Bishop John J. Nevins, former bishop of the Diocese of Venice, Florida and one of the founders of the FFHL, celebrated his 50th anniversary of Priesthood on June 7, 2009 at the Epiphany Cathedral. Bishop Nevins was also the founding bishop of the Diocese and was appointed to that post on July 17, 1984 by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II and was installed by Archbishop Po Laghi, Pro Nuncio to the U.S. at the Cathedral on October 25, 1984. He added l5 parishes to the original 39 and has overseen the ordination of over 50 men to the Priesthood.
During the Mass, Bishop Dewane, the present bishop of the Diocese of Venice told the faithful attending the Mass, which swelled to over a thousand people, the many blessings that this diocese has received through Bishop Nevins’s presence. His motto, “To Serve with Mercy” was constantly being implemented by Bishop Nevins during his tenure.
In 1994, when the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land was founded, Bishop Nevins was a frequent pilgrim to the Holy Land and knew about the plight of our indigenous Christians. He was eventually asked to serve on our board and gladly accepted. His valued advice and input has made FFHL what it is today. Recently, Bishop Nevins stepped down from the board and now has an ‘emeritus’ status. His Excellency, Bishop Dewane has graciously agreed to be on the board and to further assist the work of the foundation.
Fr. Pizzaballa, the Custos and Chairman of FFHL, praised Bishop Nevins “as a spiritual leader who loved his people but especially the young people of the Holy Land. We will miss him.”