Bishop responds to pandemic crisis

Bishop Frank J. Dewane has been at the forefront in responding to the ever-evolving coronavirus pandemic within the 10-county Diocese of Venice.

The announcement to suspend all Masses and Parish activities effective March 20, and continuing through at least Easter, was the culmination of a series of meetings, conference calls and consultation from the priests of the Diocese and other advisors, while also following guidance from local, state and federal officials. The dramatic limitations of all public gatherings ultimately affected the decision to suspend Mass.

In a March 18 letter to the faithful, Bishop Dewane explained his decision noting that it “was made after prayer and discernment, as well as hearing from the priests and the Faithful.” The decision to suspend the Mass came several days after Bishop Dewane dispensed all of the obligation to attend Mass during the same period.

“This is acknowledged as a sacrifice for the Catholic Faithful, who have a great love for the Holy Eucharist and depend on the Most Blessed Sacrament for their spiritual lives,” the Bishop wrote in his letter. “Do recall that Faithful Catholics, throughout the history of the Church, have kept the faith alive through trying times. By prayer and devotion, as well as spiritual solidarity with each other, the life of faith continued to be a source of strength and perseverance during persecutions and other times of public crisis.  Tomorrow, on the Feast of St. Joseph, I will dedicate the Diocese of Venice to the care of the Foster Father of Jesus. Let us be united in prayer to St. Joseph for his intercession and protection.”

In the same March 18 letter, Bishop Dewane announced the suspension of all activities in Parishes, including events and religious education programs. Parish offices will have limited staff and it is requested that, when possible, business be conducted by phone or email. Funerals will be limited to immediate family only, weddings – if they cannot be postponed – are to have limited participation, and baptisms will only be celebrated in cases of emergency. Priests are required to take all necessary precautions, so the Anointing of the Sick is being limited to a genuine need for the dying. Diocesan Catholic Schools were placed on an extended Spring Break, returning to virtual learning beginning March 31 for the foreseeable future.

Bishop Dewane has called upon the priests to draw upon the Church’s rich tradition of prayer and devotion to ensure that the spiritual life of parishioners is nourished and remains vibrant through means which are prudently adapted to the current circumstances.

Leading the way, Bishop Dewane recorded a video message to the Faithful encouraging everyone to turn toward prayer. In addition, Mass has aired daily at 9:15 a.m., live from the Catholic Center in Venice, with the Bishop as the celebrant. This Mass in available through Facebook and links to this and many other resources are available through the Diocesan website.

Encouraged by the leadership of Bishop Dewane, most Parishes within the Diocese have begun to live stream the daily Mass on their websites and social media accounts. Many also responded to suggestions to begin offering the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation by car beginning March 21, and then late in the week of March 23, outdoor Communion was being offered at some Parishes.

Bishop Dewane also reassured the Faithful that the Diocese will continue to function and serve the community through the outreach of Catholic Charities and other ministries.

“Through prayer and trust be confident in the belief that God does not abandon us in times of peril, in fact, the Lord will draw us close and protect us,” Bishop Dewane said.

“Please continue to pray for everyone impacted by this pandemic – the sick, their caregivers, courageous medical personnel, and those reaching out in charity to help our brothers and sisters in Christ.”

“Seeking the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in particular, her spouse, St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, pray for protection and guidance through these troubling times,” the Bishop continued. “Through the Word of the Lord, that is Sacred Scripture, it is possible to overcome fear and courageously face the challenging days ahead.”

Catholics Schools online education ramps up

An unexpected two-week Spring Break for the thousands of Catholic School students across the Diocese of Venice, because of the pandemic, caused a dramatic pivot to online learning.

Donahue Academy of Ave Maria began distance learning on March 24, 2020, for middle and high school students.

Ben Hopper, Diocesan Interim Superintendent of Catholic Education, working closely with Bishop Frank J. Dewane and the Diocesan School Board, acted decisively in early March when restrictions limiting gatherings larger than 10 people went into effect.

The first move came when the state extended a planned Spring Break scheduled to end March 20 to end March 30. It was decided that is was appropriate for Diocesan Catholic Schools, which had a long weekend, March 13-16, to turn the week into an early Spring Break and then to use the extra week to prepare to transition to online instruction.

