A Toast to the Soul
by Danielle Koleniak
Proverbs 27:17 | “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
It’s easy to come to church on Sundays, celebrate Mass, eat a doughnut and then go about the rest of the weekend– but what about the other 166.5 hours in your week? Yes, there’s work, taking care of your children/grandchildren, walking the dog, squeezing in some tee (or tea) time, food shopping, cooking, cleaning, soccer practice, driving to soccer practice… and before you know it, you’re burnt out!DOWNLOAD THE BULLETIN
Rest assured, (just don’t fall asleep) there’s something to give you the boost (or taste) you need. It’s called, Faith & Wine Lee County, and if you have three more minutes to take a deep breath and read this article, you’ll learn about the heart behind the mission and why women (yes, you) should enjoy a night out complete with a light meal, a glass of wine, inspiring speakers and an opportunity to connect with women in the faith, like Sue Ammon, who are living in the same crazy/beautiful world as you. Oh, and it gets better… babysitting is available (yes, you have to take the kids home with you at the end of the night…).
Be reminded, just as iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend; after all, no one likes a dull nail filer
Danielle Koleniak: How did the idea to bring Faith & Wine to Lee County come about?
Sue Ammon: It all started when I was in a Bible Study with Sharon and Al Natella. Al would talk about the success of Faith & Ale and how many women would come to him asking why there wasn’t something like it for women. He mentioned Naples had Faith & Wine for women and it was very popular. Soon after, I decided to retire and thought with a new chapter in life, I could help make the idea into a reality. We started to bring a team of women from local parishes together to develop the program for Lee County. Next thing I know… I was voted President of Faith & Wine for Lee County! It was totally unexpected, but I love being a part of this. There is so much good energy!
DK: For those who don’t know what Faith & Wine is, explain the concept.
SA: In Naples they host it at St. John the Evangelist Parish Hall. The organization brings both local and national speakers to the event. The women sit down for a light dinner and a glass of wine, fellowship and listen to speakers talk about their spiritual journeys or issues prevalent to women in the Catholic faith. It’s warm, welcoming and fun to share some special time with other women in the faith.
DK: Why is it important for just women to come together and to have fellowship with one another?
SA: We go to Mass, we go to Bible Study, we even go to church events—we learn and grow through all of that, but there’s also nothing like women coming together in the faith and connecting with one another. Father Bob, our Chaplain had a specific vision for Faith & Wine in Lee County. It’s his vision that women in our community come together in our faith, building friendships and supporting one another. He really wants us to focus on local speakers to share their faith journey. Then after the presenter speaks, women have some time to share with each other at the table. Our plan is to come together and let us connect over what we just heard. It’s about loving our neighbor and connecting with one another. The body of Christ is divided and scattered. God wants us to be in unity while living in the faith. We’re hoping this achieves that.
DK: So this isn’t just for women in our parish?
SA: The more of us that come together, the more love we generate. It’s open to all Catholic women in Lee County, but it’s truly open to women of all ages, denominations and faiths.
DK: What kind of topics will the speakers touch on?
SA: We have two speakers set up for separate events. The first is Mary Beth Clary. She started the Faith and Wine in Naples. She’s currently an attorney and will share her faith journey called, ‘Faith, Journey or Roller Coaster?”. She’s going to talk about her journey from Cradle Catholic, to fallen away Catholic who eventually returns to Catholicism and becomes the founder of Faith and Wine. She is so much fun and funny! Her story is so similar to many of us. We’ve fallen away from our faith for a long time. She’s relatable. We just confirmed our speaker for our second event on March 26th: Parishioner, Gabriela Frei! She is a professional singer, too. Her talk is titled, “Full of Grace. Songs of Surrender and Trust to Jesus through Mary.” She is also going to share her faith journey interwoven with song.
DK: As leader of Faith and Wine, what is your goal for the event?
SA: I want this to be a soft landing for women…a place where all they have to do is show up. No homework, no preparations, free babysitting—just come and enjoy yourself and the company of others. It’s not an intimidating session where you have to know the Bible and Catechism. Faith and Wine is place you can bring your friends who have fallen away. It’s a great way to evangelize and bring people closer to Christ.
We’re all coming from different places in life, but we’re all truly in the same place—we have the same heart.