News Briefs for the Week of June 3 2022

Fire department fun

The Naples Fire-Rescue Department visited St. Ann Catholic School on May 25, 2022. In this annual visit, the ladders extended, and blasts of refreshing water sprayed all over delighted students. What a fun time for all the students as the school year ends.

Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate June 18

All are invited and encouraged to attend the Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate for the following candidate: Craig Dutka of Holy Cross Parish in Palmetto. The Ordination will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 18, 2022, at Holy Cross Parish, 506 26th St. W., Palmetto. A reception in the Parish Hall will follow.

Our Lady of Fatima Rosary Rally June 4

Please join our national “America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally” for the Traditional Family and Public Prayers in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to end abortion which will be held Saturday, June 4, from noon to 1 p.m., at the corner of Daniels Parkway and Daniels Commerce Blvd near Tile Outlet of America and TIAA Bank in Fort Myers. Parking is in an empty lot at Daniels Commerce Blvd. and Commerce Park Blvd. or John Yarbrough Linear Park off Daniels at Metro Parkway. Please arrive 10 minutes early and bring your Pro-Life signs, chairs, water, and umbrellas. For more information, please contact Toni at toni@defendingtheunborn.com.

22nd Annual Knights Liberty Ball June 18

The Knights of Columbus Assembly 2542 is hosting the 22nd Annual Liberty Ball, June 18, 2022, at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. Presented by the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, the evening will honor Knights who are veterans. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with Presentation of Colors at 6 p.m. with dinner to follow. Tickets are $35 and include dinner, two drink tickets and dancing. Dress code for Fourth Degree Knights is tuxedo with Social Baldric, all others, smart casual. This Gala is open to everyone. For ticket or event information, please contact any of the following: Jim Mendolera at 239-390-0346, Frank Haneline, 239-466-6883, or Ron Bekech at 239-437-4999.

Religious Freedom Week 2022

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is once again promoting the celebration of Religious Freedom Week beginning Wednesday, June 22 to Thursday, June 29. Each year the week encompasses the period between the Memorial of Saints Thomas More & John Fisher, through the Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul. The theme for this year is Life and Dignity for All. As we approach the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, we are especially mindful of the debates around our country about abortion. The Church plays a crucial role in both bearing witness to the gospel of life and serving all who will be affected by these discussions and their outcomes. Learn how you can pray, reflect, and act to promote religious freedom at www.usccb.org/ReligiousFreedomWeek.

Youth Conference in July

The 14th annual Ave Maria University Youth Conference – “Fearless” – is being held July 8-10. Featured talks are by Father Rick Martignetti, Father Joseph Lugalambi, Father Rich Pagano and Chris Padget. The event includes the talks, Mass, Adoration, praise and worship, fellowship, opportunities for confession and much more. The cost is $175 and includes lodging, all meals, a t-shirt and more. To register, call 239-348-4725, aveconferences@gmail.com or www.aveconferences.com.

News Briefs for the Week of May 27, 2022

Scouting religious awards presented

The Diocesan Scouting Religious Award Ceremony was held May 22, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. Catholic National and Diocesan Awards were presented to Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and American Heritage Girls as well as to adult leaders. Diocesan Scout Chaplain Father Lawton Lang, as well Scout Leaders Jim Fetterman and Bob Paquette, presented the awards. The ceremony followed a Mass in the Cathedral where they were also recognized.

Students artwork recognized

Congratulations to Blaire M., a first grader at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers, whose artwork now adorns the side of a Waste Pro recycling truck. Blaire won 1st Place in the Keep Lee County Beautiful and Waste Pro “Leave the Scene Clean” environmental art contest. The artwork included a caterpillar, flowers, trees, hearts and a butterfly with the words “Plant Trees.” The truck with Blaire’s artwork visited the school on May 19, 2022, for everyone to see.

