Bishop Establishes New Deanery Structure

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has announced plans for a new Deanery structure to assist the bishop and priests in regional planning and decision making, and improve collaboration between parishes.

The bishop signed the decree establishing the new deanery structure for the Diocese of Bridgeport on February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The new structure comes into effect on April 11. The decree replaces the six Vicariates with nine Deaneries, reconstitutes the membership of the Presbyteral Council and replaces the Assignment Board with the Council of Deans. “I ask that you join me in prayerful gratitude for this important moment in the history of the diocese. Let us pray that this new deanery structure will, with the Lord’s grace, bring about greater fraternity among the clergy and help parishes to collaborate so that we can serve even more effectively the faithful under our care,” said the bishop in making the announcement.

Msgr. Thomas Powers said that in establishing the Deaneries, an effort was made to group them in relative proximity to allow easier access to the Office of Dean and allow deeper inter-parish partnership. At the general meeting of the presbyterate on April 21, 2016, the priests in attendance voted overwhelmingly in favor of establishing a committee to study the possibility of moving from a Vicariate structure to a Deanery structure. “Over the years, Vicariate meetings, while being an opportunity for priests to spend time together and share a meal, have become primarily information-sharing sessions. Today much
of that information can be disseminated through modern means of communication,” said Msgr. Powers.

The Deanery structure is designed to foster greater fraternal support among clergy, regional planning and accountability. Msgr. Powers said each Deanery takes into account the diversity of pastoral situations in a given region, improves the efficiency and collaboration of organized pastoral initiatives and better provides for the needs of a particular area of the diocese. The Deanery structure also fosters collaboration among parishes in order to share talent and resources.

As part of the new structure, the bishop will reconstitute the membership of the Presbyteral Council, a “senate” of clergy whose role is to advise the bishop in matters pertaining to the governance and spiritual good of the People of God of the local Church. The council will include the newly established deans, who will be recommended by priests in each area of the diocese. The membership of the Presbyteral Council will also include the Episcopal Vicars for the African American community, Haitian community, Brazilian community, Hispanic community and Vietnamese

The current Assignment Board will be replaced with the Council of Deans, which will serve as a consultative body to the Bishop of Bridgeport regarding clergy assignments. “The Deanery structure will enable parishes to serve the faithful of the diocese more effectively and, due to the presence of a Dean, provide fraternal and spiritual support for the priests, especially the newly-ordained, newly-appointed pastors and those who may be ill, elderly or in need of special assistance,” Msgr. Powers said.

    • Deanery A – 11 parishes and St. Margaret Shrine in Bridgeport
    • Deanery B – 8 parishes in Stratford and Shelton
    • Deanery C – 6 parishes in Trumbull, Monroe, and Newtown
    • Deanery C – 6 parishes in Trumbull, Monroe, and Newtown
    • Deanery D – 11 parishes in Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, New Fairfield and Sherman
    • Deanery E – 7 parishes in Wilton, Redding, Georgetown, Easton, Weston and Ridgefield
    • Deanery F – 9 parishes in Fairfield and Westport
    • Deanery G – 10 parishes in New Canaan, Darien and Norwalk
    • Deanery H – 12 parishes in Stamford
    • Deanery I – 7 parishes in Greenwich/Riverside

Each Deanery will eventually be named and dedicated under a Marian title taken from the Litany of Loreto. Priests throughout the diocese will be asked to nominate one to three pastors in their Deanery who could serve as Dean. The tabulation of votes will be sent to the bishop who, after reviewing the nominations, will appoint the nine new Deans. The process will be completed by the middle of March.