Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Articles By: John Grosso

Celebrating Seven Years as the Bishop of Bridgeport

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My heart is filled with deep gratitude to the Lord and Our Lady as I look back on these last seven years in which I have had the privilege to serve as the Bishop of Bridgeport. Today I celebrate the blessings to to collaborate with wonderful and dedicated priests, a curial staff that is second to none, lay leaders who are faithful, generous and committed to the faith in a Diocese that is rich in beauty and diversity. My ministry continues to be a daily blessing and joy, despite the lingering challenges we continue to face as a Church.

As many of you know, today also would have been my mother’s birthday. If she had lived, mom would have been 88 years old today. It was her care and encouragement that nurtured my vocation to the priesthood. Since her death, I have asked her many times for help during these years and I know that she remains present to me in powerful ways, both in times of challenge and those of joy. I am grateful for her constant love and protection.

Finally, in the Office of Readings, Saint Augustine offers these words of admonition to anyone who holds an office in the Church. As always, he has given me much to reflect upon:

“The day I became a bishop, a burden was laid on my shoulders for which it will be no easy task to render an account. The honors I receive are for me an ever present cause of uneasiness. Indeed, it terrifies me to think that I could take more pleasure in the honor attached to my office, which is where its danger lies, than in your salvation which ought to be its fruit. This is why being set above you fills me with alarm, whereas being with you gives me comfort. Danger lies in the first; salvation in the second.”

Love Never Fails – Responding to COVID

September 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

It is with deep appreciation that I write to you today, asking for your support during this time of continuing uncertainty and suffering.   Since the first days of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the diocese has served those in urgent need because many people like yourself responded with generosity, personal service, and prayer.

In the past six months we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people who came to our outreach programs seeking food, housing, educational assistance, psychological support and spiritual consolation.  Many have lost family members, found themselves without jobs, are suffering ill health and unable to return to work or unable to meet their family’s basic needs. This human suffering will not end anytime soon. In many respects, it continues to grow.

The help that the Church’s ministries have provided has been truly lifesaving. For example, Catholic Charities has served over 500,000 meals from March through August; two to three times the number regularly served. Counseling services have increased as families and individuals needed to address their acute anxiety and depression concerns over the future; and our school students successfully transitioned to continue their education on-line.

Given the fact that many of our neighbors and friends continue to face urgent need, I write now to ask for your help. My goal is to raise $1.5 million to meet the increased demand for our ministries that will help people to survive the challenges they face. I know I can always count on you when I ask you to help the Church reach out to those who are most vulnerable.

Thank you for your gift.  Please make your gift online at www.2020ACABridgeport.com  or text the word APPEAL to 475-241-7849.  Our generous donors are the hands of God reaching out to those in need; all donations of whatever amount will help us to help them.

Please stay in touch, be generous, and help us connect with those who have nowhere else to turn.

With every best wish and prayers, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano

Bishop of Bridgeport

P.S.  If you have already made your gift, thank you.

Statement on David Haas

In recent days, multiple allegations of sexual misconduct have come to light regarding liturgical music composer David Haas. In light of these disturbing allegations, in a recent meeting, I have strongly advised the presbyterate of the Diocese of Bridgeport to stop using his music in all liturgical settings. Though I strongly recommend Pastors find alternative music to David Haas in all situations, decisions on whether or not to play his compositions will remain at the discretion of individual pastors.

Our Summer Decisions Have Winter Consequences

There is an old saying in my parents’ Italian dialect that referred to August as the “head of winter”. For a rural, agrarian society, the meaning was clear. August was the time when preparations began for the coming winter months, to ensure that everything was ready. The first chore was to accumulate firewood that was needed to keep the kitchen fire burning all winter long. Many other preparations followed.

In our modern, urban world, we consider August the apex of the “lazy days of summer.” Ordinarily, these weeks saw many of us take our summer vacations, do some work around the house or simply relax from the frantic pace of life before the start of a new school year. I think it is fair to say that the winter would ordinarily be far from all of our minds.

This year, however, things may be different. In fact, the decisions that you and I now make regarding how to respond to the pandemic will have a profound impact on the shape of the upcoming fall and winter months. The lazy days of summer should not be an excuse for anyone to drop their guard or relax their vigilance against the many ways in which the virus can be transmitted. We must always keep in mind the grave consequences that will result if we disregard the future effects of the actions we take right now.

