Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Celebrating Seven Years as the Bishop of Bridgeport

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My heart is filled with deep gratitude to the Lord and Our Lady as I look back on these last seven years in which I have had the privilege to serve as the Bishop of Bridgeport. Today I celebrate the blessings to to collaborate with wonderful and dedicated priests, a curial staff that is second to none, lay leaders who are faithful, generous and committed to the faith in a Diocese that is rich in beauty and diversity. My ministry continues to be a daily blessing and joy, despite the lingering challenges we continue to face as a Church.

As many of you know, today also would have been my mother’s birthday. If she had lived, mom would have been 88 years old today. It was her care and encouragement that nurtured my vocation to the priesthood. Since her death, I have asked her many times for help during these years and I know that she remains present to me in powerful ways, both in times of challenge and those of joy. I am grateful for her constant love and protection.

Finally, in the Office of Readings, Saint Augustine offers these words of admonition to anyone who holds an office in the Church. As always, he has given me much to reflect upon:

“The day I became a bishop, a burden was laid on my shoulders for which it will be no easy task to render an account. The honors I receive are for me an ever present cause of uneasiness. Indeed, it terrifies me to think that I could take more pleasure in the honor attached to my office, which is where its danger lies, than in your salvation which ought to be its fruit. This is why being set above you fills me with alarm, whereas being with you gives me comfort. Danger lies in the first; salvation in the second.”

If you see something, say something

BRIDGEPORT–In his weekly online Mass celebrated from the Catholic Center chapel Bishop Frank j. Caggiano said the need to speak the truth may often be seen as judgmental in our society, but if done in love, it can help lead others closer to God.

“In a politically correct world, actions cannot be judged… In the world of faith we give testimony to the truth so that our actions can lead us to heaven,” said the bishop in his Mass for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.

The bishop said we have an obligation to speak the truth to those whose behavior may be sinful, self-destructive, and harming others.

“It’s a lesson the world does not understand, particularly in our contemporary society. Many a person in our midst can’t make the distinction that if I disapprove of what you do, I disapprove of you,” he said, adding that people mistakenly think, “I do not care for you, welcome you, do not love you.”

However “Love demands I speak the truth because I love you and wish to do what is good for you,” he said.

Reflecting on the Gospel of Matthew 18: 15-20, 5 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother,” the bishop said that confronting a person is not rejecting them but trying to save them from behavior that separates them from the fullness of God’s love.

He said that in the second reading of the day (Romans 13:8-10) St. Paul reminds us that we are responsible for loving one another as we walk through the journey of life together.

“Because I wish the good for you, we must always in mercy correct one another when we have made choices that are destructive and sinful.”

In the early Church, followers set up a system of “fraternal correction” so that a person could be guided in love to step aside from actions that can hurt others and ultimately offend God, he said.

“It was created to love them, not to condemn them or judge them but to lead them to Christ,” yet we are often reluctant and “hesitate in our heart of hearts” to say anything.

“How often in our own lives, particularly among those we love, do we not challenge their actions because we do not wish to offend them or we fear they will walk away,” he said. “

The bishop said the gospel reminds us that love demands we speak the truth to those around us so they may find the way to walk toward their promise and destiny in Jesus Christ.

The bishop said that something said to him by one of his Jesuit teachers at Regis High School in Brooklyn has stayed with him his entire life.

“God will never love your sins, but will always love you,” his teacher said.

The bishop said the message is simple and profound. “God being love himself has irrevocably covenanted himself with us. He will always love us who are his temple. He will never walk away from you and I even when our sin offends His majesty and disobeys His will.”

He concluded his homily by noting that when he was serving as pastor at St. Dominic Parish in the Diocese of Brooklyn at the time of the 9/11 attacks, almost overnight a saying immediately came into use and to this day it is written on every subway car in New York City.

“If you see something, say something.”

“The challenge to think about this week is, when we see something in the life of someone we love that is destructive, sinful or leading them into harm, for the sake of love, for the sake of Jesus Christ our savior, are we willing to say something?”

Following Mass the bishop thanked all those who are participating in the online Rosary and the weekly “Conversation about Race,” to root out the sin of racism in the diocese.

Conversations about Race: The webinar series, features talks by teachers and pastoral ministers, began on July 30 will run through September 3. The talks are live-streamed at 1 pm each Thursday and then rebroadcast at 7 pm each evening, with a question and answer sessions moderated by a member of the diocesan ad hoc committee against racism. (To view a recording of previous webinars, visit this page and click “previous webinars: https://formationreimagined.org/events-home/.)

