Statement from Bishop Dewane regarding May 24, 2022 Texas school shooting

The following is a statement from Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida, regarding the May 24, 2022, school shooting in Texas.

“Please join me and the entire Diocese of Venice in prayer as we mourn the loss of life in yesterday’s school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. This tragic loss of so many innocent children and their teachers is truly heartbreaking. Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mercy may God in his infinite mercy pour out his grace to strengthen those who grieve, to heal the wounded, and bring peace to all.

I want to reassure everyone that the safety of schools is our top priority. Each school has a safety plan and procedures that foster a safe learning environment for students and teachers. These plans are regularly reviewed by school leaders who implement best practices as we maintain safe and secure schools. Our schools work closely with local law enforcement to keep our students and teachers safe every day.

As we conclude this school year, we draw strength from our faith in God and entrust the people of Uvalde to His love and mercy. Let us be united in prayer that “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7)”

Safety Training seminar held

Bob Reddy – Venice

Due to the seriousness of potential risks related to facility maintenance activities, safety awareness is a high priority for the Diocese of Venice.

To address this important issue, a Safety Training seminar for facilities and maintenance staff of all Diocese of Venice entities took place Oct. 1 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice.

A wide variety of topics and interactive workshops were held to reinforce safety practices for facility and maintenance personnel. Spanish speaking instructors and materials were also available.

Donna Foti, Diocesan Risk Manager, explained that safety is a top priority in the Diocese and the seminar served to help reinforce this concept amongst those who do the facilities maintenance at parishes and schools throughout the Diocese. The day was also a chance for these vital employees to gather in one place and be recognized for their work.

Representatives from Aon, which provides specialty insurance for Diocesan entities, split the more than 100 participants into smaller groups and they then rotated between different stations to learn about key areas. Such areas included: use of golf carts; defensive driving; slip, trip and fall prevention; heat exhaustion; use of personal protective gear; identifying task for staff, volunteers and outside contractors; life safety; and claims processing.

Matt Long, a risk assessor from Aon, said the goal was to share information that will help safety improve for everyone who not only works on facilities maintenance, but who visits any Diocesan entity as an employee, parishioner, student or visitor.

Foti noted afterwards that the day was a resounding success and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

The day concluded with a drawing for nice gifts, including a personal cooler, NOAA weather radio and umbrellas.

Cardinal Mooney to reopen Tuesday

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota will resume classes on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at its normally scheduled start time after being closed Monday, Feb. 26, while the Sarasota Police Department investigated a concerning social media post.

In a letter sent to parents on Sunday, Feb. 25, Diocese of Venice Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Dr. Kristy Swol, alerted Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School parents to a Snapchat post and closed the school out of an abundance of caution.

The Sarasota Police Department continues to investigate the social media post but confirmed Monday morning that “there is no reason to believe there is a threat to Cardinal Mooney” at this time.

The safety and security of all students in the Diocese of Venice in Florida is always a top priority, and the Diocese appreciates the Sarasota Police Department’s immediate response to this matter.

Below is a letter from Dr. Swol sent to all Cardinal Mooney families on the evening of Feb. 26 which goes into detail about what students and parents can expect when the school reopens tomorrow (Feb. 27).

February 26, 2018

Dear Cougar Families,

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School values its students and the commitment by the parents to providing a Catholic education, rooted in the Gospel Values of Jesus Christ. The school treasures this relationship and appreciates you entrusting your children to its care.

As is known, the school was closed today, Monday, February 26, 2018, due to an alleged concern regarding a threat to the community. The Sarasota Police Department investigated the social media post and confirmed Monday morning that “there is no reason to believe there is a threat to Cardinal Mooney.” This is great news for our school and community.

On Tuesday, February 27, 2018, the school will be open. For parental peace of mind, the Sarasota Police Department will ensure that an officer is present on the campus during the remainder of the week. Further, Cardinal Mooney will adopt added safety measures beginning tomorrow. These measures include:

  • Additional faculty/staff will be present at the main entrances to the school during arrival and dismissal times. The additional staff will be in place to monitor those entering and leaving the school.
  • All gates will be locked at the start of the school day, including the main gate through which visitor’s access the School Office.
  • A camera/doorbell will be placed at the main gate by Tuesday afternoon, so that anyone wishing access to the school must first announce themselves to the School Office. A staff member will then escort the individual to and from the School Office. Until the completion of the doorbell installation, a staff member will be stationed at the front gate.

The school, as you know, is in the final phases of the Selby Center renovations. These renovations will update the school’s security cameras, gates, fencing, and create a single point of entry for the campus. The anticipated completion of the project is Easter. The contractors have been asked to expedite the remaining construction so as to provide an earlier completion of the new School Office.

As these new safety measures are enacted, your help is requested to limit non-essential traffic at the school. Going forward, please do not bring forgotten homework, lunches, or other items to the school, as the gates will not be opened for these items. If lunches are forgotten, a meal will be provided to the student. Please work with your children to ensure they have the items they need for the day. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

While these past days have been stressful for the entire Cougar community, please know that your prayers, care, and concern are greatly appreciated. Thank you for your dedication to and concern for the community. Mooney is a community who lives by God’s grace and works to ensure the safety and solidarity of all.

May our Heavenly Father bless you during this Lenten Season.

Yours in Christ,

Kristy S. Swol, Ed. D.

Director of Education

Superintendent of Schools