Free online course on St. Joseph begins Oct. 26

In response to Bishop Frank J. Dewane consecrating the Diocese of Venice to St. Joseph this year in the context of the global pandemic, the Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation is offering a free online spiritual enrichment course.

This 4-week course, “Encountering St. Joseph,” is a non-academic adult faith formation course that provides an opportunity to grow in knowledge and devotion to St. Joseph.

“Every adult member of the Diocese is invited to join this course,” said Dr. John Gresham, new Executive Director of the Institute. “It will be very helpful for those who serve as catechists, teachers, or other positions of service in the Church, but it is really for anyone who wants to know more about St Joseph.”

When it comes to the Holy Family, many would likely admit that they know Jesus and they know Mary, but Joseph remains something of a stranger, Gresham added. This is your opportunity to get to know this sometimes-neglected Saint better.

Participants in the course will be guided by another Saint, St. Pope John Paul II. This course will walk you through St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation, “The Person and Mission of St. Joseph in the Life of Christ and of the Church;” known by its Latin title as Redemptoris Custos (The Guardian of the Redeemer).

In this exhortation, St. John Paul II seeks to increase our devotion to St. Joseph as a great intercessor and patron of the Church but even more importantly, he wants us to get to know St. Joseph as a great example who has many lessons to teach us about living our own vocations.

The free online course begins Oct. 26, 2020 but participants can logon to the course anytime during the week that is most convenient by using a computer, tablet, or phone. The course consists of 20-minute pre-recorded lectures, opportunities for online discussion, Scriptures to pray with, and other learning activities. You can do as much or as little as you like each week.

The course will be taught by Gresham, who brings more than 20 years of experience teaching in the classroom and online, having previously taught for Franciscan University of Steubenville, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, Paul VI Catechetical Institute, and Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

The course begins Oct. 26, but you can logon early and access the Welcome Module. For more information and to register, please visit www.institute-dov.org and click on Courses or contact Dr. John Gresham john.gresham@institute-dov.org.

News Briefs for week of Sept. 14, 2020

World Day for Migrants and Refugees to be Celebrated on September 27

The Vatican has designated Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 as the World Day for Migrants and Refugees. The theme chosen by Pope Francis for the 106th observance of this day is “Forced like Jesus to Flee” a focus on the plight of internally displaced persons. The Holy See has a website, https://migrants-refugees.va, which includes a video message from Pope Francis. In the message, he states: “To preserve our common home and make it conform more and more to God’s original plan, we must commit ourselves to ensuring international cooperation, global solidarity and local commitment, leaving no one excluded.”

‘Fifth Sunday Rosary’ a success

Our Lady of Light Parish in Fort Myers hosted a “Fifth Sunday Rosary” in their Parish Chapel on Sept. 13, 2020. Spread apart due to social distancing requirements, the Knights of Columbus led the event.

Car Show Cookout in Lakewood Ranch Oct. 17

The Knights of Columbus of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, 12905 State Road 70 E., Lakewood Ranch, is hosting a Car Show Cookout, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Oct. 17, 2020. It is a great day for family and friends; see the cards in the show and enjoy the cookout. There will be a live DJ, trophies for car entries and door prizes. All profits go to charity. The cost is $20 to show your car (all cars welcome), and $5 donation to vote and door prizes. For more information, please call 941-752-6770.

6th Annual Virtual 5K Walk/Run for Life Oct. 24-25

St. Agnes Parish in Naples is holding its 6th Annual Virtual 5K Walk/Run for Life on the weekend of Oct. 24-25, 2020. The Run/Walk for Life is an event with the main purpose of promoting a respect for life message and raising funds for pro-life causes while encouraging healthy living (body and soul). You can complete the 5K (or more) on either Cot. 24 or Oct. 35. Gather your family and make this a fun, healthy activity. The cost is $20 per person. Those who compete will receive a commemorative short. For more details and registration, please visit www.stagnesnaples.org.

Year of Saint Joseph

On the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, in the context of the Coronavirus, consecrated the Diocese of Venice to the care and protection of St. Joseph. The Bishop announced a “Year of St. Joseph” beginning March 19, 2020 through March 19, 2021. St. Joseph, often referred to as the Protector, can be our protector during this time of the pandemic. To pray a Novena to St. Joseph please visit the Year of St. Joseph webpage at https://dioceseofvenice.org/a-year-of-st-joseph/.

