DOV Class of 2022 impressive

The four Diocese of Venice Catholic high schools graduated 371 into the world during a four-week span from early May to early June 2022.

This group, as they are each year, is an impressive bunch. Among these graduates, 99 percent are heading off to higher education at some of the top colleges and universities in the land.

As a group, these graduates earned more than 40,000 services hours and $42 million in scholarship offers. Seven were identified as National Merit Scholars and many others graduated with honors.

In addition to academic awards, many of these students were scholar athletes with several earning state titles in a variety of sports. More than 50 of the graduates were offered scholarships to continue their athletic career at the next level.

At Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, the graduation was May 13, and the Valedictorian was Halle Monserez and Salutatorian was Peter Etz. The Baccalaureate Mass was celebrated at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota.

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Commencement Exercises were May 20 at the Naples school, with the Baccalaureate Mass at St. Ann Parish. The Class Valedictorian is Ella Bartels and Salutatorian is Madeline Vickers.

The graduation for Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers was May 21, with the Baccalaureate Mass at Resurrection Parish. Verot had 32 students recognized as top graduates. Grace Marie Smith offered the introductory address, and the commencement address was by Anna Latell.

Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish graduation was June 1, with the Baccalaureate Mass at the Parish church. Catherine Graham was the class Valedictorian and Winston Fairchild was the Salutatorian.

Diocesan athletes excel at States

Athletes from each of the Diocese of Venice Catholic high schools did well at the recent Florida High School Athletic Association Track & Field State Championship on May 11 -12, 2022, at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

The top local athletes were:

  • Graduating Senior Leah Martin-Gonzales, of St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples, who repeated her Class 1A state titles in the long jump and the 100 hurdles, also finishing 6th in the 300 hurdles, and 14th as part of the 4×100 team.
  • Bishop Verot Catholic High School Senior Wyatt Whalen also won a State title in the Class 2A shot put and took 3rd in the discus.
  • Another Neumann Senior, Josh Galupa, took 2nd in the Class 1A 110 hurdles, and 4th in the 300 hurdles, 5th in the high jump and 7th in the long jump.
  • Still another Neumann Senior, Connor Savenas, took 3rd in the discus.

In addition to these athletes, St. John Neumann, Bishop Verot, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School and Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish each had representatives qualify for the state championships.

Neumann’s Leah Martin-Gonzales earned her second consecutive state title in two disciplines, with the long jump of 5.45 meters (17 feet 10 ¾ inches) and the 100 hurdles time of 14.26.

Verot’s Wyatt Whalen took the shot-put title with a throw of 16.32 m (53 feet 6 ½ inches), and third is discus with a toss of 46.36 m (152 feet 1 inch).

Other results in the State Championships were:

  • Verot – boys (8th overall); girls (37th overall); girls 3200 relay (4th); Boys 3200 relay (4th); Raven Gadson, triple jump (8th); Christian Fevier, triple jump (12th); Cooper Banks, 800 (8th); Grayson Tubbs, 800 (14th); Geraldine Herrera, 200 (14th); Mackenzie de Lisle, 3200 (8th)
  • Mooney – girls (32nd overall); boys (46thth overall); girls 1600 relay (6th); Madeline Carson, discus (6th); McKayla Cantrell, discus (12th) and shot put (18th); Cooper Flerlage, discus (8th);
  • Neumann – boys (9th overall); girls (12th overall); girls 400 relay (14th); girls 3200 relay (18th);
  • Donahue – Leo Borjon, 1600 (10th)

Athletes finishing 8th or better each reached the awards podium. Congratulations to all!! Well done!

News Briefs for the week of May 6, 2022

Vegie Races cap off fun night

The St. Andrew Catholic School Veggie Races capped off STREAM Night on April 28, 2022, in Cape Coral. The night included a variety of STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, Math) demonstrations throughout the schools. The highlight was the end of the evening Veggie Races. These races pit students against each other with racecars designed exclusive with vegetables – with a few skewers to hold everything together. The track was an inclined ramp with parallel lanes for the two competitors. The goal was to first get to the bottom without the racecar falling apart and then going as far as possible down the track. A great time was had by all as the students had use creativity and practicality to create a successful racecar.

