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.

18th Annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal seeks support

When instability, injustice or poverty exists, Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. is often the first to address concerns found in underserved communities. Catholic Charities strives to respond and be a part of the solution through collaboration and partnership within the community that is essential for the common good and brings dignity to people in need.

Now is the time to ensure that the needy in the Diocese of Venice get the help they require by supporting the 18th Annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal which continues through January. This year’s ambitious goal is to raise $565,000.

The Christmas Appeal is the largest annual fundraiser for the social service organization which operates by the motto: “Providing Help, Creating Hope, Serving All.” The Appeal is critical for the continuing operations of the 37 different programs available in more than 32 locations throughout the 10-county Diocese. These programs annually support some 90,000 individuals and families in ways both large and small.

As an example, the Christmas Appeal will support a survivor of human trafficking on a journey back to a normal life. Elizabeth finally escaped her traffickers after enduring abuse and perpetual fear. She received vital services from Catholic Charities such as intensive case-management, service coordination, assistance with housing, advocacy and liaison with law enforcement and immigration agencies.

Often Catholic Charities clients are in a panic because they do not know where to go for relief. The urgency of their situation requires immediate attention. Catholic Charities dispenses critical mental health counseling to people suffering from anxiety, stress, trauma or depression. Mike was frantic and upset when he was laid off from his job and sought counseling. After several weeks of therapy sessions, he felt more in control of his emotions and actions enabling him to be there for his family.

Catholic Charities consistently has received the top four-star rating from Charity Navigator. Supporters can trust and have confidence in the sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency as reflected in that 92 cents of every dollar donated will go directly to clients.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane noted that the support of Catholic Charities by the faithful of Southwest Florida is inspiring and critical to ensure “our brothers and sisters in Christ continue to receive the help and support they need. Please remember that every number represents a child, family or individual who relied on the support of Catholic Charities to get through a crisis. Catholic Charities does a wonderful job in providing programs that not only help in a crisis but assist in improving daily the lives of those they reach.”

Catholic Charities CEO Philomena Pereira added: “You do not have to know firsthand what it feels like to be in a dire circumstance to understand the importance of responding to individuals in need. A gift to our Christmas Appeal can give those facing difficulties the love and courage to heal. Please consider a contribution this year so we can continue administering quality programs.”

Bishop Dewane noted that in the Gospel of Matthew we are reminded to find the image and likeness of Christ in others and lend support to those in need. “These brothers and sisters – our neighbors – need our help. Your gift to this year’s Christmas Appeal will allow Catholic Charities to continue the important work of helping the most vulnerable in our community. To all who have sustained the worthwhile work that has allowed Catholic Charities to serve those in need, I am deeply grateful.”

Catholic Charities helps people in crisis to overcome their hardships and live a healthy life. A contribution to the 18th Annual Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal will give those in distress the means to move beyond their struggles and enrich our communities.

Your gift can offer a weary homeless family transitional housing and resources to become independent or give a lonely and isolated senior companionship and care. A contribution can also feed desperate individuals experiencing hunger and food insecurity as well as teach at-risk adolescents the skills to make good decisions. We are asking on their behalf for you to be as generous as you can.

“No matter the amount of your gift, when leveraged with others, it will make a meaningful difference for those who turn to us for aid,” Pereira added.

To donate online please, visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or send check to: Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285.

Retreats serve as reflection and evangelization

When given the opportunity to ask Bishop Frank J. Dewane a question, several young men and women directly inquired where they fit in today’s Catholic Church.

These questions came Nov. 24 during a visit by Bishop Dewane to a Spanish-language Youth Catholic Charismatic Renewal Retreat at the Lake Placid Camp and Conference Center. This was one of several retreats taking place during late November for Spanish-language participants in a number of movements.

 

John XXIII Parish Retreats Movement

On the weekend of Nov. 15-17, members of the John XXIII Parish Retreats Movement gathered at Campo San Jose Retreat Center in Lake Placid. About 25 men took part in the retreat with family and others taking part on the final day for the closing Mass.