This concept was reinforced when on-campus classes for all Florida schools were suspended until at least April 15.

Each Diocesan Catholic School provided students and families with specific details and expectations for the distance learning and virtual instruction.

St. Andrew Catholic School Math Teacher Thomas James prepares lessons for distance learning from his Cape Coral classroom.

Hopper noted in a March 19 letter announcing the extension of the campus closure that, “this is an ever-evolving situation” and updates would be provided as necessary.” He continued by noting “these actions were taken to ensure the safety of faculty, staff, students and families, which is always a top priority at Diocesan schools.”

“Our schools and their teachers have put in countless hours to ensure that we provide a rigorous Catholic education as we transition to distance learning,” Hopper said. “We have seen extraordinary collaboration and creativity from our faculty and administrators. The eagerness and excitement of our students and teachers are palpable.”

Acknowledging that there may be some anxiousness about the unknown of this transition, Hopper added “we will embrace this challenge as we do every day in our schools with an open mind, a willing heart, and a trusting soul.  We must believe, as it is written in Philippians 4:13, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  Let the adventure begin.”

Hopper praised and thanked the teachers for their selfless service as they worked days, nights and even weekends to modify their lesson plans for fun and memorable virtual learning experiences. He also thanked the school staff and administrators for reallocating precious time and resources to effectively respond to the challenges. To aid in the transition from live classroom instruction to a distance learning environment, books, handouts and other learning material were collected for parents to pick up throughout the break.

Spring break was not yet over, but St. Joseph Catholic School 4th graders held a math review session March 27, 2020, with their teacher for online class practice! Reviewing mixed fractions with classmates was fun!

Teachers conducted a number of collaborative sessions to help create online lesson plans that adhere to the high academic standards and immersive interactive activities that our students enjoy, and parents expect. Sessions such as these took place throughout the Diocese, with each one developing an effective strategy to help students and teachers stay connected to their Catholic school community.

Hopper thanked parents, guardians and families for their patience, understanding and support during this transition. Finally, he added, “I thank the students for their courage and confidence to stand united in mind, body and spirit and for their willingness to learn in new and exciting ways.”

The upper grades of Donahue Academy of Ave Maria had a head start on the rest of the Diocesan schools by returning to the virtual classroom on March 23.  This occurred because the school Spring Break started earlier, allowing the faculty and staff the time needed to accomplish the necessary work and training for virtual learning.

One parent noted: “What Donahue is doing, having the classes in real time, live, is great. It allows the kids to get out of isolation and be with their classmates virtually, in real time. This is so much better than what Collier (County schools) is doing which is just posting assignments. Thank you. Everything has been so well organized and proactive also. Kudos to you and your staff! Thank you again!”

Stories from across the Diocese

The Salesian Sister of St. John Bosco of St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples review student submissions from a pandemic quarantine challenge from the comfort of their convent.

During the unexpected break, the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, which run St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples, initiated an #sjnquarantinechallenge. Each day the Sisters will post a challenge for students to complete. Students were then asked to post themselves doing the challenge by 7 p.m. each day. Chosen winners will receive a $10 Amazon gift card and each participant for the day earned 10 points for their House.

This is important as Neumann is structured in a House system of student government, where students are assigned Houses at the beginning on the year. As the year progresses, they can earn points for participation in a variety of activities. The first challenge was to post a video of themselves doing an Irish jig in honor of St. Patrick’s Day or post a photo of where they are finding beauty in the midst of this uncertain time.

St. Mary Academy in Sarasota has a regular ceremony honoring its students as Rising Stars. The faculty and staff of the school for students with special learning needs decided that a cancelled ceremony was an excuse for a drive-by parade. Visits were made to students and the teacher-of-the-month.

This student from St. Ann Catholic High School in Naples dressed as a hero Publix worker and firefighter as part of an homeschool challenge during an extended Spring Break.

