Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Articles By: John Grosso

Bishop suspends all public Masses until Friday 4/3

BRIDGEPORT—Effective this evening at 8 pm, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has mandated that all weekday and Sunday public Masses celebrated in the presence of the lay faithful are temporarily suspended in the Diocese of Bridgeport.

The temporary suspension will remain in effect until Friday, April 3. You will receive a confirmation or revision of that date on Monday, March 30.

Beginning this Sunday, Sunday Mass celebrated by Bishop Caggiano or Monsignor Thomas Powers, Vicar General,  will be available on our Diocesan Website (www.bridgeportdiocese.org) or on diocesan social media channels (www.bridgeportdiocese.org/dobsocial/home).

The bishop’s decision was made in response to the March 15, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation that, for the next 8 weeks, any in-person gatherings of 50 people or more throughout the United States be cancelled or postponed. Governor Lamont today followed that directive and has limited crowds to less than 50 in the State of Connecticut.

“With those standards now in place, out of concern for the common good of ending the spread of the Coronavirus and for the wellbeing of the clergy (many of whom are older and at greater risk) and the lay faithful of the Diocese of Bridgeport, I would like to inform you of some important new directives that will be binding throughout the diocese,” the bishop said today in a letter to all priests and diocesan officials.

“Please know that I do not make this decision easily. However, this is an extraordinary—and, in some ways, unprecedented—time in the life of the Church, the country and the world, and it requires extraordinary action to ensure the safety of those whom we serve. I appreciate greatly the cooperation of our pastors in communicating this decision to parishioners in a clear and pastoral manner. May we continue to place our trust in Jesus, the Divine Physician, through the loving hands of Our Blessed Mother, the bishop said.

Churches may remain open for private prayer at the discretion of the Pastor. Some parishes will also begin live streaming of Masses, and the diocese will publish that information on its website. The diocese will continue to provide updates and the latest news on its website: www.bridgeportdiocese.com and on Facebook and other social media.

“Reconciliation Monday” Cancelled

BRIDGEPORT—For the third consecutive year, the Diocese of Bridgeport will hold Reconciliation Monday during Holy Week.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered on Monday, April 6, in a total of 23 parishes throughout the diocese from 3-9 pm.

Thousands of faithful across the diocese turned out for last year’s Reconciliation Monday, which has become an opportunity for many Catholics who have been away from the sacrament to return to Confession.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano established Reconciliation Monday in 2018, when he called for the Diocese of Bridgeport to join the New York dioceses in the observance, which was created in the joyful spirit of Pope Francis who said, “Now is the time to be reconciled with God. Staying on the path of evil is only a source of sadness.”

Many of the priests who heard confessions last year said they were encouraged by the number of people who were returning to the sacrament after a long time away.

The bishop said he is grateful for the pastors and parishes participating in Reconciliation Monday and he hoped that Catholics throughout the diocese would take advantage of the opportunity to experience God’s mercy at the beginning of Holy Week.

“In a world that prides itself in self-help remedies and is more comfortable in watching someone tell his or her sins on television rather than to a priest, the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation provides a profound opportunity to be freed from our personal sins and to experience the healing love of Christ for you and me,” said Bishop Caggiano.

The bishop said many people have misconceptions about what Confession really is, or think of it as solely a spiritual exercise during which you tell the priest your sins.

“Rather, it is a profound encounter with the Lord Jesus, who through the words and actions of the priest, meets us in our sinfulness and forgives, liberates and empowers us with the Holy Spirit so that we can go forth and sin no more,” he said

Many people took to diocesan social media to encourage each other to attend confession, sharing their experiences from last year’s Reconciliation Monday. Diocesan social media users reported long lines of people eager to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Penance is an experience of the gift of God’s boundless mercy. “Not only does it free us from our sins but it also challenges us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for those who sin against us. We are liberated to be forgivers. We obtain new insight into the words of the Prayer of St. Francis: “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”

The bishops’ statement teaches that “With absolution, we are reconciled to God and the Church. The Sacrament helps us stay close to the truth that we cannot live without God. “In him, we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).”

