Prayer, formation, fun at summer program

The sounds of a few dozen girls praying together in Church had been missing for the past few months at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula.

The Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara (SSVM), women religious who serve at the Parish, were determined to change that by organizing two religion-based programs for children, one for girls the week of June 29-July 3, 2020, and the boys from July 6-July 10, 2020.

Sister Gema Ruiz, SSVM, said, “We are excited to see our children praying and playing together. These programs allow them to experience a week of joy and friendship in this time of hardship.”

The summer programs were for children from kindergarten through fifth grade and usually has more than 150 children. Therefore, the usual raucous crowds were a bit toned down this year with limits on the number of participants to about 60 each. This did nothing to change the purpose of the summer programs, bringing young boys and girls in a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

This was accomplished through the daily participation in celebration of the Mass, prayer time, religion and Bible classes, games, arts and crafts with some fun mixed in to help burn off the pent-up energy of the young ones.

Safety protocols were followed by children and volunteers alike. There was lots of hand washing and wearing of masks was required at Mass, or at indoor activities in the Parish Hall or classrooms. Masks were only put to the side while eating or when outdoor games took place to avoid heat-related illnesses.

Assisted by men and women who are discerning life as religious with the order each day began early and lasted through the afternoon. There was even a field trip one morning to the Heartland Event Center.

The programs served the added benefit of bringing something normal back into their lives, being together with friends for a few hours.

When asked how his week had gone, one second grade boy jumped high off the ground stretching out his arms legs and exclaimed, “Great!”

Online Bible Study series begins

Due to the restrictions people have been going through, the Diocese of Venice Office of Evangelization has sought to offer easy and effective ways to reach out to the faithful in their homes.

Joshua Mazrin, Diocesan Director of Evangelization, recently began offering a 12-part online Bible Study series from 2-3 p.m., Tuesdays through the Diocese of Venice Facebook page. The weekly offering is live, and participants can ask questions of Mazrin and other experts. For those unable to watch live, the videos will remain on the Diocese Facebook page

“There is no reason we cannot still bring about the beautiful teachings of the Faith to everyone and create an opportunity for people to still interact,” Mazrin explained. “Since our relationship with God is both communal and individual, the Bible Study offered aims to provide a resource to those who participate and aid them in their personal understanding of Scripture, by placing it in the context of the whole Church. The element of participation is also integral here; it allows those taking part from home the ability to interact with one another as the Church normally does in gatherings.”

The Bible Study is built upon the “Genesis to Jesus” video series from the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, which has been previously offered in the Diocese. The video series is hosted by Matthew Leonard and was created by Scott Hahn and Franciscan University of Steubenville.

“’Genesis to Jesus’ is a great streamlined program that outlines the ‘big picture’ of the Bible,” Mazrin said. “It is a quick walkthrough of all of Scripture, hitting on the major figures and events, and then connecting the dots. This study provides a sort-of framework for people to follow – especially if they desire to pick up the Bible themselves later  It will give them a context to understand what they are reading and at which point in the story of Salvation History it occurred.”

Joining Mazrin in the interactive Bible Study are Father Shawn Roser, Diocese of Venice Vocations Director and Parochial Vicar of St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton; Natalie Campbell, Director of Religious Education at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples; Aileen Vasquez, Director of Religious Education at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Cape Coral;  and Spence McSorley, Director of Religious Education at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch.

The structure of the Bible Study offers a weekly introduction, prayer and then jumps into the weekly video. After the video is concluded, the viewers are challenged to answer thought-provoking questions related to what they learned.

For example, questions included “Can you think of a time in your life when you experienced a “burning heart” encountering Jesus in a personal way?”

The response has been very positive, the first Bible Study had 115 live viewers and nearly 1,800 people have viewed the session since it was posted.