Bishop’s Online Mass: The Bishop’s Sunday Mass is released online every Sunday morning at 8 a.m. and available for replay throughout the day. To view the Bishop’s Sunday Mass, recorded and published weekly, click this link or visit the YouTube Mass Playlist.

Suffering is Essential to Discipleship

BRIDGEPORT—“Suffering is essential to discipleship,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said in his homily during Mass for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time.

“All discipleship is the emptying of ourselves so we can be filled with God’s love” rather than the prison of our own desires, he said.

In his weekly online Mass celebrated in the Catholic Center chapel, the bishop said suffering is not a good thing in itself, but it is an inevitable part of life and of the human condition.

“It comes through the frailty of time, the sins we commit, and the damage caused by others who sin against us and those around us.”

Suffering reminds us that “our rightful place is not at the center of our own life,” he said.

Rather, we must learn “to be His servant, to be cleaned from sin and to suffer well for the sake of love, for the sake of serving God in every moment of our life.”

The bishop said he often meditates on Matthew 16:21-27, “24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”

“My friends perhaps the easiest way to describe the philosophy (of the parable) is to put it this way, it’s either my way or no way.”

“My father believed that very much,” said the Bishop, recalling that as a teenager he often clashed with his father and resisted his wisdom because he did not want to follow his orders.

“When I was a teen and thought I was invincible and immortal and knew all things, and it was a recipe for fighting constantly.”

The bishop said looking back now he realizes that he missed his father’s deeper motivation to protect him and prepare him for suffering in his own life.

The bishop said his father was formed by the hardships of the life he lived in Italy as a young man, and “the suffering and challenges he lived in this country as an immigrant.”

Attempting to mold gospel values in others and in ourselves is not easily done, but it is the essential challenge of faith, the bishop said.

“It requires dying to one’s self, dying to what we may want to do– a lesson it took me a long time to learn, and some days I’m still learning it,” the bishop said, adding that only by putting obedience to God at the center of our lives are we set free.

“We can do it our way or God’s way. We must trust his love and that he will never abandon us. Even if sometimes he won’t give us answers to the questions we ask, he is walking quietly by our side. He only asks that we put our hand in his and allow him to take the lead.”

“Suffering is never easy, but it is essential to discipleship because in the end, it is not my will, but His will, not my way, but His way. How grateful I am to my father for helping me to understand that many years ago when I began the journey of my own life.”

The bishop said that the journey for Christ’s disciples is a process of learning that “doing things God’s way is not chaining us, it’s setting us free,” and that in addition to being re-created in Christ by our baptism, we are also freed by his death and resurrection.

Before giving the final blessing and leading the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, the bishop invited all to join in the “Conversation on Race,” and the online weekly recitation of the Rosary. He noted that more than 100 people form the core of the online Rosary family, which he hopes will continue to grow because “we need prayer to guide us in this time of uncertainty and challenge.”

Conversations about Race: The webinar series, features talks by teachers and pastoral ministers, began on July 30 will run through September 3. The talks are live-streamed at 1 pm each Thursday and then rebroadcast at 7 pm each evening, with a question and answer sessions moderated by a member of the diocesan ad hoc committee against racism. (To view a recording of previous webinars, visit this page and click “previous webinars: https://formationreimagined.org/events-home/.)

Bishop’s Online Mass: The Bishop’s Sunday Mass is released online every Sunday morning at 8 a.m. and available for replay throughout the day. To view the Bishop’s Sunday Mass, recorded and published weekly, click this link or visit the YouTube Mass Playlist.

Blessed Mother Offers Hope to a World Disfigured by Sin

BRIDGEPORT– “So perhaps today on the Solemnity of the Assumption, we can ask ourselves this question, ‘If I were to die today, what is it that I would bring before the judgement seat of God,” the Bishop asked in his online Mass.

The Bishop said Mary’s death and the Assumption give us hope in the resurrection and that our sins can be forgiven.

The Mass began with the sound of The Lourdes Hymn, “Immaculate Mary your praises we sing, you reign now in heaven with Jesus our King, Ave, Ave, Ave Maria” filling the tiny Catholic Center chapel.

In his homily the bishop celebrated the Blessed Mother’s Assumption into Heaven at the end of her earthly life by reflecting on the account of Mary’s visitation with Elizabeth, (Luke 1:39-56) 41” When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,42 cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

The bishop said Elizabeth was an older woman who could easily have died in childbirth, and Mary, though pregnant herself, responded to Elizabeth’s frailty and came to help her.

