Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

NEW CANAAN—Calling all Latino young adults between the ages of 18-38!

You are invited to join in on a day of praise & worship, adoration, talks, fellowship, and Mass!

The event will take place at St. Aloysius Church, 21 Cherry St, New Canaan, from 10 am-4 pm.

(For more information contact Father David Roman at: frdavid@starcc.com)

About St. Aloysius

The parish was founded in 1896 to serve the  Catholic families that were settling in the greater New Canaan area. More than one hundred 120 years and three church buildings later we are just shy of 3,000 families strong and our mission as Church remains the same: bring Christ—who is present to us in Word and in Sacrament—to all.

STAMFORD—The speaker series at Holy Spirit Parish in Stamford is back! On Monday, September 20 at 7 pm, Diane Foley will present “From Darkness Into Light.”

The Foley Family’s final communication with their son, journalist James Foley, was one week before he was kidnapped on November 22, 2012 in northern Syria. The family never heard his voice again.

Jim was murdered on August 19, 2014 in the Raqqa region of Syria. After the brutal and public execution of her son, Diane Foley was tempted to be bitter, but instead she clung to God, something she encourages all to do, no matter their cross.

Come hear Diane’s amazing faith witness!

(The Church of the Holy Spirit is located 403 Scofield Rd. in Stamford. For more information, visit: www.holyspiritstamford.org)

BRIDGEPORT— Incoming 8th through 12th graders are invited to audition for a spot in the diocesan youth choir, C4Y. Incoming 7th graders will also be accepted for auditions if they have a note of recommendation from their music or choir teacher.

“I’m so looking forward to hearing the singing talents of these students at auditions. They’re going to make this upcoming year of music truly spectacular,” said Emily Lomnitzer, coordinator of C4Y.

C4Y auditions were held Wednesday, June 2 and Thursday, June 3 from 4:30-6 pm in room L13 at the Catholic Center (238 Jewett Avenue, Bridgeport). Make-up sessions will run throughout the summer, the first one occurring on Wednesday, June 9, 1-4 pm. Sign up for a slot at the C4Y webpage (www.bridgeportdiocese.org/c4ysings/youth-choir-catholic-diocese). There are many spots still available!

The final choir roster will be sent out by the end of June and rehearsals are planned to begin in August. Please email Emily.Lomnitzer@diobpt for more information or for questions.

(Follow the Instagram page for updates: @C4YSings.)

WILTON—Just in time for Holy Week, the Our Lady of Fatima community has released a virtual presentation of the Stations of the Cross for children and families.

This virtual presentation features the words, artwork and voices of the children of Our Lady of Fatima—both the parish and the school!

The children followed along with booklets that they created, which can be found at the entrances to the church for parishioners to take home.

Click here to view the video!

About Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima, located in Wilton, Conn., strives to be a voice of truth and clarity in the Catholic faith. The community worships God and celebrates the gift of Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament. Unified by the Holy Spirit, they commit to the on-going conversion to Christ in themselves and in the parish. They are committed to extending Christ’s unconditional love to all, especially the neglected, the oppressed, the aged and the wounded of heart. They welcome all to share in the richness of our Catholic heritage.

(For more information visit: olfwilton.org.)

 

TRUMBULL- Among the seminarians of the Diocese of Bridgeport, there is a long-standing tradition that takes place at mealtimes. Everyone stands at their chair and, as we say grace together before our meal, we begin with this prayer:

Father, in your plan for our salvation, you provide shepherds for your people. Give your church the spirit of courage and charity. Raise up worthy priests for your altars and ardent but gentle servants of the Gospel. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Perhaps one of the greatest myths about vocations to the priesthood is that they just simply happen. We don’t often think about where priests come from until God forbid, there is no priest there when we need them. But we must begin to think about and pray for vocations before that day ever comes. As Jesus reminds us in the Gospel, “the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few, so pray to the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Luke 10:19).

On Wednesday, January 27th at 7:00 pm, faithful from around the Diocese will join Bishop Caggiano at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Trumbull to do just that: pray that the Lord sends an abundance of laborers to his vineyard in the Diocese of Bridgeport. During a time of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, we will pray that young men throughout our Diocese will be open to hearing the call that God has placed deep in their hearts to become the living instrument of His love and mercy that priests are formed to be. Perhaps more importantly, we will pray that God gives these young men the courage to echo the beautiful words of our Blessed Mother, “be it done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38)

Originally, the Holy Hour for Vocations was scheduled for early December but was postponed due to inclement weather.

