My dear sisters and brother, I think it would be expected and quite natural that, for any of us in our own individual professions or trades, that we would take great pride in what we do. And we make it our business to do it well and to learn as best we can how to be successful. Whether it’s a lawyer, a doctor, a plumber, or a fisherman.

So with that as perhaps the backdrop today we hear an absolutely extraordinary story. For today we hear that a fisherman who came from a family perhaps of many generations, who fished as a profession, took the advice of a carpenter. Very strange.

And yet my friends, in its strangeness there is a great lesson. For Simon Peter intuited that this Jesus with whom he was walking, with whom he was becoming to know and loving, was someone he could trust. And that he did not have to stand on his own self-sufficiency, his own skills and talents, his own history, nut he could literally trust him to do something new. And he yielded great fruit.

I would like to suggest to you, my friends, as we celebrate the Feast of Saint Patrick, our Patron patron of Ireland and also in the cathedral Parish, our co-patron since the church of Saint Patrick is part of our larger Cathedral family, that Patrick himself wishes to teach us the same lesson. Because Patrick’s life yielded great fruit precisely because he trusted in the Lord. For you know his story well. Having been enslaved he trusted enough in the Lord to go back to the country in which he was enslaved so that he could bear the message of Christ.

When confronting evil in the form of the snakes that he encountered, he trusted not to run away but to confront them. And he bore great fruit precisely because he was able to expel them and to create a soil that was worthy and ready to receive the faith. And Ireland has stood for centuries as a bulwark and foundation of our faith in Europe and way beyond. Patrick understood that in the end, there’s a fundamental choice to make. Do we trust in ourselves, perhaps those around us, alone, or do we trust in God’s providence, mercy and love? Patrick chose wisely and bore great fruit.

So today we ask ourselves a question. I ask you, of myself, I ask it of you. In whom do you trust? For many times in our lives, even those of us who are trying to follow the Lord as best we can, we are tempted to forget that those who walk in His footsteps need to trust Him even when it’s difficult. Even when it hurts.

For example, when our prayers are not answered or our prayers get an answer of ‘no’, in those moments of great trial, do we trust that God’s providence and love can see what we cannot see? That God loves us despite the answer ‘no’. Or do we rebel because we trust in ourselves to know better than God does? Or in our times of prosperity and success are we tempted to think that we are the authors of it? Or do we forget that it was only because of God’s providence in the Lord’s love and mercy that we’re able to accomplish anything in our lives, and everything that has eternal value.

You see my friends we live in a world not much different from Patrick’s. In a world that aspired to basically be one of subjection and power over others, a world that thought they were in charge. And they had to learn to the example of Patrick that a fruitful life finds its anchor in Jesus. Not in me, not in you, and not in us.

So my dear friends, we have much to celebrate today. And I know you’re off to the parade and to festivities, and since there is the dispensation enjoy whatever you plan to eat today on St Patrick’s Day. But in all that joy, please take a moment to reflect on the great lesson Patrick teaches us, following in the footsteps of Simon Peter. Let us ask ourselves the question: are we willing to trust in God’s love in providence, and please God we may answer the same way Patrick did, by saying yes.

BRIDGEPORT—Bishop Frank J Caggiano will be the principal celebrant for the St. Patrick’s Day Mass on Friday March 17, 8:30 am at St. Augustine Cathedral, 399 Washington Ave. in Bridgeport.  The Mass, sponsored by the St. Patrick’s Day Parade of Greater Bridgeport, will honor Peter Bellew, Billy Carroll, Ted Lovely, and Peg O’Connor.  All are invited to attend.

For more information about St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Bridgeport, visit:

By Kathy-Ann Gobin

STAMFORD – A provocative conversation and an invitation to reignite the Catholic faith through evangelization was led by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano during a meeting with readers, lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion in Stamford.

“It’s a path that will require tremendous patience from you and me,” Bishop Caggiano said to the hundreds gathered at the Mater Salvatoris College Preparatory School for the meeting. This was one of several meetings the Bishop is hosting in the diocese to kickstart revitalization efforts in parish communities, the Diocese of Bridgeport and beyond.

“We have not been able to pass on the faith effectively to the second generation, and we are on the cusp of the third,” he said, while thanking the attendees for their ministerial work and acknowledging that more must be done.

The bishop, who celebrates 10 years this fall as the leader of the Diocese of Bridgeport, is also leading a nationwide effort of the St. Paul Evangelization Society, in this quest to evangelize and bring people back to the Church.

“This is an urgent and critical issue,” Bishop Caggiano said. “I believe the challenge is far greater than anyone parish or individual.”

The bishop also acknowledged the Church has more work to do in its healing for those who have been hurt through the sex abuse scandal, or other missteps or potential misunderstandings. During the meeting, Bishop Caggiano shared many stories of his family life including how his own father did not go to church for years because of something a priest said, but did return to the Church shortly before Bishop Caggiano was ordained a priest.

“The ultimate place to encounter Christ is at Mass,” Bishop Caggiano said.

He said the Church’s revitalization will focus on being transformative by identifying one priority; a new culture in our faith that fosters a deep desire for Christ for the younger generations to embrace.

“The One” priority is to rebuild the faith-filled culture to effectively proclaim the Gospel and renewal and revitalization of our parishes and schools, which are the places of encounter and engagement that transform lives.

Part of that transformational change is underway with initiatives such as the Seton Collaborative, where efforts are being made to streamline processes in order to allow priests to minister and educators to teach.

The bishop said by improving efficiencies throughout the diocese, parishes and schools can afford to hire top talent and provide competitive incentives that allow people to work and live their faith within the diocese. His remarks were met with applause.

Bishop Caggiano challenged those gathered to search their hearts and reflect on their own lives to reveal, “When did you fall in love with Jesus?” and accompany others to do the same.

That question resonated with Fainole Zapata, a parishioner from Our Lady of Guadalupe in Danbury, who said she was very moved by the Bishop’s words and plans to be more in tune with her children’s faith-filled life journey.

“How will I help my son, my daughter, fall in love with God?” she asked

The bishop also encouraged those in attendance to start with their parish and arrange a meeting with readers, lectors and/or EMHCs to pray together or share a meal together to get to know each other better.

“One of those people could be the conduit of God’s grace in your life,” he said.

