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Immaculate High School’s Rachel Meurer signs to swim at college

DANBURY—Immaculate High School student-athlete Rachel Meurer signed a National Letter of Intent to attend St. Lawrence University for Fall 2017 at a special signing ceremony recently.

The Danbury resident will continue her swimming career at St. Lawrence College in Canton, NY. Rachel was one of the founding members of the Immaculate High School (IHS) girls swim team four years ago and was captain her senior year. She currently holds the IHS school records for both the 200 freestyle relay and for the 4×50 relay with her IHS teammates from the 2016 season. Rachel continues to maintain her abilities in the pool by swimming year round for the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut Makos swim team.

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Abortion Will Remain an Issue with Gorsuch Confirmed

The confirmation of President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Federal Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch, has raised speculation about whether it will lead to the reversal of a federal right to abortion. The answer is still unclear but in any case, it is important to remember that such a reversal wouldn’t outlaw abortions – it would return the issue to the states where it belongs.
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Pope, English Church Leaders Offer Prayers After Manchester Arena attack

MANCHESTER, England—Pope Francis decried the “barbaric attack” on concertgoers in Manchester, adding his voice to Catholic leaders dismayed at what British officials said was the deadliest case of terrorism since 2005.

In a telegram sent to English church officials on Pope Francis’ behalf, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said the pope “was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and tragic loss of life” after a suicide bomb killed at least 22 people and injured another 59 at Manchester Arena May 22. Many concertgoers at the Ariana Grande concert were teenagers, young adults and families.

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Leadership Transition at St. Vincent’s Medical Center

BRIDGEPORT—Vicki Briggs, FACHE, has been appointed president and chief executive officer of St. Vincent’s Medical Center, effective July 1. St. Vincent’s Vince Caponi is part of Ascension, the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system. Briggs will succeed Vincent C. Caponi, FACHE, who announced today his intention to retire effective June 30, 2017.

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Bishop Names Nine Territorial Deans for Leadership

BRIDGEPORT—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano presided over the installation of nine new Deans at the Chrism Mass held during Holy Week.

The new Deanery model replaces the former Vicariate structure related to the territorial organization of the diocese. The deaneries are designed to assist the bishop and priests in regional planning and decision-making, and improve collaboration between parishes.
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Connecting Young People to the Eucharist

|   By Priscilla Mahar | View Gallery
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BRIDGEPORT— Writer and youth minister Kevin Dowd said Millennials are “a generation of brokenness,” who also represent the “the highest population of devout Christians than in the past three generations.”

Speaking to more than 100 directors or religious education (DRE’s) at an end of the year gathering in The Queen of Saints Hall at the Catholic Center , Dowd, a Harvard graduate, youth minister and researcher, stressed the importance of connecting today’s generation to the Eucharist.
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Rhodes College Singers to Perform at Church of the Holy Spirit in Stamford

STAMFORD — Rhodes College Singers will perform in concert at The Church of the Holy Spirit Stamford on Thursday May 25, 2017 at 7:00PM. Admission is free and the concert is open to the public.

“We are most blessed and privileged to have this elite group sing for us here at Holy Spirit! All are welcome to share in this beautiful concert,” said Msgr. Kevin Royal, pastor.
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Dinner with a Cause Features Building 1 Community

RIVERSIDE—Dinner with a Cause sponsored by the St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Riverside, Social Justice Committee features Building 1 Community (formerly Neighbor’s Link Stamford) on Thursday, May 18. Catalina Horak, executive director, will explain its mission to bring people together to help immigrants and their families succeed in the community. 6:30 pm light supper; 7:15–8:30 presentation. Free will offering. For more info or to RSVP, call 203.637.3661, ext 310, and your name, phone number and number in your party.

One Family’s Generous Gifts

WILTON—The U.S. Province of the Congregation of Notre Dame is blessed with wonderful friends. Among these friends is a family who came to know the CNDs through a Sister serving in their parish. This Sister introduced the family (they have requested anonymity) to CND spirituality and ministries to the poor and vulnerable. Last year family members made a very generous donation and renewed it this year for a total of $180,000. The family members targeted their gift to six Sisters who receive little or no pay but whose work changes lives and saves souls.

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Astronaut to visit children of Catholic Academy of Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT—Leland Melvin, NASA astronaut, will be addressing 6th-8th graders from the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport school in Sacred Heart University’s Performing Arts Center on Monday, May 22nd at 9 am.

Following that, he will be visiting two of the campuses: St. Raphael’s to read to children grades 1-3 and St. Augustine’s to meet with students in 4th and 5th grades.

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Serra Club encourages vocations

|   By Anna Jones
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There have always been priests for every major moment in religious life, from baptisms to weddings to funerals. But that’s a luxury we soon won’t be able to take for granted, said Deacon David Flynn, who serves at St. Jude Parish in Monroe.

