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:

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 . 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: 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,

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.”

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

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:

(For further information Contact Elizabeth Auda at:203.416.1636 or email at:

Click here to register for the White Mass!

BRIDGEPORT—Every year in the Diocese of Bridgeport, over two hundred high school students take part in CONVIVIO, an international conference for the youth, run by youth. CONVIVIO encourages students to grow in their relationship with the Lord by asking hard questions in order to find real answers, and then challenges them to go back to their families, parishes and schools to share their newfound or affirmed belief. It also reminds students that they are part of something greater, that they are not alone in the Christian life and that there are concrete ways to implement change in their world.

The weekend is centered around the Eucharist and includes Mass, Adoration, and the opportunity to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In addition to participation in the Sacraments, nationally known speakers will be giving the keynote addresses. There will also be small group discussion, games and time for fellowship. Every year, CONVIVIO is led by local high school and college students and is open to any high school student, no matter where they are in their faith. This year, CONVIVIO will take place on March 1, 2, and 3, 2019, at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield and the theme is “To Whom Shall We Go?” The planning committee, comprised entirely of former CONVIVIO participants, has put together a weekend rooted in Truth that aims to answer to this question that is especially relevant in the lives of our teens.

Registration is now open at www.convivio‐!

(For more information visit:

BRIDGEPORT—The Leadership Institute of the Diocese of Bridgeport has announced a series of  45 “Face-to-Face Formation” workshops, which will be held throughout the diocese in the coming months for all lay liturgical ministers readers, musicians, and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion as part of the introduction of new Norms Governing the Liturgical Ministries.

More than 4,000 men and women liturgical ministers are expected to attend the formation sessions in parishes throughout the diocese from January through May 20, 2019. All parish face-to-face sessions are two hours and include local, practical formation. Each gathering will also include 30 minutes of registration tech-support before and after each meeting.

More than 50 people attended the first meeting held last night at St. John Parish in Darien.  The program began with a video message from Bishop Frank J. Caggiano. Participants also received Formation Workshop booklets.

The Norms Governing the Liturgical Ministries for the Diocese of Bridgeport went into effect on January 1, 2019, as a response to the fourth diocesan synod and its call for reform and renewal. After one year ad experimentum, the norms will be revised and become permanent.

The norms offer standards and required formation for those who serve as Readers (proclaimers of the Word at Mass), Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC), Altar Servers, and musicians.

“By definition, norms are an authoritative standard. Liturgical norms regulate how the public worship of the Church is to be carried out. In the case of the Holy Eucharist, these norms ensure that the celebration of Mass in our diocese is in conformity with the universal liturgical law of the Church,” said Patrick Donovan, executive director of the Leadership Institute, which is sponsoring the workshops and online formation.

Donovan said the norms of the Diocese of Bridgeport are based on the teaching and guidance of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the Magisterium and the entire prayer history of the Church, the Bride of Christ.

More than two dozen clergy, lay leaders, and theologians worked to develop these norms over the course of a year, he said.

Readers, musicians, and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion who are grandfathered into the formation have been invited to complete an online module and attend a face-to-face gathering, which can be hosted at their parish. Most have already received an invitation to register online through their participation in the Virtus database.

Most of the formation for Altar Servers will happen at the parish level. Musicians are invited to watch one module online and then attend a face-to-face conversation with Bishop Caggiano on February 16, 2019. Donovan said that while the February 16  event is geared towards musicians, those who serve in this role may attend any workshop for credit.

Donovan added that anyone who currently serves in any of these liturgical roles who has not received an invitation via email should confirm that their Virtus status is up to date and then contact to request an invitation. Everyone will be required to register with The Leadership Institute and participate in formation opportunities around the diocese. Paper applications are available for those without computer access.

When liturgical ministers have met all requirements, they will receive your certificate (“the mandate”), which should be presented to the pastor. Pastors will also receive a list of those to whom a mandate has been given by the bishop.

The dates for Formation Gatherings are as follows:

Introducing the Institute’s new learning portal: LEAD. It’s all about Leadership, Evangelization, Accompaniment, and Discipleship and it invites users into a new online learning platform that will inspire your ministry and help shape your catechesis.

Entry for those who will be grandfathered into liturgical ministries will receive an email. Those currently serving as a liturgical minister who did not receive in online invitation should confirm their Virtus status and then email

Anyone new to ministry who would like to serve as a reader, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, or musician, can also visit the Leadership Institute website——after February 1 when formation for new ministers opens.

NORWALK- 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 January 10, 2019 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm at St. Philip Parish, Norwalk.

