Priestly Ordination: United to the Sacrifice of Christ

Bob Reddy – Venice –

The presbyterate of the Diocese of Venice in Florida grew by one with the Ordination to the Priesthood of Father Carlos Encinas.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane presided over the ordination of Father Carlos in a Rite that was filled with long tradition and witnessed by hundreds Oct. 5 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

The Bishop told Father Carlos that through ordination, he becomes forever “United to the Sacrifice of Christ.” That unity is also with the Bishop and the Universal Church led by Holy Father Pope Francis.

“You are called to be that Church as you go out and strive to minister to the people of God,” Bishop Dewane continued. “Be the example of the Good Shepherd and go out and find the lost sheep who have the strayed by being the Light of Christ to others who might be in darkness.”

To start the Rite of Ordination, Diocese of Venice Vocations Director Father Shawn Roser called Deacon Carlos forward as he presented himself for ordination to the Bishop. The Bishop, on behalf of the entire Church, accepted Carlos and called him to ordination as a Priest by saying: “Relying on the help of the Lord God and Our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose Carlos Encinas, our brother, for the Order of the Priesthood.”

During the Rite of Ordination, Encinas knelt before Bishop Dewane to express his desire and willingness to be ordained as a Priest and to fulfill the responsibilities that come with ordination, which included a promise of respect and obedience to the Bishop and his successors. Encinas then lay prostrate before the altar for the Litany of Supplication/Litany of Saints.

After this solemn act of prayer, the Sacrament of Ordination was conferred when Carlos again knelt before Bishop Dewane, whom in silent prayer, imposed his hands on the head the ordinand. Each priest then came forward to lay their hands upon the head of Father Encinas. This was followed by Bishop Dewane, with his hands outstretched, praying the Prayer of Ordination.

Father Carlos was then vested in stole and chasuble by Father Gerard Critch, Pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples where Encinas had recently served as Transitional Deacon. The hands of Father Carlos were than anointed with the Sacred Chrism by the Bishop, the sign of the special anointing of the Holy Spirit who will make their ministry fruitful.

Next, the Bishop presented Encinas with the chalice and paten which all priests are called to present to God in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The Rite of Ordination is concluded with the Bishop giving a fraternal kiss of peace to the newly ordained priest, welcoming him into the Diocesan Presbyterate or priesthood. Bishop Dewane introduced Father Carlos to all those present to enthusiastic applause, before all priests came forward to offer the sign of peace.

In addition to families and friends from Argentina, there were faithful from across the Diocese, many from the parishes where he previously had served. Included among those were also representatives of the Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta, and the Knights and Dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, as well as Diocesan seminarians who served during the Mass. Father Carlos was also pleased that a number of priests and fellow graduates from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, many of whom were ordained earlier in the year, were able to attend.

The Ordination was followed by a reception in the Cathedral Parish Hall where newly ordained Father Carlos Encinas was available to greet the public and impart his priestly blessing on them.

Young students learn about vocations

Bob Reddy – Fort Myers –

Sixth graders from Catholic elementary schools across the Diocese of Venice have recently been challenged to recognize the presence of the Lord in themselves while also considering their vocation: possibly to religious life for the girls and the priesthood for the boys.

“God is calling each of us,” Diocesan Vocations Director Father Shawn Roser explained to the students at each of three Diocesan Vocations Days in late September. “You are old enough to understand the role Christ is having in your life and I know some of you are being called to a religious life or the priesthood.”

The Vocations Days took place Sept. 23 at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples for the Catholic schools in the Southern Deanery; Sept. 25 at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota for schools in the Northern Deanery, and Sept. 30 at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers for schools in the Central Deanery.

Students heard from priests and religious men and women about listening to God’s call for their vocation in life. No matter whether that vocation is as a priest or consecrated religious, married life, consecrated single life – the Lord will provide guidance.

The day focused on encouraging the young boys and girls to open their hearts and minds to develop their personal relationship with God while keeping open the possibility of a deeper calling for their vocation. The students were repeatedly told that their relationship with the Lord must always begin with prayer.

