Articles By: Elizabeth Clyons

Trinity Catholic completes second phase of renovation

STAMFORD—On the Monday after Thanksgiving, Trinity Catholic High School students will get an extra day at home. Not to be confused with a vacation, the high schoolers will work on their assignments remotely during what’s being called a “digital day.” Meanwhile, at school, classrooms will be moved and shifted. When students and staff return on Tuesday, it’ll be to a newly rearranged building, the most recently completed phase of a new vision for Stamford’s Catholic schools.

The $5 million remodeling of Trinity, on Newfield Avenue, includes the renovation of nearly two levels, plus a new wing where middle school students from the Catholic Academy of Stamford will move in the fall of 2019.

The project was funded by the Diocese of Bridgeport and private donors.

According to Michael Macari, director of marketing and communications for Trinity Catholic, the three-part renovation is part of Bishop Frank Caggiano’s vision to make the Newfield Avenue campus the hub of Catholic education in lower Fairfield County. The goal is to move all Stamford Catholic schools to one campus. After middle schoolers vacate the Catholic Academy of Stamford building (behind Trinity Catholic), it will be occupied by the Academy’s elementary school students, who currently attend classes in a different building nearby on Newfield.

Last year, the Catholic Academy of Stamford combined the city’s Catholic elementary and middle schools.

“It’s about unity,” said Trinity Principal Scott Smith. “It provides that connection. … This brings us all together.”

The high school students will be moving to take up the majority of the second and third floors of the Trinity building, alongside new administrative offices. Almost every classroom will be moved to form “clusters” by subject, which will help improve collaborative relationships between teachers, school officials said.

The centerpiece of the new high school is the renovated media center on the third floor, which will feature computers and a lounge area where students can take about 40 online courses for credit.

“This is big for us because up until a year ago, this media center and the office next to it was a library in a traditional sense,” Macari said. “This renovation helped it become a media center in a 21st-century sense.”

From December to February, renovation will also be done to change the appearance of the front of the building.

“When you drive here at night, this whole second floor will be lit up,” Macari said. “It’s like a beacon.”

This week, with the big move approaching, the smell of fresh paint still lingered in the halls alongside construction signs as the last of the renovation wrapped up. Trinity principal Smith said he’s excited and ready for the change.

“We’re working around the clock. We’ll be good to go,” he said. “I’m super excited about the whole projection. What we’re seeing is the vision the bishop had coming to fruition.”

By Erin Kayata | Stamford Advocate

St. Augustine medal recipients inspire gratefulness

BRIDGEPORT—“My friends, we have come here today because those of you who are being honored are being honored not simply because of all the good that you do, as important as that is, not simply because of the witness you give, as important as that is, but because you have discovered the mystery of love and willing what God wills,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, addressing the over 150 honorees gathered at St. Augustine Cathedral for the St. Augustine medal award ceremony on Saturday, November 17.

Every seat in the cathedral was filled as the pastoral leaders who nominated the recipients, their friends, family and loved ones gathered to acknowledge and celebrate the honorees for their volunteer service to parishes, schools and charities throughout Fairfield County.

Bishop Caggiano reflected on the words of St. Augustine: “love and do whatever you will,” during his Saturday homily.

“God is love, my friends…God teaches us that this life is about self-gift, self-offering, self-emptying for the good of the other before us,” said the bishop.

“Those who discover love, discover God…and those who discover God quickly realize that to be loving as He is, what we chose to do will be what God wants us to do.”

The bishop continued, addressing the medal award recipients, “You have been a force of unity and acceptance…you have been the agent to give life abundantly.”

The bishop said, “You are here because you do not walk the journey to paradise alone…you have many people walking with you because of your witness, your faith and your life,” a point that was brought to even greater light as each medal recipient did not walk up to receive their award alone, but were accompanied by their pastors, principals, or parochial administrators.

Bishop Caggiano reflected on the number of years this ceremony has been celebrated, saying, “This year above all others I am deeply grateful that we are here together…for we are living in a time of great storm, great crisis…and we will spend many of years ahead not simply purifying our church, bringing it to new life and reform, but to become once again a voice that is uncompromising in the world…showing the world the way of the will of God. There is much to do, but I am so grateful you are doing what you are doing now. For now more than ever, you are the light in the darkness…who are not afraid to love and do not what you want but what God wills in you, and for that I and the Church are deeply grateful.”

