Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

The Office of Safe Environments, Victim-Survivors of abuse and family members will host a special Day of Healing and Recollection on Thursday June 29th, 2023 for anyone who has been wounded within the Church. We hope that any person who has left the Church because of the abuse crisis or for other concerns will consider attending.

 
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St. Margaret Shrine
2523 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT

Feel free to join us at any point in the day. You are welcome! There is no fee to attend.

Schedule (Thursday June 29, 2023)
8:15 Mass and Rosary
9:30 Courageous Conversations with Survivors
10:30 Stations of the Cross –The Way
11:30 Courageous Conversations with Survivors
12:30 Lunch and Closing Prayer

FAQ

If I am not a victim of clergy sexual abuse, is this for me?
Yes! This day is for anyone who has been abused or has been wounded within the Church. We have had participants in our group in the past who were abused by family members, clergy, religious, doctors, coaches, family friends and others. You will not be taking a spot from someone else who needs it, YOU need this and we are here for you.

Will I have to talk about the details of my abuse?
You may share your experiences if you choose in a safe environment, however, this is not required. There will be social workers, members of the clergy, survivors of abuse and family members of victim-survivors who are available to meet or speak with you.

Will I be able to keep my information confidential?
The staff are considered Mandated Reporters which means we will handle your information with a high level of confidentiality at all times however, there are legal limits to confidentiality concerning abuse or risk of harm. You control how much you share in this setting and we can help you make a report to D.C.F. or Police when you feel ready. We encourage everyone to report early concerns and all incidents of abuse to civil authorities.

To register or for more information, please contact Erin Neil, L.C.S.W, Director of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance Coordinator with the Diocese of Bridgeport.
Phone: (203) 416-1406
Cell: (203) 650-3265
Email: eneil@diobpt.org

BRIDGEPORT—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will celebrate the holiday of Juneteenth on Monday, June 19 at 6 pm at Blessed Sacrament Parish, 275 Union Ave. in Bridgeport. All are invited to attend.

The evening, sponsored by The Apostolate of Black Catholics of the Diocese of Bridgeport will begin with a Holy Hour from 6 pm to 7 pm. The program and reception will follow from 7 pm to 8 pm in the parish hall.

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. In June 2021 President Joe Biden signed legislation that made Juneteenth a Federal Holiday.

Bishop Caggiano will offer a reflection during the program and will be joined by Father Reginald Norman, Episcopal Vicar for Black Catholics, and pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Wilton, and Janie Nneji who will also speak.

Janie Nneji, a member of St. Mary Parish in Ridgefield is a convert to Roman Catholicism, having been raised as a daughter of Presbyterian parents.  She is an Usher and Greeter, Reader, Hospitality Lead, and member of the Black Catholic  postolate and Diocesan Pastoral Council.  She and her husband, Dr. Bernard Nneji, are the parents of four children.

“After the death of George Floyd, I dove into learning more about roots of structural racism in our society and within the American Roman Catholic Church and co-facilitated a parish discussion group based on Bishop Emeritus Edward K. Braxton’s pastoral letter, The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the Word Day of Peace 2015.  My favorite mottos are ‘Be Bold, Be Catholic’ and ‘Baking fixes everything!’ she said.

Proclamations from every town in honor of Juneteenth will be presented to Bishop Caggiano during the ceremony.

The program will begin with African Drummers, ancestors dressed in Kente Cloth, a Gospel choir singing a medley of freedom songs, and liturgical dancers.

Juneteenth derives its name from Maj. General Gordon Granger of Texas, who, on June 19, 1865, issued the proclamation announcing that all slaves were free. A few months later, the 13th Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery in the final four states not subjected to President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation two and a half years earlier.

“The recognition of Juneteenth as a federal holiday is an important step in the continued healing of racial divisions in our country,” Bishop Caggiano said. “We must do all we can to root out the sin of racism and bigotry wherever it can be found. To do that, we must continue to study the causes of racism in all its forms and make a concerted effort to avoid this sin in the future.”

In July 2020, Bishop Caggiano formed a Racial Justice Committee, which continues to meet and offer suggestions to diocesan officials about formation and programming aimed at helping the faithful understand the role we all play in bringing about peace in our homes, our communities, and our country.

The observance is being planned and coordinated by Father Norman; Valerie Bien-Aime, Diversity Program Manager of the Diocese of Bridgeport; and the Black Catholic Apostolate including members Ina Mariano, Arlene Parks, Teri Carson, Debbie Sims, Jackie Soares, John Soares, Janelle Hemming and Karen Soares-Robinson.  For more information contact Valerie Bien-Amie: Valerie.Bien-Aime@diobpt.org

DANBURY – Parishioners of Saint Joseph Church and members of the greater Danbury community are welcome to participate in a musically healing remembrance concert for loved ones who have passed.