The bishop said that Mary was “singularly graced by God,” but fully human. However, unlike us, the Blessed Mother was free of sin because she always put God and others first in her life.

“What distinguishes us from Mary is her sinlessness. In her humanity throughout her life, she cooperated with these graces and made the free choice always to remain in the life of God. She did that by placing God first in the center of all she did,” he said, setting an example for us..

“She walked in his presence. She was the new Eve that brought the savior into the world, following in his footsteps and remaining sinless her entire life.”

He said we honor Mary and ask for her help “because you and I are in a different place. We are all sinners. We’ve all been disfigured by the sins of our past. Even though we have repented, the damage has been done to our neighbors, friends, the world and to ourselves.”

As a result our experience, many of us fear the unknown and the judgement that awaits us at the end of our lives, but we can ask for forgiveness and learn to live with hope, the bishop said.

“It’s never too late for you and I to put clear in our minds the purpose of our life is to get to heaven and to be with Our Lady and our Lord, to live lives that are self-blessed and find the joy Our Lady speaks of because we put God and our neighbor first.”

The bishop said while most people are not guilty of extraordinary mortal sins, every day and in a thousand different decisions, we are challenged by the need to put God and our neighbor first.

Our goal should be to “mold our live in the image of Jesus and walk in the footsteps of Our Lady,” the bishop said.

“We do not know the day or hour of our own death, but we can ask forgiveness for our sins, and we can go into that mystery with ever greater confidence that God’s love will see us, his mercy forgive us,” and like Mary we will one day we will be able to take our place in heaven.

Lyndy Toole, who provided the music and song for the Mass, sang “Hail Holy Queen” as the recessional after the bishop led the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Rosary for Healing and Peace: From now until Labor Day on Sundays and Tuesday at 7:30 pm, the Leadership Institute will continue to implore Our Lady to bring us healing and peace. Young people will lead the prayers on Tuesdays and adults will lead on Sunday evenings. To join, visit: https://formationreimagined.org/summer-sunday-rosary/

BISHOP’S ONLINE MASS: The Bishop’s Sunday Mass is released online every Sunday morning at 8 a.m. and available for replay throughout the day. To view the Bishop’s Sunday Mass, recorded and published weekly, click this link or visit the YouTube Mass Playlist.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

In my spiritual reading, I came across the following passage written by Saint John Henry Newman which speaks eloquently of what each of us must consider if we wish to evangelize the world around us:

“He who does one little deed of obedience, whether he denies himself some comfort or forgives an enemy, evinces more true faith than could be shown by the most fluent religious conversation or the most intimate knowledge of Scripture. Yet how many are there who sit still with folded hands, dreaming, thinking they have done everything, when they merely have had these good thoughts which will save no one.”

Given all the challenges that we face, it is time to unfold our hands and commit ourselves to living our faith in action that will speak far louder than any homily, presentation, workshop or video.

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.

We cannot stand silent before any form of hatred

As the nation reels from the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the protests and rioting that have followed, we must once again confront the evil of systemic racism, bigotry, and discrimination in our country.

As people of faith we are outraged to see a video in which an African American man is killed before our eyes—an incident that unfortunately has become all too familiar in the past few years. Such an act calls all people of conscience to work tirelessly for justice and to seek true change, which is badly needed in the face of a recurring pattern of violence that needs to be addressed on multiple institutional levels. The death of George Floyd is the latest wake-up call that we must answer with honesty and a spirit of dialogue and genuine conversion.

As Catholics, we value and defend every human life because every person is made in the image and likeness of God. As it is stated clearly in the USCCB Pastoral Letter against Racism, Open Wide Our Hearts, “As bishops, we unequivocally state that racism is a life issue.” This means that we are obligated to fearlessly proclaim the Church’s teachings that any ideology that advocates racism and bigotry is a grave sin against the dignity of the human person and the divine mandate to love our neighbor as ourselves. To live in any way contrary to this divine command is a betrayal of the Gospel.

It is also imperative that we condemn violence in all its forms as a moral betrayal of the Gospel. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.” As a nation, we must address the legitimate concerns being raised in protest and find peaceful ways to resolve them as quickly as we can.

Time and again, we are confronted with the sobering reality that although we have made significant strides in this country towards equality, that there are still significant societal structures that perpetuate racism. These structures must be reformed before any lasting healing and progress can occur.

