My dear friends in Christ, as our Christmas celebration comes to a close tomorrow, you and I, having celebrated for these last few weeks, the coming of the light into the darkness. Born in the poverty and silence of Bethlehem, the Church asks us to reflect on who this light truly is, so that we might be the messengers of glad tidings in a world that awaits His coming.

And so we celebrate the Mystery of the Epiphany.

Epiphany, in Greek my friends, means to “come to the light”. And so the Church asks us to sit before the light and reflect on who He really is. And there are three Epiphanies. Today we celebrate the first. With the coming of the Magi, the three great mystical Kings of the East who came following their right reason, but came to Bethlehem as a symbol that
all the nations of the earth are destined to kneel before this little child.

For the light came into the world to give hope to every human heart of every race, language, and nation. He came to give hope to saints and sinners. He came so that the day would come when all creation is healed, that every king, queen, president, nation, organization, institution, every country, continent, and land will kneel and acknowledge who He

And you and I come to kneel on this day in imitation of the three kings before the light of the world, to offer not gold, frankincense, and myrrh, the signs of His kingship, priesthood, and the fact that He would lay down His life. But to offer our lives to Him, that we might be faithful to Him and proclaim who He is: the hope of the world.

But He is more than that. For tomorrow, my friends, the Church will end the Christmas season celebrating the baptism of the Lord. For this child who came is God made man. He is the eternal Son who took on flesh so that you and I might become sons and daughters in His Father. For He came not just to give hope, not just to give a way of life, but to give
eternal life; to break the back of sin and death forever.

For that is what our hearts truly long for. We long for the fullness of joy and love and peace, which this world cannot fully give us.

And so in the moment of baptism, this is my beloved Son in which I am well pleased blessing the waters of the world so that they would be the sacrament (eventually) of baptism. You and I have the hope of eternal life in the light born in Bethlehem.

And lastly my dear friends, the third of the Epiphanies will be next Sunday. You and I will be here together again and will we hear the beautiful account of Jesus at Cana performing the first of his seven Great Miracles in the Gospel of John. In a banquet, in a wedding, reminding us of the Wedding Feast of Heaven – where what does He do? He takes water and miraculously makes it become wine so that, on the night before He died, He might take wine and miraculously make it His sacred body, blood, soul and divinity. So that the promise of eternal life may not be a distant promise but the light comes to dwell in your soul and mine, and feeds your spirit and mind so that you and I, each day, may have the strength to walk to eternal life in Him, the Mystery of the Epiphany.

Who is it that was born in Bethlehem, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the Son of God, Eternal Savior and Redeemer who has come as food to feed us unto eternal life?

Tuesday we begin ordinary life, ordinary time. So allow me to offer you something to reflect on this week. My friends, in your ordinary life and mine, do we have the courage to preach, to teach, and to witness in our actions who this little boy really is. Are we afraid to Proclaim Him as the King of Kings and the One to whom everyone owes their allegiance? Do you and I hesitate to proclaim to the world and in our actions that we believe that He is God? Not a prophet, not a guru, not a humanitarian, not a teacher of philosophy – He is God made man.

And when we come each Sunday, and each time we come to the altar, do we believe in our heart of hearts? And are we willing to proclaim out in that world that when we come here, in the mystery of grace, we meet Him – this King, this Lord, this Son in His body, blood, soul, and divinity so we might be the friends of the ones He came to befriend. The poor, sick, the lonely, those who are alone, those whom the world has discarded, those who live in the shadows.

My dear friends, the spirit of Christmas does not endure for only a few weeks of the year. The spirit of Christmas is to live in our hearts, always. And we know that to be true to the extent that you and I are willing to proclaim out there that the light has come: the King, Son and the Savior of us all.

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 is Bishop Caggiano’s decree regarding promulgation of the new priest personnel manual.

For a printable PDF, please click here to download.

The Most Rev. Frank J. Caggiano
By the Grace of God and the Authority of the Apostolic See
Bishop of Bridgeport
In the name of Our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

On January 1, 1983, my predecessor, the Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis, following the Third Synod of the Diocese of Bridgeport, published the Pastoral Book that contained all policies and procedures of the Diocese. Section 300 of the Pastoral Book was concerned with issues related to priests serving in the Diocese.

I promulgated a new Priest Personnel Manual for the Diocese of Bridgeport on May 31, 2017, which was to be observed for a period of one year. After further consultation, the current manual was completed and came into effect on August 22, 2019.

Now having taken into consideration additional modifications needed to address the changing circumstances that we have faced over the last few years, I the Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, the undersigned Fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, do hereby declare and decree that this Priest Personnel Manual shall be in effect for all priests serving in the Diocese of Bridgeport and assigned to pastoral ministry by me or my successors. All norms found in any subsequent revisions of the Pastoral Book of 1983, as well as the Manual promulgated on May 31, 2017 and on August 22, 2019 are superseded by this updated Priest Personnel Manual.

I order that the provisions of this manual have form 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, entering into force on January 1, 2023, the Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God. The contents of the present provisions will also be duly communicated to those subject to these provisions.

Bishop Caggiano’s Statement on the passing of Pope Benedict

This is the time for our diocese to unite in prayer for the repose of the soul of Pope Benedict XVI and for the entire Church on the loss of this great and holy man.