Throughout the day the students heard from priests and religious women who shared their stories of how they found a grace to serve God in a special way. There were separate sessions for boys and girls, when they were free to ask any questions.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated Mass at the conclusion of each Vocations Day and reinforced what the students learned by stressing how they need to pray to the Lord about their vocation in life. He also shared his own vocation story.

“The Lord has a role for each one of us in life, and if it is not done, the community is all the less for it,” Bishop Dewane said. “Go forward in your lives and really consider religious life, consider the priesthood and pray about it. Pray that the Lord inspire you to that vocation. Pray to the Lord that you get clarity.”

Bishop Dewane, Father Roser and the religious sisters who assisted at the Vocations Days each stressed that God is never going to call the students to do something they are not going to want to do or cannot handle.

“You just have to open your mind and your heart to what God is calling you to do,” Father Roser said.

During the Vocations Days at Cardinal Mooney and Bishop Verot Father Roser was joined by Servant Sisters of the Virgin Matara from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula. At St. John Neumann, he was assisted by Sister April Hoffman, a Salesian Sister of St. John Bosco who teaches at the high school.

In addition, Sister Cathy Bonfield, School Sister of Notre Dame, escorted her students from St. Martha and St. Mary Academy to the Vocations Day at Cardinal Mooney, and spoke to the girls about her vocation journey as a teacher for more than 50 years.

Each day focused on encouraging the young boys and girls to open their hearts and minds to develop their personal relationship with God while keeping open the possibility of a deeper calling for their vocation.

Throughout the day the students participated in various activities and games with the priest and religious present while also carefully listening to the profound words they had to say as each shared their own personal spiritual journey to serve God in a special way.

Students from St. John Neumann, Cardinal Mooney and Bishop Verot shared their own faith story, noting the challenges to stay focused on the Lord with other distractions in life. However, no matter how far they strayed from their Faith, each noted that the one strength in their lives was the Lord, calling them back. This invariably brought comfort and stability to their lives.

Prior to the closing Mass, there was Eucharistic Adoration to allow the students a chance to focus and spend time in the presence of the Lord.

Father Roser said the goal was to let these young boys and girls know about the possibilities for the future and the greatness that comes as a servant of the Lord for priests and religious.

Transitional Deacon prepares for Oct. 5 priestly ordination

Bob Reddy

Venice – Transitional Deacon Carlos Encinas had only to complete his final exams in medical school when he realized his desire to become a priest was something he could no longer ignore.

He left his hometown in Argentina and went to New York City, ostensibly to visit a friend, but actually to seriously discern a vocation to the priesthood. “I needed to separate myself from medical school and home, a place I lived my entire life. I wanted to focus on this process with my whole heart.”

While in New York City, Deacon Encinas discerned with the Franciscan Friars, helping in a homeless shelter. While this experience helped him to realize he was on the right path, he did know that religious life was not a good fit because he wanted to be a parish priest. Thus, he began his formal studies toward the priesthood for the Archdiocese of New York at Cathedral Seminary House of Formation in Douglaston. N.Y., where he graduated with a degree in philosophy.

It was just before his final year in college seminary when Deacon Encinas decided he wanted to serve in a Diocese which had distinct Hispanic populations, unlike New York City where the population is more diffuse. A friend suggested he look at the Diocese of Venice. A week-long visit, including a meeting with Bishop Frank J. Dewane, solidified his decision to join the Diocese as a seminarian upon graduation in 2014.

Throughout his entire discernment process, Deacon Encinas said God was always gentle in asking more of him, showing him signs that he is on the right path. “God never forces you to do something you don’t want to,” he added. “It was at Mass that I would see signs that led me to realize what God wanted from me.”

The recent graduate of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach is now on the cusp of reaching his goal of becoming a priest. The Ordination to the Priesthood of Deacon Encinas will take place at 11 a.m., Oct. 5 at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. Bishop Dewane will preside over the ordination.

Now 40, Deacon Encinas was born and raised in Corrientes, Argentina, and said he had a desire to become a priest off and on since he was 19-years-old. When he decided to enter seminary in the U.S., his parents, Alberto and Josefina Encinas, were skeptical, and his father was upset because he wanted his son to become a physician.

“As time passed, he appreciated more what I was doing and now everyone is very happy,” Deacon Encinas explained.

