Two Seminarians ordained Transitional Deacon

Alan Baldarelli Jr. and Michael Young followed different calls of the Lord in their lives, but their answers were the same, leading the two Diocese of Venice seminarians on a journey toward the priesthood. The pair reached a major milestone along that path on April 2, 2022, when they were ordained as Transitional Deacons.

Deacons Baldarelli and Young were among 11 ordained at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Boca Raton by Most Rev. David L. Toups, Bishop of the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas. The men, from different Dioceses across Florida, are studying at both St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach and Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts.

With a broad smile on his face throughout his ordination, Deacon Baldarelli moves forward comfortable in the knowledge that he is truly following the call of the Lord in his life.

“I feel very confident in my vocation call,” he said. He explained that the personal perspective gained from his previous work life before entering seminary, as well as seminarian pastoral assignments in Parishes, all combined to bring him to this joyful point in his spiritual journey.

Deacon Young said that this milestone is all part of a bigger journey. “I am in awe; one step closer to being able to save souls. This is all much bigger than me and I am blessed to be here.”

The first of three ranks of ordained ministry in the Church, deacons perform many services to the Church in conjunction with the ministries of priests and bishops. In Parish life, deacons may preside at baptisms, weddings and rites of Christian burial, assist the priest at Mass, proclaim the Gospel and deliver homilies.

In his homily, Bishop Toups explained how Jesus was the Good Shepherd, and we must always be good sheep and follow the voice, and for the 11 men, that call is as deacons, and soon to be priests, all done with humble confidence and trust in the Lord.

“Jesus knows you and loves you,” Bishop Toups said. “You are not alone. He has called you for this time – from the womb of all eternity – He has called you to serve and evangelize a world in a global pandemic, at war in Europe, and in a post-Christian culture that desperately needs the Good Shepherd even if they don’t even know it.”

Citing the example of Pope John Paul II, who died 17 years to the day of the ordination, as an example of someone who let nothing deter his efforts to serve the Lord, Bishop Toups noted how all those called to a vocation to priesthood are uniquely called to the period of history in which they live and then to respond heroically. “We need such heroes for today.”

“You are called to shepherd and feed because our world is starving,” the Bishop continued. “Brothers, first, be good sheep every day and be aware always that Jesus knows you and He loves you. As you turn to Him, the Good Shepherd; listen to His voice in prayer; trust Him to lead you; and then you will be shepherds worthy of the name.”

Following the homily, the men approached Bishop Toups one-by-one, knelt and promised respect and obedience to his Bishop and his successors. To signify humble submission before God, the men then lay prostrate in the sanctuary while the assembly sang the Litany of Saints.

The ordinations were complete after each man again approached the Bishop who imposed his hands on the candidate and proclaimed a prayer of consecration, to confer the Holy Spirit to guide their ministries.

The Deacons then received a stole and dalmatic (the exterior garb of a deacon), signifying the Office of Diaconate and the deacon’s role in the celebration of the Eucharist.

Next, the newly ordained Deacons knelt before the Bishop who presented them with the Book of the Gospels, and said: “Receive the Gospels of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.” The reception of the Book of Gospels is a symbol of their new ministry of proclaiming the Gospel and preaching. The Rite of Ordination concluded with the fraternal kiss of peace.

Deacon Baldarelli, 39, has been studying at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary since 2016. He previously graduated from John Carroll University in Ohio earning a degree in marketing. He worked in sales for 11 years prior to becoming a seminarian for the Diocese of Venice. As a seminarian, he had summer pastoral assignments at Holy Cross Parish in Palmetto and St. Paul Parish in Arcadia, and then completed a pastoral year at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. He said he benefitted from the sage wisdom of each of his priestly mentors.

Deacon Young, 55, has been studying at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary which specializes in formation for later vocations. He served in the U.S. Navy before becoming a law enforcement officer and special/enforcement agent. He later worked as a reentry program case manager for men and women transitioning from the Federal Bureau of Prisons back into society. He earned a degree from John Wesley College in North Carolina and is a former member of a religious community who has now transitioned to candidacy for the Diocesan priesthood. Within the Diocese of Venice, he served pastoral summer assignments at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice.

Please pray for these men as they continue their spiritual journey.

News Briefs for the Week of April 1, 2022

Two to be ordained Transitional Deacon April 2

Diocese of Venice Seminarians Michael Young and Alan Baldarelli Jr. will be ordained to the Transitional Diaconate, along with nine others, at 11 a.m. April 2, 2022, at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Boynton Beach. Young is studying at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts, while Baldarelli is studying at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. Presiding over the ordination is Bishop David Toups of the Diocese of Beaumont. The liturgy will be livestreamed at As newly ordained Transitional Deacons, these men will be assigned to Parishes where they will exercise their ministry in preparation to become priests. Among many duties, they will preach, perform baptisms, witness marriages, as well as preside over wakes and funerals. Please join in praying for Michael and Alan as they take this important step in their vocational journey.

