The Diocese of Venice in Florida

The Mustard Seed


Office of the Bishop
Pope Francis Prayer Intention for December – That people, who are involved in the service and transmission of faith, may find, in their dialogue with culture, a language suited to the conditions of the present time.

Mass Honoring Widows and Widowers – Bishop Frank J. Dewane will celebrate a Mass for all widows and widowers at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, January 20 at Epiphany Cathedral, 310 Sarasota Street, Venice. 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 spouse, please email 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 or for further information please visit, contact or 941-484-9543.  (CLICK HERE for a copy of the flier.)

2019 Men’s Conference – The Diocese of Venice will be revamping this year’s Men’s Conference!  Enjoy spiritual fellowship with some grit, a burger fest, outdoor games, and great food! The event is from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 2 at Bishop Verot Catholic High School, 5598 Sunrise Drive, Fort Myers. The speakers this year are Dr. Mary Healy, Deacon Ralph Poyo, and Hector Molina. The day will also include the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and the opportunity to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Cost in advance is $20 (pre-registration online), students $5 pre-registration. Cost at the door is $30, and $10 for students. Come to be filled and transformed with the fire of God’s love! To register, please visit (CLICK HERE for the flier).

2019 Women’s Conference – Attention women of all ages!  Please mark your calendars for the Diocese of Venice Women’s Conference! This year’s event will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Saturday, February 16, at Bishop Verot Catholic High School, 5598 Sunrise Drive, Fort Myers. We are blessed to offer the exciting opportunity to listen to speakers such as radio-host Jennifer Fulwiler, popular speaker and former model Leah Darrow, and Mother foundress of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Mother Adela Galindo. The day will also include Eucharistic Adoration, the opportunity to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and will conclude with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane. Cost in advance is $20 (pre-registration online), students $5 pre-registration. Cost at the door is $30, and $10 for students. Come receive your blessing! To register, please visit (CLICK HERE for the flier).

Save the Date – In appreciation of the volunteers of the Diocese of Venice, Bishop Frank J. Dewane invites all volunteers to a Mass at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 23, at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. The Mass is an opportunity to extend gratitude and appreciation for those who generously give of their time and talent. All priests, deacons and the faithful are invited to participate in a celebration of the active and concrete stewardship of our laity. A lunch will follow the Mass in the Parish Hall.  Further details to follow shortly.

Couples Celebrating Marriage – All couples celebrating 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, or more than 50 years of marriage are invited by Bishop Frank J. Dewane to an Anniversary Mass in their honor. The Anniversary Mass will be celebrated in two locations: 11:00 a.m., Saturday, March 2 at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, and 10:00 a.m., Saturday, March 16 at St. Leo the Great Parish in Bonita Springs. Information packages will be mailed to Parishes in January.

Communications Department

Advent Liturgy and Christmas Newsletter – To assist parishes throughout the Advent and Christmas Seasons with liturgical celebrations, please CLICK HEREfor the 2018 Advent/Christmas Liturgy Newsletter.  Should you have any questions, please contact the Office of Worship at or 941-484-9543.

Christmas Day Television Mass for the Homebound – The televised Christmas Day Mass for the Homebound with Bishop Frank J. Dewane as Celebrant 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 airs at 9:30 a.m. on the CW Network. In the southern portions of the Diocese (Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee counties), the Mass airs at 8:00 a.m. on WFTX-TV (FOX-4). Please check your cable provider for channel listings. Leaflet missals are available upon request by calling 941-486-4714 or by writing: TV Mass, Diocese of Venice, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285. For more information, contact Gail Ardy at 941-486-4714 or email

Taping of the Christmas Day Mass Televised Mass – All are invited to attend the taping of the televised Christmas Day Mass for the Homebound at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, December 18 in Our Lady of the Angels Parish Chapel, 12905 E. SR 70 Lakewood Ranch. Bishop Frank J. Dewane will be the Celebrant of this Mass that will air on Christmas Day morning.  Please consider participating in this Mass dressed in your Christmas attire. Our homebound viewers are most appreciative of the televised Mass and more so to see a large faith family of individuals and families   in the Church. Light Christmas refreshments will follow.  For further information, please contact Gail Ardy at or 941-486-4714.

