Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Register Here: Diocesan Mass to honor healthcare workers

BRIDGEPORT- Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will celebrate a special Mass this Spring for all healthcare workers throughout the Diocese.

The special celebration of Mass to honor workers will take place on Saturday, May 29, 2021 at 11:00 AM in Saint Joseph Church, Brookfield.

Bishop Caggiano said he felt it was important that the diocese recognize healthcare workers and participants in the Ambassador program called for in his pastor exhortation, “Let us Enter the Upper Room with the Lord.”

“Over this past year, many of our healthcare workers offered heroic service on behalf of those who fell ill with the Coronavirus, often risking their own lives to care for those who were sick. While I am sure that we have kept them in our prayers each day, we also look forward to this opportunity to affirm their healthcare ministry,” he said.

Registration Healthcare Mass: Given the limited capacity in Church due to the pandemic, participants will be required to register online. Register here.

Our Lady of Fatima presents virtual stations of the cross

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.)

 

Holy Hour for Vocations Rescheduled for January 27th

Events No Comments

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.

Holy Hour for Vocations Postponed

Events No Comments

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.

Commencements celebrated safely amidst pandemic

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.

St. Rose of Lima 8th grade graduation!

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.)

Diocesan Ministry Day Offers Something For Everyone

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.

St. Louis Jesuits to Perform at Fairfield University

Events No Comments

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.)

Diaconate Discovery Evening Scheduled for Thursday

Events No Comments

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.

Resource for Catholic Funerals: Words of Remembrance

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.

U.S. premiere of choral Mass will mark Newman canonization

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.”

A Conversation on Homebound Communion

BRIDGEPORT—Later this month, The Leadership Institute will be offering an opportunity to learn more about ministry to the sick and/or homebound.

After morning hospitality and an opening prayer on Saturday August 24 at 9 am, the conversation will include best practices for those who bring Holy Communion to the sick and/or homebound, Formation requirements, connecting patients to the parish and HIPPA guidelines.

All who attend will receive a 2019-2020 copy of The Catholic Handbook for Visiting the Sick and Homebound, the essential resource for lay ministers of care, especially Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

This portable, annual resource has been updated to include all the official rites a lay minister will need from the Book of Blessings and Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum to bring Holy Communion, as well as to pray and share the Gospel with, those who cannot regularly worship with their parish community. The book includes all the official rites an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion will need, as well as all weekly readings that can be used when bringing Holy Communion to the sick and homebound.

Patrick Donovan, director of The Leadership Institute explains, “In the midst of the 80+ face-to-face sessions we held for liturgical ministers, one of the questions that consistently came up was the appropriate way to distribute Holy Communion to those who are unable to join the parish community at Mass each Sunday. Husbands whose wives are homebound, wives whose husbands are in assisted living, and children whose parents are retirement homes – all wanted to know how to bring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to those they love.”

“It was moving to see how many people wanted to make sure their loved ones did not miss receiving our Lord in the Eucharist simply because their living arrangements had changed. The idea for this workshop was born from those conversations,” Donovan says.

Donovan explains that the workshop is open to anyone from any parish who brings Holy Communion to the sick and/or homebound, even if the person was not part of formation before.

Those who have the honor of distributing Holy Communion to those who cannot be at Mass on Sunday should, according to the Norms Governing Liturgical Ministries, receive a mandate from the Bishop and we can begin that process for those not already enrolled in formation, says Donovan.

The Leadership Institute has recently announced that the first wave of mandates (numbering 3,500, following the 80+ face-to-face sessions) have been signed by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano and are ready for distribution to parishes.

These mandates include anyone who successfully completed the formation process by June 30. Those who have completed formation since that time will be distributed in the coming weeks.
The mandates are available for pick up at the front desk of the Catholic Center (238 Jewett Avenue, Bridgeport) Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and on Fridays from 8:30 am to 1 pm. When you pick up your mandates you will also receive a book of blessings for liturgical ministers.

Each parish is asked to bless all liturgical ministers during a Mass between now and the end of September and to distribute the mandates as part of the blessing. Formation for new liturgical ministers will be available online in the coming days.

(For more information on Homebound Communion: A Conversation visit formationreimagined.org.)

Caring for the Homeless is topic of White Mass Breakfast

BRIDGEPORT—James J. O’Connell M.D., president of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, will be the featured speaker at the 26th White Mass honoring Health Care professionals on Sunday, April 7, 9:30 am, at St. Augustine Cathedral, 399 Washington Avenue in Bridgeport.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will celebrate the annual Mass, which will be immediately followed by brunch at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield. The Mass is open to all healthcare workers and the general public.

“Lessons Learned Caring for Boston’s Rough Sleepers” will be the focus of the talk by Dr. O’Connell, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who has dedicated his medical career to caring for Boston’s homeless.

“Our Holy Father has urged us ‘to serve Jesus crucified’ in every person who is poor, marginalized and suffering, and to see the Lord in every excluded person who is hungry, thirsty and abandoned,” said Bishop Caggiano. “Dr. O’Connell has inspired us all with his urgent and sacrificial witness to those who often remain invisible in our lives, though they live in plain sight.”

“Throughout his 30 years at the helm, Dr. O’Connell has continued to serve on the team of doctors that meets patients on the streets, offering food and warm socks, medical treatment and the support of trusted friends. We have much to learn from him and we welcome his presence at the upcoming White Mass,” said the bishop.

Under Dr. O’Connell’s leadership, the Boston homeless program has become the country’s largest and most comprehensive program of its kind, serving more than 12,000 homeless people a year in two hospital-based clinics and more than 60 shelters and outreach sites.

During the White Mass, the bishop will present the Father Rufin Compassionate Care Award to one area healthcare professional and another to a healthcare volunteer. The recipients are traditionally drawn from the ranks of physicians, nurses, dentists, healthcare workers or healthcare volunteers in Fairfield County.

The Father Rufin Award is presented to those who exemplify compassionate and loving care for the sick. It is named after the late Father Rufin Kuveikis, a Capuchin Franciscan who served as chaplain at Norwalk Hospital for 18 years. He died in 2008 at age 86.

About Dr. James J. O’Connell, M.D.:  Dr. O’Connell graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1970 and received his Master’s degree in Theology from Cambridge University in 1972. After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1982, he completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). In 1985, Dr. O’Connell began fulltime clinical work with homeless individuals as the founding physician of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. With his colleagues, Dr. O’Connell established the nation’s first medical respite program for homeless persons with 25 beds in the Lemuel Shattuck Shelter. This innovative program now provides acute and sub-acute, pre- and post-operative, and palliative and end-of-life care in the freestanding 104-bed Barbara McInnis House.

Dr. O’Connell has been featured on ABC’s Nightline and in the feature-length documentary Give Me a Shot of Anything. He has received numerous awards, including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award in 2012 and The Trustees’ Medal at the bicentennial celebration of MGH in 2011. Dr. O’Connell has collaborated with homeless programs in many cities in the USA and across the globe, including Los Angeles, London, and Sydney. Dr. O’Connell’s book Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor was published in 2015 in celebration of BHCHP’s 30th anniversary.

All healthcare workers and their guests are invited to attend the White Mass. The Mass is also open to the general public.  Breakfast tickets are $35 per person. (Table of 8, $ 250. Sponsor: $100 includes 2 brunch reservations and name listed in the program.) Register online at: www.2018whitemass.org.

(For further information Contact Elizabeth Auda at:203.416.1636 or email at: 2019whitemass@diobpt.org.)

Click here to register for the White Mass!