Because of the distance and cost, none of his family was able to attend his April 14, 2018, ordination to the transitional diaconate at St. Joan of Arc Parish Church, Boca Raton. The family did watch via a livestream on social media. He is pleased to know that in October, his parents, sisters, a niece and nephew and three cousins are all coming to the U.S. for the ordination.

While a seminarian for the Diocese of Venice, Deacon Encinas had several pastoral assignments including: St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Naples; St. Andrew Parish, Cape Coral; St. Joseph Parish, Bradenton, and Our Lady of Grace, Avon Park.

The ordination of a transitional deacon to the priesthood is considered one of the pivotal moments in the life of a Diocese. It is one of the most beautiful and often unseen Sacraments in the Church. It is a public response to the Call to Holiness, which comes with great responsibility and accountability.

While an ordination is the final step to priesthood, it is not the conclusion of priestly formation, it is just the beginning.

During ordination to the priesthood Deacon Encinas will freely presents himself to serve God, the Church and the Bishop of the Diocese of Venice and his successors. He will also make a renewed commitment to celibacy and promise obedience. The reward for that choice is to have his life filled with the message of God.

News briefs from the Diocese Sept. 13-27

Ordination to the priesthood Oct. 5

All are encouraged to attend the celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Orders at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. Transitional Deacon Carlos Encina will be Ordained to the Priesthood by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. This in an important celebration for the entire Diocese as ordinations help to ensure the continued availability of the Sacraments. A reception will follow.

 

 

 

Bishop interviewed for series “The Chair”

Representatives of DeSales Media visited Epiphany Cathedral in Venice Aug. 25-26 to produce a segment for a series about U.S. Cathedrals and their Bishops called “The Chair.” which will air on NET TV, a channel of the Diocese of Brooklyn. In addition to filming the Cathedral and learning about its history, the team interviewed Bishop Frank J. Dewane.

 

 

 

Summer reading program a big success

The students enrolled in the Summer Reading Program at Casa San Juan Bosco of Catholic Charities farm worker community in Arcadia took part in the Summer Reading Challenge. The program is funded through the generosity of The Patterson Foundation and is part of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The reading challenge takes place for nine weeks and 26 kindergarten to fifth grade students signed up for the program this summer at the farm worker community. The campers receive a wristband for the number of books completed and activities are coordinated to go with the reading materials for each day. Research shows that children who do not read during the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress and that the loss has a cumulative, long-term effect on them. But reading just six books, at the appropriate reading level, over the summer can prevent that “summer slide” and keep a struggling reader from regressing.

Anti-Human Trafficking Assistance Program challenge

Join the fight to end human trafficking. Today more than ever, victims of human trafficking need your support. To combat this serious issue, a concerned donor has pledged to match all contributions given to the Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. Anti-Human Trafficking Assistance Program up to $100,000. Double your donation through our benefactor’s match to Catholic Charities. Survivors have vast needs. They begin with the basics of food, housing and clothing then move on to referrals to medical, legal and mental health providers and finish with life and job skills training to reach self-sufficiency. The goal is to end this modern-day slavery. Your gift will offer survivors the hope and help required to overcome their obstacles and achieve a healthy life. To make a donation, please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org.

Support Venice Diocesan CCW Seminarian Fund

The Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women invite all to join them in celebrating Priesthood Sunday, September 29, in a special and lasting way – by sending priests of your parish a Seminarian Fund “IN HONOR OF” card. Please remember that this is a gift that keeps on giving. The Diocese of Venice is currently educating 18 men in various seminaries. A donation of any amount will be a great help. The donation amount will not be revealed to the recipient. To take part, please send $1.00 plus your donation (made out to the VDCCW Seminarian Fund) to Cornelia Zanetti, 5808 Gulf Drive, #204, Holmes Beach, FL 34217. If you have any questions, please email Cornelia at corniez@aol.com.

Verot seniors perfect on college pre exams

Two Bishop Verot Catholic High School seniors, Connor Shovlin and Madison Tilton, have achieved perfection on the SAT and ACT. Connor received a perfect 36 on his ACT and a perfect 800 on the Math portion of the SAT. Madison received a perfect 800 on the Reading & Writing section of the SAT. Congratulations!