St. Ann Catholic School in Naples encouraged students to participate in a Homeschool Spirit Week COVID-19 style. Each day students were encouraged to be creative, such a superhero day – when students were to dress as a hospital worker, first responder, grocery worker or other essential personnel. One dressed as a scientist, another dressed as a Publix employee and firefighter combined, and still another dressed as an anti-coronavirus, and much more.

These were just a few examples of the effort take on by the Diocese of Venice Education Department, as well as by the faculty and staff at the 15 schools who worked tirelessly to ensure that the quality education expected continues in the best way possible.

Religious sister, former principal of school principal, dies

Sister Christine Patrick, Sister of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, former principal of St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton, died on March 18, 2020, at St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. She was 89 years old and had been a Sister of Providence for 70 years.

Sister Christine Patrick was born Feb. 5, 1931 in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Walter and Anna Scheidegger Patrick. She was baptized Eleanor Mae.

Sister Christine entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence on Feb. 2, 1950, and professed her final vows on Aug. 15, 1957. She earned a degree from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and an advanced degree from Indiana University.

In her 70 years as a Sister of Providence, Sister Christine ministered as a teacher and principal for 44 years in schools in Indiana, Illinois, Oklahoma, Washington, D.C., and Florida. Within the Diocese of Venice, she served as Principal of St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton from 1995-2004. Upon her retirement she volunteered for Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto and Sarasota, as well as serving at St. Joseph Parish as a minister for the homebound and volunteering with the senior outreach program.

Sister Christine is survived by a sister, and was preceded in death by two brothers and four sisters, two of whom were Sisters of Providence. A private Mass of Christian Burial was March 27 with burial in the cemetery of the Sisters of Providence in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Prayer needed in time of crisis: Diocese of Venice responds to COVID-19 Pandemic

In this time of challenge Bishop Frank J. Dewane calls on every person to turn toward prayer as the Diocese, state, nation and world continue to face an uncertain future which bring unique difficulties during the ongoing pandemic.

“As Catholics, we trust in the power of prayer, God’s Hope and Mercy,” Bishop Dewane said. “Please join me is praying for those that have lost loved ones to this virus and may God console them and grant them peace. We also pray for the sick, caretakers, medical providers and all those impacted by this pandemic in different ways. When we unite for a common good, we can overcome fear and courageously face the challenges in the days ahead.”

Bishop Dewane, working in consultation with clergy and other Diocesan leadership are meeting daily in response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

“Rest assured that together with our Priests and Diocesan Staff, I have been closely monitoring developments regarding the threat posed by the Coronavirus, particularly for the most vulnerable among us,” Bishop Dewane said. “

After consultation, on March 14 the Bishop issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass to all the Catholic Faithful until further notice. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist, for now, will continue in our churches with the necessary precautions.

All the Catholic Faithful are asked to observe the Lord’s Day with reverence and in spiritual communion with one another, whether you attend Mass or not during this time. The Diocese of Venice offers a Sunday Televised Mass throughout the Diocese at (Additional information is location below about the Televised Mass and other ways to stay connected to your Faith while home.)

A special Coronavirus webpage has been created for your easy reference. Located on the Diocese of Venice website homepage at It will be updated throughout this crisis providing the latest communications from the Diocese to the Faithful including letters or notices from Bishop Dewane, as well as resources to assist in your prayer and spiritual life.

The following additional precautions are effective immediately throughout the Diocese of Venice:

  • Classes are suspended in all Catholic Schools within the Diocese of Venice until at least March 30.
  • All Parish Religious Education and Youth activities are suspended until at least March 30.
  • Parish events are postponed or canceled through at least March 30.
  • Parish and Diocesan offices will remain open during this time.

The Diocese continues to closely monitor the situation and will issue updates as appropriate on the Diocesan website.

Additional precautions have been taken or will be implemented by the weekend of March 21-22. They include:

  • All missals and other printed material that may be handled by parishioners is to be removed.
  • Collection baskets are being retrofitted to include a handle for the ushers to use and will eliminate the need to pass the basket from person to person. Where this is not possible, central collection points are being designated.
  • The doors to Churches are being propped or held open by greeters before and after Mass so as to diminish the number of people touching the handles.
  • Extensive handwashing and parish cleaning guidelines have been shared with all parishes.

