Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

STRATFORD—St. Mark School congratulates 8th-grade student, Robert “Robby” Rosati, for leading his team to 2nd place in the National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship this past weekend. 

Robby and Team Connecticut, one of the twelve All-Star Teams of players ages 10-13, competed in the Semi Finals at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Robby and his teammate won their round with seven birdies and one eagle. Robby’s eagle shot at the 17th hole secured the flag in the final round. 

According to the PGA Jr. League, the championship season highlights the aspirational nature of competition. All-Star Teams must win Section Championships before advancing to Regional competitions and ultimately the National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship.

“Watching Robby excel at his favorite sport was extraordinary,” commented St. Mark Principal Melissa Warner. “Our school community is so incredibly proud of him and excited to see his talent being recognized nationally,” she added. 

The championship was broadcast live on select ESPN networks. During a televised interview, Robby commented that history was his favorite school subject because he likes learning about the past. 

“As Robby’s Social Studies teacher, I am deeply impressed by his athletic achievements,” shared St. Mark teacher, Matt Bonito. “However, what impresses me the most about Robby is his fascination with history. On classwork and projects, such as our class Constitution, Robby always shows a level of dedication and engagement that mirrors students I have had in higher education. All of us benefit from Robby’s presence in our class and the insights he frequently shares. I am incredibly proud to teach history to Robby and I am even happier to see him make it.”

St. Mark School is planning a warm welcome upon Robby’s return.

BRIDGEPORT– Three diocesan High Schools have officially joined as Catholic Relief Services (CRS )Clubs to support the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries.

Immaculate High School in Danbury, Kolbe Cathedral High School in Bridgeport, and Notre Dame High School in Fairfield have all joined the CRS network of clubs. Immaculate High School led the way with 167 students signing up as club members.

Nora Ferreira Aufiero , Community Engagement Manager for Catholic Relief Services, Northeast Mid-Atlantic Region, said she was delighted by the response from the Diocese. Additionally, she said there is interest in an adult chapter of the Club and hopes to schedule a Zoom meeting with those who are interested by mid to late October.

“I believe that CRS Club can be true agents of change and an integral part of the movement to build a better world,” said Aufiero. “Young people have the power, energy and passion to drive real change, and their actions are essential to achieve our vision—God’s vision—of a world free of hunger, violence and injustice.

CRS clubs empower students to contribute in a tangible way to join in the effort to lift millions of people out of poverty while developing leadership skills they can use to continue to be changemakers into the future, she said.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano , who was named Chairman of the international catholic relief agency in 2019, welcomed the news and said that he was proud of the students for their commitment to others and their willingness to become part of the larger CRS community.

“I am grateful to our young people for choosing to become missionary disciples who believe that in Christ we can build a more just and equitable world,” he said.
“The number of those who are impoverished and endangered is staggering. Many persons live in fear and constant anxiety. The needs of minimal sustenance, particularly water, are of paramount importance and invite us to help. CRS reaches out to our global family,” the bishop said.

The bishop said that CRS Clubs across the country are giving students the opportunity to learn about issues of global injustice and involving their school community in impactful actions such as advocacy and fundraising.

The bishop said that CRS is “a bright light for all of our brothers and sisters overseas who don’t have enough to eat or a place to sleep because of entrenched poverty. All of God’s children have the right to live in just and peaceful societies, and for more than 75 years CRS has worked toward making that a reality.”

Catholic Relief Services is the USCCB agency that provides global humanitarian assistance to those in need in two critical ways: by responding to man-made and natural disasters and providing direct assistance to those in need. Its mission seeks effective ways by which every human person can be assisted to realize his or her full human integral development in an environment that is peaceful and sustainable.

Founded in 1943 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the agency provides assistance to 130 million people in more than 100 countries and territories in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

For more information on student and adult CRs clubs, contact Nora Ferreira Aufiero, Community Engagement Manager | Catholic Relief Services, Northeast Mid-Atlantic Region, Cell: 631-897-9129 | crs.org | crsespanol.org or visit the website at: https://www.crs.org/sites/default/files/crs-club-action-calendar-20-21.pdf

Photo: Members of the new CRS Club at Notre Dame High School in Fairfield

STRATFORD—The theme for the 2021-2022 academic year at St. Mark School is “Teamwork.”