With the Thanksgiving holiday around the corner, the bishop reflected on his gratitude for the medal recipients and what it means to give thanks:

“Next week, as you know, we will join our sisters and brothers throughout the country to celebrate the day of Thanksgiving. For those of us here in faith, we do that every day when we come to the altar to give thanks to Almighty God. But on that day, above all others, we give thanks to God for our country for the principles upon which it is founded, for the common good we form as Americans of every religion ethnicity culture and way of life…as in all things, we face challenges, but we commend our country to the lords mercy, love and providence.”

The bishop thanked the recipients once again before the closing of the ceremony, “I am very grateful, in light of that day to come, for each and every one of you who are the honorees. Thank you for your witness, generosity, faith, courage and what you do to make God’s will real in the world.”

Click here for a full list of 2018 St. Augustine Award recipients

Photos by Amy Mortensen

Notre Dame Service Day reaches out to the community

FAIRFIELD—“I am tremendously proud of our entire school community for rallying around this event each year. Knowing that hundreds of lives will be touched in one way or another today is fantastic. Today’s a great example of ND fulfilling our mission to build character, faith and intellect,” said Notre Dame High School Principal, Chris Cipriano, commenting on the school’s annual Service Day.

Notre Dame’s Service Day is coordinated by Jessica Medoff, director of campus ministry, and is part of the school’s celebration of Catholic School’s week and its 26 Acts of Kindness campaign.

“While a tremendous amount of planning and coordination goes into making the day possible, today fulfills and supports a core component of the school’s mission and certainly helps to put smiles on faces of all those involved,” commented Jessica Medoff.

Volunteers visited 41 different work sites in Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield counties. Take a look at all of the wonderful work Notre Dame Fairfield students took part in the ND Service Day 2018 video!

The vision of Notre Dame High School is to be the model of secondary education in the state of Connecticut. They achieve that with demanding academics coupled with a supportive learning community, a range of enriching extra-curriculars, a competitive sports program, and a fierce commitment to service—all guided by Catholic values. Above all, they strive to instill in each student a sense of moral responsibility. Because, after all, leadership is worthless if it’s not guided by ethics.

(To find out more about Notre Dame High School visit

Immaculate announces tree lighting and concert

DANBURY—Immaculate High School invites the public to attend a special Christmas Concert and Tree Lighting Ceremony on Sunday, December 2 at 4:00pm.

The free event,  A Very Immaculate Christmas,will feature seasonal performances by Immaculate’s A Capella group, Mixed and Concert Choirs, Guitar Ensemble and Concert Band, as well as a special guest performance by the St. Joseph School (Danbury) Choir.

In addition to hot cocoa and festive cookies, a special lighting of a Christmas tree, a visit from Santa Claus and outdoor caroling is scheduled. “The voices of our choirs, ensemble group and guest children’s choir group will capture the hearts of all who attend. We welcome our neighboring families and their friends to join us in celebrating the wonderful joys of the Christmas season,” said President of Immaculate High School, Mary Maloney.

All Are Welcome, Just as They Are

FAIRFIELD—Special Masses for young people with disabilities are both a joyful celebration of what Jesus calls us to do and an important way to promote their inclusion in the life of the parish.

Saint Catherine Center will host its 2018 Mass Celebrating People with Special Needs on Sunday, December 2nd, 2 pm at Holy Cross Church, adjacent the Center at 750 Tahmore Drive in Fairfield.

As many as 15 young people from all over the diocese will receive the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and/or Confirmation. It is a moving experience each year. Individuals of all ages and their families are welcome to join in the celebration, with refreshments following.

“It is beautiful to see Anna and her classmates participate in the Mass,” said Dave Stowe, parent of a Saint Catherine Academy student who was confirmed at the 2017 Mass. This year, Anna will be one of the readers for the celebration.

In addition to promoting inclusion of people with special needs in parish life, the Office for Parish & Community Support serves as a resource across the diocese to help families with the process of preparing their special needs children and young adults to receive the Sacraments of Baptism, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation. They are available to advise families and Directors of Religious Education about accommodations or modifications that might be needed, and even to “practice” with the individuals. For more information, call: 203.540.5381.

Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God”  Luke 18:16.