Pope Benedict will be remembered for his love of the Church, intellectual brilliance, and profound humility. We were blessed by his leadership as one of the great teachers of the Church in our own age. His work as a writer and theologian will continue to inform generations, and his example as our Holy Father is a legacy of reverence, kindness and compassion.

Many in our diocese and the greater New York area remember Pope Benedict’s 2008 visit to the United States, and the joyful pilgrimage they made to Yankee Stadium for the historic Mass with him. Throughout his brief but impactful papacy, he sought to heal wounds in the Church, to reach out and honor other faiths, to advocate for the poor and vulnerable across the globe, and to preach the eternal truths that govern our existence and lead us to Our Savior.

As priests throughout the Diocese of Bridgeport remember Pope Benedict XVI at Mass and in their prayers, I ask all to join in this moment of gratitude for his faithful leadership and to re-commit to the unity of the Church, which he so desired in his life and ministry. Even in his final suffering, he prayed to sustain the Church so that we may be one in Christ and in our loving witness to the dignity of all life. May God grant him eternal rest and let perpetual light shine upon him.

– Bishop Frank Caggiano (12/31/2022)

Bishop Caggiano will celebrate a Diocesan Mass for the Repose of the Soul of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Thursday, January 5, 2023 at 7:00 PM at Saint Matthew Church in Norwalk.

When we gather to celebrate Christmas this year, we will do so in the shadow of much darkness in our land and across the globe. In the past year we’ve seen a disturbing rise of violence internationally and in our own society, along with an unsettling resurgence of antisemitism, ethnic strife, and ideologies that divide us and set us against one another.

Pictured: Bishop Frank Caggiano, Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn, delivers the homily during Mass at St. Rose of Lima Church, Wednesday night, Dec. 14, 2022, in Newtown, Conn. The Mass marked the 10th anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. H John Voorhees III/Associated Press

As we’ve done since 2012, we also approach Christmas in somber and solemn memory of those 20 children and six educators who lost their lives just before Christmas 10 years ago in the evil and murderous violence of the Sandy Hook shootings.

We continue to struggle with the wound that was inflicted on us all that fateful day and is being inflicted again and again throughout this broken world. The senseless and cruel war in Ukraine and the gun violence, which now has become the leading cause of death of children in the United States, dim our sense of possibilities and security.

Yet, we need not simply look out to the headlines to be unsettled, but also into our own lives. As the pandemic nears its end, it seems that we are not filled with a sense of joy and relief; rather, judging by the behavior we witness on our roads, in stores and public places, we are more and more cross, impatient and confrontational with each other — perhaps a reflection of the trauma left by COVID and our own need for healing.

As we raise our voices to ask the Lord for peace, healing, and hope this Christmas, we must ask ourselves this question: “Where will this healing come from?”

In this season of gift giving, we should also ask ourselves what Jesus asked in the gospel of Saint John, when he encountered his very first disciples: “What are you looking for?”

The families of Newtown provide us with an answer. Soon after the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook, there was a spontaneous reaction of faith and hope that led to the creation of bumper stickers and banners that proclaimed, “We choose love.” It was a profound affirmation of the belief that love can heal, and bring hope by shining in the darkest hours of the night.

So we are looking for and asking our Lord for strength to persevere, for hope in the midst of suffering, and courage to always choose love. Those who wish to be healed must choose love first, and we believe the Shepherd of Love and the King of Glory will help us each and every step of the way.

Christmas teaches us to never lose hope. God has come into the world and taken on our suffering on the Cross. In our darkest hours when words fail, we have a God who knows what it means to suffer, to be a victim of violence, to be disdained and left alone. He knows what it’s like to be heartbroken. And in his glory and victory, he wants us to remember that he is never closer to any of us — no matter what the suffering is — than in those moments.

Might I suggest that we also find reason for hope in the amazing images sent back by the James Webb telescope, which seem to offer a glimpse into infinity. In that vastness, we are each bound in love and light to one another through the deliberate act of a loving God, who has given us the gift of existence and will not abandon us. We are here in this infinite cosmos, and our response should be awe and wonder, and gratitude that God has entered our lives. This is what we celebrate on Christmas and what unites us as people of faith.

As we conclude the Advent Season, which has prepared us for Christmas, the sky has grown to the darkest point for the entire year. You and I in faith proclaim that light was born in that darkness. A light born in Bethlehem. A light that no evil suffering, violence or pain will ever extinguish. This Christmas, we wish to share that light with all people in a spirit of compassion and hope.

The Most Rev. Frank J. Caggiano is the spiritual leader of 400,000 Catholics throughout the Diocese of Bridgeport, which encompasses Fairfield County. For information on the Diocese of Bridgeport, visit or its social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Originally Published at

Good morning everyone and Merry Christmas to you all. It feels like Christmas in here anyway.

I am sure my dear friends at this very relatively early hour of Christmas Day there are countless young children and perhaps those a bit older who are running to their Christmas trees to look at what Saint Nicholas and their loved ones have left them as gifts.

And of course that tradition, my dear friends, you know in this season comes from the three great gifts of the Magi; a feast we will celebrate in a few weeks with the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh offered to the Christ child to reveal Him to be priest prophet and the one who was born into the world, to die to give us life.