Priests will be hearing Confessions at the following locations on Reconciliation Monday from 3 pm to 9 pm:

Deanery A (Queen of Peace)
1. St. Andrew Parish: 435 Anton Street, Bridgeport
2. St. Ann Parish: 481 Brewster Street, Bridgeport
3. St. Augustine Cathedral: 399 Washington Avenue, Bridgeport

Deanery B (Mystical Rose)
1. St. James Parish: 2070 Main Street, Stratford
2. St. Lawrence Parish: 505 Shelton Avenue, Shelton

Deanery C (Queen of Martyrs)
1. St. Theresa Parish: 5301 Main Street, Trumbull
2. St. Jude Parish: 707 Monroe Turnpike, Monroe
3. St. Rose of Lima Parish: 46 Church Hill Road, Newtown

Deanery D (Our Lady, Queen of Confessors)
1. Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish: 46 Stone Street, Danbury
2. St. Edward the Confessor Parish: 21 Brush Hill Road, New Fairfield
3. St. Joseph Parish: 8 Robinson Avenue, Danbury

Deanery E (Seat of Wisdom)
1. Sacred Heart Parish: 30 Church Street, Redding
2. St. Mary Parish: 55 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield

Deanery F (Queen Assumed into Heaven)
1. Our Lady of the Assumption Parish: 545 Stratfield Road, Fairfield
2. St. Luke Parish, 49 Turkey Hill Road North, Westport
3.St. Pius X Parish: 834 Brookside Drive, Fairfield

Deanery G (Mother of Divine Grace)
1. St. Aloysius Parish: 21 Cherry Street, New Canaan
2. St. John Parish: 1986 Post Road, Darien
3. St. Matthew Parish: 216 Scribner Avenue, Norwalk

Deanery H (Cause of Our Joy)
1. The Parish of St. Cecilia-St. Gabriel:  1184 Newfield Avenue, Stamford
2. Holy Name of Jesus Parish: 325 Washington Boulevard, Stamford
3. Sacred Heart Parish: 37 Schuyler Avenue, Stamford

Deanery I (Mary, Mother of the Church)
1. The Parish of St. Catherine of Siena and St. Agnes: 4 Riverside Avenue, Greenwich
2. St. Mary Parish: 178 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich
3. St. Michael the Archangel Parish: 469 North Street, Greenwich

Preparation, Prudence, Prayer

As the coronavirus crisis deepens across the world, allow me to suggest three ways by which we can respond in a way consistent with our Catholic faith. For ease of remembrance, I can call this advice the “three p’s.”

Preparation: It is important that in every aspect of our lives, including our worship together on a daily and weekly basis, we prepare ourselves in every way possible to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe from this virus. Much of what we should do has been explained in great detail by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. We need to remember that our preparations (i.e., washing our hands frequently, disinfecting any public area that is touched by many people, etc.) is an act of charity, protecting not simply ourselves but the most vulnerable in our midst, especially the elderly and sick.

Prudence: The definition of prudence is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by use of reason. This means that we should not overreact or give into a sense of panic that can easily be generated by some of the media coverage we hear each day. We need to act reasonably, proportionately and decisively in our preparations and interactions with others. Once again, refraining from unnecessary handshakes, avoiding large crowds at events for which our presence is neither required nor needed, are acts of prudence that are charitable and in service of our neighbor.

Prayer: This is a time when we must offer intercessory prayers for all those who have died from this disease, that they may rest in the Lord’s peace. We must pray for consolation for their families and loved ones during their time of sorrow and grief. Let us also pray for those who have been sickened by the virus, that they will soon recover, and for all those who are quarantined and are living alone and in fear. Finally, let us pray that this emergency may pass and that our love for one another will help us to make the right decisions to keep each other safe.

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

Bishop Issues Further Coronavirus Directives

As you have certainly heard by now, the first cases of Coronavirus connected to the State of Connecticut have been reported and linked to Fairfield County. Now that the virus has been identified within the Diocese of Bridgeport, I feel it is not only prudent but necessary to issue some updated directives to those I issued last Tuesday.

Before addressing the directives, I want to inform you about some diocesan events that have been canceled or will be rescheduled due to the Coronavirus:

  1. The Mass of Anointing and Healing scheduled for Saturday, March 21st will be rescheduled. The new time, date and place will be announced shortly.
  2. The Annual White Mass and Brunch scheduled for Sunday, March 22nd has been canceled and will not be rescheduled for this year.
  3. The Mass of Hope, Healing, and Reconciliation for Survivors of Sexual Abuse scheduled for Sunday, March 22nd will be rescheduled. The new time, date and place will be announced shortly.

