Seminarians ordained Transitional Deacon

José Grullón and David Portorreal 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 17, 2021 when they were ordained Transitional Deacon.

Deacons Grullón and Portorreal were among nine ordained at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Boca Raton by Most Rev. William A. Wack, CSC, Bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee. The men, from different Dioceses across Florida, are currently studying at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach.

Deacon Grullón said he was thrilled about the Ordination, acknowledging how it is only the end of one stage in his priestly formation which is opening many different opportunities of service to the Lord that come with this new ministry.

“Priestly ministry is all about relating to the Lord and translating that experience daily in a way that the people of God are also inspired to grow closer in their relationship with Him,” the new Deacon added. “I love being able to serve the people in different capacities: service in itself is a way in which I encounter the Lord through others.”

For Deacon Portorreal, the experience of Ordination was both exciting and surreal. “Time is flying by and there’s so much to learn, but I’m grateful. I look forward to serving the People of God to the best of my ability.”

As he continues in his studies and discernment, Deacon Portorreal prays that he will become a loving, compassionate, competent, and holy priest who is present to the faithful.

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 Wack explained how Jesus Christ is revealed in them and through them. “Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh, is present to us in word and sacrifice. Now, He calls you to be bearers of the word and servants of the Gospel.”

In their promise of celibacy, Bishop Wack said they are single heartedly devoted to God and His Church. While this commitment may seem strange to outsiders, it allows them to open up to others in a very radical way and thoroughly joyful way. Later, when they prostrate themselves on the floor before the altar, in the midst of their family and friends, it is a sign of complete surrender and obedience.

“I’m sure you join me as you marvel not so much as what you are doing today but what God is doing to you,” Bishop Wack continued. “This is about what God is doing in you. We celebrate God’s work in you and through you today. The Spirit conforms you more fully to Christ, the One who came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for the many… You may ask, how can I know the Lord, experience His presence, or know God loves me. You are God’s answer to those questions – Here I am, send me.”

Following the homily, the men approached Bishop Wack 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 as a symbol of their new ministry of proclaiming the Gospel and preaching. The Rite of Ordination concluded with the kiss of peace.

Deacon Grullón, 33, was born and raised in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. He earned university degrees in business in the Dominican Republic and worked in a financial institution as a credit analyst. Born a Baptist, Deacon Grullón entered the Catholic Church in 2012 having been inspired by studying the history of Christianity. Once a Catholic, he began serving in his local Parish in different capacities, participating daily in the Eucharist, and the example of hard-working priests made him consider the priesthood. He studied philosophy at Pedro Francisco Bonó Institute in Santo Domingo, which is affiliated to the Pontifical Gregorian University that conferred his degree.

It was in 2017 when Deacon Grullón entered the United States to study at St. Vincent De Paul Regional Seminary for the Diocese of Venice. As a seminarian, Deacon Grullón has had pastoral assignments at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish in LaBelle and Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, as well as assisting at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples during other breaks from school.

Deacon Portorreal, 49, grew up in Ohio attending Jesuit-run Catholic schools in Cleveland before entering film school at Florida State University. He moved to Los Angeles to try to break into the film industry trying to sell screenplays, get acting jobs and even tried his hand as writer/director. The seeds of a priestly vocation were planted in grade school and as the years passed there was a growing restlessness that the Ministerial Priesthood was what God wanted in his life.

Initial studies for priesthood for Deacon Portorreal began for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles at St. John Seminary in Camarilla, California, but his parents are retired in Florida and so he transferred to become a seminarian within the Diocese of Venice. As a seminarian, Deacon Portorreal has had pastoral assignments at St. William Parish in Naples and St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs.

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

News Briefs for the week of April 16, 2021

2 Diocesan Seminarians to be ordained Transitional Deacons April 17

Diocese of Venice Seminarians José Grullón and David Portorreal are among a group of nine who will be ordained as Transitional Deacons at 11 a.m., April 17, 2021 at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. His Excellency, Bishop William A. Wack, CSC, Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, will ordain the men and the liturgy will be livestreamed at from St. Joan of Arc Parish in Boca Raton. As newly ordained Deacons, these men will be assigned to Parishes where they will exercise their ministry in preparation to become priests in the following year. Among many duties, they will preach, perform baptisms, witness marriages, as well as preside over wakes and funerals.