Jan Hebert of St. Mary Parish in Ridgefield agreed with the bishop that people need to sow the seeds that will help the faith flourish.

“I feel inspired that the Church wants to move forward,” Herbert said. “We do need each other. I don’t think people realize they need that but he’s right, we can’t do it alone. We are meant to be together.”

The Bishop said he hopes to continue these meetings next year, hosting one in each deanery in the diocese.

“I know in my heart of hearts this is what we should have been doing all along,” Bishop Caggiano said. “You and I are vessels the Lord will use to pass on the faith.”

My dear sisters and brothers in the Lord,

It’s interesting to recall that the great episode we hear in the Lord’s life today, in that moment when He was Transfigured in the Glory, glimpsing the Glory He has as God, that that episode has its own feast day in the life of the church: it is August 6th. And so it’s interesting that the same episode is always repeated every second Sunday in Lent. Perhaps in part because it has something important to teach us about what Lent means. But I would like to suggest it also can teach us a lesson about our lives in general that at times we forget.

There are two things we need to remember before we can answer that question. What is this lesson?

The first is at this point in Jesus’s Ministry, Jesus had already looked, placed His sights on going to Jerusalem. Peter had professed Him to be the Messiah. And Jesus then begins to turn His ministry and is walking towards Jerusalem because He knows what awaits Him; where you and I will celebrate in just a few weeks, where He will freely and willingly give His life over as the ultimate victory of Love over sin and death. He will show us the face of pure, genuine, divine love here in this cross, which we will commemorate in about five weeks.

The second is when Jesus chose the disciples, the apostles He wanted to accompany Him on this little side trip. He chose them purposely because consider what awaited them.

John, the only Apostle who would not abandon Jesus at the foot of the cross and to whom the Blessed Mother was given, imagined the suffering he endured to watch his beloved master and friend die before his very eyes. James, the leader of the Jerusalem Church, the first of the Apostles to be martyred infidelity to Jesus. And then there is Peter, who would have to undergo The Crucible of suffering in his weakness, betraying Jesus to his face, and then in the agony he endured to understand how frail and sinful he was, and to rediscover the power of God’s mercy.

Each had a path to suffering walking in the footsteps of the Lord.

So on the first level, the answer to the question is obvious; that is the Lord took them and reminds us that we are to be encouraged in times of suffering. That He’s always there even though we may not see His glory. His glory is there, His love is there, His power is there, even in the darkest moments of our lives, even in the most profound moments of suffering. Love will conquer all things. And he is love made flesh.

And we rejoice in the encouragement. But I think there is a deeper lesson, and it all comes from the natural instinct that the apostles had: to make a tent.

Strange isn’t it? Of course they were itinerants which meant they went from city to village and town to town. And I’m sure many a time they would make a tent precisely to remain in a place for a while. And what was the instinct, the impulse for the apostles was: this is great! We could see His power because His glory, we could see it on glimpse. So let’s stay a while. Let’s build some tents for Jesus, Moses, Elijah and we’ll stay too because this is what I really want.

And what does Jesus do? His Father says He is my beloved Son and Jesus says ‘let’s get up and keep walking.’

For the temptation in life, my friends, is to shy away from the sufferings we will have to endure to be faithful to Jesus. Our temptation in discipleship is to try to find the places where life continues, to go great and stay there.

But you and I know that if you and I are going to love, we are inevitably going to have to sacrifice. We know that there are times when we will have to take ourselves. There are times when we will have to suffer, to tell the truth, to challenge people, to love them with their true good in mind; not cheap love, not love the world wants, but the love that Jesus teaches us.

You see my friends, we don’t have to look for suffering in life; it will find us if we are faithful to Christ. And in those moments we have a choice to make. Either we remain faithful and keep walking, reminded, encouraged by Jesus, is there even when we don’t see His glory. But He is there with this strength and mercy. He’s the one who wipes away our tears. He’s the one who whispers encouragement in the bitter hours of the night when there’s no one there.

Perhaps (He) actually understands how deeply we are in pain. He is there at every moment, of every time, of every day in our deepest sufferings, if those sufferings are for love. And as a disciple we can never shy away from our journey to Calvary. And when we want to build a tent and be satisfied with some other cheap form of Glory, we are making a terrible mistake.

And that is why we are in Lent. So that we might together, as sisters and brothers, walk this journey that will be one of repentance, penance, abstinence, fasting and sacrifice. Not because the Lord wants us to suffer, but the Lord wants to teach us the true meaning of love. And encouraging us in His glory reminding us that when we are at Calvary, it is not the end, it is the beginning of our victory in Him.

So my dear friends, as we meditate on the Mystery of the Transfiguration, what do you choose to do? Build a tent, or keep walking?

BRIDGEPORT—Below is a decree from Bishop Caggiano regarding the dispensation of the obligation to abstain from meat on Friday, March 17.

Please note this dispensation is only granted for the Memorial of St. Patrick on March 17, because the celebration falls on a Friday this year.

17 III 2023 - St. Patrick's Day Dispensation Decree

Good morning everyone.

Allow me to begin by asking you a question. If the Lord Jesus appeared to you today and said, ‘I would grant you one request, one desire’, what would you ask for? Another way to ask that question is to say, at this point in your life, what is your deepest desire? What is it in the heart of hearts you have, that above all else, (you) do you need, desire, want?

It may sound almost like a silly exercise, but in fact it can help us to understand the extraordinary episode in Jesus’s life when he entered into the desert and allowed the father of evil to tempt Him. And it is, in the end, all about desire.

So we can begin by asking the question, why is it that the Lord went into the desert in the first place? And the scriptures, the Evangelist tells us it was in fact to allow the devil to be there to tempt Him. But we could also surmise there is another reason that points to the deepest desire in Jesus’s heart. Because He was preparing for His public ministry and the very fact that that ministry would be public would take Jesus to many different places and towns, seeing many different people. We often hear in the scriptures, He cured and preached all day into the night and would escape to the mountains to feed His deepest desire. For in the desert alone, stark, He could fulfill that desire to be one with His Father, to enjoy the communion He has always had from the beginning of creation, from the beginning of time, before there was time. The profound love He has for His Father and His Father with Him, even in His humanity. For the deepest desire of the Lord was always to be one with His Father and He always was one with Him, desiring Him above all else.