Previous guidelines implemented in February include:

  • Communion from the Chalice has been temporarily suspended in Parishes of the Diocese of Venice until further notice.
  • The Faithful should avoid the shaking of hands or making physical contact during the time designated for the Sign of Peace. A verbal indication of peace or a bow of the head to one another is sufficient. Further, please recall that the Sign of Peace is an OPTIONAL PRACTICE in the Liturgy which may be omitted.
  • There should be no holding of hands during the recitation of the Our Father.
  • Holy Water fonts are emptied. However, a dispenser with a spigot will be provided to allow the Faith to take Holy Water home, therefore allowing continued access to this important Sacramental. In the absence of Holy Water fonts, the Faithful may be encouraged simply to make the Sign of the Cross as they enter the Church.
  • The Faithful are encouraged to receive communion in the hand during this period. Please remember that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal indicates, “The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant” (160).

Please note that because of the specific risk facing clergy and Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Communion, separate guidelines have gone out to all parishes regarding procedures for distribution of Holy Communion in the Church as well as making visits to those at home or in hospitals.

Resources online

As mentioned earlier, a special Coronavirus webpage is located on the Diocese of Venice website homepage.

Resources include the prayer for Act of the Spiritual Communion, videos of the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Pray the Rosary by following the links for the Diocese response to Coronavirus included on the Diocese homepage.  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website,, also posts the daily Mass readings.

Additionally, Magnificat is offering the online version of this devotional at

As noted, during this time when many are unable to attend Mass, the Televised Mass for the Homebound is available throughout the Diocese each Sunday and on the Diocese of Venice website at

In northern parts of the Diocese (Manatee, Highlands, Charlotte, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties) the Mass airs at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Collier, Lee, Glades, Hendry, Charlotte counties) the Mass airs at 10:30 a.m., on WFTX-TV (FOX-4).

Please check local listings for channel info. Leaflet missals are available upon request by writing to TV Mass, Diocese of Venice, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285. Or contact Gail Ardy at 941-486-4714,

Bishop Dewane letter on Coronavirus response

The following is a letter from Bishop Frank J. Dewane to the faithful of the Diocese of Venice. Below the letter is some additional important information. (Please read the entire contents of this notice.)

March 14, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sister in Christ,

As Holy Mother Church makes her pilgrimage through the Lenten Season, please be assured of my continuing prayerful encouragement and support. As mentioned in my recent letter, together with our Priests and Diocesan Staff, I have been closely monitoring developments regarding the threat posed by the Coronavirus, particularly for the most vulnerable among us.

For this reason, out of pastoral concern, a dispensation has been issued from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass for those effected by the Coronavirus. Now that a national emergency has been declared and the State of Florida has provided further guidance, many of the Catholic Faithful may deem it prudent to avoid large gatherings. Therefore, out of an abundance of spiritual concern, I now extend the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass to all the Catholic Faithful until further notice.

The celebration of the Holy Eucharist will continue in our churches with the necessary precautions. All the Catholic Faithful are asked to observe the Lord’s Day with reverence and in spiritual communion with one another, whether you attend Mass or not during this time.

Let us be united in prayer that God, who is our refuge and strength, will give us courage and perseverance in charity during this time, that we might remain healthy and encourage our brothers and sisters who are ill.

Through the intercession of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, may you be kept safe from all harm and uplifted by your Lenten prayer and fasting.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Frank J. Dewane
Bishop of the Diocese of
Venice in Florida


The following additional precautions are effective immediately throughout the Diocese of Venice:

  • Classes will be suspended in all Catholic Schools within the Diocese of Venice until March 30, 2020.
  • All Parish Religious Education and Youth activities will be suspended until March 30, 2020.
  • Parish events should be postponed or canceled through March 30, 2020.
  • Parish and Diocesan offices will remain open during this time.

The Diocese continues to closely monitor the situation and will issue updates as appropriate on the Diocesan website .