There is no way around it: we need priests! So, we invite you to join us on the evening of January 27th to offer this time of prayer. Together, as the seminarians of our diocese have done each and every day, let us pray with fervent hearts that new shepherds may be raised up for the Church in Bridgeport.

Please observe all necessary social distancing requirements, and remember that masks are mandatory.

TRUMBULL- Among the seminarians of the Diocese of Bridgeport, there is a long standing tradition that takes place at meal times. Everyone stands at their chair and, as we say grace together before our meal, we begin with this prayer:

Father, in your plan for our salvation, you provide shepherds for your people. Give your church the spirit of courage and charity. Raise up worthy priests for your altars and ardent but gentle servants of the Gospel. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Perhaps one of the greatest myths about vocations to the priesthood is that they just simply happen. We don’t often think about where priests come from until God forbid, there is no priest there when we need them. But we must begin to think about and pray for vocations before that day ever comes. As Jesus reminds us in the Gospel, “the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few, so pray to the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Luke 10:19).

On Wednesday, December 16 at 7:00pm, faithful from around the Diocese will join Bishop Caggiano at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Trumbull to do just that: pray that the Lord sends an abundance of laborers to his vineyard in the Diocese of Bridgeport. During a time of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, we will pray that young men throughout our Diocese will be open to hearing the call that God has placed deep in their hearts to become the living instrument of His love and mercy that priests are formed to be. Perhaps more importantly, we will pray that God gives these young men the courage to echo the beautiful words of our Blessed Mother, “be it done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38)

There is no way around it: we need priests! So, we invite you to join us on the evening of December 16 to offer this time of prayer. Together, as the seminarians of our diocese have done each and every day, let us pray with fervent hearts that new shepherds may be raised up for the Church in Bridgeport.

Please observe all necessary social distancing requirements, and remember that masks are mandatory.

TRUMBULL—

Due to Sunday’s heavy rain and Monday’s high winds, this year’s All Souls Day Mass is CANCELLED.

FAIRFIELD COUNTY—The coronavirus pandemic has posed unique challenges for all. For the Class of 2020, this meant not getting to enjoy the usual rites of passage as they reached the culmination of their either middle or high school years. Schools throughout the diocese found innovative ways to still celebrate their students—through social distanced graduation ceremonies, giving students the opportunity to take pictures with their family on campus, and more. Here are just a few snapshots of graduation ceremonies in a pandemic.

St. Rose of Lima

NEWTOWN—St. Rose School’s eighth-grade graduation ceremony which took place on Friday, June 26 in the school parking lot. Mr. Gjoka, principal, Mrs. Petrillo, eighth-grade homeroom teacher, Mrs. Bokuniewicz, dean of student life and Msgr. Bob, pastor, along with the class parents, worked very hard to make the celebration possible despite these different times.

Chairs were arranged alphabetically for every student and their parents. The ceremony was limited to parents and siblings only to adhere to safety measures. Every student and guest wore a mask.

There are 24 graduates, all going off to a variety of high schools including Newtown High School, Immaculate High School, St. Joseph High School, Canterbury, Fairfield Prep, Hopkins School and The Gunnery. Several of the students received merit scholarships based on their entrance test scores.

St. Joseph High School

TRUMBULLSt. Joseph High School conferred diplomas upon 213 students on Saturday, July 11, 2020. The Class of 2020 achieved a 100 percent college acceptance rate, with 99 percent going on to four-year schools, and earned for themselves over 25 million dollars in scholarships and tuition assistance.

The Blessing and Conferral of Diplomas was held at Dalling Field on the school’s campus. Parents were confined to their cars, while the graduates were socially distanced in masks on the lower field, in conformance with the CDC and State of Connecticut guidelines. During the ceremony, pre-recorded videos from Ms. Vicki A. Tesoro, first selectman of the Town of Trumbull and Mr. Christopher Wilson, chairman of the board of St. Joseph High School, offered their congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2020.

Your graduation is not like any other. But then the Class of 2020 is unlike any other,” remarked recently retired head of school, Dr. William Fitzgerald during his speech. “Ironically, in February, we were talking about how to get the iPhones out of your hands. Today, we are looking to you—the social media generation—to understand what continuous learning is all about. This spring has showed us, that in many ways, this is already your world and we are just catching up.”

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy

WILTON—On Friday evening, June 12, 2020, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy held commencement exercises for its graduating eighth-grade class. Featured commencement speakers were Clara and Gerry Davis, parents of a graduating student and Stanley Steele, school principal. The event included a Mass celebrated in the church parking lot and homily offered by Our Lady of Fatima Church pastor, Father Reginald Norman.