The Truth of Jesus Christ has no room for racism, no tolerance for bigotry, and no place for hatred. You and I must courageously challenge people who perpetuate such hateful ideas. We must work to reform the structures that continue to repress our brothers and sisters. We must build bridges of mutual respect and trust in our society, so that we can move forward together as one family in Christ.

We cannot stand silent before any form of hatred, because to remain silent is to condone it.

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.

Our Common Moral Obligation to Protect Human Life

As our Diocese continues its second phase planning to reopen our church buildings for the public celebration of Mass, it may be helpful to recall the prime reason why the Diocese mandated that such public celebrations be temporarily suspended. Given all the misinformation that exists in the media, we must never forget that the decision was rooted in a commitment to remain faithful to a central tenet of our Catholic faith.

The grave reason that motivated the suspension of public Mass was our commitment to the central Catholic belief in the sanctity of every human life and our common moral obligation to protect human life. When it became clear that the passing of the COVID-19 virus often occurs by asymptomatic persons sharing regular human contact, time was needed to understand how such infections occur, the best ways to avoid passing the contagion, all the while maintaining as much of the public practice of the faith as was prudent and still protecting human life- especially the elderly and sick in our midst. In the last eight weeks, we have made much progress in this regard, allowing us to begin the resumption of public worship in a prudent and gradual manner.

More specifically, the decision was never based on any debate about whether our Catholic faith and its practice is “essential”. For anyone who believes, this issue is not debatable. The practice of our faith is at the heart of who we are. The Eucharist sustains our daily life and temporarily to suspend its public celebration could only be justified by a grave, moral cause. Recognizing the great pain that was caused by the suspension, our churches have remained open for private prayer, Eucharistic adoration and the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance. To be clear, the practice of our Catholic faith is essential and necessary for our personal salvation as revealed by our Savior and Redeemer.

The good news is that the celebration of public Mass has begun in our Diocese outdoors, in a manner that every health official considers the safest venue in which to congregate, following social distancing rules. While this is a first step forward, we are all anxious to be able to resume the public celebration of Masses in our churches as well. To this end, we will soon make a public announcement about how and when we can reopen our church buildings

I am grateful for your patience, prayers, and understanding during these difficult months. I very much understand and appreciate the great sorrow and loss felt by many. However, my friends, let us remember that our common sacrifice had one prime motive: to follow the mandate of the Lord of Life to protect, defend, and keep safe every human life.

For if we failed to protect human life during this pandemic, how can we ever hope to convert our society to end the culture of death and to recognize and protect every human life?

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.

Bearing Witness to Christ

BRIDGEPORT— The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord is the “beginning of a great commissioning to continue his work” on earth, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said in his homily for Ascension Thursday.

“Our work today is precisely to become a witness to him… and to bear witness to his risen life,” the bishop during the Mass, which was live-streamed from the Catholic Center chapel.

He began his homily recalling a moment when he was called to give testimony in a civil legal proceeding and admitted that he was nervous on the way to the courthouse. However, once he completed the oath with the words, “I do,” he remembered feeling relieved.

“Saying , “I do,” make me a sworn witness to the truth, and I had every intention of telling the truth,” he said, noting at as followers of Jesus, Catholics face the same challenge today.

“What does it mean to be a witness to Jesus leads us us into difficult task. For example, to witness Christ is to witness the truth, never mincing our words in proclaiming what is right and just,” he said.

After reading the Gospel of Matthew (28: 16-20), “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” the bishop said we face the same responsibility as the disciples.

“The Ascension reminds of us the task before us and that we are all sinners. How many times by the decisions we’ve made have we stopped to do good in the name of Jesus? And how many time have we lost opportunities to be forgiving, kind, patient or loving—times we failed to say, “I do” to Jesus.”

The bishop said we may be held back by doubts or ambiguous, unnamed attitudes that haunt our hearts and minds,” yet influence what we say and do.”

He urged the faithful to be up to the task of looking in the mirror and “routing these attitudes out if they are not of Christ.”

The bishop said that it is easy for people to become distracted, mesmerized or unaware, but like the disciples, people must be ready to do the work of sharing the good news of Christ.

“In this age in which we live many of us are easily distracted with our ordinary duties and responsibilities. We create a routine where we forget this commission to bear witness to his truth and life.”

Immediately following Mass, the bishop said that he has been praying for the health and well being of all families in the diocese and asked that the faithful also pray for him. He also invited all to join him in the online Rosary being said each evening at 7:30 pm throughout the month of May.

