The pastoral nature of the episcopacy inspires our three bishop publishers to use the Florida Catholic as a forum to shine a light on issues of importance to Catholic faith. Whether reflecting on the different liturgical seasons of the Church, delving into the inspirational lives of the saints, or highlighting the good deeds of the local church, Bishops John Noonan, Gerald M. Barbarito and Frank J. Dewane hope visitors will gain insight from the words offered in their columns.
What way might you repent?
While St. John the Baptist was in the womb, he heard Mary as she visited his mother, and the unborn Baptist leaped for joy over the voice of Mary and the presence of the unborn Jesus in her own womb. Our spiritual tradition calls this the first Eucharistic Adoration, namely, St. John the Baptist was worshipping the Son of God whose presence he knew although he couldn’t see him. At a time when so many believers appear to have given into mediocrity, suspicion and fear, the zealous witness of St. John the Baptist pokes at us, provokes us into a greater love and deeper devotion to the demands of discipleship. During this season of Advent, St. John the Baptist compels us to repent, to forgive — that we might see the salvation of God. The Second Vatican Council Fathers echo the provocative words of St. John the Baptist, “The Lord himself renews his invitation to all the lay faithful to come closer to him every day, and with the recognition that what is his is also their own (Phil 2:5) they ought to associate themselves with him in his saving mission. Once again he sends them into every town and place where he himself is to come” (Christifideles Laici).
A beautiful life
On Dec. 8, we celebrate the patronal feast of our country, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The feast is a most important one for us as it points to the prominent role that Mary has in our lives of faith. Last year on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis reflected that Mary “lived a beautiful life” because she lived a virtuous life. The pope explained that, “the Word of God was her secret: close to her heart, it then took flesh within her womb. Remaining with God, dialoging with him in every circumstance, Mary made her life beautiful. Mary’s beauty is not found in her outstanding appearance, but in the total freedom from sin.” Indeed, understanding Mary’s Immaculate Conception will assist us more in finding the beauty of our lives.
A letter to the Faithful from Bishop Dewane
Allow me to express my pastoral concern for you, the Faithful of the Diocese, during these troubling times for our Church. Please be assured that the Diocese of Venice is steadfast in its commitment to protect minors. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has announced an investigation into how the seven Dioceses of Florida have handled allegations of past sexual abuse of minors. Similar inquiries are going on in States around the country. The Diocese of Venice welcomes the State’s inquiry and will cooperate with investigators. This investigation is an opportunity to further promote the goal of protecting children. It is hoped that these efforts foster a response combatting the scourge of sexual abuse, particularly of minors, throughout our entire society.
of Catholic Bishops
Catholic bishops reiterate plea for Governor Scott to spare the life of Jose Antonio Jimenez
Jose Antonio Jimenez is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, December 13, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. for the 1992 murder of Phyllis Minas. Governor Scott initially signed Jimenez’ death warrant in July and scheduled his execution for August 14. However, the Florida Supreme Court issued a stay of execution to further review the case. The Supreme Court lifted the stay on October 4. In a December 7 letter to Governor Rick Scott on behalf of the bishops of Florida, Michael Sheedy, executive director, Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked the governor a second time to commute Jimenez’ death sentence. “We appreciate your difficult task as governor and still must ask you to commute this death sentence, and all death sentences, to life without the possibility of parole,” said Sheedy.