List of Christmas Mass Times – The Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Mass times will appear on the Diocese of Venice website by December 18 and in the December 21 edition of The Florida Catholic. Please submit your Mass times to Bob Reddy at or 941-486-4701 by no later than Tuesday, December 11.

A Prayer for Priests – Bulletin editors are encouraged to publish the attached prayer in the weekly Parish Bulletins. (CLICK HERE for a copy of the prayer.)

“Witnessing Faith with Bishop Dewane” – Join Most Reverend Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice, for his monthly radio program on Relevant Radio. “Witnessing Faith with Bishop Dewane” can be heard at 8:30 a.m., Friday, December 28 on 1660 AM in Naples and 1410 AM and 106.7 FM in Fort Myers. Listen anywhere online at The program airs on the last Friday of each month.

2019 Mustard Seed Publication Schedule – In order to assist with planning, please CLICK HERE for the 2019 Mustard Seed Schedule.

Safe Environment Training – As part of the Safe Environment Program, the Diocese of Venice requires that all employees and those volunteers who work with children and/or vulnerable adults be fingerprinted and trained in Safe Environment. For further information, visit the Diocesan website at Report any abuses against minors to the Florida Department of Children and Families at 800-962-2873. To report abuse by Diocesan personnel or volunteers also notify the Diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator, Susan Benton at 941-416-6114. Please visit the Diocese of Venice website for scheduled training dates.


Respect Life
Execution Prayer Vigil – On Thursday, December 13, Jose Antonio Jimenez is scheduled to be executed at 6:00 p.m.  Join others in prayer during the execution at 5:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Parish, 3100 26th Street W., Bradenton; Sacred Heart Parish, 211 W. Charlotte Ave., Punta Gorda; St. Raphael Parish, 2514 Lee Blvd., Lehigh Acres and San Pedro Parish, 14380 Tamiami Trail, North Port. Also, St. Katharine Drexel Parish, 1922 SW 20th Ave., Cape Coral, will hold a prayer vigil at 10:00 a.m. on December 13. If you cannot attend, stop for a moment of prayerful silence for Jose, his family, the victim, her family, those tasked with carrying out the execution and the people of Florida in whose name the execution is done.  For additional information, see or contact Jeanne Berdeaux at or 941-441-1101.

“Choose Life” License Plate – If you wish to purchase a “Choose Life” license plate, you can receive a $50 rebate for switching.  See or call 386-339-1885 for details. (CLICK HERE for the ad.)

Featured Respect Life Video of the Month – The recent 32nd annual Florida Respect Life Conference was a huge success with some of the best speakers in the country.  The presentations were videotaped and a different one will be featured each month starting in December.  The first video is Marietta Jaeger Lane’s heartfelt sharing of “A Mother’s Journey:  From Fury to Forgiveness.”  Hear what happened after her 7-year-old daughter was kidnapped on a family camping trip and how God changed her life.  You’ll see why she received a standing ovation. To view the video, please visit  Questions?  Contact Jeanne Berdeaux, or 941-441-1101.

Catholic Charities
2018 Christmas Appeal – Catholic Charities launches the annual Christmas Appeal during December 2018 and January 2019. 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 or mail a donation to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285.

Please Join Us – The Catholic Charities Ball will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 26 at The Westin in Sarasota. All proceeds will benefit the programs and services of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. in Sarasota and Manatee counties which include Our Mother’s House, St. Martha’s Early Learning Center, Bethesda House, Catholic Charities Family Haven, housing counseling and foreclosure prevention, financial assistance, senior services, professional counseling, refugee services, and immigration services. The evening will include a cocktail hour, auctions, dinner, and dancing. Tickets are $300 a person. For information and tickets visit or call 941-355-4680, ext. 301 or email


Daily Mass – To assist the Faithful in preparing for the birth of Our Lord and Savior, the Diocese of Venice will live stream the 8:00 a.m. Mass in various Diocesan parishes, Monday through Friday during Advent on Facebook Live.

Please visit to join in the Mass.

Advent Reflections –
 Advent is a time of reflection and spiritual growth.  The original practice of Advent was a period including 40 days of fasting which began after the Feast of St. Martin.  Since then, Advent has been shortened to the four weeks we know it as today.  Attached you will find a spiritual reflection for each day of Advent.  These reflections focus on the true spiritual preparation for Christ’s coming at Christmas including prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and the life of the Church.  Feel free to share them on your websites, in your bulletins, social media, and with your family and friends.  Let us all come together to “Prepare the way” of the Lord this Advent and truly celebrate this beautiful liturgical season. (CLICK HERE for daily reflections.)