Principal Melissa Warner shares, “Each year we reflect upon our recent accomplishments and set goals for the new one. With so many new faces this year—faculty, staff and students, we acknowledge the importance of community building, collaboration and teamwork. We believe that teamwork is at the heart of achievement and success. It draws from everyone’s God-given talents, unique strengths and expertise and keeps us united and stronger.”

Principal Warner shares that on November 6, the school hopes to showcase its “teamwork” to the community by participating as a team in the annual Vicki Soto 5K. “Collectively, we will show our support of our hometown hero and fellow educator in the town race,” said Warner.

In past years, the St. Mark School community has participated in the Vicki Soto 5k, which benefits the Vicki Soto Memorial Fund, established in honor of Vicki’s passion for education. In honor of the 27-year old first-grade teacher who lost her life in the Sandy Hook mass shooting, the fund awards scholarships to students pursuing careers in education.

About St. Mark School

St. Mark School is a Blue Ribbon School recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a National School of Academic Excellence. Its academic program encompasses pre-kindergarten through grade eight. The expectations and challenges of its curriculum prepare students for the moral, intellectual, social, technological and physical demands of today’s society.

(For more information, please visit www.stmarkschool.org.)

STAMFORD—With a bit of faith and a bit of dirt, The Catholic Academy of Stamford launched its CAS Grows Garden this fall, the newest of the outdoor resources available to students at the school. The garden was lovingly built over the spring and summer with the hard work and generosity of school parents, and boasts seven raised garden beds, one in-ground bed, numerous containers and a sturdy fence to cradle the space, with improvements and additions to be added over time.

Students are already enjoying this season’s activities, which range from planting seeds and managing vegetable beds, to overseeing beneficial flowers and watering, and they learn about their environment through games, books and exploration. The CAS teachers have been helpful and enthusiastic partners in sharing this addition with their classes. The garden is also a resource for visual learning for topics already in the curriculum, and everyone benefits from the extra dose of fresh air during the school day.

Fruit, vegetable and herb gardening is a hands-on exercise in patience and perseverance that can bring great joy and wonder. It can also foster an appreciation for the origin of food, as well as an insight into the relationships of all things in the natural world. Gardening-based programs implemented in schools have been shown to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and there is also evidence that the benefits can extend to stress reduction and teamwork building. This new initiative will certainly be a valued learning experience for all.

By sharing God’s gift of nature in this way, The Catholic Academy of Stamford helps to build a foundational understanding of the continued importance of natural stewardship in our lives and health. CAS students are encouraged to practice gratitude, respect, curiosity and care in their living classroom. The whole school is hoping to share a plentiful harvest this season, and is looking forward to seeing how it grows!

By Danielle Jahn, CAS parent of a 4th-grade student

FAIRFIELD—Notre Dame High School has partnered with St. Charles Catholic High School in LaPlace, Louisiana—a community devastated by Hurricane Ida.

“In the days following the hurricane and after a quick online search, I reached out to the principal and assistant principal at St. Charles Catholic High School in LaPlace,” said ND Principal Chris Cipriano. “I identified St. Charles because it reminded me so much of ND—a diverse diocesan high school, in the suburbs, with about 450 students.” Principal Cipriano sent an email, offering prayers and made an inquiry to see if the ND community could be of assistance. “Considering the area is still without power nearly two weeks after the storm, I was pleasantly surprised to hear back,” he said.

Principal Cipriano asked if the Notre Dame community were able to collect and deliver supplies to their school, would they be able to receive and distribute them to their community? The answer was a quick yes.

“After reviewing the list of requested items, I recognized how great the need is in LaPlace,” Cipriano said.

Notre Dame’s goal is now to drive a truck full of supplies from Fairfield to LaPlace early next week—as the need is immediate.

“To accomplish this ambitious goal, we are humbly asking for your support,” said principal Cipriano. “A wide-ranging list of items (from food to toys to brooms to shovels) requested by the St. Charles community can be found here.”