Comments included: “Thank you God for giving us this technology to stay connected and keep discovering how much You love us.” “Wonderful summary… discussion and panel very helpful. Faith sharing builds up the Body… again thank you.” “The blessing of this pandemic is that we have been given the time to turn to God. He again has come to us on our level through technology.”

Mazrin said he is very pleased with the turn out from the first live-stream and the interaction of those who participated live or viewed later.

“The Bible often feels like a difficult text to approach, which it may be without help,” Mazrin continued. “But it is also the inspired living written Word of God, and we are a religion of the Word! This Bible Study is an easy and straightforward way to become more comfortable with Scripture in a way that is stress-free, informative, and entertaining. The personal reading of Scripture will bring great blessings to your life, but the personal reading of Scripture understood through the Church’s interpretation will entirely transform your life!”

Year of St. Joseph proclaimed

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.

 

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

“Particularly in this time of uncertainty in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is appropriate to seek the intercessions of the saints for guidance and protection,” Bishop Dewane said. “St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus Christ, is the Patriarch of the Universal Church. He is also guardian and protector of the Church and Her faithful. Therefore, I declare that the next year be a ‘Year of St. Joseph’ as we join in heartfelt prayer and devotion, encouraging all to take his life as our model for fulfilling our personal call to holiness.”

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.

“St. Joseph is a figure who lead by example, while also offering powerful prayer and protection,” Bishop Dewane said.

In the coming months there will be announcements as events are planned, as well as prayer petitions, and other items. A prayer card will also be distributed students in the Diocesan Catholic Schools, encouraging the students seek the intercession of St. Joseph to pray for all fathers.

Masses and special events will also take place at each of the locations in the Diocese named after the saint: St. Joseph Parish and Catholic School in Bradenton; St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Moore Haven; San Jose Mission in Fort Myers and Campo San Jose Retreat Center in Lake Placid.

Doing what’s needed to connect

During this time of closures and social distancing, accommodations must be made to ensure everyone stays connected both personally and spiritually.

Anointing of the Sick

In late March Father Shawn Roser, Parochial Vicar of St. Joseph Parish, received a call to deliver the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick for a patient at Tidewell Hospice of Bradenton.

One of the nurses arranged for the family of the patient, who are out of state, to be present by phone as she was placed on her private lanai, while Father Roser delivered the Sacrament from outside the screen. This was a unique solution that provided comfort to both the patient and to the family during a time when direct contact with the dying is prohibited.

 

 

 

Naples Youth Group connects

When the announcement was made that all Masses were suspended in the Diocese of Venice through at least Easter, that direction also included the suspension of all activities on the Diocesan and Parish levels.

This impacted many, including youth groups who meet regularly to encourage teens to stay connected to their faith during challenging times in their life when outside influences can lead them away from the Church.

Add in a pandemic and the challenges of staying connected were multiplied. At St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, Youth Director Moise Styles Dantes decided to reach out to the teens through the way they know best: technology.

Dantes held an online session on March 29, checking in with the teens, leading them in prayer and offering ways for them to remain connected to their faith while assuring them that he was there if they needed him.

Be aware of online scams

Please be vigilant during this time of crisis as many computer hackers and scammers are targeting the charitable nature of people. Warn family and friends that phishing (send mass requests in hopes to hack a computer to gain access to sensitive information) is on the rise during this very sensitive time and they shouldn’t login to strange links or buy gift cards to send via email or text.

You will never receive a request asking for gift cards from priests or any Diocesan employee. You must remain vigilant when clicking links in email and don’t enter your password after clicking a link in an email. The safest action before clicking a link is to verify it is valid by calling the sender on a known-good phone number.

Scout builds walking rosary garden for Parish

When it was time for Cameron Yedlin to choose an “Eagle Scout Project,” it was natural for him to decide to do something for St. William Parish. It was also a natural idea to help promote the praying of the rosary. This was the beginning of a passionate effort that has culminated in the blessing of a new Walking Rosary Garden.