So when the father of evil came to tempt Him, he did for Jesus what he does for us; that he takes what appears to be somewhat of a legitimate desire and twists it, precisely because he is hoping that we would forget that the one desire you and I, in the base deepest part of our lives, must nurture every day, is the same deepest desire Jesus had; which is to be one with God and to allow God to be the foundation of our lives, and to have everything else in our lives flow from that.

So the father of evil takes the legitimate desire to have food and drink, particularly after 40 days. And yet he twists it to say to Jesus ‘but use Your divine power to do it’ so it’s an illegitimate use of power. And Jesus said no, because ‘I’m one with My father’. Or when He looks at the temptation of being at the parapet and saying ‘jump off because the angels will protect you’, we know God will protect us and certainly His Son, but it’s not a right – it’s a grace.

And so when we presume it again, and a legitimate desire that the father of evil twists, when we forget that God the Father is the source of all blessings and grace He gives even before we ask.

And then of course all the kingdoms of the world, it’s ironic my friends all the kingdoms of the world will worship Jesus. He is the Master and Savior of all things. And yet the father of evil twists it so that it becomes an end in itself. And Jesus says no. Because in His heart of hearts, all of His life is offered to His Father. And all the sovereignty that is given to Him is given back to His Father.

For you see my friends, the lesson is this; if we wish to have an ordered life, if we wish to have the legitimate desires that you and I have that are good, not to be twisted into something evil. If we wish to avoid sin in all its forms, we must always go back and ask the fundamental question: what role does God play in my life? For if He is not the foundation of my life, if He’s not the prism through which we order everything else, if we don’t always start with Him and end with Him, if we are tempted to do something other than that, my friends, we are going to get into trouble. And when you examine your conscience as I examine my conscience, and when you look your sin squarely in the face in the most brutal honesty you and I can muster, the roots of every one of those sins begins by forgetting who God is, what role He plays in my life. And we forget to trust Him for all the good desires we want for ourselves, for those whom we love, and for the whole world.

Jesus never forgot it. Sadly you and I do, and that is why we have the season of Lent.

So let me ask you one last time: if Jesus appeared to you today, what would you ask? For above all else, what is your deepest desire? Jesus knew the answer to that question. Do we?

My dear sisters and brothers in the Lord,

It has become commonplace in many different ways for us to be reminded, perhaps encouraged, even challenged, to take care of our good health. For it is a blessing that my mother always told me, money cannot buy. So we’re reminded to watch what we eat, to eat good, and host some food to moderate the amount that we eat. To cut back on our sugars, not to drink too much alcohol . We’re told to rest so that we could live the blessings of this life as much as possible, for it is a gift from God.

And so it is not uncommon, I think, that we run into people who are living wonderful lives in their 80s and 90s. And at Christ the King Parish two weeks ago I had a woman come up to me in spitting health at a 105 years old.

And yet for all our best efforts, today we’re reminded of a basic truth; when you come forward, you may hear the words: remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return. For as great as the blessing is of this human life, it cannot last forever. And today the Church reminds us of that, and asks us to consider a very important point. That for all the effort we make in keeping this human life healthy and strong, to receive its benefits and to enjoy its fruits, why is it that many times we forget to invest the same energy in a life promised us that will not last a hundred years, it will last forever?

For the simple truth is, as we begin this Lenten Journey, you and I together, is that we have not taken care of that spiritual health that will one day, with God’s Grace, lead(s) us to eternal life. At times we’ve taken it for granted. At times we have actually worked against it. For each time you and I have sinned, then we are hurting that spiritual life that is destined for eternal life.

So we claim to want to be with God and act as if something else is more important. So lent is this time of honest, brutal honesty, when we look ourselves in the mirror and we admit the fact that we have all sinned, perhaps at times seriously. And we come to the Lord being reminded that we will be ash one day. And on that day, present to Him the fullness of this life. And we come to Him seeking His mercy. For there’s not a sin God will not
forgive, if only we are sorry for them.

And He will grant us the grace and power of His holy spirit so that we can continue the journey of our lives and grow in health of spirit and soul, so that when we enter the mystery of death you and I may have a life offer to Him, that He will bless with everlasting glory.

And so just as the disciplines that we observe in our earthly life to keep healthy, so too there are disciplines in the spiritual life. And so on lent we’re reminded what are they prayer each day from the heart, food for the spirit and soul. There is nobody in this Church too busy not to be able to set time aside to pray, to speak with our Lord, and more
importantly to let Him speak to us. For that is food for the spirit.

And we are reminded that in this search for spiritual health. We are too fast; fast from the things that do not matter, fast from the things that in their equivalent value we can give to those who do not have. For a journey to eternal life is not just mine, it’s ours together. And so we are also reminded that in our journey of life, and in lent in particular, you and I are to are asked to give alms, which means to make our love real for the sick, the poor, the needy, the lonely, the discouraged, the unemployed, the immigrant, the refugee; whoever in our midst is in need.

And sometimes, my dear friends, the person in greatest need is the person who is sitting across from us at our own kitchen table. These disciplines, my friends, have existed in the church from the apostles. And we’re reminded as we begin this lenten journey that they are for you and me to take seriously. For what would we have gained if we lay it led a long healthy joyful human life, joyful in terms of what the world promises us. And when we enter into the mystery of death, we will have nothing to offer the Lord. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust; those words are the last earthly words spoken over many a person, who having died, is interred and buried in the soil of this earth.

today we are reminded, my friends, on Ash Wednesday that they are not meant to be the last words you and I hear; but rather, walking the spiritual journey, asking for the forgiveness of the Lord, seeking the power and Grace of the holy spirit. Let us pray that the last words we hear in this life will be the first words we hear in eternal life, when our Lord will look into our face with love and say ‘come good and faithful servant, receive the place I have reserved for you from the foundation of the world.’

BRIDGEPORT– In our society we are constantly encouraged to take care of our physical health, but we often overlook our spiritual wellbeing, said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in his homily for Ash Wednesday.

Also: click to view Bishop Caggiano’s homily in full

He said the beginning of Lent is a good time to take a “brutally honest look “ at ourselves in the mirror and assess what we do for our spiritual life.

During the Mass, which marks the formal beginning of the 40-day Lenten Season, the bishop, joined by deacons and priests, imposed ashes on the foreheads of the hundreds who turned out for the noon time service at St. Augustine Cathedral.

“Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return,” the Bishop said as people stepped forward—some carrying infants and young children, others taking time from work– to receive ashes after the Gospel reading.

Bishop Caggiano who spoke in front of the altar said it is important to remember that no matter how long or blessed a human life is, individual lives cannot last forever. On Ash Wednesday the Church reminds us of a greater gift, “the promise of Eternal Life and the fullness of the life that is to come.”

He said that In pursuit of the good life, we often “take our spiritual health for granted, and even work against it by not seeking forgiveness for our sins.”

However, “If we come to Him seeking His mercy. God will forgive anything,” he said, adding that we must work on the “health and spirit of the soul” throughout our lifetime journey.

Lent gives us that opportunity through three disciplines, “Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving”, the Bishop said, noting that these disciplines have existed in the Church since the days of the Apostles and they still provide a road map for the spiritual life.

He urged people to make time for prayer everyday—no matter how busy their lives– and to listen to what the Lord is saying to them.

Likewise, it is “important to fast from things that do not matter, and to give alms by helping the sick, poor, needy, lonely, unemployed, immigrant and refugee,” by making the compassion of Jesus real to them.

The bishop concluded his homily by asking what we gain in life if we enter into death’s mystery and have nothing to offer God.

“‘Ashes to ashes, dust to dust’ … are not meant to be the last words you and I hear. Let us pray that the last words that we hear in this life will be the first words we hear in eternal life, when our Lord says, ‘Come, good and faithful servant, receive the place I have reserved for you from the foundation of time.”

Photos by Amy Mortensen and Rose Brennan

My dear friends,

Today we are asked to reflect upon perhaps what is the most challenging of all the mandates the Lord Jesus gave His disciples, and gives you and me: we ought to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. Perhaps the one question, and only question we could ask ourselves today is, how? How do you and I actually (can) love our enemies?

To say that that was shocking to the hearers of Jesus would have been an understatement. Remember, in the first reading Leviticus it says to ‘love your neighbor as yourselves’. For devout Jews that meant something very specific; that my neighbor was a fellow devout Jew, one to whom I could expect reciprocity, good rapport and friendship. And so to love your neighbor was easy.

As you know in the Good Samaritan, Jesus challenged his listeners to say, well, your neighbor is more than just someone who shares your faith or observes the law. But it is those outside the law, the samaritan. And that was hard to hear. But nonetheless it was to love someone who, presumably, wished you good.

So now Jesus takes it to the very extreme, to love those who have no interest in us, do not wish us ill, do not wish us good, but, not even ill, but hate us, wish to harm us. How do you love them?

Well perhaps the tradition of the Church can help us to understand it and answer the question. Because you know my friends, in English we use the word ‘love’. But it means many different things. In the ancient languages they use different words to describe the different aspects of what love really means.

So for example, in Greek there are three forms of Love. There is first and foremost ‘eros’. (Eros) is the love that is the passionate love that a man and a woman can have for each other. Usually the basis of marriage is that deep, abiding passionate attraction. And of course love involves emotion.

And then this ‘agape’ which is the love that God has for Him in Himself and for the world. Total, complete, self-empting and self-giving. Something we can strive for, but because of our sins in this world we will not fully achieve.

And then there’s a third love, you have heard me often speak of it. It provides the clue. In Greek it is called ‘philia’ which in English we would simply say ‘friendship’. And we all have them in our lives. Those are the individuals that we don’t have necessarily an emotional attraction to, but one we choose to walk with. We choose to do their good, we choose to open our lives to, we choose to become transparent with despite their faults and failings, for none of us are perfect. And it is in that, that the key lies.

For my friends when, we think of those who have harmed us, deeply harmed us, deeply wounded us, the emotions we feel may never fully pass away. When we think of those individuals, what the Lord is asking is not to forget what they did to us, not to condone what they did for us, but to begin by choosing to forgive them. Which means to choose to give them another opportunity, to give them another chance, and to will to give them what they need so that they will not do again what they did the first time.

To love one’s enemy is to choose to do what is good for them, no matter what that good may be.

Those of you who are parents and grandparents know what I mean because when your children misbehave, you choose to correct them because you love them, even though your children don’t like it. You’re not harming them, you’re willing their good.

So consider those who have harmed us in an analogous way. That we choose to do their good which means we may choose to give them another opportunity. When the opportunity arise, we choose to tell them the truth of how they have hurt us. We give them, by choosing the opportunity to learn the qualities that they possess, or do not possess, so that they will not repeat it again. We choose to help them when they are in need even though our heart may tell us ‘keep going’. They are choices, choices. And choices to do their good.

That, my friends, is how you and I can love our enemy and do good to those who hate us. It’s not pleasant. It’s not easy. And at times we may fail. But the truth is, it is a command of God. And we heard in Leviticus that we are called to be holy. And the fullness of holiness cannot be achieved unless we love all, including those who have harmed us and wounded us.

And so we come here, to the altar of God. Because I know I can speak for myself when I say, when I take the heart, the very words I offer to you, I find it awfully difficult at times to love those who have betrayed me. But what you and I cannot do in love, He who is Love can do in you and me. And that is why we come here, to eat His body and drink His blood, so that God can do in *us*, in our will, what you and I cannot do alone.

Allow me to conclude by offering you a challenge. It is hard to believe, is it not, that Lent begins on Wednesday? We were just chatting in the Sacristy, it seems like we were just putting away our Christmas trees and now we are at the beginning of Lent. And I am sure, my dear friends, you have much already on your mind as to what you wish to do in Lent; the things you wish to give up, and the things you wish to do. Allow me to offer you one suggestion, in this Lent, in the category of things to do.

Is there somebody in your life, and mine, who has hurt you deeply? Is there someone in your life, or mine, that we have had real difficulty forgiving? How can you and I do their good this Lent? What is it that you and I can do for them, for their good? So that they might know
that we are on the road to forgiving them. And that they have another chance. For if you’re looking for a great challenge in Lent, perhaps that is the challenge for you and me.

For those of us that are old enough to remember the Baltimore catechism and the way it worked, which is by questions and answers, almost everyone who ever did that still remembers the very first two questions that were in the Baltimore catechism.

And that is the question “who made me?” And then the answer, of course, is “God made me”.

“And why did God make you?” And the very concise answer, but important: God made me to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this life, and so as to be happy with Him in heaven.

