Bishop Names Nine Territorial Deans for Leadership

BRIDGEPORT—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano presided over the installation of nine new Deans at the Chrism Mass held during Holy Week.

The new Deanery model replaces the former Vicariate structure related to the territorial organization of the diocese. The deaneries are designed to assist the bishop and priests in regional planning and decision-making, and improve collaboration between parishes.

During the service, the bishop also presided over the installation of the new deans. Msgr. Thomas Powers, vicar general of the diocese, called the new deans forward for a brief oath installation ceremony.

“May you become another sign of unity and fraternity in the diocese,” the bishop said as the new deans gathered around the altar for the installation oath.

The new deans include Deanery A: Father Peter Lynch; Deanery B: Father Thomas Lynch; Deanery C: Father Brian Gannon; Deanery D: Father Nicholas Cirillo; Deanery E: Msgr. Laurence Bronkiewicz; Deanery F: Father Thomas Thorne; Deanery G: Msgr. Walter Orlowski; Deanery H: Msgr. Kevin Royal; and Deanery I: Msgr. Alan Detscher.

Deanery A includes the 11 parishes and St. Margaret Shrine in Bridgeport; Deanery B, the eight parishes in Stratford and Shelton; Deanery C, the six parishes in Trumbull, Monroe, and Newtown; Deanery D, the 11 parishes in Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, New Fairfield and Sherman; Deanery E, the seven parishes in Wilton, Redding, Georgetown, Easton, Weston and Ridgefield; Deanery F, the nine parishes in Fairfield and Westport; Deanery G, the 10 parishes in New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk; Deanery H, the 12 parishes in Stamford; and Deanery I, the seven parishes in Greenwich and Riverside.

The bishop said the new deanery structure better corresponds to the territorial areas of the diocese and should foster “greater collaboration between parishes and renewed fraternity among clergy.”

The priests themselves had requested the reorganization. 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. The Deanery structure is designed to allow for greater 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.

On February 2, 2017, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the bishop signed the decree that replaced the six Vicariates with nine Deaneries, reconstituted the membership of the Presbyteral Council and replaced the Assignment Board with the Council of Deans. The new structure came into effect on April 11, the day before the Chrism Mass.

The membership of the Presbyteral Council will now also include the episcopal vicars for the African American, Haitian, Brazilian, Hispanic and Vietnamese communities. The Council of Deans will serve as a consultative body to the Bishop of Bridgeport regarding clergy assignments.