St. William Parish Pastor, Father George Ratzmann, blessed the prayer garden on Feb. 2. Located on the northwest corner of the Parish property, the garden includes a walkway bridge, a full rosary with a cross laid into the ground with pavers, and there is a statue of Our Blessed Virgin Mary overlooking the entire area. There are also two benches for rest and prayer as well as a sign which serves to guide people in how to pray the rosary.

In addition to Cameron’s proud parents, Bruce and Bonnie Yedlin, a small group gathered for the blessing and congratulated the young man for a job well done.

Cameron is an active member of the Parish, an altar server at the 7 a.m. Sunday Mass each week, he also participates in Youth Group. Cameron has taken part in various mission trips and service projects and has taken part in the last several Diocesan Youth Rallies. He also joined the Diocese of Venice group that travelled with Bishop Frank J. Dewane to World Youth Day Panama City in 2019 and Krakow in 2016.

Joining the Scouts in first grade, Cameron worked his way through the ranks during the the next 11 years. He is a Boy Scout and has earned dozens of merit badges for Troop 243, far exceeding the minimum requirement for becoming an Eagle Scout, something he has dreamed about for many years.

“This has been a goal of mine for a long time,” the junior at Gulf Coast High School explained. “When I knew it was time to do an ‘Eagle Scout Project,’ my mind went right to what I could do for St. William Parish.”

Creating a proposal, Cameron approached and received an enthusiastic approval from Father Ratzmann. The proposal included designing the different components of the Rosary Prayer Walk and raising money for the supplies. He then spoke to the Council of Catholic Woman, the Knights of Columbus, the Parish Rosary Makers group, as well as the parishioners, seeking support for the project. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

“This has been a great experience.” He further explained how “so many people came together to help me with this; from the Parish staff to people I didn’t even know. It is humbling to have that support.”

During four weekends, the Rosary Prayer Garden took shape as Cameron cleared out the area of brush and dug the places for each stone paver, marking the location of each bead in the rosary or connection to take the shape of the cross. Utilizing the small space to maximum effect, and to enhance the prayerful nature of the setting, the pavers form a flowing arc around a tree and the statue of the Blessed Virgin.

The Walking Rosary Garden is an important legacy for Cameron, who said he prays the rosary as often as he can, even keeping a rosary close to him. “The rosary gives me great comfort because it is a way for me to pray to Christ through His Blessed Mother. At night, I will pray a decade or more and I have a rosary wrist band as well, so it is always with me.”

Next up for Cameron is completing the paperwork and giving a formal presentation to an “Eagle Scout Project” review board which will then determine if he will earn the elite Eagle Scout status.

Thanks to Cameron, the parishioners of St. William Parish in Naples now have a lasting legacy created by one of their own young people. Great job Cameron!!!

News Briefs from early February 2020

2020 Sarasota Charity Ball

The Catholic Charities Ball “Puttin’ It On the Ritz!” took place Feb. 8 at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota. The event had a Roaring 20’s theme and featured special guest Tim Tebow, Heisman Trophy winner, two-time Florida Gator National Champion, professional baseball player, sports broadcaster and head of the Tim Tebow Foundation. The event benefited the programs of Catholic Charities in Sarasota and Manatee Counties including Our Mother’s House, Bethesda House, and the St. Martha Early Learning Center.

Blessing of doors

Father Gerard Critch, Pastor St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, blesses the new glass doors in the church that were installed thanks to the fundraising efforts of our CCW – Council of Catholic Women. Now it is more peaceful in the church and it also saves on the air conditioning costs!

 

 

 

 

School Foundation dinner

Bishop Frank J. Dewane gives the blessing before the meal at the St. Ann Catholic School Foundation Gala Feb. 5 at the Naples Grande Hotel.