Updates from the Center:
Bringing Stories to Life
Role-playing is all part of the weekly TheaterWorks program with “Mr. Matt” (Hennessy), a music therapist at Arts For Healing in New Canaan and director of TheaterWorks.

The program integrates music, art, movement, and education into a fun theater experience for individuals with special needs. Using music and repetition, music therapists like Mr. Matt adapt familiar Disney stories, fairy tales, songs and nursery rhymes to engage participants in the story while also developing language, cognitive and social skills. Each session begins with a welcome song and an overview of the story. Then the story is acted out twice, giving everyone a chance to participate and express themselves in different roles. A goodbye song closes the session.

“It’s a pleasure coming in every week and using their ideas as the foundation of a shared experience that we work through,” Mr. Matt said.

“The adults have a great time,” said Mr. Rich, a staff member. “You should have seen Ryan as the little old lady the second time through the story. He really took the role to heart.”

Tricks and Treats…

Halloween is one of the most anticipated days of the year at the Center. In the Academy, each class let their imaginations go wild for the Pumpkin Decorating Contest—with awards for the Most Colorful, Most Creative, Most Scary and Most Funny. Magician Jay Reidy offered up a few perplexing tricks in his Magic Show, such as the upside-down crayon and the knotted rope. After the show, everyone enjoyed some popcorn treats before heading home to trick-or-treat.

Participants in the Adult Day program especially enjoyed a day to dress up as their favorite characters—which included angels, a princess, a butterfly, a fairy, a clown, a policeman and fireman, army sergeant, Superman, Cat-in-the-Hat and more! The morning was full of homemade entertainment, thanks to some spooky games (“Sack Drac” and a skull toss) contributed by Kelley and Drew Schutte. A pizza lunch and homemade cupcakes from Michelle Rivelli followed

Doin’ the Monster Mash

More than 125 guests attended the fall Dinner Dance for people with special needs on October 19th—some in costume, and all eager to enjoy a delicious pasta dinner together. Dinner, however, is just a prelude to the main event—dancing. Our dedicated DJ, Herb Ramirez, had the dancing crowd going with a set of Halloween favorites, from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to “Monster Mash.”

The Dinner Dances continue to draw many people from group homes and individuals across the diocese. The special events are also an opportunity for local parishes to get involved. Our thanks to Cathy Romano and the youth group at Assumption Church in Westport for creating the festive fall centerpieces, and to Sue Baldwin at St. Andrew in Bridgeport, who gathered as many as 20 teens to serve food and beverages to the many guests who packed the beautiful Parish Hall, and to Rev. Sam Kachuba at St. Pius X Church in Fairfield.

The evening concluded as it often does with a conga line of laughing family and friends circling the big room. “The camaraderie and everyone’s pure enjoyment make the evening so worthwhile,” said one attendee. “I always have a good time.”

St. Augustine Medal Award Ceremony To Be Held This Saturday

BRIDGEPORT—The Saint Augustine Medal of Service prayer service and awards ceremony will be held at St. Augustine Cathedral this Saturday, November 17, beginning at 1 pm. A reception will follow at Kolbe-Cathedral High School on the grounds of the cathedral campus.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will lead the prayer service and present medals to more than 150 recipients from parishes and ministries across the diocese.

Honorees will be recognized for their volunteer service to parishes, schools and charities throughout Fairfield County.

“True generosity comes from those who are grateful for their lives and who faithfully use the gifts God has given them,” said Bishop Caggiano. “We will celebrate the St. Augustine medalists as mentors, guides and prophets in their love and service. I look forward to meeting them and their families and recognizing their great commitment to others through the Church.”

Last year, friends and family of the recipients turned out in droves for the Medal of Service ceremony to celebrate the achievements of their loved ones.

Pastors, priests and deacons throughout the diocese accompanied the recipients as they came forward to be presented the medal by Bishop Caggiano.

The St. Augustine Medal of Service was instituted in 2005 to recognize the “unsung heroes” who unselfishly give of their time and talents to build up parish communities. On one side of the medal is an image of St. Augustine of Hippo, patron saint of the diocese. The reverse features the coat of arms of the diocese.

(For further information contact Elizabeth Auda 203.416.1636, email:

Gobsmacked: Rome steps in, reform votes delayed

BALTIMORE—Seasoned bishop watchers know that just about every fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has a surprise. Sometimes it’s an election result. Sometimes it is the debate you never expected. Sometimes it’s that there’s no debate.