“We have to be aware of our role in encouraging vocations,” Deacon Flynn said. “It’s not someone else’s role. Our fellow Catholics need to be aware of the need for priests.”

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Fatima Seers Become Church’s Youngest Non-Martyred Saints

FATIMA, Portugal (CNS)—Standing before the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Pope Francis canonized two shepherd children who saw Mary at Fatima, but more importantly, he said, they heeded the call to pray for sinners and trust in the Lord.

“We declare and define Blessed Francisco Marto and Blessed Jacinta Marto as saints,” the pope said May 13 as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims broke out in applause before he finished speaking.
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Pope: Honor the Believing, Tender Mary, Not a ‘Plaster Statue’

FATIMA, Portugal (CNS)—Mary’s example of believing and following Jesus is what matters most; she cannot be some image “of our own making” who Christians barter with for mercy, Pope Francis said.

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions at Fatima, the pope asked tens of thousands of pilgrims May 12 to reflect on “which Mary” they choose to venerate, “the virgin Mary from the Gospel” or “one who restrains the arm of a vengeful God?”
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The Power of Prayer

BRIDGEPORT—Last week, on The Face of Prayer website, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano shared this video on the importance and the power of prayer. He invited people to watch it, and then to join the movement by heading to www.thefaceofprayer.org. To participate, please text a selfie, a prayer request, or simply the word “pray” to 55778. Once a person registers, the bishop I will send a reflection each day via text that will include a call to prayer. Once a week, he will send a video like the one above, reflecting on prayer in our lives. Over 800 people have signed up already!

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Malta House of Norwalk Welcomes New Director of Development and Strategy

NORWALK—Malta House, Inc., a home for pregnant and parenting mothers and their children, announces the hiring of Carey Dougherty as their new Director of Development and Strategy. The role was created to leverage partnerships and funding opportunities in the community, with an aim to expand the population Malta House serves and the services it provides.
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Trinity Catholic Program Teaches Students Financial Lessons for College

STAMFORD—Matthew Buchkowski knows tuition won’t be his only expense when he goes to college in a few months.

College students usually also have to pay for university fees, room and board, transportation, books, supplies, food, cellphone bills and numerous other personal expenses, including haircuts, laundry—the list goes on.
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Final Post-Synod Session Celebrates Achievements and Commitment to Change

TRUMBULL—Delegates expressed a sense of gratitude, personal transformation and ongoing commitment to the renewal of the diocese at the final post-synod session held at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Trumbull.

More than 100 delegates to Synod 2014 returned to the family center at St. Catherine’s to receive an update on synod initiatives and share personal reflections on their Synod journey.
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Final Post-Synod Session Set for Saturday

|   Pictured: The Synod Celebration Mass attended by over 8,000 faithful at Webster Bank Arena on September 15, 2015.
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BRIDGEPORT—The journey for delegates of Synod 2014 will formally come to an end on Saturday, April 29, with a wrap-up session at Family Center of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Trumbull. It will be the fourth and final post-synod meeting to update delegates about the implementation of synod initiatives and plans going forward.
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‘Luces se Encenderán por Todo el la Diócesis’

“La gente de fe siempre querrá ayudar a otros”, dice el Padre Gustavo Falla, párroco de Santa María y San Benedicto-Nuestra Señora de Montserrat en Stamford. “Cuando la fe entra en acción, las personas de fe ofrecen lo que tienen como testimonio personal. Es así como tocan corazones, como tocan vidas. La fe nos enseña que no estamos solos: todos estamos juntos. Dar no se limita a las cosas financieras, pero donde hay gente de fe, los fondos siempre están disponibles. La gente de fe siempre será generosa”.
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‘Lights Will go on All Over Fairfield County’

|   By Pat Hennessy
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“People of faith want to reach out to other people,” says Father Gustavo Falla, pastor of St. Benedict-Our Lady of Montserrat Parish in Stamford and nearby St. Mary Parish.

“I have seen faith in action, people whose personal testimony of faith is touching hearts, touching lives. Faith teaches us that we are not alone—we are all together. Giving is not limited to things financial, but where there are people of faith, funds will always be available. People of faith will always be generous.”
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In TED Talk, Pope Urges People to Make Real Connections

VATICAN CITY (CNS)—While searching for a connection today often means looking for Wi-Fi, Pope Francis said real connections between people are the only hope for the future.