Family Life 

Marriage Enrichment – Join the Office of Family Life along with Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 1301 Center Road, Venice, in reflecting on how our Advent journey intersects with our journey through married life.  Deepen your matrimonial and sacramental call to love, faith and unity. This Advent, come see what God has in store for you and your marriage.  Bob and Chris Smialek, authors and speakers for over 20 years will be the presenters. Daily Sessions are on Monday, December 10, Tuesday, December 11, and Wednesday, December 12 following the 8:00 a.m. Mass. For those who cannot attend the morning sessions, a consolidated evening program from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. will be held on Wednesday, December 12. Childcare available during the evening program with advance registration.  Marriage Vow Renewal on Wednesday morning and evening with a “Wedding Celebration” to follow.  To register, please visit,

Bereavement Training – The Office of Family Life is hosting another day of training called “There is Hope: Bereavement Training” which will focus on training parish bereavement volunteers and those who speak with the bereaved.  This is a training, not a workshop to help someone who has recently lost a loved one.  Deacon Henry de Mena holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling with extensive training and experience in Bereavement.  The training will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on January 24 and 25 at St. Ann Parish, 985 3rd Street South, Naples. Cost is $25 per person which includes lunch for both days and materials.  More information can be found at The registration link is:  and please register by January 21.  Contact Kim Elsmore at for questions about the training.  (CLICK HERE for a copy of the flier.)

Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation

Enrolling Now – Looking for the next step in your ministry? Need a higher degree to get your certification as a Director of Religious Education (DRE) or Catechist? Are you looking for a deeper grasp of the Faith? The Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation in the Diocese of Venice offers online classes and is now accepting applications to begin master’s-level classes in the Spring. Earn your Master’s in Theology or Ministry through our partnership with Franciscan University of Steubenville at a 1/3 Florida resident discount! Go to or call us at 941-766-7334 to learn more. Studying the Faith is a life-changing process.  (CLICK HERE  for a flier.)

Basic Introduction to Catholic Morality – Keep an eye out for the Institute’s next class in January with Arielle Harms Ph.D., who will share a basic introduction to Catholic Morality. Also check out the Institute’s growing list of classes, podcasts, and resources at, or by calling 941-766-7334.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center
Prepare Your Heart for Christmas Advent Retreat – Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center (OLPH), 3989 South Moon Drive, Venice is hosting an Advent Retreat Friday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8. The Birth of Jesus is a time for us to come to know and love Him more intimately. This retreat will include presentations, ample time for personal prayer, opportunities for Confession and/or private conferences, and small or large group sharing. Mass will be celebrated on Friday and Saturday, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. For more information and to register, please visit This retreat fills fast!

Come to the Water – Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center (OLPH), 3989 South Moon Drive, Venice, invites all to its monthly “Come to the Water” day of prayer on the second Wednesday of the month. The next scheduled date is December 12. Each day begins at 9:00 a.m. and includes continental breakfast, lunch, two conferences, and opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, private meditation and prayer. Mass at 2:30 p.m. will conclude the day. Registration discount, 10 days prior is $30.  Registration increases to $35 thereafter. Register at

Ignatian Preached Retreats – Directed by Father Sean Morris, OMV or Father Mark Yavarone, OMV at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center (OLPH), 3989 South Moon Drive, Venice, Ignatian Preached Retreats are silent retreats that include scheduled conferences each day, Mass, and an opportunity to meet at least once with the retreat director. The conference topics center around Ignatian spirituality, prayer, and discernment.  Each retreat is four days and all rooms are single occupancy.  The next scheduled retreat is Thursday, December 13 to Sunday, December 16. For more information, additional dates or to register, visit

Youth and Young Adults
Sarasota Area – Theology on Tap – Join us for games, discussion and complimentary refreshments at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, December 6, at the Mandeville Beer Garden, 428 Lemon Ave., Sarasota. For more information, please contact Joshua Mazrin at (CLICK HERE for the flier.)