But the first day of the 2018 fall meeting was one that caught just about everyone in the room flat-footed. Right on the eve of what looked to be a decisive meeting of the U.S. bishops in dealing with sexual abuse within their own ranks, the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops asked them not to vote on two of the key proposals that were to be put before them.

When Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the conference, made the announcement within the opening minutes of the meeting, the entire room— bishops, staff and journalists— were gobsmacked.

This, after all, was the meeting when the bishops were going to get their own house in order following the latest wave of sex abuse stories — Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and the subsequent flood of subpoenas and investigations and self-published lists of priest offenders.

The McCarrick scandal in particular raised questions about who knew what and when. It also highlighted the fact that even when adults were involved, there could be harassment and abuse of power. In an Aug. 16 statement, Cardinal DiNardo called for “an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick, an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops, and advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints.”

Following meetings in Rome, some of the early requests by the U.S.—particularly for an apostolic visitation to investigate the questions surrounding the McCarrick scandal —were rejected or modified by Rome. Likewise, a request by Pope Francis that the fall meeting become a weeklong retreat for the U.S. bishops was rejected as logistically impractical, and plans were made for such a retreat in January in Chicago.

What is not clear is how much of the discussion and planning by the U.S. bishops involved Rome. By the eve of the November meeting, the U.S. bishops were planning to ask for votes by the entire conference on three key issues:

—A proposal for “Standards of Episcopal Conduct.”

—A proposal to establish a special commission for review of complaints against bishops for violations of the “Standards of Episcopal Conduct.”

—And a protocol regarding restrictions on bishops who were removed from or resigned their office due to sexual abuse of minors, sexual harassment of or misconduct with adults, or grave negligence in office.

In addition, there was to be a report on a third-party reporting system that would allow victims or those knowledgeable of abusive situations regarding bishops to report such cases confidentially.

According to Cardinal DiNardo’s announcement, word was received Nov. 11 that the Vatican was asking the conference to delay their vote because of the previously announced meeting at the Vatican of the presidents of all the world’s bishops’ conferences to discuss the abuse crisis in February.

In his remarks, Cardinal DiNardo expressed his disappointment at this request, which threw the planned agenda for the four-day meeting into disarray.

Theories abound about what happened and why, ranging from the darkly conspiratorial to the surmise that Rome simply did not want the U.S. bishops to get too far ahead of the Vatican on the very sensitive issues involving the disciplining of bishops. Such discipline in church law is normally the prerogative of the pope himself.

One observer said that the U.S. bishops’ sense of urgency — inspired in part by the anger of many lay Catholics and their priests — clashed with the more cautious way that Rome would approach any issue with such far-reaching implications.

What will be the implications of this sudden twist is still unknown. Protesters and bishops alike may now see Rome as the obstructionist, and the growing pressure on Pope Francis will continue. Ironically, this may take some heat off the U.S. bishops, at least temporarily, but is unlikely to help Rome-U.S. relations.

Critics of the proposed action items also may be relieved, since there were those who viewed the proposals as opening the door for other conferences to make similarly unilateral changes in areas of discipline or doctrine.

Perhaps most frustrated are those bishops — many of them appointees after 2002—who want to open their archives, name priests credibly accused, and forthrightly address issues of accountability and transparency.

Following the announcement of the delay, the bishops of the Missouri province released a letter originally written Oct. 6. It expressed support for the proposals suggested by Cardinal DiNardo but added: “We fear these measures will not be enough in either substance or timeliness to meet the demands that this pastoral crisis presents.”

Delay is inevitable, however. And now the bishops have the rest of their meeting to decide what, if anything, they are still able to do.

By Greg Erlandson | Catholic News Service

Notre Dame High School 10th Annual Service Day

FAIRFIELD—On Friday, November 9, over 550 volunteers – representing the student body, faculty, staff, administration and parents – from Notre Dame High School in Fairfield will be in the local community completing the school’s annual Service Day. The 2018 event marks the school’s 10th anniversary of the program, which began in 2009 with a group of 40 participants. The program is coordinated by Notre Dame’s Director of Campus Ministry, Jessica Medoff, and is part of the school’s celebration of Catholic Schools Week and its 26 Acts of Kindness campaign.