And yet, as beautiful as it is to have the tradition to leave gifts under the Christmas tree, it seems to me that it is a far more beautiful tradition to not just give gifts but to exchange gifts…to look (at) the person, greet the person, and give over the gift that you and I have purchased for them.

Because we all know how difficult it is to get the perfect gift. Because a gift says something about the giver and the receiver. For certainly the person to receive the gift, it is a sign of our love, our esteem, our affection, and we want it to be just right.

But it also says something about the giver and his or her generosity and desire to lift the person; to grant them not just their material goods but a share of happiness and joy. Because the gift represents the love that you and I have in our hearts for the person before us.

The exchange of gifts is a beautiful gesture and it is the reason we come here this morning with joy in our hearts. For my dear friends, we have come here to celebrate the birth of a gift who is our Savior and Redeemer.

But we also come here to remember that He came into the world to exchange a gift. And that exchange is the source of our redemption.

For consider my friends, St. John says: and the word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. Literally, He pitched His tent in our world.

For Jesus was offering to us and all who believe in Him a great gift: a share in His divine life and glory, a place in heaven where we could have the fullness of what it means to be human.

But He is also accepting a gift from you and me, and all who share humanity. For we gave Him our broken lives, our lives that are marred, our lives that are burdened, our lives at times that are broken. And the child accepted the gift joyfully.

Christ gave us His divinity so that we might grant to Him His humanity, our humanity, and all of what needed to be healed.

My friends, consider how much God loves us to empty Himself of His glory and power; to receive such a fragile gift and to accept it with His fullness of love and joy.

To put it simply my friends on Christmas, Christ became poor by what we gave Him, so that you and I might be rich by what He gave us.

That is why, my friends, when you come to this creche and kneel before it, remember how much the Giver loves us in the gift He has given us this day.

But allow me to offer you a challenge; for Christmas for Christians is not just celebrated one day of the year. We celebrate the exchange of gifts every day of the year.

For Christ offers us His life and His love, His joy, and a share in His divinity every moment of every day. Most especially, we become here to His altar to receive His body and blood, soul and divinity. And so He offers us His riches so that what might we do; we might lift up the poverty of those around us, try to heal in our own way the brokenness of those whom we meet.

For my dear friends, you and I come here to be strengthened with the gift of Christ’s life so that we might go out into that world and meet those who have not yet met Him, who do not know the love that you and I know in Him.

We go out in word and action so that those who we will meet, who will be very poor, lonely, sick, afraid, hopeless, looking for just simply someone who they can turn to you. And I will go out into that world and exchange gifts with them a share of the life Christ has given us. And accept back from them their loneliness with friendship, their tears with a smile, their empty hand with our hand in their hands, to let them know that they are not alone.

That is the great challenge of Christmas. And it seems to me my friends, as we leave this church to celebrate the rest of this day with our families and with our friends, perhaps to exchange more gifts, and to share a meal which is the Bounty of the Lord, let us remember that we must keep giving. We must keep exchanging until the miracle of Christmas brings us all home to the glory of everlasting life.

My friends, may you have the merriest of Christmases and may God bless you and your families all the days of your lives, through Christ Our Lord, amen.

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.

“As we navigate a world that often challenges our sensibilities, our longing for a peaceful world—and even the Truth, Christ comes at Christmas to bring light to our darkness and hope born of love from God. That the Savior comes to us as one like us in all things but sin truly speaks to God’s enduring love for us.

How life-giving it is to know that Christ accompanies us as God-made-Man through all the joys and sorrows of life. While we may experience restlessness, uncertainty, and even despair at “the way things are,” we must be consoled by the truth that Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. If we pray and live that truth and know also that we are deeply loved by God, we have what we need to face whatever comes our way.

Who would have ever thought that a baby born in Bethlehem would bring the world to its knees in a quiet moment of wonder and awe on a winter’s night? God did. This Christmas I pray that you and your loved ones may have the privilege of rediscovering how much God loved the world by sending his only begotten son.

I will remember you and your intentions at all of my Christmas Masses, and I will pray that you experience more deeply this Christmas the abiding love of God the Father and of His Son, Jesus.

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.”

— Bishop Frank J. Caggiano

Now that Christmas is fast approaching, I’m sure all of us have memories of how Christmas was celebrated when we were young in our own lives.

I myself have many fond memories of large gatherings when the Caggiano clan would come together, aunts and uncles, cousins sharing a meal, celebrating the joy of the season.

And inevitably when we gather together as a family, as you could imagine, our conversations went here and there and everywhere – and always to some or another controversial issue.

And as a little boy I remember one of my aunts – it always changed who – would always say the same thing. When the topic came up she would say “but what will the people say? They’ll talk.” And the conversation ended.

It was almost as if that was the death knell to whatever was being discussed, that could raise any hint of disapproval or worse.

For the longest time growing up I wondered to myself, well, who are “these people” that are talking? Growing up in the middle of Brooklyn, who were these people?

But as I grew older I began to understand that my aunts and uncles, who all were raised, as my parents, in a very small village – no more than 2,000 people – I knew who “the people” were…who they meant and what they were afraid of.

Because in a small village, if you lose the respect of the people around you, if you lose the esteem of your neighbors, your entire life can be upended.