40th Anniversary celebration a success

St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School’s 40th Anniversary Celebration Gala & Auction was a great success in Naples on March 26, 2022. Parents, priests, parishioners, and other supporters attended the event at the Spirit Center of St. Peter the Apostle Parish. It was a fun night of fellowship, dinner, music and dancing with silent and live auctions, and a Call to the Heart to fund a second Kindergarten classroom in the fall. Demand for enrollment at Seton is at an all-time high creating a great need for additional classroom and administrative space. The event raised approximately $200,000 benefiting the school’s ongoing Campus Expansion Program to meet the needs of the many families desiring quality Catholic education for their children. For more information about the school’s expansion plans, visit

Genocide survivor shares story of loss and forgiveness

Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Rwandan genocide survivor and author, was the guest speaker at the annual Faith & Ale – Faith & Wine Joint Event in Lee County at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers on March 24, 2022. Approximately 650 heard Immaculée’s presentation as she shared her amazing story of being a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. In addition to sharing the details of having lost her parents and brothers, her message centered around the topic of faith, hope and forgiveness. Faith & Wine Lee County is a Catholic faith lay-group which unites women of all backgrounds. A related program, Faith & Ale, is a Catholic men’s group and will host its final gathering of the season on April 21 at St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers, for a presentation by Dan Hesse on the topic, “Can Catholic Values Save Capitalism?” Hesse is a retired CEO of AT&T Wireless Services and Sprint. The program begins at 6 p.m., with pizza and refreshments for a $10 donation. Reservations are required – please register online at

History project develops special skills

Second grade students at St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton completed a biography research project on March 25, 2022, which included making a presentation and dressing up as the historical figure they researched. The students also created posters, a wax museum and essays about the person. Among the historical figures chosen were Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Gala supports Cardinal Mooney

Race for the Roses Gala, benefiting Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, was held March 25, 2022, at the Grove in Lakewood Ranch. Supporters dressed in their favorite outfits fit for a day at the Kentucky Derby. Proceeds were targeting the creation of a new science and physics labs. Ginger Judge was this year’s recipient of the School Sister’s of Notre Dame Award for her continuous support of Cardinal Mooney.

Ave Maria students run for gold

The girls track team of Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish came home from the Immokalee Meet on March 23, 2022, with seven gold medals, two silvers, five bronzes and winning the meet overall! The boy’s team did well, too, earning multiple medals and an overall third place team finish. Special recognition goes to Freshman Izzy Meyer who brought home three gold medals. The results are impressive taking into account this is only the second year the school has had a track team.

Care packages for needy

On March 28, 2022, students at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral partnered with the St. Vincent de Paul Society to create “care packages” for the needy of Southwest Florida. The students had been collecting the items for weeks leading up to a packing session. Items included various products that promote personal hygiene.

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Televised Mass

The Diocese of Venice in Florida will air the televised Palm Sunday (April 10) and Easter Sunday (April 17) Masses, each for a full hour. The Masses can be viewed at 9 a.m. on the CW Network in Sarasota, Manatee, Desoto, Charlotte, Hardee and Highland counties, and at 10:30 a.m. on FOX-4 in Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Hendry, Glades and Desoto counties. The Mass is also available on the Diocese of Venice website at

Diocesan-wide Opportunity for Sacrament of Reconciliation

As the Lenten Season progresses, the precept of confessing grave sins and receiving Holy Communion at least once during the Lenten Season merits a reminder to all. To facilitate this requirement, every Parish in the Diocese of Venice will be open with a confessor present from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., on Friday, April 8, and from 9:00 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 9. Check with your local Parish for additional confession times or the availability of a Penance Service. These opportunities are made available so that the faithful may find ample opportunity to receive God’s Mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the Lenten Season.

Chrism Mass April 12

The Diocese of Venice Chrism Mass, which takes place during Holy Week every year, will be held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 12 at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., in Venice. During this Mass, the faithful of the Diocese join the Priests, Deacons and Bishop for the blessing of the Holy Oils which are used in the administration of the Sacraments at each parish throughout the year. Priests and Deacons celebrating 25 and 50 years of Ordination are recognized at this Mass. All are encouraged to attend in support of our clergy and to participate in this important Holy Week celebration.