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,

BRIDGEPORT—It seems few things inspire the Christmas spirit more than the joyful music of the season, especially when it is performed by young people eager to share their faith through song. One such special group is the Diocesan Youth Choir (C4Y) which is preparing for their fourth annual “Arise and Shine” concert at the Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport on Friday, December 21. With over 135 singers from children in grade six through seniors in college, this is a musical journey in which the students and their director showcase a passion for song and a devotion to God.

“This is so exciting for them!” said Mary Bozzuti-Higgins, a professional performer and opera singer who has directed C4Y since its inception in 2014. “This is a special night—a feast for the eyes, ears, heart and soul.”

With a seven-piece ensemble, including piano, oboe, flute, trumpet, violin, trombone and percussion, the program will include traditional carols and contemporary favorites. Beginning with the customary first piece “Arise and Shine,” Bozzuti-Higgins has also chosen singer favorites like “Mary, Did You Know?”, a modern Christmas classic, and “Believe,” a selection from the popular movie The Polar Express.

The students also plan to combine with three children’s choirs from local parishes—St. Theresa in Trumbull, Our Lady of Fatima in Wilton, and St. Matthew in Norwalk—to perform “Christ Child Noel.” Additionally, concert-goers will be treated to the eight-movement musical journey “Were You There on That Christmas Night?” with four C4Y narrators and two college soloists accompanying the ensemble.

A highly anticipated number is always the final selection “Dark Is the Silent Night,” performed against a backdrop set to resemble a snow topped pine forest. As the lights descend and the piece concludes, choir members hold small candles, enhancing the mood of the dark and silent night.

“The pieces we choose are music they love,” the director said. “And I want them to feel that connection—and have a passion for music throughout their lives.”

In addition to the regular choir, dozens of former C4Y members will be returning from college to participate, sharing that their devotion to their faith does not end when they graduate.

“We have 40 alumni performing,” said Bozzuti-Higgins, who holds the Dress Rehearsal with dinner, cookie swap, and gift exchange for the entire choir the evening before the concert. “It’s so much fun for them that they keep coming back!”

It is that true sense of joy exuded through the music and comradery that keeps students involved. During a recent rehearsal, Evan Bean, a senior from Fairfield Prep, said, “At C4Y we really have fun. I love being in a community of like-minded Catholic youth.”

Singer Sophie Chorek, a junior at St. Joseph High School, considers her involvement with C4Y to be a stress reliever, saying, “This is just another way to express my faith in addition to school and church. And I just love to sing!”

Such reactions from the young people involved validate the original purpose of C4Y, which grew from the 2014 Synod. “This was the brainchild of Bishop Caggiano,” said Bozzuti-Higgins. “He is so passionate about young people and wants to keep them growing on their faith journey. We are so lucky to have him as the Shepherd of our diocese! We also have an amazing of array of dedicated and talented young people.”

This dedication begins long before the Christmas season, as students start practicing in July and attend one of six weekly rehearsals Bozzuti-Higgins holds at various locations throughout the diocese during the school year. At a recent rehearsal at the Catholic Center in Bridgeport, students were consistently encouraged by their director who called out “Gentlemen – good job! Ladies, together now!”

When she then suggested the group review The Polar Express selection, one 6th grader whispered to his friend, “Ooo, I love ‘Believe’!”

With their feet keeping time with the music and their hands holding folders emblazoned with “C4Y,” sopranos, altos, tenors and bass joined voices in the memorable refrain, singing, “We find ourselves again on Christmas Day…”

In sharing a devotion to their faith through a passion for their music, the youth of C4Y will surely bring joy to all those who believe in the glory of this season.


You may purchase a ticket for this year’s Arise and Shine Concert online.
To learn more about C4Y, please visit the Choir’s webpage.

TRUMBULL- 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 this Thursday, 7pm – 8:30pm at St. Stephens Parish.

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,

Each week, beginning in mid-October and continuing until the first Sunday of Advent, The Leadership Institute has published a series of articles that have been distributed at all parishes in the Diocese of Bridgeport as we await Bishop Caggiano’s promulgation of the Revised Liturgical Norms.

An intro to each article and the links to each in English and Spanish can be found below. The article below marks our final Catechesis piece on the Revised Liturgical Norms. Click here to learn more about the Norms.

The Eucharistic celebration is the source and summit of our faith. We are called to become what we receive and that should change everything: how we act, how we speak to one another, and how we live our lives. This week, read about those faithful individuals who assist the ordinary minister of the Eucharist in extraordinary ways.

The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
For Catholics, the Eucharist is the most important sacrament and the center of faith itself.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls the Eucharist “the source and summit of Christian life” (1324) and “the sum and summary of our faith” (1327). All other works of the Church spring from it:

“The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself” (CCC, 1324).

Continue reading our fifth Catechesis Article here.