 

 

 

 

Teacher earns research grant

James Less, a teacher at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral, recently learned that he was a recipient of a research grant from the Society for Science & the Public.  Research grants are awarded across the country to a handful of high school and middle school teachers. In his grant submission, Less described he would use the funds to purchase data loggers with probes. The equipment will be used for students to collect, store and analyze their research data. “This equipment will also enable our students to conduct important and timely research because there is great statewide interest in water quality issues in Southwest Florida. The proposed equipment will put our students on the forefront of several local initiatives to undertake field studies that complement those of local colleges and universities.”

Speaker talks abstinence, life issues to teens

Pam Stenzel spoke Feb. 12 to youth at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula about pro-life issues and the importance of abstinence.

 

 

 

 

Order of Malta holds retreat

Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta took part in a retreat which included Feb. 7 Mass at St. Ann Parish in Naples.

 

 

 

Golf Tournament and $10,000 Drawing

St. Mary Academy’s 9th Annual Golf Tournament will be held  8:30 a.m., April 4, at The Meadows in Sarasota. This is a best-ball tournament and the cost is only $100 per player. Participants will receive breakfast, great goody bags and a sit-down BBQ lunch. In addition, there will be two drawings of $5,000 each during lunch. You do not need to play in the tournament to win the cash prize, tickets for the drawing are $50.00 each.. The event supports St. Mary Academy which educates students with learning disabilities. To register to golf or drawing information, please contact Connie Taft at 941-366-4010 or ctaft@stmarysarasota.org.

 

Christmas celebrated across the Diocese

The celebration of Christmas is a time to recognize the truth about Christ: our Incarnate Savior, the Son of God, both human and divine.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane stressed the importance of this reality when speaking about the meaning and symbolism that we must recognize and accept that on Christmas Day, “the Savior, the Messiah, is sent to us. In so doing, you and I become children of God.”

The true gift of Christmas is not the presents found under a tree, but the light God sent forth into the world, Jesus Christ and the example He provides, Bishop Dewane added.

“That gift of light is with you and me,” Bishop Dewane continued. “No matter where we find ourselves, that light of Christ rests with all of us. It is we who have to accept that, and when we do, we become that Child of God.”

For Christmas, Bishop Dewane celebrated the Televised Mass for Homebound which was recorded at St. Patrick Parish in Sarasota. As the Bishop has in the past, he made a point to celebrate the Mass for the incarcerated in the region. This was accomplished Christmas Eve at the DeSoto Correctional Facility in Arcadia and the day after Christmas at the Hardee Correctional Institute in Bowling Green.

Christmas throughout the Diocese reflected the generosity of the faithful toward those in need. The Advent tradition of having a Jesse Tree, with ornaments listing the wish of a needy child, was a common sight in churches in December. The result was that tens of thousands of gifts were distributed throughout the region to local children.

Also, part of the Christmas Season were concerts with carolers to help everyone get into the spirit of the coming Holiday. Christmas Eve was the time for children’s Masses with the younger faithful participating in the retelling of the Nativity story.

In what has become an annual tradition, St. Agnes Parish in Naples hosted a Living Nativity, complete with a recreation of the town of Bethlehem and live animals.

A common pre-Christmas celebration at several Parishes in the Diocese is “Las Posadas,” a tradition from Mexico and Central and South America where the Nativity story is retold over the course of nine days. The highlight of the novena is one larger centerpiece gathering. One of the more elaborate celebrations occurs at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula. This year, the celebration was postponed due to weather until Jan. 4. In the retelling of the Nativity story, more than 100 youth participated.

Before the Christmas Break, Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools joined in the fun of the season by giving back to those in need while also holding their own celebrations.

Each school held their own toy drives to benefit needy children in the area with the generous response reaching beyond what was expected. Other fun activities included decorating cookies and trees, gift making and wrapping, as well as pageants and concerts, each to showcase the talents of the students.

The Bishop Verot Catholic High School National Honors Society in Fort Myers hosted young students from St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral and St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers to build gingerbread houses and decorate cookies.