Thank you again for your patience and understanding.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Frank J. Dewane

Bishop of the Diocese of

Venice in Florida

Principal’s Corner – St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School


Tonya Peters, Principal, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School

Many have told me that St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School is a little gem buried in the heart of Port Charlotte, and that it’s a welcoming environment where students are well educated, nurtured in the Catholic Faith and formed to be Disciples of Christ. I couldn’t agree more.

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School opened in 1960. Therefore, as the school approaches its 60th Anniversary, it is a good time to reflect on what St. Charles has meant to the students, families and parishioners over the decades.

Firstly, many of our alumni are now doctors, attorneys, teachers, veterinarians, entrepreneurs, or are pursuing other prestigious professions, many focused on serving others, a lesson learned well at St. Charles.

In addition, the impact of the school is revealed in that many alumni remain active members of St. Charles Borromeo Parish. It is also a demonstration of the quality of the Catholic education (spiritual, academic and physical) being offered over the years at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School that these same alumni think so highly of the school to which they choose to send their.

This is a further illustration that the school continues to live up to its Mission Statement: “St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School is a place where every child is spiritually and academically nurtured to their fullest potential, creating lifelong learners who value and live our Catholic Faith.”

An example of the lasting legacy of the school can be demonstrated in the story one family, the Stone-Smiths, which has demonstrated their strong devotion towards St. Charles Catholic School and Parish.

Paul and Beth Stone are part of the first generation of parishioners at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, which was established in 1959. The school opened a year later, and the Stone’s daughter, Kim, became one of the first students to attend the school for all eight grades. Meanwhile. Paul Stone was a Home and School Association President and member of the Parish Council. Years later, Beth Stone worked in the school as a teacher’s assistant.

Kim Stone-Smith received her various Sacraments and eventually was married at the Parish in 1983. She later worked for several years at the school as an early childhood and kindergarten teacher. All three of her children attended St. Charles as well. And now, some of the next generation are in school at St. Charles Borromeo while others are destined to be Crusaders.

Earlier this year, Kim Stone-Smith returned once again to St. Charles, this time as a kindergarten teacher.  When asked how it was going back after a 13-year absence from the classroom, she simply said, “It is nice to be home.”

St. Charles is currently home to 24 students with at least one parent who attended St. Charles. Having alumni sending their children to the school and bringing them to Mass and other Parish events is an enormous compliment to the school.

St. Charles continues to provide academic excellence for every one of our students. From the 2019 eighth grade class, the recent St. Charles Borromeo alumni are presently ranked high academically as freshman at their local high school. In addition, public high school teachers often say they know which students attended St. Charles Borromeo due to their good behavior, great work ethic and outstanding academic performance.

The story of the Stone-Smith family is just one example of how St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School and Parish work together to prepare children for social, personal, intellectual and spiritual fulfillment. This school is a gem waiting to be discovered by parents who seek noting but the the best for their children’s future.

It would be an honor and a pleasure if St. Charles could be a part of your family’s story. Please call at 941-625-5533 or visit to schedule a tour and learn more about how St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Port Charlotte prepares children for life here on Earth and life eternal.

Ash Wednesday begins Lenten journey

“Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return” are the words one hears when ashes are formed in the sign of the cross and imposed on the forehead on Ash Wednesday.

Ashes in the sign of the cross marked the foreheads of Catholics across the Diocese and the world on Ash Wednesday, beginning the journey of 40 days to Easter, to the heart of the Liturgical Year and of the Faith.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass at St. William Parish in Naples and later at the Catholic Center in Venice.

“You are starting your Lenten journey in a spiritual way,” Bishop Dewane said to those at Mass. “That is a good place to begin. But take this opportunity to hear the call of Christ in the Lenten Season. We are all called to do these things – pray-fast-give alms – and to live out through this 40 days; not with great fanfare for all to notice, but within your heart. That is how you can grow closer to the Lord.”

Pope Francis offered suggestions on how to create time to make room for the Word of God.

“It’s the time to turn off the television and to open the Bible,” Pope Francis said. “Lent is a desert, it’s the time to give up, to tear ourselves away from our mobile phone and connect ourselves to the Gospel. It’s the time to give up useless words, slander, rumors and gossip, and to speak and give oneself to the Lord. It’s the time to dedicate oneself to a healthy ecology of the heart, to clean it.”