The safety measures we have been asked to observe are not designed solely to keep us safe. They are also primarily focused on keeping our neighbor safe, especially the vulnerable in our midst, which is a mandate that flows from our Christian belief in the sanctity of all human life.

So it seems to me that past generations have an important lesson to teach us this summer. August is clearly at the “head of winter”, setting the stage for the autumn and winter months ahead.  Let us do what is required of us with cheerful hearts. For to do otherwise will guarantee for all of us a long, cold, and bitter winter.

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.

Trinity Catholic High School Graduates 84 Students

STAMFORD—Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford will hold its 60th graduation ceremony on Thursday, July 16 at 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm on the school’s front parking lot under a tent. The school is holding two ceremonies in order to comply with the governor’s directive that in-person graduation crowd sizes cannot exceed 150 people.

This 60th graduation ceremony will be historic since it is Trinity’s final graduation. Trinity Catholic opened its doors in 1958 as Stamford Catholic High School and the first graduating class was in 1960. In the fall of 1991, Stamford Catholic merged with Central Catholic and St. Mary’s becoming Trinity Catholic High School. The Class of 2020 will be Trinity’s last graduating class.

The Class of 2020 is comprised of 84 graduates, representing Stamford and its surrounding towns, as well as international students from China.

The Valedictorian of the class is Fiona Willette from Stamford. The Salutatorian is Margaret Carlon, also from Stamford.

The exact amount of college scholarships and grants received by the class will be announced at the graduation ceremony.

The media is invited to attend the graduation ceremonies. Please arrange in advance with Jen Hanley at jhanley@trinitycatholic.org or Betsy Mercede at 203.322.3401 x106

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

In my spiritual reading, I came across the following passage written by Saint John Henry Newman which speaks eloquently of what each of us must consider if we wish to evangelize the world around us:

“He who does one little deed of obedience, whether he denies himself some comfort or forgives an enemy, evinces more true faith than could be shown by the most fluent religious conversation or the most intimate knowledge of Scripture. Yet how many are there who sit still with folded hands, dreaming, thinking they have done everything, when they merely have had these good thoughts which will save no one.”

Given all the challenges that we face, it is time to unfold our hands and commit ourselves to living our faith in action that will speak far louder than any homily, presentation, workshop or video.

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.

Pope Celebreates Corpus Christi Mass

VATICAN CITY- On Sunday, the feast of Corpus Christi, or the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Pope Francis presided over the Eucharist at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Around 50 people were present for the Mass, which was followed by the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction.

In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the importance of remembering God’s many gifts.

“Without memory, we uproot ourselves from the soil that nourishes us and allow ourselves to be carried away like leaves in the wind.”

The Pope said the act of remembering helps us rebuild our strongest connections and makes us feel part of a larger story. “Memory is not something private; it is the path that unites us to God and to others,” he said.

The Bible, he added, recounts how our relationship with the Lord is transmitted from generation to generation by word of mouth.

But, what happens, asked Pope Francis, when the chain of transmission of memories is broken?

God, he replied, knows how short our memories can be. Because of this “He left us a memorial,” which goes far beyond words or signs.

“He gave us Food, for it is not easy to forget something we have actually tasted. He left us Bread in which He is truly present, alive and true, with all the flavour of His love.”

The Eucharist, he said, is no mere memory, it is a fact. “In Mass the death and resurrection of Jesus are set before us.”

Pope Francis went on to highlight three aspects of our weakened memory that the Eucharist heals.

Most importantly, he said, the celebration of the Lord’s Body and Blood heals our “orphaned memory.”

“Many people have memories marked by a lack of affection and bitter disappointments caused by those who should have given them love and instead orphaned their hearts.”

God, however, heals us by infusing our memory with a love that is greater than our pain.

“The Eucharist brings us the Father’s faithful love, which heals our sense of being orphans. It fills our hearts with the consoling love of the Holy Spirit.”

The Eucharist, said Pope Francis, also heals our “negative memory” which focuses solely on our problems and errors.

Jesus, the Pope said, comes to tell us instead that we are precious in His eyes and worthy of sharing a table with Him. “And not only because He is generous, but because He is truly in love with us. He sees and loves the beauty and goodness that we are.”