The John XXIII Movement is a private international association of laity, with the goal of leading marginalized communities to God. After completing the retreat, participants are encouraged to attend faith-formation classes and weekly meetings to strengthen their faith and personal relationship with God. Rooted in Eucharistic Adoration, the ministry serves the Church and its people through love, surrender, and sacrifice.

MDS retreat

On Nov. 24, the MDS, (Matrimony, Dialogue and Accompaniment) group gathered at Campo San Jose for a retreat. This is a Catholic based enrichment program directed to all married couples; which is designed to improve communication and the conjugal life for the couple. About 60 couples participated in the retreat.

Bishop Dewane celebrated Mass, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, for the retreatants and praised the effort of the leadership in promoting the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony to others. The Bishop noted that by joining in the Sacrament the couples come together by sharing their life with each other and place themselves before Christ the King. “Let the Lord be the King of your marriage and put your focus there.”

Following the Mass, Bishop Dewane and Spiritual Director Father Pablo Ruani were presented with certificates of appreciation.

Hispanic Apostolate meeting

The Bishop also hosted a gathering of priests who serve the Hispanic community in the Diocese for a meeting at the Diocese Chancery in Venice on Nov. 26. This meeting provided the Bishop an update on the engagement of Hispanic Catholics, including success stories and the challenges faced in the Parishes, Diocese and on the national levels.

The group also spoke about implementing more of the ideas developed during the V Encuentro process, a nationwide initiative of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops to discern ways for the Church in the United States to better respond to the ever-growing Hispanic presence. The ultimate goal is to strengthen the ways in which Hispanics/Latinos respond to the call of the New Evangelization as integral parts of the Church in the United States.

Answering questions from the young

In front of the youth participating the Catholic Charismatic Renewal retreat, the Bishop was asked questions related to the same issue, specifically about what he is doing to reach out to young Hispanics. The questioner noted that there is a real desire for many to become more involved in the Church, but they do not know where to turn for answers.

Emphasizing that this is an imperative issue for him, Bishop Dewane said more needs to be done to reach Hispanics throughout the Diocese. He is working to do that in a variety of ways, including increasing the number of Spanish-speaking clergy, and by having more Spanish-speaking presenters come to the Diocese and to parishes. The first part of that effort in the Diocese has been the rapid expansion of the Hispanic Apostolate.

While talking to the retreatants, the Bishop spoke about how they are at a critical time in the life with regards to their Faith. For this reason, he stressed the importance for them to limit their interaction with people and things that pulls them from developing their relationship with the Lord.

“You each know the people that turn you away from the Lord,” Bishop Dewane said. “You know better than anyone how that phone or that computer can take you to dark places. Only you can make the choice to put aside those distractions and focus on the Lord.”

Continuing, Bishop Dewane noted that each one of them have been given the strength to answer the call of the Lord and to be ‘A Disciple of Christ.’

“Learn what Jesus taught,” the Bishop added. “Use the saints and the apostles as examples of how to answer that call. Know that you will not always be perfect in your response to that call, but also know that the Lord will help pick you up so you can carry on this journey.”

The Bishop was also asked about his own discernment for a vocation to the priesthood; to explain the concept of predetermination; as well as how to balance in one’s life the perceived conflicts between science and religion.

Following his question and answer session, the Bishop had lunch with the young men and women. Several took that opportunity to ask their questions in private.

News Briefs from around the Diocese for late November

Advent begins at Catholic Center

Bishop Frank J. Dewane led a prayer service for the staff of the Catholic Center in Venice on Dec. 1. The prayer service included the blessing of the Advent Candle, Christmas Tree and Nativity scene which will be on display in the lobby throughout Advent.

 

 

Parish holds Children Festival

St. Michael Parish in Wauchula hosted a Children Festival Nov. 16 for the younger members of the parish. There were a variety of fun outdoor games, crafts, food and time for quiet prayer.