Naples School Fall Festival Oct. 12

St. Ann Catholic School is hosting a Fall Festival from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Oct. 12 at the St. Ann Jubilee Center and School Field at 525 Ninth Ave. S., Naples. There will be fun for all, including: a chili contest, games, face painting, bounce house, bake sale, snow cones, food, line dancing and much more. The Festival will benefit the St. Ann Home and School Association. For more details, please call 239-262-4110.

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 roser@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-486-4720, or visit www.venicevocations.com .

Diocese of Venice Seminarians

Deacon Carlos Encinas

Deacon Franckel Fils-Aime

Deacon Daniel Ricardo

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.

Amen.

 

News from Around the Diocese late July 2019

Seminarian admitted to Candidacy

Bishop Frank J. Dewane presided over the Rite of the Admission to Candidacy of Diocesan Seminarian Daniel Scanlan on June 27 at the Diocese Catholic Center in Venice. Scanlan recently graduated Valedictorian from St. Vincent de Paul College Seminary in Miami and is heading to Rome, Italy, to continue his priestly formation at the Pontifical North American College. Also present was Father Shawn Roser, Diocese Director of Vocations.

Youth take part in religious retreat in Georgia mountains

Youth from two different parishes took part in separate religious retreats in the Georgia mountains in late June. The Epiphany Cathedral group from Venice went to the Camp Covecrest retreat center for a week of fun activities and team-building exercises while also hearing inspirational talks and having time to reflect on their faith. Meanwhile, the boys and girls from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula went camping in the mountains of Georgia on consecutive weeks. The groups hiked to the start of the Appalachian Trail and took part in numerous other activities and were led by the religious sisters and priests from the parish.

Mooney student taking part in Ballet summer program

Lauren Garner, Class of 2022, is spending her summer at the Boston Ballet School Summer Dance Program. After an intense audition, she was accepted and will spend 5 weeks training 5-7 hours each day with internationally renowned faculty of the Boston Ballet School and prestigious collegiate dance institutions in the areas of ballet technique, choreography, improvisation and contemporary dance. She will be attending this program and living in college dorms with other students from the United States and around the globe.

 

 

Verot grad receives top Girl Scout award

Samantha Romero, who just graduated from Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Sarasota has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award. Following Hurricane Michael in 2018, she turned her passion for filmmaking to make a difference in the Florida Panhandle by documenting the damage and recovery at St. John Catholic School in Panama City. There was a local connection to that school in that the principal, Dr. Vikki Parks, previously served as Diocese of Venice Assistant Superintendent and a teacher at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral. Through the power of video, she was able to help the school share their story and spearhead their relief effort. Romero also created a video club at Bishop Verot, and through in-person workshops and online video classes she trained younger students in the art of film, editing, and techniques to create professional content. Romero was also a member of the Verot Catholics in Action Club and was very active in Pro-Life activities including a trip to the National March for Life in Washington, D.C. The Girl Scout Gold Award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award Girl Scouts, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

Mooney grad receives national lacrosse recognition

MJ McMahon, a recent graduate of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, has been named to the 2019 All-LaxRecords Second Team. McMahon completed his career with the Cougars tallying 410 points, good for top ten all time throughout the state. He racked up 235 goals, the fifth most ever for a high school lacrosse player from Florida. This past spring, McMahon helped guide Cardinal Mooney to a 21-win season. McMahon will be attending the University of Utah in the fall.

New Director of Vocations announced

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

6/18/19

Father Shawn Roser knows what it is like to be a seminarian for the Diocese of Venice. He was one a year ago. This fact makes Father Roser uniquely qualified to be the new Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Venice.

Announced by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, and effective May 17, Father Roser said he is anxious to work to support the existing seminarians who are discerning the priesthood now, while at the same time finding innovative ways to encourage others to follow the same path.

“This is a tremendous honor,” Father Roser said. “The responsibility is awesome, and I will work diligently to help spread the word that promoting a vocation to the priesthood needs the support of all the faithful.”