Hurricane prayer

As the busy 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season continues (June 1-Nov. 30), a prayer is presented here by which one asks God for protection and safety from the storms that often threaten Southwest Florida. With the formation of nine storms, it has already been a busy season of watching the tropics with new storms seemingly forming and threatening each day . We all remember the devastating effect of Hurricane Irma from 2017 and what was witnessed when Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle in 2018, everyone in the Diocese of Venice knows and understands the power of these storms and the suffering which follows in their wake.

Prayer for Safety in Hurricane Season

O God, Master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of your children. The Sea of Galilee obeyed Your order and returned to its former quietude. You are still the Master of land and sea.

We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control: the Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy, overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land, and spread chaos and disaster.

During this hurricane season we turn to You, O loving Father. Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with passing of time.

O Virgin, Star of the Sea, Our beloved Mother, we ask you to plead with your Son on our behalf, so that spared from the calamities common to this area and animated with a true spirit of gratitude, we will walk in the footsteps of your Divine Son to reach the heavenly Jerusalem, where a stormless eternity awaits us. Amen.

Parish donations

During this challenging time in the life and mission of the Diocese of Venice, our Parishes face increased risk of financial shortfalls due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its effects on everyday life. Parishes depend on weekly financial gifts to continue their ministries, especially in this critical time of crisis. The Diocese of Venice is providing an online platform and encourages the Faithful to support their Parish. Please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/ways-to-give/parish-donations-online/ to donate to your Parish. The Faithful may also contribute through usual channels (e.g., envelopes, and through the Parish online giving option). Together we will navigate through this crisis, provide assistance to those in need, and secure the road ahead for the Parishes within the Diocese of Venice.

Dispensation

While the celebration of public Mass resumed May 18, 2020, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect through Nov. 1, 2020 for those who are at greater risk or anxious about returning at this time. The Faithful ought not to worry about remaining home if they are concerned for their wellbeing or that of other parishioners. Of course, those who are sick or have symptoms associated with COVID-19 are to stay home. Please check the Diocese of Venice website for any updates.

Livestreaming

The Diocese of Venice will continue livestreaming the Mass through the Diocese website (www.dioceseofvenice.org) and Facebook pages from the Catholic Center in Venice 9:15 a.m. daily as the dispensation to attend Mass remains.

Sunday Televised Mass

The Televised Mass for the Homebound is available throughout the Diocese each Sunday. In northern parts of the Diocese (Manatee, Highlands, Hardee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties) the Mass airs on television at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Collier, Lee, Glades, Hendry, Charlotte counties) the Mass airs at 10:30 a.m., on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). This same Mass can be found on the Diocese of Venice website at any time during the week, www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass. Please check local listings for channel information.

Online Resources

A special coronavirus webpage is located on the Diocese of Venice website at www.dioceseofvenice.org. Resources include links to the Mass, the prayer for an Act of the Spiritual Communion, videos of the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Pray the Rosary. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org, also posts the daily Mass readings.

Act of Spiritual Communion

It has long been a Catholic understanding that when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an Act of Spiritual Communion which is a source of grace. Spiritual Communion means uniting one’s self in prayer with Christ’s sacrifice and worshiping Him in His Body and Blood.

The most common reason for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when a person cannot attend Mass, as is the case during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.

For all who will not be able to receive the Holy Eucharist in person, consider this special prayer, an Act of Spiritual Communion:

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.

I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.

News briefs for the week of Aug. 3, 2020

Band camp takes place

Maintaining social distance while keeping in rhythm is the new challenge for participants in the Bishop Verot Catholic High School Band Camp in the last week of July 2020. Participants are learned new routines to be incorporated into performances during the coming year.

Spiritual Exercises for Spanish Movement lay leaders

During the month of July, some lay members of the Spanish-language Diocesan Directors of the Apostolic Movements had the opportunity to participate in Ignatian Spiritual Exercises at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice. These exercises have been proposed by the Church as a true school of spiritual life. The groups were divided between men and women to ensure social distancing was maintained.

Year of Saint Joseph

Stained glass window at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Moore Haven.

On the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, in the context of the Coronavirus, consecrated the Diocese of Venice to the care and protection of St. Joseph. The Bishop announced a “Year of St. Joseph” beginning March 19, 2020 through March 19, 2021. St. Joseph, often referred to as the Protector, can be our protector during this time of the pandemic. To pray a Novena to St. Joseph please visit the Year of St. Joseph webpage at https://dioceseofvenice.org/a-year-of-st-joseph/.