Pretty basic, and pretty much an amazingly concise version of what we’re all about. But I want to talk a little bit about the last part of that; that idea of being happy with God in heaven.

And it’s funny that nowadays, not many people…people certainly don’t want anything bad to happen…when they die, but you know, people don’t talk about heaven that much. “I want to go to heaven” – that idea that part of what I’m doing in this life is to live in a way that will enable me to be with God forever in heaven. And I don’t know why that is, but I want to.

It’s interesting to see how people have considered what that was like over the centuries. What is it? What is it like in heaven? And we know, of course, it’s not exactly a physical place but…it’s more of a state of being. And it has to do with being with God.

And some of the things I was presented with (as) a kid I must admit, I was told “well…when you die…and if you’re good and you go to heaven. You’re going to get to look at God forever.”

That, I must admit, I mean I want to be with God, but the idea of just looking at Him for all time didn’t exactly make me wild with anticipation.

In fact, I remember somebody telling me a story about when he was taught about…limbo in heaven and trying to explain limbo, the place where tradition said unbaptized babies…when his sister told him, “you know, limbo is a place of natural happiness, so when you’re there, you know, you’re not with God but…you know, you can run around and play and have a good time, and there’s good things to eat…” And he says, “but when you (if you) go to heaven you have supernatural happiness, which means you get to look at God all day.”

When he went home and he’s talking to his mother about what he learned, he said “I want to go to limbo when I die.” And that was because his idea had sounded much more attractive; to be having a good time (rather) than just staring at God. But…you know, we’ve seen things in film, and of course Dante famously wrote a whole part of his Divine Comedy about what heaven was like, but I think that all of that, you know, thinking “what is it going to be like?” Will it be kind of like this world, with all the stuff that’s bad missing? Will we be able to be with those we love? That’s (what) a lot of the scriptures seem to say.

Many of the images that are given for that time have to do with feasting. Isaiah says talks about rich food and choice wines. He even says “rich, juicy food”…that’s what we’ll share. This idea of a banquet, a party, and enjoying the love, and the love and care of all those around us. And you know, there have been some really dramatic versions that we see in film. That, you know, big beautiful waterfalls and gorgeous sunsets all the time.

But I would like to point out that Saint Paul has something to say about it. And what he says is actually quoting a part of Isaiah. He says “what eye has not seen, what ear has not heard, and what has not entered into the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love Him.”

What is Saint Paul saying? He’s saying, the best possible you can imagine about what it’s going to be like. You can spend a lot of time and come up with the most amazing place that you could possibly imagine. Saint Paul’s saying “not even close”. Not even close at all, the idea. And what an incredible thing for us to believe.

And what…helps us live the life as we live it, that idea that God…loves us so much that He’s prepared for us something we can’t even begin to grasp, because He’s so infinite and we’re so limited.

So I think we all…are here because we want to go to heaven too, and as we live our lives, we need to keep in mind what God intends for us; that life with Him forever maybe not staring at Him for all eternity, but sharing His love with Him and all those we love. That is something that we long for. But it means that we have to look at the way we live our lives. Because in a sense, our lives are rehearsal for that we need to (do) if we really, truly want to be with God forever in heaven. We have to know Him, love Him, and serve Him.

My dear friends in Christ,

From the earliest prophecies in the Old Testament, when they saw it, and looked and proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, almost inevitably it was linked with this notion of being light – that the Messiah would come as a light. For example, think of Isaiah, ‘a people who walked in darkness have seen a great light’. And even Simeon in the Temple, when he had the Messiah in his hands, spoke of Him as a Light to the Nations.

And so it comes as no surprise that Jesus Himself finally proclaims ‘I am the Light of the World’. And rightfully so, because our Lord and Savior comes to Enlighten our minds with the gift of the Holy Spirit, so that we may know the truth and proclaim it in word and witness. He comes in the grace of the Holy Spirit as light to warm our stony hearts, and to make them hearts of compassion and mercy and forgiveness, as we ask for forgiveness of our own sins to our merciful Father.

And the same Savior comes as light, light that draws power and energy to our hands, into our will, so that we might not just know the truth and have compassion for those around us, but to do the good, to do what the Lord did to follow in His footsteps. For after all, that is what it means to be a disciple; is to do what the Master did.

Now I remind you and me of this because today the Lord goes one more step. And He says ‘you are the Light of the World’. What does He mean? And what is He asking of us? And perhaps, my dear friends, something that we see every time we come to this beautiful cathedral of ours and almost every Catholic Church can teach us what the Lord is asking of us.

When I first came to the diocese and first walked into this Cathedral, what struck me more than anything else was the beautiful stained glass that we have that surrounds us. In fact, many times we may not even allude to their beauty in our midst. Recall, my my dear friends, stained glass arose in the life of the church to help those who could not read or write. To learn their faith so that they could see it in image and be able, with the movement of their heart, and the inquisitiveness of their mind, to begin to learn the mysteries of this who comes – this One who comes as the Light of the World.

But as you and I know, if we come to this Cathedral at night, we will see almost nothing in these windows. They are darkened. Because it is the light that goes through them that allows them to be what they were meant to be.

And when we look at them now, we do not ask, ‘well what’s the protective glass on the other side?’ We don’t think about who may have created them. We don’t even think about the paint that was part of them, or the pieces of glass that form them. We just see the Mysteries of Christ.

So my friends, what I’d like to suggest to you, is that we, the light of the world, ought to be like these panes of glass; so that the Light of Christ shines through us. So that when people see us, they do not see us, but they see the Lord alive and vibrant and inviting and asking for passion and compassion through us.

Because the light is not ours – it’s His. The grace is not ours, it’s His. In the good that we do unto eternal glory, is not ours – it’s His. But this is the challenge. None of us in this church perfectly acts like that glass. For we have walked in darkness. And at times we cling to the darkness. And to the extent that you and I live in that darkness, we cannot be the light of the world.

And so I ask you this coming week to reflect: where is it in your life and mine, that we still walk in darkness, where we are not truly the Light of Christ in the world? Allow me to give you some examples.

Is your mind clouded? Is mine clouded? Do we know the fullness of the truth and are we willing to speak it in word, and more importantly in witness, so that when people see us they are seeing the truth of Christ, the Light of the World?