Pinecone birdfeeders made in Sebring

Third graders at St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring made pinecone birdseed feeders as part of a project to their Plants and Animals Science Unit on April 29, 2022. The patron saint of animals, St. Francis of Assisi, built bonds of love with all of the kinds of creatures in the animal kingdom. However, St. Francis had a special relationship with birds, who often followed him around and rested on his shoulders, arms, or hands as he prayed or walked around outside.

Middle school track teams excel

On April 30th, the middle school boys and girls track teams at Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish in Ave Maria, competed at their conference championships on April 30, 2022, and both teams came home Champions. Way to go teams!

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 www.svdp.edu/live. 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 www.Saintelizabethseton.com/Giving.

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 www.faithandale.com.

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 www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass.

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.

News Briefs for the week of March 25, 2022

Synod Listening Sessions ongoing

The Listening Sessions for the Diocesan Phase of “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” continues through May. At the invitation of Bishop Frank J. Dewane the faithful are encouraged to be prepared to answer the fundamental concept of what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church today. The in-person Listening Sessions are 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The remaining Sessions are as follows:

Monday, March 28, St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Ave. N., Naples (Eng.);

Monday, May 9, St. Catherine Parish, 820 Hickory St., Sebring (Eng./Sp);

Monday, May 16, St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples (Eng.);

Monday, May 23, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge St., LaBelle (Eng./Sp);

(NEW) Virtual Session from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 25.

To register for a Listening Session or the Virtual Session, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/2022-synod-listening-sessions. Email synod@dioceseofvenice.org for any questions or comments regarding the Listening Sessions.

Diocesan-wide opportunity for Sacrament of Reconciliation coming soon

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 p.m. to 8 p.m., on Friday, April 8, and from 9 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.

Donated ultrasound blessed

A new ultrasound machine, donated by the Knights of Columbus Council 14202 of St. Agnes Parish in Naples, was blessed March 21, 2022, at the Community Pregnancy Clinics Inc. Father Bob Kantor, Pastor of St. Agnes, and Father Michael Orsi, Parochial Vicar of St. Agnes, presided over the blessing. It is noted that more than 90% of women who see their babies on an ultrasound choose life. The machine is the latest model and is courtesy of a nationwide initiative of the Knights of Columbus which matches the contributions of local Council in purchasing the latest machines for Pro-Life clinics.

Naples students do well at Model UN conference

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Model UN students from Naples took part in the National High School Model United Nations Conference in New York City the week of March 18, 2022. Under the direction of their advisor, Cindy Brewer, the Neumann team placed 3rd for research and presentation out of 135 teams from around the world. In addition, Hunter Lund and Alessio Cirino’s committee placed third out of the 70 committees in their field. This immersive experience in the world of international affairs, problem solving, and diplomacy was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the students. Long recognized for having the best substantive program on the Model UN circuit, National High School Model UN is known for its diverse, talented attendees, its highly engaging debates, and its academically rigorous material. These SJN students were able to attend meetings with the diplomatic representatives of the countries they represented, as well as other UN and Non-Government Organization (NGO) leaders for dynamic question and answer sessions.

Hardee County group takes part in 40 Days for Life

Members of the St. Michael Parish Council of Catholic Woman and Faith Formation Group from Wauchula traveled March 15, 2022, to Sarasota to pray to end abortion at the Planned Parenthood facility as part of the 40 Days for Life spring prayer campaign. The group was present during on the day abortions are done were performed at the facility. This led to an emotional day, leaving the group with both sadness and hope. Sadness about what takes place in such facilities and hope that publicly standing for life made a difference. The group prayed for the mothers and babies that are victims of the lie that abortion is the only answer. The spring 40 Days for Life peaceful prayer campaign is taking place in the public right-of-way in both Sarasota and Fort Myers through April 10. All are encouraged to spend at least one hour in prayer for life during Lent. Contact your Parish Life Coordinator for specific information about your Parish’s commitment days. For additional information about the local 40 Days for Life, go to www.40daysforlife.com/sarasota or www.40daysforlife.com/fortmyers.