Cape Coral students at state competition

A team of seven St. Andrew Catholic School students from Cape Coral competed on March 13, 2021 in the Florida Odyssey of the Mind State Competition at the Orlando Convention Center. The team took the judges to a magical storybook land by building a life-sized magical beanstalk which appeared to grow using a combination of springs, magnets, and an intricate pulley system.  They proudly took 4th place in the State Finals and will be moving on to compete in The Odyssey of the Mind World Finals which will take place in Orlando in the upcoming months. These students began preparing their solution in September of 2020 and have worked hard throughout the course of the 2020-2021 school year. Team members were: Addison Baker, Kiley Lebid, Ryan Peterson, Ellianna Trunkett, Ana Cerna, Laura Cerna and Isabella Smith.

Evangelizing Catechesis: Survey of the new Directory for Catechesis

The Diocese Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation is offering an online course surveying the new how-to guide, the Directory for Catechesis, published by the Vatican in 2020. This new edition of the Directory emphasizes how to incorporate evangelization throughout the entire process of catechesis. This course is for Directors and Coordinators of Religious Education, catechists, schoolteachers, adult faith formators, RCIA teams, parents — anyone who teaches the Faith. Co-teachers of the course are Dr. John Gresham, Director of the Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation, Anne Chrzan, Director of Religious Education for the Diocese of Venice, and Joshua Mazrin, Director of Evangelization for the Diocese of Venice. The six-week course starts April 19, 2021. There is a $25 fee to take the course. Visit the Institute website for more information and to register at or contact the director for more information:

Marriage Prep Retreat for Couples over 55 coming soon

The Office of Family Life is hosting a one-day sacramental marriage preparation retreat for those couples over 55 years of age who are preparing for marriage or convalidation, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., April 24, 2021 at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1301 Center Road, Venice. Lunch is included. The program builds an appreciation for the joy of Sacramental Marriage while offering insight and tools to address the unique challenges and responsibilities. Registration is required at

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

Tele-Mental Health Counseling Services available

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc. is offering Mental Health Counseling for adults and children provided by licensed mental health therapists. If you or someone you know are feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, depressed or helpless, Catholic Charities can help. For more information, please call 239-455-2655.

Vaccines for Homebound Seniors

Seniors and/or their caregivers can sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in their home by sending their request by email to Also, Senior Friendship Centers (Sarasota, Venice, Fort Myers and Arcadia) has organized a program to connect seniors with volunteers who can drive them to their scheduled vaccine appointment. Anyone needing a ride to their vaccination appointment should contact Lillian Cleveland, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 941-556-3223 or The above is for information purposes only and are independent programs. Inquiries should be directed to the email/phone numbers for each program.

News Briefs for the week of Feb. 10, 2021

Men’s Conference Feb. 20 in Fort Myers

There is still time to register for the 2021 Diocese of Venice Men’s Conference on Feb. 20, at Bishop Verot Catholic High School, 5598 Sunrise Drive, Fort Myers. Featured speakers include Patrick Madrid and Joel Stepanek. Madrid hosts the “Patrick Madrid Show” radio program on Relevant Radio each weekday, is the author of 26 books, including “Why be Catholic?” and is a research fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Studies. Stepanek is also an author and the Vice President of Parish Services for Life Teen International where he guides several teams that support Catholic parishes in creating and sustaining vibrant youth ministries that form passionate Catholic evangelists and disciples. The Conference is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (doors open at 8 a.m.) with Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. Confession will be available all day. For more information or to register visit

“A Seminarian Story” seventh 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 seven videos have been released and more will follow approximately every few weeks. The most recent video is about Seminarian Alan Baldarelli who is in formation at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach and is currently serving a Pastoral Year at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. 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 David Alan Baldarelli can be found at

Order of Malta holds retreat

The Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta took part in a retreat which began with Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on Feb. 5, 2021 at St. Ann Parish in Naples. The retreat was led by Father George Ratzmann, Pastor of St. William Parish in Naples.

40 Days for Life begins Ash Wednesday

Join other Christians from Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17 through March 28, for the spring 40 Days for Life campaign. This Campaign encompasses 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion. Stand and peacefully pray during vigils in the public right-of-way outside Planned Parenthood in Fort Myers or Sarasota. For more information, go to and click on the location nearest you.