Notre Dame will be collecting contributions this Thursday and Friday, September 9 and 10, during school hours (7 am-3 pm) and on Saturday, September 11 from 11 am – 2 pm. If you would like to make a monetary gift instead, click here.

“Together, we will spread love and kindness to a fellow Catholic high school community that is struggling,” said principal Cipriano.

NEWTOWN—Students at St. Rose of Lima in Newtown were met on their first day of school with a VIP greeting committee of Mr. Gjoka, Msgr. Weiss, Sr. Thaddeus and Mrs. Bokuniewicz. The campus was filled with welcome signs and balloons!

Students in K-4 arrived happily on Monday for a half-day and students in 5-8 arrived on Tuesday, also in good spirits.

Monsignor Bob and Mr. Gjoka visited every classroom to deliver a warm welcome message. Children had a chance for mask breaks at outdoor recess.

About St. Rose School

St. Rose of Lima Catholic School is a Christ-centered community committed to academic excellence in an atmosphere that nurtures the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical and moral development of each child.

The dedicated staff partners with families to prepare students to be responsible leaders in a global society by fostering integrity, service and respect. By creating a sense of family where all are welcome, St. Rose School encourages each child to develop his/her gifts and to become Christ’s compassionate heart and hands in the world. Their learning community is centered on four core values. These are: respect, integrity, academic excellence and service.

The community’s spirituality is fostered through close connection with St. Rose of Lima Church. Students attend weekly Mass and we are blessed by the continual presence of Monsignor Robert Weiss and the other parish priests.

(For more information visit: www.stroseschool.com)

 

RIDGEFIELD—St. Mary School in Ridgefield returned to school this Monday, August 30. Students started off the day with a “backpack blessing,” performed by Msgr. Royal, pastor of St. Mary Church. 

Students were given tags to attach to their backpacks with the following blessing:

Lord, bless these backpacks and the children and youth who carry them as they begin yet another year of school. Give them peace when they feel nervous, focus when they feel distracted, energy when they feel tired. Open their minds to the lessons they will learn both in and outside the classroom. Help them to make friends that build one another up, and be friends to those who need them. Guide them in making good choices as they grow in wisdom and maturity. Be ever-present with them in the classroom, on the school bus, on the playground, and at home, and may they feel your loving care in all they do. Amen.

About St. Mary School

St. Mary School is committed to academic excellence, a strong faith-based education, and a nurturing community environment where students thrive intellectually, spiritually and socially. Students’ mission can be summed up by the sentiment, “Work Hard, Be Kind and Smile.”

(For more information visit: www.smsridgefield.org)

FAIRFIELD—Notre Dame High School is proud to announce the return of The “Garlic Fest” on Friday, September 24 (5 pm – 11 pm) and Saturday, September 25 (11 am – 11 pm).  The GarlicFest was founded originally by Father Bill Sangiovanni, a long-time Notre Dame administrator and passionate supporter of Catholic education. 

Father Bill was intrigued when he visited the famed Gilroy Garlic Fest in California. He had the foresight to bring an all garlic-themed menu back to Connecticut in April 1992. That year, nearly 10,000 people attended the event and enjoyed the incredible selection of garlic-flavored foods and dynamic entertainment. The rest is garlic history! After a 15 year pause, the Garlic Fest returned in 2019 and will be back again this fall. Upon the passing of Father Bill, thousands of Lancers gathered to celebrate his life and many contributions to the community. Of the many memories recalled, the Garlic Fest was at the top of the list. It is in Father Bill’s honor that the tradition has returned to our school.

Join us for an array of food trucks, beverages, craft and food vendors, the Garlic Bites children’s entertainment area, bingo and live music for adults and children. Garlic Fest will deliver tasty food and fun for every age group. Notre Dame alumni are encouraged to stop by the Alumni Tent for a chance to reminisce and reconnect with fellow Lancers.

Current ND Principal Chris Cipriano commented, “This is a wonderful way to continue living the legacy of Father Bill. No one can replace him at the Fest wearing his famous garlic hat, but the spirit of the festival and the tremendous community event it was is back.”