Beginning immediately, I am mandating that the following policies be implemented for all parishes and Catholic institutions in the Diocese until further notice from the Office of the Bishop (I am including the directives from last week here for clarity):

  1. Offering of the Precious Blood of Christ is to be suspended at all Masses. Priest concelebrants should receive the Precious Blood by intinction. Assisting deacons will not receive the Precious Blood. Be sure to have low-gluten hosts available for those who have an allergy and normally receive only the Precious Blood.
  2. The Sign of Peace is to be exchanged without physical contact. You may invite parishioners to use some other gesture (e.g., a nod of the head, a smile or a spoken greeting) or omit entirely the call to exchange the Sign of Peace.
  3. For the celebration of Confirmation, the Sign of Peace will be exchanged between the Bishop and the confirmandi without a handshake. Photographs will take place in church immediately after the celebration of Mass and will include only the Bishop, the confirmandi and their sponsors.
  4. Parishioners are not to hold hands during the Our Father, if that is the practice of the parish.
  5. Holy Water fonts are to remain emptied and sanitized.
  6. Make sure that handrails, restrooms and the tops of pews are properly disinfected and that hand sanitizer is available at all church entrances. Also, have hand sanitizers available near the sanctuary so that all Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and priest celebrants can purify their hands immediately before and after distributing the Eucharist.

In addition, I am recommending strongly that Pastors consider the following:

  1. Before the distribution of Holy Communion, suggest that your parishioners consider receiving the Host in their hands and not on the tongue. Also, you may want to encourage those who are feeling ill or those who may have come in contact with someone with flu-like symptoms or have come to know that they had contact with someone in the last 14 days who has subsequently developed flu-like symptoms to refrain entirely from receiving Holy Communion. Instead, as is the practice of the Church, one can make an Act of Spiritual Communion at the time others are receiving. (The Act, which can be offered for all those who have died or are suffering from Coronavirus, can be a simple prayer, such as, “My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.  Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.”)
  2. Consider postponing or cancelling non-liturgical, social events scheduled to take place in the immediate weeks ahead, especially those at which the elderly may be inclined to participate. As important and life-giving as some of these events can be for a parish or institution, looking out for the well-being of others is of primary concern.
  3. As people of faith, we want to place this entire crisis into the hands of the Lord. It is fitting, therefore, that the Universal Prayer at Masses include a petition to ask God’s mercy for those who have died from the Coronavirus, His healing for those suffering from it and His protection for all others against it.
  4. Remind your parishioners that if they are exhibiting flu-like or cold symptoms, they are not obliged to attend Sunday Mass. In fact, until there is more information about the Coronavirus and its spread, one should out of charity avoid public events if experiencing such symptoms. Also, the elderly and those with underlying physical conditions that would make them more susceptible to the Coronavirus are not obliged to attend Sunday Mass.

Thank you for your cooperation in implementing these measures.

 

I am afraid of getting shot

Recently two visiting Sacred Heart nuns from the Congo and Mexico who serve in Central Administration in Rome visited the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport on the St. Augustine campus in Bridgeport. They sought to understand the educational mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart worldwide and more closely in the tri-state area.

A young fourth-grader who had just left a refugee camp in the Congo to live with relatives in Bridgeport chatted away happily in Swahili with the sister from the Congo. Two seventh-graders spoke in English and Spanish with the sister from Mexico. It broke my heart.

They asked the students, “What are you afraid of?” The seventh-grade boy held a reflective pause then spoke. “I am afraid of getting shot.”

“My parents won’t let me go out much from the house because I can get shot. I love coming to this school because I am safe here. All the teachers know me and take care of me.”

We know from surveying our parents that one of the key reasons for coming to the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport is that their children are safe. And by “safe” they do not just mean physical safety, but the safety that comes from being love. Of being known by name.

Returning from Bridgeport to our community in Harlem where the visitors were staying, we reflected on the statement “I am afraid of getting shot.” The visitors commented that in another school in lower Fairfield County, when students were asked the same question, the answer was “Global Warming.” There is no judgment intended. But how can it be that schools 40 minutes apart in one of the finest states in the country, we can have such disparity, such structures of classism, race, separation and uneven economic realities that a child has to worry about being shot?

There is no blame game here. Not the fault of the police or the government or illegal guns or dysfunctional families, drugs, dropouts or addictions. Together we are all co-responsible for the inequity created by ZIP codes. We are not haunted by and kept up at night by the inequality of it all. Let us just remember that young boy: “I am afraid of getting shot.”

