Venetian Ball supports Catholic Charities in Lee, Glades and Hendry counties

The programs of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., in Lee, Glades, and Hendry counties received tremendous support during the annual Venetian Ball on March 9, 2024, at St. Leo the Great Parish Hall in Bonita Springs.

“Restoring Our Communities” was the theme of the Venetian Ball, which served as an opportunity for participants to come together to partner with Catholic Charities as it steadfastly serves the needs of families and individuals throughout the area, including those who continue to recover from Hurricane Ian (2022).

Bishop Frank J. Dewane praised the benefactors of Catholic Charities for their concern for the work of Catholic Charities, adding that he was confident their support will continue to assist people in need.

“I thank you,” Bishop Dewane said. “We all know Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on the community and many are still recovering, some are having a more difficult time, and Catholic Charities has made it a priority in actively helping and providing for long-term care.”

The resilience of the region from overcoming the devastation of Hurricane Ian, economic hardships and more in the past few years has been inspiring, said Alex Olivares, Catholic Charities Region II Director.

“I am so inspired by the spirit of giving and helping in the community,” Olivares said. “The need is still there. For us to do what we do each day, your support is more important now than it has ever been.”

The Frank K. Galeana Humanitarian Award recognized the Region II Pantry Volunteers for their selfless dedication and unwavering commitment. These individuals exemplify the essence of humanitarianism by tirelessly serving their community without seeking recognition.

The award stated: “Their actions, day after day, month after month, embody compassion, empathy, and a genuine concern for human welfare. Through their efforts, they provide healing, hope, assistance, and love to the entire region, enriching countless lives without expecting anything in return. Their profound impact extends far beyond tangible assistance, touching the hearts and souls of those they serve. By presenting this award, we honor their exceptional contributions and express our gratitude for their embodiment of God’s love on earth. These volunteers are not only cherished members of our community but also serve as inspiration for others to follow in their footsteps. Thank you volunteers!”

Bishop Dewane’s birthday fell on the day of the Venetian Ball and those present sang “Happy Birthday” to him. A cake was also presented to the Bishop and this was later auctioned off for $1,000!

The evening included fine dining, silent and live auctions and a “Gift of the Heart” appeal. The emcee was Lois Thome, WINK News anchor and lector at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Fort Myers. Guests danced to the music of the Riverboat Jazz Band.

If you would like to support Catholic Charities or learn more about their outreach throughout the Diocese of Venice, please visit