Volunteers will be visiting 41 different work sites in Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield Counties. Other students will remain at Notre Dame to complete service including using the school’s 3D printers to build prosthetic hands for children and crocheting hats for those in need.

Some volunteer sites include: Habitat for Humanity (Bridgeport), Transition CT (Monroe), Over 60 Club (Stamford), Morning Glory/Market Place Pantry (Danbury), Merton House (Bridgeport), New Covenant Food Pantry (Stamford), CT Food Bank (Bridgeport), St. Vincent Special Needs (Trumbull), Life Bridge (Bridgeport), Bearsdley Zoo (Bridgeport), Educating Canines with Disabilities (Winsted), St. Joseph Manor (Trumbull), Good Counsel Malta House (Norwalk), Rise (Trumbull), Bridges (Trumbull), Sturges Ridge (Fairfield), Sterling House Community Center (Stratford), Star, Inc. (Norwalk), Homes for the Brave (Bridgeport), Operation Hope (Fairfield), Person to Person (Darien), Open Door Shelter (Norwalk).

Volunteers will be visiting the following area schools and churches as part of Service Day: St. Theresa’s School, All Saints School, St. Jerome Church, St. Catherine’s Academy, Hall School, Blackham School, St. Ann Academy, St. Mark School, St. Andrew Academy, Curiale School, St.  James School, St. Raphael.

Coordinator Jessica Medoff commented, “While a tremendous amount of planning and coordination goes into making the day possible, today fulfills and supports a core component of the school’s mission and certainly helps to put smiles on faces of all those involved.” Principal Chris Cipriano said, “I am tremendously proud of our entire school community for rallying around this event each year. Knowing that hundreds of lives will be touched in one way or another today is fantastic. Today’s a great example of ND fulfilling our mission to build character, faith and intellect.”

(For information, contact Chris Cipriano at: 203.372.6521 or

Two Sisters Travel the Same Path to Christ

HAMDEN — From the time she was in first grade, Bridget Mary Smith knew she wanted to be a nun. But her younger sister Colleen Therese rejected the possibility outright … because it was her sister’s.

“I wasn’t going to be a sister. Maybe it was sibling rivalry,” she recalled. “I was going to get married and have a dozen children and be a special ed teacher and then … God totally turned my life upside down.”

Jesus, of course, had ideas of his own.

At the end of her junior year in Cor Jesu Academy, a school run by the Apostles of the Sacred Heart in St. Louis, Colleen was on a class retreat, and the priest told the girls, “I think God has something he wants to say to every one of you today, but you have to sit still long enough to listen so go someplace by yourself and ask God what he wants to say to you.”

Colleen decided to take the challenge and went for a walk by herself.

As she recalls: “I said, ‘God what do you want to say to me?’ and I don’t think I even finished the question when I heard him say in my heart, ‘I want you for myself.’”

The immediate response that came into her mind was “I don’t want to be a sister because my sister is going to be a sister!”

Later that day, she went to confession and was crying to the priest and insisting, “I don’t want to be a sister because my sister is going to be a sister!” He laughed, and the more she cried, the more he laughed.

“I’ll never forget what he said to me that day: ‘Just remember that in His Will is your peace.” He made her repeat it three times before she left confession. “In His Will is my peace.”

He was quoting St. Ignatius Loyola.

“Basically, what he was saying is that if it is God’s Will, you won’t be afraid, it won’t make you miserable and there will only be happiness and peace,” she said.

But for the next few months, there was no peace. She was in constant turmoil even though she kept repeating over and over “In His Will is my peace.”

During her senior year at the Academy, she was applying to colleges and getting scholarship offers. Soon she would have to make a decision about her life.

“I was feeling so torn,” she recalled. “I was praying to St.Therese, but I wasn’t going to ask for a rose because I didn’t want to make my life depend on a sign.”

Then, one week her parents went to Chicago for a conference and when they returned, her mother came into her room and said, “I brought you something.” She put a bag on Colleen’s bed and left.

“I didn’t think twice about it,” she said. “I thought it was probably saltwater taffy and I yelled to her, ‘Where is this from?’”

“We stopped in Darien, Illinois,” her mother said. At the national shrine of St. Therese the Little Flower.

“Now, I was sure it was saltwater taffy,” Colleen said. “I opened the bag and inside was a paperweight, and I thought that it was the oddest gift my mother had ever given me. Why did I need a paperweight?”