Sister Joan Magnetti is former executive director of the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport and former Headmistress of Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich. Originally appeared in the Connecticut Post.

Bishop Issues Statement About Coronavirus

Some have contacted the Diocese seeking directives related to the Coronavirus and asking about preventative action to avoid any potential spread of sickness, especially when people are gathered for worship. Therefore, effective today, I am asking all Pastors to take the following steps until concerns related to the Coronavirus have dissipated:

  1. Suspend offering the Precious Blood of Christ at all Masses. Be sure to have low-gluten hosts available for those who have an allergy and normally receive only the Precious Blood.
  2. Instead of shaking hands at the Sign of Peace, invite parishioners to use some other gesture (e.g., a nod of the head, a smile or a spoken greeting). Another option is to omit entirely the call to exchange the Sign of Peace.
  3. Ask parishioners not to hold hands during the Our Father, if that is the practice of the parish.
  4. Replace the Holy Water in the church more frequently and make sure that handrails, restrooms and the tops of pews are properly disinfected and that hand sanitizer is available at all church entrances.

Please remind your parishioners that if they are exhibiting flu-like symptoms, they are not obliged to attend Sunday Mass.

Also, please remember to pray for an end to this illness and to keep all those who have died from and who are adversely affected by the Coronavirus in your prayers.

Thank you for your cooperation in implementing these measures.

St. Catherine of Siena sponsors “Be The Good” Kindness Campaign

TRUMBULL—Families from the parish and school at St. Catherine of Siena in Trumbull are excited to participate in their second annual “Be The Good” kindness campaign this Lent.  Each family is asked to perform random acts of kindness out in the community between now and Easter. With each act of kindness, a kindness card is shared. The hope is that the recipient will then pass along the card, with their own act of kindness.

“With each kind act, we will not only spread goodness, but we hope that it will inspire others to pay it forward with their own kind acts,” says Lindsay Tristine, who is the parish’s Director of Religious Education and originator of this program.  If each kind act, done with love, is a moment that can change the world, then 5 acts of kindness for each of the 400 families in the program would mean 2,000 moments that can help change our community. And if the recipients of those kind acts pay it forward, the reach could go well beyond that.

Even the smallest acts of love can make a big difference. “It doesn’t matter what the act is, it’s the kindness behind it,” says Mrs. Tristine. “When we are kind to others, we never fully know the positive impact it can make. We may inspire hope in someone who was feeling hopeless and that can change the world for them. We are doing this during Lent because Lent is a special time to prepare ourselves for Easter, when we try our best to be who we were made to be.”

The name of the program is called “Be the Good” because, as Mrs. Tristine explains, “We are all called to ‘Be the Good’ in this world:  to be God’s eyes, ears, hands and feet to do good works and to spread His love.” It is no secret that the world today is in great need of God’s goodness. During Lent, we are going to spread goodness by doing simple acts of kindness for others in our community. We are going to take the time to be kind.

St. Catherine of Siena invites everyone to think about how they might “Be the Good” in their own families and communities. You might just be the inspiration of hope that someone needed, a reminder that it is good in the world.  And while you’re out and about this Lent, you might just be the recipient of an act of kindness. If that happens, pay it forward. After all, kindness is contagious.

(For information, please contact the Parish Office at 203.377.3133.)

The Parish of St. 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.

President of St. Joseph High School Receives Chief Executive Leadership Award

TRUMBULL, CT— St Joseph High School, southern Connecticut’s premier college preparatory school, announced today that The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) has selected Dr. William Fitzgerald, President, as the recipient of the Division I 2020 Chief Executive Leadership Award. Dr. Fitzgerald is one of a handful of high school Presidents to receive this award, traditionally given to leaders of colleges or universities.

“The value of a Catholic College Preparatory School is articulated through Dr. Fitzgerald’s every action,” remarked Jessica Costa, Director of Marketing and Enrollment Management at St Joseph High School. “Leading by example, he has advanced the academic rigor and moral refinement of our students and the community.”

Dr. Fitzgerald joined St Joseph High School as Head of School in 2008. In 2014, he navigated a visionary plan for an independent college preparatory school that solidified the school’s future. Complementing the focus on advanced academics and college-oriented programs, the school’s 57 acres soon took on the look of a college campus, including the multi-million dollar O’Keefe Media Center, new athletic fields, a Health and Wellness Center, the “Cup of Joe” Café, and an environmental classroom in our adjacent wetlands.