Pope Francis said the Eucharist immunizes us against sadness because it “contains the antibodies to our negative memory.”

We are thus transformed into God-bearers: “bearers of joy.”

Lastly, the Eucharist heals our “closed memory”.

Wounds inflicted upon our memory make us fearful and suspicious of others, said the Pope. As a result, we arrogantly distance ourselves from others, in the false hope that we will be able to control any situation.

“Yet that is indeed an illusion, for only love can heal fear at its root and free us from the self-centredness that imprisons us.”

Jesus, Pope Francis said, comes to us in the “disarming fragility of the Host”. He crushes the shell of our self-centeredness, and breaks down our interior walls and paralysis of heart.

Offering Himself in the simplicity of bread, Jesus invites us to not waste our lives on useless things.

“The Eucharist satisfies our hunger for material things and kindles our desire to serve.”

Pope Francis concluded his homily with a reminder that the Eucharist makes us all links in chain of solidarity.

“In the Eucharist, Jesus draws close to us: let us not turn away from those around us!”

By Devin Watkins, Vatican News 

St. Jude to “open wide the doors for Christ”

MONROE—On May 29, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano announced the Phase II return to public Mass.

Starting the weekend of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, June 13 and 14, parishes will be able to resume public worship inside church buildings.

St. Jude Parish in Monroe is one of many who are preparing for this Phase II opening.

“It is with great relief, that after three months of going without celebrating public Mass inside of our churches that we can at last open wide the doors for Christ,” said Father Henry Hoffman, pastor of St. Jude’s.

Since the announcement of the Phase I reopening (May 11), which allowed for the celebration of outdoor Mass, parishioners of St. Jude have been able to gather in some capacity.

“As much as the parishioners found nourishment through watching our live-streamed Masses and attending our outdoor Masses, the real connection has once again been reestablished now that they can come together as a parish community and all together recite the Our Father, as brothers and sisters in the faith praying to our one Heavenly Father, shortly before they receiving the Body of Christ in their own church for the first time since mid-March,” shared Father Hoffman.

Parishioners shared their joy at being able to celebrate Mass in the church building.

“I am just so overjoyed to be going back to worshipping with my St. Jude Family. I have missed the love and fellowship and now rejoice as we once again praise the Lord together,” said long term St. Jude parishioner and past-Grand Knight of the council at St. Jude Parish, Jim Bifulco.

In a recent letter to St. Jude Parishioners, Father Hoffman wrote, “The patience and the perseverance of the St. Jude Parish family has truly impressed me over the past few months, as they held firm in their faith, waiting for this day, when they could once again worship in their church, a church that many of them gathered the very stones for decades ago, when the church was built.”

“When St. Jude’s was first closed to public worship, what I felt was a sense of loneliness,” shared Cathy Ritch, long-time St. Jude parishioner who volunteers as part of the church decorating committee.  “I was physically separated from my God in the Real Presence, my Church building, my friends and a rhythm of life. The quiet that followed brought a certain amount of refreshment, but also helped me to realize the centrality of St. Jude Church to my life. Now that we will have finally returned to God, Church, friends and schedule, I am filled with a sense of peace. A sense that God is bringing us back. He is in control in spite of the turbulence that has occurred in the past two months. Thanks be to God!”

“I am so grateful that we will all be together again in St. Jude Church,” said long-term St. Jude parishioner Lani Birmingham.

There is much excitement throughout the diocese as churches begin to open up their doors once more. The bishop also explained that in those parishes that are ready to follow the established norms, the celebration of weekday Masses, Funeral Masses and Nuptial Weddings within churches may also resume after the weekend of June 13 and June 14.

(For more information on reopenings visit bridgeportdiocese.org.)

Racism is Ignorance

The below is a Reflection by Rev. William F. Platt, The Parish of St. Catherine of Siena and St. Agnes

In the end, racism is ignorance. It is an ignorance that could be dispelled if permitted. It is an ignorance that is both intellectual and emotional. It is an ignorance that becomes fear, and that fear becomes hatred. It is evil.

I grew up in Trumbull CT. Trumbull is much like Greenwich, except far less affluent. My family belonged to the Country Club, had a boat and a swimming pool – though “above ground.” We went skiing almost every weekend during the winter, and boating almost every weekend during the summer. It was a beautiful life. It was also incredibly insular.