My friends, we need to remember that when we hear the words of the Gospel today and the extraordinary heroism of Saint Joseph. For we must remember that the cities of the time of Jesus were very small villages. And everyone knew everyone else (in affect), and therefore imagine the pressure on Joseph, having heard that Mary was with child – a child that was not his – and the fear the trepidation of what the people would say.

Now that is not inconsequential. Because if you lose the respect of your neighbors, you also lose their business, and suddenly it’s not just esteem but it’s your very livelihood that can be threatened.

And so there was Joseph, convinced in his love for Mary, to leave her in a quiet way so that there would be no big hoopla. But nonetheless, with all the pressures around him…imagine, my friends, the courage it took for Joseph, hearing the voice of the Lord, to say “yes”.

Despite the fact that his family could turn their back on him, despite the fact the fact that his neighbors would ostracize him, despite the fact that it could actually cost him his job, his livelihood, his standing – he said yes, regardless of the sacrifice.

And as we know from Joseph, the man did not utter a single word in sacred scripture, that we see. That Jesus learned how to read and write from Joseph. He learned His prayers from Joseph. He went to synagogue every Sabbath with Joseph.

Joseph faithfully, devoutly, daily lived his “yes” that he made to the angel Gabriel in the dream, when he got up and obeyed what was asked, regardless of what his family thought, his neighbors thought, what society thought. Whether he was rich or poor, it made no difference. He was faithful to God’s will to the end. An end that even you and I do not know when and how it happened.

On this fourth Sunday in Advent then, my friends, allow me to suggest a question. For you and I to think about in this week, before we kneel before the Christ child and welcome Him once again in the poverty of Bethlehem.

In the rough and tumble of our modern life, perhaps where we are not so much concerned as what the people may say, the truth is many of us fall into the temptation to be be worried about what others may say. Other things may lead us to influence us, to guide us in our conduct.

So the question is: what price are you and thy willing to pay to do the will of God?
How much are you and I willing to give up?
Are we willing to give up our reputation, the esteem of our friends, the acceptance of our family?
Are you and I willing to give up our comfort, our possessions, our employment?
To what level will you and I stop in our obedience to the will of God?

For Joseph, there was no limit. My guess is for you and me, we have our limits. And this is the week, standing before the example of Joseph, to ask ourselves: am I willing to take one further step in offering, whatever it is, to Christ, so that I may do His will for me?

The answer to that question may be different for each of us. But (it) is a question I ask you to pray over in the days ahead. In the fourth Sunday of Advent, the church always draws its attention to the example of our Blessed Virgin Mary. Because without her there would be no Savior and Redeemer. Her “yes” set us free in Him.

But without Joseph’s “yes” our lady could not have found her place in society to fulfill what God has asked of us of her.

And so today I ask you to look to Him for inspiration confidence and peace. How much are you willing to give up for Jesus? Joseph knew the answer to that question.

Do we?

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.

Gaudete Sunday is the third Sunday of Advent. The term is derived from the Latin opening words of the introit antiphon, “Rejoice (Gaudete) in the Lord always.” It is a time to express the joy of anticipation at the approach of the Christmas celebration.

In his homily delivered at his weekly Sunday Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano reflected on the importance of having patience with others in order “to be the ambassadors of God’s love in the big and small things of life.”

“This is the Sunday of Joy, my friends Gaudete Sunday. And it seems to me that as we wait for the coming of Jesus at Christmas, as we wait for the coming of Christ in glory, when he returns to judge the living and the dead, as we wait for entering ourselves into the glory and eternal life of heaven, as we wait through life, God promises us joy only to the extent that we are willing to be patient and to love and to surrender to his will and all else will be ours in Christ.,” Bishop Caggiano said.

Full Transcript

My dear friends, perhaps it’s my imagination, but it seems to me coming out of covid that more and more people seem to be cross, impatient, confrontational – for perhaps many reasons.

That’s not to say that patience was something we often saw in those around us before covid, but it certainly seems to be in short supply since covid is – please God – being more and more under control.

Whether we’re talking about people who are confrontational at the lines at the supermarkets, or in the gyms, or in our conversation, never mind driving on the Meritt (which was always a challenge and now it’s an obstacle course) and then social media (we won’t even go there), and you and I in our daily lives may also at times be tempted to be impatient.

All of that flies against what Saint James tells us in in his epistle that we are called to be patient until the coming of the Lord. Which if the second coming does not occur in our lifetime means we are to be patient until our death.

How do we grow in patience? Perhaps we begin by asking what patience is.

If you look at the dictionary and look up the word patience, it says “patience is the ability to tolerate or accept delay frustration or any other obstacle without anger, without being upset”. To tolerate frustration and not be upset.

What’s interesting is, if you consider in your life and mine, we’re called to be patient in many different circumstances. For example, in the normal things that happen in life; you are behind someone who is driving slowly and you need to move on… you’re on a supermarket line and that the register teller, the clerk, is new and is learning how to do what he or she needs to do – the normal things of life are tests of patience.

And then there are our relationships. Those of you who are married will know that…those who are of who are friends here, even in my own life, with those who (with whom) I’m close, those whom I love, those with who I deal with, there are going to be circumstances that demand that we be patient. Perhaps for a very long time.