Dispensation

While the celebration of public Mass resumed May 18, 2020, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect through Sept. 1, 2020 for those who are at greater risk or anxious about returning at this time. The Faithful ought not to worry about remaining home if they are concerned for their wellbeing or that of other parishioners. Of course, those who are sick or have symptoms associated with COVID-19 are to stay home. Please check the Diocese of Venice website for any updates.

Livestreaming

The Diocese of Venice will continue livestreaming the Mass through the Diocese website (www.dioceseofvenice.org) and Facebook pages from the Catholic Center in Venice 9:15 a.m. daily as the dispensation to attend Mass remains.

Sunday Televised Mass

The Televised Mass for the Homebound is available throughout the Diocese each Sunday. In northern parts of the Diocese (Manatee, Highlands, Hardee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties) the Mass airs on television at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Collier, Lee, Glades, Hendry, Charlotte counties) the Mass airs at 10:30 a.m., on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). This same Mass can be found on the Diocese of Venice website at any time during the week, www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass. Please check local listings for channel information.

Parish donations

During this challenging time in the life and mission of the Diocese of Venice, our Parishes face increased risk of financial shortfalls due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its effects on everyday life. Parishes depend on weekly financial gifts to continue their ministries, especially in this critical time of crisis. The Diocese of Venice is providing an online platform and encourages the Faithful to support their Parish. Please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/ways-to-give/parish-donations-online/ to donate to your Parish. The Faithful may also contribute through usual channels (e.g., envelopes, and through the Parish online giving option). Together we will navigate through this crisis, provide assistance to those in need, and secure the road ahead for the Parishes within the Diocese of Venice.

Online Resources

A special coronavirus webpage is located on the Diocese of Venice website at www.dioceseofvenice.org. Resources include links to the Mass, the prayer for an Act of the Spiritual Communion, videos of the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Pray the Rosary. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org, also posts the daily Mass readings.

Act of Spiritual Communion

It has long been a Catholic understanding that when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an Act of Spiritual Communion which is a source of grace. Spiritual Communion means uniting one’s self in prayer with Christ’s sacrifice and worshiping Him in His Body and Blood.

The most common reason for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when a person cannot attend Mass, as is the case during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.

For all who will not be able to receive the Holy Eucharist in person, consider this special prayer, an Act of Spiritual Communion:

My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,

and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.

Bishop celebrates milestones

There are two dates in July which hold a special place in the heart of Bishop Frank J. Dewane, July 16 and July 25.

July 16, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, is the day in which he received the Sacrament of Holy Orders 32 years ago in 1988 for the Diocese of Green Bay. In addition, it was 14 years ago, on July 25, 2006, when he was Ordained to the Episcopate, becoming a Bishop and eventual Spiritual Leader of the Diocese of Venice in Florida.

“I have been blessed and humbled to be in the Diocese of Venice in Florida,” Bishop Dewane said. “The duty of a Bishop is as Shepherd of a Diocese and to serve the pastoral needs of the faithful. It is the People of God and serving them that defines me as their Bishop.”

In those 14 years as Bishop, there has been unprecedented growth in the 10-county, 10,000 square-miles Diocese. This has necessitated the establishment of seven new parishes, and a chapel for the Latin Mass, as well as the expansion of many other facilities. This growth has all been done to address the pastoral dimension for the people of God.

Impacts from Hurricane Irma in 2017 and the ongoing response to the COVID-19 Pandemic have challenged the workings of the Diocese in different ways, but Bishop Dewane noted that, as in the aftermath of the hurricane, the Diocese and the Catholic Church remains strong.

“It is at times of great peril when people seek comfort from their Faith,” Bishop Dewane said. “As the impacts of the Pandemic linger, the Diocese is committed to continuing to serve the faithful in every way possible.”

Before the outbreak and quarantines, Bishop Dewane took part in the Ad Limina visit to Rome in February 2020, with the Bishops of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The highlight of the visit included a Feb. 13, 2020 audience with Pope Francis, after which Bishop Dewane was presented with a medal and rosary.

In addition, during the past year the Bishop has led two Diocesan initiatives which endeavored to encourage the faithful to grow closer to the Lord. First was the “Disciples of Christ,” campaign, which taught students in Catholic Schools and in Parish religious education programs what it means to follow Christ and to be a Disciple of the Lord.