Migrant Care Grants deadline Feb. 28

Grant requests for funding of projects in 2021 are available from the Foundation for the Care of the Migrant Poor now and need to be submitted no later than Feb. 28, 2021. To be considered by the Board of Directors for a Grant, the project must clearly be seen as a service to the migrant poor or new immigrants. Preference will be given to those projects under Catholic auspices. Applications can be submitted by going to the Foundation page on the Diocese website at

Ash Wednesday Day of Prayer

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat and Spirituality Center, 3989 S. Moon Drive, Venice, is offering its Monthly Day of Prayer on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. The day begins at 9:30 a.m. and includes two conferences, a simple lunch, Eucharistic Adoration, Mass with distribution of ashes, and opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation in a safe, tranquil setting along the Myakka River. For more information or to register, please call 941-486-0233 ext. 3004, or visit the website at and click on “Schedule of Events.”




Seminarians end summer united in Christ

The seminarians of the Diocese of Venice have had an eventful past five months, but they are now returning to their respective seminaries after having gathered as a group one last time this summer.

The group has a story to tell having had their spring semester disrupted by a global pandemic. Many have had to go through quarantine at some point during that period. In fact, quarantine is again necessary as they return to seminary either in Miami; Boynton Beach; Rome, Italy; or Weston, Mass.

“It’s what we have to do,” explained Juan Contreras as he prepared to return to St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. “The experience of the past few months has brought me closer to the Lord. These are scary times, but whether at school, or at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish (in Naples) for my summer assignment, relying on Christ to guide me has brought great comfort.”

The annual Seminarian Convocation took place Aug. 10-12, 2020 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center and included time for prayer, reflection and preparation for the next step in their spiritual journey. The retreat was led by Father Michael Nixon, Pastor of St. Dominic Parish in Panama City, Fla.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane visited the seminarians several times during the Convocation, including celebrating Mass on Aug. 12, 2020. At that time, Bishop Dewane complimented the seminarians for their continued discernment for a vocation to the priesthood noting that they must themselves continue to answer the question posed by Christ to the Apostles: “Who do you say that I am?” (Mt 16:15)

“As you are about to go off to your respective seminaries to live in community vis-à-vis the pandemic; I pray that somehow that six feet apart means that you come closer together in the heart, one to the other,” Bishop Dewane said. “You are called to do this.”

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.

The group witnessed the priestly ordination of one of their own in June 2020, and another was ordained a Transitional Deacon in April 2020. In addition, before returning to seminary, Seminarian Alexander Pince will also be ordained to the Transitional Diaconate.

Bishop Dewane will preside over the ordination of Pince at 11 a.m., Aug. 29, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. The ordination was originally scheduled for Oct. 1, 2020 in Rome, but the date was changed to allow more of his friends and family to attend. The ordination is open to the public and reception will follow in the Cathedral Parish Hall.

Born in Concord, N.H., Pince is the fourth of seven children and a graduate of Ave Maria University. He credits his choice of vocation to his uncle, a priest in Burlington, Vermont, who was his role model from an early age.

“The changes from the end of the year, when we left Italy in the middle of the semester, then moving the ordination have strengthened my resolve to become a priest. I allow the graces of the Holy Spirit to continue to guide me on this path,” Pince explained. “The change was at first disappointing, but if I waited until October, no one would have been there. Having it here, in the Diocese, will allow my family and friends to be present and that is a true blessing.”

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


Diocese of Venice Seminarians

Deacon Mark Harris

Alan Baldarelli

Christian Chami

Juan Contreras

Joseph Doherty

James Gates Jr.

José Grullon

Jacob Gwynn

Peirrot Lazarre

Nathaniel Nieves

Alexander Pince

David Portorreal

Carlos Rodriguez

Alejandro Roldan

Daniel Scanlan

Michael Young


Prayer for Vocations

God our Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as priests, deacons, religious, and consecrated persons. Send your Holy Spirit to help us respond generously and courageously to your call. May our community of faith support vocations of sacrificial love in our youth. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


News briefs for the week of May 11 2020

Seminarians graduate

Deacon Franckel Fils Aime graduated from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach on May 7, 2020, while Seminarian Jacob Gywnn graduated May 5, 2020, from St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami. Deacon Fils Aime will soon be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Venice while Gwynn will be given a pastoral assignment at a Parish within the Diocese for the summer. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both graduations were low-key events with minimal participation and no family present.

May Crownings

St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish hosted a May Crowning on May 10, 2020, Mother’s Day, on Longboat Key. Social distancing protocals were in place as some sitting in their vehicles, others of chairs.

In a time of social distancing the traditional May Crownings have taken on a different form this year. St. Joseph Catholic School students Wesley and Cecilia were able to honor Mary on May 2, 2020, for an unofficial May Crowning at the St. Bernard Catholic Church grotto in Holmes Beach. On May 10, 2020, Father Robert Dziedziak, Pastor of St. Mary, Star of the Sea Parish on Longboat Key, led a May Crowning prayer service in the Parish prayer garden with the faithful able to be present while still maintaining appropriate social distancing.