As Lent continues, it is important to reflect upon the profound mystery of Ash Wednesday and use it as a starting point to grow closer to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

The faithful are also encouraged to confess their sins during the Lenten Season. To facilitate this requirement, all Parishes in the Diocese of Venice will be open with a confessor present so that the faithful will find ample opportunity to receive God’s Mercy in the Sacrament of Confession from 4-8 p.m., Friday, April 3, and 9 a.m.-noon, April 4. Please check with your local parish for additional reconciliation times.

News briefs from early March 2020

Seminarian elevated to Acolyte

Diocese of Venice Seminarian Christian Chami received the Ministry of Acolyte Feb. 22. Chami is discerning his vocation to the priesthood while studying at Pontifical North America College in Rome and was part of a large group of second-year seminarians at the North American College to be elevated to Acolyte. Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, O.P., Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was the principal celebrant for the Mass in the Immaculate Conception Chapel. As part of the rite, the Archbishop placed the paten, which contains the hosts for the celebration of Mass, in the hands of each candidates and said, “Take this vessel with bread for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his Church.”

Vocation Awareness Weekend March 13-15

St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami is hosting a Vocation Awareness Weekend from March 13-15. This seminary visit is open to young men, ages 18 and older. It is an engaging time of prayer, talks, sports, and other fun activities with the seminarians and priests of St. John Vianney. Come and experience what life is like for one discerning God’s call to the priesthood! There is no cost for the weekend and transportation is provided. To register, please contact the Vocations Director, Father Shawn Roser, at or call the Vocations Office at 941-484-9543.

Parish Gala honors priests’ 80th birthday

The 16th Annual St Jude Gala event took place Feb. 14 at Michael’s On East in Sarasota.

Nearly 200 guests were present to raise money for the various Parish programs. This year was of particular note because it was time to celebrate the 0th birthday of Pastor Father Celestino Gutierrez. There was entertainment from our parishioners who sang English ballads, a Spanish medley of various songs and dances. There was also a cake with sparklers.

Traditional Marriage Public Square Rosary Crusade March 21
All are invited to participate in Traditional Marriage Public Square Rosary Crusade at 11:45 a.m., March 21, at 6418 Commerce Park Drive, Fort Myers. The rosary crusade will be taking place simultaneously across the nation as God’s marriage and the traditional family need our prayers. For more details, contact Barb 239-267-7883

Spiritual Exercises in Spanish

Ignatian Preached Retreats in Spanish are now being offered at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center. These series of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices are in silence. There will be a Level 1 Retreat for Women on the weekend of April 3-5, and one for Men on the weekend of May 1-3. There will also be a Level 2 Retreat for Women on the weekend of July 10-12 and one for Men on the weekend of July 17-19, for those who participated in the Spiritual Exercises in 2019.  Please visit for further information.  (CLICK HERE for the flier in Spanish.)

Ejercicios Espirituales En Español

Retiros Predicados Ignacianos en Español están siendo ahora ofrecidos en Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center. Estas series de meditaciones, oraciones y prácticas contemplativas son en silencio. Habrá un retiro Nivel 1 para Mujeres del 3 al 5 de abril y para Hombres, del 1 al 3 de mayo.  Habrá también un retiro Nivel 2  del 10 al 12 de julio para Mujeres y del 17 al 19 de Julio para Hombres, para aquellas personas que participaron en los Ejercicios Espirituales en 2019.  Para más información por favor visite (Haga Clic Aquí para ver poster en Español.)

Friday Fish Fry at Cathedral

Epiphany Cathedral is hosting a weekly Fish Fry from 5-7 p.m., Fridays of Lent through April 3, in the Parish Hall at 224 Harbor Drive, Venice. Meal options include $13 fired fish dinner, $15 baked salmon dinner, $15 fried shrimp dinner and $6 kids fried fish dinner. Meals include coleslaw, roll, drink and dessert plus your choice of French fries or boiled red potatoes.  Takeout orders are available. Purchase tickets at the door or online at All proceeds benefit Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School.  Catering is by Sharky’s on the Pier, Fin’s at Sharky’s and Snook Haven.  The event is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Council 7052. For more details, call 941-615-0284.