The concert, “Remembrance: A Concert of Sacred Vocal Masterpieces,” to be held at the Robinson Avenue church on Sunday June 11 at 3 p.m., will feature the musical masterpieces of composer Gabriel Fauré.

“There have been a significant number of funerals here due to the pandemic, in part, but also our central city location has brought many from all over the country to request a Funeral Mass here for their loved ones,” said Pastor Fr. Samuel Scott.

Fr. Scott said he and Music Director and organist Robert Fertitta were meeting regularly to address the needs of people grieving for loved ones and decided to host a concert of remembrance and healing.

“We both sensed the need for our Parish family to be united in our grief and sacred choral music could bring us that unity and peace in healthy and holy ways,” Fr. Scott said.
Registered, active parishioners received invitation letters in the mail to submit the name of loved ones to be remembered at the concert. Additional envelopes for name submissions were available at the side entrance of the church. More than 300 names have been submitted and will be included in the program.

Fertitta has curated the afternoon program that will include 12 vocalists and selections of Fauré’s work including Cantique de Jean Racine (1865), Ave Verum Corpus (1894), Ave Maria (1871) among others and most notably his Requiem (1890), which was composed between 1887 and 1890.

Requiem, often heard at a Catholic Funeral Mass, has seven movements which are said to illustrate the sadness of death of a loved one while also offering hope that after death the deceased had gone on to eternal life with God.

“Heavenly harmony, gorgeous melody, soothing textures are the perfect mood for the words that are being set by this master composer,” Fertitta said, noting how it moves from somber to triumphant.

There is a special connection to Fauré’s music for Fertitta. During his musical studies, as a young 20-something, Fertitta was a student of then 84-year-old Nadia Boulanger, an accomplished French composer and conductor who studied with Fauré.

“She taught the philosophy of life through music,” he said, adding one of her most notable quotes include, “Do not take up music unless you would rather die than not do so.”
Among her many students were important composers, soloists, arrangers, and conductors, including Lennox Berkeley, Aaron Copland and Quincy Jones.

“This memorial concert will include prayer and recognition of all of our deceased relatives and friends through Faure’s soulful modal melodies and colorful harmonic language,” Fr. Scott said.

Fertitta agreed.

“The beauty of all of this music is exquisite,” Fertitta said. “We hope people will walk away with peace, fulfillment, optimism and joy.”

The concert is free. Donations are welcome.

NORWALK—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will bless the new Catholic Cemeteries headquarters building, 154 East Avenue in Norwalk,  today, Thursday, April 27, 2023, at 4 pm.

The completely renovated three-story building is also the home of the new John Paul ll Communications Center of the Diocese of Bridgeport, which includes Veritas Catholic Radio (1350 AM and 103.9 FM).

The bishop will be joined by invited guests who will attend the blessing and tour the three-story building.  The blessing ceremony will also be covered live on Veritas Catholic Radio.

Catholic Cemeteries Executive Director Dean Gestal said the new Cemeteries headquarters location will bring management functions under one roof, improve communications with families, and enable the introduction of new services such as its recently launched Bereavement Ministry.

“I am very grateful to Cemeteries Executive Director Dean Gestal for his leadership and vision, and for the efforts of his entire cemeteries team to coordinate the beautiful renovation and create office space for our Communications efforts,” said Bishop Caggiano.

The John Paul II Communications Center  is a collaborative effort with Veritas Radio, under the direction of Steve Lee of Ridgefield, and the Diocesan Office of Communications to provide a comprehensive resource for individuals and organizations seeking to share their messages through various forms of media.

The Catholic Cemeteries ministry serves people of all faiths and offers many services and options at its nine active cemeteries across Fairfield County. It also manages four historic cemeteries bringing a total of almost 700 acres under cemeteries management. In addition to the new main office, there are also six cemetery sales offices located at St. Mary-Putnam Cemetery/Greenwich, St. John Cemetery/Darien, St. John Cemetery/Norwalk, Gate of Heaven Cemetery/Trumbull, St. Michael Cemetery/Bridgeport-Stratford and St. Peter Cemetery/Danbury.

