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Bishop supports Catholic Charities at baseball game
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Bishop Frank J. Dewane throws out the first pitch at a Fort Myers Mighty Mussels game on July 23, 2021 which was Faith and Family Night benefitting the programs of Catholic Charities.

FORT MYERS  |  The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels may have found a new starting pitcher.

Team members of the Single-A Florida State League affiliate of the Minnesota Twins watched as Bishop Frank J. Dewane threw a perfect strike when he tossed out the first pitch before a July 23, 2021 game at Hammond Stadium at CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers.

The honor of throwing out the first pitch came about because it was Faith and Family Night at the ballpark with a portion of the proceeds benefitted Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. in Lee County. There was also a canned food drive that offered attendees a free ticket to a future game if they brought in four cans of food.

Bishop Dewane was greeted by Club President Chris Peters, who expressed his honor to have the Bishop present for the game. Bishop Dewane also thanked Peters and the Mighty Mussels organization for supporting Catholic Charities.

A few minutes before the start of the game, standing on the grass directly in front of the pitcher’s mound, Bishop Dewane made a wind-up and hurled the ball towards Peters, who was waiting to catch the ball behind home plate. Everyone cheered when the hard-thrown ball sailed straight into the glove, right over home plate for a strike. With a big smile, the Bishop waved to the crowd. Then Peters congratulated Bishop and presented him with several baseballs as souvenirs for the occasion. Bishop Dewane later presented these baseballs to children.

Alex Olivares, Regional Director of Catholic Charities in Lee, Hendry and Glades counties, who helped to organize the Catholic Charities participation in Faith and Family Night at the ballpark, said the Mighty Mussels organization wanted to celebrate Catholic Charities and the work done by the food pantries in Fort Myers and Bonita Springs, which continue to respond to the impacts of the global Pandemic. In all, four large containers of food were collected for the Catholic Charities food Pantries.

In addition, prior to the game, Catholic Charities had displays set up in the main concourse to inform baseball fans of the various programs and services offered by Catholic Charities. The tables were operated by Catholic Charities staff who were happy to share with people what they do for the less fortunate in the community.

Before throwing out the first pitch, Bishop Dewane stopped and personally greeted each of the Catholic Charities staff, thanking them for their hard work and dedication. Later, during the game, the Bishop sat in the same section as the staff and met many of the family members. As the game progressed, faithful from across the area stopped by to greet Bishop Dewane. Jeremy Ramey, Sales Manager for the Mighty Mussels, also came to say hello to the Bishop during the game.

The Mighty Mussels held their own but fell to the Daytona Tortugas 7-5 in 11 innings. 

News Briefs - July 30 - Aug.5
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Staff of the Catholic Center in Venice applaud Bishop Frank J. Dewane during a celebration marking the 15th anniversary of his Ordination to the Episcopate on July 26, 2021.

A small celebration in honor of Bishop Frank J. Dewane took place at the Catholic Center in Venice July 26, 2021, to mark the 15th Anniversary of his Ordination to the Episcopate. On the actual anniversary day, July 25, Bishop Dewane celebrated Mass at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, the site of his Ordination to the Episcopate.

Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal

Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice serves the most vulnerable population by feeding, housing, empowering, and striving to help those in need. The Catholic Charities Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal is asking for support. Donate to your choice of assistance, such as food, shelter, education or other support. Your gift will make a positive impact on those less fortunate. Visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or mail a check to Catholic Charities,1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285.

“Witnessing Faith with Bishop Dewane” available June 30

Join Bishop Frank J. Dewane, for his monthly radio program on Relevant Radio. “Witnessing Faith with Bishop Dewane,” which can be heard at 8:30 a.m. On June 30, 2021, discussing the topic of vocations and the Ordination to the Priesthood of two men. Access to the program is available at https://dioceseofvenice.org/our-bishop/relevant-radio-podcasts.

Scholarships for Catholic Schools

Step Up for Students is a state-approved non-profit scholarship funding organization that helps administer four scholarships for Florida schoolchildren: the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) for lower to middle income families, the Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES) for lower to middle income families and students with unique abilities (formerly Gardiner), as well as the Hope Scholarship. These scholarships could provide up to $7,000 for a Catholic School education with 2021 adjusted income guidelines. Step up for Students will continue accepting applications throughout the school year. For the Diocese of Venice Catholic School application webpage visit https://www.stepupforstudents.org/swflcatholic/.

Catholic Alpha Online

Alpha Online is an online course where others meet virtually once a week via Zoom to discuss and share ideas about faith and God in an open, caring and non-judgmental way. The Diocese of Venice English Catholic Charismatic Renewal invites you to experience Catholic Alpha online from the comfort of your home, and to hear from notable Catholic speakers. These include newly appointed Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap., longtime Preacher of the Papal Household; Dr. Mary Healy; Father John Ricardo; and Father Mike Schmitz. Each course is Monday from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. beginning  Sept. 13 through Nov. 29, 2021. For information. contact Theresa Salvo at asolotogod@gmail.com or 804-387-8282. 

Marriage prep for couples over 55

The Office of Family Life is offering a one-day marriage prep seminar for those couples over 55 years of age preparing for marriage or convalidation from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Aug. 28, 2021, at Our Lady of Lourdes. 1301 Center Road, Venice. A specially prepared volunteer team share their experiences and information with the intention of enabling couples to be more aware of the privileges and responsibilities of marriage. Pre-registration is required. Register online at: https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/two-become-one. 

2021 Marriage Preparation Retreats

The Diocesan Office of Family Life is offering “Day of Reflection” retreats for couples preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage. A specially prepared volunteer team of married couples and a priest will share their experiences and information with the intention of enabling couples to be more aware of the privileges and responsibilities of marriage. The retreats in English are from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the following Saturdays: Aug. 7, and Nov. 13. Please visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/marriage-preparation-retreat-2021 to register for the English retreats. Retreats in Spanish take place: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Aug. 7 and Oct. 30 at St. Jude Parish, 3930 17th Street, Sarasota, and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Aug. 14 and Dec. 4, at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge Street, LaBelle. To register for a St. Jude retreat date contact the parish at 941-955-3934. Visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/retiro-de-formacion-matrimonial. To register for a retreat at Our Lady Queen of Heaven, Contact Carrie Harkey at 941-484-9543 ext. 3019.

Tele-Mental Health Counseling Services

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice Inc. is offering Mental Health Counseling for adults and children provided by licensed mental health therapists. If you or someone you know is feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, depressed or helpless, Catholic Charities can help. For more information, call 239-455-2655. There is no charge for this service.

Diocesan Marriage Conference Oct. 2

The Diocese of Venice and the St. John Paul II Foundation announce the “Together in Holiness Marriage Conference” that will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 2, 2021, at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples and St. Thomas More Parish, 2506 Gulf Gate Drive, Sarasota. The speakers are Kevin and Lisa Cotter. For more details contact Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org.

New Catholic Institute course beginning in August

The Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation is offering a 16-week graduate level online course starting Aug. 24, 2021, that introduces students to the principles, practices and sources of Catholic Theology. The course “What is Catholic Theology? (Ecclesial Nature and Mission of Theology)” counts as a pre-requisite for those beginning the online master’s degree in theology and Christian ministry at Franciscan University of Steubenville, which offers Diocese of Venice students discounted tuition for this online degree. This course is also available to those who wish to attend for their own personal enrichment. For cost and other information, visit the Institute website at https://institute-dov.org/ or call 941-766-7334.