Father Shawn Roser, Parochial Vicar of St. Joseph Parish, takes precautions during the ongoing pendemic, as he provides the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick for a hospice patient. (Courtesy of Tidewell Hospice of Bradenton)

Catholics do what’s needed to connect

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

Anointing of the Sick

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

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


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

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

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

Dantes held an online session March 29, 2020, checking in with the teens, leading them in prayer and offering ways for them to remain connected to their faith while assuring them that he was there if they needed him. 

online scams

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

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

online Preached Retreats

On March 25, 1811, Venerable Bruno Lanteri, the founder of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, was placed under house arrest by Napoleon in the Italian countryside. During this time of persecution of the Church, he was to remain imprisoned and under surveillance for three years until the fall of Napoleon in 1814.

Those three years were a time of almost complete solitude for Father Lanteri. Rather than lamenting his house arrest, Lanteri used this time to pray, attaining the highest levels of contemplation. Ironically, he would later say that the favor of his house arrest by Napoleon was “one of the most beautiful of my life.”

During the current health crisis, many people who would like to make a retreat must remain at home for an extended period of time. If the crisis lasts, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice will offer online three-day, five-day, and eight-day retreats based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius. Like Father Lanteri, Catholics can all use this time for our spiritual growth.

In these online retreats. Oblates of the Virgin Mary Father Mark Yavarone, a trained spiritual director, will meet with Catholics for an hour each day via a link provided to them, to help them to pray and to recognize how God is speaking. Participants should already have a Bible and journal available for use. Participants will be emailed any additional materials needed as the retreat unfolds.

The cost will be as follows: three-day online retreat, $132.23; five-day online retreat, $203.98; and eight-day online retreat, $306.48.

Participants must have the ability to communicate by a computer, phone or laptop equipped with audio and camera. Their home should be quiet enough to allow for prayer. They are also responsible for making sure that their sessions are in a place in their home where they will not be overheard.

All information will be confidential, and password protected. If interested in making online retreat, please email Denise Riley at riley@olph-retreat.org and a code will be provided for online registration. Applications need to be filled out for approval. Allow seven days to arrange from the completed application until the beginning of the retreat.