The 2022 Priest and Deacon Jubilarians are:

  • 50 years – Msgr. Joseph Stearns, Father Adrian Wilde, O. Carm., Father David Foley, and Deacon Ray Barrett.
  • 25 years – Father Hugh McGuigan, OSFS, Father Patrick O’Connor, OSFS, Father Leszek Sikorski, Deacon Henry de Mena, and Deacon Mark Miravalle.

Mass for Victims of Child Abuse

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and in conjunction with the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Diocese of Venice will hold a Mass for Victims of Child Abuse for the 15th consecutive year. The Mass will take place at 8 a.m., Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. The Mass will be live-streamed, and all are welcome to attend as we come together to pray for the victims of abuse.

Seminarian conferred to Ministry of Lector

Joseph Corboy Doherty, a Seminarian of the Diocese of Venice in Florida, was among a group of men who were conferred the Ministry of Lector, Jan. 16, 2022, in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at the Pontifical North American College, Vatican City State.

Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith was the celebrant. Archbishop Di Noia urged the seminarians to take charge of this mission to share the Gospel with others by first internalizing it in their own hearts.

As part of the rite, the Archbishop placed the Holy Scriptures in the hands of each candidate and said, “Take this book of Holy Scripture and be faithful in handing on the word of God, so that it may grow strong in the hearts of His people.”

Doherty, currently in his first year of theological formation for the priesthood, will have three additional years of theological, spiritual, and pastoral formation before being considered for ordination to the priesthood in the Diocese of Venice.

News Briefs for the Week of November 1, 2021

Rite of Candidacy for two seminarians

William Patrick Long and T. Gregory Dougherty received Candidacy for the Orders of Diaconate and Priesthood at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts on Oct. 27, 2021. Most Rev. Timothy Broglio, Archbishop of the Military Service USA, presided over the Rite for nine seminarians including Long and Dougherty. During the Rite, each man publicly expressed his intention to embrace the formation process for Holy Orders and stated his resolve to fully invest himself to that end. The men will continue in their studies to become Catholic priests.

40 Days for Life ends with Jericho walk

The fall 40 Days for Life prayer campaign to end abortion in the United States came to an end on Oct. 30, 2021 with a symbolic Jericho Walk in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in downtown Sarasota. The Sarasota walk has concluded with the evening walk at sunset for the past several years as supporters gather walk silently around the building until sunset. The evening included prayers and encouragement that the battle for life does not end but continues until all unborn children are saved. The 40 Days for Life fall campaign evening walk started Sept. 22and local local vigils took place in Sarasota and Fort Myers joining similar prayer vigils at cities around the world.

Catholic Medical Association Guild board meets with Bishop

Leadership of the Southwest Florida Guild of the Catholic Medical Association met with Bishop Frank J. Dewane on Oct. 28, 2021 at the Catholic Center in Venice. The leadership provided Bishop Dewane with their annual report on their latest activities.

Cathedral Concert Series resumes

The Epiphany Cathedral Concert Series returned Oct. 28, 2021 with a presentation from the Mirage Piano Trio, with works by Debussy, Bach and Mendelssohn. The next offering is in the planning stages. To learn more call 941-484-3505 or visit

Students visit college to learn about panthers

After completing a section of their science class about the Florida panther, fourth grade students from St. Ann Catholic School in Naples took a field trip to visit the Panther Posse at Florida Gulf Coast University in Estero. There the students learned from wildlife experts about the big cats who are native to the area and are an endangered species because of human interaction and encroachment into their habitat. They learned how important they panther is to the delicate balance of nature throughout south Florida.

Students learn how to handle flag from veterans

Eighth-grade students at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples took part in flag training on Oct. 26, 2021. Members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post showed the students how to handle the American Flag from unfolding it, raising on a flagpole, and then properly folding it afterwards. As school leaders it is important for the eight graders to know the proper procedure for handling the flag and to learn from experts, military veterans.

Freshmen retreat held in Sarasota

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Senior Peer Ministry class hosted the freshmen retreat “Made in God’s Image” on Oct. 26, 2021 in Sarasota. It was a wonderful day of prayer and bonding with classmates.

Students monitor the weather

Second grade students at St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring took on the task of building rain gauges using limited resources and materials on Oct. 28, 2021. The gauges use a basic design using the bottom of a 2-litter plastic bottle to monitor the rain and temperature. This is part on an ongoing STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum at the school for students of all ages.

Seminarian ordained as Transitional Deacon

Diocese of Venice Seminarian Christian Chami took a major step toward his dream of becoming a priest when he was ordained to the Transitional Diaconate during a Mass Sept. 30, 2021 at the Altar of the Chair of St. Peter, in the Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican.