I attended a Catholic High School. There were three or four African American students who attended, but they were all boys, no girls. The common understanding was that they had been recruited for sport scholarships. They sat at different lunch tables, and attended different parties. We were all friends, but in a very different manner. Everyone was kind, but we were “kindly” separate.

College was pretty much the same. It wasn’t until I went to the Seminary at the North American College in Rome, that I actually had a Black friend. I was 23. He was more than a few years older. He had been a successful attorney in Washington DC, and I admired that he left his practice to enter the seminary. I’ll never forget the first conversation that I had with him. We were on our “Cappuccino Break” between classes, rough life I know, and I introduced myself. We started up a conversation. There was a lag in the conversation, and I said: “so, how long has your family been Catholic?” Without hesitation and with a smile he said, “probably longer than yours.” He was right. My paternal grandfather was a Methodist, his Catholicism dated all the way back to early slavery. Being “Black and a Roman Catholic” didn’t fit my “world view.” Blacks were Baptists. I remember looking down and being embarrassed (which we now laugh about), and saying, “well there is a lot for you to teach me.”

Eddie was ordained a few years later in Washington DC. He wanted me to be an active part of his ordination. When I told my mother that I would be with Eddie’s family for the week in Virginia Beach, she said, “do you really think that is prudent?” I said, “what?” She went on to explain, which made matters even worse. I was confused. She loved Eddie, always welcomed him into our home, always supported civil rights. I couldn’t believe the reasons that she was giving for me not to stay in his home with his family. It made no sense. What was truly startling was that I couldn’t reason with her. She was convinced that I shouldn’t stay with Eddie’s family simply because they were Black.

I stayed with Eddie’s family for the week. Going out for a jog my first morning, Eddie’s mom stopped me and said, “Where are you going?” I said, “out for a jog.” She smiled and said “which way?” I said, “I don’t know.” She said, “well, if you pass from the black neighborhood to the white neighborhood, you’ll be noticed.” I smiled and said, “Because of my incredible good looks?” She smiled and said, “go jog, but you’ll be noticed, trust me.” This was 1985.

Love conquers all. Racism is ignorance.

Bishop Invites Faithful To Pray Rosary in the Summer

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano invites the faithful to join together on Sundays and Tuesdays in the Summer to pray the Rosary as we pray for an end to the pandemic and for our country.

According to Dr. Patrick Donovan, Director of the diocesan Leadership Institute, there will be many opportunities to connect to the prayer gathering. Options for joining include Zoom, YouTube Live, or by Phone.

Earlier this year, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, announced that the U.S. bishops will join the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on May 1 in consecrating the two nations to the care of the Blessed Mother under the title “Mary, Mother of the Church.”

“This will give the church the occasion to pray for Our Lady’s continued protection of the vulnerable, healing of the unwell and wisdom for those who work to cure this terrible virus,” said Archbishop Gomez in a letter to the U.S. bishops. Each year, the church seeks the special intercession of the Mother of God during the month of May.

“This year, we seek the assistance of Our Lady all the more earnestly as we face together the effects of the global pandemic,” he said.

This consecration reaffirms the bishops’ previous consecrations of the United States to Mary.

To join via Zoom (link active at 7:30 pm): https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85329493207?pwd=RzFVRXlSY1A0TzV4anA0QUxBODAwQT09

To view on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoLPXluXSvSd-b6jSP2ix8wYbPUJWH_Zf

(To volunteer to lead or to find the link to join, please visit https://formationreimagined.org/summer-sunday-rosary/. No computer? No problem. If you do not have access to a computer but still wish to join, please call 301-715-8592, 845-737-3993, or 312-626-6799, and enter this ID number when prompted: 853 2949 3207 If you call in a few minutes early, you should hear some music until we begin.)

We cannot stand silent before any form of hatred

As the nation reels from the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the protests and rioting that have followed, we must once again confront the evil of systemic racism, bigotry, and discrimination in our country.

As people of faith we are outraged to see a video in which an African American man is killed before our eyes—an incident that unfortunately has become all too familiar in the past few years. Such an act calls all people of conscience to work tirelessly for justice and to seek true change, which is badly needed in the face of a recurring pattern of violence that needs to be addressed on multiple institutional levels. The death of George Floyd is the latest wake-up call that we must answer with honesty and a spirit of dialogue and genuine conversion.