Consider your heart and mine: who is it in your life that you refuse to forgive? Who is it for whom you hold a grudge? Who is it that you may have written off? Who is it for whom you have no patience, no tolerance? Who is it that you have said ‘I’ve done enough. I am done.’

If any of that applies to you or me, we are still walking in darkness. For the Lord, who is the Light of the World, came to enlighten every heart, to forgive every sin, for those who are sorry and to bring everyone willing to walk with Him unto eternal life. And if it was good enough for the Savior, who are we to think that it is not good enough for me and for you? So we walk in darkness.

And then, how many times in my life and yours we have sat at the kitchen table, or on our sofa, or in our recliner, or in our car, saying ‘I should have done X, I should have called Y, I should have written that note, I should have picked up the phone, I should have made this or that or the other.’ And my dear friends, that is walking in darkness.

Because those opportunities, those inspirations, were the light asking us to be His Light to those around us who was searching for Him. And when we failed to do that, we walked in darkness. So to be called the Light of the World is a grave responsibility. And so we come here to pray for the grace, that we may evermore scatter more and more of the darkness that haunts my life, and haunts your life. For why we may not be perfect, holiness is a stance of life that allows us to become ever more faithful to the Light of the World.

So Isaiah prophesied a people who walked in darkness, have seen a great light. But if the world does not see the light through you and me, the Light of Christ, from where will they see Him?

My dear friends in Christ, one of the very first lessons I learned in high school in debating club – the club that we had at Regis – was to make sure that you keep your thoughts in order when you debate, so that you can make your points clearly, and anticipate whatever the person with whom you are debating, anticipate his or her objections so that you can give a proper response.

And many a times I did not do that…and it wasn’t pretty, I must confess.

As we’ve all grown older we realize that order matters. Keeping our financial affairs in order is the difference between a comfortable life or a disaster. Keeping our human relationships in order allows us to grow in friendship, also in prudence. And even in the things of faith – you know, in as we worship, we worship in order – our processions have a particular order. Our faith, as beautiful as it is, is quite complicated in the articles in which we believe.

And so there is an order. That is why we have a catechism.

Now all of this perhaps you take for granted. But I must confess, it did not cross my mind until recently that the Beatitudes have a particular order, for a particular reason. For we could look at the Beatitudes as just a collage of virtues, thinking that ‘well I mean peacemaking, righteousness, all the rest…as long as we do all of them we’re in good shape’. But allow me to suggest another way to look at them.

Perhaps the order really does matter. And perhaps the first of the Beatitudes is the most important, without which, if you and I do not live it, we could not fully live all the rest. Perhaps the first Beatitude is the doorway to everything else in the spiritual life.

And if that premise is correct, then we have a fundamental question to ask today: what does it mean to be poor in spirit, for those who are poor in spirit will have the Kingdom of Heaven? And how do you and I live it in our ordinary lives?

Perhaps, my friends, the catechism itself can help us to answer that question. So you know the catechism is the compendium of all that we believe and it’s broken up into four basic sections. And the last section is about the spiritual life, and about prayer, and its importance in your life and mine. And it’s interesting; in one of the very first articles in that section, the Church describes us – all of us – as beggars before God.

See, God from the beginning of creation has been offering His life to those whom He loves, which is all creation or humanity. From the prophets, and ultimately culminating in the Lord Jesus. And He offers His life because we, made in His image and likeness, are poor. We’re empty. We are literally beggars. For we, in ourselves, have nothing of eternal value. But it all comes from God.

And when we recognize that basic fact, then we become ripe and ready to receive the gifts He wishes to give you and me in ordinary life, whatever that gift may be that the need that you and I have in any given moment.

You see, the great temptation that we still struggle with since our first parents is to dare to believe that we are not empty ourselves. That we are not beggars before God. That we can take care of ourselves. We have all that we need. So God is the icing on the cake.

The first Beatitude tells us that God *is* the cake. And without Him, we will starve.

And there are many in our midst, and at times even in my life and yours, that we were starving. Because we forgot what it meant to be poor in spirit. In our relationships with each other and God we call the virtue ‘humility’. One manifestation of this stance of poverty before God is to recognize our gifts and talents, recognize our faults and failings, to live in the truth of the moment of who we are and to recognize the truth: that with God, we have hope, life, grace, peace, a destiny, a mission. And we will have glory. And He asks us to be co-workers with Him.

But we can’t do it without surrendering to Him. We can’t open our hands to Him and our hearts to Him if we close them. We need to surrender and Trust in the profound love God has for us, and that’s the cost of discipleship. (The) cost is to surrender into that love and allow Him to lead us even when we do not know where we may be going, and we may not like where He is asking us to go.

That, my friends, is poverty of spirit. And Jesus makes the audacious claim that for those who struggle to be poor in spirit, they will inherit the kingdom of God. Because God will gladly give it to them.

And you, my dear friends, who stood up just a few moments ago as ambassadors of Christ – first of all I am grateful that you underwent the formation and your hearts are on fire to be his ambassadors – that is, his messengers, his representatives. And just like an ambassador in our secular world literally represents the country that she or he come from, so to you.

And you have learned in your formation that to be an ambassador doesn’t mean you have to do extraordinary things. It’s to live your Christian Life authentically and to have the courage to be able to present your life as a gift from the Lord Jesus, so that you allow Jesus to shine through you – with your wife or husband, children, or grandchildren, co-workers, fellow parishioners, and all those whom you meet of good will.

Allow me to suggest my friends, regardless for everything you have learned in formation, the key lesson I want you never to forget is that if you wish to be an effective ambassador of Jesus Christ, you, like me, must always strive to be poor in spirit. So that what we offer our neighbor is not our thoughts, our opinions, our whatever it may be what we think they should have; but we offer a window into Jesus Christ. And He will do the rest.

How do you develop poverty of spirit? Allow me to give you homework this week, my friends. Let us use this coming week to ask ourselves these questions. Look yourself in the mirror and say, how many times have you fallen into the trap or I have fallen into the trap to think that ‘I don’t need to pray today?’ But that is lacking poverty of spirit.

How many times have you and I in our lives fallen into the trap to think ‘I am a success, look what I achieved today’ forgetting that we could achieve zero without the power and Grace of the Holy Spirit. See, that is failure of poverty in spirit.