For information on Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Bridgeport, call Joe McCurdy at 203-610-3414, email info@ctcemeteries.org or visit ctcemeteries.org  (For more information on the New Day program, email Killian at bereavement@ctcemeteries.org

We are so very excited to bring Dove Award winning, singer-songwriter, Mark Schultz to Connecticut for a concert. Mark will perform at Fairfield University’s Quick Center on May 5, 2023.

Mark Schultz is from Nashville with over 2,000,000 albums sold. His music speaks of faith, family and home and he has numerous songs that will resonate and inspire all those who can attend. The performance will begin a 7:00pm and there will be two, 45-minute sets with a 30-minute intermission.

Tickets are on sale now! Tickets are $50 & $60 and can be purchased by calling 203-254-4010 or visiting this website: https://quickcenter.my.salesforce-sites.com/ticket/#/instances/a0F6S00000m1IfXUAU.

Mark Schultz Biography

Perseverance, creativity and a strong will are qualities that have served Mark Schultz well throughout his career. A native of Colby, Kansas, Schultz moved to Nashville to pursue his musical ambitions and found inspiration and encouragement while working as a youth pastor. With the support of the congregation, he booked a show at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium. The show was a sell out, an unheard of feat for a fledgling artist that earned him a deal with Word Records.

Since then the Dove Award winning artist has become one of Christian music’s most acclaimed singer/songwriters. Schultz, now a resident of North Carolina, has also tasted success on the mainstream adult contemporary charts with such hits as “He’s My Son,” “Letters from War” and “Walking Her Home.” “Back in His Arms Again” was named BMI’s Christian Song of the Year in 2003, “Letters from War” was the centerpiece of the Army’s “Be Safe-Make It Home” campaign and Schultz has flooded radio with nine No. 1 songs, such as “Remember Me” and “I Am the Way.” He’s also earned the top spot on Billboard magazine’s Christian Adult Contemporary Songwriter list and has been featured on the national TV programs, 48 Hours, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, CNN and more. His 2005 release, Mark Schultz Live…A Night of Stories & Songs, sold RIAA certified Platinum and garnered Schultz his first GMA Dove Award.

In crafting songs for the new record, Schultz co-wrote with some very accomplished friends, among them Matthew West, Mercy Me’s Bart Millard and Barry Graul, Joy Williams and Bernie Herms, who is one of the producers on the album. “I’ve always done a record with one, maybe two producers and this one has four on it,” says Schultz, who worked with Herms, Shaun Shankel, Paul Mills and Brown Bannister. “It’s my 10th year to have done this and it feels like I’ve just started. I thought â what a great way to say it’s been a great 10 years.’ Let’s open it up to a few different producers who I’ve worked with and a few new ones, just to create a very diverse record.”

As he always does, Schultz pulled from real life experiences to create the songs on the new record. “He Is” was inspired by two different stories. “Payton Cram was a girl who came to one of my concerts in Michigan with her dad,” recalls Schultz. “She had cancer and I was really amazed at her maturity for her young age. When it started to get bad, I flew up and spent a day with her and prayed with her and her family. She was a beautiful girl. She was never going to blame God for it. She never asked â Why me?’ She just always knew there was a bigger purpose in it.”

During the same time Payton was battling cancer, Mark’s wife came home and told him about a missionary family whose fourth child was born on a Friday and on Sunday they found out the mother had terminal cancer. “The father of the family said, â well we can’t praise God on Friday and curse him on Sunday. He’s the same God on Friday as he is on Sunday. We have to trust that He knows what’s going on,’ and that’s when the idea of â He Is’ was born,” says Schultz. “It really encapsulated Payton’s story and that family’s story too. He is, he was and always will be. It’s been a special, special song for me and I hope people really enjoy it. It’s a pretty important messageâ ”no matter what kind of rough road you are riding through to be able to say â the same God who has given me so much is the same one that’s in control today through this rough stuff.’ It’s a pretty strong thought.”

Another poignant song on the album, “What It Means to Be Loved,” is “the only song I’ve ever played in concert that received a standing ovation before the end of the first chorus was over,” recalls Schultz. Kate was again a source of inspiration for the song: “My wife said to me, â Since you are adopted, I think we should adopt kids too. I think we should adopt kids with special needs…maybe someday we adopt kids with special needs that doctors know are only going to live for a year or two,'” recalls Schultz. “I replied, â Honey, why would we do that?’ She answers, â Because, before they go to heaven, I want them to know what a great Christmas is like and what a great birthday is like and let them know they were loved well before they get to heaven.’ That’s the kind of wife I’m married to.”