And then perhaps the biggest obstacle of all, the biggest challenge of all, or in those opportunities or in those circumstances where we experience long-term challenges: sickness, unemployment, the sorrow that comes from the death of someone we love very dearly…and how to deal with that which occurs in our hearts demands patience.

And so it is essential for us to understand how you I can grow in that great quality. And perhaps like everything else in the spiritual life, if we look at sacred scripture, we will find the answer. And in this case we will find it in the very life and example of God.

It is interesting my friends that God is described in the scriptures as being patient 39 times. And the most important of all, the one that is most descriptive, appears in the second letter of Saint Peter in the third chapter where he says (Peter himself says) “God is patient for our salvation” – patient with you and me – so that we might accept the gift he wishes to give us.

So what is it about God that allows him to be so patient? My friends it is who God is.

Because we believe God is love. Meaning God’s all life, His entire life is a gift for the good of another, in Himself and in creation. That for patience to be true it means that you and I, and our ego, and our desires, and our satisfaction, and our self-absorption, has to give way to an attitude that is loving. That puts the other person first. They are good first. They are concerned first.

See, for God it is who He is because He is pure love. Pure Divine love. You and I, made in His image and likeness, are called to also love. And that is where the challenge is.

Because at times we become impatient, and the people around us become impatient, because we are forgetting that it’s not about me. It’s not about what I want. It’s not about my expectation. It’s not about my opinion. It’s not about what I desire.

But made in God’s image and Sanctified by his holy spirit, our eyes (are) always should be on our neighbor with an understanding heart, with the forgiving heart, with a kind heart. And when we fail to do that, one of the signs is, we become impatient with those around us.

We forget why we are here in the first place – to be the ambassadors of God’s love in the big and small things of life.

So may I suggest my friends in this week of Advent, this third week of Advent, perhaps you and I can spend this week examining our conscience on how patient we really are. How patient we are with those whom we love…with those whom we work…with those with whom we associate…and with the strangers we will meet in the rough and tumble of life. It is a healthy exercise.

Because if we, in our honesty, can actually admit that there are times when we are truly impatient, then that is pointing to a greater issue. It is pointing to those occasions when we have forgotten we are called to love our neighbor as ourself.

This is the Sunday of Joy my friends – Gaudete Sunday. That is why I am dressed in Rose. And it seems to me that as we wait for the coming of Jesus at Christmas, as we wait for the coming of Christ in glory, when he returns to judge the living and the dead, as we wait for entering ourselves into the glory and eternal life of Heaven, as we wait through life – God promises us joy only to the extent that we are willing to be patient, and to love, and to surrender to His will.

And all else will be ours in Christ.

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 Christ:

I am delighted to share with you the results of our diocesan participation in the global Synod on Synodality begun over 18 months ago. The full diocesan report and an executive summary have been released for your review and information.

Allow me to express my sincere appreciation to Deacon Steve Hodson, who served as the diocesan coordinator of the process and author of the full diocesan report, along with the many parish delegates with whom Deacon Hodson collaborated very closely. I am grateful to all who participated in the listening sessions, whether they were held via Zoom, in large or small group settings or through personal conversations. I very much appreciate your feedback and insights.

As you know, the purpose of the Synod on Synodality is to create a process of graced listening to the thoughts and prayers of all the members of the Church, including clergy, religious and members of the faithful. It is a discernment that will remain faithful to the teachings of the Church, while under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, addressing the needs of all who form the Church. Its principal goal is to help us more effectively encounter the living presence of Christ, while being accompanied in our individual discipleship. In a world that is growing ever more confused and hostile to religious belief and practice, this process will better equip us to address the challenges we face while deepening our knowledge and appreciation of our Catholic faith.

The Synod on Synodality is now entering the continental phase of discernment, having completed work on a national synthesis of all the diocesan processes to date. I ask for your continued prayers that this process will bear great spiritual fruit for the re-evangelization of our world.

Please be assured of my prayers for you and your families as the holy days of Christmas approach. With every best wish, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano,
Bishop of Bridgeport

Nuggets from Chapter Friday 12/2, Bishop Frank Caggiano’s “Three Lessons from a Journey with Jesus”:

  • A story that goes from the streets of Brooklyn to a seminary looking across the Sound to Bridgeport to a position as the Bishop of the diocese of Bridgeport.
  • Three lessons learned in an extraordinary faith journey.
  • A humorous, humble and vulnerable testimony to the grace, love and persistence of Jesus as our Lord.

With wonderful humor and great humility and authenticity, The Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, the Fifth Bishop of the Catholic diocese of Bridgeport, CT, shared the incredible twists and turns of his lifelong faith journey, as well as three lessons learned along the path.

Caggiano described with tremendous transparency life growing up in a closely-knit Brooklyn community as an Italian-American son of immigrant parents. He talked about his father’s extreme pride when he was accepted into Yale and his father’s heart-wrenching disappointment when he announced he was going to seminary.

Caggiano explained the two calls that have been on his life. First, the call to step up and be a man of faith–letting his life be claimed by Jesus–which he humbly admits is a project still underway. Second, his call to leadership and the challenges in discerning, understanding and finally accepting that call.