The graduates will attend the following high schools in the fall (listed alphabetically): Fairfield College Preparatory School, Immaculate High School-Danbury, Lauralton Hall-Milford, New Canaan High School, Norwalk High School, Notre Dame High School-Fairfield, Saint Joseph High School-Trumbull and Wilton High School.

NEWTOWN—St. Rose School’s eighth-grade graduation ceremony took place on Friday, June 26 in the school parking lot. Mr. Gjoka, principal, Mrs. Petrillo, eighth-grade homeroom teacher, Mrs. Bokuniewicz, dean of student life and Msgr. Bob, pastor, along with the class parents, worked very hard to make the celebration possible despite these different times.

Chairs were arranged alphabetically for every student and their parents. The ceremony was limited to parents and siblings only to adhere to safety measures. Every student and guest wore a mask. The church organist piped an opening song, “Here I Am Lord” through the speakers and closed it out with “Pomp and Circumstance.”  Msgr. Bob began the ceremony with a prayer and Gospel reading. He also offered words of wisdom and encouraged the students to use their 2020 vision to make the world a better place. Mr. G, Mrs. Petrillo and Mrs. B all spoke at various times.  Mr. G called each student to receive his/her diploma which Msgr. Bob presented to them. The President of Student Council Thomas Phelan, and the President of National Junior Honor Society Evie Komninakas, each gave engaging, insightful speeches. At the end of the ceremony the students processed, alphabetically, to their lawn signs that were set up on the grass in front of the school. They stood beside their sign and at the count of three tossed their caps into the air. Then, according to safety rules, each family returned to their cars.

The sun was shining and it was a lovely ceremony—certainly different from years past but all the more memorable because of it.  Family and friends were very happy to tune into Facebook Live—there was even family from Portugal watching.  So everyone was together in spirit!

There are 24 graduates, all going off to a variety of high schools including Newtown High School, Immaculate High School, St. Joseph High School, Canterbury, Fairfield Prep, Hopkins School and The Gunnery. Several of the students received merit scholarships based on their entrance test scores.

About St. Rose

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 on St. Rose of Lima school, visit their website at: www.stroseschool.com.)

For a complete list of cancelled or postponed events, please see our website. Click here.

What do catechists, liturgical ministers, parents and parish council members all have in common? Each of them will find something tailored to their ministry needs at this year’s Diocesan Ministry Day.

This year’s theme, From Encounter to Accompaniment, speaks to the challenge Pope Francis says we all face in our lives. Missionary discipleship, he says, begins with an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ. Once we have been introduced to our Lord, we want to learn more about him and, eventually, help others come to know him too.

The full day of formation, set for Saturday, March 7, 2020 at All Saints School in Norwalk, begins with registration at 8:30 am, followed by Mass, celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano. Following Mass and light hospitality, there will be three sets of workshops. The day will conclude with closing prayer at 4 pm.

Patrick Donovan, director of The Leadership Institute, which is sponsoring the event, says the plethora of workshops should appeal to a wide audience. “When we invited workshop presenters, we were careful to make sure we included speakers that would have broad appeal, yet be able to speak specifically to those in various ministries.”

As an example, Donovan notes that Joe Paprocki, a well-known catechist and author with Loyola Press, will host three workshops that that on the surface, look like they are designed only for catechists who teach in our parish religious education programs. “But look a little closer,” Donovan adds, “and you will see that what Joe will be sharing is appropriate for Catholic school teachers and parents too.”

Workshops are planned in a few other languages too, including Spanish, Portuguese, and Vietnamese. Complete details of workshops will be put online as speakers submit them.

Parish Council Track
Following Bishop Caggiano’s decree last June that all parishes establish (or restore) a parish pastoral council to help in the leadership of the parish, several parishes requested that The Leadership Institute offer formation for parish council members.

To accomplish this, Donovan says, he has invited Rich Curran, founder of Parish Success Group, to host a track of workshops throughout the day for those who serve on parish councils. Curran, author of We Lack for Nothing: Five Essentials to Grow Your Church, has more than 30 years of experience in helping parishes improve communication, planning, and strategic visioning. He will accompany those who serve on parish councils to help them develop measurable outcomes, a communication plan, and a better understanding of the important role parish councils can play in a parish.

