Scout builds walking rosary garden for Parish

When it was time for Cameron Yedlin to choose an “Eagle Scout Project,” it was natural for him to decide to do something for St. William Parish. It was also a natural idea to help promote the praying of the rosary. This was the beginning of a passionate effort that has culminated in the blessing of a new Walking Rosary Garden.

St. William Parish Pastor, Father George Ratzmann, blessed the prayer garden on Feb. 2. Located on the northwest corner of the Parish property, the garden includes a walkway bridge, a full rosary with a cross laid into the ground with pavers, and there is a statue of Our Blessed Virgin Mary overlooking the entire area. There are also two benches for rest and prayer as well as a sign which serves to guide people in how to pray the rosary.

In addition to Cameron’s proud parents, Bruce and Bonnie Yedlin, a small group gathered for the blessing and congratulated the young man for a job well done.

Cameron is an active member of the Parish, an altar server at the 7 a.m. Sunday Mass each week, he also participates in Youth Group. Cameron has taken part in various mission trips and service projects and has taken part in the last several Diocesan Youth Rallies. He also joined the Diocese of Venice group that travelled with Bishop Frank J. Dewane to World Youth Day Panama City in 2019 and Krakow in 2016.

Joining the Scouts in first grade, Cameron worked his way through the ranks during the the next 11 years. He is a Boy Scout and has earned dozens of merit badges for Troop 243, far exceeding the minimum requirement for becoming an Eagle Scout, something he has dreamed about for many years.

“This has been a goal of mine for a long time,” the junior at Gulf Coast High School explained. “When I knew it was time to do an ‘Eagle Scout Project,’ my mind went right to what I could do for St. William Parish.”

Creating a proposal, Cameron approached and received an enthusiastic approval from Father Ratzmann. The proposal included designing the different components of the Rosary Prayer Walk and raising money for the supplies. He then spoke to the Council of Catholic Woman, the Knights of Columbus, the Parish Rosary Makers group, as well as the parishioners, seeking support for the project. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

“This has been a great experience.” He further explained how “so many people came together to help me with this; from the Parish staff to people I didn’t even know. It is humbling to have that support.”

During four weekends, the Rosary Prayer Garden took shape as Cameron cleared out the area of brush and dug the places for each stone paver, marking the location of each bead in the rosary or connection to take the shape of the cross. Utilizing the small space to maximum effect, and to enhance the prayerful nature of the setting, the pavers form a flowing arc around a tree and the statue of the Blessed Virgin.

The Walking Rosary Garden is an important legacy for Cameron, who said he prays the rosary as often as he can, even keeping a rosary close to him. “The rosary gives me great comfort because it is a way for me to pray to Christ through His Blessed Mother. At night, I will pray a decade or more and I have a rosary wrist band as well, so it is always with me.”

Next up for Cameron is completing the paperwork and giving a formal presentation to an “Eagle Scout Project” review board which will then determine if he will earn the elite Eagle Scout status.

Thanks to Cameron, the parishioners of St. William Parish in Naples now have a lasting legacy created by one of their own young people. Great job Cameron!!!

News briefs from Around the Diocese September 2019

Mooney Golfer No. 1 in Florida, ranked nationally

Noah Kumar is captain of the Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Golf Team in Sarasota and has now cracked the top 100 nationally and is ranked 90th with Junior Golf Scoreboard. The Florida High School Athletic Association ranks Kumar the No. 1 high school golfer in the State of Florida. During his senior season with Cardinal Mooney, Kumar has an 18-hole tournament stroke average of 67.33, with six straight low round first place medal wins in a row. His nine-hole stroke average is 35.5 with a career low of 31. Kumar has been playing tournament golf since he was 10-years-old. He qualified to play in the U.S. Junior Amateur this past July and came in 12th in stroke play. Keep up the good work Noah!

Bishop celebrates Mass for Ave Maria University

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated a Mass for the faculty and student of Ave Maria University in Ave Maria on Sept. 23, delayed from Sept. 2 when the Mass was cancelled because of Hurricane Dorian. During the mass the Bishop encouraged the students to grow in their faith and to carry the message of the Lord into the world. At the conclusion of the Mass, the Bishop presided over a commissioning ceremony for nine new theology professors, during which each took an oath and vowed to remain faithful to the teachings of the Church.