Event proceeds will benefit the Father Bill Sangiovanni Memorial Scholarship and the students of ND Fund. Join us on September 24 and 25 to celebrate the old and the new all in support of our Notre Dame. 

(For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit NDgarlicfest.comFor further information contact Karen Guastelle at kguastelle@notredame.org or Chris Cipriano at ccipriano@notredame.org.)

TRUMBULL—St. Catherine’s Social Justice and Charitable Outreach team conducted the parish’s annual backpack and school supplies drive last weekend.

More than 120 students from St. Charles Borromeo Church, Blessed Sacrament Church, the McGivney Center and The Convent of Mary in Bridgeport will begin the new school year with a brand new backpack and all of the school supplies they will need for a successful year of learning.

Deacon Dave at St. Charles Parish extends his heartfelt thanks for our help getting the kids ready for school. Thank you!

If you know of anyone in the parish who is struggling to supply their children with proper back-to-school supplies, please contact us.

(For more information contact: Eric Vogel, coordinator for social justice and charitable outreach at

Caritas@stcatherinetrumbull.com or 210.878.8181.)

NORWALK—Summer is usually a time for rest and relaxation but need knows no season so that is why the St. Matthew Knights of Columbus Council 14360 make sure to help whenever it is needed. The council has a tradition of assisting local Catholic schools with various projects to get ready for the upcoming school year.

On Saturday, August 7, the council went to work on beautifying the science playground at All Saints Catholic School. The Knights spread over 80 yards of mulch. As schools prepare to come back after the summer break it is important to spruce up the grounds for the children and make the school a welcoming and warm place.

“Anything we can do to help make the return to school even a little bit better especially during these unpredictable times is a great thing,” said Council Grand Knight Anthony Armentano.

On Saturday, August 14, the Council 14360 mulching crew headed to Wilton to help their friends at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy in Wilton. It was a large job made much easier by a large turnout from the Knights, along with parents and students from OLF Catholic Academy. St. Matthew Knight’s member AJ Cossuto of AJ’s Landscaping Service, LLC donated his equipment once again to help move the mulch to the two playgrounds. “We are so thankful for Brother AJ’s generosity in donating his time and equipment to this project, said Council Past Grand Knight and project chairman George Ribellino.

This is the fourth year Council 14360 has assisted Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy and has become an annual council event Carmel Bowron, one of the parents at OLF Catholic Academy, reached out to the St. Matthew Knights in 2018 since she was familiar with their work at St. Matthew Church, All Saints Catholic School, Notre Dame Health and Rehabilitation Center and Malta House. Ribellino went on to say, “Our council loves to help the local community and parish. “We are always ready for put ‘Faith in Action’ and assist those in need.”

Grand Knight Anthony Armentano praised his brothers for their efforts. “I am so proud and thankful of my Brother Knights for always answering the challenge by helping those in need. They never back down from a challenge big or small.”

The council uses the various talents of the members to take on large cleaning, repair and landscaping projects including remodeling a chapel, painting of rooms at Malta House and the mulching/landscaping projects at the local Catholic schools and Notre Dame Health and Rehab Center. The Council has done major projects in the past such as painting all of the classrooms and hallways at Regina Pacis Academy in Norwalk and the renovation of the chapel at the Notre Dame Health and Rehabilitation Center Convent Chapel.

“If we can provide labor to help save on costs, we are honored to do it,” said Ribellino. The Council always tells the schools to reach out if they need help at any time.

“It’s what Knights do, ‘Leave No Neighbor Behind.’ It was a great way to honor our founder Blessed Michael McGivney who’s feast day was on August 13,” said Armentano.

The goal of the Knights of Columbus Council at St. Matthew Church in Norwalk is to perform acts of charity, providing those in need with a range of support from financial to tactical help in dealing with a wide variety of challenges.

(For more information, visit kofc14360.net)

NEWTOWN—The 2020/21 first-grade class at St. Rose School in Newtown recently released a book called Ducky1V, First Grade Memories!

Each child in the class chose a favorite memory and wrote about it with an illustration. All of these memories were bound together in a book that first-grade teacher Mrs. Jeanne Vitetta delivered to school for pick up late last week.