(To find the link to join the online Rosary, please visit www.formationreimagined.org/rosary-for-hope-and-healing. No computer? No problem. If you want to join by phone, call 646.558.8656 or 301.715.8592 and enter this ID number when prompted: 840 8707 1375)

Self-Giving Leads to an Untroubled Heart

BRIDGPEORT—“How do we un-trouble our hearts?” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano asked in his homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter.

In the live-streamed Mass from the Catholic Center chapel Bishop Caggiano reflected on the Gospel of John (14: 1-2) in which Jesus comforts his disciples who are confused and uncertain. Thomas asks him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”

Confessing that he is a “worrier,” the Bishop began his homily by nothing that the fear and uncertainty resulting from the pandemic have “caused many of us to have a troubled heart.”

“It is fair to say that given the terrible circumstances we are living, we are worried about the unknown, worried about employment and where the money will come from, worried about our health and our loved ones, worried about the elderly we love so dearly, and worried what the new normal will be.”

The Bishop said that even with the best of intentions we tend to get caught up in our own worries. We try to control things and have them our own way, but that only leads to more anxiety.

The Bishop said that the answer to soothing an un-troubled heart “is staring us right in the face.”

“Jesus says, I am the way, I am the path, I am the one who loves you more than you love yourself. I’m the one who has the answers. I can see the end of the journey while you cannot.

Jesus set the example, the Bishop said. “He did not occupy himself with his own desires and plans… It was all about trusting in the father.”

Emptying ourselves of our own concerns and being of service to others is a way to escape our own worries and do the will of the Lord, the Bishop said.

“The gospel encourages us to get out of ourselves. Jesus ‘s way was not to spend time on what I want, but what my neighbor needs. His entire ministry was directed to those around him,” the Bishop said, adding that he walked among the people and shared their lives.

“I would like to suggest that in times when we are consumed, when we are worried or anxious, the answer is to imitate Our Lord. To look into the faces of those around us, and busy ourselves with their needs and concerns.”

Jesus invites us to look into the faces of the people who share our lives, he said.

“Let’s ’s look at them right now and see in them the invitation of Christ, to give ourselves to them, and perhaps that’s the way to have an un-troubled heart.”

To join in the Bishop’s Sunday Mass, live-streamed weekly, click this link or visit the YouTube Mass Playlist.

Blessed Mother Brings Hope

BRIDGEPORT— “In this difficult time we turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and Queen of Peace, to ask that she intercede with her Son for all those who are affected in any way by this pandemic,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said on Friday as he began the Renewal of Consecration of the United States to Mary, Mother of the Church.

The bishop led the 20-minute prayer service, which was live-streamed from St. Augustine Cathedral at the same time that more than 195 dioceses also live-streamed the re-consecration service to the faithful across the country in an act of unity and prayer.

“As we renew the consecration of our country and of ourselves to the Mother of the God, we implore her maternal care for her children,” the bishop said to begin the service which included a Gospel reading and a brief homily.

The bishop began his homily by asking, “If April brings showers, what does May bring beside flowers?”

“The answer to that question is why we are here,” he said. ‘If showers bring flowers, then May brings hope to all of us, that fragile theological virtue and gift in this part of Spring where the final vestiges of Winter’s end and cold are replaced with a warmth that fills our minds and hearts with hope.”

“Flowers are not enough, so we come here to the house of our Father to turn to the one woman who is the perfect patron saint of hope,” said the bishop noting that “the beauty of flowers are only a small reminder of the beauty of creation and the far greater beauty of re-creation that awaits when we are brought into the presence of the Lord.”

“We come here to re-consecrate this great nation to Our Lady, to set ourselves aside, to strive for sacred life following her example but pleading for her intercession. She is a messenger of hope in a world that is suffering greatly. She is our protector as any good mother is. She will always be beside us.”

“In the time in which we are living, there is not a person among us who does not want to be reassured in hope,” he said.

Reflecting on the Gospel of John (19: 25-27) in which Jesus speaks to Mary at the foot of the Cross, the bishop said that the Blessed Mother is the great gift given to the entire Church by Jesus.

“If ever the world needs the promise of this month and the Lady we honor, it needs it now more than ever.”

After his homily the bishop asked those viewing the live-stream to join him in the fifth sorrowful mystery of the Rosary, the crucifixion and death of Our Lord.