Celebrated by Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., the ordination of 20 men from the Pontifical North American College is one of the final steps toward priesthood.

Present for the ordination were Deacon Chami’s immediate family and a few from his extended family. Also present in Rome was Bishop Frank J. Dewane who was one of the principle concelebrants; Father Alexander Pince (ordained in July 2021 and is completing his studies in Rome); as well as Diocesan Seminarians Daniel Scanlan (the cross-bearer for the Ordination Mass) and Joseph Doherty who are both studying at the Pontifical North American College.

Deacon Chami, 28, was born in Montreal, Canada, and was raised in Naples, and is a graduate of Florida State University where he first heard the call for a vocation to the priesthood.

“It popped up once at 17, but I really didn’t want to be a priest then, and the Lord also gave me a grace to wait,” Deacon Chami said. “I was well formed by the Brotherhood of Hope at Florida State, a religious order which runs the Catholic Student Union. They taught me how to pray with Scripture, pray silently, and how to properly discern.”

He became a seminarian for the Diocese of Venice in 2016, first attending St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami before being selected to get his advanced studies at the Pontifical North American College. There he earned a degree in sacred theology from Pontifical Gregorian University and is working on his license in sacramental theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm.

During the ordination, the new Deacons promised to live a life of prayer, celibacy, and obedience to their Diocesan Bishops. The new Deacons will have an additional year of theological studies and spiritual formation before being ordained to the priesthood in their home Dioceses. As part of the ordination rite, the Bishop placed the Book of Gospels in the hands of each candidate being ordained and said: “Receive the Gospels of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”

In his homily, Cardinal Gregory pointed out that although the first Deacons of the Church did not have to go through years of formation and pass exams in Scripture, Moral Theology, Church History, and Liturgy, Deacons then as now were required to “demonstrate by their lives that they were men of integrity, responsibility, holiness, and trustworthiness.” He emphasized that “public ministerial office for people of Faith is no casual undertaking – for the ancients and most certainly not for us.” With that in mind, he affirmed that the Church has always held its clergy to high standards of holiness and personal responsibility. The Cardinal added that a Deacon must be “a man of charity, (with) real and heartfelt compassion and concern for the poor, the neglected and the marginalized members of our world. A Deacon without a heart for charity will be a hollow and worthless son.”

Deacon Chami said that he was mostly at “peace with the ordination, but every once in a while, the weight of ordination would make itself felt. I mean, our Faith is a mystery, so the reception of such a weighty Sacrament in the Diaconate which is the confirmation of a man by sacred orders to Christ’s servanthood is pretty heavy. Thankfully I know the Good Lord will do the heavy lifting.”

Since joining the Diocese as a seminarian, Deacon Chami has served pastoral assignments at St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs, Incarnation Parish in Sarasota, Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish in Bradenton and St. Francis Xavier Parish in Fort Myers.

Please pray for Deacon Chami and each of the Diocese of Venice Seminarians who continue in discerning their vocation and formation for the priesthood.

Catholic News Service contributed information to the report.

Diocesan Seminarians focus on goal


That is what each of the 16 Diocese of Venice seminarians has in common: they said “Yes!” by answering a specific call from the Lord to serve.

The group gathered for the annual Convocation, a multi-day retreat which allows time for reflection and fellowship, from Aug. 2-5, 2021, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass for the men on Aug. 4, the Feast of St. John Vianney, Patron of Parish priests.

As they progress in their own discernment, Bishop Dewane said each seminarian must open themselves up to the grace of the Holy Spirit and allow the Spirit to shape them. “This can be accomplished by making yourselves vulnerable. It lets you experience the grace and hear what the Holy Spirit has to say to you. This can be achieved through time spent with the Lord.”

That time, either through Adoration, contemplative prayer, etc., will allow the individual to learn the language of the Holy Spirit and better understand what the Lord wants, the Bishop continued. “Don’t stop listening. Don’t stop paying attention. Don’t stop seeking that spirit of discernment in your life.”

One way to remain open to the Holy Spirit is through encounters with others in ones life, the Bishop continued. Building upon a theme from the Gospel reading of the day which was about the miracle with the Canaanite woman.

Bishop Dewane noted how it would have been easy for Jesus to dismiss the Canaanite woman when she begs Jesus to help her tormented daughter who was possessed by a demon. The disciples even ask Jesus to send her away, but Jesus does not and ultimately recognizes her faith and heals the daughter.

“The Lord puts people into your path,” the Bishop continued. “Don’t dismiss them, don’t make a judgement. Jesus had lots of Marys and Marthas who followed Him and supported Him, but it is the others that helped to define who the Lord was in this world. Such encounters with these others must define you.”