Kindergartners at St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton visited a nearby nursing home to sing carols to spread holiday cheer. Students at the school also received a visit from Mrs. Santa Claus who delivered books as part of a reading initiative from the Early Learning Coalition.

The Key Club of St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples hosted a “Holiday Gift Shop” for the Friends of Foster Children Forever. Families came to the campus to choose from thousands of new toys that went to some very deserving foster children in the area.

Neumann students also helped pack 150,000 meals to help feed the needy in the local community. Food and toys were also delivered to the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center of Catholic Charities.

The events and activities listed represent a mere fraction of what took place in December at Parishes and schools across the Diocese of Venice.

How can I be more ‘A Disciple of Christ’ in my own life

Letter from Bishop Dewane:

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Just past the midpoint of Advent, we all have been provided an initial time of fruitful preparation for the coming of Christ into our hearts and homes. As we look toward the end of Advent and the coming of Christmas, the call to become “A Disciple of Christ” in a new way should come to mind each day. This Advent, the Diocese of Venice launched a campaign to be “A Disciple of Christ,” to invite Christ in a personal and transformative way into our hearts that leads us to follow Him intentionally and willfully.  At this time, it is fitting to find newness in our relationship with Christ, to ask oneself, “How can I be more ‘A Disciple of Christ’ in my own life’?”

This beginning allows each of us a fresh start as well as a focal point which, of course, is Christ Himself. In the words of St. Gregory of Nyssa, “He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.” This is what it means to both become and to be a disciple, since it is Christ that we desire and His love that we know. It is never too late to begin anew, to follow Christ and invite Him into our hearts.

The Season of Advent began with the focus on the Second Coming of Christ, when He comes in glory to judge the living and the dead. The portion of the Season which we are entering now sets its gaze on the first coming, the coming of the Christ Child. With roughly a week left of Advent and in view of the quickly approaching Christmas Season, why not up our game? Make the most of the opportunity of preparation for the coming of the Christ Child into our own lives. Our beginning points may be different, as St. Gregory told us, but we continue to move from beginning to beginning so that Christ may be born in our hearts again and again.

The Gospel of Luke tells us of the Archangel Gabriel’s announcement of the coming of Christ. Mary, in a special way, displays what it means to be a disciple, and she is, in fact, the first “Disciple of Christ.” When she hears the Word of God spoken to her, she responds in faith, exclaiming, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word” (cf. Luke 1:38). This is the essence of living the Gospel: “may it be done to me according to your word”; it is an acceptance and a response to God.  In this way, all ought to be “A Disciple of Christ,” eager to receive His call and respond with love and faith. Then let us act and boldly allow Christ to take precedence in our lives in every respect.

Another example to be taken from this is the hearing and listening to God’s Word. How often do we allow the Bible to collect dust on the coffee table or on a bookshelf? Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice, He knows them, and they follow Him (cf. John 10:27). In this Season of preparation and in the following Season of Christmas, open your Bible with your family. “Take and read” as the Lord spoke to St. Augustine.  In this you will find the “words of eternal life” (cf. John 6:68) present in Our Lord who is “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life” (cf. John 14:6) and you will know what it means to be “A Disciple of Christ.”

Looking toward the end of Advent and preparing for the coming of the Christ Child, be always aware of His Second Coming; be prepared to meet Christ as a disciple. Recognize the ways that He gives His love and respond to that love!

I wish you a fruitful remainder of the Advent Season and indeed a very Blessed and Merry Christmas! Know that you are in my prayers and please keep me in your prayers as we prepare for the coming of Christ into our hearts so as to be “A Disciple of Christ.”

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Frank J. Dewane

Retreats offered to strengthen bonds

The Diocese of Venice Office of Family Life recently hosted two retreats aimed at creating strong bonds between mothers and their daughters as well as fathers and their sons.