Catholic Homeschool Conference

Queen of Angels Academy presents the 2020 Catholic Homeschool Conference May 27-28, at Christ the King Parish, 1900 Meadowood St., Sarasota. Guest speaker Laura Berquist will speak on: What is a classical education; Positive homeschooling: Getting the hearts of your children; Why I homeschooled my children; and a Discussion: Purpose and Practice. The cost is $20 per person for both days, $30 per couple. Contact for a more information and to register.


Celtic Ball supports St. John Neumann

There was a Bourbon Street for the annual Celtic Ball which was held on Feb. 21 at Club Pelican Bay in Naples benefiting St. John Neumann Catholic High School.

The event included a Mardis Gras theme and décor which added to the festive atmosphere. There were live and silent auctions, an elegant dinner and live music.

Neumann Senior Rhea Hussey spoke on behalf of her fellow Celtics. She shared her journey of overcoming obstacles from being seriously ill and bed ridden as a freshman, to now being one of four House Captains, a leader of not just the senior class, but the entire school.

“I have been given the chance to participate in numerous service activities, to learn in an environment of unparalleled academics and thrive in a place where I formed irreplaceable friendships; there is no place I would rather be,” Rhea said. ”I will always be grateful to the Neumann family for allowing me to learn, grow and truly shape myself into the person I always wanted to be.”

The Celtic Ball Honorary Chairs were Jo and Tom O’Reilly. Tom O’Reilly praised the school for forming students not just academically, but spiritually, noting that his children and now grandchildren are students at Neumann.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane applauded the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco who serve at St. John Neumann for their unfailing commitment to education and for the example they are for their students and the entire school community.

“Neumann is a bright star in Naples,” Bishop Dewane said. “To the parents and benefactors of St. John Neumann; I thank you for recognizing the good work that is happening here. A Catholic School is more than its faculty and staff, it is about coming together and supporting a program that helps to grow the next generation of leaders in the community and in the faith.”

School Gala recognizes legacy of Sister Frances

For the past 25 years Sister Frances Lolar, Religious Sister of Mercy, has been a steady and commanding presence at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. The Cathedral Director of Religious Education (DRE) since 1994, Sister Frances will be retiring in the coming months leaving behind a lasting legacy.

That legacy was recognized with her being bestowed as the 2020 Shining Star Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient during the Feb. 15 Epiphany Gala at Plantation Golf and Country Club. The event benefited Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School; a place held dear to the heart of Sister Frances.

In announcing the award, it was noted that Sister Frances is a tireless presence within Epiphany Parish while helping it live out its mission to be the heart and hands of Christ. She has deeply influenced and significantly contributed to the mission and vision of Catholic education – even serving for a time as acting-Principal. “She has faithfully demonstrated a lifetime of servant leadership through the giving of her time, talent and treasure.”

Born and raised in the farming country of County Laois, Ireland, it was appropriate that a bagpiper escorted her into the Gala.  Hearing the call to a religious life while still in high school, Sister Frances professed her vows on September 8, 1957 in Bally Mahon, as a Sister of Mercy.

In 1960, she moved to the U.S. to become a Catholic school teacher in Columbia, Mo., then later she went on to a position as a Catholic principal in Lake Worth, Fla. It was in 1994 when she was appointed DRE at the Cathedral, a position that covers a wide range of responsibilities. Her work includes coordinating the teaching of the Sacraments, especially Confirmation, First Confession and First Communion, thus providing her opportunities to get to know the parents as well as students, dozens each year. Beyond this, she also coordinates the Parish Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) formation classes, which bring new Catholics into the Church. Adults, she says, never finish learning about their faith.

Everyone attending the Gala knew that Sister Frances, a quiet, humble and unassuming woman was a deserving recipient of the Shining Star award. They also know she is much more than a DRE; she is someone who lives her life of faith to its fullest in all her words and actions, an example for all to follow. Congratulations Sister Frances!