Following the Mass, Bishop Dewane had a meal with the group, including four new seminarians.

The multi-day retreat occurs at the end of summer as a time of prayer and reflection before each man returns to his respective seminary. During the week they heard from retreat leader Father Rich Pagano, a priest from the Diocese of St. Augustine.

With the group assigned to four different seminaries, the Convocation offered the opportunity for those early in their formation process to hear from those who are further along. This mentoring helps build the bond amongst the group and helps everyone understand that the discernment process is not only done in the classroom but through the entire experience in seminary, during Parish assignments as well as in their personal life.

A special treat for the group was that they had just witnessed the Ordination to the Priesthood of Fathers Mark Harris and Alexander Pince on July 31. Both new priests spoke to the group during the week offering words of encouragement and inspiration.

Please pray for our seminarians as they return to their respective seminaries and continue in discerning their vocation and formation for the priesthood.

Diocese of Venice Seminarians are supported through the Diocese Catholic Faith Appeal, the Knights of Columbus and the generosity of the faithful.

Parishioners from around the Diocese are encouraged to help support the seminarians in their studies and choice of vocation through prayer and financial assistance. Donations may be sent to: Diocese of Venice, Office of Vocations, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285.

For more information about the seminarians or Vocations, contact Father Shawn Roser at or 941-486-4720, or visit

List of Diocese of Venice Seminarians

Name, year, school

Transitional Deacon Jose Grullon – St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boynton Beach;

Transitional Deacon David Portorreal – St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary;

Alan Baldarelli – St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary;

Christian Chami – Pontifical North American College Seminary, Rome, Italy;

Juan Contreras – St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary; (Pastoral Year)

Andres Cordero – St. John Vianney College Seminary, Miami;

Michael Courville – St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary;

Joseph Doherty – Pontifical North American College Seminary;

Thomas Gregory (Greg) Dougherty – Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary, Weston, Massachusetts;

James Gates – St. John Vianney College Seminary;

Jacob Gwynn – Theology II – St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary;

William Patrick (Pat) Long – Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary;

Alejandro Giraldo Roldan – St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary; (Pastoral Year)

Carlos Rodriguez – St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary;

Daniel Scanlan – Pontifical North American College Seminary;

Michael Young – Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary.

Two join Presbyterate – Ordination draws large crowd

In a public response to a “call to holiness,” Transitional Deacons Mark Harris and Alexander Pince were ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on July 31, 2021 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice as more than 500 people rejoiced.

The newly ordained responded to a particular call in their life and evidenced their response in a profound way by coming forward for ordination. The two men reflected afterwards about the powerful emotion of the moment that brought about an inner calm. They also expressed the genuine joy and love for the Lord they each witness.

The poignant and emotional Rite places Fathers Harris and Pince in a new role as they are raised to the Order of the Presbyterate where they will now celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, confer the Sacraments and teach the Gospel.

Bishop Dewane congratulated the ordinandi for answering the call to holiness and advancing in their formation through prayer, discernment, guidance and direction. This helped them grow closer to the Lord while at the same time reminded each they are called to reflect and magnify Christ and bring others closer to the Lord.

Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, a priest is transformed and marked indelibly as an instrument through which others receive the Sacraments, Bishop Dewane added. It is through ordination that Harris and Pince have a new beginning, configured to Christ.

“Let the holiness of your life be an example to the People of God; to those you encounter,” Bishop added. “Let it be evident that you are a holy man – live the life the Lord calls you to be – to be holy.”

Bishop Dewane concluded his remarks explaining to Harris and Pince, “Holy Mother Church reminds you that you do this while united to the Body of Christ. Know that nobody can do this alone. It is not always easy. At some times you will be a bit fearful as was stated in our first reading from the Prophet Jeremiah. At other times you will feel a little bit imprisoned by this as our second reading from St. Paul noted. But pause and remember the Scriptures read on this day and know that it is the Lord who has chosen you. That you are living the life, the gift, the sacrament, that the Lord has given to you. May you be blessed always as you go forward.”

When the Rite of Ordination began, the elect were called forth by Father Shawn Roser, Diocesan Vocations Director, and upon hearing their names, each stood and answered “Present.” After the homily, individually, the ordinand knelt before the Bishop so as to promise respect and obedience to him and his successors. They then prostrated before the altar for the Litany of Supplication/Litany of Saints. The whole assembly joined in the prayer which invoked God’s Grace and the intercession of the Saints in heaven.

