Pastor Daniel P. Smith of Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Lakewood Ranch passed away Sunday at the age of 52.
“It is with profound sadness that Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, bishop of the diocese of Venice in Florida, announces the passing of Father Smith,” according to a press release.
Father Smith was found at his residence when he did not arrive for a Sunday morning Mass. No details regarding his passing are available yet.
“Of utmost importance at this time is that we all keep the soul of Father Dan in our prayers and remember him at the altar where he served his Savior. May he rest in peace,” Dewane said in a letter notifying the Diocesan priests. “As we mourn the death of our brother priest, let us all remember his family.”
Father Smith was born Sept. 30, 1963, in Lafayette, Ind., to Norton and Beverly (Davis) Smith and was the youngest of four children. At St. Joseph College, Renssalaer, Ind., he studied accounting and had a brief career as an accountant in Sarasota before discerning a vocation to the priesthood with the Diocese of Venice. As a seminarian, Father Smith graduated from St. Meinard Seminary in Indiana.
Ordained to the priesthood Oct. 22, 1999, Father Smith served at a number of parishes within the Diocese of Venice, including: Incarnation Parish in Sarasota, St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Moore Haven, San Antonio Parish in Port Charlotte and St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples. He has been at Our Lady of the Angels Parish since 2011.
Known for inspiring homilies that brought Scripture to life while also sharing the relevance of the Word of the Lord in the modern world, Father Smith was beloved by the faithful at each parish he served, according to the press release. Prior to his ordination, Father Smith noted his experiences led him to want to work on education within the parish.
“Sacraments are the cornerstone of faith, and I would like to help pass on the fullness of their meaning… God speaks to all of us, but sometimes it takes a while to tune out the noise so we can hear Him,” Father Smith said.
As shepherd of the Diocese of Venice, Bishop Dewane also expresses his deepest condolences for the parishioners of Our Lady of the Angels Parish who are also suffering from this great loss.
“Know that (you) are in in my prayers during this difficult time and may you find comfort in the knowledge that Father Dan is now on his journey to Our Lord.”
Funeral arrangements are pending and will be posted on the Diocese of Venice website at dioceseofvenice.org.