 

 

 

Rose Ball recognizes service of young ladies

The Mother Frances de Sales Auxiliary to the Homeless held its Fourth Rose Ball Nov. 30 at the Naples Grande Beach Hotel and Resort where 22 young ladies were recognized for their commitment of volunteer service and formation. The event benefited four organizations in Collier County that work to help break the cycle of homelessness. Bishop Frank J. Dewane presented each young lady with a silver Rose Ball medallion of the organizations’ patron, Mother Frances de Sales, known as St. Leonie Aviat, who was canonized on Nov. 25, 2001. The ladies, known as Rose Girls, committed to a two-and-a-half-year volunteer and personal formation program where they make pledges of dignity, charity, and purity and were presented to those gathered as Dignified Ladies of Volunteer Service.

Youth make Advent Wreaths

Youth from St. Columbkille Parish in Fort Myers had an inter-generational gathering to make Advent Wreaths with their families in mid-November by members of the youth group and religious education programs. There were many smiles as they create a beautiful item to take home as a reminder of God’s greatest gift, Jesus. At the end of the fun, the wreaths were blessed.

 

Students visit Veterans Nursing Home

Students who take part in the St. Martha Catholic School & St. Mary’s Academy Mission Middle School Elective coordinated the collection of items and delivered “Giving Thanks” bags to the local veterans at the Douglas T. Jacobson Nursing Home in Port Charlotte. The Sarasota students spent time talking to these brave men and women and learning about their service to our country.

Quiz Bowl Champs

The Bishop Verot Academic team participated in the John C. Schudel Quiz Bowl Tournament the weekend of Nov. 15-16 earning a 1st Place finish! Congratulations Vikings!

 

 

 

 

Students enjoy time with women religious

The Y.A.C.H.T. Club (“Youth and Christ Helping Together”) of St. John Neumann Catholic School hosted a Neumann Fun “Night” Nov. 24! Students joined the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco for Mass at St. Elizabeth Seton parish followed by breakfast at the religious convent.

Hispanic Festival draws thousands

Staff Report

The 17th Annual Hispanic Festival at St. Jude Parish was another rousing success as an estimated 14,000 descended on the Sarasota Parish on Nov. 9 for a day filled with food, fun and entertainment.

The annual festival is a celebration of both the individual nations and the unified culture of a diverse people. Held annually in early November, the day includes musical performances, ethnic dancers and food from many nations. Throughout the parish grounds were tents full of a wide variety of food that left many mouths watering.

Cooler temperatures energized everyone as the celebration of more than a dozen countries lasted from morning until after sunset. Many wore shirts proclaiming to everyone their country of origin.

Throughout the day, there were performances from a variety of countries, offering both modern and traditional music and dance.

Isabella Rios, 12, enjoyed her papas rellenas from the Cuban food tent, which is a meat-filled potato ball, while listening to one of the rock bands before watching flamenco dancers perform. “The food is great, but I like the music and the dancers best.”

Father Celestino Gutierrez, Pastor of St. Jude, officially opened the Hispanic Festival with a prayer. This followed a “Parade of Flags” when each country represented at the festival was announced, and the respective flags brought forward to cheers from the crowd.

Whether it was the food, the music, the dancing or the joy of being around so many happy people, the Hispanic Festival was rated a massive success by any measure.

Thousands attend the event annually from as far away as Naples and Clearwater. It has become a much-anticipated event for the ethnically diverse Sarasota Parish. All of the proceeds of the Hispanic Festival go to support the various outreach efforts of the Parish, including helping countless families throughout the year.

As a bilingual Parish, the members of both the English and the Spanish speaking congregation participated and volunteered to staff the booths.  This annual Festival is the oldest one in Sarasota County to feature authentic Latino food, music and culture.

Midpoint Rally held for 40 Days for Life

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

On the lakefront of Vineyards Community Park in Naples like-minded people gathered to celebrate the groundswell of support for the 40 Days for Life campaign which seeks to end abortion in the United States.

A rally was held Oct. 14 to bring together two groups working for the same cause. The first group is the pro-life prayer warriors who stand in front of abortion mills peacefully raising awareness regarding every life, which is precious from the moment of conception to natural death. Also stressed was how abortion can leave lasting scars for parents of aborted children that are not always visible. The other group represented the leaders of pregnancy clinics in the area which provide much needed resources for moms in crisis who are at risk of seeking an abortion.