As Catholics, we value and defend every human life because every person is made in the image and likeness of God. As it is stated clearly in the USCCB Pastoral Letter against Racism, Open Wide Our Hearts, “As bishops, we unequivocally state that racism is a life issue.” This means that we are obligated to fearlessly proclaim the Church’s teachings that any ideology that advocates racism and bigotry is a grave sin against the dignity of the human person and the divine mandate to love our neighbor as ourselves. To live in any way contrary to this divine command is a betrayal of the Gospel.

It is also imperative that we condemn violence in all its forms as a moral betrayal of the Gospel. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.” As a nation, we must address the legitimate concerns being raised in protest and find peaceful ways to resolve them as quickly as we can.

Time and again, we are confronted with the sobering reality that although we have made significant strides in this country towards equality, that there are still significant societal structures that perpetuate racism. These structures must be reformed before any lasting healing and progress can occur.

The Truth of Jesus Christ has no room for racism, no tolerance for bigotry, and no place for hatred. You and I must courageously challenge people who perpetuate such hateful ideas. We must work to reform the structures that continue to repress our brothers and sisters. We must build bridges of mutual respect and trust in our society, so that we can move forward together as one family in Christ.

We cannot stand silent before any form of hatred, because to remain silent is to condone it.

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.

Our Common Moral Obligation to Protect Human Life

As our Diocese continues its second phase planning to reopen our church buildings for the public celebration of Mass, it may be helpful to recall the prime reason why the Diocese mandated that such public celebrations be temporarily suspended. Given all the misinformation that exists in the media, we must never forget that the decision was rooted in a commitment to remain faithful to a central tenet of our Catholic faith.

The grave reason that motivated the suspension of public Mass was our commitment to the central Catholic belief in the sanctity of every human life and our common moral obligation to protect human life. When it became clear that the passing of the COVID-19 virus often occurs by asymptomatic persons sharing regular human contact, time was needed to understand how such infections occur, the best ways to avoid passing the contagion, all the while maintaining as much of the public practice of the faith as was prudent and still protecting human life- especially the elderly and sick in our midst. In the last eight weeks, we have made much progress in this regard, allowing us to begin the resumption of public worship in a prudent and gradual manner.

More specifically, the decision was never based on any debate about whether our Catholic faith and its practice is “essential”. For anyone who believes, this issue is not debatable. The practice of our faith is at the heart of who we are. The Eucharist sustains our daily life and temporarily to suspend its public celebration could only be justified by a grave, moral cause. Recognizing the great pain that was caused by the suspension, our churches have remained open for private prayer, Eucharistic adoration and the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance. To be clear, the practice of our Catholic faith is essential and necessary for our personal salvation as revealed by our Savior and Redeemer.

The good news is that the celebration of public Mass has begun in our Diocese outdoors, in a manner that every health official considers the safest venue in which to congregate, following social distancing rules. While this is a first step forward, we are all anxious to be able to resume the public celebration of Masses in our churches as well. To this end, we will soon make a public announcement about how and when we can reopen our church buildings

I am grateful for your patience, prayers, and understanding during these difficult months. I very much understand and appreciate the great sorrow and loss felt by many. However, my friends, let us remember that our common sacrifice had one prime motive: to follow the mandate of the Lord of Life to protect, defend, and keep safe every human life.

For if we failed to protect human life during this pandemic, how can we ever hope to convert our society to end the culture of death and to recognize and protect every human life?

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.

A Fatima Birthday Surprise for a Bridgeport Legend

BRIDGEPORT- Family, Friends and Bridgeport City Council representatives gathered at St. Augustine Cathedral earlier this February to honor and celebrate a one of a kind Bridgeport legend and beloved native son Mr. Frank D’Ausilio, on his 85th Birthday milestone. The extraordinary day (2/27/2020) was full of amazing surprises!

Frank D’Ausilio is a true Catholic superstar layman.  He has lived during the most eventful century of this world’s history, in his quiet optimistic way, dedicated to his Catholic faith, family and friends.  Frank has demonstrated in countless ways his dedication as a Bridgeport Community Advocate and Mentor to the welfare of others and has earned the respect and affection of people from all walks of life and all ages during his long and productive lifetime.