With extraordinary vulnerability, Caggiano then shared three life lessons from his faith journey, including the difficult ways in which some were learned:

Bishop Caggiano ended with a wonderful word of encouragement about the blessing and importance of men being able to meet in the spirit of the New Canaan Society–a safe place where men can remove their masks, support each other and share the life lessons learned in our journey with Jesus.

“So, let me just end by saying this. You are very blessed to have this gathering. For me, coming as a brother and witnessing what you are–don’t ever take it for granted. There are not many safe spaces where we can gather and drop our masks and be who we are called to be and to share whatever life lessons we have learned in the grace of Jesus Christ. So, I must tell you I am very grateful to have shared this morning with you, and perhaps, if time permits, I may be able to join you not as a speaker but just as a brother in faith.”

Following Bishop Caggiano’s talk is an extended Q&A covering topics such as the faith implications of being a Mets fan and the important role of fathers.

Click HERE to hear Bishop Frank’s talk and read about the three lessons.

Remember that NCS New Canaan talks are also available as a Podcast.

BRIDGEPORT—During his regular Sunday Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral (8:30 am), the Bishop offered the following reflection on the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new spiritual year. In his homily he encourages us to “make a resolution or perhaps more than one to use this new year for our spiritual growth and for the love of our sisters and brothers, We are pleased to provide this transcript:

Good morning, everyone. I think we can safely say that for all of us, when we have the opportunity to begin a new year, take it also as an opportunity for a new beginning, fresh start, to be able to look at our life in a new way. And please God, with his grace and our resolutions, seek to improve it. That is why on New Year’s Day, almost all of us make resolutions, which to varying degrees we are successful in keeping. And yet that crossed my mind in preparation for this day because my friends in the eyes of faith, today is New Year’s Day. You and I come to begin yet another year of grace in the church. And perhaps we can take a lesson out of our secular handbook and perhaps use this day to make resolutions to grow in our spiritual life, our relationship with the Lord and our love for one another.For today is the first day of Advent, the season we celebrate the three comings of Christ.

First and foremost, in four weeks, you and I will gather to adore the Christ child born in Bethlehem. And so these weeks are meant as a  time for reflection and penance in a cleansing of our minds and hearts to receive him worthy.

But he came to establish a kingdom. We celebrated that last week. And so Advent also prepares our minds and hearts and our will to receive him at the day and hour of his choosing as we heard in his, in the gospel from the Lord himself to await his coming when he will not come in swaddling clothes in poverty, but he will come in majesty and power and every knee that ever existed will bend to him. He who is the judge of the living and all the dead, he will come to heal all creation and offer it to his father as a fragrant gift.And then of course, in the in-between time, as you and I walk this journey of faith, we celebrate an advent, as we do every day of the year, the coming of Christ here on the altar, under the form of bread and wine. He comes to accompany us, feed us, support us, strengthen us in our challenges, to overcome our temptations, to enlighten our minds and give strength to our wills to do good. Why? So that you and I might be co-workers in building up the kingdom that was created and born in Him. On this New Year’s Day, we begin the journey anew.So what is my suggestion to you, my friends? My suggestion to you as it is to me, is to spend this day and use it wisely to make resolutions as we would on New Year’s day, but spiritual resolution so that we might welcome Christ into our lives in an ever more perfect and beautiful way. And perhaps the three comings, the grammar of advent can help us to examine our conscience. So for example, it is no mistake that Jesus came in Bethlehem in poverty. He didn’t come in royal glory because he stood with the poor and the destitute and those who have no one to stand with them. I ask you, my friends, as you look on this new year, what can you and I do more than already? We are doing to stand with the poor and the sick and the immigrant and those who are alone, who have no one to stand with them. Because when we do, we will discover the face of Christ in our midst.So too the coming of Christ and glory. I alluded to the fact that you and I are coworkers in building the kingdom in our midst. And so I ask you as I ask myself, what part of my life is not building up the kingdom? Where do you and I refuse to forgive, to hold a grudge, refuse to be the dispenser of mercy. Where do you and I and our lives still stubbornly, clinging to a spirit perhaps that is divisive, that does not seek unity and peace? If you and I can name it, this is the day to make the resolution with Christ’s grace to overcome it one day at a time. And then of course my friends, we speak of the coming of Christ here on the altar. You and I are faithful to this great sacrifice every Sunday, some of us every day. And yet my friends forgive me for putting it this way, but familiarity can easily breed contempt, can breed an attitude where we take this precious gift for granted.

And so I ask you each time you come to the altar to receive his Sacred Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity as I do each day. Are our hearts filled with wonder and awe that Christ is there for you and me? Are we filled with gratitude that the master of all things comes as food so that you and I might have life have we forgotten to be? When we come to church, when we’re here in adoration, he comes to us each and every day. What must I do in my life and yours so that we may welcome him with ever more gracious and grateful hearts?

Today is New Year’s for us. In faith. Let us make a resolution or perhaps more than one to use this new year to our spiritual growth and for the love of our sisters and brothers, for if we do. When we come to Bethlehem and we look upon the face of the judge of all things, whenever that day comes, my friends, we will be far more ready, far more prepared, far more grateful, and far more open to the gift the Lord asks us to accept. And that is the gift of eternal life. Happy New Year’s.