But it wasn’t just any paperweight. On it was a red rose and the words, “In His Will is my peace.”

“And that was my moment of surrender,” Sister Colleen Therese Smith said. “I said yes to God, and peace just flooded me. All the turmoil was gone. After I entered the Apostles, there sometimes were tough days in formation, learning to live with different personalities and learning the ways of religious life. But even on the challenging days, I could never bring myself to think that maybe God was not calling me. I couldn’t deny that God had called me.”

After she made her decision, she didn’t tell anyone until one night when she and her mother sat down for dinner.

“It was just my mom and I, and she looked at me. She knew my college acceptances were due and she asked, ‘So have you decided what you’re going to do next year?’”

“All I could say was yes. Nothing else would even come out of my mouth,” she recalled.  “And I’ll never forget this. She had the newspaper in her hand and she put the paper down and she said, ‘You’re going to be an Apostle, aren’t you?’”

“I started to cry and I said, ‘How did you know?’ Then, she started to cry and I will never forget her words — ‘Mothers pray too, you know.’”

Today, Sister Colleen Therese Smith and Sister Bridget Mary Smith are members of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a congregation founded in 1894 by recently beatified Blessed Mother Clelia Merloni.

Sister Bridget is a kindergarten teacher at Sacred Heart Villa in St. Louis, and Sister Colleen is Director of Mission Advancement for the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She previously served as vocation director and as principal of St. Rose of Lima in Newtown.

The congregation currently has four postulants, one novice and eight junior professed sisters.

Sister Colleen says that the example of Blessed Mother Clelia is attractive to the younger sisters.

“When I entered the convent, we didn’t hear about her in high school, but now young women read her biography and they enter already having a devotion to her,” she said. “Some of them have credited her with the graces they received that allowed them to say ‘yes’ to their calling.”

And who knows? Perhaps Mother Clelia and St. Therese collaborated on that vocation of a confused teenage girl at Cor Jesu Academy.

Rain Down gathering brings youth together

STAMFORD—Last Sunday more than 200 youth, young adult and adult facilitators made the celebration of the Spirit that is Rain Down come alive with their enthusiasm, servant hearts, engaged worship and deep reverence! Ignited and inspired by keynote artist and speaker, Tony Melendez, we accepted the challenge to avoid making excuses for why we ‘can’t’ and committed to using our abundant gifts and talents to do what we ‘can’!

Our time together was spent celebrating Eucharist and Reconciliation, packing over 300 Boxes of Joy, laughing with each other through ‘minute- to-win-it’ types games, nourishing our bodies with pizza and great desserts and nourishing our souls in prayer and adoration!

As rewarding and enjoyable as all these activities were, for me, the real story of the day is the beautiful display of community that evolved through the planning, preparing and experiencing of Rain Down. Under the guidance of our dedicated Core Team of catechists and parents, along with the support of our Diocesan Office and Staff of Faith Formation, our Confirmation candidates planned and executed every aspect of the event from ice-breakers to hospitality, to running the service project, games, dinner and clean-up. Assisting them were more than one hundred parents and parishioners: some helping out for the entire event, others offering their help in three-three hour shifts, many supplying refreshments and much appreciated behind the scenes support.

The experience of this event exemplified and solidified who we are as the Church of St. Cecilia! We are a community where ALL are welcome…ALL are celebrated…All are loved. We are disciples willing to share our time, talent and treasure for the growth and benefit of others. We cherish and respect the great diversity of gifts present in our family members and are committed to nurturing and validating one another as we live out our calling to act with justice, love one another, serve all in need and walk humbly with our God!

THANK YOU to St. John Paul II Institute for the grant that helped fund RAIN DOWN. Most importantly, THANK YOU to ALL who ‘worked’ the event, supported the Boxes of Joy service project and accompany our youth daily on their journey to discipleship and Confirmation!

Well Done Good and Faithful Stewards and Family Members of the Church of St. Cecilia.

Fr. Bert

SHU Presents Kristallnacht Commemoration

FAIRFIELD—Join Sacred Heart University at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit on Wednesday, November 7 at 2 pm for its annual Kristallnacht Commemoration and listen to the story of Holocaust survivor Judith Altmann.