He then led the Prayer of Renewal, which begins: “Most Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, you are the fairest fruit of God’s redeeming love; you sing of the Father’s mercy and accompany us with a mother’s love. In this time of pandemic we come to you, our sign of sure hope and comfort. Today we renew the act of consecration and entrustment carried out by those who have gone before us.”

The prayer asks God’s blessings on all those who have died, those who are suffering and the many caregivers who are serving the sick.

Every year, the Church seeks the special intercession of the Mother of God during the month of May. This year, Archbishop José Gomez, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged dioceses across the national to seek the assistance of Our Lady during the global pandemic.

In 1792, the first bishop of the United States, Bishop John Carroll, consecrated the nation to Mary under the title Immaculate Conception, and in 1846, the bishops unanimously chose Mary under that title as the patroness of the nation.

Jesus will walk with us

BRIDGEPORT—Reflecting on Luke’s account of Jesus appearing to two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, Bishop Caggiano said there are times in our lives when we’re lost, but the Lord will come and walk with us.

“You and I can understand at this very moment what the disciples were going through… being lost, and going nowhere without a clue about what tomorrow will bring. Our hearts are filled with anxiety, fear and doubt.”

In the Mass for the Third Sunday in Easter, live-streamed from the grotto-like Catholic Center chapel, the bishop said that Jesus walks with his people “through the sharing of scripture and the breaking of bread,” and shows them the way back when they are walking in the wrong direction.

He said that a visit to the Holy Land gave him a greater insight into the Gospel, when he learned that Emmaus means “nowhere,” and that scripture scholars are not certain of where the biblical Emmaus was.

In the Gospel, Jesus finds his two disciples disheartened and frightened after his crucifixion, and he simply accompanies them, though they do not recognize him.

However, in the encounter, “He turned them around, and allowed them to find place and mission,” the bishop said, urging people to pour out their hearts to Jesus in their hour of need, and to establish a relationship so they might always hear the truth.

The bishop said the “encounter with the Lord changes every part of our life when it happens,” and it is available to all those who believe.

“So we think we find ourselves lost and confused, but the Gospel teaches us to keep walking, to keep searching, and when we are at wits end or least expect it, we will turn and discover Jesus was with us every step of the way.”

In moments of doubt, the resurrection leads the way to a new awareness and of Christ’s love and a renewal of life, he said.

“What was once a fire reduced to embers will become burning blaze of love and allow us to go and reclaims the mission that is given to us, to be witnesses of his resurrection, that is alive with you and me. He has conquered sin, suffering and death. No matter what the challenge, we will have victory with him in this life and the life to come.”

Throughout the Mass for the Third Sunday in Easter Bishop Caggiano was accompanied in music and song by Lyndy Toole of Westport, a member of St. Luke’s Parish.

While the bishop has temporarily suspended the celebration of Holy Mass in the presence of the lay faithful, Bishop Caggiano and our priests are all still celebrating Mass every day. In many cases, these Masses are broadcast live or recorded and sent out to the faithful. You can find a complete list of our parishes streaming Mass below.

To learn more about live-streamed Masses, click this link: https://www.bridgeportdiocese.org/coronavirus/livestreamed-masses-and-prayers/ or Visit the YouTube Mass Playlist

Christ’s Victory is Absolute

Yesterday we celebrated the Octave of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday. It concludes an extraordinary week in the Church’s annual celebration of the Pascal Mystery of the Lord’s Resurrection. Let us consider its uniqueness and what it can teach us.

There are two interesting facts about the liturgy of last week that we can easily overlook. First, all the days of last week can be considered to be a single day. In other words, the one day of Easter extends over eight days in which to celebrate it! It is for this reason that each of these days is a Solemnity of the Lord, having precedence over every other celebration that would ordinarily fall on these days. In short, the importance of what happened on Easter morning is so great that it needs eight days in which to celebrate the single day of Easter.

It is also important to remember that the Easter season extends for 50 days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. During this season, 40 days after Easter Sunday, we celebrate the Lord’s Ascension into Heaven. It is an extended period of celebration in which we are asked to consider what it means to be a community of faith built upon the apostolic witness of the Lord’s death and Resurrection. Prominent in this reflection is the Acts of the Apostles, which is proclaimed as the First Reading of each Mass in this season. I highly recommend that a prayerful reflection upon this inspired book of Scripture written by Saint Luke can be a source of great spiritual fruitfulness for you and me.

Even though we are still observing a time of confinement in our homes, the joy of Easter is a gift that the Risen Lord still wishes to give us. His victory over sin, suffering, disease, and death is absolute and offered to us through His grace. Let us not lose our focus on the meaning of this season in the midst of our struggles, for by the Lord’s death and Resurrection, we have been set free.