Calling All Young Adults – The Diocese of Venice offers many opportunities for young adults to build community. Through programs like Theology on Tap, intramural sports teams, and Parish-organized social events, there is something available for everyone throughout the Diocese. Young Adults (18-39) are encouraged to participate in these opportunities to enrich their faith and make friends! If you have any Young Adult activities planned or would like to learn about them in your area, please contact Nina Koziuk at

Naples Area – Theology on Tap – The site of the gatherings rotate among different Parishes and are held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesdays: First Tuesday at St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Avenue North; Second Tuesday at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road; Third Tuesday at St. Peter the Apostle Parish, 5130 Rattlesnake Hammock Road; Fourth Tuesday at St. William Parish, 601 Seagate Drive.

Lehigh Acres Area – LOFT young adult group meets at 6:00 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at St. Raphael Parish, 2514 Lee Blvd.  Call 239-369-1831 for further information.


“Christians and Jews in Dialogue” Presentation – The Catholic-Jewish Dialogue of Collier County will present the work of Sister Mary Boys, SNJM, and Rabbi Sara Lee who co-authored the book “Christians and Jews in Dialogue,” a personal journey of religious identity. The presentation will be at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, December 9, at St. William Parish Ministry Center, 750 Seagate Drive, Naples. Please RSVP to or call 239-263-4205.

Magyar Mise – A Catholic Mass in the Hungarian Language is celebrated at 1:30 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month at Incarnation Parish, 2902 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. The next Mass is Sunday, December 9. All are welcome.

Faith and Ale Lee County – Faith and Ale is an outreach for men to learn more about their faith and grow closer to Our Lord. The next gathering is 6:00 p.m. Thursday, December 6, at Resurrection Parish, 8121 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers. The speaker is Father Jonathan Romanoski, FSSP, of Corpus Christi Chapel, Naples. Locations will vary throughout the 2018-19 season. Future dates include Thursdays, January 17 and February 12. To register, or for more information, please visit

Mass at Dawn (Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo) – Plan to attend the Mass at Dawn at 6:00 a.m. on weekdays, December 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and at 7:30 a.m. Sundays December 16 and 23 at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, 1441 Spear St., Port Charlotte.  Come each day or when you can.  This Mass orginated from the Catholic custom of gathering for celebration of the Eucharist in predawn hours in the nine days before Christmas.  All are welcome to attend. Please call 941-626-5046 for further information.

Bishop Verot Viking 5K Fun Run – Kick off Catholic Schools Week with the 5th Annual Verot Viking 5K Fun Run at 8:00 a.m., Saturday, January 26 at Bishop Verot Catholic High School, 5598 Sunrise Drive, Fort Myers. Registration starts at 7:00 a.m. Cost is $30 for adults and $20 for students. For more information, please contact Jeff Brown, Director of Development, at 239-274-6730 or

“REBOOT! LIVE! Featuring Chris Stefanick” – Internationally renowned speaker and author, Chris Stefanick, is visiting the Diocese of Venice twice this February. The first event is to be held 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Wednesday, February 20 at St. Katharine Drexel Parish, 1922 SW 20th Ave., Cape Coral, and from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Thursday, February 21 at St. John the Evangelist Parish, 625 111th Avenue North, Naples.  REBOOT is for all ages, 12 and up, from teenagers to grandparents. Rediscover God and rediscover the life you were made for.  The cost is $25 per ticket and includes two books by the author. Tickets can be purchased at or by contacting Natalie Campbell at 239-566-8740 ext. 3909 (St. John the Evangelist Parish) or Teri Idler at 239-283-0525 (St. Katharine Drexel Parish).

Prison Ministry Volunteers Needed – Join a team of volunteers who share God’s love and mercy with those incarcerated in any of the 21 jails/prisons throughout the Diocese. No previous experience required; newcomers are paired with experienced volunteers. Contact Robert Hiniker at 863-558-0407,

Free Rosary Repair Service – Send your broken rosaries in a padded envelope to Betty and Dick Holden, 7930 Estero Blvd. #592, Fort Myers, FL 33931. Rosaries will be repaired and returned within the week of receipt. Donations of old rosaries are also accepted which will be repaired and sent to missions. Include a note indicating repair or donation. 239-463-3993.

Items for consideration in the Mustard Seed should be sent to no later than four weeks before the scheduled