Veterans Day Catholic Mass honors military service and sacrifice

The 14th Annual Catholic Mass on Veterans Day made a successful return to Sarasota National Cemetery as Bishop Frank J. Dewane prayed for those currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, those who have died, and their families.

More than 850 people attended the Mass which was celebrated in 2022 at St. Patrick Parish in Sarasota due to the threat of a tropical storm.

Bishop Dewane thanked the veterans for their service in defense of freedom, a freedom enjoyed to this day thanks to those who served and sacrificed throughout this nation’s history and for those who continue to serve, answering the call of their country.

“We gather here today at this National Cemetery in a unique expression of the Church of the Diocese of Venice,” Bishop Dewane said. “To those who came before us, may God bless them all. They are remembered deeply in this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”

Reflecting upon the vocation of servicemen and servicewomen who give themselves “for the love of their country and the love of others, seeking peace, protecting, and cherishing the common good,” the Bishop continued. “We become even more sensitive to the role of those in the military as well as live in a time when there are a number of touchpoints throughout the world that are in great conflict.”

“It is a vocation of both patriots and peacemakers,” Bishop Dewane said. “We have to acknowledge that and respect it. They give their lives so that you and I today live in a relative peace, and so that generations into the future will live in that peace.”

Bishop Dewane said the prayers of the Mass are offered in gratitude for what the veterans have sacrificed for, the greater good of society, noting that it is important that we be attuned to this, as we owe them. In some cases, these men and women in uniform do not return home, leaving a void and sadness in someone’s heart.

“Let us remember those who serve us and have served us, asking the Lord to care for them and their families,” Bishop Dewane concluded.

Prior to the opening of the Mass, all veterans – active and retired – were asked to stand and be recognized. This was followed by the singing of the National Anthem.

Before the concluding prayer of the Mass, Bishop Dewane led everyone in reciting a Prayer for Peace. The Sarasota National Cemetery celebration concluded with a procession, escorted by the Knights of Columbus Color Corps, to the nearby graves as those in attendance sang “God Bless America.”

Priests, Deacons, the Knights of Columbus Color Corps, and all present, gathered in silent prayer before “Taps” was played on a bugle.

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. (Ret.), Charles Voight, a 5-year veteran who served tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq and is a parishioner at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish in Sarasota, expressed his gratitude for the Mass.

“This means a great deal to me, and to all veterans,” Voight said. “We each served our country and would gladly do it again, but it’s a service that is not always recognized. Serving in combat was an experience which deepened my faith. My trust in God helped me to get through some difficult times.”

There are more than 25,000 veterans and eligible family members currently interred in the National Cemetery and some 18.5 million military veterans in the United States.

The Diocese of Venice coordinates the Catholic Mass at the National Cemetery with the backing of the Knights of Columbus and is grateful for the help and support of Sarasota National Cemetery.

Prayer for Peace

Lord of all, in this time of strife and suffering, we come before you with heavy hearts, seeking your divine intervention. We lift up to you the victims of the Holy Land conflict, asking for your mercy and healing touch.

Prince of Peace, grant solace to those who are in pain, strength to those who are weary and hope to those who are in despair. Let your guiding light shine upon all, that they may find a path to reconciliation and understanding.

Mary, Mother of Mercy, wrap your mantle of love around those who are suffering, and intercede for them before your Son. May your gentle compassion be a source of comfort and consolation.

We implore you, O God, to inspire leaders and all involved to seek avenues of peace and dialogue. Soften hearts that are hardened by hatred and division, and instill in them a desire for unity and harmony.

St. Francis of Assisi, patron of peace, pray for us. Help us to be instruments of your peace in this troubled world. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we pray.

Amen

Diocesan schools honor our veterans

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Venice honored those in the military (active and retired) in a variety of ways to commemorate Veterans Day.

A Veterans Day tradition at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples continued, with a Mass and reception on Nov. 8, 2023. The Mass was celebrated by Father Alejandro Giraldo-Roldan, the Parochial Vicar, and all students participated by processing in with handmade patriotic artwork.

The Seton tribute to veterans was led by eighth graders and included a salute to branches of the military, a flag folding ceremony, presentation of bravery pins, and remembrance of veterans not present. The first graders displayed handmade letters spelling out the profound truth that “We are the Land of the Free Because of the Brave!” The second graders closed out the program by singing “God Bless America.” A reception followed in the Parish Center.