“Dr. Fitzgerald is an inspirational leader of a community that balances rigor with support, innovation with tradition and development with service,” stated Aimee Marcella, Director of Advancement, “as we near his retirement at the end of this academic year, the St Joseph community will celebrate his numerous contributions, guiding vision, and unfailing passion for educating our next generation of scholars.”

Dr. Fitz (as the students affectionately call him) leads through congeniality, transparency, and grace. His motto, “Together, for others” has encouraged a tradition of selfless service among our students and staff that has since extended to the global community. His enthusiasm for the mission and the vision of St Joseph High School is valued by those who work alongside him.

Prior to working in education, Dr. Fitzgerald worked in the publishing world. He holds a Bachelors’s in English from UMass, Amherst, a Master’s in Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School, and a Masters and Doctorate in Education from Boston College.

The Chief Executive Leadership Award honors institutional leaders for outstanding contributions to their campus communities, for efforts in promoting public understanding of education, and for support of advancement at their campuses. Nominees must have demonstrated the ability to increase their institution’s stature in the community and to establish a positive image for their institution while leading it to even higher levels of success. Dr. Fitzgerald will be recognized at the annual CASE District I Awards Luncheon on Thursday, March 12.

About St Joseph High School

St Joseph High School (SJHS) provides a learning environment that embraces the Gospel values of the Roman Catholic faith and promotes a commitment to family and community. SJHS prepares young women and men to realize their potential, helps them to excel in higher education, and provides a foundation to guide them throughout their lives. St Joseph High School is a member of NCEA, NAIS, NEAS&C.  www.sjcadets.org

Developing a Spirit of Sacrifice and Repentance

Bishop No Comments

As we prepare for the start of the discipline of Lent, the Ceremonial of Bishops reminds us of the nature of this special season:

“The annual observance of Lent is the special season for the ascent to the holy mountain of Easter. Through its twofold theme of repentance and baptism, the season of Lent disposes both the catechumens (i.e., those preparing to be baptized) and the faithful to celebrate the paschal mystery. Catechumens are led to the sacraments of initiation by means of the Rite of Election, the scrutinies and catechesis. The faithful, listening more intently to the Word of God and devoting themselves to prayer are prepared through a spirit of repentance to renew their baptismal promises.”

In other words, for those of us already baptized, Lent provides us a time to deepen our prayer and grow in a spirit of self-sacrifice so that when we come to Easter, we will celebrate the Death and Resurrection of Christ as the divine gift that gives our life its true meaning and the path to everlasting life.

How will you and I deepen your prayer this Lent? How will you and I develop a spirit of sacrifice and repentance?

We have the balance of this day to decide.

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

An Update from Teresian Towers and Carmel Ridge

Teresian Towers and Carmel Ridge is an independent senior living community, owned and managed by the Diocese of Bridgeport.  Located on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Center in Trumbull, residents age 60 and older enjoy the convenience, privacy, and peace of mind knowing maintenance is taken care of.

In addition, this unique community allows residents to attend daily Mass at the chapel on-site, within the same building as Teresian Towers.  The Dining Room at St. Joseph’s is also available to residents, as is their Salon, Manor Mart, Lounge, and activities such as BINGO and live music.

Weekly trips to the grocery store are provided, as well as many social activities such as monthly birthday and special occasion parties, games, speakers, and occasionally a craft event.  Residents have implemented some of their own activities as well such as a lunch club and gathering for Pinnacle or Rummikub.  Management will also resume occasional local outings for shopping, ice cream, the movie theater and the like.

Teresian Towers consists of 48 apartment homes, 20 one-bedroom units and 28 studio units. Carmel Ridge is comprised of 36 one and two-bedroom cottage-style homes, each with a bath and a half, an attached garage and patio.

All units in Teresian Towers and Carmel Ridge are for rent only.  A one year lease is offered initially, then becomes a month-to-month lease after the first year of residency.  This community is a market-rate community and is not subsidized.  St. Joseph’s Center is not owned by the Diocese, they are owned by Genesis Health Care.

If you would like to tour or learn more about Teresian Towers or Carmel Ridge, please contact the Management Office at 203-261-2229.  Hours are Monday – Friday, 8 – 4:30 pm.  Visit their website at www.teresianandcarmel.org.

