BRIDGEPORT—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano is asking Catholics throughout the diocese for help in closing the $1.5 million gap between current Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) resources and the increasing needs of people as a result of the pandemic.
The bishop said in time of unprecedented crisis and much uncertainty going forward, the need for basic services and other outreach provided by the diocese has doubled and in some case tripled.
In a new letter and video the bishop urged those who have not yet given to the appeal to join in the effort to help the diocesan family, and he expressed his appreciation for all those who have already given.
“Over last six months we have seen so much need and suffering in our midst. Through your generosity the Church has been able to respond generously and in many ways, even heroically,” he said, adding that he expects more difficult months ahead and is working to ensure the diocese will be able to respond.
“We had hoped that by the Fall this would be behind us, but unfortunately that’s not the case,” he said.
“Love never fails” is the theme of the appeal. It is drawn from the words of St. Paul’s in Chapter 13 of his first letter to Corinthians, “So, these remain: faith, hope and love, these three; but the greatest of them is love.”
The bishop said pandemic has affected every aspect of life in the Church and the larger community and that the ongoing impact of the pandemic is affecting many people around the diocese—many who have need help for the first time in their lives.
“Suffering has taken its face in those around us,” said the bishop. “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,” he said.
The bishop has consistently urged the faithful to pray for all those who have passed away or who are suffering from the COVID-19 virus and to be mindful of all those whose lives are struggling.
“Countless people are relying on you and me that we do not fail—that we come to them to help feed, clothe and accompany them in fear; that we each out to the young people in our schools, and to all those suffering from the isolation. We can help them find hope.”
The bishop said that diocesan ministries funded by the Annual Catholic Appeal continue to provide “truly lifesaving” service that accompany all spiritually during the difficult journey of the pandemic.
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 have needed to address their acute anxiety and depression along with concerns for the future. Likewise Catholic schools have increased scholarship assistance and transitioned to distance learning concerns over the future; and our school students successfully transitioned to continue their education on-line.
The bishop said that the ACA works in big and small ways to support so many good works and services throughout the diocese including faith formation, charity and education—the programs and services people rely on when they have nowhere else to turn.
While there are many challenges ahead the bishop said he remains optimistic because he witness the great generosity of the people of the diocese—their sacrificial giving, volunteering and personal charitable acts, and the depth of their prayers during the crisis.
“Given the extraordinary circumstances and the hardships that many people are experiencing, the response to the appeal has been gratifying,” said Bishop Caggiano. “The diocese has pulled together as a family and have shown a generosity that has inspired me and made me proud.”
“What I’m asking is that if you haven’t given and you have the ability to make a gift, please step forward now to help us reach goal. When we look back on the pandemic, it will be a legacy and witness to the level of caring and compassion in our diocese,” he said.
(Please use the enclosed envelope to donate to this year’s appeal as generously as your means allow. If you prefer, you may 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.)
By Brian D. Wallace