church. On April 15, Bishop Dewane confirmed six individuals who completed the RESI program at Epiphany Cathedral.