Students share their support forlaw enforcement

“Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called Children of God” Mat 5:9

Students at each of the Diocese of Venice Catholic schools recently took part in a special event, Faith and Blue Weekend, a public-private partnership to show law enforcement officers appreciation from Faith communities nationwide, and an effort to build a united community for all.

Letters of appreciation from students were presented to officers and deputies across the Diocese during prayer services and Masses. In addition, other care packages were presented. The notes thanked the deputies and officers “for their service, for keeping everyone safe and for their safety as they put their life on the line for others.”

The Sarasota Police Department received a package of notes from students at St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary Academy. Each of these included the “Police Office Prayer.” The Department posted their thanks along with several images on social media: “THANK YOU to the incredible students & staff at St. Martha (and Mary) Catholic School for the outpouring of cards, notes and treats for National Faith and Blue – Each note is so uplifting to our Officers and Civilians. We can’t thank you enough!”

The two schools also honored the Sarasota County Deputy Sheriff who serves as security at the two schools. Deputy Bauer was treated with a gift package as well as a lawn sign which read: “Honk! Honk! for Deputy Bauer – Faith and Blue.”

Several other Diocesan Catholic schools also held ceremonies honoring local law enforcement.

At St. Ann Catholic School in Naples, officers from the Naples Police Department were invited for Mass on Oct. 9, 2020. Afterwards, students personally handed the officers their letters of support and encouragement.

St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral included a St. Michael the Archangel pin and prayer card with the notes from students in deliveries to members of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Cape Coral Police Department. Current and/or retired members of law enforcement who are family members of students at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice were invited to the school for a special presentation.

In addition to Diocesan Catholic school activities, Parishes throughout the Diocese of Venice were encouraged to offer special prayer petitions and blessings to law enforcement in attendance at Masses throughout the weekend of Oct. 9-12.

Here are some of the messages written by students to law enforcement officers:

  • “Thank you for helping others and saving people’s lives, for teaching them how to better people.”
  • “Thank you for always taking care of us and keeping us safe… Remember God is always with you and keeping you safe.
  • “Thank you for all you do for us. You risk your life to protect us. You keep us safe and I hope you stay safe.”
  • “You are a hero to our community, and I admire you very much for that.”
  • “You inspire many of us to be more helpful, strong, giving and brave.”
  • “Thank you for your bravery and service to the community!”
  • “There are 6,500 spoken languages today so… there are 6,500 different ways to say thank you. Thank you, 6,500 times, for risking your life every day to keep us safe. Thank you, 6,500 times, for catching the people who may not keep us as safe as you do.”
  • “Each day you go to work not knowing if you will return to your family and friends. Even during these crazy times, your sacrifice to this country is what will make us prevail as a unified country. As a son of a police officer I would like to thank you for your service to this country and community.”
  • “Thank you for protecting us even during this tough time. I really appreciate all the things you have done to protecting your community.”
  • “Thank you for standing by our side and I hope you are safe and to know that God is always next to you. Stay Blessed!”
  • “I know that you put your life on the line for our protection and I want to thank you for that.”
  • “The world needs more people like you, so thank you!”
  • “Thank you for keeping our community safe, we give you thanks for everything you do for us, some of you may not be treated well, but still thank you. LOVE POLICE!”



Prayer Chain Against Racism held in Naples

A Prayer Chain Against Racism seeking to affirm the equality and dignity of every human person was held in Naples on June 28, 2020. The Prayer Chain was sponsored by the Catholic Parishes of Naples and brought out many on a steamy afternoon.

There were no talks or speeches, as people of all ages gathered to pray while seeking an end to racism in America as well as calling for peace and unity for all, as more than 100 people, including several area priests, participated.

The gathering was held on the west side of Tamiami Trail North (US 41) from Pine Ridge Road (near St. William Parish) as participants spread out to maintain social distancing southward more than a ¼ mile as they held up signs or prayed the rosary.

Signs provided by St. Elizabeth Seton Parish included: “RACISM is a SIN against HUMANITY,” “If You Want PEACE work for JUSTICE” and “ALL Colors in the Image of GOD,” which featured an image of four hands of different colors held together to form a strong bond.

Vehicles passing by honked their horns in support. Some who were stopped at the nearby traffic light asked why everyone was there. “We want to end racism!” one woman shouted back. “We are praying for God’s love to heal the world!” another said. Still another added: “We are all God’s children!”

Representatives, including several priests, from the Parishes in Naples – St. William, St. Elizabeth Seton, St. Agnes, St. Peter the Apostle, St. Ann. St. Finbarr and St. John the Evangelist – were present.

A Statement of Purpose was created for the Prayer Chain, which begins: “We Catholics of Collier County are standing by the roadside on June 28 in silent witness to the reality of racism in our country and, as people of Faith, to witness to the equality and dignity of every human person. We pray that God will transform the hearts of all people in our nation, including our own hearts, to see every human person as a brother and sister of inestimable worth.”

Pope Francis spoke following the Memorial Day murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the resulting social unrest in the U.S. and worldwide, condemning the death and calling for an end to racism.

In a June 9, 2020 letter to the Faithful from Bishop Frank J. Dewane about racism and social unrest, he stated: “The Church, Her leaders and the Faithful have an important role in confronting the sin of racism… Responding to the call to defend human dignity, the Church must raise Her voice against every instance of the evil of racism. I add my voice and condemn racism in all its forms.”

Prayer to Overcome Racism

Mary, friend and mother to all, through your Son, God has found a way to unite himself to every human being, called to be one people, sisters and brothers to each other.

We ask for your help in calling on your Son, seeking forgiveness for the times when we have failed to love and respect one another.

We ask for your help in obtaining from your Son the grace we need to overcome the evil of racism and to build a just society. We ask for your help in following your Son, so that prejudice and animosity will no longer infect our minds or hearts but will be replaced with a love that respects the dignity of each person.

Mother of the Church, the Spirit of your Son Jesus warms our hearts: pray for us. Amen.

Oración para superar el racismo

María, amiga y madre de todos, a través de tu Hijo Dios ha encontrado un camino para unirse a todos los seres humanos, llamados a ser un solo pueblo, hermanas y hermanos entre sí.

Pedimos tu ayuda al recurrir a tu Hijo, buscando el perdón por las veces en que hemos fallado en amarnos y respetarnos.

Pedimos tu ayuda para obtener de tu Hijo la gracia que necesitamos para vencer el mal del racismo y construir una sociedad justa.

Pedimos tu ayuda para seguir a tu Hijo, para que el prejuicio y la animosidad no infecten ya nuestras mentes o corazones sino que sean reemplazados por el amor que respeta la dignidad de cada persona.

Madre de la Iglesia, el Espíritu de tu Hijo Jesús alienta nuestros corazones: Ruega por nosotros. Amén.

Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.