Pastors who wish to attend with their parish council members are welcome to drop in and out as their schedule permits. Parish council members should indicate their desire to participate in this track by checking the appropriate box on the registration form.

Estate and Funeral Planning
When the funeral norms were published in September 2019, The Leadership Institute launched a webpage with several resources for those who wanted to learn more about end of life issues, how to plan a funeral, and even how to write words of remembrance. Now, in collaboration with Catholic Cemeteries, workshops will be offered in three specific areas:

Estate Planning. Emily Wilson, a 2014 Synod delegate and Norwalk attorney who works with seniors, will offer a workshop to help those who wish to learn more about how to plan their estate, write a will, establish an advance directive, and more.

Planning a Funeral. Sister Mary Ellen Genova, Director of Pastoral Outreach at St. Rose of Lima in Newtown, will lend her expertise to those who wish to begin planning their own funeral or the funeral of a loved one. Sister’s compassionate care and gentle way with families is well-known in the diocese.

The Benefits of Bereavement. A team from St. Thomas More in Darien will share their own experiences of work in this important area as an inspiration to others who hope to begin a bereavement ministry in their parish.

Pope Francis, Youth and Young Adults
Paul Jarzembowski, who staffs the Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth at the USCCB, will offer one workshop on his own and one with his wife, Sarah, Coordinator for College Campus and Young Adult Ministries for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. These workshops will focus on the epidemic of loneliness that faces many young adults, how to bring young adults back to the church, and Christus Vivit, Pope Francis’ new framework for outreach to young people.

Brenner LeCompte, a youth minister from St. Mary in Ridgefield, will compliment these discussions with a workshop of his own on how to keep young people safe online and how to keep young people from leaving the Church in the first place.

Nicole Perone, Director of Adult Education in the Archdiocese of Hartford, will share her wisdom about the power of adult education in parishes and how engaging the faithful in formation can lead to parish renewal.

Ela Milewska, Executive Director of the Department of Youth Faith Formation in the Archdiocese of New York, will offer her 30 plus years of experience in catechesis to those who wish to learn more about what really works in engaging young people in the faith.

Special Musical Guest
To lead the music for the day, we will be joined by Tony Melendez. Tony will lead the music at Mass, offer a workshop in English and Spanish about the power of music, and then close the day in prayer.

A thalidomide baby, Tony was born without arms. He was brought to Los Angeles from Nicaragua at an early age to be fitted with prosthetic arms, which never quite fit, especially since he had grown accustomed to using his fit. In time, Tony taught himself to play the guitar with his toes. He was propelled to stardom when he played for then Pope John Paul II in Los Angeles and the Holy Father, inspired by Tony’s performance, leapt from the stage to embrace Tony and kiss his feet. Today, Tony is an internationally-known musician who travels the world singing and sharing his story of how God always gives you the gifts you need.

To Learn More
For a complete overview of the day, an explanation of workshops, and to register, please visit www.formationreimagined.org . The cost for the day is $20 per person, which includes morning hospitality and lunch. Participants will choose workshops on the day of the event, allowing more workshops to be added right up to the moment the doors open.

Click here to read Bishop Frank Caggiano’s invitation.

FAIRFIELD—”Here I Am, Lord,” “Be Not Afraid,” “Sing a New Song” — who doesn’t love these classic hymns that so many Catholics grew up with? After their final concert in St. Louis in September, three members of the St. Louis Jesuits decided to bring a smaller version of that program to a few different areas of the country.

“There were so many people that sent us their regrets that they just couldn’t manage the long travel from the East coast,” commented Dan Schutte. So he, Tim Manion and Roc O’Connor, SJ wanted to continue the SLJ legacy with a Coming Home Concert. This much-anticipated event will take place on Sunday, February 16 at 4 pm at the Quick Center for the Arts.

“The continuing legacy of the St. Louis Jesuits’ music is that it lives not in hymnals but in the hearts of people of faith,” said Schutte. “For all these years we’ve never imagined ourselves as performers but rather as servants of the people. At our concerts we always invite people to sing with us because the spotlight is on God, not on us,” he said.

The group will be joined by the choir and instrumentalists from St. Anthony of Padua in Fairfield.

“As we began to imagine where we might offer such an event, Fairfield became a perfect choice,” explains Schutte, who for the past eight years, has been invited to join the music ministry at St. Anthony of Padua Church for Holy Week. “Over those years Fr. John Baran and the staff became dear friends and I’ve truly come to consider St. Anthony’s my home parish,” says Schutte. “It’ll be such an honor to present this concert in partnership with them and be joined by their choir and musicians for this celebration of God’s love and grace.”