“How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion,” he said in a video talk played April 25 for 1,800 people attending TED 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia, and posted online with subtitles in 20 languages.
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‘Show Charity Through Action’

|   By Pat Hennessy
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“For me it was really the kids,” says Jessica Carroll, explaining why she and her husband Brian agreed to become lay chairs at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Trumbull for the 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal. “They are at the age, nine and ten years old, where we can have substantive conversations about showing charity through action.”
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ACA Chair-Couples: ‘We Feel Blessed’

|   By Pat Hennessy
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“It was a calling,” say Elena and Steve Schlegel, who have accepted the invitation to be lay co-chairs of the 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA). “When we were vice chairs this past year we learned about so many wonderful ministries supported by the appeal and met so many dedicated people. We feel that we’ve been blessed to be invited—how could we ever say no?”
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Tickets Available for Fiddler on the Roof

DANBURY—Tickets are now available for Fiddler on the Roof, the spring musical produced and performed by Immaculate High School’s award-winning Fine Arts Department. The musical will run from April 27-29 at Immaculate High School (IHS) and special reserved seating is available, as well as a special group discount for religious youth groups of 10 or more, for all performances.
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Annual Clergy Retirement Celebration Mass

NORWALK–Bishop Frank J. Caggiano invites you to join him in honoring all recently retired priests and deacons in the first Annual Clergy Retirement Celebration Mass set for Wednesday, April 26, 7 pm at St. Matthew Church, 216 Scribner Avenue in Norwalk.

The Mass will honor all priests and deacons who have retired from active ministry since 2013, when the Bishop was installed as Bishop of Bridgeport.
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What Makes an ‘Amazing Parish’?

By PATRICK TURNER—I recently had the opportunity to attend the “Amazing Parish” conference in Atlanta with nearly 1,100 parish and diocesan leaders from across the country. Joining with Father Peter Towsley and the leadership team from Sacred Heart Parish in Danbury, we had the privilege to pray together and to hear from a wide range of nationally recognized speakers offering ideas, insights, and best practices for strengthening parish life.

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Town Hall Meeting on Facebook Live

BRIDGEPORT—The Diocese of Bridgeport hosted a virtual Town Hall Meeting Thursday, April 20 begining at 9 am. Click to watch the meeting that took place on the diocesan Facebook page (Diocese of Bridgeport).

The Town Hall Meeting, a first for the diocese, will featured panelists Patrick Donovan, director of the Leadership Institute; Patrick Turner, director of Strategic and Pastoral Planning; and Pam Rittman, director of the Annual Catholic Appeal.

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Youth Choir Spring Concert

BRIDGEPORT—The Diocesan Youth Choir will “Lift Every Voice” in its upcoming Spring Concert set for Divine Mercy Sunday, April 23, at 4:00 pm in St. Augustine Cathedral.

The concert, open free of charge to the public, will follow the annual Divine Mercy Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano. The Mass will begin at 2:30 pm.
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A Dad’s View: They Call Me the Wanderer

I didn’t always have five children and a wife. It wasn’t that long ago that I had no children and zero wives. On TV, they make bachelorhood seem a paradise of freedom and adventure. Not for me it wasn’t.

The missus and me just blew past our fifteenth wedding anniversary—a mini-milestone. Not to be glib…oh, never mind, glib it is…I’d rather be in jail than be single again.
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Carrying the Cross

BRIDGEPORT— Parishes throughout the Diocese will observe Good Friday today with processions, Stations of the Cross, and the Solemn Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion. Thousands are expect to join in processions in Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury and Stamford to commemorate the Lord’s Passion and prepare for Easter. In this brief reflection, Bishop Caggiano urges Christians to find strength by carrying the cross for others.
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Pope Washes Feet of 12 Prison Inmates at Holy Thursday Mass

|   By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service
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VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a gesture of service toward marginalized people, Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 inmates, including three women and a man who is converting from Islam to Catholicism.

Although in Jesus’ time, washing the feet of one’s guests was performed by slaves, Jesus “reverses” this role, the pope said during the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper April 13 at a prison 45 miles from Rome.
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Church Can be Light in a Dark World, Bishop Tells Priests at Chrism Mass

BRIDGEPORT– Bishop Caggiano urged his brother priests to grow in “fraternity and unity” as they minister to an increasingly divided and polarized world, at the Chrism Mass held this afternoon at St. Augustine Cathedral.

Hundreds filled the Cathedral for the mid-afternoon liturgy, where the bishop directly addressed his priests during the homily and blessed the oils used throughout the year in parishes as priests administer the sacraments.
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Spring Fling

DANBURY—What a better way to celebrate Spring joining Catholic Charities in celebrating 10 years of service to the hungry and homeless of Northern Fairfield County! Drinks, food, and dancing all in celebration of 300,000 meals served to those most in need. Join in the fun and the good work, or honor someone who has contributed. Click here for more info!

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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

The bishops of the United States are committed to their Promise to Protect, Pledge to Heal to parishes. Through the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, dioceses have put in place effective policies for safeguarding the most vulnerable. Learn how you can take part in ensuring children and vulnerable adults are kept safe in your own communities and beyond with these three easy steps this April.
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