Most recently, Bishop Dewane announced that the Diocese would celebrate a “Year of St. Joseph” from March 19, 2020 through March 19, 2021. On the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, 2020, the Bishop, in the context of the coronavirus, consecrated the Diocese of Venice to the care and protection of St. Joseph. “Particularly in this time of uncertainty in light of the Pandemic, it is appropriate to seek the intercessions of the saints for guidance and protection,” Bishop Dewane said when announcing the “Year of St. Joseph.” The Bishop encouraged the faithful to join in heartfelt prayer and devotion, using the life of St. Joseph as our model for fulfilling our personal call to holiness. Please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/a-year-of-st-joseph/ for links to prayers, devotions and the latest announcements related to the ongoing ‘Year of St. Joseph.”

Happy Anniversaries Bishop and best wishes for the coming year.

News Briefs for week of July 13 2020

Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate Aug. 15

Bishop Frank J. Dewane will ordain to the Permanent Diaconate seven men at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. The candidates are: Jeffrey Ball of Ave Maria Parish, Ave Maria; Enrique (Rick) Castro of St. Cecilia Parish, Fort Myers; Ramiro Hernandez of St. Michael Parish, Wauchula; Jack W. Milholland Jr. of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Lakewood Ranch; Roberto Pagán of Jesus the Worker Parish, Fort Myers; Vern W. Smith of St. Martha Parish, Sarasota; and Dr. William Soscia of St. Joseph Parish, Bradenton. A reception in the Parish Hall will follow. All are invited and encouraged to attend.

CCW supports Catholic Charities

Representatives of the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women recently presented a check to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc. for their homeless prevention program. The presentation took place on June 23, 2020 at the Catholic Center in Venice. VDCCW President Brenda Dolan and Board Member Ellen Bachman presented the check for $7,000 to Philomena Pereira, CEO of Catholic Charities. Bishop Frank J. Dewane was also present as a show of support for both the VDCCW and Catholic Charities. The money is part of an annual effort of the VDCCW and will go toward the numerous programs that provide housing and also prevent people from becoming homeless.

Support After Abortion Virtual Conference

Join the Support After Abortion Healing Network Virtual Conference 2020: Building and Strengthening Abortion Healing Worldwide – Thursday, July 30 to Saturday, August 1.  See and hear online over 40 presenters: clergy, authors, curriculum leaders and those who have been impacted by abortion as they share their wisdom, insights and personal stories. Don’t be surprised that Support After Abortion resides in the Diocese of Venice and some of the presenters live here as well. There is no charge to watch any of the presentations during the three-day virtual conference by visiting www.supportafterabortionvirtualconference.com/home. See the website for a premium upgrade for access to each of the presentations for 90 days. (NOTE: Any priest interested in a free 90-day premium pass – a $49.99 value – can request one by e-mailing Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org or calling 941-374-1068.)

Online Master’s in Bioethics Offered

St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens is offering a new Master’s in Bioethics to be earned in four semesters. The comprehensive program is designed for graduates to be equipped to address all relevant bioethical issues of our time; to serve as consultors; to give workshops; develop Parish programs; and to train others to do the same. All courses are taught according to the teachings of the Catholic Church. The program is four consecutive semesters (fall, spring, short summer, fall and students who start in the fall of 2020 will be graduating in December of 2021. The program consists of two courses per semester for a total of 30 credits and are fully available online. For more information, contact Father Alfred Cioffi, Director of the Institute for Bioethics, St. Thomas University, at 786-489-9369 or acioffi@stu.edu.

Year of Saint Joseph

On the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, in the context of the Coronavirus, consecrated the Diocese of Venice to the care and protection of St. Joseph. The Bishop announced a “Year of St. Joseph” beginning March 19, 2020 through March 19, 2021. St. Joseph, often referred to as the Protector, can be our protector during this time of the pandemic. To pray a Novena to St. Joseph please visit the Year of St. Joseph webpage at www.dioceseofvenice.org.

Wauchula Food Pantry

St. Michael Parish in Wauchula is home to a food pantry which has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 Pandemic response. To accommodate those who work, the food pantry is open Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., at 408 Heard Bridge Road, Wauchula. If you need food at a different time or would like to support the efforts to assist the community, please call the Parish at 863-773-4089.