For over 40 years, Frank D’Ausilio served with dedication as Head Custodian at the Bridgeport Police Department Headquarters, St. Vincent’s Medical Center, and the Cathedral Parish. He has been very active and a supporter of “Swim across the Sound” and a Marian Volunteer assisting nursing home and hospital patients.  Frank is also a long time member of 52 years in the Knights of Columbus Global Fraternity Service Organization and 23 years in the Holy Spirit Fraternity Secular Franciscan Order.  His Catholic faith has guided him throughout his entire life and he has learned to seek truth through his many years of pilgrimages traveling to holy sites where he prays with various Christian communities near and far.

Beginning in 1960 through the 1970’s Frank D’Ausilio along with fellow Catholic champion and mentor Dr. Joseph Fida DDS traveled throughout the Bridgeport and Hartford Dioceses with a blessed life-sized personal replica of a Pilgrim Statue of Our Dear Lady of Fatima from Portugal.  The inspiring message they brought forth to all parishes and hospital patients was one of FAITH, HOPE, MERCY, LOVE, and PEACE which produced good fruit that helped thousands of people heal spiritually and physically.

 On the festive birthday occasion a spectacular guest of honor arrived at St. Augustine Parish, the original 1972 New York State Travelling Pilgrim Fatima.  Frank D’Ausilio and all of the parishioners were overjoyed and moved by the loving tribute in the presence of Our Dear Lady of Fatima.  In thanksgiving, heartfelt prayers were offered which included the most holy rosary, litanies, Marian hymns, and a procession inside the Parish led by Reverend Fr. Michael Novajosky.

The 85th Birthday Mass of joyful celebration was a slice of Heaven on Earth presided by Reverend Fr. Michael Novajosky, Cathedral Director along with a superb and multi-talented angelic choir performance orchestrated by Dr. Sam Schmitt, Musical Director Extraordinaire.  After the conclusion of the Holy Mass, Mr. Frank D’Ausilio humbly accepted a lifetime achievement proclamation award on his 85th Birthday from a City Council Representative on behalf of Honorable Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim who expressed congratulations and best wishes.

Reverend Dr. Herron Gaston, Assistant Chief Administrator for the Office of Mayoral Leadership and Chaplain of the Bridgeport Police Department said that Frank D’Ausilio radiates a joyful loving spirit and has found peace, faith, clarity, and strength in the church community. “He truly is a witness of the Light of CHRIST, the Grace of GOD, and the Spirit of TRUTH through his Catholic faith.  Congratulations Mr. Frank D’Ausilio, a true Bridgeport Treasurer as  I am honored to celebrate with family and friends and do hereby proclaim on behalf of Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim, Thursday, February 27, 2020, as “Frank D’Ausilio Day.

At the conclusion of the recognition award ceremony, Fr. Michael Novajosky graciously thanked Reverend Dr. Herron Gaston and on behalf of Bishop Frank Caggiano presented him with a beautifully impressive full-color classic statue of St. Michael, the Archangel, the Greatest Warrior of Heaven and Earth for the Office of Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim.

Fr. Michael Novajosky said that under the leadership of Bishop Frank Caggiano all parishes have been encouraged to recite daily the powerful St. Michael prayer and after each Mass invokes special protection for the intentions of the Bridgeport Community.

Frank D’Ausilio was gifted with an exquisite hand-carved statue of Our Lady of Fatima from Portugal and humbly extended a heartfelt thank you to all family, friends, and city officials gathered.  He shared with a twinkling smile and infectious laugh, “that he is a blessed man and what a great honor it was to accompany Our Lady of Fatima with Dr. Joseph Fida.”

The final birthday surprise was held in the rectory of St. Augustine that included a celebration luncheon and a favorite treat of Frank, a cannoli filled birthday cake.

Written by Cindy Lucignano

St. Catherine of Siena Collects Donations to Support Three Area Food Banks

TRUMBULL—On a picture-perfect spring morning, an enthusiastic crew of volunteers from the Parish of St. Catherine of Siena wearing face masks and gloves welcomed more than 150 cars to a contact-free Drive Through Food Drive to support the Trumbull Food Pantry, Blessed Sacrament Parish in Bridgeport, and the Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport, all of which are experiencing extraordinary need right now.  Through the generosity of St. Catherine’s parishioners, the May 2 effort raised more than $3,000 in cash donations and food donations overflowed from nearly 100 feet of tables.