All are invited to join the Bishop in person each Sunday at St. Augustine Cathedral, 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.

During his regular Sunday Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral (8:30 am), the Bishop offered the following reflection on the Solemnity of Christ the King. In his homily he reminds us of the difference between worldly power and the “authority of the Shepherd,” which is love that unites us all. We are pleased to provide this transcript:

“My dear friends, it was the last day of our family trip to London, and my mother sister insisted that we go to this final destination. And I remember as we arrived, we went down these long steps, very dark and damp, very narrow because we were going deeper and deeper into the Tower of London to see the crown jewels of the kings and queens of England. And I must confess, I was unimpressed going down. But when you actually see them, they are quite astonishing. Some of the largest diamonds in all the world sit in the crown that now will be on the head of Charles II.

As we were coming up the steps, it dawned on me that for all their beauty and for all, they represent authority and power in its time, absolute authority in terms of this world. It dawned on me that on those very steps, there were those who walked having no concern for the authority. Those jewels represented were not impressed in the least because they were walking in allegiance to a different king. The English Martyrs, they gave their lives being held in that tower because they believed that the only king that matters has a throne of wood and jewels made of nails. And they honored him to the end.

Today, you and I gather to celebrate Jesus Christ, king of the universe. We need to be sure we understand what it is we are celebrating in his kingship for in this world, my dear friends, kingship authority and power usually measures itself in a very divisive way, meaning that wealth is accumulated in the hands of those who have authority to the detriment of those who do not. Oftentimes that authority is exercised, not in a way that brings unity, but actually can divide us. And when it is held in the hands of those who have no answer to anyone else, it can be ruthless, oppressive. We see that in our own world.

And while it is necessary for the world to have structures of authority, those structures need to remember that one day, whether they like it or not, they will kneel to the only king where the authority of our shepherd is one of love. It’s not divisive, it’s uniting because he offered his life from his throne. For all of us saints and sinners alike, he did not come to exercise that power in an exclusive way, but in an inclusive way because he asks us, you and me, to love each other as he loved us. And he promises us, not riches, not diamonds, not crowns, not comfort, but he promises us a place in paradise as he gave to the good thief. In the last moments of his life, he asks us to be His presence in the world for his kingship would be invisible without you and me as those who walk in his footsteps.

So I ask you, to whom do you and I pledge our allegiance to which king do we bow and kneel and offer our loyalty, our duty, our obligation, our life? And if you and I will say to ourselves, well, Bishop, of course I give my allegiance to Jesus or else I would not be here. That may be true, but allow me to ask you a second question as I ask myself. If we truly have our allegiance to the king of love, do our lives show that allegiance clearly or do they not? And at times, I dare to say that is true for all of us in the season that will be coming next Sunday.

As we begin the holy season of Advent, it is time for us to reflect, to seek forgiveness, to repent, so that on Christmas morning when the infant is born, in the poverty of Bethlehem, we will be able to look upon him. And with hearts, minds, and wills, renew our pledge of allegiance to the King of kings and the Lord of Lords. Jesus the Christ.”

All are invited to join the Bishop in person each Sunday at St. Augustine Cathedral, 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.

WASHINGTON—Catholic church leaders are taking a new approach to passing on the faith, saying they recognize a pressing need to do this in a way that adapts to the modern world.

This new outreach, called the Institute on the Catechism, is not a place but instead a new springboard for faith formation developed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Catechism.

It will involve catechetical publishers working directly with the USCCB subcommittee on new ways to pass on the faith using digital tools and aiming to reach a more diverse church. It will also provide resources to dioceses and yearly, in-person training conferences and retreats for diocesan catechetical leaders.

As Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, chairman of the bishops’ Subcommittee on the Catechism, sees it: Catholic parishes need to re-create a “Catholic culture that recognizes we’re in the 21st century. We can’t go back to 1950; it’s gone.”

Re-creating what he describes as a “radically different model” for teaching the faith is something he has been working on with this subcommittee for the past several years.

The bishop announced the proposal to create the institute at the bishops’ spring meeting last June. It will officially launch November 10-12 just ahead of the bishops’ annual fall meeting in Baltimore.

This new approach, starting on the 30th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, draws inspiration from Pope Francis’ 2021 document “Antiquum Ministerium” (“Ancient Ministry”) that described catechesis as an official church ministry. It also builds on the Vatican’s Directory for Catechesis, issued in 2020, that gives guidelines for catechists and pastors particularly in the role of evangelization.

The most frequently used description for the Institute on the Catechism is evangelizing catechesis.

In explaining this to Catholic News Service October 19, Bishop Caggiano said this new method will emphasize truth, beauty and goodness and it “recognizes that the passing on of the faith is no longer in a Catholic culture but in a secular and hostile culture toward Christian faith.”

He said the institute’s mandate is to “create multiple opportunities where a young person can encounter Christ in an ongoing way” and have the “leadership of the church and their parents accompany them.”

In other words, it’s not just religious education through textbook learning or even service projects but a more concentrated effort to engage young people with the church and provide role models for them with diocesan and parish resources to facilitate this. One of the hopes is that these youths will in turn reinvigorate the church.

In a previous interview with CNS about this project, catechetical consultants said the institute has the potential to change the fundamental relationship between publishers and bishops into something that’s less reactive to a finished product and more collaborative.