At St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton, students and faculty gathered on Nov. 10 in the courtyard to recognize those who have served our country. The school community joined in, listening to patriotic songs and watching as fourth graders processed with flags to represent the branches of the military. Everyone then reflected on how grateful they are for those who have fought for our freedoms and the individuals who continue to serve. The assembly concluded with the Pledge of Allegiance, prayer, and a parade with the pre-kindergarten-4 students.

Tradition at Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota continued with a formal ceremony which included the reciting of poems, and the singing of patriotic songs in thanks to all veterans for their service. In addition, the Knights of Columbus led a formal flag raising ceremony.

Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers held a school assembly with speakers and a presentation by the American Legion Honor Guard.

St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral had a school Mass honoring veterans and then afterwards the veterans lined up and greeted each student with a fist bump as they returned to class.

St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary Academy in Sarasota joined together for a Veterans Day program that included a parade. In addition, the second graders in Mrs. Ravazzoli’s class wrote thank you cards to a friend who is one of 5,000 sailors currently serving on the USS Eisenhower, an aircraft carrier now stationed in the Gulf of Oman. Included in the care package are pictures, cards, and a snack basket.

These were just a few examples of how Diocesan Catholic schools honored the service and sacrifice of those in the military.

Veterans Day began as an informal celebration to mark the conclusion of World War I (Nov. 11, 1918), before being designated as a national holiday in 1954 to honor all military men and women who have sacrificed so much in their service to this country.

All encouraged to attend 14th Annual Catholic Mass on Veterans Day

The Diocese of Venice will be hosting the 14th Annual Catholic Mass on Veterans Day, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, at the Sarasota National Cemetery.

“The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the best way we can honor our veterans, both living and deceased, to whom we owe a great debt,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane. “This commemorative Mass reminds us not only of veterans’ service and sacrifice, but also of the great luxury of our personal freedoms. We are blessed!”

The Mass at 3 p.m., preceded by an opening ceremony at 2:45 p.m., is held with the intention of thanking and honoring all men and women who have served our country, many of whom are laid to rest at the Sarasota National Cemetery. It is also an opportunity to honor and pray for those who continue to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States. All military service personnel, both active and retired, are encouraged to wear their uniforms to the Mass.

Organized by the Diocese of Venice, the annual Mass started in 2010, just two years after the National Cemetery was dedicated. Since that time, the cemetery and Mass have grown. More than 25,000 veterans and their spouses are interred in the National Cemetery since opening. The Diocese is grateful for the opportunity to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Sarasota National Cemetery. This effort to honor veterans is assisted every year by the Knights of Columbus, who work diligently to support this annual event.

The opening ceremony will include patriotic music, hymns, as well as the Presenting and Posting of the Colors. The Mass, concelebrated by priests from across the Diocese of Venice, will follow immediately.

After the Mass, Bishop Dewane and concelebrating priests, escorted by the Knights of Columbus Color Corps, will proceed to the nearby graves where they will stand in silent prayer as “Taps” is played.

A military display will be nearby with flags representing the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines.

Sarasota National Cemetery is located on State Road 72 (exit 205 at Clark Road), approximately four miles east of Interstate 75. Ample parking is provided, and golf cart shuttles will be available for those in need of assistance. A water station and restrooms will be in place for the ceremony, but visitors are encouraged to wear a hat and sunscreen. Everyone is encouraged to arrive early.

Diocese honors veterans with Mass

The Diocese of Venice continued its tradition by celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for veterans who have served and continue to serve our country in the armed forces.

The annual Veterans Day Catholic Mass, celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, is in its 13th year, with the 2022 Mass celebrated at St. Patrick Parish in Sarasota. The Mass, which has been traditionally held at the nearby Sarasota National Cemetery, was relocated out of an abundance of caution for the safety of participants due to rains caused by Hurricane Nicole.

“We honor our veterans in a very clear way,” Bishop Dewane said. “They fought to promote justice and to defeat tyranny… They had a faith that what they were doing was right and needed to be done; they were fighting not just for one nation, but for all of humanity. In the end, they had faith that a just God would grant them mercy.”