Holocaust survivor shares story

Heinz Wartski, a 93 year old Holocaust survivor and Korean War veteran, shared his story with Bishop Verot Catholic High School students on March 15, 2022, in Fort Myers. Heinz Wartski grew up in Danzig with his parents and two siblings. In 1939, Heinz and his family escaped to Italy and later joined the partisan resistance in the Appenine Mountains.  He stated: “We were a minority in every nation in which we lived, and we were therefore easy targets for any government in need of scapegoats.” His family survived until liberation in 1945. Heinz and his family immigrated to the United States in 1949.  He married Hella Wartski, a fellow Holocaust survivor, and had two children.  He currently resides in Naples, and volunteers with the Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida.

Digestive system lesson

Thank you to Katy Wallis, professor at State College of Florida, for leading fifth-grade students from St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton through an interactive lesson on the digestive system on March 18, 2022. Students used plastic bags filled with various items to get a “feel” for how the digestive system, including the stomach, works.

Team GPA tops region

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Celtic Boys Basketball Team in Naples finished the season with a team GPA of 3.74 which is #1 in the Florida High School Athletic Association 2A classification and the #3 team GPA in the entire state. Well done!

News Briefs for the Week of March 11, 2022

Students excel at Knights free throw contest

Congratulations to St. Joseph Catholic School students from Bradenton who competed in the Knights of Columbus State Free Throw Contest on March 5, 2022, at Melbourne High School in Melbourne. Bendli took 1st place for 12-year-old boys; Serafina was second for 13-year-old girls; Nathan was third for 11-year-old boys; and Rodnel won at the regional level for nine-year-old boys. Students competed in their age level divisions after having won local, district, and regional levels.

Cheer Team wins Championship

The Incarnation Catholic School Cheer Team from Sarasota took first place in the Feb. 28, 2022, East Coast Cheer Championships in Tampa. Congratulations Ladies!

Stations Prayer Garden unveiled in Fort Myers

A new Stations of the Cross Prayer Garden was designed and constructed by Bishop Verot Catholic High School woodshop students to encourage everyone to visit and meditate on the Passion of our Lord. It was unveiled in Fort Myers on March 3, 2022, and includes the 14 Stations of the Cross, which depict the last hours of Jesus’ life: from His condemnation to His burial.

 

Junior Olympics held in Naples

Another great retreat is in the books at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples. The Junior Olympics for the class of 2023 was held March 3, 2022, as the students spent the day learning, working, and competing together.

Middle school students help NASA

Middle school students at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral have been assisting NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) with beta testing on a new generation of electric-powered aircraft that can fly safely while conserving resources and reducing pollution. The St. Andrew students had a unique opportunity to assist NASA by beta testing a new lesson that the agency developed to inspire the next generation of aeronautic engineers. The lesson, titled “Wingin’ It,” is a multiphase STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art, Math) lesson for engaging students in experimental aircraft research. The students worked in teams and worked on building and testing the flights of different styles of airplanes; testing the effect of adding weight incrementally; designing and building a support system to reduce flutter in wings; and modifying a paper airplane to improve its performance. The students also provided feedback to NASA on the positive aspects, challenges and ideas for improving the lesson. With the help of the St. Andrew students, NASA will finalize “Wingin’ It” before publishing it for use by students across the country.

Lady Cougars fall short in State Final

Lady Cougars fall short in State Final

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Lady Cougars basketball team fell short of their goal of winning a State Championship during a return trip to the Class 3A Finals on Feb. 25, 2022, at RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

The Lady Cougars dropped their game to Westminster Academy of Fort Lauderdale 44-41, falling short in a comeback attempt on a night when scoring was at a premium. The Sarasota women finished the season 19-7.

This season tied for the Lady Cougars deepest run in the state play, having reached finals in 2021. The previous best effort by the ladies was in 1997 when they lost in the state semifinal game.

A rough night scoring, making only two of 18 three-point attempts, and falling behind early was the challenge. The team was down by 7 points entering the fourth quarter and made a valiant comeback before faltering late.

While the loss is disappointing, the team has nearly its entire roster returning for another run next season. The team is led by two juniors, Jordyn Byrd (12 points and 13 rebounds), and Olivia Davis (7 points and 5 rebounds), and two freshman Kali Barrett (8 points, 9 rebounds) and Sy’monique Simon (8 points).

To reach the finals, the Lady Cougars defeated King’s Academy of West Palm Beach 50-42 on Feb. 23. They earned their berth in the Final Four with a Regional Title on Feb. 18.