Bishop Dewane noted that Father Roser is the right person to fill this important role in the Diocese. “Father Shawn has the spiritual awareness and enthusiasm needed to be a successful Vocations Director.”

As he settles into his new position, Father Roser noted that he will work to ensure the needs of the current Diocesan seminarians are being addressed. Since he was a seminarian, he already understands what it was like to go through the lengthy process of discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

“I understand the pressures, not just academically, but personally and spiritually,” Father Roser explained. “I will do what I can to help them through the discernment process.”

For those who might be thinking about discerning the priesthood, Father Roser will be there as a mentor as well. He went through a lengthy discernment process after he graduated from St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples.

He first went off to study aerospace engineering and applied meteorology, with the intention of pursuing a career as a U.S. Air Force officer and astronaut. It was then, during his involvement with Catholic campus ministry, that he experienced an awakening and renewing of his faith which started him on a journey to the priesthood. Father Roser was ordained on July 14, 2017.

Father said that long process, and the knowledge that everyone’s call to the priesthood is different, will help him encourage others to consider their calling.

“Today it is hard for young people to feel connected,” Father Roser said. “You have to help them strengthen their connection to the Lord; then the idea of a vocation to the priesthood or religious life becomes a more authentic option.”

Father said he is blessed to be building upon the positive work done by Father Eric Scanlan, the Vocations Director from 2015-2019, who is now Administrator of Incarnation Parish in Sarasota and Chaplain at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School.

He will be required to visit the different seminaries, attend vocations conferences and keep up with the academic and pastoral work of the seminarians. He will travel across the Diocese to promote vocations at various events still in the planning stages.

In addition to his duties as Vocations Director, Father is currently a Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton and is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus.

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 vocations. To support a seminarian, donations may be sent to the 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 roser@dioceseofvenice.org or 941-486-4720, or visit www.venicevocations.com .

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.

Amen.

News for mid May 2019

Bishop blesses Knights on Bikes

The Knights of Columbus Knights on Bikes of the Diocese of Venice welcomed Bishop Frank J. Dewane as he blessed their motorcycles May 19 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice. Bishop Dewane first celebrated a Mass for the group and then led a prayer service and blessing. Organized by George Lopez of Ave Maria Parish, the motorcyclists came from across the Diocese. The Knights on Bikes is a worldwide organization consisting of members of the Knights of Columbus who are also motorcycle riders. The Knights on Bikes was formed in the United States in April 2005. Members proudly wear a vest that clearly promotes the Knights of Columbus organization.

Seminarians graduate from college

Diocesan Seminarian Daniel Scanlan gives the valedictorian address May 9 at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami.

Three Diocesan Seminarians recently graduated from college. Transitional Deacon Carlos Encinas earned his Master’s in Divinity from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach on May 9. The day before, Seminarians Daniel Scanlan and Juan Contreras graduated from St. john Vianney College Seminary in Miami. Scanlan graduated at the class valedictorian. Deacon Encinas will be ordained to the priesthood in the fall, while Scanlan and Contreras will next go on to St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary.

Food sorting from Post Office drive

A volunteer helps sort donations at St. Joseph Food Pantry in Bradenton on May 11 following the Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

The St. Joseph Food Pantry in Bradenton received food deliveries from five U.S. Post Offices as part of a Letter Carries “Stamp Our Hunger Food Drive.” On May 11, some 300 volunteers helped sort the food in the St. Joseph Parish School gymnasium and stock the Food Pantry. The food pantry serves all of Manatee County and in 2018 the Food Pantry served more than 5,300 families with 12,772 family members of which 4,443 were children and 442 were veterans. These families visited the pantry and received food over 19,600 visits during the past 12 months. In addition, the Food Pantry distributed more than 550 bags of food and toiletries to the homeless of Manatee County during the year. An additional 1,000 bags of food are distributed Thanksgiving Week. For more information about the St. Joseph Food Pantry, call 941-756-3732, email directors@stjoepantry.com or send donations to St. Joseph Food Pantry, 2704 33rd Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205.