The children and parents are so delighted with the final product. It was a creative way to work on many skills such as writing, grammar, art and memory.

Mrs. Vitetta loves ducks, hence her class is called Ducky 1V!

About St. Rose School

St. Rose of Lima Catholic School is a Christ-centered community committed to academic excellence in an atmosphere that nurtures the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical and moral development of each child.

The dedicated staff partners with families to prepare students to be responsible leaders in a global society by fostering integrity, service and respect. By creating a sense of family where all are welcome, St. Rose School encourages each child to develop his/her gifts and to become Christ’s compassionate heart and hands in the world. Their learning community is centered on four core values. These are: respect, integrity, academic excellence and service.

The community’s spirituality is fostered through close connection with St. Rose of Lima Church. Students attend weekly Mass and we are blessed by the continual presence of Monsignor Robert Weiss and the other parish priests.

(For more information visit: www.stroseschool.com)

Yesterday (August 4) the following letter was issued to parents from Superintendent Steven Cheeseman concerning the upcoming school year, 2021-22.

Download the PDF version of the letter or read below.


 
 
 
Dear Parents,

I hope this letter finds each of you enjoying some relaxation during these warm and humid summer days. My letter today is a follow-up on my earlier message that indicated our desire to return to a near normal school year which included being mask optional.

While I am not ready to retract any of my earlier statements, I cannot remain oblivious to the latest trends and the uptick in positive Covid-19 cases. We most likely will be riding a roller coaster as new variants of the Covid-19 virus come and go. We must carefully monitor these trends and respond appropriately to the resulting ebb and flow created by these variant cycles.

My office has been inundated with e-mails and calls from concerned parents voicing their opinion on the masking issue. In these communications, there is a clear sense that a return to normalcy for their children is the goal for the school year.

This is certainly an issue that can be viewed from several sides. We are a system of 25 schools and about 7,000 students across Fairfield County and the facts around vaccination rates or virus infectivity rates are different in various parts of the Diocese. This makes supporting a “one size fits all” decision a difficult one.
Some facts are very positive:

  • Nearly 90% of our Diocesan teachers and staff are fully vaccinated.
  • There is an over 70% vaccination rate in Fairfield County among those eligible to receive it and more 12-15 year olds are receiving the vaccine daily.
  • There is limited transmission among young people and those infected have mild symptoms.

We are awaiting more concrete information from the State as to what might be “mandated” for all schools in September and beyond. In the meantime, I am offering the following recommended guidelines to schools as they prepare for their opening:

  • School-wide Masses and assemblies should resume
  • All extracurricular activities, including athletics should resume
  • Computer labs, libraries, and Innovation zones should reopen
  • Quarantines should be limited to the unvaccinated who were in close proximity to the Covid-19 positive person
  • Water fountains can be used for bottle filling
  • Minimum 3 feet of physical distancing is required indoors for all classrooms and activities
  • Daily wellness checks, which can include temperature checks should continue
  • Frequent handwashing reminders for students should continue
  • Disinfection and cleaning of high-touch/high traffic areas should continue
  • Those eligible for vaccination should be encouraged to receive it
  • Required mask use when distancing is not possible,
  • Specifically, masks must be worn:
    • To and from school on the bus
    • In the hallways
    • In large group settings where distancing is not possible, i.e. Mass, Auditorium
    • By all visitors to the school building
    • In close contact in the classroom, i.e. Science lab partners, small group learning
  • Masks may be optional:
    • Outside
    • In the classroom once students are seated and spaced appropriately

It is important to note that Principals may need to tailor these recommendations to fit the realities of their school and township (i.e., a classmate has a compromising health issue, the town has low vaccination rates or the town has high rates of infectivity, etc.) There may be a need to revisit these recommendations based on trends or State public health mandates.

In the coming weeks, I will continue to monitor the data and communication from the CDC, and the State Public Health Agency. I will communicate any updates when necessary.

Let us hope that these weeks are filled with good health and safety. Let us all be vigilant so that our young people, particularly those under 12 who at present are not protected by vaccines, can return to school with all the joy and enthusiasm that a new year brings.

