“Become Believable Messengers”

BRIDGEPORT— Mercy is not simply teaching and preaching the truth, it is about becoming “believable messengers” who represent the living presence of God’s love in the world, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said at the Divine Mercy Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral on Sunday afternoon.

“We must become the presence of Christ in a broken and wounded world by standing with our sisters and brothers and making God’s love real to them in their hour of need,” the Bishop said to the hundreds who gathered at the Cathedral for the Mass and the offering up of the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

The Divine Mercy celebration was hosted by the Vietnamese community at its regularly scheduled Sunday afternoon Mass. The Bishop concelebrated the Mass with Father Augustine Nguyen, Episcopal Vicar for Vietnamese, other diocesan priests including the leaders of the diocesan seminaries and vocations program.

On a cold and rainy afternoon, the service began with the Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling of Holy Water.

“Water is the instrument of Mercy and the great gift that comes to us through Baptism,” said the Bishop before walking down the center aisle to sprinkle the Holy Water. “How blessed we are as recipients of the very Mercy of God who will cleanse us and purify us in this Easter season.”

In his homily the Bishop said that Thomas the Apostle may have been slow to believe the Resurrection, but he did not doubt the risen Lord when he saw him “face to face.”

He said that initially Thomas and the other disciples did not understand Christ’s sufferings, and were not prepared to be witnesses to the risen Lord. Thomas watched as the disciples ran and hid for fear or their lives, and bickered with each other.

“It would take 42 days until the fire of the Holy Spirit came upon them. Empowered in courage and on fire with the Spirit, they became messengers of God’s mercy and converted the entire world,” the Bishop said.

“We must become transparent and hope that others see Jesus face to face in you, in me, in us. That is the great gift of God’s mercy,” he said.

After his homily the Bishop presided over the admission of seminarian Jim Divasto to Candidacy for Holy Orders. Divasto will begin his theological studies in the Fall and hopes to be ordained in four and a half years.

“In this moment of crisis in the life of the Church, we are called now more than ever not just to be teachers of the truth. We must be men of integrity and beyond reproach in Christ. We must live what we believe so we become believable messengers in a world that doesn’t want to believe in God’s presence and does not believe the Church is credible,” he said.

Following Mass the bishop led the offering up the Divine Mercy Chaplet. “For the sake of his powerful Passion,” the Bishop repeatedly intoned. “Have mercy on us and on the whole world,” the faithful responded.

After the service, many stopped to say a prayer at the outdoor shrine donated by the Vietnamese community. A reception followed in the Kolbe Cathedral gymnasium.

Photos by Amy Mortensen