Sarasota school expands offering

Incarnation Catholic School, 2911 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, will be expanding their early learning classes to include a PreK three program. The program will offer a monthly theme-based curriculum that will include math, science, language and basics of our Catholic faith. Our little learners will discover answers to big questions like “How do Plants Grow?” and “ Who lives in the Ocean?”. Small class sizes will allow for individual attention and differentiate instruction. Playground time will provide an opportunity to work on gross motor skills.  The program will offer full and part time options, perfect for every family. Children must be potty trained and three years old by September 1. For more information please call 941-924-8588.

Verot grad tapped to head ATF

Regina Lombardo, a 1981 graduate of Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers, was announced on May 1 as the new acting deputy director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the first woman to head the federal agency. Lombardo has served as the associate deputy director and chief operating officer for the agency since March 2018, with responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the agency. She has served as a special agent at ATF since 1992 and has risen through the ranks as a career employee, holding numerous management positions that include assistant director of Human Resources and Professional Development, deputy assistant director of Field Operations’ Central Region, special agent in charge of the Tampa Field Division, assistant special agent in Charge of the New York Field Division, and assistant country attaché in Toronto, Canada.

Youth event May 31 on Sanibel

Youth from across the Diocese are invited to take part in an event 7-10 p.m., May 31 at St. Isabel Parish, 3559 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel. This event is open to everyone but the Youth Groups in the area are encouraged to participate. The event, titled “Immeasurable Mercy!” will feature our well-known local musician Mark Shapic and vocalist Jennine Fuentes! Also included is pizza, refreshments, games, Adoration and Reconciliation along with some praise and worship. It’s a time for music, fun, and fellowship! RSVP to Dr. Sue Ellen Nolan at @sueellen.nolan@saintisabel.org.

Taize Prayer service May 31 in Sarasota

St. Thomas More Parish, 2506 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota, invites people to a special Taize Prayer Service, 7 p.m., May 31. The feast of Pentecost commemorates the beginning of the Church in a new way, with the arrival of the Holy Spirit and with the disciples speaking so that many people heard the gospel in their own language. The prayer in the manner of Taizé is a good way to discover a shared gospel in many languages. Celebrate Pentecost with Song, Silence and Scripture in the style of Taizé monastery in France. The simple and beautiful chant music is dedicated to the renewal of spirits and the healing of our planet. The repetitive nature of the chanted prayer can promote a kind of inner unity of the person, allowing the spirit to be more open and more attentive to what is essential. Silence is a fundamental part of the Taizé service. For more details, please call 941-923-1691.

Diocesan Council of Catholic Women gather

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

A group of dedicated Catholic women has answered the call of Christ as they imitate Him in how they live their lives each day.

These women are represented by the Venice Diocese Council of Catholic Women (VDCCW) serving as an example of a heartfelt commitment to serve the Church while dedicating themselves to being open to the Holy Spirit.

Each year members gather for a convention with the goal of unifying their efforts to do the most good for the benefit of all. The 34th Annual Convention was held April 27 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

A central part of the gathering was the women participating in a celebration of the Mass which was celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. Several priests concelebrated the Mass including Father Joseph Connolly, TOR, who is the VDCCW Spiritual Advisor, as well as Fathers Blake Britton, Sebastian Szczawínski, Gordon Zanetti and Chuck Ruoff.

Bishop Dewane praised the VDCCW for coming together and giving witness to the Faith by how they are believers and followers of Jesus Christ who are called forth to reach out to others.

“As a group of believers, the CCW comes together bringing a strength to the Church,” Bishop Dewane said. “Reach out to others and help them to see the Lord in a new way as Christ made us all new in His Resurrection.”

VDCCW acts through its membership to support, empower, and educate all Catholic women in spirituality, leadership and service. Council programs exude Gospel values and serve the needs of the Church and society in the modern world. To exemplify this, the VDCCW is a strong supporter of the Diocesan seminarians and again presented a check to Bishop Dewane for the Diocesan Seminarian Fund.

The women also learned about a variety of topics including a presentation about human trafficking from representatives of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. who work with victims each day. The VDCCW presented a check to Catholic Charities from the Hugs for Homeless Fund for use to help the victims of human trafficking.

Father Britton, of the Diocese of Orlando, was the keynote speaker who focused on the power of femininity and the need to rehabilitate the view of beauty in society. Father cited St. John Paul II’s apostolic letter “The Dignity of Women” (Mulieris Dignitatem), Edith Stein’s “Letters to Women” and others.