Scout 10 Commandment Hike held Sept. 21

Scouts from across the Diocese of Venice gathered Sept. 21 for a 10 Commandments Hike at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice. The more than 100 Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls learned about the 10 Commandments at different stations located along the internal road of the property. The Scouts were presented with an achievement badge for participation at the end of the day.

CCW Eastern Deanery holds retreat

The Council of Catholic Women of the Eastern Deanery took part in a bi-lingual retreat Sept. 21 at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Avon Park. More than 70 women from parishes Hardee, Highlands, Hardee, Glades and Hendry counties took part. The retreat included presentations by a number of priests as well as group prayers with the praying of the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Bishop celebrates Mass for NET retreat in Bradenton

A National Evangelization Team (NET) Ministries group held a one-day retreat for middle school students on Sept. 29 at St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton. The retreat included several talks by youth ministers who travel across the nation trying to inspire young people to open themselves up to the Lord. Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the Mass for the retreatants and offered words of encouragement to the middle-schoolers for participating in the day and to the NET team for coming to the Diocese.

Laps for Life held Sept. 28

The Our Lady of Victory Knights of Columbus Council 3358 welcomed more than 200 to the 2nd Annual Sarasota Laps for Life at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota. The event was opened by a blessing for Deacon William Ladroga and the runners and walkers followed a path for three laps to complete the 5K event. The top finishes finished in 17:35 minutes. The event helped to raise money to purchase for a new ultrasound for My Choice Pregnancy Center in Sarasota.

Bishop celebrates Red Mass

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the annual Red Mass on Oct. 2 at St. Martha Parish in Sarasota. The Mass is held in honor of all members of the legal profession and has a history which dates back centuries. The most famous such Mass is held for the U.S. Supreme Court on the first Sunday in October. The Florida Bishops also celebrate a Red Mass for lawmakers in Tallahassee during the annual legislative session.

Pets blessed on Feast of St. Francis

A variety of pets wait to be blesses on Oct. 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, at Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota.

Pets great and small were blessed Oct. 4 on the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi at Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota. Administrator Father Eric Scanlan blessed everything from hermit crabs, ferrets, fish, birds, snakes, lizards, dogs and cats brought in by the students and parishioners.

Scouting Awards presented

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Girls and boys from throughout the Diocese of Venice participated in a Mass on May 5 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice wearing the uniforms of their Scout troop.

Designated as “Scouting Sunday,” the Mass was followed by an award ceremony in the Parish Hall to celebrate and recognize the girls and boys who commit themselves to scouting while remaining true to the Faith. Members of the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies, American Heritage Girls (AHG) and the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Society participated in the ceremony.

During a reception following Mass, Bishop Frank J. Dewane presented more than 250 awards, with some Scouts receiving multiple honors. The awards included: Rosary Series, Faith Series, Footsteps of American Saints, Modern Saints, Women in Scripture, Models of Faith, Child of God, Family of God, Mother Mary, Queen of the Rosary, Mary, the First Disciple, I Live My Faith, Priesthood Sunday, Light of Christ, Parvuli Dei, Ad Altare Dei awards. Each award requires the Scout to participate in different activities which help increase their Faith and become more difficult to earn as the Scout advances.

During the awards ceremony, Diocesan Scout Awards Coordinator Bob Paquette presented Dewane was presented with the Quality Diocese Award, which is given to a Diocese for its commitment to supporting Catholic Scouting. This is the 10th year in a row the Diocese of Venice has received this award.

Three American Heritage Girl Troops earned the Pope Paul VI Catholic Quality Unit Award: Troop 1203 of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Fort Myers; Troop 2112 of Epiphany Cathedral in Venice; and Troop 1029 of Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria. Additional adult recognition included the Duty to God, the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and the Bronze Pelican awards.

Lastly, Melissa Harkness of the American Heritage Girl Troop 1203 at St. Francis Xavier parish in Fort Myers was presented the Companions on the Journey Award, the highest recognition from the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry for a Diocese to confer to an adult working in youth ministry.

Recognizing the hard work and commitment that the Scouts from throughout the Diocese of Venice make to earn the Catholic Religious Awards, Bishop Dewane congratulated each of the award recipients and all Scouts.

Participating in the ceremony was Scouts Chaplain Father Lawton Lang, who is an Eagle Scout, and Diocese of Venice Director of Evangelization Joshua Mazrin.

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