Free Rosary Repair Service

Send your broken rosaries in a padded envelope to Betty and Dick Holden, 7930 Estero Blvd. #502, Fort Myers, FL 33931. Rosaries will be repaired and returned within the week of receipt. Donations of old rosaries are also accepted which will be repaired and sent to missions. Include a note indicating repair or donation. For more details, please call 239-463-3993 or email holdenbnd@gmail.com.

Dispensation

While the celebration of public Mass resumed May 18, 2020, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect through Sept. 1, 2020 for those who are at greater risk or anxious about returning at this time. The Faithful ought not to worry about remaining home if they are concerned for their wellbeing or that of other parishioners. Of course, those who are sick or have symptoms associated with COVID-19 are to stay home. Please check the Diocese of Venice website for any updates.

Livestreaming

The Diocese of Venice will continue livestreaming the Mass through the Diocese website (www.dioceseofvenice.org) and Facebook pages from the Catholic Center in Venice 9:15 a.m. daily as the dispensation to attend Mass remains.

Sunday Televised Mass

The Televised Mass for the Homebound is available throughout the Diocese each Sunday. In northern parts of the Diocese (Manatee, Highlands, Hardee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties) the Mass airs on television at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Collier, Lee, Glades, Hendry, Charlotte counties) the Mass airs at 10:30 a.m., on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). This same Mass can be found on the Diocese of Venice website at any time during the week, www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass. Please check local listings for channel information.

Parish donations

During this challenging time in the life and mission of the Diocese of Venice, our Parishes face increased risk of financial shortfalls due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its effects on everyday life. Parishes depend on weekly financial gifts to continue their ministries, especially in this critical time of crisis. The Diocese of Venice is providing an online platform and encourages the Faithful to support their Parish. Please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/ways-to-give/parish-donations-online/ to donate to your Parish. The Faithful may also contribute through usual channels (e.g., envelopes, and through the Parish online giving option). Together we will navigate through this crisis, provide assistance to those in need, and secure the road ahead for the Parishes within the Diocese of Venice.

Online Resources

A special coronavirus webpage is located on the Diocese of Venice website at www.dioceseofvenice.org. Resources include links to the Mass, the prayer for an Act of the Spiritual Communion, videos of the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Pray the Rosary. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org, also posts the daily Mass readings.

Act of Spiritual Communion

It has long been a Catholic understanding that when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an Act of Spiritual Communion which is a source of grace. Spiritual Communion means uniting one’s self in prayer with Christ’s sacrifice and worshiping Him in His Body and Blood.

The most common reason for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when a person cannot attend Mass, as is the case during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.

For all who will not be able to receive the Holy Eucharist in person, consider this special prayer, an Act of Spiritual Communion:

My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,

and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.

Join 30 days of Prayer to St. Joseph

When Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced that the Diocese of Venice would celebrate a “Year of St. Joseph” from March 19, 2020 to March 19, 2021, the Bishop promised a number of resources would be made available to help in this celebration.

“St. Joseph is a figure who led by example, while also offering powerful prayer and protection,” Bishop Dewane said of the saint who was the foster-father of Jesus Christ, is the Patriarch of the Universal Church and serves as guardian and protector of the Church and Her faithful.

Therefore, as Father’s Day approaches on June 21, 2020 and as we continue to deal with the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is fitting that the Diocese has made available a “30 Days of Prayer to St. Joseph” on the Diocesan website at https://dioceseofvenice.org/a-year-of-st-joseph/. Available in English and Spanish, these 30 days of prayer symbolically honor each of the 30 years that Joseph spent with Jesus and Mary on earth, as according to tradition St. Joseph died just before Jesus entered public ministry. It is during these 30 days of prayer that we petition St. Joseph by his sufferings, sorrows and joys to hear our requests and carry them to God’s throne on high.

Saints and Popes through the centuries have spoken on St. Joseph’s influence to intercede as the faithful have turned to the saint as a powerful patron and faithful guardian, father and friend. Many seek the intercessions of St. Joseph for healing and conversion, help with their children, a new job or home, and for all their needs of body and soul.

St. Teresa of Avila, the Carmelite Doctor of the Church, frequently directed her sisters to “go to St. Joseph.”

In her autobiography, St. Teresa wrote: “Would that I could persuade all men to be devout to this glorious saint, for I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God.”