Brenda Dolan, who has served as VDCCW president for the past several years and will now serve as Co-President, noted how the convention serves to unify and inspire the members of the VDCCW. Among those present for the convention were members of the VDCCW Juniors from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula.

In addition to the support for the Seminarian Fund, this year, three mothers of priests were honored for their nurturing support of their sons who chose a vocation to the priesthood. The mothers honored were: Cornelia Zanetti, mother of Father Gordon of St. Andrew Parish in Cape Coral; Agnes Ruoff-Perkins, mother of Father Chuck of St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples; and Kate Cogan, mother of Father Jim Cogan of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in Parrish.

The 2019 convention also included an installation of the new officers with Brenda Dolan and Ellen Bachman now serving as Co-Presidents, and Josephine Weiss as President-elect. They will serve for two years.

For more information about the Venice Diocese Council of Catholic Women please visit their new website at www.vdccw.com.

Venice seminarian takes a big step on his long road to the priesthood

Linda Reeves – Florida Catholic correspondent

4/9/19

The journey to the priesthood for one seminarian began in Haiti and meandered throughout several countries. However, April 6 he was ordained a transitional deacon, one small step on his spiritual journey.

“This ordination for me is a moment of grace, a time of thanksgiving to God for his fidelity to me,” said Diocese of Venice Seminarian Franckel Fils-Aime, who was ordained by Bishop Frank J. Dewane at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Boca Raton.

Bishop Dewane ordained a total of 15 seminarians of different seminarians from Florida arch/dioceses, most being from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. The Church was filled with family members, friends, guests, seminary faculty and leaders, priests and brother seminarians, all a witness of great support for the candidates soon to be ordained to the diaconate and to the Church.

The Bishop noted the special reason for the Mass and went on to say: “We celebrate your presence here today… of who you are, and who you are becoming.”

During the homily, Bishop Dewane explained that the ministry is much more than taking on specific Church duties. “What you are called to do is to reflect the love of Jesus Christ,” he said. “You are called to demonstrate this love in many ways; this you do with the help of the Holy Spirit.”

The Bishop also encouraged the men to “sow hope and trust in the Lord. You will teach Holy Doctrine to others but must be men of God and examples of living a life of prayer, high moral values and faith. May God bless each one of you for this decision you have made in your life and for your blessedness going forward.”

During the ordination, the new deacons promised to live a life of prayer, celibacy and obedience to their Diocesan Bishop. Deacon Fils-Aime will have an additional year of theological studies and spiritual formation before petitioning for Ordination to the Priesthood in 2020. As part of the ordination rite, the Bishop placed the Book of Gospels in the hands of each candidate being ordained and said: “Receive the Gospels of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”

Deacon Fils Aime was joyful afterwards and reflected to the day so long ago when he told his parents about his vocation decision.

“They were praying that God would call one of their children to the priesthood, and even more happy because I am the oldest son,” Deacon Fils Aime. “They understand as the Bible says, the first fruit is for God. I thank my family here in United States and in Haiti for their prayers and support.”

Born in Cornillon (Potino), in west Haiti, Deacon Fils-Aime celebrated his 40th birthday one month ago. The son of Voguel Fils-Aime, residing in Haiti, and the late Philomène Remy, he is the oldest of nine. His father and two siblings were present for the ordination.

From a young age, the new deacon felt at home in the Church and first met Jesus through the Sacraments while witnessing the ministry of the priests who served as examples of Jesus Christ’s love and mercy. “I heard the voice of God calling me for His services.”

Deacon Fils-Aime began formation at age 26 with the Order of Friars Minor. He lived in community with the Franciscan Capuchins and continued to study and discern in the Dominican Republic and Brazil. It was in 2014 when he heard God calling, loudly and clearly, to become a diocesan priest. He subsequently joined the Diocese of Venice in 2015.

Now carrying the new title of Deacon, this last phase of his formation before being called to priesthood, Deacon Fils-Aime, can baptize, witness marriages, perform funerals and burial services, distribute the Eucharist and preach the homily.

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