The Bishop then laid his hands on the head of each man and prayed silently. Next was the Prayer of Ordination. These combine to form an essential part of the Liturgy of the Sacrament of Holy Orders

Next, the newly ordained priests were vested in the stole and chasuble, vestments which are worn when celebrating the Eucharist and symbolize their responsibility and authority in service to Christ. Father Harris was vested by Father Jerry Kaywell, Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Punta Gorda. Father Pince was vested by Msgr. Roberto Garza, former Rector of St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami.

The palms of the new priests were then anointed with the Sacred Chrism by Bishop Dewane, the sign of the special anointing of the Holy Spirit who will make their ministry fruitful. Next, the Bishop presented each new priest with the chalice and paten which they are called to present to God in the Eucharistic sacrifice saying: “Receive the oblation of the holy people, to be offered to God. Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s Cross.” He repeated this commission, once each for the newly ordained priests.

The Rite of Ordination ended with the Bishop giving a fraternal kiss of peace to each newly ordained priest, welcoming them into the Diocesan Presbyterate or priesthood. The priests present then followed the Bishop’s example. The newly ordained then joined Bishop Dewane at the altar to the applause and joy of all present.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist then followed. The new priests joined all the priests for the first time in concelebrating the Eucharist with Bishop Dewane, reciting together the words of Consecration. For the first time, they offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, acting in the person of Christ. From this sacrifice their whole priestly ministry will draw its strength.

During the ordination, Deacons Harris and Pince freely presented themselves to serve God, the Church and the Bishop of the Diocese of Venice, and his successors. They also made a promise to celibacy and a promise to obedience. The reward for that choice is to have their life filled with the message of God.

In addition to family and friends, also present at the ordination were more than 50 priests, men and women religious, permanent deacons, the Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.

The Ordination Mass was followed by a reception in the Cathedral Parish Hall where the newly ordained priests were available to greet the public and impart their priestly blessings on them.

Bios of the new priests

Father Harris, 54, was born in Miami and spent his childhood alternating between living in Florida and Connecticut. He earned degrees in Commercial Art and then Business Marketing and Management from Florida Metropolitan University, before earning a Master’s in Education from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., and worked at interior design, marketing, career development and teaching.

Becoming a seminarian in 2017, Father Harris studied at St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts where he graduated in May 2021. He previously served summer assignments at Epiphany Cathedral, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice and Resurrection Parish in Fort Myers. His first Mass was celebrated Aug. 1 at Sacred Heart Parish in Punta Gorda and his first assignment is as Parochial Vicar of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples.

Father Pince, 30, was born in Concord, New Hampshire, to a large family and is the middle of seven children. He graduated from Ave Maria University in Ave Maria with majors in business and economics and worked for a few years before answering the call of service to the Lord.

During the summer of 2015, Deacon Pince started as a Diocesan seminarian with studies at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami, earning a philosophy degree. He then studied in Rome, Italy, earning a Sacred Theology Bachelor’s Degree (STB) from the Gregorian University. He will soon be entering the second year of a two-year Licentiate program specializing in moral theology at the University of the Holy Cross in Rome. His summer assignments included Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostle Parish in Bradenton, Resurrection Parish in Fort Myers, St. William Parish in Naples, St. Thomas More Parish in Sarasota and St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral. He will serve as Temporary Parochial Vicar at St. Andrew Parish before returning to Rome to complete his studies.

Large family grounds future priest

The middle of seven children, 30-year-old Transitional Deacon Alexander Pince had two people, his mother and an uncle who is a Diocesan priest, who were strong witnesses of Faith, ultimately inspiring him to choose a vocation to the priesthood.

“I was blessed to have been given the Faith from my parents (David and Margaret Pince), and from when I was a child, my mom took us to daily Mass,” Deacon Pince explained of his life growing up in Concord, New Hampshire, with a very large extended family with dozens of first cousins. “That habit continued through my high school years. I started altar serving after my first Communion at the age of six, and I looked up to our Parish priest, who earnestly cautioned me: ‘altar serving isn’t kid stuff.’”

His uncle, a Diocesan priest for the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont, visited the Pince family on his days off bringing the human side of a relatable priest. As a child he would play the role of the priest with his siblings as the congregation. He jokingly remembers his mother’s insistence that he use a pretzel as a pretend host, and to call it a “pretzel” to avoid any unintentional blasphemy.

Homeschooled with a Catholic curriculum through high school, then college years attending Ave Maria University earning degrees in business and economics, Deacon Pince pushed the idea of becoming a priest to the back of his mind.