 

 

 

Catholic Summer Camp Program

Totus Tuus (a Latin phrase meaning “totally yours”) is a summer Catholic youth camp program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through evangelization, catechesis, Christian witness and Eucharistic worship. The weeklong program assists parents and parishes to evangelize and catechize youth by complementing the work they are already doing at the Parish and at home. This summer the program will be offered at eight parishes in the Diocese of Venice. The camp program is for grades 1-5 Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for grades 6-12 Monday to Thursday, from 7:30 p.m.to 9:45 p.m. Parishes hosting the program are as follows:

  • Katharine Drexel Parish, 1920 SW 20th Ave., Cape Coral, June 6-10.
  • Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, June 13-17.
  • Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge St., La Belle, June 20-24.
  • Catherine Parish, 820 Hickory St., Sebring, June 27-July 1.
  • John XXIII Parish, 13060 Palomino Lane, Fort Myers, July 11-15.
  • Joseph Parish, 3100 26th St. W., Bradenton, July 18-22.
  • Elizabeth Seton Parish, 5225 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, July 25-29.
  • Patrick Parish, 7900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, August 1-5.

Several parishes still have openings. Please contact the Director of Religious Education at the Parish hosting the program or Carrie Harkey at 941-484-9543.

Our Lady of Fatima Rosary Rally

Please join our national America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally for the Traditional Family and Public Prayers in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to end abortion which will be held Saturday, June 4, from noon to 1 p.m., at the corner of Daniels Parkway and Daniels Commerce Blvd near Tile Outlet of America and TIAA Bank in Fort Myers. Parking is in an empty lot at Daniels Commerce Blvd. and Commerce Park Blvd. or John Yarbrough Linear Park off Daniels at Metro Parkway. Please arrive 10 minutes early and bring your Pro-Life signs, chairs, water, and umbrellas. For more information, please contact Toni at toni@defendingtheunborn.com.

Pentecost Celebration

The Diocese of Venice English Charismatic Renewal invites all to join them for a celebration on Pentecost Sunday at 3 p.m., June 5 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 211 West Charlotte Avenue, Punta Gorda. The afternoon will include praise and worship followed by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at 4:00 p.m. Please bring your Prayer Group Banner and Stand as there will be a Banner Procession. For further information, please contact Alice Keough at keough@epiphanycathedral.org or 941-484-3505 ext. 1104.

22nd Annual Knights Liberty Ball

The Knights of Columbus Assembly 2542 is hosting the 22nd Annual Liberty Ball, June 18, 2022, at the Our Lady of Light Parish Center, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. Presented by the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, the evening will honor Knights who are veterans. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with Presentation of Colors at 6 p.m. with dinner to follow. Tickets are $35 and include dinner, two drink tickets and dancing. Dress code for Fourth Degree Knights is tuxedo with Social Baldric, all others, smart casual. This Gala is open to everyone. For ticket or event information, please contact any of the following: Jim Mendolera at 239-390-0346, Frank Haneline, 239-466-6883, or Ron Bekech at 239-437-4999.

Religious Freedom Week 2022

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is once again promoting the celebration of Religious Freedom Week beginning Wednesday, June 22 to Thursday, June 29. Each year the week encompasses the period between the Memorial of Saints Thomas More & John Fisher, through the Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul. The theme for this year is Life and Dignity for All. As we approach the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, we are especially mindful of the debates around our country about abortion. The Church plays a crucial role in both bearing witness to the gospel of life and serving all who will be affected by these discussions and their outcomes. Learn how you can pray, reflect, and act to promote religious freedom at www.usccb.org/ReligiousFreedomWeek.

Youth Conference

The 14th annual Ave Maria University Youth Conference – “Fearless” – is being held July 8-10. Featured talks are by Father Rick Martignetti, Father Joseph Lugalambi, Father Rich Pagano and Chris Padget. The event includes the talks, Mass, Adoration, praise and worship, fellowship, opportunities for confession and much more. The cost is $175 and includes lodging, all meals, a t-shirt and more. To register, call 239-348-4725, aveconferences@gmail.com or www.aveconferences.com.

