A Lesson We Must Never Forget

FAIRFIELD – Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano presided at the annual Mass for People with Special Needs, hosted by Saint Catherine Center for Special Needs at Holy Cross Church on Sunday, November 6. Rev. Rob Kinnally of St. Aloysius Parish in New Canaan, and Rev. Krzysztof Kuczynski, Parochial Vicar at St. Lawrence Parish in Shelton, were co-celebrants.

As he prepared to offer the Sacrament of Confirmation to four young people, Bishop Caggiano asked the congregation to consider, “Who is actually doing the confirming? We normally think of ourselves confirming our Baptismal promises… but the truth is, God the Father in His great love is doing something profound before any response is given… God speaks to these young people in ways you and I cannot. He speaks to them in the depth of their hearts. He speaks to them without words. He speaks to them of how much he loves them, how beautiful they are to him, how irreplaceable they are to him.”

The four individuals who were confirmed were Diego Moreno-Rafael (St. Rose of Lima Parish), Penelope Soto (St. Peter Church), Matthew Tenecela (St. Joseph Church), and Chelsea Vizhco (St. George Church). Marcos Suarez Acosta, a student at Saint Catherine Academy, received First Holy Communion.

Members of the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard, Center board members and staff joined the celebration. Anna Stowe, an Academy student, and Board Chairman Charles Chiusano gave the readings for the Mass. Michelle Rivelli, a Board member, and her daughter Jessie, a participant in the Adult Program at the Center, offered the Prayers of the Faithful. “Today we recognize that each person is valued in God’s eyes. Our mission at Saint Catherine Center is to give everyone a voice and today is a great example of this,” said Helen Burland, Executive Director.

“It is a great blessing for us to share in the experience of the Mass with Jessie and to see how involved she becomes with the prayers and the hymns,” Rivelli said.

Bishop Caggiano acknowledged that he was “delighted” to share this day with everyone. “I am grateful to all of you who have allowed these young people—by your witness, by your love, by your care, by your teaching, by your formation—to be here at this moment.”

“In a world that measures us by what we have and what we do, these five young people teach us a lesson we must never forget,” the Bishop concluded. “That before we do or say anything, God loves us to the end. And God loves us forever.”

View additional photos of the event at:

Each year, Saint Catherine Center offers the opportunity for young people with special needs to receive one or more Sacraments of Initiation outside of the typical faith formation program. For more information, contact the Center at 203-540-5381.