Deacon Gary Ingold, CEO of Community Pregnancy Clinics Inc., which has facilities in Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota and Gainesville, as well as two mobile medical clinics which go out into the community, spoke about the mission of everyone present.

“Only the mother can nurture and protect her unborn child,” Ingold said. “It is our job to nurture and protect the mothers. We can only save the babies if we can save the moms. The only way this is possible is if we can develop a culture of life.”

Other speakers stressed the need for a modern approach to the issues by treating every mother – no matter what choice they make – with dignity, compassion, mercy and respect.

Hadley Thompson, a student at Ave Maria University, spoke about her effort to be supportive of new moms on campus through the development of a “Pregnant on Campus” outreach. The group of student volunteers serves in a supporting role for the moms who are working toward a degree by attending classes but need babysitting and other support to care for their child.

“This started out as a way to help a friend,” Thompson explained. “Now it has grown to include dozens of people who volunteer their time to create a positive environment for both mother and child.”

The rally was organized by 40 Days for Life Naples Coordinator Crystal Gabbard and moderated by Ryan Neuhaus, regional coordinator in Florida of Students for Life in America.

The 40 Days for Life Fall Campaign continues through Nov. 3 locally in Naples, Fort Myers and Sarasota. Please visit www.40daysforlife.com and search for the closest vigil site. Participants are encouraged to spend as much time as they can to be a witness for life.

Diocesan news briefs late October 2019

White Mass and lecture held for medical professionals

St. Agnes Parish held its annual White Mass for medical professionals in Naples, on Oct. 18, the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist and patron of doctors. A lecture titled “Spirituality and Health: Complete Doctoring” presented by Dr. Michael Gloth followed in the Parish Hall.

 

 

Mobile Medical Clinic blessed

Father Augustine Twum Obour, Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch, blesses the new Mobile Medical Clinic of Community Pregnancy Clinics on Oct. 20. The van, which offers free ultrasounds to pregnant moms, was made possible by a donation from the Knights of Columbus and will be used throughout the region.

 

 

Verot earns Apple Distinguished School Certification

Bishop Verot Catholic High School has earned Apple Distinguished School Certification for 2019-2022. According to Apple: “Apple Distinguished School leaders, faculty, and the extended community have a clear vision for how their technology-rich environments support learning goals. School leaders have established elements for continuous innovation that include culture, team, capacity, community, finance, and measurement. Supporting their school’s vision is an ongoing process that requires thoughtful planning, practice, and improvement along the way. They use iPad and Mac products to inspire student creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. And they cultivate environments in which students are excited and curious about learning.”

St. Mary Academy named Best Special Needs School in region

St. Mary Academy in Sarasota has been named by Family Living Magazine as the Best Special Needs School in Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice. The schools provide skilled teaching to students with learning disabilities. To mark this achievement, the school had a celebration that included outdoor games, food and fun.

 

 

Junior high students have fun in Wauchula

St. Michael Parish in Wauchula hosted an Oct. 5 festival for junior high students. The day includes lots of fun and games, but also include speakers who stressed the need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, time for prayer and the Mass.

 

 

 

Mooney featured on Tampa morning TV show

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota hosted FOX-13 Tampa Bay on Oct. 17. The honor coincides with the ongoing celebration of Mooney’s 60th Anniversary. The sports teams and cheerleaders led a pep rally, and the TV crew also showcased the newly renovated stadium and field.

 

 

Goldtones Tickets Now on Sale
San Antonio Parish Knights of Columbus announce that tickets are now on sale for Florida’s famous Doo-wop group the Goldtones’ concert. The concert will be 7 p.m.,  Jan. 31 in the Holy Trinity Hall, 24411 Rampart Blvd, Port Charlotte. General Admission tickets are $15. In addition to all the old familiar Doo-wop favorites, they will also be singing your favorite Motown hits. Last year sold out early, so get your tickets now at 800-838-3006, or online at: BrownPaperTickets.com

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