News Briefs for the Week of May 20, 2022

Volunteers sort food

More than 150 volunteers came to the St. Joseph Food Pantry in Bradenton to help sort and store 50,000 pounds of food on May 14, 2022. The food was collected during the U.S. Postal Service Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

CCW council re-established in Sebring

The St. Catherine Council of Catholic Women was re-established during a ceremony in Sebring on May 7, 2022. The installation ceremony included representatives from the Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women who aided in this process. The Council acts within the Parish to support, empower and educate Catholic women in spirituality, leadership and service. The installation was presided over by Father Jose Gonzalez, Pastor of St. Catherine.

Diocesan seminarian Valedictorian

Transitional Deacon David Portorreal, a Diocese of Venice Seminarian, graduated on May 12, 2022, from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. The commencement address was by Most Rev. Felipe J. Estévez, Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine. Deacon Portorreal was the Valedictorian of his graduating class and will be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Frank J. Dewane on July 16, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

SVdP International president visits Parish

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul International President General Renato Lima de Oliveira visited members of the Sacred Heart Conference on May 5, 2022, in Punta Gorda. He congratulated the conference for their spirituality, friendship and their Vincentian Spirit. He was amazed at the size and ability of the conference to help the community in so many ways.

Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate June 18

All are invited and encouraged to attend the Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate for the following candidate: Craig Dutka of Holy Cross Parish in Palmetto. The Ordination will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 18, 2022, at Holy Cross Parish, 506 26th St. W., Palmetto. A reception in the Parish Hall will follow.

Our Lady of Fatima Rosary Rally

Please join our national America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally for the Traditional Family and Public Prayers in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to end abortion Saturday, June 4, from noon to 1:00 p.m., at the corner of Daniels Parkway and Daniels Commerce Blvd near Tile Outlet of America and TIAA Bank in Fort Myers. Parking is in an empty lot at Daniels Commerce Blvd and Commerce Park Blvd or John Yarbrough Linear Park off Daniels at Metro Parkways. Please arrive 10 minutes early and bring your Pro-Life signs, chairs, water and umbrellas. For more information, please contact Toni at toni@defendingtheunborn.com.

Charismatic Pentecost Celebration

The Diocese of Venice English Charismatic Renewal invites all to join them for a celebration on Pentecost Sunday at 3:00 p.m., June 5 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 211 West Charlotte Avenue, Punta Gorda. The afternoon will include praise and worship followed by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at 4:00 p.m. Please bring your Prayer Group Banner and Stand as there will be a Banner Procession. For further information, please contact Alice Keough at keough@epiphanycathedral.org or 941-484-3505 ext. 1104.

Youth Conference in July

The 14th annual Ave Maria University Youth Conference – “Fearless” is July 8-10, 2022. Featured talks are by Father Rick Martignetti, Father Joseph Lugalambi, Father Rich Pagano and Chris Padget. The event includes the talks, Mass, Adoration, praise and worship, fellowship, opportunities for confession and much more. The cost is $175 and includes lodging, all meals t-shirt and more. To register, call 239-348-4725, aveconferences@gmail.com or www.aveconferences.com.

“Young Catholic Leaders” initiative begins

A new leadership program created for teenagers who serve the Church got off to a strong start with its first gathering on April 28, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

Eager teens learned about the new “Young Catholic Leaders” program, which is a post-Confirmation Religious Education course for teenagers who have been confirmed and want to continue the learning about Catholic Identity. The first meeting was just the beginning of a journey, as these teens will meet several times a year and discuss some of the bigger questions facing young people today.

“The idea is to be gathering young people together to learn about the Catholic Faith, beyond what they already know,” said program organizer Anne Chrzan, Diocesan Director of Religious Education “Then they will learn how to share that newfound knowledge with other people.”

At this introductory session, each of the teens was invited by various religious educators at the Parish-level having been identified as potential future leaders within the Church. Each student has been asked to have a Catholic mentor – someone who is fully initiated, participates in weekly Mass, daily prayer, and service to the community. The teens also learned about a newly online course, developed specifically for them, which includes five lessons on discernment, reflective prayer, spiritual gifts and leadership.