The Bishop noted that more than 41 million Americans have served in the armed forces over the course of the nation’s history and more than 1.2 million died in combat, causing everyone to pause and remember the sacrifice of not just the soldiers but of the families and friends whom they left behind.

“We celebrate the goodness, and the grace of each one of those individuals who serve their country and their God,” Bishop Dewane said, adding that veterans teach everyone “how to give totally of ourselves for one another to lay down one’s life in charity and love – our dear veterans have contributed all that they had, their whole life, many of them, for the sake of our greater good.”

The Veterans Day celebration opened with the singing of the National Anthem, and a presentation of a ceremonial wreath by one retired and two active members of the military.

Adding to the dignity and ceremony of the day were active and retired veterans who were asked to stand and be recognized as part of the opening ceremonies. The Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus formed a Color Corps, and many other Knights were also present to support the veterans.

Following the conclusion of the Mass, everyone joined in reciting a Veterans Day prayer before singing God Bless America. The Diocese of Venice coordinates the Veterans Day Catholic Mass with the support of the Knights of Columbus and plans to return to the Sarasota National Cemetery in 2023.

In the schools

Each of the 15 Diocesan Catholic schools celebrated Veterans Day in different ways.

At St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples, students processed to church with patriotic art projects for a Veterans Day Mass and tribute. The eighth graders led the tribute with a special flag folding ceremony, and hand-made wreaths were given to each veteran present, and prayers were offered for those not present.

St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton had a special flag raising ceremony led by the fourth graders, while at St. Ann Catholic School in Naples the students attended Mass where veterans were recognized and honored. Meanwhile, the Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School Young Marines faith program from Venice participated in the Sarasota Veterans Day parade.

These are just a few examples of how Catholic school students honored our veterans.

Veterans Day began as an informal celebration to mark the conclusion of World War I (Nov. 11, 1918), before being designated as a national holiday in 1954 to honor all military men and women who have sacrificed so much in their service to this country.

 

All encouraged to attend 13th Annual Veterans Day Catholic Mass

The Diocese of Venice will be hosting the 13th Annual Veterans Day Catholic Mass on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, at the Sarasota National Cemetery in honor of all the men and women who have served our country and continue to serve to this day.

The Mass at 3 p.m., is preceded by an opening ceremony at 2:45 p.m., will allow the faithful an opportunity to honor veterans and pray for them, many of whom are laid to rest at the Sarasota National Cemetery. Active military personnel are asked to wear their uniforms for the occasion. All are invited to attend.

Organized by the Diocese of Venice, with the support of the Knights of Columbus, the annual Mass started in 2010, just two years after the National Cemetery was dedicated. Since that time, the cemetery and Mass have grown. More than 25,000 veterans and their spouses are interred in the National Cemetery since opening. The Diocese is grateful for the opportunity to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Sarasota National Cemetery.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane said it is a special privilege that the Diocese of Venice celebrates this Mass for the intention of our veterans each year. “We gather to thank all the men and women who served, and continue to serve, in the armed forces for what they have done so that we can live as we do today. We also comfort those who mourn, honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

The opening ceremony will include patriotic music, hymns, as well as the Presenting and Posting of the Colors. The Mass, concelebrated by priests from across the Diocese of Venice, will follow immediately.

After the Mass, Bishop Dewane and concelebrating priests, escorted by the Knights of Columbus Color Corps, will proceed to the nearby graves where they will stand in silent prayer as “Taps” is played.

A military display will be nearby with flags representing the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines.

Sarasota National Cemetery is located on State Road 72 (exit 205 at Clark Road), approximately four miles east of Interstate 75. A water station and restrooms will be in place for the ceremony, but visitors are encouraged to wear a hat and sunscreen. There is ample on-site parking available for those in attendance. There will be handicapped parking and golf carts available to shuttle those who need extra assistance. Everyone is encouraged to arrive early.

 

News Briefs for the Week of Oct. 21, 2022

School celebrates Latin Fiesta

St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School students in Naples enjoyed a Latin Fiesta Oct. 13, 2022. This was a special day to celebrate the Latin culture with food, dance, music and more. Students experienced the Latin culture through a Folklore Dance Presentation and Zumba class and was such a fun and educational event for the school.