Holocaust survivor Judith Altmann was arrested and transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944. She will tell her story of survival and hope. Kristallnacht, or the “Night of Broken Glass,” took place in Germany 80 years ago and was the violent event during which Nazis broke the windows of Jewish businesses, schools and synagogues, resulting in death, arrests and the beginning stages of the Holocaust.

This event is free and open to the public. This event is sponsored bySacred Heart University’s Office of Mission & Catholic Identity and the Human Journey Colloquia Series

Media coverage is welcomed. Please contact Deb Noack at 203-396-8483 or for further information.

About Sacred Heart University

As the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, and one of the fastest-growing in the U.S., Sacred Heart University is a national leader in shaping higher education for the 21st century. SHU offers more than 80 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs on its Fairfield, Conn., campus, which is located about an hour from Manhattan and 2.5 hours from Boston. Sacred Heart also has satellites in Connecticut, Luxembourg and Ireland. More than 8,500 students attend the University’s eight colleges and schools: Arts & Sciences; Communication, Media & the Arts; Computer Science & Engineering; Health Professions; the Isabelle Farrington College of Education; the Jack Welch College of Business; Nursing; and St. Vincent’s College. Sacred Heart is rooted in the rich Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts, yet at the same time develops students to be forward thinkers who enact change—in their own lives and professions and in their communities. A spirit of service, entrepreneurship and social justice is the essence of who we are and can be seen inside and outside the classroom as students learn how to make a difference far beyond Fairfield. The Princeton Review includes SHU in its Best 384 Colleges–2019 Edition, “Best in the Northeast” and Best 267 Business Schools–2018 Edition. It also placed SHU on its lists for “Happiest Students” and “Most Engaged in Community Service,” each of which comprises only 20 U.S. schools. Sacred Heart has a Division I athletics program.


Immaculate High School to Stage ‘Our Town’ November 15-17

DANBURY—Immaculate High School students will perform Thornton Wilder’s American classic Our Town on November 15, 16 and 17 and the public is invited to see this beloved show.  

This Pulitzer Prize-winning play takes the audience to the fictional town of Grover’s Corners of the early 1900s, where the Stage Manager shares the story of a quiet New England town made up of devoted families, gossiping neighbors, young love and inevitable loss during a 13-year span. The unique play is interactive with the audience. Students have been enthusiastically rehearsing for this three-act play that uses metatheatrical devices, stretching out of their usual comfort zones and learning a new aspect of American Theatre.

The showtimes for Our Town are November 15, 16 and 17 at 7 pm at the Immaculate High School Theater. Tickets are now on sale at, as are sponsorship opportunities and program advertising. General admission tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students.

Immaculate High School is a private, non-profit Catholic college-preparatory institution serving students from 28 communities in Connecticut and New York. Founded in 1962, Immaculate High School allows students to focus on academic excellence, spiritual development, personal commitments and service to others.  Located in Danbury, CT, Immaculate High School is part of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s parochial school system.

Immaculate/New Fairfield High Schools’ New Ice Hockey Coach Has a Familiar Face

DANBURY—The Division I Ice Hockey Team of Immaculate High School, in its final year as a co-op with New Fairfield High School, turned to the past to move into the future. Mike Bonelli, a USA Hockey Level 5 coach with high school and college coaching experience, and who has coached the IHS ice hockey team before, returns to write the next chapter of the program’s history.

An 1988 graduate of Immaculate High School, Bonelli also previously served as head coach of the IHS team, leading them to win both the DII State and SWC Championships in 2007 as well as the SWC DI Championships in 2001, 2003 and 2007. When the former coach resigned this year, a selection committee comprised of IHS parents, administration and consultants began their search for a new coach. They looked at the team’s own history to find a worthy replacement.  Bonelli played for the Mustangs from 1985-1988 and returned to coach the team from 2001-2009.

Owner of Hockey Solutions, a coaching education associate for CIC and a business development manager for Ice Hockey organizations, Bonelli has over 30 years of experience as a coach, player, administrator and program coordinator.  “We are happy to welcome Mike Bonelli back to Immaculate as our ice hockey head coach; Coach Bonelli is committed to ensure that the team is well-trained, prepared, has a comprehensive plan for a JV program and will provide exceptional professional staffing for this transition season and beyond,” said Mary Maloney, President of Immaculate High School. “His talents include game expertise, program development, retention and assisting players with leadership through a proven educational coaching philosophy that aligns with our school mission.”