Chrzan said the “Young Catholic Leaders” program is dedicated to Blessed Carlos Acutis who was a young Catholic leader who had a strong devotion to the Eucharist. He died of leukemia at the age of 20.

“All of us are asked to emulate saints and work toward holiness,” Chrzan said. “Having a young man as a role model who is in the process of becoming a saint gives the ‘Young Catholic Leaders’ someone to honor, pray to and ask for intercessions.”

The group also heard from Jimmy Mitchell, Campus Minister from Tampa Catholic High School, who shared his experiences of ministering to teenagers, many of whom never knew the Catholic Faith.

Mitchell shared his own journey of discovering the Catholic Faith and explained how the teens each need to learn what the Lord is calling them to do in their lives.

“Each of us, in our own unique circumstances, have the opportunity to be a modern Apostle,” Mitchell said. “But you have to be people of prayer. If you don’t pray, you don’t have Christ. That is non-negotiable. From there, you have to know and love the Faith, and you have to be able to defend it. This can be done with a prayer life, because when you have a prayer life and also a habit of study your head and your heart will start to collide, or better yet work together – that’s what the world needs – Apostles whose heads and hearts are alive fully formed and on fire.”

Mitchell cited the key marks of a modern-day Apostle: prayer, study, integrity, joy, zeal, humility, reliability, obedience, normalcy, beauty.

“God is calling you to be saints in our times,” Mitchell added. “To achieve this, the resolution you can make right now, is that you will advance your prayer life and let that zeal and love for the Lord take you to another level.”

The “Young Catholic Leaders” will have four regional gatherings throughout the year centered on being a Catholic teenager in today’s secular world, Chrzan explained.

Additional Diocesan-wide quarterly meetings will consist of Catholic leadership development, addressing the following topics:

  • What is Faith? How do I know if God exists?
  • How can I remain a Catholic when I leave home and start college or a career?
  • Philanthropy – The Catholic Church and the mission to help the poor. Learn about Catholic Charities and our responsibilities as Catholics to help the Church.
  • Vocations: What does having a calling mean to me and my friends?

Just for attending the introductory meeting, the teens were each given a gift bag, which included a backpack with the “Young Catholic Leaders” logo, as well as a water bottle, a rosary, a how to pray card, a St. Benedict bracelet (rosary on the wrist), a journal book, and a stress ball with the inscription: “With God, all things are possible!”

Chrzan explained that the goal is to have the leaders understand that they are not just part of a Parish-based group, but part of a Diocesan-wide initiative and their service to the Church will reach far beyond what they have done in the past.

The inaugural “Young Catholic Leaders” meeting for the southern part of the Diocese will be in early June at St. Agnes Parish in Naples. For more information about the coming meeting or becoming a “Young Catholic Leader,” contact Anne Chrzan at 941-484-9543 or chrzan@dioceseofvenice.org.

CCW Golden Rose award presented

There are 28 high school girls who now have the distinct honor of being named Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (VDCCW) Golden Rose Award recipients.

The Golden Rose Awards were presented during an April 30, 2022, luncheon at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice. The Golden Rose Award seeks to recognize the basic tenets of the Council of Catholic Women – spirituality, leadership and service.

Father Jay Jancarz, VDCCW Spiritual Advisor and Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice, presented the awards while Anne De Camillo, President of St. William Parish CCW and Chair of Golden Rose Committee, gave each young lady a rose.

“This is a such an honor to be recognized,” said Golden Rose recipient Gianna Frino, of St. William Parish in Naples. The freshman at Barron Collier High School is an outstanding athlete and very active in the Parish. She is an altar server and active in the Parish youth group. In her spare time, Giana loves to volunteer at the Parish, specifically in the outreach to the younger children. “I am so blessed to be able to give back to the Parish.”

Josephine Weiss, VDCCW President, said it is important for the VDCCW to recognize these worthy recipients who were each nominated by their respective Parishes and Catholic schools. Nominees must currently be in high school, active in their Parish, and a practicing Catholic who regularly attends Sunday Mass, Weiss said.

