On Saturday, November 5, 1:00pm – 6:00pm, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will consecrate the Diocese of Bridgeport to the Sacred Heart of Jesus at St. Augustine Cathedral.
This act is the culmination of the consecration of the diocese to Mary’s protection under the title of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which took place at the Synod Celebration Mass on September 19, 2015. The pilgrimage and consecration of the diocese were announced at Synod 2014 as the prayerful foundation for the change and renewal underway in the diocese based on synod initiatives to create more vibrant and welcoming parish communities.
“It is my hope that the faithful throughout the diocese will join us for this pilgrimage of prayer and consecration. We have so much to be thankful for, and so much more work to do. Putting our faith and trust in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and our Blessed Mother will help us in our personal and diocesan pilgrimage of faith and renewal,” said the bishop.
The original plan for the pilgrimage was to travel to Washington, D.C., to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. However, the plans were changed to accommodate those who wished to participate in the pilgrimage but could not make the trip to Washington.
“After receiving feedback from pastors and various ecclesial movements in the diocese, the venue was changed so that there could be greater participation in this important event. So we’ve made it a local day of prayer and pilgrimage,” said Msgr. Thomas Powers, vicar general of the diocese.
Msgr. Powers said that while many people think of pilgrimages as something from the past, they are still very much part of the Church’s life.
“Pilgrimages are privileged, spiritual opportunities for all of us to grow in our faith. Just as our whole lives are a journey through time, with the goal of that journey being to reach safely the presence of Christ himself, so too a pilgrimage is a journey made by a person of faith to a site which holds some deep spiritual significance,” he said.
Pope Francis has encouraged the faithful to consider a pilgrimage as an instrument of conversion. “The practice of pilgrimage has a special place in the Holy Year, because it represents the journey each of us makes in this life. Life itself is a pilgrimage, and the human being is a viator, a pilgrim travelling along the road.”
The schedule for the day is as follows:
1:00pm – Arrival
1:15pm – Welcome and Opening Remarks
1:30pm – Recitation of the Scriptural Rosary (Start of Confessions)
2:00pm – Eucharistic Adoration and Presentation by Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR
3:00pm – Divine Mercy Chaplet (Conclusion of Confessions)
3:30pm – Break
4:00pm – Eucharistic Celebration (with Consecration)
For four weeks leading up to the consecration on November 5, all parishes and schools will receive weekly catechetical essays, which are designed to help the diocesan family understand and prepare for the event. The essays will be made available through parish bulletins, school memoranda and on school website, said Msgr. Powers.
The essays will also appear in the next issue of Fairfield County Catholic and on the diocesan website. The four topics are: I. The Meaning of Christian Pilgrimage, II. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, III. Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and IV. The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Bishop Caggiano is also calling for a day of fasting and abstinence on Friday, November 4, in solidarity of faith and for reparation for sin. All persons between the ages of 18 and 59 are invited to abstain from meat and to take only one full meal and two smaller meals that together are not equal to the full meal.
The bishop will also ask pastors to use the prayers for the Votive Mass for the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus for all Masses celebrated in the Diocese of Bridgeport on Sunday, November 6 (including the Saturday Vigil Masses).
“Together with Pope Francis, who reminds us that ‘mercy is a goal to reach, and requires dedication and sacrifice,’ let us pray that we, together with our brothers and sisters across our diocese, will respond enthusiastically to this invitation to grace, so that our diocesan pilgrimage and consecration on November 5 will be a day of joy, and of lasting grace, for this local Church in this Jubilee Year of Mercy,” said Msgr. Powers. All are welcome to attend.
For further information about the pilgrimage, contact, Janet Davis: 203.416.1636 or firstname.lastname@example.org.