The Mother/Daughter Advent Retreat and Tea Party was Dec. 30 at St. Ann Parish in Naples. The Father/Son Retreat, with a theme of “Living as a True Man/Being on Fire as a Man of Faith,” took place Nov. 16 at the Donahue Academy of Ave Maria.

The nearly 40 mothers and daughters heard from Katie Hartfiel, who is an author and speaker dedicated to sharing the intense love of the Lord. Topics included: “Advent – A Waiting People;” “Mary – Why Loving Her Changes Everything;” and “Fatima and Marian Consecration – How the Miracle can change your life.” In addition to the talks, the mothers and daughters made Rosary key chains along with enjoying a classic English tea.

Some 75 fathers and sons heard talks from Dave DiNuzzo, a Catholic husband, father, speaker, author, and founder of founded TrueManhood Men’s Ministry. In addition to the talks, there were several outdoor activities, lawn games, and laser and archery battles while lunch was provided by a food truck. A key component to the day was Eucharistic Adoration as well as praise and worship, with the Sacrament of Reconciliation available after lunch.

The Office of Family Life strives to aid families in building a strong foundation with their lives centered on Christ through prayer and active participation in the Mass and Parish life.

News and photos from across the Diocese

Christmas Day Television Mass for the Homebound

The televised Christmas Day Mass for the Homebound with Celebrant Bishop Frank J. Dewane will air for a full hour on Christmas Day. For viewers in the northern portions of the Diocese (DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Manatee, and Sarasota counties), the Mass will air at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee counties), the Mass will air at 8 a.m. on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). Please check your cable provider for channel listings. Leaflet missals are available upon request by calling Gail Ardy at 941-486-4714 or by writing: TV Mass, Diocese of Venice, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285. For more information email ardy@dioceseofvenice.org.

Student artwork nationally recognized

Two St. Martha Catholic School students named as 2018-2019 Missionary Childhood Association (MCA) Christmas Artwork Contest winners earlier in the year, were recognized locally on Dec. 13 for their achievement. Sixth grader Collier Moser, and seventh grader Charlotte Thompson were two of only 24 students nationwide to be recognized with this honor. Additionally, Charlotte’s artwork was named one of two grand prizes and was reproduced as the Christmas Card of the national office of the Missionary Childhood Association. On Dec. 13, Father Bob Kantor, Director of the Diocese Office of the Propagation of the Faith (Missions Office), went to the Sarasota school for a presentation and to personally congratulate the winners and their art teacher, Mary Jo Salomone. Earlier in December, Charlotte attended a Mass in celebration for winners and their families at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. The artwork of all 24 student winners is on display there until mid-January.

 

The St. John Neumann Catholic High School YACHT club hosted a spectacular Salesian day at the circus for students from SJN and Cristo Rey Tampa in Naples.

Mass Honoring Widows and Widowers in Naples Jan. 26

Bishop Frank J. Dewane will celebrate a Mass for all widows and widowers beginning at 3 p.m., Jan. 26, St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th N. Ave., Naples. Dinner will follow in the Parish Hall. A display of photos will be available for viewing during the reception; should you wish to participate with a photo of you and your deceased spouse, please email Gail at ardy@dioceseofvenice.org, or send a copy in advance to Diocese of Venice, ATTN: Widows and Widowers Mass, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, Florida 34285. There is no cost to attend. Registration is required to plan for food. To register visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/calendar. For more details contact Gail at 941-484-9543 or ardy@dioceseofvenice.org.

 

Cheerleaders from Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

Christmas Appeal continues

The annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal occurs now through January. The goal is to raise $565,000 and your gifts are much appreciated! The Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal is the agency’s largest fundraiser and critical to operating the social service organization. Your donation will benefit Catholic Charities programs and services available throughout Southwest Florida that assist individuals, families, and seniors all year long. Thank you for your giving spirit! To donate please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or mail a donation to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., 5824 Bee Ridge Road PMB 409, Sarasota, FL 34233-5065.