Not only is St. Joseph the patron of the Universal Church, but he is also the patron of fathers, carpenters, woodworkers, cabinet makers, laborers, bakers, confectioners, and pastry-makers. As a father and laborer, St. Joseph’s intercession is often sought by those fathers who are unemployed or under employed. Sacred Tradition also holds that Joseph was blessed to die with Jesus and Mary at his side, and as such is invoked as the patron of a happy death.

This “Year of St. Joseph” also coincides to commemorate the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph being solemnly declared Patron of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius IX in his decree Quemadmodum Deus.

Pope Leo XIII wrote in his 1889 encyclical on devotion to St. Joseph “Quamquam pluries,” “Men of every rank and country should fly to the trust and guard of the blessed Joseph,” especially fathers of families.

St. Joseph is the patron saint of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and the devotion to the saint by Pope Francis is well documented.

Pope Francis formally inaugurated his papacy on St. Joseph’s Feast Day, March 19, 2013, and he has a spikenard, the flower used as a symbol of St. Joseph, on his coat-of-arms.

At the beginning of his pontificate in 2013, Pope Francis confirmed a directive, which Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had made, to include the name of St. Joseph permanently in the Eucharistic prayers used at most Masses in the Latin Rite.

Pope Francis spoke about the importance of St. Joseph during his weekly general audience March 18, 2020, which was livestreamed during the lockdown in Italy caused by the pandemic. The Holy Father said, “In life, in work, in family, in joy and in sorrow, he (St. Joseph) always looked for and loved the Lord, earning the praise Scripture offers of being a just and wise man. Always invoke him, especially in difficult times, and entrust your lives to this great saint.”

Pope Francis also invited Catholics, especially in the midst of the pandemic, to put their families “under the loving gaze of St. Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family and of our families.”

During the Feast Day livestreamed Mass on March 19, 2020, the Pope said God chose “a just man, a man of faith” to raise His Son on earth.

The 30 days of prayer can be said during any 30-day period, but with Father’s Day upon us, now is a particularly opportune time to turn to St. Joseph, asking his help and guidance for all your needs, the needs of your family, loved ones, friends, and all those in need of prayer.

News briefs for the week of May 25 2020

An act of kindness

Representatives from Children First Inc., a childcare provider, recently visited Our Mother’s House, a program of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc., with a chicken dinner for each mother from Paradise Grill. The mothers were so grateful for their generosity! Our Mother’s House in Venice provides housing and support for mothers and their children who would otherwise be homeless.

Catholic Charities Responds to Pandemic

If you need help

If you need assistance from Catholic Charities for food, financial assistance or tele-mental health counseling, please call the number for your area listed below 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday:

  • Sarasota/Manatee/DeSoto/Hardee/Highlands counties: 844-385-2407,
  • Charlotte/Lee/Hendry/Glades counties: 844-385-2423,
  • Collier County: 844-385-2404.

Food distribution

Catholic Charities food distribution will take place only at the following times and locations. Please call the regional number for more information.

  • Mondays and Wednesdays, 9-11 a.m., Guadalupe Social Services, 211 S. 9th St., Immokalee;
  • Tuesdays, 9-11:30 a.m., Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center, 3174 Tamiami Trail E., Naples;
  • Thursdays, 9 a.m.-noon, St. Margaret Parish, 208 Dean Duff St., Clewiston;
  • Fridays, 9-11 a.m., St. Leo the Great Parish, 28360 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs;
  • Fridays, 9 a.m.-noon, Elizabeth K. Galeana Pantry, 4235 Michigan Avenue Link, Fort Myers;
  • 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., St. Paul Parish, 1208 E. Oak St. Arcadia;
  • Saturdays, 7–8:45 a.m., St. Michael Parish, 408 Heard Bridge Road, Wauchula.

How to Help

Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. is in urgent need of your financial support during its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To help, please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org/donate or send a check to: Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc., 5824 Bee Ridge Road, PMB 409, Sarasota, FL 34233-5065.

Online Prayer Resources and Live Mass

A special coronavirus webpage is located on the Diocese of Venice website homepage at www.dioceseofvenice.org.

Resources include links to the Mass, the prayer for Act of the Spiritual Communion, videos of the Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Pray the Rosary by following the links for the Diocese response to Coronavirus included on the Diocese homepage. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org, also posts the daily Mass readings.

While the celebration of public Mass has resumed (effective May 18, 2020), Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced that for those who are at greater risk or anxious about returning at this time, that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect until June 28, 2020. The Faithful ought not to worry about remaining home if they are concerned for their wellbeing or that of other parishioners. Of course, those who are sick or have symptoms associated with COVID-19 are to stay home.