These two St. Joseph Catholic School students from Brandenton pray during a May Crowning at St. Bernard Parish in Holmes Beach in early May.


Retreat Center offering online Preached Retreats

During the current health crisis, many people who would like to make a retreat must remain at home for an extended period of time. As long as the crisis lasts, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice will offer online 3-day, 5-day, and 8-day retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Like Father Lanteri, we can all use this time for our spiritual growth.

In these online retreats. Father Mark Yavarone, OMV, or Father Lino Estradilla, OMV, trained spiritual directors, will meet with you for an hour each day via a link provided to you, to help you to pray and to recognize how God is speaking.  You should already have a Bible and journal available for your use. Participants will be emailed any additional materials needed as the retreat unfolds.

The cost, which has been significantly discounter, will be as follows: 3-day online retreat, $132.23; 5-day online retreat, $203.98; and 8-day online retreat, $306.48.

All information will be confidential, and password protected. If you would like to make an online retreat, please email Denise Riley at and a code will be provided for your online registration.  You will need to fill out an application for approval. Please allow 7 days to arrange from your completed application until the beginning of your retreat.

Scam Alert targeting parishioners

It has once again been brought to the attention of the Diocese of Venice that parishioners have received text/email messages from people pretending to be priests and requesting donations in the form of gift cards and/or wire transfers. The messages often greet the person by name and have the priests name in the closing signature of the message; this is a well-crafted and targeted attack on the Church across the country which has hit our Diocese again. These text/email messages are ‘spoofed’ fakes that should not be responded to or taken seriously by anyone. The best defense against this sort of scam is to raise awareness in the community and not respond or open any worrying attachments. It is Diocesan policy that no priest or staff within the Diocese request donations in the form of gift cards, PayPal, MoneyGram, etc.

There is already an established process in place on how parishioners can make donations and participate in the life of the Parish. Whenever a parishioner is worried about any request for money from the parish or a priest, they should immediately call their parish and under no circumstances should they respond to these scam requests.

Year of St. Joseph resources online

On the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, Bishop Frank J. Dewane consecrated the Diocese of Venice to the care and protection of Saint Joseph in the context of the Coronavirus and announced a “Year of St. Joseph” beginning March 19, 2020 through March 19, 2021.  St. Joseph is the Patron Saint of the Universal Church, fathers, workers and the sick and dying. A number of resources, including a Novena to St. Joseph, have been made available on the Diocesan website –

Bradenton Food Pantry

The St. Joseph Parish Food Pantry, 2704 33rd Ave. W., Bradenton, is open and distributing food from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday, 5-7 p.m. Wednesdays, following all social distancing protocols. Cars will be directed through the parking lot and trunks will be loaded by volunteers in protective gloves and masks. Call 941-756-3732 if you have any questions. You do not need to be a regular client to receive food. To make a donation of money or food, please visit

Venice Catholic School Community project

Jennifer Falestiny, Curriculum Coordinator at the Diocese of the Venice, created the Camillus Project, a STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and mathematics) oriented campaign to print and deliver face shields and ear savers to those serving on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis. Named after the patron saint of hospitals, nurses and the sick, the design files were shared to each school with 3D printer in hopes of being to deliver these shields to local medical professionals.

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.


Bishop participates in “Ad Limina” visit to Rome

Having a personal encounter with the Vicar for Christ has a special meaning for everyone privileged to have that unique opportunity.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane has met Pope Francis on several occasions, mostly during brief meetings at the Vatican, during World Youth Day events, and at other Conferences.

“It is always an exciting and moving experience,” Bishop Dewane said. “The Successor of Peter is a profoundly holy man and you see that in him. An audience is a special occasion.”

During the early mid-February Ad Limina visit, in which the Bishops of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina journeyed to Rome and presented their report on the status of their respective Dioceses, the audience on Feb. 13 with the Holy Father was an extraordinary meeting for Bishop Dewane. At the conclusion of the meeting Pope Francis presented Bishop Dewane a medal and rosary.

“We met the Holy Father as a group and were able to ask questions and hear his responses to our issues and concerns,” Bishop Dewane said. “He provided us within an insight that showed his pastoral understanding of the Faith and of the Catholic Church in Florida and in the United States. I was struck by his interest in what we are doing in evangelization and in particular the youth.”