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.

“Nothing can break the bonds of unity”

BRIDGEPORT—On a morning when hundreds of priest, deacons and religious and laity would normally gather for the blessing of oil and renewal of priestly vows, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano celebrated the Chrism Mass in the empty St. Augustine Cathedral as the Covid-19 crisis reaches its apex in Fairfield County.

“It is odd that I come to celebrate the Chrism Mass in an empty Church,” said the bishop of the unease and disconnect that many feel being unable to publicly gather for worship during Holy Week.

“You can say that our unity has been fractured, but the unity of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is more than physical proximity. The Holy Spirit draws us together in a way that transcends time and space. When we pray together, we are also here with all who came before us and no one and nothing could ever break that bond.’

More than 2,500 faithful watched the Mass, which was lived streamed on the diocesan website and Facebook page this morning at 10 am.

St. Augustine Cathedral pastor, Father Michael Novajosky and Father Alex Moronta, parochial vicar, assisted the bishop at the altar. No other priests were present.

St. Augustine choir master Dr. Sam Schmitt provided the solitary singing voice that filled the Cathedral with hymns, many of them in Latin, which has been sung at the liturgy for centuries.

In his homily the bishop noted that oil has been used throughout recorded history as source of energy, to heal wounds, and to anoint those who are chosen to serve God.

“We gather this Holy Thursday morning to do what the Church has done since its beginning—use oil as means for sanctification and blessing.”

The bishop moved from the main altar to bless the three oils used in sacraments throughout the year, “the oil of the sick for gravely ill and dying to receive the consolation of Christ in their hour of need; the oil of Catechumens that prepares our sisters and brothers awakened in faith to receive the fullness of God’s spirit; and those anointed in sacred chrism, who are not simply blessed but consecrated, so that the Holy Spirit can dwell within them and transform them.”

The bishop said that all believers who are consecrated in Baptism and Confirmation are drawn into the great unity of the Church, “made members of the Mystical Body of Christ and given the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.” They must become bearers of “glad tidings” to those who are suffering and isolated.

During the Mass the bishop also directly addressed priests and led the Renewal of Priestly Promises with Father Novajosky and Father Moronta providing the responses.

“Today we also rejoice that in midst there are those men called to be consecrated in Chrism so that they might become priests of Jesus Christ,” he said he remembered the oil placed on his hands during the gift of his own ordination when he was consecrated as a priest.

“I ask your prayer of all my brother priests throughout the Church and the world. It is not easy to serve as priest of Jesus in any age, perhaps this more than others. In this most difficult time, I wish to thank my brother priests for their humble and generous service. You have offered your life so that other may have greater life.”

The bishop asked priests not to give into small divisions and the temptation to “see differences as more important than what unites us.”

He said that the isolation that many people feel during the Covid-19 crisis may be an opportunity to reflect on how often have we take the presence of others for granted and fail to be attentive to them.

“Our minds and hearts are somewhere else when they’re with us. When we can be back together in worship and in song, and around the tables of our homes, let us rejoice in the gift that we are to one another.”

He said the great challenge for all believers is to appreciate that when we are consecrated in Baptism and become members of the Body of Christ, “a unity is formed that cannot and should not every be broken.”

“As the sun sets this evening, we will be completing the observance of Lent and beginning the Triduum. We will walk with Jesus to the Upper Room… Let us walk with hope and purpose so that we may be bearers of good tidings and the promise of life in Jesus Christ.”

The Oil of the Catechumens, the Oil of the Infirm and the Holy Chrism (a mixture of olive oil and balsam used in ordinations and confirmation), will be distributed to parishes at a later date.

At the end of the Chrism Mass, the Bishop invited all the faithful throughout the diocese to join him in the Triduum liturgies that will be live streamed on the diocesan website (www.bridgeportdiocese.com) beginning tonight with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7 pm.

We’re called to “Walk the Road to Calvary”

BRIDGEPORT—Thousands went on line yesterday for the live-streamed Palm Sunday Mass of the Lord’s Passion celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano at St. Augustine Cathedral, emptied of the faithful because of Covid-19 precautions.

In his homily the Bishop acknowledged the hardship many people feel because they were unable to receive palms, but urged people to

“This year we will live Holy Week in a very different way. We’re separated, but in that quiet isolation we will have the unique opportunity to spend time with Jesus, and allow his words to penetrate deeply into our hearts,” he said.