The Lady Cougars were not the only Diocesan basketball team in the state tournament. The St. John Neumann Catholic High School Lady Celtics from Naples made its first trip to the State Final Four since 2008. They earned their own Regional Title on Feb. 18 but fell on Feb. 23 in the Class 2A semifinal to Miami Christian, the defending and eventual State Champs. The Lady Celtics ended their season with a 23-6 record.

Mooney girls make State Final in basketball

Neumann girls fall in State Semi Final

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Lady Cougar Basketball Team will be playing for a State Championship after a Class 3A Semifinal victory Feb. 23, 2022, at the RP Fund Center in Lakeland. This a return trip to the State Championship game for the Sarasota team having a heartbreaking loss in 2021.

Just a few hours earlier, the St. John Neumann Catholic High School Lady Celtic Basketball Team from Naples fell in the Class 2A State Semifinal in Lakeland. This was the team’s first trip to the State Final Four since 2008.

Both Mooney and Neumann sent large contingents of students and faculty to cheer on their teams. Joining the students and faculty in the stands was Father John Belmonte, SJ, Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Education.

On Feb. 18, at nearly the same time, the Mooney and Neumann girls won regional championships on their respective home courts, earning their berths into the State Final Four.

The Naples women faced Miami Christian, the defending State Champions, in the State Semifinals. The Lady Celtics lost 68-45, ending their dream season with a 23-6 record. While the final score suggests the game was never close, the Lady Celtics fought hard against a team that beat opponents by 174 points in the previous three games combined. The best Neumann player throughout the year was Leah Martin-Gonzales, a senior, who averaged 18.5 points per game with Sophia Mccartney, a sophomore, who averaging 16.3 points per game and 13 rebounds.

The Lady Cougars defeated King’s Academy of West Palm Beach 50-42 in their own Semifinal. The team lifted their season record to 19-6, having won their last six games to reach the Final. The team’s leading scorers are Olivia Davis and Keli Barret. The Class 3A State Final against Westminster Academy of Fort Lauderdale is at 4:30 p.m., Friday. Feb. 25 in Lakeland.

Please visit www.facebook.com/dioceseofvenice after the Championship game for an update on the Final.

News Briefs for the Week of Feb. 18, 2022

Seminarian Instituted as an Acolyte

Congratulations to Diocese of Venice Seminarian W. Pat Long, who was among 12 Instituted as an Acolyte on Feb. 9, 2022, at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts. The installation was presided over by Cardinal Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. The installation Mass plays an important role in the formation of the seminarians in their journey toward becoming priests. As an acolyte, each man’s primary role will be assisting the deacon and priest during Mass. They may also serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at Mass, bring Holy Eucharist to the sick, and participate in other tasks while aiding the priest and deacon during liturgical celebrations. Please join in praying for all of these men, but in particular Pat Long who is discerning his vocation to the priesthood for the Diocese of Venice.

Junior reaches scoring milestone

Jordyn Byrd, a Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School basketball player recently reached the 1,000-point milestone in her career. She accomplished this milestone on Feb. 11, 2022, in Sarasota, during a victory which led to a regional playoff win. Jordyn also plays volleyball and in January was named 2021-2022 Gatorade Florida Volleyball Player of the Year. She has maintained a 3.72 GPA in the classroom and will begin her senior year of high school this fall. She has already committed to continuing her athletic and academic career at the University of Texas.

Kinder surgeons’ scrub in

Future surgeons at St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota showed their skills in Christina Via-Reque’s Kinder Cardiology on Feb. 10, 2022! These doctors scrubbed in and worked on their patients to practice reading, writing, colors, motor skills, sounding out words, math and more!

Soccer team dream season ends

The Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish boy’s soccer dream season came to an end with a 2-1 loss in the Class 2A-Region 3 quarterfinal match on Feb. 9, 2022, to Bradenton Christian Academy. The Shamrocks’ Aidan Minter accounted for the only goal in the heartbreaking loss. The Shamrocks had earned a home field game by clinching a district title on Feb. 4. The team should be proud of their success and vow to do better next year.

Schools share Valentines in community

Two Diocese of Venice Catholic high schools took time out this Valentine’s Day to give back to the community. Students at St. John Neumann Catholic School in Naples were thinking about the special day for a few weeks in many homeroom classes, as well as the Spanish Club, taking time to make cards for local assisted living facilities, as well as for the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco at the Provincial House, in New Jersey. Another class took note of where they saw love at the Naples school. Members of the Bishop Verot Catholic High School National Honors Society in Fort Myers hosted a Valentine’s Day celebration for clients of Special Populations in Cape Coral, a program for adults and children with intellectual disabilities which strives to promote independence.

