ACA Reception Celebrates Parish and Family

BRIDGEPORT—More than 200 individuals and families from twelve Bridgeport parishes turned out for a reception to launch the 2018 ACA on Sunday, January 21 and celebrate their own parish communities. Joy in Christ, Our Gift to Share is the theme of this year’s campaign. The reception was held in the Queen of Saints Hall at the Catholic Center.

During the reception Bishop Frank J. Caggiano talked about the importance of family and praised guests for sharing the various ethnic foods they brought to the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA). He thanked Fr. Frank Gomez, pastor of St Charles Borromeo for hosting and all those in attendance for their interest in learning more about the Annual Catholic Appeal, which funds the major programs and ministries of the diocese.

The bishop said that he, like many who came out for the reception, was a “first generation” American whose parents had emigrated from Italy.  He spoke about the value of the ACA, supporting family and community throughout Fairfield County through services that uphold individual dignity. The 2017 Annual Bishop’s Appeal raised $11,499,107.83 was raised on a goal of $11,000,000.

The bishop praised St. Charles Borromeo Parish of East Bridgeport for making and exceeding their ACA goal for the first time. Their goal for 2017 was $30,000, they raised $36,851.38. In 2016, 173 St. Charles parishioners donated to the ACA. In 2017, 370 parishioners donated to the ACA—an increase of 197 new parishioners who answered their call to follow Christ and join in his mission, he said.

Bill McLean, Chief Development Officer thanked everyone for attending the reception and the overall 2017 Appeal results.  He commented that the 12 Bridgeport parishes overall increased their participation and praised their dedication to the providing for the Church and those in need.

The reception also featured the premiere of  the new English and Spanish versions of the Annual Catholic Appeal video, which highlight diocesan programs funded by the appeal.

Following the video, Fr. Francisco Gomez-Franco introduced Roxanne and Jason Melaragno, Co-Vice Chair Couple of the 2018 ACA and parishioners of Holy Family Parish in Fairfield. The Melaragno’s spoke about how honored they were to be vice-chairs and told guests that it doesn’t matter what they give, but that they give.

The Chair Couple emphasized that participation in the appeal is important, even if people can only afford to pledge a small amount. Roxanne shared a story of a talk she gave and how a parishioner approached afterward and gave her a $1.00 donation. She was so touched that someone was able to give what they could.

The Bishop thanked Elena and Steve Schlegel, 2018 Chair Couple and Conrad and Carol Calandra, 2018 Vice Chair Couple, Roxanne and Jason Melaragno Co-Vice Chair Couple, the PAC and Pastors for their leadership.

Parishes from Bridgeport’s Deanery A include:   Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Saint Andrew Parish, Saint Ann Parish, Saint Charles Borromeo Parish, Saint George Parish, Saint Margaret’s Shrine, Saint Mary Parish, Saint Michael the Archangel Parish, Saint Peter Parish, Saint Cyril and Methodius Parish, and The Cathedral Parish.

Guests receive a Lenten reflection book as a thank you from the bishop. For more information on programs and ways to give, go to, or phone: 203.416.1470.