This conversation was sparked by the story his wife told him about a family who was expecting a child and were told that tests revealed health issues that meant the baby probably wouldn’t live long. Although the doctors suggested terminating the pregnancy, the mother decided she would love the child as long as she could. Schultz channeled those emotions into the “What It Means to Be Loved” lyrics: I want to give her the world / I want to hold her hand/ I want to be her mom just as long as I can and live every moment until that day comes/ I want to show her what it means to be loved.

“As Christians, we are called to be love,” says Schultz. “If that means loving a baby that will be here seven minutes or 70 years, it doesn’t make any difference.”

The song is a powerful work of art, teeming with emotion. Schultz’s clear, compelling voice conveys the sense of sadness, yet shares the spirit of hope and abundant love that lie at the heart of the song. It’s his ability to capture life’s most fragile moments in song, and lead people closer to God by revealing His glory in every situation, that make Mark Schultz such a gifted artist.

It has been 10 years since Schultz sold out the Ryman Auditorium and embarked on this creative journey. It’s not always an easy road, but he has no doubt he’s exactly where God wants him to be. “I think the surest that I’ve been in the last 10 years is when I rode my bike across the country,” says Schultz. Learning to lean ever more closely on his heavenly Father, many of the songs on Come Alive were inspired during that bicycle trip that raised over $250,000 to benefit the James Fund, which provides assistance for widows and orphans. Along the way he learned much about himself, the human condition and God’s sovereignty. Those revelations reverberate throughout his new album.

“I would hope that when people listen to this CD they can identify with the struggles within the songs, but at the same time know that God is the same God through the struggles as he is during the triumphant moments. Christ, who began a good work, will finish a good work. It may not be on your own timeline or not even the way you imagined it, but he promises he will. There’s a bigger picture out of our control, but God has made these promises and I want to hold onto that.”

Mark Schultz Flyer

FAIRFIELD,—Jeffrey A. Flaks, president and CEO of Hartford HealthCare (HHC), and Richard A. Robinson, chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, will deliver this year’s keynote addresses for Sacred Heart University’s undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies.

The ceremonies will take place Sunday, May 14, at the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater in Bridgeport. Flaks will speak to 1,484 graduates at SHU’s 57th undergraduate commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. Robinson will address 1,341 graduate students at their commencement at 9:30 a.m.

Both speakers will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters, honoris causa.

As president and CEO of HHC, Flaks is one of healthcare’s most progressive leaders, transforming care delivery over the course of nearly three decades. As president and chief executive officer of HHC, he leads a $5.4 billion enterprise caring for more than 1.7 million patients and customers with a clear focus on transforming health care to ensure every patient receives the highest level of care that is more accessible, more equitable and more affordable.

A Connecticut native, he sits on several boards and councils and has been recognized numerous times for his dedication to the community and the health care industry.

About RobinsonRobinson started his career as Stamford’s legal counsel. A Stamford native, he was appointed to the state superior court in 2000 and served in that position until 2007, when he was named to the state appellate court. In 2013, he was appointed to the state supreme court. Robinson made headlines in 2018 when he became the first African-American Connecticut Supreme Court chief justice.

Before working in the state courts, Robinson served in other public and judicial positions. He worked with such organizations as the NAACP, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and the National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness. He’s earned numerous honors for his work, including Ebony magazine’s Power 100 Award, the Quinnipiac University Black Law Students Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award and the Connecticut Bar Foundation Distinguished Service Award.

With graduation so close, students are looking back on their experiences at SHU.

“The last three years at SHU have been amazing,” said senior Jackson Tse, a marketing and management double major with an honors minor. “Despite beginning my career at SHU during the pandemic, I immediately felt supported and put in a position where I could succeed. The professors, faculty, staff and students on campus have made SHU truly feel like a second home. Some of my favorite times at Sacred Heart were spent with my friends, whether we were hanging outside Bergoglio Hall, attending athletic events or sledding by Scholars Commons.”

The 20-year-old Burnt Hills, N.Y., resident plans to attend graduate school. His goal is to work in marketing for a professional sports organization.

Elizabeth Coyne ’22 from Wyckoff, N.J., has spent the last year in SHU’s graduate strategic communication and public relations program. Coyne, 22, has been engrossed in Photoshop and InDesign courses. She learned about social media integration, perfected her writing skills and mastered branding and marketing techniques. She even interned for the British magazine, Mission.

“My time at SHU has been so rewarding,” Coyne said. “The year I’ve spent in the graduate program has allowed me to exercise my capabilities as a young professional, expand my portfolio and closely connect with my fellow graduates. I have been so inspired by the talented faculty chosen to teach me and my peers, many of whom I owe a great deal of thanks for my new set of skills. I feel prepared to leave SHU and begin my career after spending this past year on campus. I am so proud to call myself a Pioneer.”