May God bless each of you and may Our Lady shower her blessings on our Catholic school community.

Sincerely,

Dr. Steven F. Cheeseman
Superintendent of Schools
Diocese of Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT– On Tuesday, August 3, from 4:30 PM-6:00 PM, roughly 150 people turned out on each of the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport’s four campuses for their first-ever “Summer Social.” Both longtime and newly enrolled families gathered together to enjoy free ice cream, music, games, and giveaways. There were laughter, fun, and smiles all around.

“A surprise was that several alumni even showed up on each campus, from the recently graduated right through sophomores in college,” Said Angela Pohlen, CAB’s Executive Director. “These grads came back to see their school and show support. What a true testament to what our Academy is to our families.”

The wonderful event captured the essence of CAB’s “Something More” promise, and the Academy hopes the “Summer Social” will become an annual one for its very special school community. Thank you to everyone who came out and made the night so memorable!

The Catholic Academy of Bridgeport welcomes all faiths, and we offer generous financial assistance to all who qualify. To enroll your child for the fall, please go to APPLY NOW or call (203) 362-2978. Limited spaces for 2021/2022! Some grades are already full.

Congratulations to Kennedy Do, rising 6th grader at All Saints Catholic School in Norwalk. Kennedy received a Rising Star Mention in a competition sponsored by Math and A1 Girls.

The Math and AI Girls Competition aims to encourage young girls to develop an interest in math and AI by taking part in STEM competitions at an early age. This competition also aims to encourage long-term planning of academic and career goals in STEM. The competition was open to middle school female students throughout the United States. Award recipients are selected based on their aptitudes, activities and aspirations in STEM.

Kennedy’s answers and essay were considered in the final judging process and she was part of the Rising Stars group that received a mention (certificate) and a prize from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), one sponsor of the event.

“The goal of the organization is to challenge girls to go the extra mile, to learn at school but at the same time go beyond it and learn new things as well, with support from school, teachers, and parents,” said Mr. Xavier Guzman, All Saints Science and STEAM teacher.

The competition has one set of problems for girls to challenge themselves and provide the best possible answers to them. In addition to the problem set, they had to write an essay about why they like STEAM, and what is their ideal future in the area.

Thank you to Mr. Xavier Guzman for organizing the submissions and encouraging our students to participate!

All Saints Catholic School is a fully accredited elementary/middle school with approximately 450 students in Preschool through 8th grade. With two classrooms per grade, the school provides an environment rich in academic, spiritual and emotional learning. For more information on All Saints, visit www.allsaintsnorwalk.com


source: https://www.allsaintsnorwalk.com/apps/news/article/1458790

FAIRFIELD—Connecticut’s COVID-19 Vaccination Vans are on the road and coming to Notre Dame High School in Fairfield to provide no-cost, walk-up vaccinations.

The highly visible yellow Vaccination Vans, provided by the CT Department of Public Health and run by Griffin Health, can administer 100-125 shots per day in a six-hour window of time.  The shots are available without appointment.  It is not necessary to have health insurance or a state-issued ID:  all residents are welcome and no one will be turned away for lack of insurance or ID.

Choosing to get vaccinated is an additional powerful tool in our fight against the COVID-19 virus.  

The vaccine will protect you from becoming seriously ill from COVID19, 

The vaccine will protect your family and friends from becoming seriously ill from COVID19.

The vaccine will allow you to once again gather safely with your loved ones and neighbors.

The vaccine will allow you to get back to a sense of normalcy.

Look for our bright yellow Mobile Vaccination Team SUVs at Notre Dame High School in Fairfield.  

DATE:  Thursday, July 29, 2021

LOCATION: Notre Dame High School

220 Jefferson Street

Fairfield, CT  06825

203-372-6521

Clinic will be held in the Cafeteria

TIME: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The DPH Vaccination Vans are part of the State’s effort to vaccinate as many Connecticut residents as possible.  More than half the state’s population has received at least one shot since vaccinations began in December 2020.  

For more information on vaccinations and COVID-19 visit ct.gov/covidvaccine.