Blessed Sacrament Church and the Order of Malta celebrate World Day of Prayer for the Sick

BRIDGEPORT—On February 11, Father Skip celebrated a beautiful Mass for World Day of Prayer for the Sick offering the Sacrament of the Sick to all in need. For the past six years, members of the Order of Malta and the Blessed Sacrament Church community have come together to pray, to heal and to build bonds of friendship through shared fellowship.

It is no coincidence that the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes sometimes falls on or near the World Day of Prayer for the Sick. Members from the Order of Malta have a deep devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes and make yearly pilgrimages with individuals seeking healings. During Mass, Lourdes water and hand-knotted rosaries were shared, prayer intension cards were collected to be hand-delivered to the Grotto in Lourdes France, the very site where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858.

It is beautiful to see people from Churches across the diocese come together at this Mass. We all worship but it is exciting to see the level of energy and enthusiasm at Blessed Sacrament Church when we do so together. The 11:30 am mass began with a procession of the children and youth attending the religious education programs earlier in the morning. The church was full and as soon as the youth entered the church and walked down the aisle you felt the energy and the joy. Young people give us hope! Smiles and greetings were shared. The Blessed Sacrament choir began to sing, and then the whole church began to sing. Father Skip gave a beautiful homily on the worth of all individuals especially the infirm and administered the Sacrament of the Sick. So many of us were in need and grateful. Following Communion, the choir sang from the soul, folks were clapping, swaying, rejoicing.

Father Skip invited everyone to a Jelly Roll Reception. This too is a tradition that follows Annual Spaghetti Dinner as the leftover “snowflake rolls” are smothered in butter and jelly for a special breakfast treat. Folks ate, socialized and told stories about their faith and their families. During the reception, two young ladies, Sabrina and Philomena, seniors at Kolbe Cathedral High School shared their experience on their recent summer pilgrimage to Lourdes. Both girls had life-changing experiences and want others to know what a special place Lourdes is and the messages Mary shared with Bernadette.

As one member from the Order of Malta stated “We take our intensions forward. We pray for our individual health, our community’s health, now with the threat of Coronavirus, world health. We also pray for numerous healings; that of our Catholic Church and that of our society. To do this with others is very powerful! We are grateful to Father Skip and the community for inviting us to join them in worship.”

Perhaps to summarize the day: may we all strive to celebrate the value in one another, especially the sick. May we strive to leave the comforts of our own parish community to reach out in fellowship to our brothers and sisters in nearby communities. Lent is nearly upon us!

La vittima d’amore to be performed at St. Mary Norwalk

NORWALK—St. Mary’s Church and the St. Cecilia Society are delighted to announce a special concert event on Friday, February 21, 2020 at 7 pm at St. Mary’s Church, 669 West Avenue in Norwalk, Connecticut.

The Academy of Sacred Drama is an artistic and intellectual community dedicated to the exploration of the forgotten cultural treasures of sacred dramatic music. The Academy’s 2019–2020 season features the work of Italian composer Antonio Gianettini (1648–1721), who was maestro di cappella at the court of the Duke of Modena. Gianettini was one of the most celebrated opera and oratorio composers of his time, whose name is now undeservedly overlooked. More information about the Academy’s season of concerts (performed in residency at Calvary–St. George’s Episcopal Church in New York City, as well as other churches in the metro area) can be found at sacreddrama.org.

La vittima d’amore, osia La morte di Cristo (“The Victim of Love: that is, The Death of Christ”) was written in 1690 and was one of Gianettini’s most popular works. It is an oratorio for three voices on the subject of the Passion, with a libretto by Francesco Torti (1658–1741). La vittima d’amore presents a conversation between Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and St. John that emphasizes the pain of Mary and John in accepting Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the universal implications of that sacrifice. The first half of the oratorio occurs prior to Christ’s crucifixion, and depicts Mary and John asking Jesus to let one of them take his place. The discussion around Christ’s refusal sheds light on the nature of his sacrifice. In the second half, Christ ascends to the cross, and his nature is described as victim, priest, altar, and God. The oratorio concludes with the biblical sequence of Christ’s final moments on the cross, and ends with a chorus of Angels.