FAIRFIELD- Sacred Heart University will present the discussion series “Heart Challenges Hate: The State of Antisemitism Today” on April 11 at 7 pm.

Students, staff and members of the public are invited to listen to a panel of speakers discuss the state of antisemitism today.

The panel will be moderated by Michelle Loris, chair of SHU’s department of Catholic studies. Featured panelists include: Elena Procario-Foley, Br. John G. Driscoll professor of Jewish-Catholic studies at Iona University; Myra Clark-Siegel, regional director of the American Jewish Committee of Westchester/Fairfield: and Jill Friedman, associate regional director of the American Jewish Committee of Westchester/Fairfield.

 

The series will be hosted at the Martire Theatre, E-145, in the Frank and Marisa Martire Center for the Liberal Arts at Sacred Heart University, 5401 Park Ave., Fairfield. The event can also be livestreamed here.

FAIRFIELD- Join Sacred Heart University in welcoming Father Dan Horan, OFM, for an installment of its continued Contemporary Catholic Conversation series.

The lecture is titled “Understanding the impacts of whiteness: Laying the foundation for an antiracist spirituality.”

Appetizers will be served. For more information, please contact Ami Neville (nevillea@sacredheart.edu).

STAMFORD—On Friday, March 3, the Irish-American Cultural Society of Stamford (IACSOS) will be hosting the Grand Marshal’s Dinner for the 2023 Stamford St. Patrick’s Day Parade. 

This year’s Grand Marshal will be Sergeant Patrick Loughran, a 30-plus year veteran of the Stamford Police Department, long-time Ancient Order of Hibernians member, and parishioner of Christ the King Parish in Trumbull.

Additionally, the Cingari family will be honored that evening for their generation-spanning impact on the Stamford community, including their generous contributions to the Food Bank through their Grade A ShopRite stores.

The Grand Marshal’s Dinner will be held at Serafina at the Italian Center, beginning at 6 pm. The Parade will be held the following day on Saturday, March 4 at 2 pm in downtown Stamford. Those interested in purchasing dinner tickets, or getting involved as a volunteer should contact Michael Feighan by email at StamfordSPDP@gmail.com.

With participation from more than 80 community marching units, pipe bands, dancers and school organizations, the parade is Stamford’s premier spring event and is the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in Fairfield County. The parade and its associated events are run by the IACSOS which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

BRIDGEPORT– Dove Award winning, singer-songwriter, and contemporary Christian musician Mark Schultz coming to Connecticut for a concert at Fairfield University’s Quick Center on May 5, 7 pm.

The contemporary Christian music artist has ten #1 hit singles and has sold more than 2 million records in a career that has spanned two decades.

The concert will benefit Malta House, of Norwalk, which provides a home for pregnant and parenting mothers of all faiths, in Norwalk, and the Respect for Life and other ministries of St. Francis Parish in Weston.

The performance will include two 45 minutes sets with a 30-minute intermission.

“Mark Schulz has crafted a powerful music ministry. His music speaks of faith, family and home and his songs will uplift and inspire all those attend,” said Deacon Stephen Hodson, who is coordinating the concert. “Mark has a remarkable life story that he shares powerfully in song that resonates in so many lives.”

Schultz will be playing new music along with his many hits including He’s My Son, I Am, and Remember Me. For more on his songs, visit: https://markschultzmusic.com/

Adopted at the age of two weeks old, and raised by loving parents, singer/songwriter Mark Schultz grew up in Colby, KS. Although he enjoyed great success in high school sports such as track and football, Schultz’ musical talents outshone his athletic strengths. He soon moved to Nashville; however, instead of fulfilling his aspirations of a career in music, Schultz ended up in youth ministry. His position as a youth leader at First Presbyterian Church served to inspire the young songwriter, causing him to write songs about people in the congregation. Weekly concerts featuring Schultz drew crowds. After continued concerts, including a benefit concert he organized at the Ryman Auditorium, Schultz signed with Myrrh Records and released his self-titled debut album in 2000.

He has garnered accolades like Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Album of the Year and has appeared on ABC’s 20/20, Extreme Home Makeover, and CNN’s Morning Edition. In 2007 Mark partnered with Family Christian Stores and the James Fund to help raise awareness and support for orphans by riding his bicycle across the country from California to Maine, doing 14 concerts along the way and raising $250,000. “It was the single greatest thing that I’ve done in my career,” he says, “And it awoke a passion in me to share my story and be a champion for others.”

