Bishop at Consecration Mass

More than 1,100 faithful throughout Fairfield County turned today out at St. Augustine Cathedral for the Special Mass to Consecrate the Diocese of Bridgeport to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

They sang and prayed in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Portuguese and Polish. They were young and old, residents of the cities and suburbs, individuals and entire families who joined in praise and worship. More than 50 members of the Diocese Youth Choir filled the historic cathedral with song beginning with “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy,” and concluding with the recessional, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” Priests heard an estimated 1,000 confessions in a large white tent set up outside the massive gray granite of the cathedral walls.

Throughout the afternoon people recited the rosary, said the Divine Mercy Chapel, sat for Eucharistic Adoration and offered silent prayer at the outdoor shrine under a crisp, crystalline sky. “This is a remarkable day of grace and blessing for the Diocese of Bridgeport,” the bishop said in thanking all those who attended. It was also a day called for by Bishop Caggiano on Saturday, May 19, 2015, at the conclusion of the Synod Celebration Mass when he entrusted the diocese to the protection of the Blessed Mother as it seeks change and renewal.

While 800 filled the Cathedral for the Mass and consecration, more than 350 watched through live streaming in the Kolbe Cathedral High School auditorium. After kneeling in the Cathedral for the consecration prayer, the bishop quickly processed over to the auditorium where the people greeted him with excited applause. The gathering then knelt on the tile floor at the bishop led them in the prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: “We proclaim today and ever day your full sovereignty over the Diocese of Bridgeport. We consecrate our diocese and our entire lives, actions, trials, joys and sufferings to Your Most Sacred Heart.”

In his homily the bishop said that most of us” live with divided hearts” that only God can heal, and that we are “drawn to false pleasures and promises that get us into trouble.” He said the consecration Mass gives people the chance “to open our hearts to Jesus and to be healed by Him. “Now is the time for a mediocre witness of Christ to come to an end. The world is dying for the truth and for a way to Christ. We wrestle with our own hearts when we are not what God wants us to be,” he said. “This is the day to open your hearts to him, to show him the division that needs to be healed,” he said. “We pray that he sets us on fire with his love and sets the world on fire.”

At the end of Mass, the bishop thanked Msgr. Thomas Powers, Vicar General of the Diocese, for leading the planning and preparation for the diocesan pilgrimage, which included fasting and a nine-day Novena. The Adoration reflection prior to the Mass was led by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, a founding member of the Franciscan Friars of Renewal, and a frequent guest on EWTN television. “We live in difficult and uncertain times. In the world there are threats of violence, terrorism and war In our country. there is political confusion and polarization,” Fr. Apostoli said. “When we are consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus whether as an individual, a diocese a religious order or nation, the Sacred Heart will bestow his love and graces in abundance.”

The Diocesan day of pilgrimage was inspired by Pope Francis who encouraged the faithful to consider a pilgrimage as an instrument of conversion. “The practice of pilgrimage has a special place in the Holy Year, because it represents the journey each of us makes in this life. Life itself is a pilgrimage, and the human being is a viator, a pilgrim travelling along the road,” he said.