And the reverse – do you and I each day, when we get on our knees to pray in the morning, in the evening, or when you’re in the car, or on the train going to work, or in the gym, or on the treadmill – wherever you spend that quiet time with Christ – do you or I intentionally ask for the grace to surrender and to recognize that everything is a gift from Him? To recognize the basic fact that with Him we have everything and without Him we are lost?

My friends, consider those questions and the others that will come up in your own heart as you pray over this great gift. For it seems to me, discipleship is building a house worthy of the calling we have received. But if the foundation is not built on true poverty of spirit, how can we actually expect that the house we build with God’s grace will one day be worthy to receive the kingdom of heaven?

Bishop’s Sunday Mass: Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has begun celebrating Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral on Sundays at 8:30 am, and the faithful throughout the diocese are welcome to join him. For those who plan to attend in person, St. Augustine Cathedral is located at 399 Washington Avenue in Bridgeport. The live-stream will be available Sundays at 8:30 am on the St. Augustine Cathedral website (, while the replay will be available on the Diocese YouTube channel ( once Mass concludes.

So my dear friends, I believe it is an indisputable fact that physical life could not exist without light. I mean if the sun literally disappeared, the world would cease. It would become so cold nothing that lives could exist. And even in the natural world that we see, you know, you can notice that flowers and plants turn towards the light because it’s the light that allows them the photosynthesis to survive.

And even in our ordinary life, I mean, the last few weeks have been awfully gloomy, haven’t they? Lots of rain. And yet don’t our spirits perk up when the sun is shining? See, we’re physically created to respond to and welcome the light.

That may be true in the physical world. It is also true in the spiritual world, isn’t it?

Isaiah prophesied a people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Christmas allowed us to celebrate the Light coming into the world, and that Light is the Lord Jesus. And our spirits hunger for that Light because when we allow that Light to enter into our lives, He changes us.

For example, He comes as Light to our minds so that we might be able to understand the truths that really matter. The truths that only God can teach. The truths that allow us to journey life to our real destination, which is to share His very Divine Life and to live in glory forever.

Our spirits yearn for the Light because when you and I fall into the darkness of sin, we know we’re in a place we should not be. For while we could be lured into sin because of false promises or seeking self-gratification, or following the ways of the world, we end up more empty when we sin than when we first began. And so we long for a light that will lead us to a better way in the power of the Holy Spirit, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

And yet, my friends, as we gather today continuing our catechism on discipleship, we must recognize that if we seek the Light of Christ, it comes with a cost. And this week we need to contemplate whether or not you and I are willing to pay that cost. So you may say, Bishop, what ultimately does that mean?

So let’s go back to the physical world for a moment. When we welcome even the natural light, at times it hurts. C.S Lewis tells the story teaching in one of his classes, how, illustrating the cost of inviting the light, he reminded his college students that if you’re sleeping soundly in bed, enjoying yourself in the bliss of sleep, and someone walks in and turns the lights on, and it wakes you up. When you first open your eyes, what do you experience? It can be painful because your eyes need to welcome and adjust the light.

Now, he says the light is not the cause of the pain. You are, because you were not ready to see it, to receive it – see, this cost. So too my friends, in the spiritual life. For last week we recalled that discipleship is a work of the Holy Spirit and it’s aimed first and foremost to proclaim to the world that this Lord is Jesus, who today we recognize is the Light of the World. And so we must contemplate whether or not you and I are willing to pay the price to welcome Him.

So for example, if you and I are willing to have the Light of Christ enter our minds, are we willing to be humble and obedient? Are we willing to set aside our ego and our own opinions? Are we willing to be humble before the Lord and accept the truth as He has taught it? Not as we would like Him to teach us and to repeat the secular phrase to ‘accept the whole truth and nothing but the truth’. Are we willing to pay that price?

And so too my friends if we welcome the light into our spirits and souls, for it comes as fire to burn away our sins. And the truth is, there are some sins in your life and mind that we’re willing to give up, and there are others that perhaps not as easily. We cling to them in the darkness that we create. We compromise with God and say: I will do only this much, but do not ask me for the next step. We will make excuses for ourselves to say, well it ‘really wasn’t all that bad, people do far worse than that, Lord really, in the end, is not 96 percent enough?’

And the answer is ‘no’, it is not. It’s a hundred percent.

And that is why the grace of the Holy Spirit comes so that when the light enters into the darkness of my heart, and yours, we might have the power of God accompanying us to open ever more, the shades and the doors in the secrets of our hearts, so that we might dispel all of the darkness. So we may be truly recreated, one step, one day at a time.

That costs. That demand sacrifice. It can even be painful. But it is all for a greater good that brings true healing, true life, and true hope in your life and mine.

So allow me to suggest in this third week of ordinary time, when we hear the Prophet say ‘a people who walked in darkness have seen a great light’. And you and I come here to the House of our Father to ask for that light to come, allow me to ask you: are you and I willing to pay the price of what discipleship really means? So that the light may truly transform us – one day at a time.

Bishop’s Sunday Mass: Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has begun celebrating Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral on Sundays at 8:30 am, and the faithful throughout the diocese are welcome to join him. For those who plan to attend in person, St. Augustine Cathedral is located at 399 Washington Avenue in Bridgeport. The live-stream will be available Sundays at 8:30 am on the St. Augustine Cathedral website (, while the replay will be available on the Diocese YouTube channel ( once Mass concludes.

My dear friends, in these Sundays that are leading to the beginning of the season of Lent, the Church is giving us an opportunity to relearn, to remember what discipleship really means. And the scripture readings will give us, each Sunday, a different lesson.

But today we have the privilege to have two lessons at the hands of the master teacher Saint John the Evangelist. And as you heard from the Gospel, he relates to us the story of the baptism of the Lord Jesus in a very interesting way.

For unlike Saints Matthew, Mark, and Luke, John never says directly that Jesus is baptized – he implies it. Because his interest is not so much on telling the story the early christians already knew, but rather to begin to position them and prepare them for the response that the baptism asked.

And so where are these two lessons?

They come from John the Baptist, that enigmatic cousin of Jesus who preached a message of repentance, that did not apply to the Lord in the least. But when Jesus went into the waters of the Jordan to be baptized, John says that it is John the Baptist who recognized who he was, precisely because of the coming of the Holy Spirit literally in the form of a dove.

And that my dear friends are the two lessons.