That summer tour has led to Schultz doing more than 200 benefit concerts for crisis pregnancy centers and adoption agencies across the country. Mark’s hit single, “Everything to Me,” a song about his life and gratitude to his birth mother, was the centerpiece for Bethany Christian Services ministry to expectant mothers. “I wanted to write a song for birth mothers, so that they could hear how grateful I am to my own birth mom and how she made the choice to give me life.”

Recently, Mark and his wife Kate, who have two boys, Ryan and Gus, adopted two daughters, Maia Mae and Ebby Lou. “It’s amazing for me to be on this side of adoption,” says Schultz. “This love that I have for my daughters is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. We have a very special bond.”

About Malta House
Malta House is an independent 501c 3 non-profit organization in Norwalk, Conn. committed to promoting the dignity of God-given life by providing a nurturing home environment, support services and independent living skills to pregnant and parenting mothers of all faiths and their children. It is the only transitional living program in the state where a mom can stay with her baby for long-term support and a “hand-up” as she journeys to independence and hope. Since opening its doors in 1998, Malta House has welcomed over 700 mothers and babies to the home. For more info: https://www.maltahouse.org Anyone who would like to donate a ticket to a Malta House resident an contact: https://www.osvhub.com/stfrancisweston/giving/funds/mark-schultz-concert-benefit

About St. Francis Parish Ministries: https://www.stfrancisweston.org/ministry

There will be a pre-sale opportunity beginning on February 21st with regular ticket sales commencing on March 1st.

TICKETS: Tickets are $50 general seating & $60 premium https://quickcenter.fairfield.edu/Call 203-254-4010

WESTON—St. Francis of Assisi Parish will host the Vatican International Exhibit of Eucharistic Miracles created by Bl. Carlo Acutis from Wednesday, February 15 to Sunday, February 19, at 35 Norfield Road, Weston.

With an extensive assortment of photographs and historical description, the exhibition created by Bl. Carlo, who passed away at the age of 15,  presents some of the principal Eucharistic miracles that took place through the ages in various countries of the world.  By means of 187 panels, visitors can virtually visit the places where the miracles took place.

A full schedule of events has been planned for the parish exhibition and includes key miracle exhibits, Veneration of Blessed Carlo’s first class relic, and a talk on Bl. Carlo, set for Sunday February 19, at noon.

“Bl. Carlo Acutis did not strive to become famous,  but rather to cooperate with God’s graces as generously as possible,” said Deacon Steven Hodson of St. Francis Parish. “That journey brought him many experiences that were united by a burning desire to serve God and others.”

A first class relic is part of the person’s physical body . Miracles of healing and conversion are often association with veneration of relics.

Carlo Acutis, who was born in England and raised in Italy, was an ordinary teenager with a special love for Jesus. He played soccer, enjoyed computer games and doing practical jokes. He was declared blessed on October 10, 2020 after a miracle in Brazil was attributed to his intercession, and in a short time, he has earned the nicknames of “God’s influencer,” “Cyber- apostle of the Eucharist” and the “First Millennial Saint.”

As an amateur computer programmer, Acutis was able to catalog the miracles before he died, and they can be found on a website he designed—www. miracolieucaristici.org. The website has been translated into 17 languages, including Vietnamese and Swahili.

He died of leukemia in 2006 at 15, and his body was interred at Assisi. It was later exhumed and put in a tomb in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Assisi, where he is dressed in jeans, a track suit jacket and sneakers. His heart, which is considered a relic after his beatification, is in a reliquary in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

Pope Francis has called Acutis a model of holiness in the digital age and suggested that his use of the computer resembles the efforts of the first disciples who traveled on foot to bring the Good News of Christ to people.  He said Acutis is a role model for young people today, who are victims of “self-absorption, isolation and empty pleasure.”

“Carlo was well-aware that the whole apparatus of communications, advertising and social net- working can be used to lull us, to make us addicted to consumerism and buying the latest thing on the market, obsessed with our free time, caught up in negativity,” the pope wrote. “Yet he knew how to use the new communications technology to transmit the Gospel, to communicate values and beauty.”  (The above information on the life of Blessed Carlo was taken from a story written by Joe Pisani after interviewing Fran Bifulco of Monroe for the January 2022 Fairfield County Catholic.)

For more information on the Vatican International Exhibit of Eucharistic Miracles at St. Francis Parish,  contact Diana McHugh at 203-227-1341 or Deacon Steven Hodson at 203-260-1369.