“Demand for food at Thomas Merton Center has skyrocketed since the COVID-19 crisis began, which is now serving nearly 500 meals daily, up from 150 per day at this time last year. Some of these meals we are delivering to clients of other Bridgeport non-profits, including homeless shelters who don’t have food resources,” said Mike Donoghue, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Fairfield County.  Mr. Donoghue extends a very special thank you to Dan & Kelly Murphy, Parishioners of St. Catherine’s who organized the event, the many volunteers who helped remove food from cars and deliver it to the food banks, as well as everyone who drove through with donations on Saturday.

Father Joseph Marcello, Pastor of St. Catherine of Siena, reflects that “Many families who came to help were wearing masks.  They had big smiles under their masks, which I could see in their eyes, as they were here because they wanted to help.  It’s attributed to St. Francis of Assisi that it is in giving that we receive.” He continues: “We don’t know who the recipients of this food will be other than that they are hungry and in need.  And we know that not one of those cars would have come on that day had it not been for Jesus Christ, who came so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.”

Mr. Donoghue noted that “Our clients are hourly workers who have recently lost jobs, immigrants, homeless, or mentally ill individuals struggling to make ends meet. Please know how grateful we are for your help and support! Catholic Charities programs are a partnership with all the generous and caring faithful of our Diocese. Thank you for helping us treat every human being, especially those who are most vulnerable, with the love and respect they deserve!”

If you missed the event and would like to help, financial contributions for this purpose are still welcome. The Social Justice and Charitable Outreach Committee is using all financial donations to buy food which will be divided equally among the three food banks. Please mail your contribution for this purpose to 220 Shelton Road, Trumbull CT 06611.  Make your check payable to St. Catherine of Siena, and write FOOD BANKS in the memo line.

Plans for a second event are already in the works.

The Drive Through Food Drive was organized by St. Catherine’s Social Justice and Charitable Outreach team, led by Salvatore Spadaccino. Other initiatives that the Social Justice & Charitable Outreach Team has worked on include: toiletry drive, school backpack drive, Thanksgiving food drive, annual Parish giving tree, pro-life baby shower, and more. For more information on the Social Justice and Charitable Outreach ministry at St. Catherine of Siena in Trumbull, contact Salvatore Spadaccino, Coordinator for Social Justice and Charitable Outreach, at caritas@stcatherinetrumbull.com.

The Parish of Saint Catherine of Siena warmly welcomes anyone who is new to our area, anyone who is searching for the truth, or anyone who is looking for a spiritual home. We are joyfully and faithfully Roman Catholic in belief and practice— a community of faith, worship, service, and formation—and with open hearts we invite all our brothers and sisters into a living and saving friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ, in the communion of His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  We are conveniently located at 220 Shelton Road in the Nichols area of Trumbull.

Christ’s Victory is Absolute

Yesterday we celebrated the Octave of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday. It concludes an extraordinary week in the Church’s annual celebration of the Pascal Mystery of the Lord’s Resurrection. Let us consider its uniqueness and what it can teach us.

There are two interesting facts about the liturgy of last week that we can easily overlook. First, all the days of last week can be considered to be a single day. In other words, the one day of Easter extends over eight days in which to celebrate it! It is for this reason that each of these days is a Solemnity of the Lord, having precedence over every other celebration that would ordinarily fall on these days. In short, the importance of what happened on Easter morning is so great that it needs eight days in which to celebrate the single day of Easter.

It is also important to remember that the Easter season extends for 50 days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. During this season, 40 days after Easter Sunday, we celebrate the Lord’s Ascension into Heaven. It is an extended period of celebration in which we are asked to consider what it means to be a community of faith built upon the apostolic witness of the Lord’s death and Resurrection. Prominent in this reflection is the Acts of the Apostles, which is proclaimed as the First Reading of each Mass in this season. I highly recommend that a prayerful reflection upon this inspired book of Scripture written by Saint Luke can be a source of great spiritual fruitfulness for you and me.

Even though we are still observing a time of confinement in our homes, the joy of Easter is a gift that the Risen Lord still wishes to give us. His victory over sin, suffering, disease, and death is absolute and offered to us through His grace. Let us not lose our focus on the meaning of this season in the midst of our struggles, for by the Lord’s death and Resurrection, we have been set free.

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.