While Parishes have been asked to continue live streaming until the dispensation is lifted, the Diocese of Venice Mass live stream will continue from the Catholic Center in Venice 9:15 a.m. daily through June 28, 2020, and is available through the Diocese website and Facebook pages.

In addition, the Televised Mass for the Homebound is available throughout the Diocese each Sunday. In northern parts of the Diocese (Manatee, Highlands, Hardee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties) the Mass airs on television at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Collier, Lee, Glades, Hendry, Charlotte counties) the Mass airs at 10:30 a.m., on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). This same Mass can be found on the Diocese of Venice website at any time during the week, www.dioceseofvenice.org/tvmass. Please check local listings for channel information.

Parish donations

During this challenging time in the life and mission of the Diocese of Venice, our Parishes face increased risk of financial shortfalls due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its effects on everyday life. Parishes depend on weekly financial gifts to continue their ministries, especially in this critical time of crisis.

The Diocese of Venice is providing an online platform and encourages the Faithful to support their Parish. Please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/ways-to-give/parish-donations-online/ to donate to your Parish.

The Faithful may also contribute through their usual channels (e.g., envelopes, and through the Parish online giving option). Together we will navigate through this crisis, provide assistance to those in need, and secure the road ahead for the Parishes within the Diocese of Venice.

Please continue to pray for the repose of those who have died, for the recovery of those who are sick, for the strength of healthcare workers and caregivers, as well as for an end to this health crisis. Thank you for your generosity.

Act of Spiritual Communion

It has long been a Catholic understanding that when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an Act of Spiritual Communion which is a source of grace. Spiritual Communion means uniting one’s self in prayer with Christ’s sacrifice and worshiping Him in His Body and Blood.

The most common reason for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when a person cannot attend Mass, as is the case during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Acts of Spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.

For all who will not be able to receive the Holy Eucharist in person, consider this special prayer, an Act of Spiritual Communion:

My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.

Year of St. Joseph

On the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, 2020, Bishop Frank J. Dewane consecrated the Diocese of Venice to the care and protection of St. Joseph in the context of the coronavirus. The Bishop announced a “Year of St. Joseph” beginning March 19, 2020 through March 19, 2021. St. Joseph, often referred to as the Protector, can be our protector during this time of the pandemic. To pray a Novena to St. Joseph please visit the Year of St. Joseph webpage at www.dioceseofvenice.org.

Online Preached Retreats

During the current health crisis, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice is offering online 3-day, 5-day, and 8-day retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. In these online retreats, Father Mark Yavarone, OMV, or Father Lino Estradilla, OMV, trained spiritual directors, will meet with you for an hour each day via a link provided to you, to help you to pray and to recognize how God is speaking to you. A Bible and journal should be available for your use. Participants will be emailed any additional materials needed as the retreat unfolds. The cost is as follows: 3-day online retreat, $132.23; 5-day online retreat, $203.98; and 8-day online retreat, $306.48. All information will be confidential, and password protected. If you would like to participate in an online retreat, please email Denise Riley at riley@olph-retreat.org and a code will be provided for your online registration as well as an application. For planning purposes, please allow 7 days from your completed application until the beginning of your retreat.

Year of St. Joseph resources available online

When Bishop Frank J. Dewane has announced that the Diocese of Venice will celebrate a “Year of St. Joseph” from March 19, 2020 to March 19, 2021, resources were promised to help properly honor and celebrate this saint.

Stained glass window at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Moore Haven.

On the Diocesan website – www.dioceseofvenice.org – is a “A Year of St. Joseph” link which has information on the Patron Saint of the Universal Catholic Church, families, fathers, expectant mothers, travelers and immigrants, among others.

There visitors will find several options to explore, including a Litany of St. Joseph, Prayer to St. Joseph following the Rosary, Who is St. Joseph.

One link, Plan and Future Visit, leads to a page with information about the many Diocesan locations named after St. Joseph and encourages the faithful to visit these sites when it is safe to do so following the lifting of the pandemic restrictions.

As the “Year of St. Joseph” continues, additional resources will be placed on this page, so everyone is encouraged to come back and visit often.

This “Year of St. Joseph” coincides to commemorate the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph being solemnly declared Patron of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius IX in his decree Quemadmodum Deus.

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