Mike Raffio, vice president director of sales for Pflaum Publishing Group and the president of the Association of Catholic Publishers, said leading people to a meaningful encounter with Christ through catechesis and an understanding of their role in the mission of the church is something many catechetical materials attempt. “But we must admit our own limitations,” he added.

“Any person’s faith development is a lifelong journey. That journey, even for young people, includes so many more variables than catechetical texts can be expected to provide,” he said.

Similarly, Sabrina Magnuson, a catechetical consultant for Loyola Press, said the institute’s aim of forming leaders who will in turn inspire and form parents, teachers and catechists in their home diocese is a daunting prospect.

“At the end of the day, the textbook is a resource, a tool,” she said. “Encounter is so much more than that.”

Bishop Caggiano said about 17 bishops plan to attend the institute’s launch, committing to using this new model in their dioceses, and he hopes more dioceses will join next year.

In the meantime, he said, participating dioceses will get the support they need to get this work started. It will also be a learning experience for all participating dioceses and a time to come to a deeper understanding of what parishes really need to make this work.

“It has to be the work of the Holy Spirit,” he added, and he also said it will need financial support that he hopes to get from those who want to be partners in this effort.

Catholic News Service | By Carol Zimmermann

Photo: A group including students from Sacred Heart Academy and Presentation Academy in Louisville, Ky., attend a prayer service for victims of human trafficking in 2019 in downtown Louisville. The U.S. bishops hope to better engage young people with the church through the Institute on the Catechism being launched Nov. 10-12, 2022, just ahead of their fall general assembly in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Ruby Thomas, The Record)

WESTPORT—Parishioners and friends gathered at St. Luke Parish on October 29 for a Mass and reception with Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in memory of Monsignor Andrew Varga. It was an opportunity to celebrate his life and support vocations in the Diocese of Bridgeport.

The warm and welcoming event was hosted by Father Kumar Xavariapitchai and Connie Von Zwehl, founder of the Monsignor Andrew Varga Scholarship Fund. She established the fund as a way to provide for diocesan seminarians in memory of Monsignor Varga, with the hope that other parishes will consider a similar program in the future to honor deceased priests.

Von Zwehl reflected on her parents’ dedication to St. Luke Parish as one of its founding families, and how grateful she was that she was able to attend her mother’s funeral service at St. Luke’s on the weekend when Bishop Caggiano officially reopened parishes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Walter Lohotsky, a close friend of Monsignor Varga, shared memories of him as a wonderful friend. Bishop Caggiano also reflected on fun, warm memories, including Monsignor Varga’s exceptional culinary skills, while focusing on the need for more seminarians and to pray for all priests.

The Blessed Michael McGivney Society was recently established in the Diocese of Bridgeport to support the educational and formation needs of seminarians in the diocese.

“It offers opportunities to accompany our seminarians on their discernment journey as they consider a calling to the priesthood,” said Pam Rittman, director of development and of the Annual Bishop’s Appeal. “Connie established the scholarship to honor Monsignor Varga and to help defray the cost of educating our seminarians. She graciously offered to match every donation contributed.”

Contributions to the Monsignor Varga Scholarship can be made at or sent to the Diocese of Bridgeport Catholic Center, 238 Jewett Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06606. Please make payments out to the Diocese of Bridgeport and specify the gift is for the Monsignor Varga Scholarship.

MILFORD– On Wednesday, September 7, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano visited Academy of Our Lady of Mercy, Lauralton Hall to celebrate its Opening Mass and meet with students.

Faculty, staff and students gathered in the historic chapel with the Bishop Caggianoof the Diocese of Bridgeport, presiding.

In his homily, the Bishop reminded the Lauralton community that being a disciple of Christ is a lifelong journey that we make one day at a time, and he spoke of his own personal journey and challenges in living as a Christian in action.

Mrs. Catherine Grace Gallagher ’85, P’15, P’16, P’18 shared: “I think the Bishop’s homily was memorable because it was so candid, and he was himself so personable. He came down from the altar and shared with us his experiences and his reflections.”

The bishop’s message resonated with students, faculty, and honored guest Board Chair Patrick Lagrange P’19.

During his visit the bishop also blessed the newly refurbished science lab, where the excited students and faculty celebrated Lauralton’s strong foundations in science and its commitment to STEM education with the newly refurbished science labs.

As she cut the ceremonial ribbon, President & Head of School Elizabeth Miller welcomed students and dedicated the labs “to all the alumnae who studied in these very rooms from 1930 to today. Those women are now engineers, architects, archaeologists, medical doctors, researchers, and so much more.”

The new facilities optimize work and traffic flow so that multiple student groups may inquire, experiment, and collaborate on distinct projects and models. The labs also promote interaction between our Science and Math Departments, a partnership that is so integral to the success of the STEM program.

Lauralton offers seven AP courses in math and science – AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, Computer Science Principles AP, Statistics AP, Environmental Science AP, Chemistry AP, Physics 1 AP – and two Early College Experience (ECE) opportunities; those classes, Advanced Biology and Environmental Science, give students the chance to earn college credit and are taught by Lauralton faculty members who are certified through the University of Connecticut as adjunct faculty.

Pictures by Shades Shutters Photography