“We recognize those girls who exhibit outstanding qualities in spirituality, leadership ability, while also completing a meaningful service project,” Weiss said. “We received a great response and are proud to honor these young ladies with the Golden Rose Award.”

Father Jancarz congratulated the young ladies and said it is noble to recognize the girls for their service and leadership.

Father said the best example of a perfect leader for them to follow is Jesus Christ. “He showed His leadership on Holy Thursday, getting up from the table and washing the feet of His friends, the Disciples. Every good leader is a person of humility. Thank you for your great dedication to your parishes and to the people you serve… you have the spirit of dedication, commitment and service which not only came down from the Holy Spirit, but it also came from your parents.”

Each Golden Rose Award recipient was presented with a certificate and golden rose. They will also receive a membership into the National Council of Catholic Women.

The Golden Rose Award was first awarded in 2020 and 2021 following the example of CCW affiliates, with the first in-person Venice Diocesan ceremony held in April 2021.

Those receiving awards this year were: Michelle Aguilera, Epiphany Cathedral, Venice; Megan Grace Ayan, St. Ann, Naples; Emma Beckner, Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles, Bradenton; Lucy Brodeur, Our Lady of Light, Fort Myers; Alexis Camina, St. Elizabeth Seton, Naples; Julianna Courville, Epiphany Cathedral, Venice; Abigail Cudnik, St. Andrew, Cape Coral; Misda Dantes, St. Peter the Apostle, Naples; Venessa de la Rosa, St. Michael, Wauchula; Abby Dunston-Wagner, St. Joseph, Bradenton; Sofia Flores, St. Cecilia, Fort Myers; Trinity Nicole Forget, St. Ann, Naples; Gianna Frino, St. William, Naples; Natalie Gomez, St. Catherine, Sebring; Madeline Harkness, St. Katherine Drexel, Cape Coral; Anna Latell, Bishop Verot Catholic High School, Fort Myers; Delaney Lento, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, Sarasota; Juanita Leon, Holy Cross, Palmetto; Rebecca Lozada, San Antonio, Port Charlotte; Alexis Mendieta, San Pedro, North Port; Belinda Cruz Paz, St. Agnes, Naples; Natalie Pfeiffer, St. Francis Xavier, Fort Myers; Gabriella Ragozzino, Our Lady of Lourdes, Venice; Karyme Ramirez, St. Finbarr, Naples; Faith Romero, Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish, Ave Maria; Mackenzie Thomas, St. John XXIII, Fort Myers; Madison Thomas, St. John XXIII, Fort Myers; and Charlotte Thompson, St. Joseph, Bradenton.

Youth service club helps needy

The grades 5-9 religious education/faith formation classes at St. Martha Parish in Sarasota have been using some of their classroom time to give back.

Just in time for Easter, the youth made more than 100 lunch bags that were distributed to the homeless in the area. This outreach is part of a new service club which has been included in the ongoing religious education classes.

Patricia Sileo, Director of Religious Education at St. Martha, said one Sunday a month is committed to the service club which was created in the wake of the pandemic as both the students and teachers became more acutely aware of the need to give back within the community.

“We dedicate one class a month to learn about Catholic Social Teachings and do a project that coincides with the teaching each month,” Sileo explained.

For example, on April 3, 2022, as part of a “Hearty Meals Project,” the students happily went to work as they first decorated the bags and then packed them with various donated foodstuffs. Each lunch bag had its own colorful and unique design and had a sticker which read: “Made with Love & Care by the St. Martha Service Club.” These decorated lunch bags were given to local outreach programs that minister to the homeless, including Caritas, Catholic Charities and more.

Previously, the youth worked on other service projects. These included supporting the Eucharistic Ministers who visit the hospital by making get well cards for the sick they visit. The club also colored placemats (and laminated them) for the Knights of Columbus Thanksgiving Dinner which is offered annually for those in need or alone.

Their Christmas service project included making Christmas cards and ornaments for the elderly that live in Casa Santa Marta, a senior housing facility run by the Diocese of Venice. Still another project included writing prayer cards and creating rosary boxes for the children from the Parish who were making their First Holy Communion.