Exhibition Times at St. Francis ParishWednesday, February 15 from 8-10 am and 6-8 amThursday, February 16 from 8-10 am and 6-8 pmFriday, February 17 from 8-10 am and 6-8 pmSaturday, February 18 from 10 am-noon and 6-8 pmSunday, February 19 from 9 am-1 pm

Presentation on Bl. Carlo and Key Exhibit Miracles: Sunday, February 19 at noon

Veneration of Bl. Carlo’s first class relicSaturday, February 18 from 10 am-noon and 6-8 pmSunday, February 19 from 9-9:20 am and 12:30-2 pm

Weekend Mass timesSaturday, February 18: 5 pmSunday: 8 am, 9:30 am and 11 am

In my early years, I loved school. At summer’s end, I anticipated the quest for perfect school supplies and the promise of new shoes, new books, and the smell of fresh paint in classrooms with uncommon enthusiasm. After school, I would often come home and play school with my siblings who, to their credit, humored me and played along.

Fortunately for them, I no longer corral them into this since I have been blessed with the opportunity to channel this enthusiasm more productively by spending my life as a teacher.

I remember my Catholic school years as a happy blur of school plays, field trips (Radio City Music Hall! The Bronx Zoo!), student council elections, student newspapers, class Masses for special occasions, glitter and felt art projects (it was the 70s and 80s), a May crowning, Christmas parties, poetry contests, the smell of mimeograph machine ink, birthday parties, prayers over the public address system, volleyball (much volleyball) in gym class, candy sales, library hour, spelling bees, science fairs—and lots of plaid.

Certainly, there were also misadventures, dramas, cliques and competition. School is, in all ways good and bad, the prelude to adult life.

As I look back on those days, I appreciate them more. While my memories swirl around the events of those years, it is the people my heart most cherishes with gratitude.

Thanks … to the sisters in the religious communities who served my school and so many others. When I was in school, I could already see that your ranks were shrinking in number. Yet, the legacy that you and your elder sisters built was a cherished bequest to Church and country. At a time when women in the United States could not vote, or hold most jobs, or, often, not even own property, you began to build and run a network of schools that, at its peak, educated well over five million students in 13,000 schools.

As a group, you built something far beyond what many of the most sophisticated entrepreneurs could ever imagine. As individuals, you gave your lives to serve God by serving us. I know now, looking back, that teaching was the vocation within your vocation. As the beneficiary of that, I am so grateful that my school was possible—and affordable to my parents—because teaching was your labor of love. Almost 40 years after I sat in my first grade class, the sister who taught me to read remembered the details of my very first science fair project—a sundial made of cardboard, a pencil and a spool of thread. That was the memory of someone for whom a lifetime teaching first graders is not a mere job. To her, it lay at the heart of life itself.

Thanks… to the lay teachers who joined in this labor. I know that your salaries were often lower than those of your peers. Without this sacrifice from both you and your families, so many schools could not have thrived as they did. You brought your enthusiasm, dedication, faithful witness, and love. My heart has ached for you in recent years when too many of your schools have closed and you have had to move on—sometimes more than once—from the places where you had served for decades or where you were just beginning to thrive.

Thanks … to pastors who supported their parish schools for so long, and who continue to support Catholic education in the new models of our time. I see the many ways in which a school enlivens and enriches the life of a parish and its mission of evangelization. Yet I know that a school also brings with it the woes of bulging budgets and broken boilers, expenses and exasperations, complaints and costs. So, many thanks for the hard work of passing on the legacy of faith and reason to your youngest parishioners in whatever ways you could, then and now.

Thanks… to parents like mine, and so many others, who saved what they could to pay for Catholic school when it was possible. For so many, this took funds that they could have used for good things they chose to forego. I remember each month in elementary school, the family tuition check was brought to school by the oldest sibling. As a middle child, I only had this responsibility for two years. But, even then, I knew that this—along with the hours they spent volunteering in the classroom, tracking down obscure ingredients for science projects and buying the candy I could not sell—was a gift from my hard working parents.

Thanks … to donors and benefactors who today quietly pass along that same gift to the children in their families or, with special generosity, to the children of strangers they will never meet. When challenges to Church, country, and world seem so great, the gift of an education in faith, wisdom and hope is truly one that keeps on giving.

The world of Catholic education has changed so much, so quickly. Parish schools have grown scarcer than they were when I was a child, and new models are springing up to pass along an ancient faith in ways ever new. I pray that generations who come after me will have their own happy memories of years in which the wonders of both faith and knowledge unfold for them. As for me, I am grateful for all who gave me my school days in ordinary times.