Seventh graders enjoy high school experience

Some 70 seventh graders from St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary Academy in Sarasota enjoyed a Cougar Experience Day on Feb. 9, 2022, at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School. In addition to a tour, the younger students took part in fun activities across the campus and heard from the high schoolers who shared what makes Mooney so special.

Hands-on science is key

To ensure that students at St. Andrew Catholic School learn the necessary skills to function in a modern world, the use of iPads and technology is standard. However, experience using tools such as a microscope still serve a vital purpose in the learning process. On Feb. 9, the sixth-grade science class in Cape Coral used their microscopes to identify various elements as part of a larger STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, Math) curriculum. Of course, they were able to create images of the slide and save them on their iPads, but using the actual equipment made a real difference in the lesson.

Catholic Schools Week 2022: Recognizing contribution of Catholic Education

Faith, service and fun were cornerstones of Catholic Schools Week 2022 celebrations throughout the Diocese of Venice the week of Jan. 30 to Feb. 5. These activities highlight the everyday beneficial impact of Catholic Education, through devout faith, academic excellence and selfless service, on the local, regional, state, national and global levels.

One of the main highlights at many of the schools is Grandparents Day, a time to recognize and honor these key members of the faith community who pass down traditions, values, and the faith to the following generations.

Grandparents Day at St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary Academy in Sarasota was celebrated Feb. 4. The focus was Mass, celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane in the Zazarino Center. The student body of both schools were present as were more than 100 visiting grandparents who were able to sit with their grandchildren.

“Our Diocesan Schools are vibrant Catholic communities which work to support children in a very supreme way, recognizing and promoting their greatest potential,” Bishop Dewane said. “God has given individual gifts to the students and our faculty and staff offer the opportunity for each individual to grow and develop into the man or woman of God they are called to be. Grandparents play a vital role in that.”

A grandparent has no retirement age, the Bishop continued, in the influence they have in shaping the lives of their grandchildren and to young people everywhere.

“In a world where the young are threatened in many ways, grandparents serve a role in the transmission of values and faith,” Bishop Dewane said. “The young respond to you by your presence while helping them strive to answer the call of God in their life.”

The St. Martha and St. Mary celebration also included a presentation of a sneak-peek scene from the coming spring play, “Aladdin.” Then the students escorted their grandparents on a tour of the school and visit to their classrooms to meet their teachers and friends.

At Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish, the week ended on Feb. 5, with a traditional outdoor Eucharistic Procession which included the praying of the rosary and stations for Adoration.

Father John Belmonte, SJ, Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Education, was present for the Donahue Academy procession, as well as several other events at different Catholic schools throughout the week.

For example, during a Feb. 3 celebration at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples, Father Belmonte learned how the school is using a Devotional Project to promote a celebration of the saints. To mark the occasion, dozens of students and teachers dressed as their favorite saints and shared stories about the life of the saint they represented.

Earlier in the week, St. Elizabeth Seton hosted a visit of representatives from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. This included a fly-in visit by one of the helicopters, as well as a visit by tactical response vehicles and even one of the patrol boats.

Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice celebrated our nation Feb. 2, with a Living Rosary. The students prayed for all 50 states, government leaders and representatives, and all citizens of the United States.

Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers celebrated Catholic Schools Week with an all-school Mass at neighboring St. Cecilia Parish, an Academic Quiz Bowl (won by the teachers), and the presenting of academic awards.

During a ceremony on Feb. 3, three senior student athletes of Bishop Verot announced their intention to compete at the collegiate level, including the following: Morgan Crawford, volleyball at Transylvania University; Dylan Peck, baseball at Florida State College at Jacksonville; and Madison Thomas, cross country and track at Florida Southern College.

The same day, two Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School students in Sarasota also announced where they will play in college: TJ Barton, football at Stetson University; and Wyatt Plattner, golf at the University of Cincinnati.

These are just a fraction of the activities which took place throughout Catholic Schools Week 2022 in the Diocese of Venice.

To learn more about Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/catholicschools/.

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