The team is in its final season as a cooperative with New Fairfield High School as it was instructed by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) to break up the co-op this upcoming season or be declared ineligible for the State tournament.  However, the student-athletes from Immaculate did not want to leave the New Fairfield skaters out in the cold so suddenly even though it meant missing a chance to compete at the State championships and voted to remain a co-op one more year.

“I am very excited to come back at this particular time, and look forward to working with such a dedicated group of student-athletes who want to play the best ice hockey they can and with an administration and parents that are so supportive of the program,” said Coach Bonelli.

Bonelli has several immediate goals as head coach; his first priority is maintaining the focus on the NFI team this year, and then stabilize the transition from co-op to an independent team. For the 2020-21 season, he would like to expand the Immaculate ice hockey program level of play, grow student-athlete abilities and win the State Championship.

“It’s great to come back to the school where I loved playing and coaching, and try to help the players achieve their dreams of winning major championships and of playing ice hockey after high school,” said Coach Bonelli. “Immaculate High School is very committed to the ice hockey program, and combined with the strong academic program it offers, really gives these student-athletes the chance to play post-high school.”

The upcoming season’s schedule, which features more in-state DI opponents as well as tests against high-level out-of-state competition, will present challenges to any coach, so it is great timing that a coach of Bonelli’s level and experience is willing to get on the ice with the student-athletes so committed to their sport.

Immaculate High School is a private, non-profit Catholic college-preparatory institution serving students from 28 communities in Connecticut and New York. Founded in 1962, Immaculate High School allows students to focus on academic excellence, spiritual development, personal commitments and service to others.  Located in Danbury, CT, Immaculate High School is part of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s parochial school system.

A Centennial Celebration for Father Brady

SHELTON—Our priests and pastors are with us at life’s most memorable, inspiring and challenging moments and we keep them in our thoughts, prayers and hearts throughout the years. It was no exception on Saturday, September 15 to honor and celebrate Fr. Philip Brady’s 100th birthday.

An entourage of former and present parishioners of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Shelton where Fr. Brady, was pastor, including other parishes in the Diocese of Bridgeport, traveled to Orchard Park, New York, a suburb of Buffalo, to attend his milestone birthday party.

Parishioners were delighted to make the trip and spoke of the compassion, care and friendship they received over the years from Father Brady who retired to his native Buffalo. 115 Guests traveled from California, Vermont, Connecticut and the local area to celebrate the centennial event.

He hears confessions and says Mass every day at the senior home where he lives and he surprised guests as he sang his rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” and “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” at the Saturday event.

Maryellen and Richard Kosturko from Shelton shared thoughts with others on how they received their first Holy Communion/Penance, Confirmation and Holy Matrimony from Fr. Brady. Maryellen’s mother, Mickey Hope and Richard’s father, John Kosturko also attended, John was Father’s first Eucharistic minister. Stories shared of assisting Fr. Brady and helping out at the parish were non-stop during the event.

It was a wonderful time to celebrate and to honor a pastor who has meant so much to so many, sharing the Gospel and the message of Christ.

Trinity AP World History Students In National History Competition

STAMFORD—Students at Trinity Catholic High School’s AP World History course will be embarking on an exciting new opportunity this school year.

As part of their coursework, students will be participating in the annual National History Day competition in the Senior division. National History Day is an academic enrichment program for students in grades 6-12. Students select topics connected to an annual theme and complete their own in-depth research on the topic.

This year, the annual theme is Triumph and Tragedy in History. Students present their conclusions by creating museum-style exhibits, media documentaries, research papers, interactive websites, and dramatic performances.

The National History Day competition will take place at three different levels. TCHS students will first compete against teams from area schools at the regional level in April at Sacred Heart University. From there, students will have the opportunity, if successful, to advance to a state level competition in New Britain and concluding with a national competition, where the top two teams from each state will compete, just outside the nation’s capital at the University of Maryland in College Park.

At each level of competition, students share their work with their peers, historians, educators, and professionals in related fields as they compete for special awards and the opportunity to advance to the next level of competition.

“This is an outstanding opportunity to showcase the great work our AP World History students are doing”, states Chris Woodside, AP World History Instructor at Trinity. “History is alive and well here. ”

For more information on the competition or program,  please call Chris Woodside, AP World History Instructor, Trinity Catholic High at 203-322-3401, or email him at