“Perhaps this year by not receiving palms, the choice is clear; our eyes will be fixed on the one who will free us, grant us recovery, grant us healing and lead us to an empty tomb and one day to everlasting life.

The bishop said that when Jesus “entered into the city of David,” many people misunderstood the source of his power and thought he would be a political liberator who would set them free of Caesar.

“Through his ministry Jesus reveals a Kingdom but not what this world would understand. His love led him freely to the road we are called to walk this week, the road to Calvary,” he said, nothing that true love is self-sacrifice for the good of others.

“This world does not understand that which Christ has come to bring, and in this time of great suffering , when so many of our sister sand brothers are afflicted, you and I can glimpse into the meaning of the Kingdom born on Calvary.”

The bishop praised the “heroic love” of doctors, nurses and rescue workers who are battling the Coronarvirus sacrificially, and “putting their lives at risk so that others may find healing and recovery.”

He also said that the women and men who are working on the front lines of grocery stores, gas stations and supermarkets are “the unspoken heroes who are risking their lives so that we may have food and drink in this time of crisis. They understand what Christ brought to Jerusalem and they are bringing it into our midst now as a sign of hope.”

The bishop said he hopes that palms will be distributed throughout the diocese, “if God wills,” on Pentecost Sunday, the last day of the Easter season, and they are a reminder to pursue the real Kingdom.

“We should remember what palms represent. All the palms will be burned to dust and ashes. However, what seems to be a defeat on Calvary is the true light an d life that will set us free.”

Because the faithful cannot gather in Church for Mass during the crisis, the bishop has invited all to join him online he celebratez Holy Week and Triduum liturgies from Saint Augustine Cathedral. All the liturgies will be live-streamed on the Diocesan website (www.bridgeportdiocese.com):

Chrism Mass: Thursday, April 9 at 10 am
Mass of the Lord’s Supper: Thursday, April 9 at 7 pm
Stations of the Cross: Friday, April 10 at 12 noon
The Passion of the Lord: Friday, April 10 at 3 pm
Easter Vigil in the Holy Night: Saturday, April 11 at 7 pm
Easter Sunday: Sunday, April 12 at 8 am

Bishop’s live-streamed Holy Week Schedule

BRIDGEPORT—Please join us for the first live-stream of Bishop Frank’s Holy Week liturgies.

Livestream of the Passion of the Lord
Join us live for Stations of the Cross
Holy Week Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Live-stream of this year’s Chrism Mass.


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As you are aware, I recently had to make the very difficult decision to suspend all public Masses during Holy Week, given the continuing spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the health restrictions requested by state and local authorities.

The inability for us to gather together in our parishes and for diocesan liturgies has been a great hardship and loss for priests and laity, particularly as we enter the most sacred and solemn mysteries of the Church during Holy Week and Easter. In that absence, I have urged all to deepen their private and family prayer and seek out ways to be in spiritual communion when we cannot receive the sacraments. The response throughout the diocese to Nine Days of Prayer, live-streamed Masses, and other resources has been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging.

For this reason, I invite you to join me online as I celebrate Holy Week and Triduum liturgies from Saint Augustine Cathedral. All the liturgies will be live-streamed on the Diocesan website (www.bridgeportdiocese.com). This is a wonderful opportunity to gather with me in prayer as we ask the Lord’s blessing during these trying times. The schedule is as follows:

Chrism Mass: Thursday, April 9 at 10 am
Mass of the Lord’s Supper: Thursday, April 9 at 7 pm
Stations of the Cross: Friday, April 10 at 12 noon
The Passion of the Lord: Friday, April 10 at 3 pm
Easter Vigil in the Holy Night: Saturday, April 11 at 7 pm
Easter Sunday: Sunday, April 12 at 8 am

During this period of “Eucharistic fast,” it is my hope that we will more than ever be united in solidarity with each other and the universal Church. Please know that I will continue to pray for you and your family. I also hope that you find consolation in knowing that your continued support for the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) has enabled core diocesan ministries to bring the mercy and love of the Church to so many during this crisis.

Knowing “that all things work for good for those who love God” (Rom. 8:28), we daily entrust ourselves to the care of the Lord and the protection of our Blessed Mother. At the same time, we eagerly await the day when the doors of our churches are open again and we are able to worship at Mass together in person.

May the Lord grant us the grace we need to persevere, to remain steadfast and to grow in faith, hope and love.

Sincerely yours in Christ,


Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano
Bishop of Bridgeport