Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Water is Life, but it is also Time

Bishop No Comments

My friends, people say “water is life,” and that’s true…but water is also time. Many children and women all around the world spend hours every day just getting water because there’s no access to clean water at home.

A simple water pump or water tank can change all of that. 13-year-old Elisa Niyobyose, pictured in this photo, knows this first hand. Catholic Relief Services worked with members of her community in Rwanda to build a water tank. She said, “I used to spend at least one hour to collect water from the neighboring village. Now it takes me about 15 minutes because this tank is in the center of our village.” Thanks to the water tank, more time for children like Elisa often means more opportunity to do other important things, like her studies. What a difference a simple thing like a water tank can make.

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

Statement of Bishop Frank J. Caggiano on Release of McCarrick Report

Today, the Holy See has published its report on the institutional knowledge and decision-making process related to former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, prepared by the Vatican Secretariat of State by mandate of Pope Francis.

The 460-page report will receive intensive review in the coming days, and I believe, based on the 12-page summary, that it will prove to be another important step forward in the Church’s long struggle to confront the crimes of sexual abuse by clergy including Bishops and Cardinals.

At this time, my thoughts and prayers are first and foremost with all victims and survivors of sexual abuse, especially those who suffered at the hands of the former Cardinal McCarrick. I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering that you and your families have endured.

I also wish to reiterate my fierce and enduring commitment to continue to address this crisis and attack this evil in our midst. Our Diocese is currently implementing the final recommendations from the Independent Accountability Investigation conducted by Judge Robert Holzberg, and I hope to issue an update soon. Early last week, I promulgated a new Safe Environment Handbook, which incorporates the Judge’s recommendations and can be found on the diocesan website: www.bridgeportdiocese.org.

Lastly, I am working with a team of dedicated and faithful survivors of sexual abuse, many of whom I am blessed to call friends, on this year’s Service on Hope and Healing, which I hope to share details on shortly.

We remain committed to Safe Environments through verifiable policies, practices, and oversight that safeguards all children and vulnerable adults. I pledge that we will continue to move forward together in the solidarity of faith, a commitment to absolute accountability and transparency, and in the spirit of hope, and we will renew the Church.

Radio: Saving Lives in the Central African Republic

Bishop No Comments

Each week, I look forward to recording my podcast, Let Me Be Frank with Veritas Catholic Network. Recording my podcast has helped reinforce in me an appreciation for how powerful the spoken word can be, which is why I so appreciate how people in the Central African Republic — a country literally in the middle of Africa — use radio as an important way to provide accurate and essential information to stop the spread of COVID-19. Catholic Relief Services, which has been in the Central African Republic since 1999, works with partners and radio programs there to dispel rumors about the disease. In a country where the internet isn’t widely available, radio is one of the best tools for fighting the spread of the virus by providing people with accurate information. It’s a simple and effective way of reaching millions of people, and saving lives.

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

Fear is best confronted when we are not alone

Bishop No Comments

I am most grateful to everyone who took the courageous step to describe many of their personal fears. As you can see, we share many of the same fears. I am most thankful to everyone who took this first step in confronting whatever fears you may have. Now the question is: What is the second step?

Naming our fears unmask their presence and power in our lives. Whatever we are afraid of is brought into the light, where for a brief glimpse we can see it for what it really is. In that brief moment, we know that our fears cannot harm us. However, fear will always try to find its way back into the shadows of our hearts, seeking to reassert its destructive and painful power over us. So, it seems to me that the second step in facing and overcoming fear is to find a trusted friend or guide to whom you or I can sit and, with confidence that we will be taken seriously, discuss the fear that threatens to overwhelm us. Fear is best confronted when we are not alone in trying to conquer it.

Most often a person with whom we will discuss our fears will not have a simple answer that will eliminate them. They may initially have little or no advice to give. Yet, it is their very comforting and reassuring presence, their commitment to be of help and their desire to accompany as we confront our fears is truly a great gift. Their presence can give us the reassurance we need to unmask the reasons for our fears and to explore ways by which we can learn to cope with them, and even overcome them.

Jesus always asked his disciples to go out into mission two by two. When you consider the obstacles a disciple faced and the fears those obstacles created, the Lord was already giving his disciples the first two steps to overcome those fears. My friends, the time has come that we starting opening our hearts with one another and to do the same.

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

Naming Our Fears

Bishop No Comments

Over these past seven months during which we have endured the deadly consequences of the Coronavirus in our midst, each of us has confronted a myriad of personal fears, some greater than others. For my part, I have feared for the health of my family, especially my great-niece and great-nephew- that they escape the clutches of this deadly, invisible invader. I fear for the long term health of our Church that continues to struggle to resume our common, ecclesial life under difficult circumstances. I am afraid that there will be a second wave of the pandemic, possibly condemning tens of thousands of innocent people to suffering and possible death. I also fear the long-term, unknown consequences of the virus in those who were infected and recovered, especially our young people, who now may be carrying a dormant virus that may cause damage in the future, in ways unknown to us, at a time of its choosing.

I have learned in my life that the first step in overcoming my fears is to have the courage to name them. By naming them, one by one, those fears exit the shadows of our lives where they can do the most harm and allows us, with the grace of God and the use of our reason, gifts, and talents, to forge ahead with a personal plan that will prevent those fears from overtaking our lives. Naming our fears also allows us to bring them to the feet of Jesus and to ask for His grace to overcome them.

What are your fears at this moment in your life? I invite you to share them with all who read this posting, so that together we can move ahead with God’s grace to confront and overcome them.

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

This is the Church’s love in action

Bishop No Comments
My friends, as you know, I have the honor and privilege to serve as the chairman of the Catholic Relief Services board of directors.
 
I am so grateful for this vital work the Church does to assist the poor, both in the United States and overseas. I would like to share with you an example of recently shared with me.
 

Low-income people around the world don’t typically have access to traditional banks, making it difficult to get loans or save money. CRS works side by side with low-income communities to create savings groups using a holistic, microfinance approach that provides a safe place for families to save and borrow to increase their income. It truly makes a difference in people’s lives, like Remy. Her house in the Philippines would sometimes flood up to her waist when there were heavy rains, but after she got a loan through her local CRS savings group, she was able to start a small business selling coconuts. The money she earned allowed her to raise the floor of her house, so now she doesn’t have to worry about flooding. This is the Church’s love in action.

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

Celebrating Seven Years as the Bishop of Bridgeport

Bishop No Comments

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.