Andrew Leslie Cooper (countertenor) sings the title role of Christ, with Madeline Healey (soprano) as the Virgin Mary and Corey Shotwell (tenor) as St. John. Choreographer Tony Lopresti collaborated with the Academy to add movement and gesture to the oratorio. Music director and violinist Jeremy Rhizor leads an ensemble of eight instrumentalists, including Lewis Baratz, recorder; Chloe Fedor, violin; Dan McCarthy, viola; Arnie Tanimoto, cello; Joshua Stauffer, theorbo; Marc Bellassai, harpsichord; and Parker Ramsay, organ. Fr. John Ringley, pastor of St. Mary’s Church, will give a short sermon between the two halves of the oratorio, as would have been done when it was originally performed.

The concert will be performed in St. Mary’s Church at 7 pm. Admission is free of charge, though donations will be gratefully accepted. All proceeds will benefit the sacred music program at St. Mary’s and make more concerts possible in the future.

For further information, please visit the St. Mary’s Church website at www.stmarynorwalk.net.

ABOUT SAINT MARY’S CHURCH

Saint Mary’s Church is a Roman Catholic Church within the Diocese of Bridgeport. Parishioners in this unique multi-ethnic community are united in their devotion to the Trinitarian God through aesthetically beautiful and reverent celebrations of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in three languages: English, Spanish and Latin. The Traditional Form of the Roman Rite lies at the heart of the parish’s liturgical life and its timeless essence infuses every Mass. The parish’s mission of evangelization through authentic liturgical renewal is enhanced by a sacred music program of rare caliber featuring the acclaimed St. Mary’s Schola Cantorum. Designed in Gothic Revival style and dedicated in 1870, this historic church was beautifully and lovingly renovated beginning in 2009 to support its essential and timely mission. For more information, please visit the parish’s website: www.stmarynorwalk.net.

St. Louis Jesuits to Perform at Fairfield University

Events No Comments

FAIRFIELD—”Here I Am, Lord,” “Be Not Afraid,” “Sing a New Song” — who doesn’t love these classic hymns that so many Catholics grew up with? After their final concert in St. Louis in September, three members of the St. Louis Jesuits decided to bring a smaller version of that program to a few different areas of the country.

“There were so many people that sent us their regrets that they just couldn’t manage the long travel from the East coast,” commented Dan Schutte. So he, Tim Manion and Roc O’Connor, SJ wanted to continue the SLJ legacy with a Coming Home Concert. This much-anticipated event will take place on Sunday, February 16 at 4 pm at the Quick Center for the Arts.

“The continuing legacy of the St. Louis Jesuits’ music is that it lives not in hymnals but in the hearts of people of faith,” said Schutte. “For all these years we’ve never imagined ourselves as performers but rather as servants of the people. At our concerts we always invite people to sing with us because the spotlight is on God, not on us,” he said.

The group will be joined by the choir and instrumentalists from St. Anthony of Padua in Fairfield.

“As we began to imagine where we might offer such an event, Fairfield became a perfect choice,” explains Schutte, who for the past eight years, has been invited to join the music ministry at St. Anthony of Padua Church for Holy Week. “Over those years Fr. John Baran and the staff became dear friends and I’ve truly come to consider St. Anthony’s my home parish,” says Schutte. “It’ll be such an honor to present this concert in partnership with them and be joined by their choir and musicians for this celebration of God’s love and grace.”

About the St. Louis Jesuits

The St. Louis Jesuits, “a companionship of composers,” as their website cheerfully proclaims, consists of Bob Dufford SJ, John Foley SJ, Tim Manion, Roc O’Connor SJ, and Dan Schutte.

When the men first arrived in St. Louis in 1970, they barely knew each other. Because of their love for Sacred Scripture and prayerful liturgy, they were brought together to become not just casual acquaintances but were drawn deeper into a companionship of friendship and support.

That was nearly fifty years ago. Since then their music has found a constant presence in the worship of the English-speaking church not only here in the United States but into the far corners of the world – Africa, Korea, Japan, Australia, Philippines, Guam, Argentina, Canada.

At their final “Coming Home” concert in St. Louis, the group, backed by the College Church Choir, performed many of their most beloved liturgical songs and hymns in the setting of St. Louis’ magnificent Powell Hall, just a few blocks from St. Louis University, St. Francis Xavier College Church, and the former Fusz Memorial (residence for Jesuit scholastics), where it all began over 40 years ago.

Proceeds from February’s concert will benefit the Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality of Fairfield University.

“The Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality is very excited to be a part of the reunion tour of the St. Louis Jesuits who have touched our hearts with their music for so many years,” says Director, Denis Donoghue, S.J.

(For more information visit: www.quickcenter.fairfield.edu or call the box office at: 203.254.4010.)