During the years after college, while working in finance and then at Ave Maria University, he described as “the Lord’s gentle yet consistent invitation to follow Him as a priest… because the Lord was quite persistent. The breaking moment came in May of 2015 when I went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France. During those days, His call was so clear that I gratefully relented and decided to enter seminary.”

Deacon Pince explained that his spiritual journey may sound like a life sentence in prison to someone who doesn’t understand. “But, on the contrary, this decision was a moment of profound relief and grace because it began the fulfillment of the deepest longing of my heart.”

Without ever looking back, Deacon Pince opted to pursue his vocation to the priesthood with the Diocese of Venice, noting the choice of where to enter was easy. “I loved my time as a student at Ave Maria and loved the area. But even more than that, I was living in the Diocese when the vocational call became very tangible. I actually believe that I was called to serve as a priest for this Diocese.”

Transitional Deacons Pince and Mark Harris have both answered that call to a vocation to the priesthood and will be ordained by Bishop Frank J. Dewane at 11 a.m., Saturday, July 31, 2021 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

During the summer of 2015 Deacon Pince started as a Diocesan seminarian with a Spanish immersion course in Guatemala followed by studies at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami where he earned a philosophy degree. He then went on to study in Rome, Italy, and earned a Sacred Theology Bachelor’s Degree (STB) from the Gregorian University. He will soon be entering the second year of a two-year Licentiate program in Rome at the University of the Holy Cross in Moral Theology.

While a seminarian for the Diocese, he served summer pastoral assignments at Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostle Parish in Bradenton, Resurrection Parish in Fort Myers, St. William Parish in Naples, St. Thomas More Parish in Sarasota and St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral. He also spent a summer at a pilgrimage center in Jerusalem, Israel.

As the July 31 ordination approaches, Deacon Pince said he cannot wait to celebrate Mass, and noted that he is very humbled at the prospect of becoming an instrument of God’s Mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Asked about what type of priest he hopes to be, he answered, “When it comes down to it, I simply want to be a priest that is faithful to Christ and the Church, and to do what Jesus asks of me. I’d like for people to see Christ in me, and to live out my priesthood generously and joyfully.”

Please pray for Deacons Pince and Harris as they approach their priestly ordination.


All are invited to attend the Ordination. Afterwards, there will be a reception will in the Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall. If you are unable to attend, the Mass will be livestreamed at 11 a.m. July 31 through the Epiphany Cathedral Facebook page at (you do not need to register to view the ordination).


To read the previously published profile of Deacon Mark Harris, please visit

News Briefs for the week of April 23 2021

“A Seminarian Story” ninth installment available

The Diocese of Venice in Florida Office of Vocations launched a video series titled, “A Seminarian Story,” to celebrate the 16 Seminarians currently in formation for the Diocese. The first eight videos have been released and more will follow approximately every few weeks. The most recent video features Seminarian Jacob Gwynn who is in formation at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. Developed with the assistance of the Diocese Communications Department, the goal of the series is to inspire others to follow in the path to the priesthood or religious life, as well as encourage the faithful to continue to support the seminarians as they continue their formation process at different seminaries. “A Seminarian Story” featuring Jacob Gwynn can be found at

Online fundraiser to support Our Mother’s House

Honor your mother, daughter, sister, friend, or someone who has been like a mother to you with a gift that will help homeless mothers and their children. Our Mother’s House of Catholic Charities provides a safe environment for residents to achieve self-sufficiency through education, vocational training, and personal growth. This year they are holding their annual Mother’s Day fundraiser so everyone can help a needy mother succeed. To support Our Mother’s House please visit

Cardinal Mooney Girls Track win Districts for first time in 26 years

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Girls Track and Field team are District Champs for the first time in 26 years. The Sarasota team won on April 15, taking the top spot in multiple disciplines including shot put, discus, javelin, triple jump, pole vault and 4×400 relay. Just one day earlier, the Mooney Girls Beach Volley team became Regional Champs. The Lady Cougars beat Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers and then Bradenton Christian on April 14 for the regional title. With the title comes an automatic berth to the State Championship tournament field of 12 teams on May 1. Congratulations to all!

Science students learn how to help in emergencies

Students in the Principles of Biomedical Science class at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers recently worked together in small groups to learn how to stop an uncontrolled bleed during their Emergencies Unit. They had three minutes to control different types of bleeding by either applying compression or by packing the wound and then compression. They ended the lesson by learning to control a bleed using a tourniquet as well as to clamp and legate an artery.