Sileo explained that among the special projects that received the most enthusiasm was making blessing bags. These are bags with prayers and words of encouragement that the students were able to create and keep for themselves, or in their parents’ vehicle, so the youth would be able to distribute bags if they came across someone in need.

The projects are supported by the parishioners at St. Martha, providing many of the donations of the needed food and supplies. Sileo said the generosity has been overwhelming. The “Hearty Meals Project” response enabled the youth to not only fill the lunch bags for the homeless, but also stock two different food pantries while also giving additional financial support.

Sileo said the enthusiasm of the young students in response to the new service club has been overwhelmingly positive as it gives them the opportunity to make immediate and positive impacts on their Parish and in the community in which they live.

Stations of the Cross: A spiritual pilgrimage

The Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross or Via Crucis, commemorate Jesus’s passion and death on the cross. There are 14 stations that each depict a moment on his journey to Calvary, usually through sacred art, prayers, and reflections.

The practice began as pious pilgrims traced the Lord’s path through Jerusalem on the Via Dolorosa. As many wanted to pass along the same route as Jesus, but could not make the journey to Jerusalem, a practice developed that eventually took the form of the 14 stations currently found in almost every church throughout the world.

This devotional prayer is recited throughout the year and tends to concentrate on the Fridays during the Lenten Season. The Stations can also be done in the form of a reenactment, or Living Stations, on Good Friday. Pope Francis took part in the annual Living Stations of the Cross at the Roman Colosseum on Good Friday, April 15, 2022. The devotion allows the Faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage and meditate on the Passion of Christ.

For the Faithful at Jesus the Worker Parish in Fort Myers, the annual Living Stations is something this Hispanic community takes seriously. In the parking lot and field behind the Parish Hall, stages were erected, and a reenactment of the Stations took place, complete with Jesus crowned with thorns, as well as dozens of actors dressed in centurion garb or playing key figures in the retelling of the Passion. Upwards of a thousand Faithful first watched the opening scenes before following the 14-step procession as it wound its way through the Parish parking lot, stopping along the way to relive the suffering Christ endured with a narrator recounting the Gospel readings.

The reenactment of the Lord’s Passion at Jesus the Worker included: the Last Supper, the betrayal of Christ at the Garden of Gethsemane by Judas; Christ’s appearance before Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year; His appearance before Caiaphas; ending before Pontius Pilate in the praetorium. Next came the scourging before His sentencing to death.

Earlier in the day, priests and deacons from numerous Parishes in Sarasota and Manatee counties took part in the Sarasota Ministerial Association’s-sponsored Stations of the Cross along Main Street in downtown Sarasota. Nearly 1,000, representing numerous Christian denominations, took part in this event which returned after a two-year absence because of the pandemic.

The Stations of the Cross took place on Good Friday at many Parishes throughout the Diocese, whether it was inside a Parish Church or outside. In addition, many schools host their own Passion plays as an educational tool for students of all ages.

Paschal Triduum celebrated throughout the Diocese

Faithful gathered at Parishes throughout the Diocese of Venice for a celebration of the Paschal Triduum (April 14-17, 2022).

The Paschal Triduum of the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Thursday), has its center in the Easter Vigil, and closes with Vespers (Evening Prayer) of the Sunday of the Resurrection (Easter).

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper at St. Catherine Parish in Sebring included the commemoration when Jesus Christ established the Sacrament of Holy Communion prior to His arrest and crucifixion. It also observes His institution of the priesthood. This Liturgy included the presentation of the oils blessed and consecrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane during the April 12 Chrism Mass, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, which will be used for the Sacraments in the Parish throughout the year.  Later was the traditional washing of the feet, reenacting Jesus washing the feet of the Disciples. Following the Prayer after Communion, the Mass concluded with a procession to transfer the Holy Eucharist to the place of repose in the Parish Hall. This procession led out the main doors of the church and to the hall. This action left the tabernacle vacant until the Easter Vigil.

On Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion, the faithful at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples participated in the Liturgy which included the reading of the Passion from the Gospel of John. Next was the presentation of the cross, brought forth by the priest and unveiled as the priest sang: “This is the wood of the cross, on which hung the salvation of the world,” and the congregation responded: “Come let us adore.” The faithful were then encouraged to come forward to venerate the cross. This was done by either touching, bowing, or genuflecting.

Either prior to, or after, the Good Friday Liturgy, many Parishes hosted the Stations of the Cross, sometimes led by children or including a dramatic retelling. (See related story on Page 3.).

On Holy Saturday, the only Mass of the day is the Easter Vigil, which begins in darkness. However, several Parishes did host a blessing of the Easter Baskets/food. This custom traditionally blesses food to be consumed at the first meal of Easter.

During the Easter Vigil, the Paschal Candle was lit and catechumens and candidates received the Sacraments and entered fully into the Catholic Faith. This year 397 did so throughout the Diocese.

On Easter Sunday, several Parishes celebrated Mass at sunrise while all added extra Masses to accommodate the increased numbers common for this holiest of days.

Many Parishes also hosted fun for children which often included Easter Egg hunts.

St. Michael Parish in Wauchula hosted their Easter Festival after the final Easter Sunday Mass. There, hundreds of plastic eggs with goodies were scattered across the lawn for eager children to pluck up, while 300 Easter baskets filled with donated items were distributed to families.

News Briefs for the Week of Feb. 11, 2022

Appointments

After consultation, Bishop Frank J. Dewane announced the following appointments:

Father Thobias Sabariar, M.o.C., relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar of St. Katharine Drexel Parish effective Jan. 30, 2022, and thus, has returned to his Religious Community.

Father Antony Lukka, relieved of his duties as Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish effective Jan. 30, 2022, and thus, has returned to his Diocese of Kanjirapally, India.

Cheer Team takes silver at States

The Competitive Cheer Team at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers took second place at the Class 1A Extra Large Varsity State Championships on Feb. 2, 2022, at University of Florida Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville. Way to go!

Parish hosts fun for high schoolers

The St. Michael Parish 2022 High School Youth Festival gathered more than 80 students in Wauchula on Feb. 5, 2022. The theme this year was “We are made to be great!” The day consisted of three talks given by Greg Stearns, an outdoor games tournament, prayer and quiet time with our Lord, the opportunity for confessions and Holy Mass. It was a beautiful day of fellowship.

Time running out to apply for college scholarships

The deadline to apply for Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida 2022-23 Scholarship will close on March 1, 2022. There are six different competitive scholarships being offered. Some of the scholarships are limited in who is eligible based on the schools they attend, where they live or what career path they plan to take. During the past eight years, the Catholic Community Foundation has awarded more than $425,000 in scholarships to students attending universities, colleges and vocational programs. To find out which Catholic Community Foundation scholarship you qualify for, please visit www.ccfdioceseofvenice.org/scholarships.

High school artists shine at local Art Fest

Bishop Verot Catholic High School student Cornelia Ovren won BEST OF SHOW for her acrylic painting of The Triangle Waist Company at the Fort Myers Art Fest on Feb. 6, 2022. A team from Verot also won The Golisano Children’s Hospital Sunny and Sparkle award for their clever execution of Chalk Block’s theme: “Choose to Include” in the chalk art competitions. In the same competition, another Verot group took honorable mention for their chalk block “Come Together” tribute.
Several teams take District titles

Several Diocesan Catholic high school sports teams won district titles recently. The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School girls’ basketball team in Sarasota took the District title Feb. 4, 2022. The Mooney girls’ soccer team earned their own District title Feb. 3. The St. John Neumann Catholic High School girls’ basketball team in Naples also took their District title Feb. 4.  Both boys’ and girls’ soccer teams at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers captured District titles Feb. 2.