Veterans Day Mass

On Veterans Day, Friday, November 11, the Diocese of Venice will hold a Memorial Mass in honor of the men and women who have served our country and continue to serve and protect us today. This is the 13th year the Diocese has held a Mass on Veterans Day. Bishop Frank J. Dewane will celebrate the Mass at 3 p.m. at the Sarasota National Cemetery, 9810 State Road 72/Clark Road, approximately five miles east of I-75. The priests, deacons and Knights of Columbus in the Diocese will join Bishop Dewane for this important event. All are invited to attend, and active military personnel are asked to wear their uniform. Attendees are also encouraged to wear sunscreen and bring a hat. There is ample seating and parking at the cemetery. Please contact Gail Ardy at ardy@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-486-4714 for further information.

Formation program in Spanish begins

The “Gifts of the Holy Spirit” is the theme for the latest in a series of courses in the Diocese Faith Formation Program in Spanish. The series of seven classes takes place at different Parishes from early October 2022 through early March 2023. Each region of the Diocese is divided into zones to allow greater access to the classes which are held on Friday nights (and switch to Thursday nights during Lent). Those who register and attend a minimum of six classes will receive a Diocesan Certification. This is the fifth such course that has been offered within the Diocese of the Spanish-speaking community in the past several years. To learn more about the Hispanic Apostolate of the Diocese, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/hispanic-apostolate/.

Palmetto Knights earn elite status

Congratulations to the Knights of Columbus Council 7414, of Holy Cross Parish in Palmetto, which recently attained the Double Star Council status for the 2021-2022 fraternal year. Earning the “Star Council Award” is an annual recognition from the Supreme office of the Knights of Columbus. The Double Star designation means these men greatly exceeded the requirements for the annual recognition. The requirements cover a variety of efforts including membership increases, community service, Parish service and faith-based activities.

Science students build islands

Sixth grade science students at St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota met the “Landform Island Challenge” head-on and did an amazing job on Oct. 14, 2022. For the challenge, the students had to build an island of landforms out of salt dough to demonstrate knowledge of landforms and how they are created, including: a mountain, valley, volcano, plateau, coastline, barrier islands, cape, lake, river with a delta, bay, and sound. The results were impressive!

Student recognized for artistic talent

Congratulations to Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School student Connor Bogue, fifth grade, who won the City of Venice’s annual Florida City Government Week poster contest at his school. Students drew to the theme, “My City, I’m Part of It, I’m Proud of It.” Connor won a pizza party for his class on Oct. 18, 2022, and received a framed certificate from City Public Information Officer Lorraine Anderson. His colorful artwork will also be installed at City Hall. Well done!

News Briefs for the week of Oct. 14, 2022

Special Hurricane Ian collection to be held Oct. 22-23

Bishop Frank J. Dewane is calling on to continue to support the efforts of the Diocese of Venice and Catholic Charities in response to the destruction of Hurricane Ian. Several Parishes have lost Church buildings, and others have facilities severely damaged by the storm. In addition, many people throughout the region have endured significant suffering. To respond to these calamities, Parishes in the Diocese of Venice will take up a special collection the weekend of Oct. 22-23, 2022. The collection will help provide for the pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church, as well as the efforts of Catholic Charities in providing both immediate and long-term assistance to those impacted. It is asked that, in face of such significant loss, those who are able consider donating to help our brothers and sisters in Christ in their time of great need.

Retired priest dies in Avon Park

Father Leo Frechette, who was a retired priest that assisted at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Avon Park since 2007, died at the age of 93 in Sebring on Oct. 5, 2022. Father Frechette was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1955, and was a priest of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire where he served for 40 years until his retirement in 1995. A Mass of Christian Burial was held Oct. 13, 2022, at Our Lady of Grace Parish.

 

Diocesan Rosary Congress a success

The 2022 Diocesan Rosary Congress was a huge success, even with Hurricane Ian causing a few Parishes to cancel or alter their participation. Initially, 19 Parishes were registered to offer a 24-hour period of Eucharistic Adoration, hourly praying of the rosary and the celebration of the Mass. Diocesan Evangelization Director James Gontis said that while five of 19 Parishes were forced to cancel their participation because of Ian, the balance enthusiastically stayed a part of the Congress. “It was a beautiful outpouring of Faith at each location,” Gontis said, noting several had large groups while others ensured that each hour of the 24 was covered by at least one person.