About the St. Louis Jesuits

The St. Louis Jesuits, “a companionship of composers,” as their website cheerfully proclaims, consists of Bob Dufford SJ, John Foley SJ, Tim Manion, Roc O’Connor SJ, and Dan Schutte.

When the men first arrived in St. Louis in 1970, they barely knew each other. Because of their love for Sacred Scripture and prayerful liturgy, they were brought together to become not just casual acquaintances but were drawn deeper into a companionship of friendship and support.

That was nearly fifty years ago. Since then their music has found a constant presence in the worship of the English-speaking church not only here in the United States but into the far corners of the world – Africa, Korea, Japan, Australia, Philippines, Guam, Argentina, Canada.

At their final “Coming Home” concert in St. Louis, the group, backed by the College Church Choir, performed many of their most beloved liturgical songs and hymns in the setting of St. Louis’ magnificent Powell Hall, just a few blocks from St. Louis University, St. Francis Xavier College Church, and the former Fusz Memorial (residence for Jesuit scholastics), where it all began over 40 years ago.

Proceeds from February’s concert will benefit the Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality of Fairfield University.

“The Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality is very excited to be a part of the reunion tour of the St. Louis Jesuits who have touched our hearts with their music for so many years,” says Director, Denis Donoghue, S.J.

(For more information visit: www.quickcenter.fairfield.edu or call the box office at: 203.254.4010.)

STAMFORD- Have you ever wondered if you were being “called” to discern the diaconate?  Has someone, your pastor, a priest or a deacon ever mentioned to you that they can see you as a deacon someday? Do you feel that God calling you to live your faith differently, perhaps as a deacon?  Want to learn more about how to sort this all out? Join us for a Diaconate Discovery Evening on November 7th @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm at St. Bridget of Ireland Parish in Stamford.

Join Deacon Tim Bolton and explore some of these questions and others that you may have about the Diaconate.  Diaconate Discovery Evenings are a consistent space to wonder, explore, pray and share with other men of faith regarding serving the Church as a Permanent Deacon.

  • Be with other men of faith who are wondering if God is calling them to serve as a deacon.
  • To have an opportunity for prayer and reflection.
  • To form relationships and build community.
  • Meet deacons from around the diocese witnessing their ministries and journeys of faith.

If you are interested in attending or have any questions, please feel free to contact Deacon Tim Bolton, Coordinator of Diaconate Vocations, dnbolton@diobpt.org.

A Guide for Speakers at the Funeral Liturgy

You have been invited to offer words of remembrance at the Funeral Liturgy. This is a great honor and responsibility. Please note that this is taking place in the context of Divine Worship. It is a sacred time and place where our primary purpose is to commend our beloved to the mercy and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Any words must both respect and reflect this sacred character.

The primary focus during the days immediately following death is on the family—making funeral preparations and dealing with their own feelings and needs. The wake is a time to focus on the deceased—a time to tell the stories that gave meaning to the many relationships that have been a part of that person’s life.

When you arrive at the Church for the funeral liturgy, the focus shifts to what Jesus has done for us and how our faith offers us hope. It marks the end of an earthly journey that began in the context of faith at baptism and continues with a new life in God. It is within this context that you are asked to prepare your remembrance—to remember the ways a person was faithful to their Baptism call by loving God and loving their neighbor. It is not a place to list accomplishments or summarize the deceased life story. Rather, if you share a single blessed memory that indicates the deceased faith and character, the hearers can recognize their giftedness as God-given and how they shared that gift with others. Keep in mind that the purpose of the liturgy is to thank God for the resurrection of Jesus that the deceased now shares, to celebrate the life we share together and to pray for strength to continue to faithfully continue the journey.

The words you share should reflect the virtue and goodness of the person. It is not the time to speak of bad habits or less than honorable experiences, even if they seem humorous. While humor is fine, it should be done in good taste and dignity. Other times and places may be more suited to telling stories and jokes about a person.

The following guide is intended to help you plan your remembrance and to deliver it well.

Begin by praying that you will honor the person you are speaking about and that your words will be a witness to his or her faith and a blessing to family and friends.