Venice Mayor Ron Feinsod speaks to students at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in early December. He visited the school in thanks to their response to a Mayors Feed the Hungry Campaign.

Mass Celebrating Haitian Independence

Bishop Frank J. Dewane invites everyone to participate in the Annual Mass celebrating Haitian Independence at 2 p.m., New Year’s Day, at St. Leo the Great Parish, 28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs. The Mass, which is on the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, brings together the various Haitian communities within the Diocese of Venice for one celebration. There is a reception after the Mass in the Parish Hall.

Students at Bishop Verot Catholic High School gather for the lighting of a candle on the Advent Wreath on Dec. 9 in Fort Myers.

Apologetics Conference Jan. 16-17

The Diocese Office of Evangelization is offering three opportunities to attend an Apologetics Conference with Mike Aquilina. An award-winning author of more than fifty books on Catholic history, doctrine, and devotion, Anguilla will speak at 5:30 p.m., Jan. 16, Resurrection Parish, 8121 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers; and then 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., Jan. 17, 2020, Epiphany Cathedral, 310 Sarasota St., Venice. The topics is “Defend Youth Faith: Finding answers to modern problems in the early Church.” There is no cost, and all are welcome. For information, please call 941-484-9543, email  evangelization@dioceseofvenice.org, or visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/calendar.

Card party in Englewood Jan. 8

The St. Francis Assisi Parish Women’s Guild card party will be held at 11 a.m., Jan. 8, in the Parish Hall, 5265 Placida Road, Grove City. Play cards or games until 2:30 p.m.. Please make your reservations by Jan. 6 by visiting to www.sfoachurch.com – Parish Forms – Card Party – Reservation form, or by calling 941-697-4899 ext. 6 and leave a message with your name, phone number and number of people at your table. Tickets are $8 and includes your lunch, drinks, playing time and door prizes. All are welcome to attend.

 

 

Marriage Prep Retreat Jan. 11

St. Charles Borromeo Parish, 21505 Augusta Ave., Port Charlotte, is offering a pre-Cana retreat called for by the Witness to Love Marriage Preparation program from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Jan.11. Engaged couples attend this retreat before their 5th meeting with their mentor couples, the Theology night with the priest or deacon. Mentor couples and couples preparing for convalidation through the Witness to Love Civil Marriage Initiative are also welcome to attend if they wish. The retreat will be held in the Saint Charles Parish Center from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  The cost is $25 per couple.  Couples should register with Michael Barrett at (941) 585-0668 or faithformation@stcbc.org by January 4th.

Our 4th Annual St. Nicholas Celebrates Advent event took place recently at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers and included volunters from nearby Bishop Verot Catholic High School.

St. Ann Catholic School honored

The Naples Award Program has selected St. Ann Catholic School for the 2019 Best of Naples Award in the School category. The program is an annual awards outreach honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local business throughout the Naples area. Recognition is given to those that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate advantages of long-term value.

Dinner for St. Vincent de Paul Society Jan. 14

The Knights of Columbus San Marco Council 6344 will sponsor the St. Vincent de Paul Society Dinner, 5:30 p.m., Jan. 14, in the San Marco Parish Center, 851 San Marco Road, Marco Island.  The barbeque dinner includes pulled pork or fried chicken, baked potato, baked beans, salad, rolls and butter, coffee, tea, and dessert. Soda, Wine and Beer are available at a cash bar. The cost will be $25 per person. Credit cards accepted.  Reserve a table. No take-out is available.  This event is open to the public and everyone is invited. Buy your tickets at the Church Office or by calling Joe Granda at 239-389-2823, Mickey Flynn 609-335-2458, Joe Swaja at 239-269-7033, Gene Consolo at 248-321-2204 or John DeRosa at 239-272-0816. For more information, contact 239-389-5633 or visit our website at www.marcoknights.com.

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