Pre-K-4 students attend “drive-in” movie

Students at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral recently attended a drive-in movie. Their fancy cars were creative and amazing as each student created their own cars with designs ranging from sports cars to superhero vehicles.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Workshop

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, Directors of Religious Education, Youth Ministers, Principals and Teachers how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. The course will be held on April 29, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, and on May 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish, 833 Magellan Drive, Sarasota. Advanced registration is required, and the cost is $25. Visit for registration. The cost includes the book, lunch and certificate of completion.

Porn: Seven Myths Exposed event May 4

The porn industry has taken our culture hostage! The Diocese of Venice Family Life Office is hosting an event at 6:30 p.m., May 4, 2021 at the Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall, 399 Sarasota St., Venice, to address and educate teens, parents and all others on the tyranny of pornography in our society. Matt Fradd is the speaker who has authored and coauthored several books, and creates and hosts the podcast, “Pints with Aquinas”. There is no cost to attend. For further information, please contact Carrie Harkey at or 941-484-9543.

Stepping into Marriage with Children

Did you know 60 percent of second marriages fail and the failure rate increases to 70 percent when there are children from a previous marriage in the home. The difficulties of parenting and stepparenting seemingly insurmountable are often the root cause of such failures. A free half day workshop, organized by the Diocese Office of Family Life, entitled “Stepping into Marriage with Children” is designed for those couples beginning or currently in a stepfamily situation, and will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, May 15, 2021 at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. This workshop takes a realistic look at blended families and offers strategies and tools to meet unique challenges. There is no cost to attend but registration is required at For further information please contact Carrie Harkey at or 941-484-9543.

Year of the Family

On March 19, 2021, the fifth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, on the joy and beauty of familial love, Pope Francis inaugurated the year “Amoris Laetitia Family” which will conclude on June 26, 2022 on the occasion of the next World Meeting of Families in Rome. When announced, the Dicastery said in a statement, “The Pandemic experience has highlighted the central role of the family as the domestic Church and has shown the importance of community ties between families”. To learn more about the effort and the initiatives occurring in the Diocese of Venice during this commemorative year visit

Seminarian commissioned into U.S. Navy

Diocese of Venice Seminarian Jacob C. Gwynn was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy on Jan. 22, 2021, at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach.

Ensign Gwynn is currently in his first year of theology studying at the Seminary on a path to be ordained a priest of the Diocese of Venice. He is also a co-sponsored seminarian with the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. The commissioning as an officer begins his career with the Navy as a Chaplain Candidate Program Officer (CCPO) as he pursues serving God and country as a Chaplain. He will continue his course of studies while devoting some time during his summers to train with the military.

The ceremony took place in the Seminary Chapel with a limited audience due to COVID-19 Pandemic precautions but did included members of Gwynn’s family.

Ens. Gwynn spoke after his commissioning and expressed his joy and gratitude for being able to embark on this dual journey of becoming a priest while at the same time serving his country as a Navy Chaplain.

“Growing up, from when I can recollect my first memory, I always wanted to be a priest,” Ens. Gwynn said. “Along with discerning the priesthood, I kept the military as a possibility.”

His family is well represented in the military with his grandfather serving in the U.S. Coast Guard and his father in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, while he has cousins currently enrolled in service academies.

“My greatest inspiration comes from Msgr. Joseph Ferraro who I had the privilege to know most of my life,” Gwynn explained of the priest who served more than 50 years, 30 as a U.S. Navy Chaplain before retiring to assist at Parishes in Manatee County. “Monsignor Joe is my hero and mentor who inspired me to pursue this path God has called me on.”

The Commissioning Ceremony included the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of the National Anthem, and afterwards the singing of the Navy Hymn. U.S. Air Force Reserve Col. Father Gregg Caggianelli, who is on the Seminary faculty and is a priest of the Diocese of Venice, offered the opening prayer. Navy Talent Acquisition Group Miami Cmdr. Sean Foster administered the Oath of Office.

In the future, Ens. Gwynn will be attending Officer Development School (ODS) which is located in Newport, Rhode Island. ODS is a program that is designed to provide newly commissioned Navy officers with the basic information of Naval culture.

Meanwhile, Ens. Gwynn will continue his usual formation and course of studies at seminary for the Diocese of Venice. He will also be working with the Chaplain Candidate Program to fulfill his training obligations for the Navy.

Cmdr. Foster congratulated Ens. Gwynn upon his commissioning and for choosing a path as a Navy Chaplain, which has a rich tradition of service and counsel for the sailors and soldiers of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. “It is an important and exciting job. A job the Navy relies on to make sure people maintain a relationship with God.”

In the future, Ens. Gwynn expects to be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Venice. In his first years following ordination he will serve as a priest in the Diocese with an expectation to serve in the Navy as a active duty Chaplain for at least five years.