This “Ad Limina Apostolorum” (to the threshold of the Apostles), a reference to the pilgrimage to the tombs of Sts. Peter and Paul that the Bishops are required to make every five to seven years.

During his time in Rome from Feb. 8-16, Bishop Dewane and the others made a visit to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to ask questions as well as to share the faith experiences, issues and challenges faced in the local Church. Other stops included visits to other dicasteries or offices, such as the Pontifical Commission on Protection of Minors; the Congregation for Bishops; Congregation for Consecrated Life; Education; Congregation for Laity, Family and Life, and more.

The pilgrimage also included the celebration of the Holy Mass at the four Major Basilicas in Rome: St. Peter’s, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran and St. Paul Outside the Walls. Bishop Dewane was the principal celebrant for the last Mass with for the regional Bishops at St. Paul Outside the Walls. The day of the meeting with the Holy Father began with an early concelebrated Mass at the Tomb of St. Peter.

In addition to his responsibilities as part of this pilgrimage, Bishop Dewane took time to meet with the three Diocese of Venice Seminarians who are discerning the priesthood at Pontifical North American College. Christin Chami, Alexander Pince and Daniel Scanlan met with Bishop Dewane at St. Peter’s and were present for a special gathering prior to the start of the Bishops’ meeting with Pope Francis. Also present was Msgr. Patrick Dubois, a priest of the Diocese who currently works with the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life.


Responding to the Call

Seminarians gather for summer retreat

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

The seminarians of the Diocese of Venice have each responded to a specific call from the Lord, to take a journey which leads them on a discerning path toward a vocation to the priesthood.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane closed the annual seminarian convocation on Aug. 2 with the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice.

“Thank you for responding to a call of the Lord – a call to holiness,” Bishop Dewane said. “You have a belief in yourself and how you have responded. That belief will give you strength as you move forward.”

By choosing a vocation to the priesthood, the seminarians have responded to live a life of knowing the Lord in His goodness and this requires more than simply listening to what the Lord has to say, but actually living life as the Lord wants, the Bishop added. “The Lord blesses you for giving yourself freely. You are on a journey with and to God.”

The convocation is an annual gathering of those seminarians at different stages in their ongoing discernment for the priesthood and took place from July 31-Aug. 2.

The gathering gives the seminarians – 16 of the 19 from the Diocese able to attend – an opportunity to come together as a group to pray, to reflect on their choice of vocation and to share their thoughts and their personal journey with others who are on the same path. The goal is for them to leave refreshed and prepared for the next phase in their faith journey. The retreat was directed by Msgr. Michael Muhr of the Diocese of St. Petersburg while sharing his experiences of 36 years in the priesthood and offering different ways for them to grow in their relationship with the Lord.

Seminarian David Portorreal, who is returning to St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach in the fall, spent his summer at the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University, Omaha, Neb. “It was a great experience to go and be with other seminarians and priests from across the country, each going through continuing formation. It was inspiring.”

Another seminarian, Kevin Avellaneda, who will be on a Pastoral Year in the Diocese, spent his summer in Pastoral Ministry to the Sick through St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity, St. Paul, Minn. While there he had powerful encounters with those who are sick in the hospital, nursing homes and in hospice. “It was a very moving experience. You get a chance to see the work of God in different ways. Seeing someone on a ventilator and just being there for the person, but also for the families, strengthened my faith.”

Bishop Dewane encouraged the seminarians to return to their respective seminaries more committed to the Lord. “That commitment should come from your experiences of faith knowing you are not alone in your journey, either through my prayers, the prayers of the priests and the prayers of the faithful across the Diocese.”

Father Shawn Roser, Diocese of Venice Director of Vocations, said the annual convocation allows the seminarians to share their experiences, which is valuable as some are very close to ordination, while others are going into the seminary for the first time in just a week or two.

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

Diocese of Venice Seminarians

Deacon Carlos Encinas

Deacon Franckel Fils-Aime

Kevin Avellaneda

Alan Baldarelli

Christian Chami

Juan Contreras

James Gates Jr.

José Grullon

Jacob Gwynn

Mark Harris

Peirrot Lazarre

Nathaniel Nieves

Euder Paul

Alexander Pince

David Portorreal

Carlos Rodriguez

Alejandro Roldan

Daniel Scanlan

Prayer for Vocations

God our Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as priests, deacons, religious, and consecrated persons. Send your Holy Spirit to help us respond generously and courageously to your call. May our community of faith support vocations of sacrificial love in our youth. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.