In Catholic Schools Week, may God bless all who share in this great enterprise of faith, hope and love!

By Lucia A. Silecchia
Lucia A. Silecchia is a Professor of Law and Associate Dean for faculty Research at the Catholic University of America. “On Ordinary Times” is a biweekly column reflecting on the ways to find the sacred in the simple. Email her at silecchia@cua.edu.

Originally published by Our Sunday Vistor News. To read the original story, click here.

WASHINGTON—Not in Washington for the 2023 March for Life? Have no fear. Pro-life advocates from around the country can mark the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by virtually participating in events being held in the nation’s capital in conjunction with the national march.

The opening and closing Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life on January 19 and 20 in the Great Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception will be livestreamed at www.nationalshrine.org/mass.

An all-new morning rally, Life Fest, sponsored by the Sisters of Life and the Knights of Columbus, takes place January 20 from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. EST and can be followed at www.lifefest2023.com.

The National Prayer Vigil for Life is hosted by the National Shrine, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-life Activities and the Catholic University of America’s Office of Campus Ministry.

The vigil “is a time to praise God for the great gift of the recent Supreme Court Dobbs decision, overturning the tragic Roe v. Wade decision made almost a half-century ago,” said Kat Talalas, assistant director of pro-life communications at the USCCB.

In its June 24 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the court reversed its prior jurisprudence in its Roe decision, which had declared abortion a constitutional right.

“State and federal legislators are now free to embrace policies that protect preborn children and their mothers,” Talalas said in a statement. “Yet, there is still a great need for prayer and advocacy from the faithful, as there will be intensified efforts to codify Roe in legislation and policies at the state and federal levels.”

Life Fest is a three-hour rally taking place ahead of the National March for Life at the 4,200-seat Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington. The welcome begins at 7:30 a.m. (EST), and the event will feature speakers, music, Mass and Eucharistic adoration.

The speakers include Sister Bethany Madonna of the Sisters of Life; Sister Mary Casey, who also is a Sister of Life, and her twin, Casey, who has Down syndrome; David Scotton, who was placed for adoption after his birth mother left an Indiana abortion clinic in 1993; and Tricia and Pete DeMaios, who work to educate people about the suffering inflicted by abortion by sharing their own story about abortion and the toll it took.

Singer and guitarist Father Isaiah Hofmann, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal, and worship leader and songwriter Sarah Kroger will perform for the crowd.

In a December 20 news release announcing the inaugural event, the Sisters of Life and the Knights of Columbus said their hope is Life Fest will “inspire and educate a new generation on the next steps for a new spirituality of love and life, one foundational to building a culture of life in the post-Dobbs era.”

“We see a profound opportunity to build the culture of life in a new way,” said Sister Maris Stella, a Sister of Life. “We want to serve the church in her most urgent need — that of the cause of human life, sharing the good news of God’s plan for life and love.”

Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly called the end of Roe “a crucial milestone, but we should not mistake the ruling as the end of abortion. The fight to protect life will now evolve at the state level but a united stand before national lawmakers is still essential.”

Kelly noted that 50 years ago the Knights helped launch the National March for Life, which has become “the largest annual human rights demonstration in the world.”

A March for Life Rally begins at noon on the National Mall, followed by the March for Life along Constitution Avenue to the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building. The March for Life organization will livestream the rally via Facebook and its YouTube channel.

Music for Youth presents “Sunday Studio Series” at St. Catherine of Siena on January 29, 2023 at 2:00pm.

Join us for an afternoon of informal and diverse performances presented by young artists sharing their joy of music! Admission is free and open to the public.

All musicians can register to perform by scanning the QR code found on this flyer below.

Contact Michelle Lin at musicforyouthct@gmail.com for more information. Learn more about Music for Youth by visiting their website at musicforyouth.net.

Music for Youth

From Steve Lee & the Veritas team:

With the passing of Pope Benedict XVI, we are airing some special programming this week. Other than the changes below, the rest of the schedule will air as usual.

Wednesday, January 4
12:00pm – in lieu of Let Me Be Frank, we will air EWTN’s Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Special live from Rome. (On next week’s Let Me Be Frank, Bishop Caggiano will reflect on the life of this incredible man.)

Thursday, January 5
3:00am – Funeral Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI live from Rome.
11:00am – The Front Line with Joe & Joe featuring Michael O’Neill will air in place of Women of Grace.
12:00pm – Memorial Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI live from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.

We were so blessed to have Pope Benedict XVI. Please continue to pray for his soul. Requiescat in pace.

Visit Veritas Radio at https://www.veritascatholic.com/