The first, when Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit appeared – not for His sake but for our sake. For truly as He was the Son of God, the Eternal Word, He has and will ever forever have a communion with the Holy Spirit.

But in His humanity, the Spirit came because the Spirit is the bridge, my friends, between the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and you and me. For all that Christ was able to bring into the world, all the graces that He wishes to offer could not come to you or me without the Holy Spirit, precisely in your baptism and mine, when we become temples of the Holy Spirit; and if one could say the Spirit hovered over us so that we might become the children of God.

So what’s the first lesson? If you and I wish to be Disciples of Jesus, to go out into the world, we must remember that we can do nothing without His grace. That each day and every day of our lives, you and I must take the time to place ourselves before the power of the Holy Spirit and to ask for the strength to do what we could not do without Him. Particularly in this crazy world in which we live, where everything out there is guiding us, molding us, to walk away from the Lord who will give us the fortitude, the courage, and the strength; who will give us the wisdom and clarity of mind, who will allow us to be reassured when we’re suffering and opposed if not the Holy Spirit?

We oftentimes make the mistake to think that discipleship is in our hands, forgetting that before we even do a thing, it’s the Spirit that wishes to hover over us, to give us the grace that only Christ can give.

And what’s the second lesson?

John, having seen the Spirit, what does he do? He proclaims who Jesus is before He does anything. Behold the Lamb of God! The Lamb of God who, in the Old Testament, in the Covenant of our elders in faith, was the One to be sacrificed for the remission of sins.
Only God can forgive sins. So John saying Behold the Lamb of God, he is saying behold the One who can forgive sins. And only that could be God himself.

So the first act of discipleship, having received each day the grace of the Holy Spirit, is to proclaim who He is. And who is He to the world? Who is He to our families? Who is He for you or for me?

He is our savior, our master, our redeemer, the one who forgives your darkest secrets and mine, the one in whom we have hope of grace and joy, and has prepared a place for us beyond our wildest imagination in a life of perfect love that will never end. That is who we proclaim in word and in witness. And in the coming weeks we will have an opportunity each week to learn a bit more about what that witness in action is all about. But none of that will matter unless we are clear who it is that calls us into mission, and who it is to whom we owe our allegiance.

Allow me to end by simply reminding you, my friends, in about 20 minutes I will be at this altar and I will have the privilege to repeat the words of John the Baptist. Behold the Lamb of God! Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.

My friends, allow those words this coming week to sit in your mind and heart so that you and I may have the fire of the Holy Spirit burning ever more deeply for the work that the Lord asks us to do.

Bishop’s Sunday Mass: Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has begun celebrating Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral on Sundays at 8:30 am, and the faithful throughout the diocese are welcome to join him. For those who plan to attend in person, St. Augustine Cathedral is located at 399 Washington Avenue in Bridgeport. The live-stream will be available Sundays at 8:30 am on the St. Augustine Cathedral website (, while the replay will be available on the Diocese YouTube channel ( once Mass concludes.

Below are two decrees from Bishop Caggiano regarding the celebration of masses with collective intentions, and the assumption of governance in accord with canon 413.

Printable PDF: Decree Regarding the Celebration of Masses With Collective Intentions.


In order to ensure that the practice of celebrating Masses according to a collective intention is uniform throughout the Diocese of Bridgeport and consistent with the law, based on the instruction Mos iugiter, issued by the Congregation for Clergy in 1991, the following norms are to be followed by all priests who wish to celebrate a Mass with a collective intention.

1. According to canon 948, “separate Masses are to be applied for the intentions for which an individual offering, even if small, has been made and accepted.” Therefore, the priest who accepts the offering for a Mass for particular intention is bound ex iustitia to satisfy personally the obligation assumed or to commit it fulfillment to another priest, according to the conditions established by law.

2. It is permissible to celebrate a Mass in which multiple intentions can be satisfied in a single celebration of Mass according to a “collective” intention. if the following conditions are met: (1) the people making the offering have been previously explicitly informed and have freely consented to combining their offerings in a single offering,
(2) the day and time for the celebration of this Mass is clearly public and (3) there cannot be more than one such Mass celebrated each week, either on a weekday or Sunday in the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Regarding the stipends received for a Mass celebrated according to a collective intention, is licit for the celebrant to keep the amount of the offering established by the diocese. In terms of the Diocese of Bridgeport, this means that:

1. The celebrant may receive only $10 for each celebration of a collective Mass.

2. Further, the offering for each individual intention for a Mass celebrated in a “collective manner” is also $10.00.

For all offerings in excess of the amount given to the celebrant, pastors may choose one of three courses of action:

1. The annual amount exceeding the established offering for Masses celebrated in a “collective manner” can be sent to the Ordinary as specified in canon 951, par. 1, who will then supply them to the Propagation of the Faith for the celebration of Mass by priests in the missions.

2. The pastor may also send the annual amount exceeding the established offering for Masses celebrated in a “collective manner” to the Ordinary for distribution to retired priests and priests who are in non-parochial ministry in our own Diocese for the celebration of Mass.

3. The amount exceeding the established offering for Masses celebrated in a “collective manner” may also be set aside as restricted money to help defray annual costs associated with the care of the priests assigned to the parish. More specifically, costs related to the priest’s medical insurance and annual retirement assessment can be deferred in part by the money that remains undistributed to the celebrants from the celebration of Masses in a collective manner.

Any exception to the above provisions must be approved by me or my successor. I order that the provisions of this decree have firm and stable effect, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, even if worthy of special mention, and that they be promulgated as particular law by publication on the official diocesan website.

Furthermore, I order that the present provisions be duly communicated to all who are subject to them.

Given at the Catholic Center of Bridgeport on January 9, 2023.

Printable PDF: Decree Sede Vacante.


In accord with canon 412 regarding a sede impedita, I make the following provision in the event that I am impeded in the governance of the Diocese of Bridgeport: In accord with canon 413, I designate Very Reverend Robert M. Kinnally, Vicar General, to assume governance of the Diocese for the duration of the impediment as prescribed by canon 414.

In the instance of sede vacante, I designate the above named priest to assume the governance of the Diocese until the College of Consultors has legitimately elected a Diocesan Administrator as provided in canon 426.

These provisions are effective immediately and any provisions to the contrary are abrogated.

Given at Bridgeport on 9 January 2023, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.