50th Anniversary Sarasota Prayer Breakfast March 17

Friends dedicated to furthering community prayer are encouraged to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sarasota Prayer Breakfast, March 17, at the Sarasota Hyatt Regency. The faithful of Sarasota will come together as a community to pray for our city, state and nation. The gathering is modeled after the annual National Prayer Breakfast held in our nation’s capital and attended by America’s legislative leaders. Tickets may be purchased online at www.SarasotaPrayerBreakfast.com. For additional information please e-mail Info@SarasotaPrayerBreakfast.com or call 941-350-6075.

Large group gathers in Sarasota to stand up for LIFE!!

A cold wind did nothing to deter those gathered for the 24th Annual Sarasota Prayer Walk for Life on Jan. 18, 2022, as they stood in prayerful witness for the unborn outside of a large abortion facility.

Temperatures were in the mid-40s at the start of the Prayer Walk, but the need to stand witness as a voice for the voiceless was compelling as the walk coincided with the day abortion appointments take place at the regional headquarters of Planned Parenthood near downtown Sarasota.

Prior to the Walk for Life, Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the Mass at nearby St. Martha Parish. There he stressed that abortion is not a political problem, but a moral issue – the taking of a human life.

“As today’s Old Testament reading tells us, we are asked to hear that call of the Lord in life – to stand up and be one who is willing to speak out,” Bishop Dewane said. “This means being active in the ministry of safeguarding life in a manner worthy of the human person, in a manner worthy of the call you received.”

The Bishop said we should all be uplifted by news of restrictive abortions laws in Texas and Mississippi, but we should not let our guard down as other states (New Jersey and California) are working in the opposite direction.

“We must be humbled by the Grace of God, in light of what has been achieved,” Bishop Dewane continued. “This is a defining moment in our nation; a chance to promote an authentic Culture of Life. But that Culture of Life must be carried across the spectrum as we fill the moral void and defend life from conception to natural death.”

Among the Prayer Walk participants were a group of about 80 students from Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish Pro-Life Club. This club travelled to St. Augustine earlier in the week to visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche where their Pastor, Father David Vidal, celebrated Mass for the group. The teens then spent the night in Sarasota before participating in the Sarasota Prayer Walk for Life.

One Pro-Life Club student expressed joy at being able to participate in the Prayer Walk knowing that she is being an example for others to follow.

“We are here to show that our generation cares about life,” she added. “Being here is where God wants us. We are the Pro-Life generation!”

Students carried a variety of pre-made and hand-made signs: “A-D-O-P-T-I-O-N – Pray to End Abortion,” “Respect Life: From the Womb to the Tomb,” “Smile: Your Parents Chose Life,” “Protect the Unborn Life,” “Jesus Loves You,” “18 days after conception, my heart is beating.”

Sidewalk counselors and participants in the Prayer Walk were excited to see so many young people standing up for life.

“They are the one’s who will be here when I can’t be out here anymore,” one counselor said.

The Prayer Walk for Life, and similar ones in the region, are held in solidarity with the National March for Life scheduled for Jan. 21 in Washington, D.C. and a Florida March for Life on Jan. 15, in St. Augustine.

Annually a large group from the Diocese of Venice, mostly composed of youth and accompanied by Bishop Dewane, participate in the National March for Life. The 2021 March was postponed and became a virtual event. This year, about 70 teens, mostly from Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers and Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, are expected to represent the Diocese along with a group of 100 from Ave Maria University.

Meanwhile, a Prayer Walk for Life took place on Jan. 15 at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Grove City. This annual walk includes a procession around the Parish grounds and the praying of the rosary drawing nearly 100 people. The walk is a call to end abortion, but participants are also reminded that they stand as witnesses to the dignity of the human person and the event is truly a celebration of life.

Other prayer walks are scheduled for Jan. 22. One is slated to begin at 9 a.m. on U.S. 41 near St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs. At 10:30 a.m., a first-ever Walk for Life and rally will take place in Ave Maria by the football field. This is a joint effort of Ave Maria Parish, Ave Maria University and Community Pregnancy Clinics, Inc., and will include guest speakers including Bishop Dewane.

Praying for life in the Diocese of Venice takes place year-round. To learn more about how to support life, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/respectlife.

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