Last chance to register for Oct. 22 Diocesan Marriage Conference

Recognizing that this is a time of suffering and trial for many, we continue to pray for those affected by Hurricane Ian. As we move forward with the mission of Christ in the Diocese of Venice, we hope you will join us at the “Together in Holiness” Marriage Conference, presented in partnership with the Diocese of Venice Office of Family Life and the St. John Paul II Foundation, is Saturday, Oct. 22. To register for the conference , please visit https://forlifeandfamily.org/events/th22-vnfl/. This marriage enrichment conference will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at St. John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers. All Catholic married and engaged couples throughout the Diocese of Venice and beyond are welcome. Grow together in holiness, learn to form your children in the Catholic Faith, enjoy a day of quality time with your spouse and witness dynamic presentations! The day will include Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This special event is for all couples, engaged, newlywed or long married! On-site childcare will be provided. For further information, please contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseovenice.org.

Veterans Day Mass

On Veterans Day, Friday, November 11, the Diocese of Venice will hold a Memorial Mass in honor of the men and women who have served our country and continue to serve and protect us today. This is the 13th year the Diocese has held a Mass on Veterans Day. Bishop Frank J. Dewane will celebrate the Mass at 3:00 p.m. at the Sarasota National Cemetery, 9810 State Road 72/Clark Road, approximately five miles east of I-75. The priests, deacons and Knights of Columbus in the Diocese will join Bishop Dewane for this important event. All are invited to attend, and active military personnel are asked to wear their uniform. Attendees are also encouraged to wear sunscreen and bring a hat. There is ample seating and parking at the cemetery. Please contact Gail Ardy at ardy@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-486-4714 for further information.

World Youth Day 2023 Registration Open

Registration is now open for World Youth Day 2023 to Lisbon, Portugal. You are invited to join Bishop Frank J. Dewane for the trip to Lisbon with two nights in Fatima. This 11-day pilgrimage is from July 29 to August 8, 2023. The theme for World Youth Day 2023 is “Mary arose and went with haste”. (Luke 1:39) Travel arrangements are facilitated by Peter’s Way Tours. Space is limited and registration must be completed by Monday, October 31. For more information, travel and registration details, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/evangelization/world-youth-day-2023/.

General Election

Be an informed voter on November 8, 2022. Catholic Faithful are urged to see beyond party politics, to analyze political campaigns critically, and to choose political leaders according to principle, not just self-interest. The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB) has created a guide offering information about Catholic teaching on moral and social concerns facing our nation and state. The guide includes questions to help voters evaluate candidate positions on key issues for the 2022 general election. Consider using this tool for prayer and reflection before casting your ballot. Click FCCB Voter Guide/Guía de la FCCB para el Votante – Diocese of Venice for the FCCB Voter Guide and the Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Comparison.

 Elecciones Generales

Sea un votante informado el 8 de noviembre de 2022. Se insta a los Fieles Católicos a ver más allá de la política partidista, a analizar críticamente las campañas políticas y a elegir a los líderes políticos de acuerdo con los principios, no solo con el interés propio. La Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Florida (FCCB) ha creado una guía que ofrece información sobre la enseñanza católica sobre las preocupaciones morales y sociales que enfrenta nuestra nación y estado. La guía incluye preguntas para ayudar a los votantes a evaluar las posiciones de los candidatos sobre temas clave para las elecciones generales de 2022. Considere usar esta herramienta para la oración y la reflexión antes de emitir su voto. Haga clic en FCCB Voter Guide/Guía de la FCCB para el Votante – Diocese of Venice para la FCCB Guía del Votante y comparación de Candidatos a Gobernador de Florida.

Scam Alert

In the wake of Hurricane Ian, the possibility of being contacted by someone posing to be a contractor or offering aid is heightened. There are those who will take advantage of the vulnerable during a crisis such as seen with the hurricane. Please be diligent that you are corresponding with a legitimate person or business before handing over any money or personal information. You may also be contacted with a request for money and the email will appear as though it is from one of our priests or Diocesan employees. Please make direct contact with the person by calling the Parish and asking to speak with the priest or sender of the email, and do not reply to the email or text.

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