  • Words of remembrance should be three to five minutes. This is roughly one typed page. It is very important that you respect this policy.
  • It is an emotional and difficult task to limit one’s words, as memories flow freely and easily. Therefore, prepare your remembrance in writing.
  • Choose one or two memories that capture the virtue and character of the person.
  • You may share common memories of the person but it is not the place to speak for every person’s memories or give a chronology of the person’s life.
  • Speak sincerely and respectfully, reflecting your experience.
  • Avoid using “inside jokes” or forms of humor which may be misunderstood, or sharing incidents not widely known, which may cause confusion or hurt.
  • Choose one trusted advisor who also knew the deceased and use this person as a “sounding board” when you prepare your remembrance.
  • Show your written remembrance to the priest the night before the funeral, at the latest. He may offer helpful comments on the text.
  • Pray that you will do honor to your loved one’s memory and that your words will be a witness to faith and a blessing to family and friends.
  • If you have been asked to offer a remembrance, but are unaccustomed to public speaking, or are concerned that your emotions may hinder your ability to speak, do not hesitate to respectfully decline this task.

If possible leave the text of your remembrance on the ambo before Mass and leave it behind when you walk away from the lectern.

As we mark the promulgation of revised funeral norms for the Diocese of Bridgeport, we will be publishing these helpful resources from the Leadership Institute weekly.

STAMFORD — More than 125 years ago, the legendary Irish composer, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, composed his Great Mass in G Major, which employs a full orchestra, a chorus and vocal soloists. And yet for all its grandeur, it has been performed on only several occasions.

Now, it will be performed in the United States for the first time at the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist in a Mass celebrating the canonization of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman on Sunday, October 13 at noon.

“The Great Mass was written when Stanford was at the height of his musical powers and calls for a wealth of musical forces, employing a full orchestra, choir and soloists,” said Nicholas Botkins, Director of Music at the Basilica, who will serve as conductor. “Stanford is one of the giants of British music, and I can’t think of a better way for our Catholic community to honor the canonization of a giant figure in our Church, John Henry Cardinal Newman.”

Only in the past few months have the orchestral parts of the Mass been made available to the public, and Botkins was able to obtain them.

“It is a great Mass, obviously under done in the form that you would normally hear it,” he said. “It is a very beautiful Mass so I wanted to give it the proper respect. The orchestra parts have been available to us, and we can now do it as the composer intended.”

Stanford, who died in 1924, was a major composer, music teacher and conductor and the founding director of the Royal College of Music in London. During his prolific career, he composed seven symphonies, nine operas, five Irish rhapsodies, chamber music and choral works for church performance.

The Great Mass in G Major, Opus 46, was written in 1892 at the request of Thomas Wingham, who was choirmaster of the London Oratory. It was performed only twice in Stanford’s lifetime (Wingham died before he could hear it) and again in 2014 by the Choir of Exeter College at Oxford.

“The orchestra parts had been locked away at the London Oratory, and I have been trying to get them for about five years,” Botkins said.

“It was all very providential,” he added. “Monsignor DiGiovanni has ties with the London Oratory and knows the prefect for music there, and I spent some time there and suddenly there was an announcement that Newman would be canonized. I had always wanted to do this Mass … and one thing led to another.”

The liturgical performance will include the Basilica choir, which sings at the noon Mass, soloists from the opera program at Yale University and an orchestra assembled by a contractor, who works  the New York City Ballet and the Philharmonia of New York. Admission to the noon Mass on October 13 is free and open to the public.

On that day, Pope Francis will elevate John Henry Newman to sainthood during a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Blessed Cardinal Newman (1801-1890) was an Anglican priest who converted to Roman Catholicism and became the most influential religious leader, educator and theologian of his day. He was also the founder of the London Oratory, for which Stanford’s Mass was written.

Newman has a special spiritual significance to Botkins, who is also a convert to Catholicism.

“He is a British giant, and I certainly can identify with his conversion,” Botkins said. “He had a very successful Anglican career so for him to convert in a country where Catholicism was suspect took an enormous amount of humility.”

Botkins, himself, came into the Catholic faith in 2007 after being inspired by the perpetual Eucharistic adoration that was held at a parish where he was working, and it had a profound and lasting influence upon him.

Botkins, who for 10 years was the director of sacred music and master of the choirs at the St. Francis de Sales Oratory, an apostolate of the Institute of Christ the King in St. Louis, was appointed Director of Music at the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist in March.

“This will be a special day,” Botkins says, “because God has blessed us so much with this canonization. It is always important for the Church to offer the best that she can. The Infant of Prague promises, ‘The more you honor me, the more I will bless you.’ And by marking this occasion with the Mass, it will provide great clarity at a time when ambiguity is weaponized. It is very important for us to mark these occasions that are sacred because it provides a light that points us in the right direction.”